Sugarcane Cultivation

sugarcane cultivation

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) 

Family : Poaceae

Origin:  North east India

Introduction of sugarcane cultivation

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) is the main sources of sugar in India and holds a prominent position as a cash crop. India is the world’s largest consumer and the second largest producer of sugar, topped only by Brazil. Nearly 2.8 lakh farmers are doing sugarcane cultivation in the vast area of 4.4 lakh acres and over 11 crore people are directly or indirectly dependent on the sugar industry in the country. 

Climate need for sugarcane cultivation

Sugarcane is able to grow over a prolonged season. Under warm humid conditions, it can continue its growth, unless terminated by flowering. Temperatures above 50 degree centrigate arrest its growth; those below 20 o C slow it down markedly and severe frost proves fatal. The crop does best in the tropical regions receiving a rainfall of 750-1200 mm. For ripening, it needs a cool, dry season; but where rainfall is too heavy and prolonged, the quality of the juice tends to be low, and where the weather remains comparatively.

soil need for sugarcane cultivation

Sugarcane grows best on medium heavy soils, but can also be raised on lighter soils and heavy clays, provided there is adequate irrigation available in the former type of soils and drainage is good in the latter type of soils. In many places, dark rich clay loams, 120-150 cm deep, and lying on a previous substratum of murum  used for this crop. In some areas.

Variety for sugarcane cultivation

CO – 419, CO – 740, CO – 7219 (Sanjivini), CO.M – 7125, CO – 7527, CO.M – 88121(7714), CO –8014 (Mahalaxmi), CO – 86032 (Nira), CO.C – 671, CO.C – 85061, CO – 8011, CO.M. – 7114, CO.S.I – 776.

Seed Treatment for sugarcane cultivation

The availability of good quality cane seed materials (setts) from a nursery crop of 10-11 months are essential for better germination and good growth. The treatments included were namely control, 0.05% Bavistin, 2.5% Urea, 2.5% KCI, 2.5% KCI+Urea, 1% Hadron. Two budded setts were used for planting after treating with above chemicals. Also hot water treatment is given to prevent seed borne diseases.

Seed Sowing in sugarcane cultivation

Planting of suru sugarcane is done in three seasons that is suru January-February, adsali – July-August and pre seasonal- October-November for planting generally ridges and furrows are prepared on 100-120cm spacing. For planting one hectare area 25-30 thousand three eye buded cane setts are required.

Fertilizer application in sugarcane cultivation

 In general for sugarcane 250:115:115 for Adsali 400:170:170 and for pre seasonal 340:170:170 kg nitrogen, phosphorus and potash per hectare is recommended respectively. For ratooning 250:115:115 kg nitrogen, phosphorus and potash per hectare is recommended.

Irrigation in sugarcane cultivation

Water requirement of sugarcane varies from 2000 to 2500 mm depending upon its duration, soil type and climatological factors. For sugarcane germination, tillering, grand growth and maturity are the critical stages for irrigation. During germination phase (1-35 days) there should be enough moisture in the soil for better germination but waterlogging is undesirable as it leads to rotting of setts. During this period irrigation can be scheduled at weekly intervals. But irrigation at 10 days interval during tillering stage (36-100 days) is sufficient. The formative and grand growth stages (101-270 days) are the critical stages for water demand. During this period irrigation can be practised at weekly intervals. At the maturity phase (271 days to harvest) fortnightly irrigation is enough. Irrigation will have to be stopped at 15 days prior to harvest.

Muching in sugarcane cultivation

In early days, application of paddy straw or spreading of sugarcane trash in the field will decrease the evaporation and thus decrease the water demand of the crop besides improving the yield.

Earthing Up in sugarcane cultivation

The first hoeing an weeding should be given to the crop three to four weeks after planting. After germination, depending on the field conditions and the frequency of irrigation, two or three more hoeings and weedings may be required during the first three months after planting with the coming up of the crop. The final earthing-up should be completed before the monsoon rains, and should generally synchronize with the application of the final dose of fertilizer. This helps to keep down the weeds.

Tying of Canes in sugarcane cultivation

It is very desirable to tie up the canes so that they may not sway during the winds, and lodge. The best way to do the tying is to bring together the stalks from adjacent rows and tie them together with their own trash and old leaves. In many places cane is tied at two or three levels with twists of cane trash, the twistline going from one end of the row to the other; sometimes the stalks are further propped up with bamboos.

Weed Management in sugarcane cultivation

In sugarcane due to weed infestation about 12 to 72% yield loss is observed depending upon severity. Initial 60-120 days are critical for weed management. Therefore weed management practices should be adopt within 3-4 months after planting. For control of weeds, chemical is not only solution. Adopting mechanical as well as cultural practices gives effective solution.

1) Mechanical Measure: As sugarcane is widely space crop, weeding with hand or interculture operation can be easily carried out. Take 3-4 hoeing after every irrigation.

2) Cultural Operations: It included change in cropping pattern, intercropping and trash mulching. Monocropping leads to heavy infestation of weed. Crop rotation with fodder or green manure crops suppress weeds. Also sugarcane is wider space crop so there is opportunity for weed to grow in large numbers. If sugarcane is intercrop with short duration crops then it will suppress the weed growth also give additional benefit. In trash mulching, mulch of 10-12cm thickness is provided in between cane row after emergence of cane. It will restrict the sunlight thus help to check weed growth. It also conserved soil moisture.

3) Chemical: To control weeds, carry out pre-emergence weedicide application with Simazine or Atrazine@600-800 g/acre or Metribuzine@ 800 g/acre or Diuron@1- 1.2 kg/acre. Apply pre-emergence herbicides immediately after planting. Apply 2,4-D@250-300 g/acre as post-emergence herbicide for broad-spectrum weed control in sugarcane.

Diseases in sugarcane cultivation

Sugarcane economic role has already been described. Its diseases have therefore been a major subject of study and research institues have spawned worldwide. Perhaps the most known is the Bureau Of Sugar Experiment Stations which have been created in 1900 in the Australian state of Queensland.
Sugarcane diseases can be classified into three main categories, depending on the disease’s origins :

  • Fungi (mildew, smut, pineapple disease, red rot, back stripe, brown spot, …)
  • Phytoplasmae : (gumming disease, leaf scald, mottled stripe, ratoon stunting disease, …)
  • Viruses : (mosaic, dwarf, streak disease, …)

Main disease fighting methods are:

  • Planting only disease free stalks obtained through selection or disinfectant spraying.
  • Thoroughly cleaning fields and tools (esp. blades).
  • Pest control as many bacterial and viral diseases are transmitted by insects.
  • Creating disease resistant crops. This way of fighting the sugar cane diseases is quite a recent one as it requires creating hybrids, a technic invented during the 20th century.
 pests in sugarcane cultivation

Insects can also be a threat for sugar cane crops. Depending on the caused damage, they can be subdivisied int the following categories:

  • Roots : mostly white grubs (beetle larva form) but also grasshoppers, termites and nematodes (worms) attacking the roots by burrowing or feeding.
  • Leaves and stems are targeted by biting insects (leafhoppers, sharpshooters, scale insects, …). In addition to the damage caused to stems and leaves, those insect can also infect the cane with bacterial or viral diseases.
  • Borers (various kind of moth larvae), drill short tunnels of various shape in the stem. Those tunnels are generally found close to the stem surface and young plants are more prone to be attacked than older ones. Borers are the older and probably the most dangerous threat to sugarcane crops.
  • The leaf-eating caterpillars can also cause damage to sugarcane plants but those damages are usually not so important, compared to other threats.

Pest control is achieved by the following means:

  • Chemicals (pesticides such as D.D.T.)
  • Introducing parasitoids. This method is primarly used against borers. Tachinidae are commonly used parasites. Female tachinidae yield their eggs at the borer tunnel entrance. The larvae progress in the tunnel and get into the borer body. The tachinida larva then develops inside the borer and ultimately kills it.
  • Creating sugarcane crops less prone to insect attack or more resilient to the damages caused by insects.

Rats can also be an important threat to plantations, all the more if a colony settles in a field. Methods used are conventional rodent control ones (anticoagulant or poisonous baits, traps, …).

Harvesting of sugarcane

Harvesting of cane at right time is necessary for good yield and for high sugar recovery. Harvesting at over aged or under aged cane leads to loss in cane yield. Depending upon withering of leaves and cane juice, harvesting time can be decided. To know the right harvesting time some farmer used hand sugar refractometer is used. Sickles are used for harvesting. Stalks are cut at ground level so that the bottom sugar rich internodes are harvested which add to yield and sugar. De-topping at appropriate height. After harvesting quick disposal of the harvested cane to factory is necessary.

Yield of Sugarcane

The average yield of a 11 to 12 month-old plant crop under commercial cultivation is 100 tonnes per hectare in case of suru, 170 tonnes per hectare for Adsali and 120 tonnes per hectare in case of pre seasonal sugarcane.

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