Planting Time:


Sugarcane is cultivated annually in the area of 28.5 million feddan in eighty countries extends from the equator to latitude 36.7 North (Spain ) and 31 South (South Africa) on different altitudes ranging from below the sea level up to 1000 meters above the sea level(2).

It is worth mentioning that, the number of sugarcane producing countries has doubled throughout the fifty years. Consequently, it has increased from 37 to 80 countries on the world level and from 5 to 28 countries on the African continent level. Where India and Brazil alternate positions of occupying the top rank among the most important sugarcane producing countries with regards to the cultivated area , those are followed by Cuba,, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Australia, United States of America, South Africa and Colombia, respectively (2)..


Sugarcane cultivation alternates with the cultivation of other crops in four or five-year rotation. It is cultivated in Upper Egypt in two seasons (The Percentage of planting for both times is 50% of total area under plant cane) (3).:


  •    Autumn( Mid-September and Mid-October)
  • During autumn season, cane is usually intercropped with broad bean and some vegetable crops especially (Tomatoes and Garlic).
  • The crop usually lasts during the first year (Plant) for 14 to 16 months, intercropped with some winter crops, whereas ratoons during the following years last for 12 months till harvesting.
  • Spring (February April)
  • During this season, cane is usually soil field intercropped with soybean, and the crop remains during the first year from 12-13 months till harvesting.
  •  Afterwards the yield of ratoon cane is to be cultivated every 12 months regularly during the following years.
  • Cane usually remains in the field after its cultivation under any of the two seasons from 4-5 successive years through which it is harvest times (3)..


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Methods of Cultivation:

            1-  One Row Method

            2-  One and Half Rows Method

            3- Two Rows Method(3).

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Row spacing

  • Sugarcane should be planted at a row spacing of 90 cm to 1 m (3)..

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Amount of Seed (Cuttings):

  • Two-three budded double sets should be placed end to end in the furrows covered with 2 to 3 cm soil layer.
  • About 3 to 4 tonnes seed (= Cuttings)  (80 to 100 maunds) of thin cane varieties and 4 to 5 tonnes seed (100 to 120 maunds) of thick varieties is sufficient to plant one acre (3)..

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Hot water seed treatment

  • Seed may be treated with hot water at 520 C for 30 minutes and with fungicide. This will help in better germination and the control of many cane diseases.
  • Soaking cuttings and treating with running water for 48 hours sometimes enhances germination of old cuttings.
  • Soaking in hot water (500C) for 20 minutes greatly enhances germination. This, however, is difficult to control at a practical level.
  • Treatment with running water has been suggested to remove fermentation products and inhibitors from the cutting. Indoleacetic acids (IAA) or naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) treatment enhances root growth but delays bud development. Acetylene promotes the growth of the cutting.
  • Substances including ethyl alcohol, ammonium phosphate, complete nutrient solution, and ferrous sulphate have all on occasions proved beneficial to germination.
  • On the other hand, at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, experiments have shown that soaking cane setts (cuttings)  in water, cow urine, and 2% KmnO4 solution before planting reduced yield

Table Effects of various pre-planting seed treatments on the cane yield of 'Co.L-54'.


Cane yield (t/ha)

Normal setts (unsoaked)


Soaked in water


Soaked in cow urine


Soaked in 20% KmnO4


Source: Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (3-4)

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       Water is about 75% of stem.

There are 4 stages for irrigation:

      1- Autumn and Spring seasons:

  • In these periods, the atmosphere is fine and the plant is young for that the amount of water is small.
  • The irrigation period is every 15 days.

      2- Summer Season:

  •  The growing of plant is the fastest period.
  • The plants need more water
  •  The irrigation period is every 7 days

      3- Winter season

  • The growing of plant is slow period.
  • Storage and translation of sugar from leaves to stems increase.
  • Stop irrigation before harvesting is between 25-30 days.
  • The plants need more water
  • The irrigation period is every 21 days.

      4- Agricultural irrigation

  • The soil must be saturate and the irrigation must be stopped during 3-4 hours.
  •   After 5 days, plant must be irrigated.

Deficiency of water

  1. Decrease length of internodes
  2. Decrease amount of juice and increase percent of fiber
  3. Decrease rate of germination
  4. Decrease of sugar yield

Increasing of irrigation:

  1. Damage of cuttings
  2. Death of buds
  3. Damage of root
  4. Plant can not adsorb elements from soil , the plant becomes yellowish
  5. Decrease yield
  6. Decrease sugar

Developing Surface irrigation System:



  1. Decrease the loss of water by evaporation or weeds
  2. Decrease the number of weeds.
  3. Period of irrigation is low (2-3 hours)
  4. The growth of plants is homogeneous.
  5. Improving the yield
  6. Decrease the infestation with pests (insects, diseases and weeds).
  7. Increasing the area of planting by saving the area of canals.
  8. Decreasing man infection by contacting the water (bilharzia or Schistosomiasis).
  9. Decreasing the pollution in canals.(3-4)

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Recommended varieties in Egypt


They are:


a- Local varieties :




GT 54-9

  • Resistance to diseases , pests and cold weather.
  • Stem is vertical.
  • Mid-ripening
  • Average yield in Shandweel (58.9 Ton/Fad), Mataana (58.9 Ton/Fad) , Kom-Ombo (51.6 Ton/Fad)

G 58-166

  • Resistance to insects and cold weather
  • Average yield (66.8.9 Ton/Fad)
  • Average Sugaryield (7.51 Ton/Fad)
  • It is suitable to plant in Quena

G 86-20

  • Resistance to insects , diseases
  • Low resistance to cold weather
  • Stem is vertical.
  • Early-ripening
  • Average yield (70.2 Ton/Fad)
  • Average Sugar yield (8.03 Ton/Fad)

G 87-37

  • Like GT 54-9
  • Resistance to insects , diseases  and cold weather
  • Stem is vertical.
  • Mid-ripening
  • Average yield (51.6 Ton/Fad) in Aswan

G 87-55

  • Resistance to insects , diseases and cold weather
  • Stem is vertical.
  • Early-ripening
  • Average yield in Sohag (62.4 Ton/Fad) and Kom-Ombo (57.5 Ton/Fad) 
  • It is suitable to plant in Aswan and Sohag.

G 87-58

  • Resistance to insects , diseases and cold weather
  • Stem is vertical.
  • Early-ripening
  • Average yield in Sohag (67.1Ton/Fad)
  • Average Sugar (7.41Ton/Fad)
  • It is suitable to plant in Sohag

G 87-73

  • Resistance to insects , diseases and cold weather
  • Stem is vertical.
  • Early-ripening
  • Average yield in Quena (37.8Ton/Fad)
  • Average Sugar (8.11Ton/Fad)
  • It is suitable to plant in Quena


b - Foreign Varieties :




Ph 8013

  • Resistance to insects and diseases
  • Early-ripening
  • Its yield and sugar are higher than GT 54-9

F 155

  • Resistance to insects and diseases
  • Early-ripening
  • Its yield and sugar are higher than GT 54-9

F 160

  • Resistance to insects , diseases and cold weather
  • Mid-ripening
  • Its yield and sugar are higher than GT 54-9 in Quena

*- (3)

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Burning of leaves


Preliminary Burning of leaves (before chopping of stems) is practiced in many countries (included Egypt).

As a rule, leaves are burned at night (to prepare the plot for harvesting on the next day).


Advantages of Leaf-burning:

  • facilitating the harvesting of stems
  • controlling rodents
  • Controlling  snakes disturbing macheteroes in their work.
  • Leaf-burning is particularly effective when using combine-harvesters
  • With their leaves burned on them, the bare unharvested stems lose from 8 to 12% of their mass (weight) within 4 days. On the fifth day the losses may reach 14 to 20%
  • Leaf-burning benefits manual harvesting
  • increasing macheteroes productivity by 2 to 3 tons a day.
  • Mechanized harvesting considerably improves the quality of commercial stems.
  • On large commercial plantations the sugarcane is usually harvested after the leaves are burned , and it takes two days to collect all plants.

Disadvantages of leaf-burning:


         Leaf-burning has some drawbacks

         It can damage the buds,

         Deteriorating the growth of stem.

         Weeds seem to grow faster after leaf-burning,

         The microbiological activity of the top soil is observed to decline,

         Erosion processes on the slopes obviously become more intensive.


In view of all this, leaf-burning is preferred on those plantations which should be stubbed and used for other crops or for few plantings of sugarcane. (1 & 3)

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Bio-fertilizer application

               Bio-fertilizers such as 5 kg of Azospirillum and 10 kg of Phosphobacteria each mixed with farmyard manure must be applied on the 30th day after planting and 5 kg of Azospirillum mixed with farmyard manure should be applied at 60th day after planting.


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        1-       Autumn Season and 3rd ratoon sugarcane:

These Crops are

  •   Bean
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Sugarbeet
  • Lentils


  2-       Spring Season and 3rd ratoon sugarcane:

These Crops are

  •   Sesame,
  •  Soybean 
  •   Mango Bean (3)

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Source of Information

  1. G.V. Ustimenko-Bakumovsky (1983). Plant growing  in the tropics and subtropics Mir Publishers Moscow, p144            
  2. Farouk Afifi (1988). Sugar crops and sugar production in Egypt and the world.  Prepared by the Central Council for Sugar Crops, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation 70 pp
  3. Bulletin No 440 (1998). Sugarcane . ed. by Agricultural Research Center, Egypt (in Arabic). 

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