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Tropical Climate : Sugarcane


Sugarcane is a tropical plant but it can grow in sub tropics too as in north India under warm humid conditions, it can continue its growth, unless terminated by flower growth- 28-320C.

  • Lower temperature – reduces tillering
  • Temperature above 500C arrest its growth below 200C slows its growth.

Sugarcane is grown in the world from altitude 36.7° N and 31.0° S, from sea level to 1000m of altitude or little more. It is considered as essentially a tropical plant. The "ideal" climate for production of maximum sugar from sugarcane is characterized as: 

  • A long, warm growing season with a high incidence of solar radiation and adequate moisture (rainfall) - the plant uses from 148 to 300g of water to produce 1.0g of dry substance. 
  • A fairly dry, sunny and cool, but frost free season for ripening and harvesting - moisture percentage drops steadily throughout the life of the sugarcane plant, from 83% in very young cane to 71% in mature cane, meanwhile sucrose grows from less than 10 to more than 45% of the dry weight.
  • Freedom from typhoons and hurricanes 


A total rainfall between 1100 and 1500 mm is adequate provided the distribution is right, abundant in the months of vegetative growth followed by a dry period for ripening.



Temperature: Growth is closely related to temperature. Optimum temperature for sprouting (germination) of stem cuttings is 32° to 38°c. For ripening, low temperatures in the range of 12° to 14° are desirable Temperatures lower than 0°C induces freezing of less protected parts such as young leaves and lateral buds.

Relative humidity: High humidity (80-85%) favours rapid cane elongation during grand growth period. A moderate value of 45-65% coupled with limited water supply is favourable during the ripening phase.  

Sunlight: Sugarcane is a sun loving plant. It grows well in areas receiving solar energy from 18 - 36 MJ/m2. Being a C4 plant, sugarcane is capable of high photosynthetic rates and the process shows a high saturation range with regards to light. Tillering is affected by intensity and duration of sunshine.

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