Sugarcane farming methods / Sugarcane cultivation practices in India

An Introduction of Sugarcane

Sugarcane belongs to the bamboo family of plants and is indigenous to India. It is the main source of sugar, gur, and khandsari. About two-thirds of the total sugarcane produced in India is consumed for making gur and khandsari and only one-third of it goes to sugar factories. It also provides the raw material for manufacturing alcohol.

Bagasse, the crushed cane residue, can be more beneficially used for manufacturing paper instead of using it as fuel in the mills. It is also an efficient substitute for petroleum products and a host of other chemical products.

A part of it is also used as fodder. Sugarcane accounts for the largest value of production and holds an enviable position among all the commercial crops in India. Obviously, it is the first choice of the farmers, wherever geographical conditions favor its growth.

Scientific Name of Sugarcane

Saccharum officinarum.

Planting Time for sugarcane

  •  Spring season:  Mid February to end of March.
  •   Autumn season:  Last fortnight of September to first fortnight of October.

Row to Row spacing

  • 75 cm in less fertile soil, late planting and under drought condition.
  • 90 cm in fertile soil and under spring season.
  • 120 cm during the autumn season along with intercrops.

Sugarcane Seed Rate

At 90 cm row to row spacing and @ 12 setts /meter long row, seed requirement per acre would be 35-45 quintals.

Single budded setts (12 setts/meter)    : 53,000-53,500 setts /acre

Single budded setts (end to end)           : 31,000-31,500 setts/acre (40-50% seed saving)

Two budded setts (end to end               : 26,500-27,000 setts/acre

Three budded setts                               : 17,500-18,000 setts/acre


Sugarcane Seed treatment

  • Always use disease free quality seeds for planting.
  • Treat the seeds for 5 minutes in 0.1% Carbendazim (100 g in 100 litres of water) before planting
  • Seed crop: Treat the seeds in Moist Hot Aerated Therapy unit at 540C for 1 hr.


 Sugarcane Manure requirement

Apply FYM or compost @ 4-5 tonnes /acre. Grow green manure crop like Dhaincha (13 kg seed /acre) or green gram (6 kg seed/ acre) before taking sugarcane and incorporate in situ using tractor-drawn disc harrow. Soil application of Azospirillum or Glucanoacetobactor @ 4 kg/acre+Phosphobacteria @ 4 kg/acre in two split doses at 30 and 60 days after planting.


Sugarcane Fertilizers requirement-

Apply fertilizers as per soil test report or State Govt. recommendation or follow a blanket dose of 60: 20:20 kg NPK /acre for plant crop and 90: 20: 20 kg NPK/acre for ratoon.

  • Apply 50 kg DAP and 33 kg MOP /acre before planting in furrows.
  • Also apply 50 kg urea/acre at 45 days after planting.
  • Apply 50 kg urea/acre at 90 days after planting and give earthing up.


Weed management of Sugarcane-

  • Repeated ploughing before planting sugarcane and crop rotation with paddy would minimize weed problem. In highly weed infested area irrigate the field (or submerge) after ploughing. The weeds emerged out are got killed by spraying Paraquat @ 2.5 ml/litre water (non-selective contact herbicide). If the perennial weeds like Haryali grasses (Cynodon) and motha (Cyprus) are emerging spray Glyphosate (non-selective systemic herbicide) @ 2.5 ml/litre water instead of Paraquat.
  • Immediately after planting apply pre-emergence herbicide Atrazine @ 2 kg/acre in 350-400 litre water. If vegetables, pulses, and oilseeds are intercropped with sugarcane, do not use Atrazine. In this case, spray either Metribuzin (Sencor) @ 0.3 kg /acre or Alachlor or Oxyfluorfen (Goal) @
  • litre/acre. In wheat + sugarcane cropping system use Isoproturon (Garaminon) @ 0.4 kg a.i./acre.
  • Hand weeding at 45 days after planting followed by two-time intercultural practices at 60 and 90 days will control weeds.
  • Post-emergence application of 2,4-D @ 0.4 kg/acre or 1 litre/acre will control dicot weeds (broad-leaved weed) in standing crop. If the problems of Cyprus persists use Ethoxy Sulfuron (sunrise) @150 g/acre along with 2, 4-D.


Water requirement for Sugarcane crops (Irrigation)

  • At 10 days interval during pre-monsoon season.
  • As per the need during monsoon season.
  • At 25 days interval during post-monsoon season.


Earthing up

  • Light/partial earthing up at 90 days after planting.
  • Final earthing up during June end or before the onset of monsoon.



  • First propping during July or August depending on the growth of a crop.
  • Second propping during August ends or before the 2nd fortnight of September.


Insect-Pest of Sugarcane

  • At the time planting: Using a rose can apply 2-litre Chlorpyriphos per acre in 350-400 litre water over the seeds placed on furrows to control termite and early shoot borer.
  • During April to July: During April-May give root drenching of Rynayxypyr 20SC @ 150 ml/acre with 400-litre water to control top borer or apply Carbofuran @ 13 kg/acre during last week June or first week of July.
  • During August: If root borer problem is noticed apply Chlorpyriphos @ 2 litres/acre with 400 litres of
  • Follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM)


Diseases of Sugarcane

Use of resistant varieties, healthy seeds, and adoption of integrated disease management would minimize the incidence of major diseases.



Expected average yield shall be 350-400 quintals /acre.



  • Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Regional Centre, Karnal
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