HomeCropField Preparation for Sugarcane

Field Preparation for Sugarcane

India is the second largest sugarcane producer after Brazil. In 2021, the state of Uttar Pradesh alone produced about 177 million tonnes. Sugarcane is a versatile crop that can be used for various things like sugar, molasses and even paper. The major sugarcane-producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Orissa. 

Difficulty Level: Medium

Selection of Seeds

Sugarcane planting depends on climatic conditions, water availability and choosing the right varieties. There are various varieties of sugarcane to choose from in today’s market. Some of the popular ones are Bhima, Nayana, Praba, Kalyani, Bhavani, Uttara, Sarayu, Moti, Krishna, Raseeli, Gandak, Pramod, Haryana, Rajbhog, Rasbhari, Shyma and Sweta. Nayana is one of the sweetest cane in the market with the sugar content of the cane being 20.1% sucrose in the juice. Nayana yield is around 104 tons/ha. Nayana is also resistant to smut, red rot, and drought and is a good ratooner. Kalyani is resistant to smut, and red rot, as well as tolerant to drought and waterlogging. 

Sugarcane Seed Treatment

The seed treatment for sugarcane starts by removing the dry leaves on the cane to avoid possible damage to the bud. The bud canes are cut into three budded setts usually 30 to 40 cm long.  These sugarcane seeds are treated by dipping into a 0.5 per cent solution of 0.1% carbendazim (1 gm/lit water) or areton and agallol @4 gm/lit water before planting for 10 minutes. Sugarcane seeds can also be treated with hot air (50ºC for 2-2.5 hours). This is one of the most effective seed treatments for sugarcane to prevent seed-borne pathogens. 

Land Preparations of Sugarcane

The sugarcane fields are prepared by ploughing 2 to 4 times at the depth of 50-60 cm with a tractor-drawn disc plough or victory plough. The land is then harrowed at a shallow depth of 12-15 cm and crush the clods by disc harrow or rotavator. This is to pulverise and smoothen the compact soil. This should be followed by levelling as uniform crop stand and easy movement for water irrigation is very important. Levelling can be done using a leveller operated on a tractor. 

Apply basal manures like FYM at 12.5 t/ha or compost at 25 t/ha or filter press mud at 37.5 t/ha before the last ploughing. Then apply sugarcane trash and press mud at a 1:1 ratio. This is followed by the application of rock phosphate, gypsum and urea in the ratio of 2:2:1. This mixture can be combined with cow dung slurry or water for moisture. In the case of working with phosphorus-deprived soil apply 37.5kg/ha of superphosphate along the furrows with a hand hoe.  In the case of working with nutrient-deficient soil, which is deficient in Zinn (Zn) and Iron (Fe), apply 37.5kg of Zinc sulphate/ha and 100 kg of Ferrous sulphate. The seed canes are planted in the furrows in 30 – 45 cm intervals. The seeds are then irrigated on the 3rd or 4th day. 

Soil Type Requirements for Sugarcane

The soil should be a well-drained loamy soil with neutral pH or slightly alkaline (pH 6.5 to 7.5).  


Sugarcane can be grown in all irrigated parts of the country. Apart from the water requirement, sugarcane is an easily manageable crop that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. This is also a high-return crop, with high market demand. 


  1. Suggest some ideal varieties of sugarcane? 
States   Varieties 
Tamil Nadu  Coc 671, Co 62175, Co 7704, Co6304, Coc 85061, Co 8001, Co 86032, Coc 92061 
Karnataka  Co 7704, Co 62175, Co 8014, Co 8011, Coc 671, Co 86032, Co 85002 
Andhra Pradesh  Co 6907, CoT 8201, Co 8013, Co 62175, Co 7219, Co 8014, Co 8001 
Uttar Pradesh  UP 9530, CoSe 96436, Co 09022, Co 05009 (Karan 10) 
Maharashtra  Co 06027, CoSnk 05104, Co 0403 (Samriddhi) 


  1. What are the main seasons for planting sugarcane in India?

There are four main seasons; 

  • Spring: January – February (12-month crop – main season) 
  • Autumn: September – October (13-15 months, supplies sugar for early crushing) 
  • Adsali: July – August (16-18 months, Increase in yield & sugar recovery) 
  • Late planting: Beyond March (Reduction in duration and yield) 
  1. What is the general dose of fertilizer recommendation for sugarcane?

The fertilizer recommendation dose for sugarcane crop is 121:40:81 kg/acre. The commercial quantity for field application is listed in the table below: 

Nutrient  Fertilizers  General Dose (per acre) 
Organic  FYM (or)  5 ton 
Compost (or)  10 ton 
Press mud  15 ton 
N  Urea (or)  265 kg 
Ammonium Sulphate  592 kg 
P  Single Super Phosphate (SSP) (or)  253 kg 
Double Super Phosphate (DSP)  127 kg 
K  Muriate of Potash (MOP) (or)  135 kg 
Sulphate of Potash (SOP)  162 kg 

(For zinc deficient soil) 


Foliar spray: 0.5 -1 gm/lit water 

Soil application – 10 kg 


(For iron deficient soil) 

Shamrock Iron (Ferrous) Chelated Micronutrient  


Foliar spray: 1 gm/lit water 

Soil application: 10 kg 


  1. How to do sett treatment in sugarcane?
  1. What is Sugarcane seed setts? What is an ideal sett?

Sugarcane seed setts are sections of cane stalks with buds used for propagation. Setts with 2-3 buds have been found to be the best for planting as they produce better germination and yield than the setts having more or fewer buds. 

  1. What is the pre-emergence herbicide used to control weeds in sugarcane field?

Spray Atrataf (Atrazine 50 WP) at 1 – 2 g/l or Tata Metri Herbicide (70% WP Metribuzin) at 100 – 120 gm/acre as pre-emergence herbicide on the 3rd day of planting using deflector or fan type nozzle filled with knapsack sprayer. 

  1. Suggest some crops that can be cultivated as intercrop along with sugarcane?

Growing green manures like Sunhemp and Dhaincha as intercrops in sugarcane adds nitrogen to the soil and increases cane yield by 4 – 6 t/acre. 

Note: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial or legal advice. Pesticides are a considerable risk of loss in crops and viewers are advised to do their own research before making any decisions.

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