Sugar Crops

Sugar beet

Land Requirements

Land to be used for seed production shall be free of volunteer plants.

Isolation Requirements

Sugar beet is cross-pollinated by wind or insects. Pollen normally sheds over a period of weeks, therefore chances ofcontamination due to outcrossing are prolonged. The sugar beet seed fields shall be isolated from fields of other varieties, of same vareity not conforming tovarieties purity requirements of certification, and fields of swiss chard, spinach beet and garden beet at least by 5 meters at mother root production stage; and by 1600 meters and 1000 meters, at seed production stage for foundation seed and certified seed stage respectively.

Time of Sowing

Sowing should be so planned that stecklings get fully developed before the severe winter. Therefore, in areas of heavy snow fall, mid-June is the best time for sowing while in areas of low snow fall a july sowing is ideal.

Preparation of Land

Good land preparation is necessary. the field should be ploughed once and harrowed two to three times, followed by levelling. Adequate moisture in the field at the time of sowing is necessary for obtaining good germination.

Source of Seed

Obtain breeder's/foundation seeds from source approved by a seed certification agency.

Seed Rate

Row to row Plant to Plant
In situ crop 60 cm 15 to 20 cm
Transplanted crop
For raising stecklings 45 cm 10 cm
For transplanting stecklings 60 cm 45 cm

Method of Sowing

Ridge sowing is normally recommended for sugar beet. In areas where a dry climate prevails, flat sowing may also be done.

Fertilisation

the commercial crop of subar geet requires 100 to 150 kg of nitrogen, 50 kg phosphorus and 150 kg of potash. In seed crop apply 50 to 60 per cent of the commercial crop nutrient requirement before sowing in the nursery, and 125 to 150 per cent of commercial beet crop in the seed fiedl. Apply full phosphorus, potash and half nitrogen at the time of stecking planting. The remaining half nitrogen should be applied after forty five dayswhen the leaves start developing. In addtion to NPK, the application of Borax at the rate of 20 kg to30 kg per hectare has been found useful in preventing canker. borax also helps in good root development.

Spacing

Irrigation

Irrigation of the field at flowering time has been found very useful. At other times, irrigate the seed field as deemed necessary.

Interculture

Keep the field free of weeds for at least the first sixty days. The first weeding and interculture should be done when the crop is about four to five weeks old. the second weeding should be done after sixty days. The use of weedicides such as beetamin and pyramin at the rate of 2 kg per hectare 30 days after sowing and before emergence respectively has also been found useful.

Insect and Disease Control

Adopt recommended IPM methods

Roguing

the diseased and off-type plants must be rogued out from the fiedl. Rogue out diseased plants, early bolters, off-type plants from time to time.

Harvesting and Threshing

The seed crop can be harvested when two thirds of the seeds are ripe. At this stage, seeds at the base of the branches mature and turn noticeably brown. Ripe seeds sometime shatter, but if plants are pulled early in morning when moist, shattering is prevented. Harvesting should usually be done by hand as moving is not satisfactory. Because ripening is uneven, two to three hand harvestings are often necessary. In regions with frequent rain, plants should be tied into bundles and cured in stacks and left until hard and mature. Rain does not hurt seed but may discolour it. When carting sheaves to thresher, care in handling is necessary to avoid shattering. Seed can be threshed with an ordinary grain thresher. Combines can also be used forthreshing. Rough cleaning with fanning mill removes all shrunken seeds, weeds and stalks, etc. to remove excess moisture, maximum drying temperature should not exceed 40 C.

The seed should be dried to nine to ten per cent mositure for safe storage.

After cleaning,seeds may be "rubbed and graded" with the help of suitable machines.

Seed Yield

The average seed yield is about 8 to 10 qtl per hectare.

Sugar Cane

Land Requirements

Select fields in which sugarcane crop was not grown in the previous one year. To avoid and reduce the disease incidence such as red rot, wilty etc. long duration crop rotation should be adopted. the soil should be fairly rich and the fields welldained, with no previous history ofwater logging. the irrigation must be assured. Areas where the incidence of borers, mealybugs and scales is more than twenty per cent should not be selected for seed cane production.

Isolation Requirements

Only one variety may be gorwn at a farm. In any case the seed plot must be isolated at least by 5 meters all around from other sugarcane fields.

Time of Sowing

The planting of seed crop should be so adjusted that the seed crop is harvested at 8-10 months age in tropical and at 10-12 months age in subtropical regions of the country.

Preparation of Land

One to two deep ploughing and one cross ploughing followed by disc harrowings or repeated ploughing by desi plough followed by levelling till the land is reduced to a fine tilth are required. After this, the field is irrigated for its final preparation by harrowing or ploughing by desi plough followed by levelling.

Source of Seed

Obtain breeder's/foundation seeds from source approved by a seed certification agency.

Method of Sowing

  • Flat planting: In this method shallow furrows (10cm deep) are opened at a distance of 90 cms. thesets are placed in them end toend and covered with 5-7 cm soil and the field is levelled.
  • Furrow planting: In this method furrows are opened with a ridger, about 10-15 cm deep in northern India and 20 cm deep in peninsular India. Sets are laid end to end in the furrows and covered with 5-7 cm of soil, leaving the upper portion of the furrows unfilled. In south Indian states immediately after planting and covering thesets water is let into thefurrow. the row to row spacing is kept at 90 cms.
  • Space transplanting technique: This is a new technique which minimises the input levels and suits for quick production for multiplication of nucleus and breeder seeds and also suits seed growers with small holdings.
  • Raising of setting nursery: For planting 1 ha. it is sufficient to raise a setting nursery in 50 sq.m. area a month before actual planting. Small plots of approximately one square meter are made and the single bud sets (drawn from the upper half of the cane stalk by cutting just above the growth ring and leaving 8-10 cm of the internode below thebud) are dibbled vertically, keeping the bud and the root bands just above the soil surface. In each of these small plots approximately 600-800 single bud sets,are accomodated. After dibblings the set's are covered with dried cane leaves and kept in a position with a light soil cover. The nursery is irrigated frequently tomaintain optimum moisture conditions. Water stagnation inside thenursery beds is avoided. Eighty five to ninety five per cent of the buds sprout within 3 to 4 weeks time and three to four green leaves appear in most of the settlings by this time, this is the right stage for space planting in the field.
  • Transplantation of settings and preparation of settings: Settings should be carefully removed from the nrusery and dettopped with a sharp knife. The detopped settings are then dipped in 0.1 per cent are tan solution and taken out immediately. A portions ofsettings nursery (about 2000 to 2500 settings) is reserved for gap filling, in the field at later stage.

Fertilisation

The fertilizer requirements depends upon the soil and climatic conditions and theseshould be worked out on thebasis of soil tests. For seed crops the fertilizer requirements are approximately twenty-five per cent higher than commercial crops. In general,however, under north Indian conditions apply 60-75 kg nitrogen, 100 kg phosphorus and 75 kg potash per ha at the time of planting; and 60-75 kg nitorgen per ha after 80-100 days; and 30-75 kg nitrogen per ha. approximately four to six weeks before harvest. Under south Indian conditions these doses will be 125-150 kg nitrogen, 125 kg phosphorus and 100 kg potash per ha at the time of planting; 125-150 kg nitrogen after 80-90 days; and 40-50 kg nitrogen per ha approximately four to six weeks prior to harvesting.

It is advisable to apply half of thenitrogen in the form of bulky organic menures such as FYM or compost and the remainder in the form ofammonium sulphate or oilcakes or a combination of the two. The bulky organics should be ploughed into the soil sufficiently in advance of planting. Oil cakes are usually given at the time of planting and ammonim sulphate in two or three doses at planting or tillering, at earthing up and four to six weeks prior to the harvest of seed crop.

Transplanting

The transplanting of settlings isdone at a distance of 90 cm between rows and 60 cm with in rows. In case of moderate tillering varieties, orin late planting, the spacing between rows and within the rows may be reduced to 75 cm and 45 cm, respectively. Cane rows are opened and the settlings are transplanted within them at the requisite distance. Thereafter the field is irrigated and kept in moist condition by frequent irrigation. After about 10 days of transplanting the gaps occuring due to mortality ofsettlings are filled by transplanting settlings from the reserve portion of the nursery and irrigated immediately. After the settlings are established normal cultural practices like irrigation, hoeing etc. are give as and when needed.

Irrigation

The maintenance of optimum soil moisture during all stages of crop growth is one of the essential requisites for raising a good sed crop. In tropical India, usually one or two waterings are given at intervals of three or four days after planting to help the sets to germinate and the seedlings to establish themselves. Thereafter in the absence of rains the cane crop should be irrigated atan interval of 10-12 days during its growing period. Subsequently the frequency of irrigations is reduced.

In northern India thecrop needs water more frequently in summer. the autumn crop requires on an average seven irrigations, five before the monsoon rains and two after receding of themonsoon. The spring crop may need six irrigations. However, in drier climates and light soils eight to ten irrigations may be necessary.

Interculture

The first hoeing and weeding should be given to the crop three to four weeks after planting. In some pockets where the weeds come up rapidly in the planted fields one blind hoeing should be given within the one or two weeks after planting. After germinatioin, depending upon the field conditions and frequency of irrigation two or three more hoeings and wedings are required during the first three months after planting. good care in weeding and interculture helps the clumps well, and to form canes early. The crop should be so managed that it grows rapidly to have a canopy cover or shading over the interspaces. the shading adversely affect the growth of weeds and thus keep their population very low.

Insect and Disease Control

Adopt recommended IPM methods

Roguing

Rogue out clumps affected by smut, grassy shoot disease, red rot and wilt from time to time. Also remove plant infested by borers as and when noticed. Both at the time of planting and at the time of harvest sort out/reject off type cane stalks differing from the typical characteristics ofthevariety under seed production.

Harvesting and Threshing

The harvesting should commence when the seed cane is approximately 8-10 months of age in tropical regions and 10-12 months ofage in sub-tropical regions. However, before cutting the crop for obtaining seed, the seed field is given good irrigation. During cutting and further handling of the crop every effort must be made to avoid damage to the buds. Also, the harvested canes should be processed quickly. As a matter of fact the harvesting of seed crop should commence only after the field has been finally prepared and other arrangments such as transportation etc. have been made. the harvested can should not be allowed to dry up and if there are any delays in planting water sprinklings should be done on the canes for checking drying of the canes.

All such canes showing diseas/insect infection or infestation and the off-type canes must be culled out and rejected for seed purposes. It should be ensured that no mixture ofcanes of different varieties takes place either during harvest or transportation ofseed canes to the plot. The seed pieces or sets should be prepared and immediately planted after the requisite treatments.

Seed Yield

The average seed yield is about