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Hadush H, Walelign W and Abuhay T
To attain maximum sucrose accumulation,optimum maturity recommendation was needed depending on the soil type, cultivar type and environmental factors. To this end, an experiment was conducted to determine maturity response of ratoon cane (Saccharium officinarium L.) as affected by pre-harvest cultural practices. The sugarcane variety B52-298 was used as a test crop. The two experimental factors were four drying off periods (25, 45, 65 and 85 days) and four harvest ages (360, 390, 420 and 450days) and their factorial combination was tested using randomized complete block design with three replications. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that Drying off period significantly influenced maturity testing factors (P<0.001). Hand refractometer brix% of all stalk parts, were significantly increased when the level of drying off period was increased with a peak at 65 days. In contrast, soil moisture content, sheath moisture content, were reduced with increasing drying off period. Effect of harvest age also significantly influenced the sheath moisture content and hand referactometer brix (P<0.001). Increase in harvest age, significantly increased hand refractometer brix% of all stalk parts. Adjusting the drying off period to 65 days and harvest age to 450 days for variety B52-298 under the tested soil condition for ratoon crop is recommended as best maturity with optimum sucrose accumulation and is recommend for harvest.