Gomani, is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Sugarcane Cultivation Farming Techniques
Sugarcane is a perennial grass which has a potential to grow to a height of 4.3 meters and has a thickness of around 5.1 centimeters and is generally grown in tropical regions. Sugarcane is able to store Carbohydrates in the form of sucrose and this makes it to be a perennial grass of value. Its economic value comes from stalk sucrose or Carbohydrates, which it reserves and can be grown both in small scale and on large scale special for commercial purposes. The sugarcane is used as a raw material in production of sugar which is used in different countries. Most of world's sugar we use is made from sugar cane, making it a hot business. The success of sugarcane production, depends on farmers agronomic skills on can production. This article will provide in detail on how to grow sugarcane both on a small scale and commercial large scale production.
Sugarcane performs well in warm temperate areas and is mostly grown in tropical and subtropical areas. The optimum temperature for cultivating sugarcane is known to be in a range of 20 to 35 °C and during germination it requires an optimal range of 32 to 38 °C. Sugarcane plant growth and maturation depend much on weather conditions on top of good agronomic practices. Sugarcane performs well in frost free areas characterized by warm and sunny. High humidity accelerates cane elongation.
For successful growth, sugarcane requires an annual rainfall range of 1,500 to 2,500mm and any moisture shortfall, should be supplied with Irrigation. The minimum annual rainfall requirement is known to be 600mm and it can be grown successfully in tropical and subtropical climate regions.
Sugarcane performs well on sandy loam soils which has good soil drainage. The optimum soil pH for growing sugarcane is known to be in a range of 6 to 7.6. Make sure the soil has right moisture content and keep on checking to avoid waterlogging which might be caused through Irrigation.
Sugarcane cultivars are propagated for successful production. You stem cut 2-3 lateral buds from immature canes (known as setts). After planting the setts the buds turn into primary and secondary stalk. The average cane planting density is known to be in a range of 15,000 to 24,000 cuttings per hectare. Setts can be in 30 to 45 centimeters in length and can be planted to a depth of 15 to 30 centimeters. You can grow your setts in nursery and later transplant them to actual field and this will provide easy attention to the setts.
Even though sugarcane can be propagated vegetatively, it doesn't necessarily mean it cannot be grown from seeds. Make sure your field is set and plant your cane free seeds. A 2.5 kg of cane seeds is enough for a hectare.
Make sure you immerse your cane seeds in hot water having a temperature around 51 °C for 2 hours to soften the seeds for successful germination.
Avoid growing your sugarcane continuously on the same piece of land, make sure you allow it to fallow. After fallowing, make sure the land is ploughed thoroughly to a depth of 50 to 75 cm. This can be best achieved through the use of a tractor, however, it can also be achieved manually by using any farm tool, i.e. hoe.
The cane can be planted manually or mechanically, all what you need to do is to choose either of these which is cost effective. Make sure you place your setts in furrow together with a fertilizer for optimal growth, then you can cover with a soil and water it. Make sure setts are planted 100 cm deep.
For optimal yield, make sure you plant your cane under Irrigation in autumn weather. In rainfall, it can be planted in spring.
The recommended row and plant spacing for sugarcane production for optimal growth under manual planting is known to be 1.0 to 1.3 m x 0.5 m, while for mechanical is known to be 1.4 and 1.6 m. The setts are planted in a slated form (at a none 90 ° angle).
Sugarcane requires application of appropriate fertilizers and the following can be applied to your cane field per hectare; 80 kg of urea and 100 kg of Single Super Phosphate. All these should be applied in the form of a spray. Decomposing fertilizer can also be applied.
Sugarcane plants require more water application, so make sure you supplement additional water through Irrigation but make sure the site is kept on check from waterlogging, similarly from moisture stress.
Always make sure your cane field is free from weeds as these can be sources of pests and diseases and also they can be competing soil nutrients with your cane plants. Successful weeding can be done manually or by use of herbicides.
Make sure you harvest your cane when it has reached a height of 2 to 4.1 m and usually this is achieved in 12 to 16 months from the time planting is done. Harvesting can be done manually by using a knife and this is applicable to a small cane field, however, on large scale production, make sure you harvest your cane mechanically to make it more efficient.