The knowledge of the Leaf Area Index (LAI) variation during the whole crop cycle is essential to the modeling of the plant growth and development and, consequently, of the crop yield. Sugarcane LAI evolution models were developed for different crop cycles, by adjusting observed LAI values and growing degree-days summation data on a power-exponential function. The resultant equations simulate adequately the LAI behavior during the entire crop cycle. The effect of different water stress levels was calculated in different growth periods, upon the LAI growth The LAI growth deficit was correlated with the ratio between actual evapotranspiration and máximum evapotranspiration, and a constant named kuu was obtained hi each situation. It was noticed that the kLAI must be estimated not Just for different growth periods, but also for different water stress levels in each growth period.
Leaf Area Index; sugarcane; growing degree-days; water stress; modeling