Cane yield likely to double with new cultivation method

Problems of reduced cane area which affected the Tirupattur and Ambur sugar mills in Tirupattur district this season could soon be a thing of the past as some progressive farmers in Wallajahpet taluk (Ranipet district) as also the Vellore Cooperative Sugar Mill expect to double the regular yield by following a new pit-based sugarcane cultivation method.
Cane yield likely to double with new cultivation method

Chennai

Reduced cane acreage resulted in cane available with the Tirupattur and Ambur Cooperative Sugar Mills being diverted to Vellore as crushing-reduced tonnage would have made the two mills incur loss.

“We have tried out the pit method of cultivation in three acres and expect to get 40 tonnes per acre when harvest begins in 10 days,” Vellore Cooperative Sugar Mill Chairman M Anandan said.

Asked why he expected only 40 tonnes when double this figure was anticipated by the farmers, he said, “the land we used for cultivation was fallow for years as it is stony (morambur in Tamil) and hence no agriculture was ever tried out on this soil. However, as the state government suggested we try out the new method, we will be happy with even 40 tonnes as then we know that the new method works.”

“The new method involves four-feet-deep pits which are around five-feet in diametre and separated from the next pit by two feet. About 50 cane shoots are planted in each pit which when filled with water (sugarcane is a water intensive crop) ensure heavy germination resulting in increased yields,” says K Raja of Palleri village in Wallajahpet, who has planted two acres on his farm.

Asked how he knew about the method as the Agriculture Department is yet to spread this knowledge among farmers, he said, “I browse the internet regularly for new methods to increase yields of various crops and found that this method followed in Punjab doubled the existing cane yields.”

Raja, who is also the district president of the TN Farmers Association, said, “when farmers are assured of double the yield in the same acreage, it will mean increased earnings for them while mills which had reduced cane area over years will again be able to crush to their installed capacities.”

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