Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Intercropping with sugarcane: All you need to know

Know about different methods of sowing sugarcane


Industries like sugarcane, sugar and jaggery have a special role in strengthening the economic condition of millions of farmers in the country by generating employment opportunities for them. However, sugarcane farmers have a long wait of about 12 months to get their produce price. At times, there is a delay in the payment of cane price on the part of sugar mills. To increase profits from sugarcane cultivation and earn extra income in the face of a long wait, agricultural scientists recommend intercropping with sugarcane cultivation.

Intercropping gives income to farmers in the middle

The head of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, West Champaran, Dr. R.P. Singh says that sugarcane is a long duration crop and intercropping is a good option for the sugarcane farmer while he waits for the sugarcane crop. This provides support to the farmer’s income and increases the income per acre. He said that if farmers cultivate one acre of sugarcane in an advanced way, they can get 38 to 40 tonnes of sugarcane yieldafter 12 months. This would fetch the farmer Rs 55,000-60,000.

If farmers cultivate corn maize as an intercrop in the spring, they can earn an additional net income of Rs 80,000 per acrewithin three to four months. Similarly, if the farmer opts for French bean as intercrop, then he can earn an additional net income of Rs 65,000 per acre. Inter-cropping of urad, moong, and cowpea with sugarcane can yield a net income of Rs 35,000-40,000 per acre while intercropping of onion, gourd, cucumber and lady finger with sugarcane in the spring can earnan additional income of Rs 40,000- 45,000 per acre. If the farmer sowswheat in a furrow ridge bed system and simultaneously sows sugarcane as an intercrop, then the net income from wheat crop can be Rs 25,000- 30,000 per acre.

Intercropping maize with Sugarcane
Intercropping maize with Sugarcane

Improved methods of sowing sugarcane for intercropping

According to Dr. R.P. Singh, various methods of sowing sugarcane have been developed for different conditions-kund method, leveling method, pit method and drain method. Sugarcane is cultivated on a large scale by drain method and pit method. In the drain method, sugarcane is sown in 30 cm wide and 30 cm deep drains. Two rows of sugarcane are kept in a drain.

Currently, plantation method has been found very useful among the new sowing methods. In this technique, a sugarcane nursery is prepared. The nursery seedlings are then transplanted into the main field. Dr. Singh says this method has been found more useful with intercropping.

Planting is done in two ways. In the first method, line-to-line distance is kept at five feet and plant-to-plant distance is 2 feet. For planting sugarcane, it takes 5000 saplings per acre. In the second method, plantation is done by keeping the line-to-line distance at 4 feet and plant-to-plant distance at 1.5 feet. 8000 saplings are planted per acre. In this way, short duration crops are sown with intercropping. Farmers get additional income within three to four months and the yield of sugarcane is also better.

Intercropping of moong, urad, cowpea or French bean with sugarcane in the spring is of great benefit. After plucking the pods of these crops, the plants are uprooted in green stage and spread between two rows of sugarcane. By overturning them in the soil, 12 to 15 kg of nitrogen per acre is saved.

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Better profit from intercropping of sugarcane-wheat

Gursewak Singh, a farmer of village Godiya, District Lakhimpur, Uttar Pradesh, has opted for intercropping of wheat with sugarcane in four acres of his land. In this way,he gets the benefit of two crops.

Speaking to Kissan of India, he said, earlier, after harvesting the wheat crop, he used to sow sugarcane late in April-May. He got very little yield from sugarcane. But now,he has made beds in the field with the help of furrow rage machine. Wheat was sown first on the bed, and after a month, the transplanted seedlings of sugarcane from the nursery were planted in the drains. He has planted 7200 sugarcane saplings.

Gursewak Singh said that he would get 17 quintal yield per acre from wheat and 60 tonnes of sugarcane. In this way,he gets additional income from the wheat crop. He says that intercropping with sugarcane is a profitable deal for small farmers.

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