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A field trial was carried out in Ferké 2 Sugar mill located in northern Ivory Coast, in order to study sugarcane growth and yield response to deficit irrigation imposed over the yield formation stage. The crop used was a first ratoon Co 957, a non flowering late season sugarcane variety. The experiment was completely randomized following a one-factor design with 4 water deficit treatments in 3 replicates. It came out that the optimum water deficit treatment reached 20%, i.e., 80% of crop water requirements were satisfied through irrigation. That treatment gave an irrigation water use efficiency of 7.9 kg cane/m3 or 0.98 kg sugar/m3. Relatively low crop growth rates (0.2 – 0.4 cm/day) as well as low cane yields (24.5 – 78.4 t/ha) were obtained as a result of an intensive and persistent dry season occurred over the yield formation stage. In line with prevailing climatic conditions, cane juice quality measured was particularly high (15.7 – 16.7 pol%) on Co 957 which used to be a moderately performing variety in Ferké 2 sugar mill.
Keywords: Water deficit, yield formation, growth rate, cane yield, water use efficiency, Ivory Coast