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Growing Regions - Field Preparation > Field Layout > Mechanical Planters > Preparation of setts > Seed Material > Seed Rate > Time of Planting > Methods of Planting > Measures to Obtain Higher Germination > Seed Selection > Source of Seed > Seed Treatment > Seed Cane Multiplication > Cultural Operations > Ratoon Management >


Ikisan - Field Preparation for Sugarcane

Field Preparation

  • Sugarcane requires good seed bed. A good soil on land preparation approach should involve the following essential steps.
    1. Management of preceeding crop residues
    2. Tillage (ploughing, harrowing, sub soiling etc)
    3. Leveling
    4. Incorporation of organic manures
    5. Field layout as per planting methods

Management of Preceeding Crop Residues

  • Land preparation for sugarcane starts with clearing the preceeding crop residues.
  • In tropical India, in many areas sugarcane is planted after paddy.
  • Paddy leaves behind huge amount of stubbles and roots (2-3/ha) which need to be incorporated or removed.
  • In most areas these residues are incorporated through tillage or collected, heaped and burnt in situ and the ash is spread in the field.
  • Cultivation of paddy also leads to the destruction of soil structure due to puddling.
  • Therefore, when paddy is a preceding crop, residue and soil structure management are the important aspects of soil preparation.
  • Soon after paddy harvest ploughing is difficult because of excess soil moisture.
  • After complete draining of water and as soon as the field reaches optimum soil moisture level, the field must be ploughed using a disc plough or a rotavator.
  • When rotavator is used, the stubbles get incoporated with the soil.
  • Then the field is left for 8-10 days for weathering.
  • Then cross ploughing is done which may be followed by harrowing.
  • These operations may be repeated so that a good seed bed is obtained for planting sugarcane.
  • Before last ploughing, recommended quality of FYM or well cured press mud or compost is applied.
  • It is difficult to incorporate the hardy stubbles of the preceeding crops such as cotton, sorghum, maize etc. Under such situations stubbles must be removed before preparing the land for sugarcane.
  • Wheat is one of the common preceeding crops in the subtropics.
  • Since, soil moisture is usually favourable after wheat harvest, quick preparation of the soil is possible.
  • In several areas, sugarcane is also monocropped. In such cases, after the harvest of the ratoons, trash is collected and burnt or may be used for composting.
  • The field is ploughed using a disc plough.
  • The stubbles may be collected and removed from the field.
  • If there is any pest or disease in the crop, it is advisable to burn the entire trash and stubbles.
  • Otherwise stubbles could be incoporated through a rotavator.

Tillage

  • Tillage operations through tractor drawn implements are most ideal and quick. But larger fields are preferred for tractor operations.
  • For initial ploughing mould board ploughs or disc ploughs are used. Whenever, soil turning is desired, a mould board plough should be used. When the soil is hard, uneven, or is having more crop stubbles, a disc plough is preferable.
  • After initial one or two ploughings, the soil must be allowed to weather for a week or two before going for further tillage operations.
  • The secondary tillage operations are carried out using either disc harrows, tyne harrows or rotavator.
  • The rotavator is a very useful multi purpose implement which cuts the crop residues, shred them and incoporates with the soil in one pass.
  • The operations are repeated to bring the soil to a good seed bed free from clods, weeds and crop residues.
  • In regions where sugarcane is rotated with paddy (or) where heavy machinery run on moist soils (or) accumulation of clay in 'B' horizon under sub-humid conditions, presence of kankar layers and shallow depth cultivation for longer periods a hard sub-surface pan may be developed due to the formation of plough sole.
  • Under these conditions deep ploughing has to be resorted to. Deep ploughing facilitates better aeration and infiltration of water leading to adequate availability of oxygen to plants.
  • As long as water and oxygen are available, root development will be good and their efficiency viz., the capacity to absorb water and nutrients will increase.
  • With the increase in porosity of the soil, the efficiency of nitrogen will be more viz., same yield is obtained at less level of nitrogen.
  • The loose friable soil at the beginning of the plant crop gradually becomes firm and compact at the commencement of ratoon crop because of alternate wetting and drying and compaction caused during the harvest of the plant crop.
  • Due to this and poor efficiency of higher doses of nitrogen than to the plant crop are applied to get good yields from ratoons.

Levelling

  • A fairly leveled field is important to ensure a uniform crop stand.
  • If the field is uneven, there will not be proper distribution of irrigation water.
  • This would affect germination as well as further crop growth.
  • Therefore field levelling maintaining a gentle slope to facilitate easy movement of irrigation water is important.
  • In the absence of a gentle slope, the percolation of water will be uneven being deeper towards the head of the furrow and shallow towards the tail end.
  • Levelling can be carried out using a tractor operated leveller.

Addition of Organic Manures

  • Organic manure addition at the time of soil preparation is very important to improve and maintain soil fertility and productivity and thus to realise higher yields year after year.
  • For sustainable sugarcane production the importance of organic matter needs no emphasis.
  • If the organic matter opplied is well decomposed there is no necessity to wait for plating.
  • If fresh green manure or pressmud applied planting should be done only after complete decompostion otherwise the plant stand is very poor.

Main field preparation and transplanting

  • The mainfield preparation is done as usual. Basal manures are applied in the furrow in band or if labour is available, by digging a pit at the site of transplanting. The furrow is irrigated.
  • The nursery bed should be well soaked so that the settlings could be easily removed without much damage to the root system.
  • The green leaves should be clipped off. The settings are dipped in a fungicide solution.
  • They are then transplanted in the furrow following 30-45 cm spacing.
  • An additional line may be planted in every 10th row as material for gap filling.
  • The life irrigation is given on 3rd or 4th day. After 10-15 days, the gap filling is done using the setllings planted on the 10th row.
  • This technique may not be suitable during dry weather. Proper irrigation management till setllings establish is very important.

Poly bag seedling transplanting

  • This technique is also more or less same as STP technique.
  • Here th seedlings are raised in perforater plastic bags of size 10x15 cm filled with FYM or pressmud, soil and sand 1:1:1 proportion.
  • In this technique field establishment of seedlings is better, arround 95-99%, as there is no damage to the root system.
  • In this method, a small pit is dug out at specified spacing (45cm).
  • A small quantity of phosphatic fertilizer is placed and covered with some soil. Then the settling is planted after clipping the green leaves.

'Chip-bud' or 'bud-chip' technique

  • In this technique the bud along with a portion of the nodal region is chpped off using a bud chipping machine.
  • The bud chips are treated with fungicide and planted in the raised bed nursery or in polythene bags filled with FYM/press mud, soil and sand in 1:1:1 proportion.
  • Seedlings are transplanted as in case of STP technique.
  • The advantages are that the quantity of seed material (chip buds) required is only around 1 to 1.5 tonnes and the cane after taking chips can be sent for milling.

Paired row system of planting

  • In the paired row system, two cane rows are brought together followed by a wide gap before the next set of two rows.
  • The paired rows may be at 60 cm with 120 cm gap.
  • In this method the number of rows per hectare remains same.
  • The advantages are that wide spacing is available between the any two setts of paired rows which can be utilised for growing profitable inter crops.
  • Also good earthing up is possible so that lodging could be cheeked.
  • The system also permits better light interception by the crop and thus can give higher yield.

 
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Ikisan - Field Layout for Sugarcane Cultivation

Field Layout

  • In India sugarcane is planted by adopting two systems viz., (i) Ridges and furrows system (ii) Flat system.
  • There are some special systems also such as Trench system, Deep Trench system, paired - row system, Ring or pit system etc.
  • In all these systems sugarcane setts are directly planted.

Ridges and furrows system

  • In the finely prepared field, ridges and furrows are formed using tractor - drawn or bullock - drawn ridgers. some small farmers open furrows manually also.
  • But for obtaining proper depth, tractor - drawn implement is desirable.
  • The spacing followed ranges from 60-135 cm. between the rows.
  • The most common spacing is 90 cm. Closer spacing (60-75 cm.) is desirable for early varieties, short duration varieties and shy tillering varieties and under poor soil fertility status and adverse growing conditions like moisture stress or limited irrigation, soil and water salinity, excess moisture or water logging and late (summer) planting. Wider row spacing (100-120 cm.) is advisable under high fertility conditions with good irrigation facility and for long duration and high tillering varieties.
  • Depth of furrow should be around 25 cm. Convenient furrow length depending upon the slope must be followed. However, a furrow length of 10-15 meter is ideal when guided irrigation is followed.
  • The furrow bottom should be loosened to about 10 cm. preferably by working a country plough in each planting furrow after ridging. Irrigation and drainage channels should be provided appropriately.
  • Drainage channels which are deeper than the furrows and the irrigation channel, should be opened along with field borders as well as within the field at regular intervals. Drainage channels are particularly important in the highly irrigated fields.
  • The ridge - furrow system is the most ideal system of planting under highly irrigated sugarcane cultivation. The system facilitates easy irrigation, Provides good soil aeration and solid support to the plant when a proper earthing up is done.

Flat system

  • Flat system of planting is mainly followed in the subtropical states. It involves repeated ploughing using a country plough and compacting by planking to conserve soil moisture.
  • Repeated ploughing and compaction breaks the capillary pores and creates a kind of soil mulch and thus helps in conserving soil moisture.
  • For planting, shallow furrows are opened with a wooden country plough and the setts are dropped and again covered by planking. Irrigation does not follow immediately.
  • The entire crop receives only 6-8 irrigations. Manuring and other operations are carried out after the receipt of the south-west monsoon rains in June.

Trench system

  • The Trench system is practiced mostly in coastal Andhra Pradesh in heavy clay soils, mainly in coastal wetlands where clod formation is common.
  • In this system U-shaped furrows or trenches of 25-30 cm. deep are made mostly using spade and heaping clods maually. The system is useful to prevent lodging which is quite common in the East Coastal sugarcane growing areas during the north-east monsoon period.
  • A specially fabricated implement "Ridgemax" can be used for formation of trenches. There is a provision in this implement for pulverisation of soil in the planting trenches simulataneously while making trenches itself. Higher soil moisture could be maintained in the soil at the bottom of these trenches than the shallow furrows and the extent of shoot borer incidence was also substantially lower. Planting in such deep trenches as compared to planting in shallow furrows, normally adopted by cultivations led to an increase in cane yield of 12.5 tonnes/ha.

Deep trench method

  • In this system deep trenches of depth 30-45 cm. and width 60 cm. are dugout manually at a spacing of 120 cm. between the centres of two adjacent trenches. That is the gap between the trenches is 60 cm. Sugarcane setts are planted on either side of the trench bottom and covered with soil slightly.
  • As the canes grow, the trench is filled with the soil with each manuring. Finally a small trench is formed in between two setts of paired rows which serves as a drainage channel to remove excess water during the N-E monsoon period.
  • This systerm is found ideal for early drought and late water logged conditions of Coastal Tamil Nadu. In the initial stage, because the setts are planted deep in the moist soil zone, they get adequate soil moisture and thus give good germination and a good initial crop stand is thus established.
  • The trenches formed later on, are useful to drain out exess water during ripening phase of the crop. This system is highly labour intensive. But the system gives higher cane yield. Besides more number of productive ratoons can be raised.
  • Thus additional cost can be more than compensated. Therefore, if labour is available, this system could be followed with advantage in the Coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Where early drought and late water logging problems are present.
  • It is not desirable to make deep trenches in saline and alkaline soils because at the bottom of the furrows of the saline soils there will be more salts. Similarly in shallow soils murram or other impermeable soil will be encountered. These will be detrimental to germination of buds and initial growth of tender plants. Therefore, on such soils after thorough ploughing and weatering of soil, shallow furrows are to be made for planting sugarcane.

"Partha" method

  • This is a technique of planting developed by Sri S.V. Parthasaradhy an eminent sugarcane scientist.This was suggested for water logged or excess soil moisture condition occuring in the coastal Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu during N-E monsoon period.
  • In this method three eye budded setts are planted in a slanting position, 600 to the vertical, in the wet furrow or half-way on the ridges. Usually one eye bud is thrust into the soil and the remaining two will be above, which will sprout. Once the monsoon recedes, the in situ sprouted setts are pressed down into the soil and made to lie horizontally. some soil is put to the base. At this stage, the crop is manured.

IISR method

  • This method is developed by Dr. R.R. Panje and associates at the Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research (I.I.S.R), Lucknow for the subtropical sugarcane growing conditions.
  • About two months before planting, the seed crop is topped to remove the green leaves and the tip of the top most internode. This leads to the sprouting of buds and side shoot formation.
  • The time of topping has to be adjusted depending upon the planting time. In cooler months from topping to planting about 2-21/2 months may be required while for April planting, a month only may be required. The cut end may be touched with a rod soaked in a fungicide solution.
  • Then the mainfield is prepared by forming trenches of depth 30 cm., width 20 cm. and are spaced at 90 cm. (from centre to centre). Now 1/3 of fertilizer dose is applied followed by digging and loosening the trench bottom further to approximately 15 cm. depth.
  • The dug out soil is then put back into the trench along with the remaining fertilizers. Thus about 45 cm. deep trench is now filled with loose soil and fertilizers.
  • For planting seed is collected from topped cane which has produced sprouts. Long rayungans or tailed rayungans of about 40 cm. with top side shoot intact are used after trimming the leaves in the trenches at a spacing of 50-75 cm.
  • Close spacing is followed when plantings are late and wider spacing for early planting. The base of the side shoot should be 5-10 cm. below the original soil surface. The number of 'raumgans' required per hectare is about 20,000.

Ring or Pit system

  • This system is developed by Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow. In this system circular pits of 90 cm. diameter are dug out to a depth of 45 cm with a gap of 60 cm. on one side and 90 cm on another side is found suitable. At this spacing, irrigation channels are opened in the 90 cm. gaps.
  • At this spacing about 4,000 pits can be formed per hectare. The pits are refilled with loose soil and FYM or press mud cake to a depth of 15 cm. While planting, 20 setts are planted per pit and covered with soil to a thickness of 5 cm.
  • As the crop grows, the soil is filled into the pits while manuring. This system has given very high yields in the subtropics. In the tropical India, about 25 percent higher yields were obtained.
  • The system also given better ratoons and has also been found useful under saline soils and saline water irrigated conditions. The system is labour expensive. I.I.S.R, Lucknow has developed a tractor operated pit digger which can make 500 pits (90 cm dia x 30 cm deep) per a day of shows.

Modified trench system

  • In the modified trench system ridges and furrows are opened at 120 cm. spacing using a tractor drawn ridger. The furrow bottom is dug and widened and the soil is removed to the ridges.
  • Thus trenches are formed, basal manures are applied and then setts are planted. As the crop grows while each manuring, only slight earthing up is done so that a trough is maintained through out the crop growth. Here irrigation is given in the cane row itself.
  • The system has been found highly useful under saline water irrigated and saline soil conditions.
  • This is because, the salts are leached down from the root zone due to irrigation in the ring system, but with much less labour requirement. About 30% higher cane yield was obtained over the conventional ridges and furrows system.
  • FYM or pressmud application and trash mulching in this system gave further yield improvements.

Single bud direct planting

  • In this system single bud setts are planted directly in the field in the furrow at 30-45 cm. spacing between the setts. This method is highly economical and sowing of seed material. The buds should be healthy.

Transplanting technique (STP technique)

  • Seedlings are raised in a nursery bed using single bud setts. When the seedlings are of about 6 week old, they are transplanted in the prepared main field.

Advantages by adopting this system are

  1. Saving in the seed cost as the seed requirement is only about 2-3 t/ha against the normal seed requirement of 8-10 tonnes/ha.
  2. Synchronous tillering leading to uniformly matured stalk population which usually gives better sugar recovery.
  3. Sufficient time availability to prepare the main field.
  4. Saving of 2-3 irrigations.
  5. Possibility of increased cane yield.
  6. Better weed managemement
  7. Efficient fertilizer management.

Raised bed nursery tenchnique

  • An area of about 35 m is required to raise the nursery. The raised bed of one meter width and convenient length may be made. The length may be broken into 1 m beds (i.e., each bed will be 1 m x 1 m) FYM or compost or cured pressmud is added to the nursery beds. Also BHC is applied against insects.
  • From a seed nursery crop, seed canes are drawn and single bud setts are prepared in such a way that the bottom portion is longer than the top portion.
  • There setts are treated with Bavistin. The prepared beds are thoroughly soaked with water. The setts are pushed vertically into the soil side by side.
  • The eye bud should be just touching the soil surface. The longer end of the sett should be pushed down. The number of setts required per hectare is around 35,000 (planting + 10% gap filling). Then a thin layer of cane trash or paddy straw which is soaked with the remaining fungicide is applied.
  • Over this a thin layer of dry soil is put. The beds are watered using a rose can daily or on alternate days. About 90 percent germination can be easily achieved.
  • The seedlings are ready for transplantation when most of them have 2-3 uncurled leaves. The nursery should not be allowed to dry.

 
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Ikisan - Uses of Mechanical Planters for Sugarcane

Use of mechanical planters

  • The Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow has developed bullock-drawn as well as tractor-drawn planters.
  • The bullock-drawn planter is suitable for flat planting system followed in the subtropics in light textured soils.
  • This is operated by a pair of bullocks and three persons-one to guide the bullocks, The second to feed the setts and third to guide the equipment.
  • This gives an out-turn of 1.5 hectare per day at 90cm row spacing.
  • The IISR tractor drawn semi-automatic sugarcane planter is useful for furrow planting.
  • It does all the operations in single pass. A 35HP tractor can have a two-row unit and can cover 3.5 hectares per day.
  • Besides, the tractor driver, this machine requires 2 more men to drop the setts.
  • An improvement over the semi-automative planter is the automatic planter in which sett feeding is done automatically with this machine, 4-5 hectare planting per day is possible.

 
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Ikisan - Preparation of Sugarcane Setts

Preparation of setts

  • Sugarcane setts are commonly prepared manually in India.
  • For this seed canes from nursery crops are harvested at appropriate age.
  • The trash and green leaves are hand stripped to avoid damage to the buds.
  • The setts with either two or three eye buds are cut using a sharp knife placing the cane on a small wooden log.
  • The cuts should be slanting.
  • Multiple cuts must be avoided to safe guard the buds and avoid splits in setts.
  • It is desirable to prepare the setts just before planting may be a day before.
  • Also, it is desirable to transport the seed cane unstripped to the field to be planted and then prepare the setts to avoid damage to the buds while handling and transport.
  • Setts may also be prepared by using a sett cutting machine.
  • The Indian Institute of sugarcane research Lucknow has developed a sett cutting machine.
  • The machine can cut 12000 setts/hour with the assistance of four Labourers.

 
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Ikisan - Sugarcane Seed Material

Seed material

  • Sugarcane is a vegetatively propagated crop.
  • The seed material used are the stem cuttings known as "setts" each may have one or several eye buds.
  • The use of healthy seed is an important aspect of successful cane cultivation because most of the sugercane diseases are seed - borne and transmitted through seed setts.
  • But since cane growers in India use their own commercial crop for seed purposes.
  • If it carries a little inoculum of disease or a single egg of an insect then after multiplication it might produce diseased material several times higher in the next crop.
  • In this manner multiplication of diseases and pests goes on to take an epidemic turn some time in subsequent years.
  • To avoid such an eventuality, the farmers of sugarcane should take necessary cane in selection and multiplication of seed material or Government agencies and sugar factories has to take up the supply of good quality seed to cane growers from cane nurseries especially raised for seed puposes.

Ideal cane sett

  • Ultimate plant stand and yield depends on the type of seed material used. The characteristics of good seed cane material are
    1. free from disease and pest infestation
    2. age of seed crop is around eight months
    3. seeds should have healthy buds without any damage in handling and transport.
    4. Buds with higher moisture content, adequate nutrients, higher amount of reducing sugars.
    5. cane should be free from aerial roots and splits.
    6. pure in quality.

Short Crop

  • A sugarcane crop raised exclusively for seed purpose is known as "short crop".
  • The short crop is usually harvested at around 8 months.
  • In case of short crop the entire stalk can be used for preparing setts, discarding only the bottom most buds.
  • The short crops or seed crops may be given additional fertilizers about 6 weeks prior to harvest.
  • This practice is known as pre-fertilizing improves seed quality by enhancing sett nutrient status and sett moisture.
  • Thus the seedlings emerging from such setts establish quickly and grow vigorously.

 
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Ikisan - Seedrate for Sugarcane

Seed Rate

  • Before planting, the dry leaves of the cane stalks are removed by hand in order to avoid any possible damage to buds.
  • Thereafter cane is cut into three budded setts usually 30 to 45 centimetre long.
  • About 35000 to 40000 setts are needed to plant one hectare which can be obtained from about 75-80 quintals of cane.
  • To prevent the seed setts being attacked by fungal diseases and also to improve germination, the seed setts are dipped into 0.5 per cent solution of Agallol (3%) or 0.25 per cent solution of Aretan (6%) or Tafasan (6%) before planting.
  • Under normal planting, if the quality of setts is good about 60,000 two-bud setts or 40,000 three-bud-setts would be sufficient to plant one hectare of laid and raise a good crop.
  • But, as bud damage is quite usual while handling and transportation 75,000 two bud setts or 50,000 the-bud setts per hectare are safe.
  • Higher seedrate is preferred particularly under moisture stress, salinity and water logging conditions.
  • It is better to go by number of setts per hectare rather than weight basis as sett weight varies with varieties.
  • At reduced spacing we have to plant more number of setts per hectare as the sett number per unit row length is maintained uniform.
  • But while the spacing is widened, it is advisable to put whole seed cane per unit row length.

 
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Ikisan - Time of Planting for Sugarcane

Time of Planting

  • In India, sugarcane is planted thrice a year in October (autumn), February-March (spring) and July (adsali).
  • Adsali planting is quite common in Maharashtra while autumn and spring plantings are more common in northern India.
  • Under North Indian conditions, sugarcane, by and large, planted in spring.
  • Sugarcane requires about 2-32"C for good germination. This temperature requirement is met twice in north Indian conditions i.e., in the month of October and also in the months of February-March.
  • Autumn planting of sugarcane is done in the month of October. For good yields, planting should be completed up to 20th October.
  • Delay in planting may cause reduction in yield as germination of sugarcane is reduced due to low temperature in late planting.
  • Spring cane is planted in February-March. March is the best time for cane planting in Punjab and Haryana, February-March in Uttar Pradesh and January-February in Bihar.
  • The planting time is advanced as we move towards east.
  • In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra and Karnataka cane planting is done in December-February.

 
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Ikisan - Method of Planting for Sugarcane

Method of Planting

Sugarcane is planted by three methods in different parts of India.

(a) Flat Planting

  • In this method, shallow (8-10 centimetre deep) furrows are opened with a local plough or cultivator at a distance of 75 to 90 centimetre.
  • There should be adequate moisture in the field at the time of planting.
  • The setts are planted in them end to end taking care that one three budded sett falls in each running 30 centimetre length of furrow.
  • After this furrows are covered with 5-7 centimetre of soil and field is levelled by heavy planking.
  • In most parts of northern India and some tracts of Maharashtra, cane:is planted by this method.

(b) Furrow Planting

  • In this method furrows are made with a sugarcane ridger about 10-15 centimetre deep in northern India and about 20 cm in south India.
  • Setts are planted end to end ill the furrows are covered with 5-6 centimetre soil, leaving upper portion of furrows unfilled.
  • Immediately after covering the setts water is let into furrows.
  • This method is practised in parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh and in Peninsular India, particularly in heavy soils.

(C) Trench Method

  • In some coastal areas as well as in other areas where the crop grows very tall and the strong winds during rainy season cause lodging of cane, trench method is adopted to save the crop from lodging.
  • 'I'renches at a distance of 75-90 centimetre are dug with the help of ridger or by manual labour.
  • Trenches should be about 20-25 centimetre deep.
  • After this already prepared mixture of fertilisers (NPK) should be spread uniformly in the trenches and mixed thoroughly in the soil.
  • The setts are planted end to end in trenches.
  • Trenches are filled up with loose soil as in case of hat sowing.
  • The tractor-drawn sugarcane planter is a very suitable device for planting cane in trenches.

(D) Recommended planting method

  • Under normal condition, ridges and furrows method is easy and most useful.
  • In this system first basal matures-usually phosphatic fertilizers in placed in the furrow bottom and mixed sligully with the soil, then treated setts are placed either in end-to-end or in an over-lapping fashion.
  • "End-to-end" placement of setts is followed when the seed rate is lower and the internodal length of hte variety is shorter.
  • The overlapping type of sett placement is followed if the setts have longer internodes and seed rate is higher.
  • Then the setts are covered with soil and irrigated.
  • This type of planting is known as "dry planting".
  • This is followed in light soils in heavy clay soils, the furrows are irrigater first and the furrow bottom soil is brought to a more or less puddled conditoin and then setts are pressed down in the soil.
  • This method is known as wet method.
  • At the time of planting are should be taken to plant the setts in such a way that the budds are facing the sides.
  • Otherwise, the bud facing down wards finds it difficult to emerge and the one facing upward may be exposed in washing away of soil while irrigating and thus may dryout.
  • The other systems of planting may be followed under spcial situations e.g., the modified botch system in saline soils and satine water irrigation, the 'partha method' under water logged conditions etc.

 
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Ikisan - Measures to obtain higher germination in Sugarcane

Measures to obtain higher germination

Some important, yet simple measures to ensure higher germination are

  • Using disease free healthy setts obtained from a nursery crop.
  • Using three eye bud setts instead of single eye bud setts.
  • Careful preparation of setts without damaging the buds or setts.
  • Soaking setts in saturated lime water,Planting freshly prepared and treated setts.Giving light and frequent irrigation dring germination phase.
  • Trash mulching under moisture stress and hot weather and late planted conditoins.
  • Control of weeds through pre emergence herbicides.
  • Seed treatment using a fungicide.

 
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Ikisan - Seed selection in Sugarcane Cultivation

Seed Selection

  • Healthy seed material, free from pests and diseases like red rot, wilt, smut, ratoon stunting etc., should be selected for seed purpose.
  • The top one-third to half portion of a cane being comparatively immature has buds of high viability and is best for sowing.
  • Bottom portion of cane is rich in sugar and takes a long time in germination; this should be used in Processing.
  • comparatively higher germination can be secured by using upper half of the cane .
  • Seed should be taken from well manured, erect and healthy crop of not more than 10-12 months age.
  • Ratoon crop is not suitable for seed purpose as these canes may carry the disease of the previous crop.
  • For best results separate crop nurseries should be raised specially for producing seed-canes under good crop management.
  • Special precautions should be taken against disease and pest control.

 
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Ikisan - Source of Sugarcane seed

Source of Seed

  • In India, sugarcane planting and harvesting operations coincide in most places.
  • Farmers usually drew setts from the crops that are being harvested.
  • In such a case, it is deserable to take only the top one-third of the stalk for preparing setts since the top portion contain healthy buds, more moisture, nutrients and relatively less mature and thus has more reducing sugars.
  • Whenever, setts are obtained from plant crops, proper seed selection and seed treatment to avoid cary-over pest and disease is a must.
  • It is always desirable to obtain seed material from nursery crops, which are raised from originally heat treated seeds.
  • Setts should not be drawn from a ratoon crop, a disease or pest infected crop or from a crop grown under stress condition such as salinity alkalinity, water logging or drought.

 
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Ikisan - Seed Treatment in Sugarcane

Seed treatment

  • Soil borne disease causing microbes, usually fungi, gain entry into the setts through the cut ends following planting.
  • This leads to sett rotting and damage to budds and thus failure of germination.
  • The sett rot occurs mainly due to pineapple disease.
  • Therefore to guard against such diseases, sett treatment using a fungicide is absolutely necessary.
  • For sett treatment usually organo-mercurial compounds were used. 'Bavistin' a systemic fungicide is currently recommended.
  • A 0.1% solution is recommended.
  • This could be prepared by dissolving the chemical @1 g/lit of water.
  • Thus to prepare 100 litres of seed treatment solution 100 g of chemical is required.
  • The setts should be dipped in the solution for about 5 minutes.
  • A half drum can be used for preparing the solution.
  • Sett treatment should be done soon after cutting.
  • Most sugarcane farmers do not treat the setts before planting.
  • This is why in most cases, germination is only around 40 per cent.
  • A germination of around 60 per cent can be easily achieved by sett treatment which is quiet simple and cheap.

Protection of cut seed canes and prepared setts

  • At times, due to some unfore seen circumstances, planting may get delayed for some time, may be for 2-3 days, after the seed cane has been harvested or after the setts have been prepared.
  • In such circumstances some simple measures would help protect the seeds.
  • The seed cane should not be stripped of trash and green leaves.
  • It should be kept under shade and covered with trash or straw.
  • If the setts have been prepared, they must be treated with fungicide solution, heaped up under shade and covered with trash.
  • Occasional sprinkling of water is also desirable.
  • Sprinkling of cow-dung slurry has also been reported to be useful.

 
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Ikisan - Seedcane Multiplication

Seedcane Multiplication

Three-Tier seed nursery programme

  • Three important diseases are carried forward through seeds.
  • They are ratoon stunting disease (RSD), grassy shoot disease (GSD) and smut.
  • These diseases lead to progressive decline in yields and degenerate sugarcane varieties.
  • Elimination of these diseases and raising healthy nursery crops should be an important activity of any sugar factory cane department.
  • This is done through a practice widely known as "three-tier" nursery programme.
  • Under the three-their nursery programme, the seed-brone diseases are eliminated through heat treatment (heat therappy) and heat treated setts are planted for multiplication and then planted in large scale nurseries known as "Commercial nurseries" from which sugarcane setts are supplied to the farmers for commercial planting.

Heat therapy

  • Heat therapy is done either by hot water, hot air, moist hot air or through aerated steam treatment.

Hot water treatment

  • Under hot water system, water is heated to 500C and sugarcane setts are treated for 2-21/2 hours. It has been found desirable to put the setts first in the pre-conditioning tanks with water at 40 to 450C before treating at 500C to avoid shock.
  • Often fungicides are also used particularly to eliminate smut. Hot water treatment units are manufactured by certain firms. This system allows the use of fungicide directly.
  • Hot water baths can be used for commercial scale seed treatment too. In this system uniform heat treatment is difficult and thus there are escapes.

Hot air/moist hot air

  • Dry heat is produced through electric heaters placed at different points in the heating chamber.
  • A reversed exhaust fan maintains air circulation with hot air, the time taken is 8 hours at 580C.
  • By injecting steam into the chamber, moist hot air treatment is achieved.
  • In this case the treatment is at 540C for 4hours. This system is highly useful to eliminate smut infected buds.

Aerated steam therapy

  • Steam is generated by heating water in a chamber. This steam is lead to another chamber where it is mixed with air in the proportion 1:4.
  • This aerated steam is fed to the treating chamber through minute holes.
  • The treatment is at 500C for 1 hour.
  • In all these treatment plants, thermostats are provided for controlling temperature.
  • It must be noted that heat-therapy is not the business of the farmer.
  • It must be the work of the sugar factory or any other seed producing agency.
  • Another important point is that the heat treated setts are not directly used for commercial planting.
  • They must pass through various multiplication stages and should be grown in commercial nurseries from where seed canes or setts are supplied to the farmers for large scale commercial planting.

Primary seed and primary nursery

  • From identified seed plots, setts are prepared and carefully examined for any cavities or reddening and such setts are removed.
  • Then the setts the heat treated by any one of the heat therapy methods.
  • After treatment, the setts are dropped in a fungicide solution (0.1% Bavistin) and planted in a well prepared field.
  • All the agronomical practices are followed. These must be a good disease surveillance throughout the period of nursery. Escapes, if any, must be rogued out.
  • This nursery must be in the research farm, state seed farm or sugarcane R&D farm.
  • At around 8months, these are not cut and planted for further multiplication.

Secondary Nursery

  • The primary nursery is harvested at around 8 months and planted for further multiplication.
  • This is known as secondary nursery. The multiplication rate ranges from 6 to 8 times.
  • These nurseries may be raised by progressive farmers who are known to follow all the nursery practices.

Commercial nursery

  • From the secondary nurseries, commercial nurseries are raised from which seed material is supplied for commercial sugarcane planting.
  • Also, "Short Crops" can be raised using commercial nursery seeds.
  • Once heat treated, the seed will remain free of diseases for about 5 years.
  • Therefore a well-planned scheme to replace the seed once in every 5 years must be devised.
  • For this purpose, entire cane area of a factory may be divided into 5 sectors and each year one sector may be covered so that every 5years, seed is replaced with heat treated material each one in 5years.
  • By nursery practice most of the important seed borne diseases can be eliminated.
  • Total elimination of RSD, GSD, tissue infection of red rot and control of smut is possible.
  • RSD, GSD and smut cumulatively cause a loss about 10%.
  • About 8-10 tonnes of yield loss per crop could be saved.

Agronomic Practices for sugarcane nursery crops

  • To obtain high yields of quality seeds (setts), sugarcane nurseries should be raised under optimum agronomic practices.

Some of the important considerations and package of practices are furnished below

Planting time

  • As the best age of harvest of a nursery crop is around 8-10months for commercial planting, the planting date of the commercial nursery should be accordingly adjusted.
  • This should take into account the area to be planted in each months. For example, for planting from December-March, the nursery planting should be done from April to May.
  • If we are starting with primary nursery (after heat treatment) and going through two stage multiplication (Secondary and commercial), then primary seed should be planted from December to April for planting from December to April after 2 years.

Location of Nurseries

The following criteria should be followed while locating the nursery crop.

  • Soil should be without problems like alkalinity, salinity, waterlogging etc.
  • There should be adequate irrigation facility.
  • The seed plots should be distributed in different divisions or sections and acccessible for easy distribution.
  • There should be good road facility for easy and quick transport.
  • The farmers should be progressive.
  • Primary nurseries should be located in the factory farm/research station farm/Government seed farm.

Soil preparations

  • A through soil preparation involving ploughing and cultivation is essential so that a good seed bed is prepared. A higher amount of organic manures is advantageous for nursery crops for obtaining a vigorous crop. Therefore about 25 to 30 tonnes of FYM or cured press mud may be applied about 15 days before planting.

Spacing

  • To get a higher yield of setts a slightly narrower spacing may be advantageous. The spacing therefore could be 75cm between the rows.

Seed Rate

  • At secondary and commercial nursery planting stages, a seed rate of 60,000 two budded setts /ha is suggested.
  • At primary stage a 25% higher seed rate may be adopted to compensate for the germination loss due to heat treatment.

Fertiliser application

  • A faster rate of growth is essential in the early stage in the case of nurseries for maximising sett yields.
  • Therefore a higher dosage of nutrients, particulary nitrogen and their early application is advantageous, therefore, a dosage of 250-300kg N, 75kg P205 and 120kg K2o per hectare is suggested.
  • The fertlizer may be given in 3splits as follows.

Basal

Entire P205

Applied in the furrow bottom

At 30days

1/3N + 1/3K

Band placement, close to the rows and partially earthed up.

At 60days

1/3N + 1/3K

Applied to the base and slightly earthed up.

At 90days

1/3N + 1/3K

Applied to the base and fully earthed up.

Each manuring should be done after weeding and manuring should be followed by irrigation.

Pre-fertlization

  • To obtain healthy setts with more moisture, more reducing sugars and with higher nutrient content prefertilizing the nursery crop about 6 to 8 weeks prior to harvest is suggested.
  • A dosage of 50kgN, 25kg P205 and 25kg K2o per ha may be applied.

Irrigation :

  • To support and sustain a vigorous nursery crop, irrigating at optimum levels is important.
  • Any shortage in the irrigation would lead to reduced sett yield.
  • Besides moisture stress would pre-dispose the crop to the attack of some pests and diseases.
  • Irrigation at IW/CPE ratio of 1.0 is ideal. According to moisture depletion irrigating at 25% depletion of available soil moisture (ASM) may be ideal.
  • This in practical terms means, application of irrigation once in 6-7days in a loamy soil and at around 10-12 days in heavy day soil.

Weed control

  • A weed-free environment is absolutely essential for better growth of nursery crops and also to avoid infestation of pests and diseases being harboured by certain weeds.
  • Folllwing weed control schedule may be followed.
  • Deep ploughing and removal of perennial weeds.
  • Pre-emergence application of atrazine 1.75kg a.i/ha (3.5kg commercial produce /hr) on 3-4 days of planting using knapsack sprayer.
  • Post-emergence application of 2-4,D Sodium salt @1.0kg a.i/ha (if broad leaved weeds persist)
  • Hand weeding before each manuring.
  • Other cultural operations and precautions
  • Detrashing need not be done as detrashing may expose the buds for mechanical damage.
  • However, if there is problem of some pests like white flies, mealy bugs, scales etc. detrashing may be done.
  • Also detrashing may be done to avoid spreading due to accumulation of water within the sheath.
  • Good drainage should be ensured. Off types, mixtures, any diseased dumps must be rogued out.

Sett preparation

  • While preparing setts, sterilized knives may be used to avoid transmission of certain diseases like RSD and GSD, for this a mild solution (0.1%) of Dettol may be used. The knives may be immersed in the solution of about 5minutes before using for cutting the setts.

Seed treatment

  • At each stage of planting, treating the setts in Bavistin is important to prevent the attack of soil borne, pathogens, particularly fungi.

Multiplication rate

  • At primary to secondary stage we can safely take a multiplication rate of 1:7 At secondary nursery to commercial planting 1:8 multiplication rate can be achieved.
  • To increase the multiplication rate, single bud direct planting or STP techniques can be adopted under these two systems we can achieve 1:15 or 20 multiplication rate.
  • When direct planted or transplanted, a spacing of 75-80 cm between rows and 30-45 cm between plants may be followed. For transplanting technique, single bud setts may be planted in nurseries or in polytene bags filled with suitable mixture of saved, soil, organic matter and nutrients.
  • At 4-6weeks of age, transplanting should be done. Before transplanting, the leaves should be clipped off.
  • The transplanting technique is better restricted to early planting period i.e. December to February first fortnight.

Harvesting

  • As already mentioned, age of the nursery crop may be around 8months at harvest.
  • The implement used must be sterilized.
  • There should be minimum time gap between harvest and planting.

 
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Ikisan - Cultural Opertaion involved in Sugarcane Cultivation

Cutural operations

  • Important cultural operations in sugarcane in addition to weeding, manuring and irrigation are earthing up, detrashing, propping and flowering control.

Earthing-Up

  • This practice is followed in tropics where furrow irrigation is followed.
  • Earthing up is done 2-3 times during crop period. The first earthing-up is known as "partial earthing-up and the second operation is "full earthing-up".
  • Partial earthing up is done after first top dressing essentially to cover the fertilizer and to provide anchorage to the freshly developed roots. In this case, soil from either side of the furrow is slightly taken and placed over fertilizer band when done manually. This can also be done by using a bullock drawn implement or a country plough.
  • In partial earthing-up, the furrow in which cane row is present gets partially filled, irrigation is continued to be given in the furrow itself viz., on the cane row.
  • Full earthing-up is done after final manuring (90-120 days coinciding with peak tillering). In this operation the soil from the ridge is thrown on both sides towards cane rows and these furrows will become as ridges and ridges as furrows. The furrows so formed are used for irrigation.
  • Earthing up helps in continous control of weeds covering the applied fertilisers, for better root development, checks further tillering, provides better aeration, provides sufficient anchorage to prevent lodging and controlling pests.
  • One more earthing up at 6 month-age of crop after establishing a stable cane population helps in reducing water shoot and late shoot formation in addition to the all advantages obtained by earthing up.

Wet earthing up

  • Done around 6months age of the crop.
  • The furrows are irrigated and the wet soil from furrows is taken and plaster the ridges. It checks very effectively late tillering and watery shoots.
  • All advantages due to earthing up listed are also seen in wet earthing up also.
  • High and heavy earthing up is useful during Hoods. When the flood water recedes, the excess water from earthed-up soil drains out quickly thus providing a well aerated soil condition.

Hoeing

  • This operation is done where soil crust formation is very common.
  • In sub tropics hoeing is done after germination is over using a bullock drawn or a tractor drawn harrows.
  • While carrying out this operation some of the germinated setts may be uprooted and they are pressed down manually.

Detrashing

  • Sugarcane produces large number of leaves-equal to the number of internodes.
  • A normal stalk bears, on an average of 30-35 leaves, under good growing conditions.
  • All are not useful. For effective photosynhthesis only the top 8-10 leaves are sufficient.
  • Most of the bottom leaves are dried will not participate in photosynthesis at the same time they drain out the food materials which otherwise could be used for stalk growth.
  • Therefore it is important to remove the dry and lower leaves.
  • This operation is known as detrashing.
  • Detrashing helps in clean cultivation, easy movement of air within the crop canopy, reduce certain pests like scales mealy bugs, white fly etc., easy entry into the field, avoids bud germination due to accumulation of water in the leaf sheath, easy to take up cultural operations indeed sprayings, easy to harvest, obtaining clean canes for milling.
  • Detrashed leaves can be used for mulching in the furrows or used for composting of the leaves infested with pest or diesease better to burn by taking away from the field.

Propping

  • Tying the canes by using the lower bottom leaves to check lodging of cane.
  • This practice is extensively followed in coastal belt where cyclone effect is very severe.
  • Propping can be either done for each row or two rows can be brought together and tied.

Lodging prevention

  • Lodging in sugarcane is very common and a serious problems in coastal belts where the wind velocity is very high.
  • Lodging is also very common in tall varieties, top growth is heavy and where the growth habit is not erect, and the varieties with less fibre content.

Lodging leads to several problems

  1. Cane breakage and thus loss of stalk number at harvest (loss in cane yield)
  2. Lodged canes are easily infested by certain pests and diseases.
  3. damage by rats and rodents.
  4. bud sprouting leads to reduced cane quality
  5. aerial root formation affects cane quality
  6. difficult to irrigate and harvest the crop.

To prevent lodging the following operations can be taken up

  1. Heavy earthing up
  2. Propping by trash twisting
  3. Paired row planting with earthing up or propping the paired rows.
  4. Deep trench planting
  5. Selection of varieties resistant for lodging
  6. Raising wind breaks along the field broder.
  7. Application of potassium

Removal of water shoots

  • Water shoots are late formed tillers or side shoots which are robust and fast growing.
  • They originate mainly due to excess water supply, heavy and late manuring, inadequate earthing up.
  • These water shoots contain lot of water, low sucrose and more of reducing sugars.
  • Water shoots affect the growth of adjacent statics.
  • They harbour insect pests and when they are milled sugar recoveries are low because of reduced juice quality.
  • Therefore removal of water shoots whenever they appear is highly essential. water shoots can be used as cattle feed.

Control of flowering

  • In commecial sugarcane cultivation, flowering is not desirable. Once the plant flowered the cane growth stops and starts ripening.
  • Upto 2-3months the flowered cane can be kept in the field without much deterioration later, if unharvested there will be reversion of sugars, increase in fibre, pith formation, cane breakage etc.
  • The deterioration is much faster if it is summer.
  • Non-flowering or shy flowering varieties can be used where flowering is a severe problem.
  • To reduce the problem of flowering controlled irrigation and flowering, use of growth regulating substances and change in planting period may be adopted.
  • Normally the flowering period in sugarcane is August.
  • Skipping of one or two irrigation a month before flower initiation will help in reducing flowering.
  • However, if there are rains during August withholding of irrigation may not be useful.
  • Spraying of ethrel at 500ppm, twice or 1000ppm once at floral initiation checks the flowering in early and late varieties resulting in increased sucrose accumulation and yield.
  • Late summer planting also facilitates in checking flowering and in such delayed planted areas the emerging of cane commences from June-July and continued upto February.

 
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Ikisan - Ratoon Management in Sugarcane

Ratoon Management

  • After the harvest of plant crop, buds on the left over underground stubbles germinate again and give rise to another crop.
  • This crop is called ratoon crop.
  • Ratoons account for a sizeable share to total sugarcane production in India.
  • However, inspite of experimental findings that with proper care, growing of ratoon is quite remunerative, only one or sometimes two ratoons that too of low yields are taken, the national average cane yields thus are greatly influenced by low ratoon yields as they contribute 30 percent to the total cane production.

Economics of ratooning

  • Profitability of raising good ratoon crop is based on the fact that expenditure on preparation of the field, cost of seed cane and expenditure in planting comes about 25-30% in the operational cost are eliminated.
  • Total ratoons from cane cultivation depend on how a grower manages in ratoon crops to get yields comparable to or even better than that what he gets from the plant crop.
  • Ratoons have an additonal advantage in giving better juice quality and sugar recovery in comparison to the plant crop of the same variety under similar conditions.
  • Ratoons save time as they establish early and matures early and thus harvested early. Ratoons stabilize the cane area of the factory.

Frequency of ratooning

  • One or two ratoons can be grown successfully throughout the cane growing areas of India if proper cane is taken, these can be as productive and healthy as the plant crop.
  • In India itself there are cases of successful ratoon management upto 10 ratoons at Kurnool and 4-5 ratoons in delta districts of AP and 12 ratoons in South Arcot district.

Variety

  • Variety with good ratooning potential and good plant crop are essential. Most of the present day varieties have good ratooning capacity.
  • Early maturing varieties are poor in ratooning than mid late or late varieties.
  • Thin and medium thin varieties give better ratoons than thick varieties.
  • Varieties of high yield potential as plant crops may give better ratoons.
  • Ratooning ability of a variety differs from region to region.
  • Varieties with good ratooning potential are - Co6304, Co740, Co1148, Co7314, Co8013, Co8018, Co8021, Co8122, Co8134, Co8145, Co8208, Co8362, Co86010 etc.

Time of harvesting plant crop

  • Proper development of ratoon crop is essentially dependent on sprouting of underground buds that remain after harvesting of the plant crop.
  • Soil moisture and vigour of the plant crop at harvest play a very important role in the early vigorous start of ratoons.
  • 80°F with diurnal variation range of 350°F to be conducive for early start of tillering of the harvested plant crop.
  • The extreme climatic conditions of summer and winter months in north Indian conditions play a vital role in deciding the time of plant-cane harvest to keep subsequent ratoons but in the more equable climate of peninsular parts of the country, difference in the time of planting or harvesting the plant crop is not likely to have very significant effect on the yield of subsequent ratoon crop of the same duration.
  • Uniform ratoon was obtained from the nursery crop which was harvested at the age of 7-8 months.
  • Stubble sprouting was not proper when the age of the crop exceeded 13 months.
  • Due to higher age at harvest, the bottom buds in the stalk got dried up. Sprouting of such buds was thus affected adversely.
  • Ground level harvesting of plant cane trench-planted and earthed-up plant cane gave better sprouting of subsequent ratoon crop.
  • spaced transplanted (STP) crop produced higher number of millable canes due to better establishment of stubbles (as at the time of transplanting. the settlings were placed deep in trenches) which provided initial nutrition for their early growth.
  • Moreover, there was enough space between two clumps of STP to transmit sufficient light into lower horizons of the crop canopy which helped in producing more tillers.

Stubble shaving

  • Because of apical dominance, topmost bud on the stubbles sprout first to give ratoon crop.
  • Sugarcane should be harvested close to the ground level.
  • Cultural operations, besides stubble shaving, also had advantageous effect on ratoon cane yields.
  • Roots that emerge from the topmost sprouted bud may fail to reach the ground level.
  • Hence the sprouted bud dries up in due course of time for want of support, nutrients and water from the soil.
  • These apart, left-over canes due to such harvesting cause heavy yield losses.
  • Although stubble shaving is an important operation, it should be performed with care, otherwise, plant population may reduce in shallow planting.

Gap filling

  • Gap filling due to continued and piecemeal harvesting of plant crop throughout the cane season, ratoon crops in cultivators fields remain gappy in many cases, particularly in the sub-tropical northern sugarcane belt.
  • This is because the buds in the clumps of cane harvested under the adverse conditions of extreme low temperature during winter months and heat during the hot summer months fail to sprout at all or well enough.
  • This situation is sometimes aggravated by mechanical injury to buds at harvesting or planting.
  • Gap, filling in such situations assumes great importance in ratoon culture.
  • For gap filling, either the pre-germinated settlings from nursery raised from single bud sets or stubbles of previous crop or normal 3-bud setts may be used.
  • Superiority of one or the other material has been proved by many workers depending on the soil and climatic conditions.
  • Recently raising of pre-germinated single-bud shoots in small polythene bags and transplanting the same for gap filling is being practised in many factory zone areas.
  • The number of Ratoons from single planting increased, the cane yield decreases.
  • However, condition of farmyard manure @ 15 t/ha boosted the declined yield of ratoon gain.

Fertilizing the ratoon crop

  • Addition of phosphorus and potassium has sustained the yields.
  • The extent of yield reduction could be minimised by applying adequate quantities of fertiliser to the ratoon crop.

Time of application

  • In north sugarcane-growing belt of India where lower doses of N (120 to 200 kg/ha) are used, entire dose has to be applied at the initiation of ratoons immediately after plant cane harvesting.
  • In areas where irrigation facilities are not sufficient, two split application of N, half at harvest of plant crop and remaining half when irrigation is available, have given the best results.
  • Placement of nitrogenous fertiliser at 7.5 cm depth gave better yield of cane than at 22.5 and 4.5 cm depth in ratoon crop.
  • Placement of 10 cm deep along the rows of ratoon in comparison to broadcasting is advised N utilisation as indicated by leaf N content was significantly higher by spraying of urea @ 100 kg/ha than that of the same quantity applied through soil in single or split doses.
  • Ratoon showed higher N uptake when urea mixed with malathion was sprayed.

Mulching

  • Trash mulching at 3 tonnes/ha improves the yield of ratoon crop over other methods of disposal of cane trash.
  • The mulch helps in soil moisture conservation and mulched ratoon did not show any sign of drought.
  • Although there is benefit of trash mulching in ratoon crop, care has to be taken to see that trash does not carry any disease or hidden insect pests.

Irrigation

  • Ratoon crops have shallower root system than the corresponding plant crops, hence are less tolerant to drought.
  • Higher yields of ratoon was possible when irrigated at 12 days interval in comparison to irrigations given at 24 days interval with non-significant differences in juice quality.
  • Ratoons have lesser capacity to stand water stress conditions than the plant crops.
  • Iimprovement in sucrose content is observed with increasing number of irrigations upto 8 and deterioration in juice quality with increasing doses of N upto 200 kg N/ha.
  • Better juice quality of ratoon at higher irrigation levels than at lower levels.
  • Under deficient soil moisture conditions even one irrigation to ratoon gave distinctly higher yield than no irrigation.
  • Plant crop should be adequately manured and irrigated if good ratoon is aimed at.

Plant protection

  • Ratoons due to their reduced vigour, are more prone to pests and diseases than the plant crop.
  • Several of the insect pests are carried over to the ratoons through crop residues. Therefore a pest free plant crop ensures a better ratoon.
  • Even ratooning may be avoided if the infestation is high.
  • In case diseases are not allowed to appear and build up in plant crop, ratoons also remain disease free.
  • But if proper care is not taken to keep plant crop free from diseases, particulary redrot, smut, wilt and grassy shot, ratoons of varieties suceptible to these diseases often get severely damaged.
  • Incidence of insect pests also gets multiplied and carried over through subsequent ratoons if not kept under control inplant or proceeding ratoon fields.

Ratoon Chlorosis

  • In calcareous soils iron chlorosis is a problem.
  • This is more pronounced in ratoons.
  • Due to ratoon chlorosis higher mortality of shoots is observed despite higher initial sprouting leading to poor population.
  • Spray at 0.25% concentration of Ferrous sulphate along with 10% urea at weekly intervals control chlorosis.

Ratoons for fodder

  • During the months of June, July and August, extra shoots of ratoon crop could be removed and used as green fodder.
  • Such removal of extra tillers could be done twice during the entire period.
  • Removal of extra tillers keeping their number limited only to 4 to 6 per shoot enhance the yield.

Ratoon as seed

  • Ratoons are in favoured as a source of seed material due to possible carry-over of diseases and pests from ratoons.

 
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