Typical Good Practices in Sugarcane Planting

Planting is carried out to last at least 6 years. To avoid spending more money to bring any corrections after planting, adopt the correct steps at planting. Here are some of the typical practices carried out by SIRDI, BSI’s Cane Growing Project and a farmer with good yields:


  • Choose the most adequate planting months.  (We recommend August-December).  A soil sample from your farm should be analyzed prior to planting. Planting can be done manually.
  • Land preparation should be correctly executed as advised: 1 sub-soiling, 1 plough; 1 harrow, 2nd harrow, furrowing.
  • Choose the appropriate variety to be planted. An early variety to harvest in Jan to February, an intermediate variety to harvest in March to April, or a late variety to harvest in May to June. Planting a single variety per unit area will help to maximize quality and sugar production.
  • Whole stalk seed cane harvested at 4-5 tons per acre, should be chopped into 3 buds setts, placed continuously in a double row when planting in the furrows (18 eyebuds per linear yard), with not more than 2-3 inches of fine soil covering the seed.
  • Good quality seed cane  should be harvested at 7-9 months, from a clean seed nursery. This is the first step for the establishment of a productive cane field.
  • Double rows planting distances (20” x 20” x 35”) or in single rows (60” between rows). Depth of furrows at 12”.
  • Apply the recommended fertilizer based on the results of the soil analysis. In the absence of a soil analysis, apply 2 bags of complete fertilizer per acre and manure, if available, moderately at the base of the furrows. 6-8 weeks after germination, incorporate 1 bag of urea fertilizer at the base of the cane plant.
  • As soon as planting is completed, apply to the area recently planted a pre-emergent herbicide (consult SIRDI officers for recommended dosage).
  • After 4-6 weeks, spray herbicide combination: 1.2 Kg of Diuron + 1 lt of 2,4 D Amine, + 1.2 kg of Ametryne diluted in 120 Liters of water per acre ratio if some youngs weeds emerge.

Farmer- Mr. Octavio Cowo from the Orange Walk Branch:

  • Choose the right planting months. I advise (June-August). The soil of your farm should be analyzed.
  • Land preparation includes slash and burn, removing large objects such as rocks and doing 1st plough. Leave soil for a year and do a 2nd plough, harrowing, soil leveling and furrowing.
  • Select the adequate variety to be planted. I use only B79. Plant this variety during different months to ensure different maturity dates during the crop season.
  • Whole stalk cane seed harvested at 6 tons per acre, should be chopped into 3-5 bud setts, and placed continuously in double row in the furrow with tops and roots in opposite direction,  and covered with not more than 3-5 inches of fine soil.
  • Good quality cane seed (7-9 months old) can be harvested manually from your own cane fields or bought from a certified nursery.
  • Single row (with spacing 5 ft 6 inches) furrows should be drilled at least 10-14 inches deep.
  • Apply 1 to 1.5 bags of fertilizer per acre of 18-5-20. 8 weeks after germination, apply 1.5 sacks of urea fertlizers at the base of the cane plant and ridge.
  • As soon as planting is completed, apply in the rows and inter rows pre-emergent such as Prowl
  • After 4-6 weeks, spray Flash and Bull Grass (500-700 mg of both per acre) if some young weeds are growing.


  • Choose the right planting season. We advise August-December (Fall Planting). The soil of your farm should be analyzed.
  • Land preparation should be correctly executed as advised (Cross sub-soiling at 45°, 1st plough, 1st harrow, 2nd harrow [if required], bed and/or furrow)
  • Select the adequate variety to be planted. By planting several varieties, in different parcels with different maturities, will help to maximize sugar production.
  • Whole stalk cane seed, harvested at 24-25 tons per acre, should have atleast 3 healthy buds per seed set. There should be at least 12 healthy buds per linear meter with 3-4 in depth of soil covering the seed. Plant double line or overlapped. Healthy buds should have no damages due to mechanical cut, borer, dry buds or rats.
  • Good quality cane seed  (7-9 months old) should be harvested (manually or semi-mechanically), from a certified nursery to ensure good germination. Germination expectancy should be atleast 8 plants per linear meter.
  • Double row (2 m between beds; 16 inches between rows) or single row (with spacing of 71 inches). Furrows depth should be at least 12 inches.
  • Apply 2 bags of fertilizer (6-15-39) per acre at the bottom of the furrow. 8-10 weeks after germination apply 1.2 bags of 37-0-0 fertilizer per acre at the base of the plant and mould.
  • As soon as planting is completed, apply with a knapsack or boomsprayer pre-emergent herbicide (Merlin 75 WG or Alion 50 SC)
  • After 6-8 weeks, spray Diuron + 2,4 D Amine (1.2 Kg+1.2 L in 120 L of water per acre) if some young weeds are emerging.

Planting is not a cookbook, and even though some typical practices have been listed, these may not apply to everyone. Planting depending, on crop start date, moisture conditions, and resources can be defined as Spring and Fall Planting. The message above is that in theory, planting can be achieved year round depending on available moisture and resources. There is not a finite optimum planting period.

Posted on April 7, 2015 .