Variations in sugarcane yield among farmers’ fields and their causal factors in Northeast Thailand

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Program on System Approaches in Agriculture, Department of Plant Science and Agricultural Resources, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.

2 System Approaches in Agriculture Program, Department of Plant Science and Agricultural Resources, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Abstract

Information on variations in crop yield among farmer fields in a specific area and their
causal factors is important for efficiently targeting efforts to increase production of the crop in
the target area. This study determined the yield variations and their causal factors for sugarcane
grown in the service area of a sugar mill in Northeast Thailand. Two villages with the dominant
sandy and clayey soil types in the area were selected as the study sites. A questionnaire was
used to collect information on management practices and crop yields for the individual fields in
the 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 cropping seasons for 369 fields, of which 134 were planted crop
and 235 were ratoon crop. A stepwise multiple regression was used in determining the
significant factors influencing yields and their order of importance. The results show great
variations of sugarcane yields among farmers’ fields in all crop classes, locations and years.
However, their significant causal factors differed among crop classes, locations and years. The
number of weedings was the most frequent yield constraint identified, followed by pre-harvest
burning, number of fertilizer applications and land type. Soil type, diseases and insects, cultivar
and frequency of irrigation were sporadically significant. Yield influencing factors in fields at
different yield levels also varied, indicating the need for targeting improved management on
individual fields. A participatory approach is suggested in the design and implementation of
cultural managements for improving sugarcane yield of the individual fields.

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