Fertilizer dose in sugarcane

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Fertilizer Dose in Sugarcane: Maximizing Crop Yields

Sugarcane is an important commercial crop that provides raw materials for various industries. As a plant, it requires a balanced supply of soil nutrients to achieve the maximum potential yield. Farmers employ different practices to enhance production, and fertilizer application is one of them. In this article, we will address the recommended fertilizer dose in sugarcane production and how it affects crop yields.

Sugarcane is a heavy feeder that requires adequate amounts of nutrients to meet the high demand of plant growth and development. The primary macronutrients required by sugarcane are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Additionally, it requires secondary nutrients such as calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S), as well as micronutrients such as boron (B), iron (Fe), molybdenum (Mo), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu).

The recommended fertilizer dose varies depending on the soil fertility, sugarcane crop age, and availability of nutrients from other sources. Generally, the recommended fertilizer dose for a mature crop is 120-150 kg N/ha, 60-80 kg P2O5/ha, and 80-120 kg K2O/ha. The NPK ratio is 1:0.5:1 to achieve optimum production levels. In addition to these, secondary and micronutrients can be applied as a top dressing, foliar spray or through drip irrigation.

The fertilizer dose can be applied in different ways. A common practice involves broadcasting the fertilizer before planting, followed by two or three more applications as top dressing during the cropping season. Alternatively, it can be applied through subsurface injection, band application, or drip irrigation. Split application of fertilizer ensures that the nutrients are available to the plant at the right time and in the right amount, minimizing nutrient loss through leaching, volatilization, or fixation.

In conclusion, fertilizer application is a vital management practice for maximizing sugarcane yield. A balanced and adequate dose of NPK, secondary, and micronutrients should be applied based on the specific soil properties and crop requirements. Split application of fertilizer ensures the nutrients are available to the plant when needed, resulting in their efficient use, increased production, and yield. Good practices on fertilizer application, such as soil testing, proper timing, and method of application, will ensure sustainable sugarcane cultivation and economic returns for the farmers.

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