SOIL PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES AND PRODUCTION COMPONENTS OF SUGARCANE CULTIVARS IN CONSERVATIONIST TILLAGE SYSTEMS
ABSTRACT Machine traffic and conventional tillage can cause structural degradation of the soil, affecting the physical attributes and, consequently, the production and longevity of the sugarcane field. The objective of this study was to evaluate the production components of sugarcane cultivars (RB965902, RB985476, RB966928, RB855156, RB975201, RB975242, RB036066 and RB855536) and physical attributes of a Dystroferric Red Latosol (Oxisol) under no-tillage and reduced-tillage systems. The experiment was conducted using a completely randomized experimental design in an 8 × 2 factorial arrangement, with four replicates. The soil attributes evaluated were density, total porosity, macroporosity, microporosity and penetration resistance. The production components evaluated were stalk length and diameter, number of tillers (NT), tons of cane per hectare (TCH), sucrose content (Pol), tons of sucrose per hectare (TPH), soluble solids content (Brix), total recoverable sugars (TRS) and plant fiber. Cultivars RB965902, RB966928, RB855156 and RB985476 have productivity and technological attributes that are superior to the other cultivars, whereas these are lower for RB036066 in both soil tillage systems. Cultivars RB966928, RB855156, RB975242 and RB855536 exhibited higher TCH and TPH in the no-tillage system, and all cultivars displayed equal or higher performances than those observed in the reduced-tillage system. In the no-tillage system, which exhibits lower penetration resistance values between wheel tracks and in the subsurface layer of the planting row (0.20–0.40 m), cultivars RB985476 and RB975242 had a higher NT, and RB855156 had higher stalk lengths and NT.