'Change in variety could boost sugar cane production'

'Change in variety could boost sugar cane production'

2-day meet of sugarcane research and development workers begins

Director of Sugar Breeding Institute (SBI), Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Bakshi Ram on Thursday suggested sugar cane growers to opt for different varieties of the crop to achieve high yield and better returns.

Addressing the gathering, during the inauguration of the two-day 20th meeting of Sugarcane Research and Development Workers of Southern Karnataka, organised by Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya Sugarcane Research Institute, Mandya at Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) here, Ram cited the example of Uttar Pradesh, that has given a wake up call mainly to two States — Karnataka and Maharashtra in sugar cane cultivation.

Ram said, “Uttar Pradesh has revolutionised sugar cane cultivation by opting for changed variety named ‘CO 0238’ and has achieved 13 per cent sugar recovery. So, the same variety of crop is being cultivated in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha too.”

‘Switch to new variety’
Ram felt that in the case of Karnataka, barring minor variations due to climatic factors, there is not much change in the scenario. The reason being, no variety change ever since the existing variety (CO 62175) was introduced in the year 1962. The area of cultivation is more than 60 per cent and it’s time to switch over to a new variety to improve the yield and also sugar recovery, he said.

Effective management of soil health and also measures to check pests are other factors that would help in better cultivation of sugar cane, Ram added.

R B Khandagave from S Nijalingappa Sugar Institute, Belagavi advised to take a cue from Australia, where the thrust is on technology and adoption of minimal recommendations in managing fertility of the soil. Khandagave said, to ensure better margins in sugar cane farming, two priorities should be followed — judicious use of soil and water and bringing down the production cost. In the case of soil and water management, Australia would be a better model by incorporating technologies, while solar pumpsets would help reduce production cost.

Director, Research, University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, T Sheshadri blamed impartial adoption of technologies in the realm as the major reason for problems plaguing sugar cane farmers. The farmers have failed to fully explore the potential. As a result, there is no change in the extent of production in the last five years, that can be recorded at 450 tonnes per hectare.

Sheshadri pointed out, usage of local seeds, deterioration in soil health, non-adoption of organic manure, green manure and inter-cropping system and also failure in management of trash and poor drainage system, especially in low-lying areas, are among the causes that have resulted in farmers incurring loss in sugar cane cultivation.

MCC Commissioner C G Betsurmath released the compendium on sugar cane cultivation in the region.

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