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Integrated weed management in sugarcane

Integrated Weed Management (IWM)

            Integrated weed management, therefore, focuses on the control of sugarcane weeds through judicious use of mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical methods at different stages of weed and crop growth to get the effective and economical results.

  • Hoeing and Hand weeding: The physical removal of weeds by manual labour implements like khurpi, kassi, spade, hand hoe, etc. are very effective in controlling weeds at early stages of crop growth. However, in mechanized cane cultivation bullock or tractor-drawn cultivators, harrows and rotavators could be used for the control of weeds.
  • Burning: Burning of weeds in field may be helpful in suppressing them for some time, but those weeds which have underground rhizomes or tubers are not completely eliminated. Burning is, however, helpful in destroying some of the dicotyledonous weeds.
  • Mulching: Artificial mulches have been used for intercepting sun-light reaching the soil surface and thus starve out weed seedling as they emerge. Uniform spread of 5 to 10 cm thick trash blanket in-between the rows, as also in the inter-plant spaces help in suppressing weeds. The trash keeps all weeds suppressed and the fields remain almost free from weeds. It is necessary to give a thorough hoeing and weeding in the field before spreading the trash, particularly if the field has been weedy. In places, where obnoxious grass weeds are in abundance the trash cover has to be a little thicker, say 10 cm to 15 cm thick. This is indeed a very potent and useful way of suppressing weeds in sugarcane fields. Beside weed control, trash mulching saves water, labour and costs, and gives higher yields of cane. Trash-mulched plots are remarkably easy on irrigation. Bagasse, paddy husk, hay, straw, etc. can also be used as mulching material. Spreading the black polythene film (Solarization) in interspaces suppresses the growth of weeds and conserves soil moisture.
  • Earthing Up: Earthing-up operation is also known as "hilling-up". This operation is carried out in two or three stages. The first earthing-up operation is known partial earthing-up and the second/third operation is known as "full earthing-up". The partial earthing-up is done at 45 days after planting. While doing partial earthing-up, the furrow in which the cane row is present gets partially filled-up.

            Full earthing-up is done after 120 days after planting coinciding with the peak tiller population stage. During full earthing-up the soil from the ridge in between is fully removed and placed near the cane on either side. This operation converts the furrows into ridges and ridges into furrows. This operation could be done either manually or by using a bullock-drawn/tractor drawn furrower depending upon the spacing adopted. One more earthing-up after cane population is stabilized at 180 DAP may be helpful in preventing lodging and water shoots formation. It also improves aeration and helps to control weeds.

 

                                   earthing up

 Weed control:

Three hoeing is done at 25-30 days interval after sowing.

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