Sugarcane in California
Sugarcane has been successfully grown in California's Imperial Valley for decades. The soil is relatively rich with deep alluvial clay loam and, with the availability of irrigation water due to the Imperial Valley’s priority allotment of water from the Colorado River basin, is well-suited for farming. In fact, the area is recognized as one of the most productive agricultural areas of the world. Due to the dry climate, intense sunlight, and irrigation, Imperial Valley sugarcane can be planted and harvested year round, unlike Florida, Louisiana and Texas, where rain limits the harvesting season to six months.
The University of California Riverside and the Desert Research & Extension Center conducted a research project to evaluate twenty-two commercially grown varieties of sugarcane for suitability to the Imperial Valley. The results were impressive: The research trials produced sugarcane varieties with average yields of 47 tons of millable cane per acre per harvest.
By partnering with established Imperial Valley farmers and being advised by world-renowned sugarcane experts, CE&P is now growing multiple sugarcane varieties for use by its first facility. Once the facility commences operation, California sugarcane-to-ethanol-and-electricity will grow to be the right sustainable, renewable resource for biofuels and green power in California.