2. A sett is a stalk cutting of two or three joints. Top part of the cane forms good planting material.
3. The setts are planted at a distance of about 1.5 m to 2.0 m in rows. The plant starts growing in about two week’s time. Six to ten stalks grow from each plant.
4. Little work is done in the field while the cane is growing, except in the early stages, when the young plants are kept free of weeds.
5. The cane usually matures in about 10 months. The cane is cut with the help of a sickle. The stalk must be cut as near as possible to the ground because the greatest accumulation of sugar is in the base of the stem.
6. After harvesting the cane, the roots are left in the ground. These roots can grow again. Sugar cane is a perennial crop and the same plant could produce for many years. This is called a ratoon crop. This is usually not done after the third crop, as the yield from each successive ratoon is lesser than the last.
After cutting the cane, the dry leaves are cleared. The canes are taken to sugar mills in bundles for crushing. The mills must be near the farms for two reasons: 1. Sugar cane is a perishable commodity and thus cane should be crushed within 24 hours. 2. Sugar cane is a weight-losing commodity. Sugar accounts for about 10 per cent of the bulky sugar cane. It would be expensive to transport sugar cane over long distances in its original form.
Areas of Sugar Cane Production:
India is the largest producer of sugar cane in the world. The total annual production is about 28 crore tons from about 40 lakh hectares of land. The average yield of sugar cane in India is about 70 tons per hectare.
The low yield of sugar cane in India is due to lack of fertilisers, uncertain weather conditions, inadequate irrigation, poor varieties of cane, small and fragmented land holdings and backward methods of cultivation.
There are three distinct belts of sugar cane cultivation in India.
a. The Satluj-Ganga plain
b. The black soil belt from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu
c. The coastal Andhra and Krishna Valley.
The main sugar cane producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
The total area under sugar cane cultivation is more in the northern states, but the yield per hectare is higher in the southern states. Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of sugar cane in India.