Certain Saccharum forms managed as high-growth systems produce multiple salable products in addition to sugar and fermentable solids. Aside from these are organic residues amounting to some 8-18 tons air-dry matter per acre year. Since 1987, studies in Puerto Rico have indicated highly favorable potentials of these residues as control systems for weeds and seedbed erosion. Chemical weed control, together with its costs, soil compaction and potential contamination, is deferred entirely beyond month 4 of the plant crop. Erosion of ratoon-crop seedbeds is essentially eliminated. Longer-term benefits are under investigation, including nutrient and organic matter reincorporation into soils, and deferment of conventional replanting and crop-rotation operations thru periodic reincorporation of an entire cane crop. Such residues also indicate promise as inexpensive compost for food-crop seedbeds. Aside from their technical and economic benefits, the production and on-farm application of such materials is consistent with environmental and conservation interests that are increasingly affecting U.S. agriculture. The work since 1987 is presented in overview with the aid of color slides.


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