Sustainable Sugarcane Farm Management

Decrease in Sugarcane Production. Result: Low Quality and Sell at Low Price. How to increase sugarcane yield to meet increased demand?

Hot weather conditions in Thailand affect its sugar production. In the 2018/19 season, Thailand produced 14 million tonnes of sugar. In the 2019/20 season, Thailand is expected to produce approximately 13 million tonnes of sugar, a drop of almost 8% from the previous season.

The dry season in Thailand started in November 2019 and is expected to last till April 2020, though authorities expect the drought to continue till June 2020, as 14 provinces in Thailand have declared a drought. Thai sugar mills crush cane till May, but they may have to shorten the period to March since there is a limited supply of cane.


Raithep is a mixture of various Organic compounds including nitrogen (ON) representing potential N sources for crops and an alternative to inorganic N (IN, ammonium nitrate). #Sugarcane soils receive organic harvest residues (similar to 40-100 kg ON ha(-1)). Raithep re-investigated sugarcane to use organic monomers in the form of amino acids and it helps with the use of amino acids as a N source. This results in distinct metabolic or morphological change when compared with use of inorganic N (IN).

Plantlets cultivated in sterile culture and young plants grown in non-sterile soil culture were supplied with IN, ON (five amino acids present in sugarcane soils), or combined IN and ON. All treatments resulted in similar biomass and N content indicating that sugarcane has a well developed capacity to use ON and confirms findings in other species.

Raithep ON-supplied plants in axenic culture had increased total branch root length per unit primary root axis which has not been reported previously. In both experimental systems, Raithep ON in Organic Amino Compounds supplied plants had increased asparagine concentrations suggesting altered N metabolism. Root of ON-supplied soil-grown plants had significantly reduced nitrate concentrations. We interpret the shift from nitrate to asparagine as indicative of N form use other than or in addition to nitrate by sugarcane. N metabolite profiling could advance knowledge of crop N sources and this will aid in the development of N efficient cropping systems with a reduced Nitrogen(N) pollution footprint.

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