cane harvest

Cane harvest: 7 tips to optimize this process

The sugarcane crop in Brazil has a production with very high yields. However, the losses observed during the cane harvest can be significant if the operation is not well planned and executed.

This is an important phase of the sugarcane culture and, therefore, needs to be treated carefully. To this end, there are strategies that can and should be used by farmers, whenever relevant and applicable to each case.

Read on and learn 7 tips to optimize the cane harvest.

1. Plan in detail

Successful ventures are carried out based on good planning and led by results management. In order to obtain better performances in cane production, this care must be taken into account.

Thus, when planning the crop, some aspects that directly affect the quality of the crop must be considered, such as:

  • the cane varieties used: each variety of cane has its own characteristics, which are best suited to each case (cycle, water, and nutrient requirements, harvest time, soil type);
  • the climatic conditions in the harvest period: especially to make a more accurate forecast of the harvest time.

2. Prepare the area well

Good soil preparation is essential for cane farming, especially regarding the nutritional aspects of the crop. Thus, an adequate soil correction, carried out in advance, makes the difference, especially when it includes sustainable management practices.

Likewise, plowing and harrowing operations in new planting should receive farmers’ full attention. In ratoon cultivation, care is different, especially covering fertilization, but equally strategic to ensure a good harvest.

Care must be taken so that good germination guarantees the formation of a strong and productive clump. And, in the case of installed cane, for ratoons to have all the conditions to recover, offering new results with high productivity.

3. Pay attention to spacing

The spacing in the cane crop is one of the technical management precautions that most affect industrial productivity in milling. This is because the amount of light, water, and nutrients available to each plant is directly affected when the distance between each row of plants in the plot changes.

When these factors are adequately available, the plant’s physiology finds ideal conditions, and cane production is able to provide greater amounts of sugar. Thus, in addition to other factors — such as the variety cultivated — the industrial yield of ground cane is directly affected by the spacing adopted.

In addition, the distance between the lines must be suitable for the machinery to be used in the cultivation and, mainly, in the harvest. For this reason, in the planning phase, it is necessary to take into account the available machinery.

4. Carry out cane harvest at the right time

The most important reference for defining the best time to carry out cane harvest is the sugar content already produced by the plants. To read this indicator, a manual device called field refractometer, similar to a small telescope, is used.

With this equipment, small samples of the stem are analyzed to calculate the maturation index. The use of the field refractometer is one of the best initiatives to harvest at the right time.

This is an aspect that cannot be neglected, as the time for harvest is easily lost. When this occurs, low values ​​are obtained with the sugar yield, even though the crop has a good tonnage per hectare.

5. Take care of the speed of the machine

An important operational aspect for the best results at cane harvest time is the speed given to the harvester. Machines that move too quickly can cause damage to the ratoons that will be reflected in the next harvests. In general, the values ​​must be adjusted for a performance of the order of 3 to 4 km/h, which optimizes the operation.

Producers who associate through cooperativism can easily obtain experiences of the best results achieved with the varieties grown in their region. Good practices in cane harvest necessarily involve adequate adjustment of the machines and their operation.

6. Control traffic

Machines improve the efficiency of agricultural work, but traffic within the fields must be regulated. Tractors, machines, and trucks cause the soil in the field to become denser, which leads to compaction, an undesirable condition in the cultivation soil.

For this reason, operations must be well planned and coordinated, avoiding unnecessary displacements within fields where the crop is carried out. All drivers and operators involved in field activities must be properly instructed about this care and the consequences of the lack of attention.

7. Invest in cutting-edge technology

The modern farmer, who wants to improve their farming, in order to achieve the best yields, must always have an eye on the field and the other on the technologies developed for agriculture. Machines and equipment make agribusiness activities increasingly profitable and efficient.

The conduction of sustainable agriculture generated by new technologies brings better production with significant ease in management. Thus, the use of specific applications, sensors, drones, and the entire collection offered by precision agriculture made agricultural production more efficient and controlled, with less dependence on luck.

As it can be seen, a good yield in the cane harvest begins with the planning of the crop and goes through the preparation of the soil, the decision of the best moment to cut, and the most adequate use of equipment and agricultural machinery. Thus, the choice of the latter is one of the important factors for taking advantage of the productive capacity of the culture.

If you liked this post and want to continue learning about the area, be sure to check out our post about the importance and the impacts of technology in farming. 


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