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Seed Selection and Treatment : Sugarcane


Seed Selection

  • Healthy seed material, free from pests and diseases like red rot, wilt, smut, ratoon stunting etc. and should be selected for seed purpose.
  • The top one-third to half portion of a cane being comparatively immature has buds of high viability and is best for sowing.
  • Bottom portion of cane is rich in sugar and takes a long time in germination; this should be used in jaggery making.
  • If only upper half of the cane is utilized for planting, comparatively higher germination is secured.
  • Seed cane should be taken from well mannered, erect and healthy crop of not more than 10-12 months age.
  • Ratoon crop is not suitable for seed purpose as these canes may carry the disease of the previous crop.
  • For best results separate crop nurseries should be raised specially for producing seed-canes under good crop management.
  • Special precautions should be taken against disease and pest control.

Seed Preparation and Treatment

  • Before planting, the dry leaves of the cane stalks are removed by hand in order to avoid any possible damage to buds.
  • Thereafter cane is cut into three budded setts usually 30 to 40 cm long.

Seed cane treatment with heat therapy:

  • Depending upon climatic conditions which affects germination and tillering, seed rate varies from about 25,000 to 45,000 three budded setts per hectare. In the sub-tropical region, the rates are high (35-45 thousand) and in Tamil Nadu the highest (55,000). On an average 36,000 three budded setts or 60 quintal of seed are sufficient for planting one hectare land area.
  • To prevent the seed setts being attacked by fungal diseases and also to improve germination, the seed setts are dipped into 0.5 per cent solution of Agallol (3%) or 0.25 per cent solution of Aretan (6%) or Tafasan (6%) before planting for 10 minutes.
  • Seed may also be treated with 0.1% solution of Carbendazim for 10 minutes before planting.
  • Aretan along with gamma BHC is also recommended in northern India. Aretan improves germination and keeps off fungal attack while gamma BHC keeps away the termites and shoot borers.
  • In hot water treatment unit seed canes are treated at 50ºC for 2-2.5 hours.
  • In the IISR moist hot air treatment unit the seed canes must be treated at 54ºC for 4 hours.

This is the most effective method in controlling the seed borne pathogens.


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