Growing season has a big influence on sugarcane quality. Sucrose contents suffer in cold, excessively wet seasons. Varieties should be selected to suit local conditions. Growers also need to select varieties that mature at times to suit mill delivery contracts which also coincide with peak sugar production. Harvest management can have a big impact on levels of extraneous plant or soil in the cane sent to the mill. Care needs to be taken to minimize levels of these contaminants at harvest. Also, any delays in getting the crop into the mill will result in loss of sugar. The right crop nutrition can influence sugarcane quality.
Nitrogen increases sugar yield, but has to be balanced to ensure good plant growth without leading to excessive, late season luxury uptake which delays maturity, reducing sugar levels and resulting in off-white sugar color.
Phosphorous, Potassium and Sulfur are important in providing good juice clarity.
Potassium has a key role to play in sugar synthesis and its translocation to the cane. It also improves sugar quality increasing Pol and Brix levels and reducing fiber content. Luxury uptake though, adversely affects sugar crystallization.
Magnesium supply helps maintain sucrose content in the cane by boosting protein synthesis.
Sulfur boosts a range of quality characteristics including Pol and Brix.
Micronutrient supply is also important in helping maintain growth processes that encourage high sugar quality.