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Sugarcane growth stages

Growth Stages of sugarcane

Sugarcane, a C4 plant, is considered as one of the most efficient convertors of solar energy. It has five growth phases-  

Germination Phase

                  sugarcane germination                      

  • When cultivated commercially, sugarcane is propagated only vegetatively by stem parts (Cuttings) or by whole stems.
  • Seed propagation is employed only in selection.
  • Planting cuttings should have at least three buds.
  • The sprouting phase (the beginning is marked by 10% and the complete stage by 75% pf sprouts) is thought to commerce when two leaves appear on the stem.

Tillering Phase


  • Tillering of sugarcane in the tropics begins soon (in about 15-20 days) after the first sprouts appear.
  • The secondary sprouts are formed from underground buds.
  • In early ripening varieties of sugarcane, tillering lasts for 4-6 months, and finishes after the row contact.
  • In the late-ripening varieties of sugarcane, tillering lasts long as 6-8 months.
  • Every new sprout appears in 2 to 4 days.
  • Under field cultivation each plant develops :

            (a) In the strong-bushy varieties 20 to 40 sprouts

            (b) In medium-bushy 15 to 25 sprouts

            (c) And in weakly-bushy 8 to 12 sprouts.

                                                   peak tillering stage

Grand Growth Phase

This stage lasts for 5 to 8 months. Sugarcane plants normally vegetate at this stage, if properly supplied with heat and moisture. 

  • Grand growth phase starts from 120 days after planting and lasts up to 270 days in a 12-month crop. During the early period of this phase tiller stabilization takes place. Out of the total tillers produced only 40-50% survives by 150 days to form millable cane.
  • Most important phase of the crop wherein the actual cane formation and elongation and thus yield build up takes place.
  • Leaf production is frequent and rapid during this phase with LAI reaching around 6-7.
  • Under favourable conditions stalks grow rapidly almost 4-5 internodes per month.

                                  grand growth phase

                                                 Fig: Grand growth phase

Maturation and Ripening

  • This phase lasts for about three months.
  • Its maturation is determined by a definite sucrose level in the stems (up to 14-16% stem mass) and a low level of reducing sugars.
  • The commercial ripening of stems can be identified quite reliably by the ratio of refractometry indices of juice taken from the seventh-eighth internodes and lower (0.95-0.98). In tropics, by harvesting time the sugarcane stems accumulate on the average up to 14-16% sugar; in subtropics 8-12% sugar.

 maturation and ripening


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