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    Farmers Zone » Sugarcane: FAQs

    • 1. What are the seasons best suited for planting sugarcane?

      Eksali - December-February for the 12-month crop
      Pre-seasonal - October-November for the 15 to 16 month crop
      Adsali - July-August for the 18-month crop

    • 2. Which season is best for planting sugarcane?

      The normal planting season is October-December. Delay in planting reduces cane yield. Planting should not be delayed beyond February in the plains. In hilly tracts where sugarcane is cultivated under rain fed conditions, planting should be done after decrease of heavy rains.

    • 3. How much rainfall is required for cultivating sugarcane?

      A total rainfall between 650 and 750 mm is optimum provided the distribution is right, abundant in the months of vegetative growth followed by a dry period for ripening.

    • 4. What is the optimum temperature for germination of sugarcane?

      28° to 32°c. It slows down below 25°, reaches plateau between 30°-34°, is reduced above 35° and practically stops when the temperature is above 38°

    • 5. What are the varieties that serve for resistance of red rot?

      Co-86032, Co-VSI 9805, Co-VSI-03102, Co-2003V-46, VSI-434

    • 6. What are the varieties that serve best for drought conditions?

      Co-86032, Co-VSI-03102

    • 7. What are the new varieties of sugarcane released recently?

      Co-VSI-03102, Co-2003V-46

    • 8. What are the salient features of sugarcane varieties?
      Variety Co-86032 Co VSI 03102 Co VSI 9805 VSI 434 Co-2003 V-46
      Yield (t/ha) 143 163 155 148 160
      Pol in Cane (%) 14.24 15.72 15 15.88 15.25
    • 9. How to prepare a wetland for cultivating sugarcane after harvesting paddy?

      In wetlands, preparatory cultivation by ploughing the land and bringing the soil to fine tilth could not be done.

      • After harvest of the paddy crop, form irrigation and drainage channels of 40 cm depth and 30 cm width at intervals of 6 m across the field and along the field borders.
      • Form ridges and furrows with a spacing of 80 cm between rows with spade.
      • Stir the furrows with hand hoes and allow the soil to weather for 4 to 5 days.
    • 10. What type of soil is suitable for growing sugarcane?

      Sugarcane can be grown in all types of soils ranging from Sandy loam to Clay loam soils. Soil extremely well drained having pH of 7.5 to 8.5 and optimum organic content is best suited for sugarcane cultivation

    • 11. How can we conserve our soil fertility?

      Integrated nutrient management with organic manures and inorganic fertilizers, crop rotation, inter-cropping and trash mulching.

    • 12. How much soil organic matter is necessary for higher sugarcane yield?

      Soil having organic content more than or equal to 1% are well suited for sugarcane cultivation.

    • 13. What are the proportions in which the organic manure has to be applied to a field in order to cultivate sugarcane?

      Apply FYM at 12.5 t/ha or compost 25 t/ha or filter press mud at 37.5 t/ha before the last ploughing under garden land conditions. In wetlands this may be applied along the furrows and Incorporated well.

    • 14. What is the seed rate for cultivating sugar cane?
      • 45,000 two-budded sets/ha.
      • 35,000 three-budded sets/ha.
    • 15. What are the pre-treatment given to sugarcane sett before planting?

      Azospirillum: Prepare the slurry with 10 packets (2000g)/ha of Azospirillum with sufficient water and soak the sets in the slurry for 15minutes before planting.

      Fungicide: The sets should be soaked in Carbendanzim (100 gram in 100 litres of water)

    • 16. What are the essential qualities of good seed of sugarcane?

      Straight and standing, no side shooting, should be certified with good germination capability and free of insect & diseases. Would be aged of 9-10 months.

    • 17. What is the spacing for planting sugarcane sets?
      • Ridges and furrows - 135 cm between rows & 30cm between two sets.
      • Dual row planting - 150 cm between two broad furrows (middle of the furrows sugarcane sets are planted in two rows adopting a spacing of 30/45 cm between them)
    • 18. What are the seasons for raising sugarcane nursery and planting in the main field?
      Raise nursery crop during Main field planting
      June December - January (early season)
      July February - March (Mid season)
      August April - May (Late season)
      Dec – Apr June - September (Special season)
    • 19. When to use fertilizers after transplantation of sugarcane settlings?

      Within 7 to 14 days.

    • 20. What is the nutrient uptake from soil in sugarcane cultivation?

      An average crop of sugarcane yielding 100 t/ha removes 208kg of N, 53kg of P, 280kg of K, 30 kg of Sulphur, 3.4kg of iron, 1.2 kg of manganese, 0.6 kg of copper respectively from the soil.

    • 21. What is the recommended fertilizer dose for the sugarcane plant crop?
      Time January Planting
      January Planting
      January Planting
        N P K N P K N P K
      At time of planting 25 57.5 57.5 34 85 85 40 85 85
      6-8 weeks after planting 100 - - 136 - - 160 - -
      12-16 weeks after planting 25 - - 34 - - 40 - -
    • 22. What is dual row planting method of sugarcane? What is its advantage?

      To facilitate mechanization and to improve the cane yield under wide rows, a new technology, ‘dual row planting’ is developed. In this method, broad furrows are formed at a spacing of 150 cm and in the middle of the furrows sugarcane sets are planted in two rows adopting a spacing of 30 cm between them.

    • 23. What are the benefits of paired row cultivation?

      To grow more than one intercrop, to earn more income with the same land and to generate more scope of utilizing labour force.

    • 24. What is the spaced transplanting method?

      In STP (Spaced transplanting) method single eyed sets are used for planting. Either direct sets or seedlings raised in polybag nurseries are transplanted into the field after 45-50 days. For this STP or single eyed set method 0.75-1 MT seed per acre is required. This method saves seed cost by 60-70%. In this method distance between two sets kept at 30cm.

    • 25. What is Chip-bud technique?

      In this technique, the bud along with a portion of the nodal region is chipped off using a bud chipping machine. This bud is used for planting.

    • 26. What are the advantages in tissue culture of sugarcane?
      • Production of true to type plantlets
      • Rapid multiplication
      • Independent of seasonal constraints
      • Maintaining and improving the productivity of outstanding varieties in the field
      • Production of disease free planting material from parent material.
    • 27. Within how many days gap filling has to be done?

      Fill the gaps with sprouted sets, if any, 30 days after planting once the germination is completed.

    • 28. What are the irrigation intervals in each phase of sugarcane that must be given?

      The irrigation intervals in each phase are given below:
      Stages Days of irrigation interval Sandy soil Clay Soil
      Tillering phase (36 to 100 days): 8 -10 days
      Grand growth phase (101 - 270 days): 8 to 10 days
      Maturity phase (271 – harvest): 10 to 14 days

    • 29. What is fertigation system?
      • Fertigation is the judicious application of fertilizers by combining with irrigation water.
      • Fertigation can be achieved through fertilizer tank, venturi System, Injector Pump, Non-Electric Proportional Liquid Dispenser (NEPLD) and automated system.
    • 30. What is the role of nitrogen in sugarcane cultivation?
      • Influences sugarcane yield and quality.
      • Required for vegetative growth (tillering, foliage formation, stalk formation and growth) and root growth.
      • Vegetative growth in sugarcane is directly related to yield.
    • 31. What is the role of Phosphorus in sugarcane?
      • P- Requirement is relatively less than N and K.
      • Necessary for formation of proteins and thus for yield build up.
      • Important for cell division and leads to crop growth
      • Stimulates root growth
      • Necessary for plant metabolism and photo synthesis
      • Required for adequate tillering
      • Interacts with N and thus enhances ripening.
    • 32. What is the role of potassium in sugarcane cultivation?
      • Requirement of K is greater than N and P.
      • Required for carbon assimilation, photo synthesis & translocation of carbohydrates
      • Involved in various enzymatic activities
      • Important for sugar synthesis and translocation to the storage organs.
      • Develops resistance to sugarcane against pest, disease and lodging.
      • Maintains cell turgidity under moisture stress conditions.
    • 33. For how many days, the sugarcane field should be maintained weed free?

      90 to 120 days.

    • 34. How to control the parastitic weed Striga in sugarcane field?

      If the parasitic weed striga is a problem, post-emergence application of 2,4-D sodium salt @ 1.25 kg/ha in 500 litre of water/ha may be done. 2, 4-D spraying should be avoided when neighbouring crop is cotton or bhendi. Apply 20% urea also for the control of striga as direct spray.

    • 35. How to manage weeds in plant crop of sugarcane field?

      For weed management in sugarcane, Metribuzin 1 kgai/ha or Ametryn 2 kgai/ha as pre- emergent is an effective. Herbicide Acrazine 2 kgai/ha as pre-emergent. Either of this herbicide should be coupled with application 2,4D @ 1kgai/ha at 60 DAP.

    • 36. How to manage weeds in ratoon crop of sugarcane field?

      Application of Actrazine 2 kgai/ha pre- emergent plus one hoeing at 45 days after ratoon initiation. OR

      Metribuzine 1 kgai/ha pre-emergent coupled with 2,4 D 1kgai/ha 45 days after ratoon initiation. OR

      Trash mulching in alternate row plus hoeing at 1 and 6th week after ratoon initiation.

    • 37. What are the possible intercrops for sugarcane?

      As per the soil type intercrops such as Soyabean, Cowpea, Groundnut, Blackgram and vegetables like Chilli, Cauliflower can be taken as intercrop.

    • 38. How to control flowering in sugarcane?
      • Ethephon (ethrel) applied at the rate of 500 ppm effectively controlled flowering in a number of profuse flowering varieties.
      • By altering the planting date, flowering can be avoided in heavy flowering areas. Adsali planting or special season planting (July to September) helps in avoiding flowering and its adverse effects.
    • 39. What are the benefits of de-trashing sugarcane?

      It helps to reduce water demand and other input for sugarcane crop.

    • 40. In sugarcane how crop rotation done?

      Sugarcane is generally grown after the harvest of cotton, rice, maize, potato, wheat, etc. in sequence under 2 to 3 years rotation.

    • 41. What is propping?

      The operation of tying the leaves together using the bottom dry and green leaves is known as propping. It is primarily done to check lodging of cane. Propping can be either done for each row or two rows can be brought together and tied. It is done at the age of 210 days of the crop.

    • 42. What are the measures to be taken for high yield of sugarcane?

      Cultivating in high land; using recommended variety; early planting; using recommended fertilizer dose; supplying adequate irrigation; appropriate management and management of insects & diseases.

    • 43. How many labourers are required to cut Bud chips for one hectare?

      It requires 3 to 5 labourers to cut bud chips as seed material required for one hectare.

    • 44. What are the major beneficial insects of sugarcane?
      • Trichogramma chilonis Ishii
      • Telenomus dignoides Nixon
    • 45. What are the major pests of sugarcane?

      White fly, Root grub, Borer, Scale insects, Woolly aphid, Mealy bugs, and Leaf hoppers

    • 46. Which are the serious diseases of sugarcane prevalent in our mill zones?

      Red rot is the major serious disease of sugarcane. Smut is the major diseases of sugarcane.

    • 47. What is the chemical control measure for early shoot borer?

      When an ETL (Economic Threshold Level) of 15% dead heart is reached apply any one of the following insecticides:

      • Soil application: Lindane10G: 12.5 kg/ha (or) Carbofuran3G: 33 kg (or) Chlorpyriphos10G: 12.5 Kg/ha
      • Spraying: Monocrotophos 36 WSC 1000 ml (or) Chlorpyriphos 20 EC 1000 ml (or) Phosalone 35 EC 1000 ml
      • Newer chemical against sugarcane shoot borer: Regent 3G @ 75g a.i/ha is found to be effective against shoot borer.
    • 48. Will trash mulching reduce shoot borer incidence?

      Yes. The trash acts as mechanical barrier to the tiny and just emerged shoot borer larvae which have to move from one clump to another only through the soil surface as leaves of adjacent clumps will not touch each other during that age of crop. Moreover, the trash will encourage development of general predators such as spiders, carabid beetles etc which increase chances of predation of the moths and the dispersing larvae. However, the possibility of cut worm or rat damage in mulched fields is more.

    • 49. How to control the internode borer in sugarcane?
      • Release egg parasitoid, Trichogramma chilonis at the rate of 2.5 cc/release/ha. Six releases 15 days interval starting from 4th month onwards will be necessary. During rainy weather and when ants are present, release the parasite through mosquito net covered plastic disposable cups.
      • Detrash the crop on the 150th and 210th day after planting.
    • 50. How to prevent sugarcane against termite?

      Application of chlorpyriphos @ 5 lit/ha with 1500-1800 lit water in the furrow during planting controls termite in Sugarcane.

    • 51. How to control the wooly aphid pest infestation in sugarcane?

      Application of granular systemic insecticides after two days of irrigation may reduce the infestation of aphids even up to 30 days. During acute incidence, spray any one of the following insecticides once or twice in affected patches:

      Acephate(75SP): 2gm/lit (or) Chlorpyrifos(25EC): 2ml/lit (or) Monocrotophos(36WSC): 2ml/lit

    • 52. How to control the white grub incidence in sugarcane?

      Avoid ratoons in infested fields, Provide adequate irrigation, since under inadequate soil moisture conditions, the pest appear in the root zone. Apply lindane(1.3D) 125 kg/ha near the root zone and give one more round 30 days later

    • 53. How the red rot disease spreads in sugarcane?

      The disease is mainly spread by the preparation of setts from diseased cane. Bottom portion of the cane left over in the field after harvest, irrigation, rain and wind also spread the disease causing fungi. Ratooning of the affected cane also spread the disease further.

    • 54. What is the sett treatment to control the red rot disease?

      Adopt sett treatment with Carbendazim before planting (Carbendazim 50 WP (0.5 gm in 1 litre of water) or Carbendazim 25 DS (1gm in 1 litre of water) along with Urea (10 gm in 1 litre of water) for 5 minutes) to avoid the spread of red rot disease in sugarcane.

    • 55. How to identify disease infection in seed canes?

      While cutting partially infected canes, cut ends will show reddening patches.

    • 56. In which season the disease spreads fast?

      During monsoon seasons the spread is more

    • 57. What are the factors enhancing disease severity?

      Monsoon months with cyclonic winds favour spread of the disease very fast. Flooding of sugarcane fields over large areas favour dispersal of inoculums through flood water. Even a limited seed cane infection favours disease built up in plant and ratoon crops.

    • 58. How to control wilt?

      Healthy seed, crop rotation, optimizing soil moisture status and reducing root borer infestation are recommended to control wilt in an integrated approach.

    • 59. What is the composition of cane juice?

      The constituents of the normal cane juice fall within the following limits:
      Water: 70 to 88%
      Sucrose: 10 to 21%
      Reducing sugars: 0.3 to 3%
      Organic matter other than sugar: 0.5 to 1%
      Inorganic compounds: 0.2 to 0.6%
      Nitrogenous bodies: 0.5 to 1%

    • 60. How to determine the maturity / ripeness of sugarcane?

      Small mill test: the juice is analysed for brix, sucrose and purity values in laboratory using brix hydrometer spindle and polarimeter. A minimum purity value of above 85% indicates its suitability for harvest.

    • 61. How to conduct a pre-harvest maturity survey in sugar factory?
      • The maturity survey should be started at least 4-6 weeks before the scheduled harvest date.
      • Separate survey for plant crop and ratoon crop should be preferable.
      • The fields should be grouped according to variety and month of planting.
      • Entire area in a factory zone should be grouped into number of zones of convenient size of about 50-60 ha.
      • For each zone or area one team of persons comprising one Cane Assistant with two laborers for collection of samples should be assigned.
      • Each team can normally visit 20-25 fields per day and complete the work. Thus one team can complete the survey in approximate 120-150 fields within 6 days.
      • About 40 teams for each factory area can complete the entire area of a factory (5000-7000 ha) during one week time.
      • The refractometer brix values of representative samples of each field should be recorded with the help of a hand refractometer and juice extractor needles.
      • Then the fields are arranged in the descending order of brix values for each zone.
      • Cutting orders are issued based on the brix values in descending order.

      The above method of issuing cutting order helps to crush the cane of uniform maturity and avoids cane of immaturity, thus leading to improvement in sugar recovery to the tune 0.2 to 0.5 per cent over and above the existing sugar recovery figure.

    • 62. How long a harvested cane can be kept without deterioration?

      A well ripened harvested crop, may lose its sugar within a few days after harvest, which tends to increase further due to high ambient temperature, pre-harvest burning, harvest and transportation injuries and microbial infestation. However, not much harm is caused if the cane is crushed within 24 hours of harvesting. Stalling beyond 24 hours results in considerable loss in cane weight due to moisture loss and reduction in juice sucrose content due to inversion. Such juice also creates problems in processing. The losses increased with the increase in duration of stalling.

    • 63. How to minimize post harvest deterioration in sugarcane?
      • Harvesting of immature and over mature canes should be avoided.
      • Quick transport of varieties identified to be susceptible to post-harvest deterioration.
      • Keeping the harvested cane under shade during hot weather period
      • Covering of harvested cane with trash and sprinkling of water periodically to keep the cane moist.
      • By dipping the cut ends of cane in certain biocides like polycide @ 2 ml/lit or bactrinol-100 @ 100 ppm and spraying the same on the stored cane could arrest deterioration upto 120 hours.
      • Dipping both the cut ends of cane in sucroguard improved sugar recovery upto 0.9%. Due to 70% reduction in microbial population of the primary juice of cane.
    • 64. How drought effect can be distinguished from other stresses?

      Stunted inter-nodes, drying of bottom leaves (but not top leaves or crown) and inward rolling of top leaves are some indicators of drought effect.

    • 65. Whether yield or sugar content is affected due to drought?

      Cane yield is affected more than sucrose %juice. Since drought reduces cane elongation (about 30%) yield loss is more.

    • 66. At what stage the drought effect is critical to sugarcane?

      Early stages of growth, particularly the active tillering period is very critical in drought situations

    • 67. What are the easy ways to manage drought under field condition?
      • Soaking of setts in saturated lime water (40%) before planting
      • Urea and potash spray (2.5kg/100litres) during drought at 15-20 days interval
      • Trash mulching are some easy ways to manage drought.
    • 68. What is the suitable planting method for improving sugarcane production under early drought and late waterlogged conditions?

      Deep trench system of planting is recommended for improving sugarcane production under early drought and late waterlogged conditions. Planting in deep trenches with gypsum (2.5 t/ha), FYM (25 t/ha) and pressmud (12.5 t/ha) application improves the cane yield over normal method of planting under these situations.Further improvement of yield under trench system of planting could be obtained by application of 25% excess nitrogen.

    • 69. What are the drought management practices recommended for mitigating drought stress in sugarcane?
      • Early planting helps the crop to put up sufficient growth before the moisture stress sets in.
      • Deep ploughing will enable the roots to penetrate deep into the soil and help to withstand drought.
      • Trash mulching is a highly useful technique to conserve soil moisture and to reduce the impact of moisture stress. Mulching also moderates soil temperature, helps in improving germination, better tiller survival and checks weed growth.
      • Soaking the setts in a saturated lime solution for one hour before planting is a useful drought hardening measure. The saturated lime solution can be prepared by dissolving 80 kg kiln lime (burnt lime) in 400 litres of water. This treatment enhances germination and also gives ability to the crop to withstand drought
      • Under the deltaic conditions where early drought and late water logging is common, deep trench system of planting would be highly useful
      • Skip furrow irrigation / alternate furrow irrigation are modifications of furrow irrigation system which help to utilize the available water more efficiently.
      • Foliar application of urea and MOP each at 2.5% concentration (2.5 kg urea + 2.5 kg KCl in 100 litres of water) during the drought period at 15 - 20 days interval is helpful to retain more number of vigorous shoots till the moisture condition becomes favourable.
    • 70. What are the management practices to be followed under water logged situation?
      • Drainage of excess water and providing field drains.
      • Early planting to reduce the excess moisture.
      • A higher seed rate to obtain higher stalk population.
      • Earthing up for better root development.
      • Growing tolerant varieties.
    • 71. What are the effects of lowering on cane yield and quality?
      • A flowered crop of sugarcane results in loss of cane yield and juice sucrose content depending up on the time when the crop is harvested. It leads to bud sprouting due to arrest of apical growth and pith formation. If the crop is to be harvested after March, then the flowering needs to be suppressed
      • Spray of ethrel at 500 ppm concentration (100ml per 100 litres water per acre) during the second fortnight of July as a mist over crop canopy helps in suppression of flowering completely. Higher dosage should be avoided.
    • 72. What are the factors that affect the quality of the juice?

      Factors like variety, nutrient management practices, stage of maturity, soil condition, growing condition, time and method of harvesting, and time of transport to mill, incidence of pests and diseases etc. have profound influence on the accumulation of sucrose and other non-sugars in cane juice.

      Among the major nutrients, nitrogen plays a great role in not only increasing the yield but also in influencing juice-quality. Excess application or late application of nitrogen (usually beyond 90-120 days) depress the juice sucrose content and increase the non-sugar component of juice leading to poor recoveries.

      High tissue nitrogen leads to continued negative growth and thus delays maturity. It produces late tillers and water shoots. It increases sheath moisture and soluble nitrogen content in the juice.

      Thus low sucrose, high reducing sugar contents and lower purities are common under excess nitrogen. This also leads to higher molasses. Nitrogen application of about 250-300 kg N ha-1 is optimum under the tropical conditions.