Dr. Hardev Singh Sandhu

Assistant Professor, Agronomy

My primary research responsibilities (60% FTE) include sugarcane cultivar development and management with a major focus on evaluation of new sugarcane clones for agronomic performance and disease resistance in on-farm multilocation trials. In addition, I conduct research to evaluate new agronomic practices (tillage, row spacing, planting and harvesting methods etc.) in sugarcane, energy cane and industrial hemp. My extension responsibilities (40% FTE) involve leadership of the sugarcane focus action team and providing strong educational support to sugarcane producers and county extension faculty on sugarcane cultivar selection and management practices

Program Areas

  • Evaluation of new sugarcane clones in a collaborative sugarcane cultivar development program (CP program) in Florida with a goal to release high yielding and disease resistant cultivars for organic and mineral soils.
  • Agronomic research to evaluate new sugarcane management practices such as conservation tillage, harvest residue management and row spacing.
  • Research in determining spatial variability in organic and mineral soils using ground sensors and UAVs to improve genotype selection and management practices in sugarcane.
  • Research to identify good varieties and best agronomic practices for industrial hemp cultivation on organic soils in Florida.
  • Evaluation of energy cane for its potential use as feedstock for lignocellulosic ethanol production in Southeastern United States.
  • Enhance sugarcane profitability by educating growers on new sugarcane cultivars
  • Educate clientele on sugarcane management practices with a specific emphasis on conservation tillage, precise nutrient management and harvest management
  • Educate clientele on industrial hemp cultivation in organic soils in Florida
  • Extend information on new energy cane cultivars and their management

Graduate Students


Murali Vuyyuru is a graduate student working on his PhD in Agronomy under the supervision of Dr. Hardev Sandhu. He is conducting research to determine the causes of yield decline in successively planted sugarcane and development of management practices to minimize or avoid this decline in yield.


         Kristen Polacik – Kristen is a Ph.D. student and her project is to understand cold tolerance in sugarcane through determination of cold tolerance thresholds, enzyme activities and recovery time in Florida varieties.

     Chiranjibi Poudyal   – Chiranjibi is a master’s student and his project is to determine the use of UAVs and ground sensors in sugarcane yield predictions.

 Saroop Sandhu -Saroop is a Ph.D. student and his project is on identifying varieties and evaluating planting dates and fertilization rates for industrial hemp cultivation in organic soils in south Florida.