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Sugarcane Farming Project Report, Cost and Profit

Sugarcane Farming Project Report, Cost and Profit

Sugarcane Farming Project Report: 

Today, we are discussing of Sugarcane Farming Project Report which will include Cost, Profit and Economics of Sugarcane Cultivation.


Sugarcane plant is considered as a tall grass, which is native to warm temperate and tropical zones of South East Asia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. The stalk of the plant is useful for its sugar content and is cultivated by 120 countries. Depending on the climatic conditions of the area and the resistance of the variety, the crop species are interbred to form a new hybrid variety suitable for commercial cultivation. The yield of sugarcane from the improved cultivars is believed to be successful only if it is managed skillfully by agronomic techniques. Research has shown that proper understanding of the physiology of the crop can contribute to better yield. Sugarcane is considered to be a simple crop for cultivation and development because there are no critical periods of growth like other cereal crops. Since it is a perennial crop, it is harvested many times before replanting. The first production of the sugarcane is called the plant crop while the subsequent production cycles are called ratoon crops. ‘Sucrose’ is the main ingredient extracted from the sugarcane which is a sweetening agent used in the food industry. The important factor which demands sugarcane cultivation is the need for sugar on a global scale and accounts to 80% being produced from sugarcane, while the rest is from other sources such as sugar beets.


The plant of sugar cane is a perennial tropical grass, which produces unbranched stems of 2 to 4 m height and 5 cm in diameter. These stems are the products of the plant and are used to extract sugar.

  • The stem of the plant has nodes, which are spaced at 15 to 25 cm. Each variety of sugarcane has a different color and hardness of the stalks and the diameter also varies from 2.5 cm to 5 cm. The stalks have a wax coating which prevents the evaporation of water. Red and blue anthocyanins in tissues and chlorophyll are the two pigments responsible for the color of the stalk. When both are absent the stem is yellow in color.
  • The leaves are found on both sides of the stalk near the nodes. The sheath of the leaf is close to the stalk near the base, but less closely attached at the leaf lamina. The maximum length of the leaf is 1 m. Sugarcane leaf has a strong midrib with a white concave upper surface and pale green on the lower side. The leaf area is smallest at the base and at the top, whereas in the middle it is large. Sometimes the leaf sheath develops siliceous cells, which give the leaf a hairy texture.
  • Two kinds of roots are found in sugarcane plants, one is the sett roots and the other is the shoot roots. Sett roots are thin and branched while the shoot roots are thick, fleshy and less branched. Shoot roots live for a short duration and can develop their own roots. The development of new roots is an advantage to the plant as it helps in the adjustment of changing environmental conditions.
  • Sugarcane plants flower when the growth of the plant is slow and temperatures of the nights are low. The flowering period is from October to December in the northern hemisphere and from April to June in the southern hemisphere. The inflorescence is called the arrow and helps in wind pollination.
  • The seed of the plant is oval in shape and is yellowish-brown in color with a length of 1 mm.

Read: RAS fish farming in India; Techniques; Setup Guide.


The non-flowering varieties are Co 8021, Co 86032, Co 87025, Co 91010, Co 94005 and Co 94008.

Cultivars of sugarcane found in South Africa are NCo376, CP66/1043 and N 12 to N 57.


Sugarcane Growing Requirements.
Sugarcane Growing Requirements.


Sugarcane is a tropical plant, so the ideal temperatures required for its growth are 27 to 33˚C with a relative humidity of 80 to 85%. The amount of rainfall should be in between 1100 to 1500 mm. The velocity of wind should not exceed 60 km/HR. The plant needs bright sunlight and is intolerant to frost conditions. Sugarcane plants need fine-textured soil with rich organic matter. The soil should be well drained and the pH of the soil should be in between 6.5 to 8. The sugarcane crop is sensitive to acidic soil. The fields for sugarcane cultivation should have a groundwater depth of more than 3 m. Shallow and coarse soil beds are not suitable for sugarcane.


Propagation in sugarcane can happen through stem cuttings or seeds, but the commercial way of sugarcane cultivation is through vegetative propagation. The cane is cut into small pieces called setts, which consist of a node with a bud. The sett is collected from a 12-month-old plant which is healthy and used as planting material. Before planting it in the nursery the sett is treated by soaking it in a slurry of azospirillum for 15 minutes. The sett should be treated with carbendazim solution and finally, it is treated with steam at 50˚C for one hour to prevent infection and shoot diseases.


The land is initially ploughed 2 to 4 times to a depth of 50 to 60 cm and is made fine. Using a disc harrow the clods are crushed, doing so smoothens the soil surface. Then it is levelled for easy movement of water during irrigation. Drainage and irrigation channels are created along and across the field at an interval of 10 to 15 cm. The basal dose of manure is applied in the furrow or by digging pits. The spacing of plants in the furrow should be 30 to 45 cm. Furrows are spaced at a distance 75 to 90 cm in a flatbed planting method, but if the planting area uses ridge and furrow method, then the ‘V’ shaped furrows with a spacing of 80 to 100 cm and 20 to 25 cm of depth are created. If pits are dug then the spacing of the pits is 1.5 x 1.5 m with a depth of 0.38 to 0.45 m. The pits are filled with compost and soil up to 15 cm. Healthy sett roots are planted in a circular manner. These are again covered with soil and initial doses of fertilizer and irrigation are supplied as required.


Farm Yard Manure @ 12.5 t/ha is applied before the last ploughing. Compost from sugarcane trash and press mud is applied in the ratio of 1:1. If the soil is deficient of iron and zinc the application of 37.5 kg of zinc sulphate per hectare and 100 kg of ferrous sulphate per hectare is necessary.

The sugarcane is a huge biomass producing crop which needs lots of nutrients and it is believed that the application of fertilizes through irrigation is an economical way of cultivating sugarcane. This process is known as ‘Fertigation’, where essential nutrients are applied exactly at the point of the root. The ratio of NPK fertilizers is 275: 15: 112.5 kg/ha. The entire fertilizer is split into different quantities and is given at four stages; up to 70 days, 71 to 120 days, 121 to 160 days and 161 to 210 days.


Sugarcane fields require a heavy water supply, around 1100 to 2000 mm of water per crop approximately depending on the climatic conditions of the area. Water can be supplied either by dependence on rain or by external irrigation methods. Some methods of irrigation which can help in production performance and efficiency are:

  • The gravity method uses the furrow irrigation system.
  • The pressure method uses either overhead irrigation or drip irrigation.

Proper drainage of the land is essential for sugarcane cultivation; the water table has to be maintained at 0.6 m below the soil surface so as to provide best moisture levels to the root of the plant. Two ways of drainage used are:

  • Surface drainage.
  • Subsurface drainage.

It is estimated that 1 ton of sugarcane needs 60 to 70 tonnes of water. The plant should be watered immediately when the water level falls to 50%. During summer the plants are watered every 10 to 15 days and in winter they are watered every 20 to 30 days. Moisture in the soil is essential during sowing (300 mm), tillering (550 mm), elongation (650 mm) and grand growth stages (1000 mm). The amount of water should be adequate; less water supply leads to a decrease in fiber percentage and juice, internodes, germination rate and yield of sugar. Instead, if heavy irrigation is given, then this may result in loss of buds, root damage, low sugar content and yellowing of the plant.


Sugarcane plant is affected by many diseases such as

  • Pineapple disease.
  • Pokkah boeng.
  • Leaf scald.
  • Mosaic.
  • Ratoon stunt.
  • Root rot.
  • Brown rust.
  • Smut.
  • White stripe.
  • Yellow leaf.

There are certain ways by which the control of diseases is suggested in sugarcane plants.

Resistant varieties: Using sugarcane varieties which are disease resistant is one technique to control diseases occurring in the plant. There should be a frequent evaluation of the varieties to ensure that it is free from diseases and also no new problems occur. It is observed that certain varieties can develop diseases due to the environmental conditions of the area.

Quality of seed cane: Some diseases remain in the cane stalk and can recur when cut and planted. Treating the stalk with hot water at around 50˚C for about two hours is essential to eliminate the diseases present in the stalk. Healthy seed cane should be used for planting such that the risk of diseases is lowered.

Field control practices: The field which is free from diseased plants should be used for planting new sugarcane saplings otherwise there is a risk of volunteer regrowth of disease from the old stock. The field must be treated well before the new plantation is begun so that the bacteria or virus from the old plants is completely removed.

Chemical controls: Rarely used for controlling diseases because of its effect on the consumers, but some farmers may use nickel sulphate @ 0.5% for rust control and agallol @ 0.25% to treat the sett roots for 5 minutes before planting.

Pests that feed on sugarcane are divided into four categories i.e.

  • Stalk borers.
  • Soil pests.
  • Sap-feeders.
  • Leaf feeders.

The best way of controlling soil pests is by a biological method using Entomopathogenic Nematode (EPN), but sometimes ethoprophos @ 25 kg is applied to control these pests. Other control measures include the use of insecticides such as esfenvalerate @ 420 to 630 g and cyfluthrin @ 148 g. It is important to note that these chemicals are used only if the infestation is more than 5% with live larvae. Rodents in the sugarcane farm are controlled by two types of rodenticides, the fast-acting compounds like zinc phosphide and sodium fluro-acetate, the slow-acting compounds like the difenacoum and bromadiolone.


  • The land for sugarcane farming is given 3 to 4 hoeings at an interval of one month so as to remove weeds and make the soil fine for cultivation.
  • At every 20-day interval hand weeding is done for about 3 months. A pre-emergence spray of a weedicide, atrazin 2, 4-D @ 5 kg/ha in 1025 liters of water can help control the broad-leaved weeds. An alternative to the chemical weed is applying trash mulch of 10 cm thickness @ 5 tonnes/ha after 45 days of planting can help control weeds and lower the cost of investment for hoeing and hand weeding.
  • Partial filling up of the soil at the base of 3 to 4-month-old plant is done to increase the crop growth and this is called ‘Earthing-up’. It is done two times with an interval of one month to loosen the soil and provide support to the crop. Full earthing-up is done by removing the soil from the ridge and placing it at the base of the sugarcane plant. Doing this converts ridges into furrows and vice versa.
  • Intercropping with soybean, daincha or black gram plants in the center of the ridges can be done to increase soil fertility. Co.1 variety of soybean intercropping can produce a yield of 800 kg/ha without affecting the sugarcane yield. Intercropping should be done with short duration crops.
  • Sugarcane plants are generally grown in a rotation after 2 or 3 years of cotton, rice, maize, toria, potato, wheat etc. cultivation.
  • Filling the gap in the fields within 30 days of planting is practiced. Sprouted sett roots are used for this purpose to retain the moisture levels.
  • Excessive Flowering in sugarcane is controlled by the application of Ethephon @ 500 ppm.
  • The unwanted dry leaves at the base of the plant are removed at regular intervals and this is known as ‘Detrashing’.
  • When the plants have grown for 210 days approximately their leaves are tied and it is called ‘propping’.
  • Side shoots that grow on the plants are called water shoots, they grow fast and are robust and are the result of excess water. Since they are low in sucrose content they are removed so that they do not affect the remaining shoots. They are generally used to feed cattle.
  • To reduce the rate of evaporation of water from the soil and increase the intervals between irrigation, two tonnes of fresh wild indigo plants per acre are spread over the entire field.


Sugarcane Harvesting.
Sugarcane Harvesting.

The indication of sugarcane plant maturity is known by the yellow color of the crop, swelling of eye buds, the metal sound of the cane, breaking of the cane at nodes and by an instrument reading (Brix saccharometer showing 21 and 24). If the indication is not available, then sugarcane plants can be harvested after 16 months of planting ideally in the month of April till December. The cane is harvested by cutting it with a knife very close to the ground level. Before harvesting the irrigation is not provided for 10 to 15 days. The average yield of sugarcane crop is 100 tonnes per hectare.

Sugarcane Yield.
Sugarcane Yield.


The harvested canes should be crushed within 24 hours and this method is called grinding. Grinding is done with rollers and during this process, hot water is sprayed to extract the entire sugar form the canes.

The raw sugar that is obtained is collected in bulk and stored in terminals and then sent to the refineries

Brazil is believed to be the largest producer of sugarcane and India ranks second in the production of sugarcane. The increase in sugarcane production is due to the establishment of sugar mills in the country. It is estimated that the sugarcane production was the highest in the year 1999-2000 and was recorded at 299.3 million tonnes. It has been observed that there has been a fluctuation in the production of sugarcane and the main reason for the decline in production is probably linked to the lack of modern agricultural inputs and exhaustion of soil. The other major problems that have contributed to low production are lack of fertilizers, uneven weather conditions, inadequate irrigation, etc. The sugarcane research institute in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) proposed the implementation of ‘Ratooning’, a process of cutting the sugarcane by leaving the roots in the soil such that there is the second yield of the crop after some time. This increases the yield and decreases the input costs, but the ratoon crops produce a lower quality of yield. Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are the two states of India, which now produce high amounts of sugarcane. Indian Sugar Mills Association estimated that the production of sugarcane in 2017-2018 was 26.1 million tonnes and now it has further increased to 29.5 million tonnes, of which Maharashtra contributes 10.13 million.


The estimation of production cost for small farmland in terms of Rs/ha is shown here. These are values that are approximate and the reality may differ from the specified values. The area of the farm and the material cost in that area are contributing factors for a change in the cost of investment.

Preparation of the land 6000.00
Sowing 3000.00
Application of manure and fertilizers 500.00
Irrigating the land 1000.00
Intercultural activity 10,000.00
Protection of plants 1000.00
Harvesting 15000.00
Transport facility 5000.00
Total cost 41,500.00


Seeds 10,000.00
Manure and fertilizer 7000.00
Plant protection needs 5000.00
Irrigation equipment 10,000.00
Total cost 32,000.00

If it is assumed that,

The rent of the land: Rs 30,000.00 (may vary depending on the area of the farm)

One small farm produces sugarcane: 500 quintals.

The rate of 1 quintal of sugarcane: Rs 315.

Therefore, the total value of sugarcane produced: Rs 1, 57,500.00.

Total investment is Rs 73,500.00.

The return on investment (profit is): Rs 84,000.00.

This investment model has not included the rent of land, depreciation on implements and interest on the working capital as they would vary depending on external factors.


  • The cabinet committee on Economic Affairs has recently approved a production subsidy of Rs 55 per tonne for sugarcane farmers.
  • The Agricultural mechanization programme in the state of Tamil Nadu provides a subsidy of 25% on machinery cost, 50% subsidy on irrigation systems to all the farmers in the state.
  • The government of Karnataka under the MMMA scheme provides assistance in the form of an 80 % grant and 20% loan from the central government.
  • The Kerala state government provides 100% insurance for the sugarcane farmers.
  • The central government under the scheme of Sustainable development on sugarcane base cropping system (SUBACS) provides 25% subsidy per activity to the farmers.


Refined sugar is estimated to contain 99.9% sucrose and white sugar is 100% sucrose with no additives. Sugar has less quantity of riboflavin, calcium, iron, and potassium. It is a source of energy. The by-products of sugarcane industry are:

  • Raw sugar.
  • Sugarcane juice.
  • Jaggery.
  • Molasses.
  • Bagasse.
  • Ethanol.
  • Syrups.
  • Candy.
  • Rum.



Last Updated: March 29, 2019
Author: Jagdish


  1. I am new to the agriculture sector and planning to start a new project in this field. I found the information very helpful as a beginner. Thanks.

  2. The information is worthwhile, in South Africa though, the lack of land, funding, access to the markets still is a major challenge to the small scale farmers, who are in need of govt interventions for our farmers to form a significant contribution to the country’s GDP figures.

  3. Chiobest Farmers Association Nigeria. We are going into sugar cane mechanize farming for biofuel production, and we have secured over 10,000 hectares for the project. Will like to have you as our technical adviser for the project. Thank

  4. I Need cost of drip irrigation installation included and profit and loss report for 10 years . This will help me to lease my land of 18 acres with 25 hp deep borewell submersible water pump’ for sugarcane farming.

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