SUGAR CANE
 

Sugar cane is mostly grown in coastal areas under frost free conditions with a high rainfall requirement (roughly 1500ml per year) or under irrigation.  Sugar cane requires a well drained fertile soil.  Weed control is essential early in the crop life this can be done either chemically or by an inter-row cultivator.  A sugar cane crop eventually out competes weeds because the crop height is very tall (2-4m) blocking sunlight to the soil essentially preventing weed growth.

Sugar cane is planted using small pieces of mature sugar cane called setts. The setts are dropped into the furrow with fertiliser and in few weeks shoots appear.  It takes roughly 12-16months for the crop to mature.  Most of the times farmers harvest their sugar cane between June and December (dry season) to avoid the wet season, the sugar cane has a higher sugar content at this time of year.  Sugar cane is mainly grown as a ratoon crop which means after harvest the sugar cane grows again from its root system.  Farmers usually replant their fields after every 3-4 crops.

Sugar cane used to be burnt before harvest to reduce trash and weeds, but more recently the crop is harvested green which allows farmers to return organic matter and nutrients to their field in the form of trash cuttings.  The crop is harvested by a specialised harvester designed specifically for sugar cane.  The cane is cut into small pieces called billets and loaded into a type of chaser bin and then taken to a truck or tramway for transport to a sugar mill.
 
Lean more about farming cane and other broad acre crops
 
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