In a large number of cases, nutrients that drive sugarcane yield forward, will also improve the sugar content and quality of the harvested sugarcane crop.
Most required nutrients have specific roles to play in improving yield:
• Nitrogen is important for high yields. It fuels crop growth and development, leading to strong tillering.
• Phosphorus is particularly important for root development, early shoot growth and tillering, maximizing early productivity and increasing internode length.
• Potassium, like nitrogen, also boosts strong cane development, long internode growth, wider cane girths and yield. Supplies need to be balanced alongside those of N.
• Magnesium, sulfur and iron increase photosynthetic activity maintaining good growth for high yields.
• Calcium ensures good plant strength, protecting root, leaf and stalk production, thereby maintaining early crop architecture and yield.
• Unavailability of any micronutrient will also restrict growth processes and subsequent yield. However, boron and zinc are increasingly seen as key micronutrients in the cane crop helping produce strong rooting and early shoot development.