Pit Planting in sugarcane

A revolutionary method

Sugarcane is the most important cultivated crop of tropical and subtropical areas.  It is highly valuable crop because of sucrose content and bagasse can be used for making clip and hard board, paper making and compress fiber boards. The crop after chopping can be used as animal feed. The economically important crop as it is considered as “First Generation Biofuel Crop”. Brazil is the top producer, energy produced through straws and bagasse of sugarcane is close to ITAIPU (largest hydroelectric power of Brazil). In Pakistan its yield is affected due to water losses, limited soil preparation, postharvest losses and improper variety adjustment (there is no proper varieties of Sept and Spring cultivation). The average yield is quite low than potential yield but it has been increased by “Pit Planting Method” of sugarcane. Major hurdle that was responsible for low yield of sugarcane can overcome now by pit planting. This method can improve yield in light textured soil, drought areas and saline and sodic soils.

Pit Planting is revolutionary method which can double the sugarcane yield. Instead of conventional method sowing having 60 cm single row space, seedlings are grown in pits (small depressions) in field. These pits can be dug either manually or by using double pit digger machine. The technique needs to be developed to ensure maximum plant population, prevents irrigation losses and efficient nutrition utilization. In this technique specific pattern is adopted having 100 cm space of single row with 30 cm ditch width and for 100 cm spaced double row 60 cm wide ditch is required. It is observed that ditch plantation can increase yield because more plant population can be maintained in this method. Other profitable characters achieved are high sucrose content in cane juice, number of canes for milling, weight per canes, cane length and water conservation can be ensured. Highly significant results are observed with 50 cm having 100*100 cm spaced in pit planting method compared to other methods, the efficiency of different parameters are shown in Table 1.


Firstly marked squares of 1.2*1.2 m in properly cultivated field. In the center of square, pit is dug (for 1 hectare 6900 pits dug). Before sowing setts application of mixture of farm yard manure of (5 kg), DAP (45 gm), K(50 gm) and Urea (50 gm) is applied properly. Treat canes with 10gm of Bavastin, 3 budded setts are prepared from these canes and horizontally placed 10 setts in pits in cyclic manner. Light irrigation and hoeing is properly done to ensure proper germination. As plant attain the height of 20-25cm, each pit is filled by transferring remaining soil of each pit having 25 g urea. Weeds can be controlled like conventional practices. Improvement observed in juice purity and sucrose contents in contrast to conventional method is shown in Fig 1  respectively. The method used widely now for advanced agronomic characters , high yield and enhanced qualitative characters for millable canes.



Under the supervision of Dr. Farooq Ahmed Khan

















































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