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Home > Agronomic Practices > Weed Management
Weed Management

In sugarcane weeds have been estimated to cause 12 to 72 % reduction in cane yield depending upon the severity of infestation.

 

The nature of weed problem in sugarcane cultivation is quite different from other field crops because of the following reasons

 

  • Sugarcane is planted with a relatively wider row spacing
  • The sugarcane growth is very slow in the initial stages. It takes about 30 - 45 days to complete germination and another 60-75 days for developing full canopy cover
  • The crop is grown under abundant water and nutrient supply conditions
  • In ratoon crop very little preparatory tillage is taken up hence weeds that have established in the plant crop tend to flourish well

        

Major weed flora observed in sugarcane fields are: Sedges- Cyprus rotundus; Grasses-Cynodon dactylon, Sorghum helepense, Panicum spp, Dactylocternium aegyptium, Broad leaved weeds - Chenapodium album, Convolvulus arvensis L., Amaranthus viridis L., Portulaca oleraceae L., Commelina bengalensis L., Trianthema portulacastrum L.

 

Weeds flora in sugarcane field besides competing for moisture and light also remove about 4 times N and P and 2.5 times of K as compared to crop during the first 50-days period. Weeds also harbour certain diseases and pests that attack sugarcane and thus lead to indirect losses.

 

Doob grass (Cynodon dactylon), the cogan grass (Imperata cylindrica) are known to play as alternate hosts to ratoon stunting disease of sugarcane. Thus weeds essentially harm young sugarcane sprouts by depriving them of moisture, nutrients and sunlight. Poor growth of cane resulting from weed infestation also affects quality.

 

Weeds that are present in the furrows i.e., along the cane rows cause more harm than those present in the inter-row spaces during early crop growth sub-periods. Thus the initial 90-120 days period of crop growth is considered as most critical period of weed competition. Therefore the weed management practice adopted should ensure a weed-free field condition for the first 3-4 months period.

 

In the picture:
Weed control through h
erbicides pays in sugarcane (Source: Verma, 2004)

 

Recommended Herbicides

A chemical program for weed control can help Louisiana growers produce maximum yields of sugarcane when combined with sound agronomic practices such as timely cultivation, selection of adapted varieties, proper fertilization, and disease and insect control. Herbicides are expensive, and, unless applied properly and at the correct time, they will not provide maximum control of weeds.

 

Spray equipment should be in good condition, properly calibrated (several times during a season) and should have vigorous agitation capability (especially important for wettable powders). Herbicides also should be accurately measured or weighed.

 

Herbicides to control weeds are essential to prevent weed competition and losses in sugarcane production. Sugarcane is most susceptible to weed competition during the first eight to 10 weeks after cane emergence. Unless herbicides are applied immediately after planting, weed seed present in the soil following a fallow program will germinate, producing viable seeds and/or rhizomes.

 

As a result weeds can quickly re-infest a field, with the benefits of weed control in the fallow period rapidly lost.

Selection of pre-emergence herbicides should be based on soil texture and organic matter content, weed problem and the variety of sugarcane. For best results, apply pre-emergence herbicides im mediately after planting

 

Recommendations for use of herbicides for weed control in sugarcane are summarized in the table below:

 

Table 9. Pre and Post-Emergence Herbicides For Weed Control in Sugarcane

 

S.No.

Herbicide

Control (weeks)

Dosage (kg/ha) based on clay%

< 20%

21 - 30%

>30%

Pre-Emergence

1

Atrazine 50 FW

6- 8

2.0

2.5

3.0

2

Ametryn 80 WP

6- 8

2.0

2.5

3.0

3

Diuron 80 WP

5-7

2.0

2.0

2.5

4

Metribuzin 70 WP

10-12

2.0

2.5

3.0

5

Alachlor 48 EC

 6- 8

3.0

3.0

4.0

6

Trifluralin 48 EC

5- 7

1.5

1.5

1.5

7

Pendimethalin 50 EC

8-10

1.5

1.5

1.5

8

Terbacil

---

1.0

1.2

1.5

9

Diuron + 2, 4-D

---

1.2 + 1.8

1.2 + 1.8

1.2 + 1.8

10

Atrazine + Dalapan

---

1.25 + 2.5

1.25 + 2.5

1.25 + 2.5

Post - Emergence

1

2, 4-D Sodium salt 80 WSP

 5-6

1.0

1.2

1.5

2

Paraquat

---

2.0

3.0

4.0

3

Glyphosate 41 WSC

8

1.2

1.5

2.0

4

MAMA

6

4.0

4.0

4.0

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