The quality of the sugarcane seed makes the difference

The Sugarcane Research Center of Colombia, Cenicaña, offers some recommendations to take into account about the origin and sanitary quality of sugarcane seed.

The production and availability of planting material is a multi-year process that must be permanently planned and adjusted. A batch of cane planted with the recommendations of Cenicaña will allow to have a plantation for at least five cuts.

Fundamental aspects in the establishment of a new plantation:

1Use healthy seed, free of pathogens and pests that affect the crop.

2Determine the varieties to be sown according to the focus on Specific Agriculture by Site, AEPS, in order to have a better adaptation to the agro-ecological zones of the farm.


  • Define the required seedbed area for each variety based on planting rates. Generally, ten hectares of a commercial plot require one hectare of seedlings. As a preventive measure, it is recommended to sow between 30% and 40% more than the estimated area, since the seedbeds can be infected by viruses and bacteria in a natural way.
  • Locate the seedbeds:
    - In areas with availability of water and easy to do an adequate agronomic management.
    - In isolated areas of the lots affected by the Yellow Leaf Virus
    - In areas with a lower prevalence of the virus or in areas surrounded by lots grown with varieties that have a lower prevalence of the disease, such as CC 93-4418, CC 93-4181, CC 85-92, CC 97-7170 and CC 98-72, among other.
  • Establish new basic seedbeds for the varieties to be propagated with material free of pathogens and pests, to the extent that varietal renewal plans are adjusted. Service Multiplication and Propagation de Cenicaña can support the production of pathogen-free plants for the establishment of basic seedbeds.
  • Use lots with a maximum of two cuts (template and first soca) and with ages between 7 and 9 months.
  • Obtain the seed from known and trusted sources.
  • Do not use seed from lots with mixed varieties.
  • Use only seed from lots that have been diagnosed as healthy or free from the systemic diseases of Leaf Scald (LSD), Soca Rickets (RSD) and Yellow Leaf Virus (SCYLV). He Disease Diagnosis Service de Cenicaña performs these analyzes at the request of mills and suppliers.
  • Follow up on the origin of the seed of the commercial lots aged between 5 and 7 months, in order to verify their diagnosis of RSD, LSD and SCYLV and, if necessary, use them as an alternative source of seed to replace the seedlings affected, especially by SCYLV.
  • Carry out the heat treatment of the seed that will be used to establish the basic, semi-commercial and commercial seedbeds: immersion for 10 minutes in hot water at 50 ° C, rest for 8-12 hours in the environment and immersion in hot water at 51 ° C for 1 hour). These practices reduce the risk of transmission of LSD and RSD bacterial diseases.
  • In the seedbeds, do a different management than in commercial lots; for example:
    • Intensify control of stem borers
    • Water (preferably by spraying) to reduce populations of virus vector aphids.
  • Carry out the seed cuts with machetes and tools disinfected with sublimated iodine (Aviyodox 2% or Vanodine 2%).

More information, contact:
Phytopathology Area - Cenicaña.
(57-602) 5246611 ext 5139 - 5150
Cali, Columbia.