Crisis Management

Yield Maximisation

  • Of the many variables involved in the production of sugarcane and yield probably the most significantly related factor is the number of millable canes (stalks) per unit area at harvest.
  • Although, the length and the girth (Thick ness) of canes also influence the yield but with lesser degree than the number of millable canes.
  • Among these yield attributes, the number of millable stalks and cane length could be altered by adopting suitable agro techniques.
  • The girth being genetically controlled cannot be changed as per desire.
  • Therefore, to obtain maximum cane yield, we have to aim at to increase the number of millable canes at harvest by inducing tillering in plants at an early stage instead of altering girth and length of canes.
  • To get maximum possible yields of sugarcane about 1.8-2.0 x 105 millable canes per hectare each of 2kg weight are required.
  • However, at present only 1.0x105+20.0x103 millable canes per hectares each having 0.6 to 1.0kg weight are obtained under varying conditions of growth and cultivation.
  • Therefore a great scope exists to improve cane productivity by only increasing number of millable canes per unit area.
  • Sugarcane being a graminae plant has wide potential to produce tillers. But as is the native of the crop, the late emerged tillers diesoon after emergence, thus cause much drain on the plant and soil resources.
  • If survival rate of shoots increases, the population density of millable canes would rise automaically.

Factors responsible for mortality of tillers


  • Sequence of shoot mortality is just the reverse of emergence viz., the last emerged shoot dies first. New shoots (secondary and tertiany tillers) that are formed depend for internal nutrition on the already formed shoots viz., mother shoot or secondaries till such time they produce their own roots.
  • Thus the newly formed shoots indirectly are a drain on the resources of the earlier formed shoots. Due to the competition developed for different inputs between early formed and newly formed shoots, the later suffer the most and hence die preferentially.
  • Tillering can be broadly divided into three phases:
  • In the early stage, soon after transplantation tiller emergence is predominant while tiller death is insignificant.
  • This phase culminates in a peak tiller number stage which is closely related to the final tiller density at harvest.
  • Tiller death is dominant feature of the peak tiller number stage. Generally 30-50percent of total tillers that emerge reach the harvest stage.
  • The second phase culminates in a more or less stable population. Due to mortality of tillers for different seasons, different proportions of each group of tillers are observed at the beginning or third phase, and inspite of the age differences, the dry weight of each stalk is almost similar.
  • This therefore suggests that the growth rate of stalks is slow during the first and second phases of tillering.
  • Since the dry weight of stalks at harvest represents the integral of growth achieved by surviving stalks in the third phase, more attention should be given to the dry matter accumulation and its partitioning in different plant components to ensure maximum cane production.


  • Mortality of young shoots may be due to several pathological diseases like wilt during monsoon season, drying of shoots in a dump, death of shoots due to seleiotial infestation (leaf spot) ratoon stunting disease (RSD) and gummosis etc.


  • Several insects particularly moth borers (spring planted crop), shoot borer incidence in young tillers, top borer and root borer cause any mortality of mother shoots and secondaries.
  • Death due to boras was the highest in mother shoots and early secondaries while the physiological mortality in late secondaries and all tertiaries.


  • Time and method of planting, spacing and populatin density have great influence on shoot mortality. Hence, accordingly the agronomic practices have to be practiced to reduce the mortality.
  • Weed infestiation, earthing up also restrict shoot emergence. In Companion cropping tillering in adversely affected.

Agro-technology for maintaining high density millable canes

    1.  Planting time
    2.  Planting technique
    3.  Seed mateiral preparation
    4.  Seedrate
    5.  Spacing
    6.  Fertlizer management
    7.  Irrigation management
    8.  Weed management
    9.  Intercultural operations

The above techniques suitable for different situation are discused in respective chapters.