Sugarcane – pit method of planting – amazing yield of 110 mt per acre per year


Sugarcane setts planted in rounded pits espaced at 4 feet on either side with 16 to 18 two budded setts produced 110 MT of yield in one acre per year .
At 4 feet spacings total number of pits per acre is around  2777 pits . At rate o 16 number of  2 budded setts , it arrives at total of 88864 buds
At 65% germination , total number of viable buds are 57761 buds
This 57761 buds produce on an average 3 sugarcanes
So total number of canes per acre is 173283 canes
Out of this 57761 canes are mother canes ( 33 % of total cane population )  . 40%  of these mother can only survive and rest are lost through mortality .so viabe mother cane is 23,104  canes
40% of 173283 canes are secondary canes – 69313
80 % of secondary cane survive – 55450  numbers of secondary cane
27  % of 173283 canes are tertiary canes – 46209
60  % of teritiary cane survive ( 60 % of 46209 ) – 27725
Total number of primary canes – 23,104
Total number of secondary canes – 48,519
Total number of tertiary canes – 27725 
Total weight of mother cane @ 1.5  kg per cane is  34,656 kgs
Total weight of secondary cane @ 1.0  kg per cane is 55,450 kgs
Total weight of tertiary cane @ 0.720 kg per cane is 19,962
Total cane yield per acre is 110.068 MT

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Dear Ramu Sir,

This article came at the right time for me when I am thinking which method to follow in my 2.5 acres land (currently redgram ready for harvest).

I was planning to experiment with single bud method with a distance of 2’X5’ in half of an acer and the rest in the traditional method.

After this article I am thinking of Half acer single bud and half acer pit method and rest traditional method. Can you please suggest which one is better and the advantages and disadvantages.

With regards to Pit method I have few questions can you please clarify.

  1. What is the diameter of the Pit.

  2. According to a study sugarcane requires more sunlight and water. In pit method are they not too dense and overlapping on each other ?

  3. How do you deal with earthing up? as we do in traditional method. Is it not required ?

  4. I have drip irrigation setup. Does it suite the pit method ?

Request you to kindly elaborate on the fertigation requirement to get such kind of yield (Land preparation to daily/weekly dose of nutrients requirement)

I can post the photos of  step by step development this time.


Venu Kulkarni

pit size is 2 feet dia

here enough light and air due to 1.2 M spacing either side

here mortality rate is 42 %

single bud and tissue culture planting is a failure history

fertigation is done till 10 months duration
convention method you use 30000 double budded sets ie. 60000 number of buds and inter row spacing is 0.9 Meter and sets are planted with overlapping sets arrangement
@65% germination , it gives 39,000 viable buds which multiply in 1:3 ratio giving total canes of 117000. @ 40 % mortality , it gives total viable cane of 70,200 canes with mother cane, secondary and tertiary cane ratio of 1:3:2
11700 mother cane
35100 secondary cane
23400 tertiary cane
primary / mother cane @/1 kg average with gives 11.7 MT
secondary cane @ 0.8 kg average weight gives 28.08 MT
tertiary cane @ 0.6 kg average weight gives 14.040 MT
so your total yield per acre will be 53.82 MT

Dear Ramu sir,

Thanks for your quick reply.

In traditional method I did not get more than 30 Tonnes per Acer.

Can you please write up on the fertigation schedule, and best practices to be followed to get 100 Tonnes of Output (I would be happy any thing more than 60 or near 60 T/Acer).

My water has a EC of 0.23 and PH 7.3
My Soil has a EC of 0.17 - 0.19 and PH of 7.0 - 7.3

Hope Drip irrigation is fine for Pit method. How about earthing up ? is it not required ?

Thank you so much  for your inputs

Venu Kulkarni

pit method does not require earthing up as planting is done 10-15 cm down from surface where as rides and furrow method planting is done on the side of ridges just above soil surface

your soil is not bad .it can produce more than 80 MT per acre

will post fertigation schedule for you

please find fertigation schedule for sugarcane as attached here

Hello Ramu Sir,

Thank yo for the schedule.

I have few more questions… please don’t mind if they are silly.

As I already said I have drip irrigation set up. Now for example germination and establishment stage you said 30Kg Urea 21 KG MAP, and 9Kg MgSo4. My question is Shall I send every thing at once using century ? or do I have to split it in some manner ?

In the same way at other stages urea 210 kg’s etc… all at once ? Can you please confirm.

I have 5 acer of Ratoon sugar cane crop harvested last week. Can you please suggest how to go ahead with fertigation for this? I have left all the Trash as it is in the field.

Thanks for the patience

Venu Kulkarni


for this method, 

Is drip irrigation must. Please confirm the same.

if open field method is different . Please share the details.

vipin Kumar

Dear  Sir,

Please share  details of nutrient, weed, Pest, Diseases, & cost of cultivation per acre.
I will be thankful of you


The fertilizer dose mentioned against each crop stage is meant for entire duration of that specific growth stage …For example the germination and establishment phase is set for 30 days . For example 30 kg Urea  provided for germination and establishment phase  translates into the quantity to be delivered @ 1 kg per acre per day . However here in the germination phase , the fertigation starts on 20 th day on account of the reason that the sugarcane sett produce roots to absorb water and nutrients around that time only . However the quantity to be delivered depends on the frequency of the irrigation . If daily irrigation is followed , the quantity is @ 1 kg per acre  . If given on an alternate day it is 2 kg per acre , if irrigation is given once in 3 days it is 3 kgs per per acre …The total quantity against respective growth stage is same but the quantity per day used depends on the frequency of irrigation  followed

You said ratoon sugarcane .

Things to note here is

1.If you burn the trash , it produce enormous heat of around 500-600 degree Celsius that kills both soil microbes as well as dormant buds on exposed stubble s of harvested cane that in turn impact sprouting of new shoots …

2.So you do collect all the trashes and keep it nearby the field . Attend half baring ie, breaking the shoulder of the ridges in each sugarcane rows that tear off all the old and dead roots and induce new fresh roots that helps enormously in the absorption of water and nutrients for newly sprouted shoots

  1. In about 20-30 days period , observe for gaps along the sugarcane rows . If gap is found anywhere along the sugarcane rows , just pick up the new sprouts from where it has more sprouts by splitting it away and plant it where gap is noticed .

4.Here in ratoon crops use more urea right in the beginning itself . Say apply 50 kgs of urea per acre manually along the rows after halfbaring / breaking  shoulder of the ridges is done

  1. And you can follow the fertigation schedule as given in the attached file

  2. In ratoon crop , it needs micronutrients more particularly ferrous ion .It is to be applied in the form of ferrous sulphate @ 10 kgs per acre …or you can even deliver it to the plants through foliar spray @1- 2 grams per lit of water

Weedicide is Atrataf - pre emergence weedicide sprayed on 3rd of planting or just before planting setts

Major diseases
1.Sett rot - during initial stages of planting

  1. Redrot diseases is a serious disease

3.smut ( whip tail ) disease

4.Chlorasis is deficient disease - iron deficiency

5.Wilt disease - Fusarium wilt

Insect pest

1.Termite problem - Termite eats the setts before germination in red sandy soil
2.Early shoot borer - Damage from 20 days after planting to 120 days
3.Internode borer - Damage crop from 120 -240 days
4.Top borer pest - damage plants from 240 days till harvest
5.Sucking pest - scales, whitefly, mites , mealybugs

So you can follow good Agricultural practices to prevent all the pest and disease

Either drip irrigation or Open field irrigation can be done

Cost of cultivation goes as follows .You can work out it by yourself based on the following list of activities and inputs needed for cultivation

1.      Ploughing and ridges formation - 4 ploughs and ridges formation
2.      Basal application of 4 bags of super phosphate along with 10 MT of farmyard manure
3.    10 kgs of micronutrient mixture
4.    3 MT of seed cane /sugarcane
5.    Seed treatment chemicals
6.    weedicide , manual weeding and earthing up
7.    Fertilizer and application cost
8.    Pesticide and application cost
9      Detrashing cost
10.  Staking cost if needed
11.  Harvesting and transportation cost
12.  Interest rate if loan is taken

Thank you Ramu sir for the information. I will follow the schedule and let you know the results

Can’t we use the Sugarcane trash as the mulch to avoid the weeds ? is there any other smarter way to use the trash.

Venu Kulkarni

yes you can use trash as mulch …after completing ratoon preparatory work , you can spread the same trash in inter row spaces and either sprinkle gypsum ( chemical method ) or pluerotus fungus ( bio method ) over the trashes .In due course the trash decompose and become manure besides being an organic mulch …
best of luck

Hi Ramu Sir,

The fertigation dosages you have mentioned looks bit higher.
Total urea required  - 460 kgs
Total 12-61-0 ( MAP ) – 105 kgs
Total MOP required – 355 kgs
Total MgSo4 required – 75 kgs

Wanted to confirm if the dosages are for one Hectare or Acre.

Thank you,


Can this kind of output (80 Tones) achieved by using organic methods ?

I am just worried using such quantity of chemicals per acer. Is there any way to reduce the chemical inputs ?

Thank you


Dear friend

In fertigation we administer nutrients till the end of nineth month and to harvest around 100 MT or cane per acre

In ordinary/ conventional method of sugarcane cultivation , fertilizer dose is lesser and entire fertilizer quantity is applied within 90-100 days of planting

The quantity of  nutrients are worked out to the level of yield obtained say 100 MT that is the result of total number of sugarcane ( Mother cane, secondary and tertiary canes)  and average weight of individual cane in each categories

Further the level of nutrients applied depends on the variety of sugarcane planted , nutrients status and soil type and method of application

The blanket recommendation will not produce expected result everywhere

Further in organic method you can harvest 80 MT of sugarcane provided your soil is fertile ( native fertility status ) , and prevailing climate is conducive and level and type of organic inputs used are best suitable for your land and location

Other  factors that determine yield level is seed cane of right age 6-7 months old obtained from nursery …seed treatment , right planting season etc…

when output is more , input requirement also goes high

The more urea in the early stage of cane cultivation  is to promote fast vegetative growth and more tillering and more potassium at later stage of sugarcane cultivation is to increase the weight of each sugarcane