Sugarcane Crop Cycle(India)
To understand sugar as a commodity it is very important to know the growth cycle of sugarcane crop in India. So in this section we will be covering the crop cycle along with conditions favorable for the growth of the plant.
Depending upon the variety and sowing time it takes about 12 to 18 months for sugarcane to mature. Generaly January to march is the period of sowing and December to March is the period of harvesting. After harvest, generally a ratoon crop is cultivated from the re-growth. A Ratoon Crop is the new cane which grows from the stubble left behind are harvesting. Taking one ratoon after normal planted crop is a common practice in India. In some countries 2-6 ratoon crops are allowed.
The crushing season in the country starts from October, when the ratoon crop of previous year’s plantation is harvested, and reaches its peak in January before finally ending in March or April of the next year. But based on cane availability, the start of the crushing season may postponed by one to one and a half months in different states of the country.
Sugarcane is a long duration, high water and high nutrient-demanding crop. Sugarcane is grown under wide range of climate, ranging from sub-tropical to tropical conditions. Temperatures above 50°C and below 20°C are not suitable for its growth. For optimum productivity it requires 750-1200 mm of rainfall during its entire growth period. Well drained alluvial to medium black cotton soils with neutral pH (6.0 – 7.0) and optimum depth (>60 cm) are good for sugarcane growth. Optimum productivity is also being obtained in sandy to sandy-loam soils with near neutral pH under assured irrigated conditions of North India.
Major portions of sugarcane cultivation in India lies in the sub-tropical belt. U.P., Uttaranchal, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana are the important cane growing States in this region. Sugarcane is also grown in a few pockets in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Assam, but the productivity in these States is very low.
Sugarcane is grown extensively in the tropical belt including States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, as sugar cane, which is a tropical crop, has favourable agro climatic conditions for its growth in these States. The yields are substantially higher in the tropical belt as compared to the sub-tropical regions.