Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum)
Sugarcane grows best in the tropical regions, receiving a rainfall of 750-1200 mm.
Sugarcane grows well on medium heavy soils and heavy clays, provided there is adequate
irrigation. The soils should be well drained.
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 rainfed conditions, planting should be done after
abatement of heavy rains.
Co TI 88322 (Madhuri): Resistant to red rot disease
Co 92175: Suitable for drought prone situation
Co 740: For ratooning
Co 6907, Co7405 and Cul 57/84 (Thirumadhuram): Red rot resistant,
high sugar content
Cul 527/85 (Madhurima): Resistant to red rot, tolerant to drought
and water logging
Co 88017 (Madhumathi): Resistant to red rot, tolerant to drought
and water logging
Selection of setts
Select top ends of mature, healthy disease free canes up to 1/3 of total length
and cut into setts of three eye buds. The seed rate is 40000-45000 setts/ha.
For control of fungus diseases like red rot, dip cut ends of setts in 0.25% solution
of copper based fungicides.
Preparation of land
Plough the land thrice length wise and breadth wise and level properly. Prepare
furrows 25cm deep and 75 cm apart for short duration and 90cm apart for medium duration
varieties. In hilly tracts, prepare pits in rows along the contour at spacing of
30 cm in the row and 75 cm between the rows. For mid-late varieties, an inter-row
spacing of 75 cm is recommended.
Plant setts end to end in the furrow, with the eye buds facing sideways and cover
with soil. In the pit system, plant 2-3 setts in each pit.
Apply compost or cattle manure, 10t/ha or pressmud 5t/ha or dolomite 500kg/ha or
calcium carbonate 750 kg/ha. In addition, the following fertilizers as N: P2O5:K2O
kg/ha are also recommended.
Apply organic manures such as compost/cattle manure/pressmud as basal dose preferably
in furrows and mix well with soil before planting.
In sugarcane tracts of Palakkad where sett treatment with Azospirillum
@ 500 g/ha together with soil application 5kg/ha is done, sugarcane need be given
only 175 kg N/ha. Apply lime/dolomite/calcium carbonate in the field before final
preparation of the land.
Apply N and K2O in two splits, the first 45 days after planting and the
second 90 days after planting along with earthing up. Do not apply N beyond 100
days after planting.
Apply entire dose of phosphorous as basal dressing. When pressmud at 10t/ha is applied
sugarcane grown in Palakkad need be given only 50% of the recommended dose of P
as rock phosphate.
When ratoon crop of sugarcane is trash mulched @ 4t/ha the crop must be given only
100% of the recommended dose of NPK 225:75:75 against the existing recommendation
The crop should be weeded twice on 45 and 90 days after planting before application
of fertilizers. First weeding is done by digging on the ridges and by hand in the
furrows. Care should be taken to see that the furrows are not filled up while digging
so that tillering is not affected. At the time of second digging, the crop is partially
earthed up to arrest formation of late shoots. With the commencement of the southwest
monsoon, final earthing up should be done to prevent lodging. At this time, detrashing
is to be done to prevent the possible germination of axillary buds and to reduce
pest infestation. Prevent lodging either by twisting of trash or by propping. Apply
oxyflurofen at 0.61 kg ai/ha as pre emergent and at 60 days after planting as post
Under irrigated conditions, intercropping with short duration pulse crop is recommended.
In such cases, sow the pulse crop on the ridges one month in advance, so that the
first intercultivation is not hindered. As a green manure, sunnhemp can also be
raised on the ridges.
Irrigate the crop 8-10 times depending upon the availability of rains. In Chitoor
area, more number of irrigations will be necessary. In early growth periods, irrigate
the crop at more frequent intervals. However, avoid too much moisture and water
stagnation especially during germination and early growth phases.
Alternate furrow with trash mulching could economise the use of irrigation water
to the tune of 41% during the formative phase of spring planted sugarcane as compared
to all furrow irrigation with trash mulching.
The most important pests of sugarcane found in the state are early shoot borers,
top shoot borers, mealy bugs, white grubs, termites and rats.
Use pest free setts for planting
Adhere to clean cultivation
Use traps or poison baiting for controlling rats
Apply Carbaryl 10% dust in the furrows to control termites and white grubs
The most characteristics symptom of the disease is the drying up of the canes, which
when split open will show characteristic red colouration of the internal tissues
with horizontal white patches and typical foul smell. The disease is mainly transmitted
through infected setts and flowing water and can be checked by prophylactic means
which are given below
Affected crop should be harvested as early as possible to prevent loss in yield
and deterioration in quality and also to arrest further spread of the disease. The
crop residues should be completely burnt after harvesting.
When infection is noticed in the field, the affected clumbs should be uprooted and
Infected crop should never be ratooned.
Water should not be let into a healthy crop from diseased areas and as far as possible,
the field may kept free of standing water by providing drainage channels.
In severely affected areas sugarcane should not be cultivated at least for one season
during which paddy and tapioca can be cultivated.
Seed setts should not be collected from diseased crops and from diseased areas.
Movement of seed materials from diseased to healthy areas should be strictly quarantined.
Cultivate red rot resistant varieties.
To control the fungal diseases, in general, dip the cut ends of setts in any of
the copper based fungicide solution before planting;
Other transmissible diseases like grassy shoot, ratoon stunting, etc. can be controlled
by heat treatment and by implementing three tier seed programme.
Harvest the crop when it is fully mature. Delayed harvesting will reduce yield and
Normally not more than two ratoon crops are recommended. Burn the trash after spreading
uniformly in the area immediately after the harvest of the previous crop. Stubble
shaving should be done with a sharp spade wherever the canes are not cut close to
Fill the gaps at the rate of one-three budded sett for every 50 cm gap. Polybag
settlings are produced by planting single budded setts in polythene covers containing
potting mixture and transplanted at 45-60 DAP.
Manuring of ratoon crop
Ratoon crop requires a higher dose of nitrogen than plant crop. An extra dose of
25% nitrogen is recommended.
Manure the crop by 25th and 75th days after harvest of the
previous crop. Entire quantity of phosphorous, half of nitrogen and potash are applied
as the first dose and the remaining as the second dose. The first dose is incorporated
into the soil by digging and the second dose is applied around the clump and earthing
up is done. Weeding is also done at this time. Irrigation is given as in plant crop.