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 have been cultivating sugarcane 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. Sugarcane is one of the important commercial crops of India, grown in an area of 3.93 mha with annual production of 170 M.T. Sugarcane productivity in India is around 67 t/ha. It is one of the most important food-cum-cash crop grown in the country, providing employment to a larger number of people.

Sugarcane is able to grow over a prolonged season. Under warm humid conditions, it can continue its growth, unless terminated by flowering. Temperatures above 50o C 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 750-1200mm. 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.

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, 120-150cm deep, and lying on a previous substratum of murum (distintegrated traprock) ae used for this crop. In some areas.

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
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.

Planting of sugarcane is done in three seasons that is suru- January-February, adsali – JulyAugust 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. Fertilizers
Adequate manuring is essential for sustained high yields. The general recommendation in most places is to apply half to two-thirds of the nitrogen in the form of bulky organic manures, such as farmyard manure, compost, green manure or tree leaves, and the remainder in the form of ammonium sulphate or oil-cakes or a combination of the two. For sugarcane fertilizer is recommended according to planting season and it is varied from growing tract to tract. In general for suru 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 250:115:115kg nitrogen, phosphorus and potash per hectare is recommended.

Water Management
1. Tillering, grand growth period and early ripening period are more sensitive to soil moisture stress.
2. If water is available for one irrigation, it should be given at third order tillering, if for two, second and third order tillering and if for three, first, second and third order tillering.
3. In south India (tropical region), first four months (pre-monsoon) of the crop period, in general, needs irrigation once in 10-12 days (10-12 irrigations). About 8 irrigations would be adequate during monsoon period.
4. A drying off period of 4-6 weeks prior to harvest has to be allowed.
5. Waterlogging should be avoided

Weed Management
1. Tillering phase is considered most sensitive for weed competition. In general, first 90-100 DAS is considered as critical period.
2. Three inter-cultivation (30, 60, 90 DAS) with blade harrows/local implements appear economical. Otherwise, three manual weeding are necessary for checking the weed growth.
3. Among the herbicides, PRE spray of Atrazin followed by 2,4-D 60 DAS is most common method of weed management.

Plant Protection
Termites are attack planted sugarcane setts, usually from the cut ends or eye-buds, but in severe cases internode as well; after germination, the roots are attacked and pest ascends in the canes, eating all their contents and filling the galleries with earth; leaves dry up.
Control: Use only well-rotted manure, mix thoroughly 5% Aldrin or Chlordane dust with the soil; if the standing crop is attacked, apply Aldrin E.C. at 3kg a.i/ha diluted with 2,000 litres of water as near the roots as possible.

Early shoot-borer
Causing dead-hearts which can be easily pulled out; the maximum activity is observed during April to August; responsible for serious losses in tonnage and sugar recovery.
Control: Practice cleans cultivation; plant healthy setts; give two light stage of the crop; avoid ratooning; systematically collect and destroy egg masses; remove dead-hearts and do deep harvesting.

Internode borer
Newly hatched caterpillars scrape the leaf spindle; later, they bore into the tender cane tops; the growing-point is damaged and results in a dead-heart; active from July till harvest; the pest causes more loss in tonnage than in juice quality.
Control: Burn all trash after harvest; Practice clean cultivation; collect and destroy egg masses and larvae during early stages of crop.

Red rot
It is a fungal disease. The symptoms of the disease will appear when the crop is about six months old. At the initial stage, drying of top leaves can be seen. The leaf starts withering and drooping almost all shoots in a clump starts drying one by one. Red lesions with straw coloured centres develop on the midrib of leaves.
Control: Uproot and destroy all the clumps as soon as symptoms appear. Avoid ratooning. Use disease free and heat-treated setts for planting. After harvest, collect and burn the plant debris. Grow resistant varieties like CO-7706, CO-86032 and tolerant varieties are CO-8021 and CO-62175.

Whip smut
It is fungal disease. The symptoms can be seen on the crop from the time it is one month old upto harvesting time. The affected young plants show excessive tillering and at the end of each shoot, a black whip like structure, full of fungal spores is produced.
Control: Use disease free and heat-treated setts for planting. Dip the setts in Carbendazim solution (0.1%) before planting at least for 30 minutes. Uproot and destroy the infected clumps. Avoid ratooning. Grow resistant varieties like CO-85004, CO-86032, CO-6608, CO-6609, etc.

Grassy shoot disease
This disease is caused by Mycoplasma like organism and is severe on ratoon crop than on the main crop. Symptoms are stunting, profuse tillering and grass like growth of shoots (busy appearance) and yellowing of leaves with short internodes.
Control: Use disease free and heat-treated setts for planting. Uproot and destroy the infected clumps.
Avoid ratooning. Spray Endosulfan (0.2%) to kill insect vectors i.e., aphids which transmit the disease. Use resistant varieties like CO-7219, CO-740, CO-8014 and CO-8011.

Harvesting and yield
The Cooperative generally begins the sugarcane harvest about the first of November and continues for an average of 150 days. The sugarcane harvest is timed and coordinated undertaking to allow for maximum utilization of the mill’s grinding capacity. The cutting orders are issued depending upon the date of planting as found in the records and agreement between the farmers and factory. This system will not hold good, as uniform maturity of the cane crop can’t be controlled even by planting early maturing varieties in the early season. In a typical harvesting unit, three or four harvesters operate in tandem with six to eight tractors and strings of wagons. The huge machines contain rotating knives, which cut the sugarcane at the base of the stalk. The cane tops are also cut off by rotating knives and the excess foliage is removed by giant extraction fans. As the sugarcane passes through the harvester, it is cut into 12-inch lengths called billets and then put into in-field wagons. The sugarcane is then hauled to near-by transfer stations and loaded into semi-trailers for delivery.

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.

Rangana Naveen Sai

By Rangana Naveen Sai

I am Rangana Naveen Sai, pursuing B.Sc (Hons) Agriculture final year at Lovely Professional University. I am quick learner, hard working and good at communication skills.

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