Ratoon Cropping in Sugarcane

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1. Ratooning is a practice of growing a crop from the stubbles of previous crop.
2. Importance of Ratoon:
i) Ratoon saves cost on preparatory tillage and planting material.
ii) It gets benefit of residual manure and moisture.
iii) Ratoon crop matures earlier and gives more or less same yield as of suru cane.
3. Only one ratoon should be taken because incidence of pests and diseases increases and deterioration of soil takes place.

Different Practices Followed in Ratoon Sugarcane Crop:

1. The sugarcane crop whose ratoon is to be kept should be harvested at ground level.
2. Generally all trash and dried canes should be removed from the harvested field but, in case of lack of moisture in soil trash is kept as such in field for mulching.
3. Irrigation should not be given for a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
4. The emerging shoots should be cut close to the ground to encourage shoots from lower internodes and to have uniform stand of the crop.
5. Soil has to be loosened before starting irrigation.
6. A plough is worked first to break the sides of the ridges and then middle portion is loosened by working an iron grubber or kudali.
7. This operation provides aeration and pruning of old, non functional roots.
8. One or two harrowing are done and land is left to dry up for 2 to 3 weeks before starting the irrigation.
9. The dose of manure for ratoon is 25 to 30 tons FYM, 250 kg N 125 kg P and 125 kg K/ha.

10. First irrigation is given at 6 weeks after the harvest of the previous crop and then regular schedule of irrigation is followed as in suru cane.
11. Intercultivation and earthing up operations are followed as in case of plant cane.
12. Ratoon crop matures earlier than the plant cane and gives about 90 to 100 tons/ha. yield.

Advantages of ratooning cropping:

  • Higher yield per unit area in a given period of time;
  • Better utilization of growing season, especially in monsoonal climates;
  • Can be used in breeding to maintain the same plant of a clone through several seasons;
  • Often uses less irrigation water and fertilizer than the main crop because of the shorter growth period;
  • Ratoons save time as they setablish early and in general mature early. There for they can be harvested early.
  • Reduced cost of production through saving in land preparation and care of the plant during early growth of the clone.

Disadvantages of Ratooning Cropping:

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