Expert System For Sugarcane

Ratoon Cane Management

Sugarcane productivity has shown the increasing trend, a wide gap exists between potential (competition crops) and existing (commercial plots) productivity levels. Ratooning constitutes around 50% of the total area under cane and ratoon productivity and early maturity that the plant crop. Ratoon productivity has been proved to increase with proper management involving timely agricultural operations, proper nutrition management, and integrated pest management and maintenance of adequate plant population.

Management Practices for better ratoon crop:

1.Selection of suitable varieties:

  1. Selection of suitable sugarcane varieties with good ratoonability.

  2. It is observed that certain sugarcane varieties perform better in ratoon crop or at least on par with plant crop. Varieties like Co 8013, Co 6907, Co 8014, 85A261, 87A298, 90A272, 92A123, 81V48, 91V83, 93V297, 97V60 and 83R23 in early category and 83V18, 89V74, 93A145, 94A109, Co 7219, Co 7805, Co 7706 and Co 86032 in mid –late category are to be selected for cultivation.

2.Cultivation  practices:

  1. At the time of harvest of plant crop sharp knives for cutting the clump to the ground level need to be used.

  2. Cleaning of field and removal of dead canes, trash etc., where ever they are in the field.

  3. Breaking the clods by intercultivation between the furrows with the plough.

  4. Stubble shaving has to be done with sharp knives to the ground level. The advantage of stubble shaving includes the removal of generated old buds and rejuvenation of new buds. Care should be taken not to disturb the clump while stubble shaving.

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3.Gap filling:

Normally while harvesting the plant crop due to the movement of labor, more gaps are found in the ratoon crop. Therefore, it is very essential to fill the gaps so as to have more number of millable canes in ratoon crop also. This can be done in the following ways:

  1. With setts: Placement of either single/two/three budded setts in the gaps.

  2. Pre-germinated settlings raised through “Polybag system”

  3. Taking the clumps from thickly populated area and filling the gaps.      

4.Poly bag seed nursery:     

  1. Single budded setts are to be cut carefully.

  2. While planting in the bag proper care should be taken to keep the bud in upward direction.

  3. A thin layer of soil medium should be on the bud of the sett.

  4. Poly bags should be kept in rows.

  5. For every six rows path should be left for easy sprinkling of water with rose cans.

  6. Number of sprinklings depends on prevailing environmental conditions.

  7. Poly bags should be kept under shade preferably.

  8. The buds start sprouting from 10th to 12th day onwards.

  9. Normally the settlings aged between 35-40 days are to be used for planting.

  10. While planting, care is to be taken not to disturb the soil of the poly bag.

  11. With a blade give a gentle cut on one side of the bag along the length, remove bag carefully and put the setting in the furrows of the main field and press gently.

5. Trash mulching:

This should be done by applying 3 tonnes of trash per hectare and need to be spread on the field inbetween the furrows. The advantages include the following:

  1. Forms as a cover to the soil.

  2. Prevents evaporation of soil moisture.

  3. Conserves the soil moisture.

  4. Keep the root zone moist.

  5. Helps in the production of more tillers.

  6. Early Shoot Borer (ESB).

  7. Keeps the standing crop in lush green color.

  8. Aids the plant in absorbing more nutrients.

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6. Integrated Nutrient Management:

a). Inorganic Fertilizers:

For ratoon crop, 3 bags of urea, 5 bags of super phosphate and 1.50 bag of muriate of potash are to be applied at the time of rationing. The second dose of 3 bags of urea should be given at 45th day after rationing.

b). Organic fertilizers:

Application of 2 bags of bio-compost, 4 kgs of Azospirillum and 4 kgs of phosphobactor per acre is recommended for getting higher yields and better sugar recovery.

7. Weed management:

In ratoon crops we should not apply any pre-emergence weedicide (Atrozin). The post emergence weedicides Gramoxone (4.50 liters) and Femoxone(2.50 Kg) per hectare are to be used for the control of weeds. If necessary one manual weedling may be done.

8. Water management:

Ratoon crops normally require 18-20 irrigations in their life span. Drip irrigation is also recommended in the places of water scarcity. In certain cases, alternate furrow method is recommended. However, wherever there is plenty of water, normal irrigations at regular intervals arerecommended to get higher yields.

9. Harvesting of ratoon crop:

It is an established fact that ratoons mature early (at least by one month) when compared to plant crop. Hence, all the care should be taken to get the cutting orders by respective sugar factories well in advance so that the cane may be used as an open mill cane at the time of starting of the crushing season.

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10. Advantages and Disadvantages:


  1. No preparatory cultivation is required.
  2. Saving in the cost of seed material.
  3. Saving of labor since many operations such as collection of seed cane, cutting of the setts and planting are not undertaken in rations.
  4. The leftover in the field especially in the form of fallen leaves, trash, etc., in due course of time gets converted in to organic matter.
  5. Ratoon crops generally come to maturity at least one month early.
  6. The expenditure involved in growing ratoon crops is less as compared to plant crop.


  1. Cane yields are generally lower than plant crop yields.
  2. Nitrogenous fertilizer requirement is more.
  3. In almost all the places, the ratoon crops receive neglected attention. Neglected cultivation makes the ratoon crops more prone to pests and diseases.
  4. Under some situations in certain varieties, flowering takes place and unusual delay in the harvest and particular conditions might result in the increase of fiber content that might ultimately affect the sugar recovery.

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