Sugar cane naturally concentrates sucrose in a greater proportion between 10-15 months of age.
It is feasible to promote this sucrose concentration with the use of external agents such as ripening products.
The research carried out by Cenicaña on the use of ripeners in sugar cane has been mainly oriented to the evaluation of products and to determining the appropriate doses to increase the yield without affecting the cane production of the treated crop or the development of the following crop.
The best responses to the ripening action have been obtained with growth regulators, with applications between 10 and 12 months of age of the crop and harvesting between 6 and 10 weeks after application. The increase in sucrose content obtained with this practice in commercial batches is 7% on average and in experimental batches up to 25%, which indicates the great potential of using ripeners as a tool to increase sugar production. In the Cauca river valley, the cane is harvested between 12 and 14 months of age and only one ripener application is made.
The products used as ripeners are widely accepted in the sugar sector and have been evaluated by the competent authorities taking into account the criteria of use and safe handling. They are low to moderate toxicity products and their environmental impact is low.
They are systemic products that can be applied in low or very low volumes without affecting their ripening action. Some of the most used growth regulators in sugar cane in Colombia are: glyphosate, Fluazifop-p-butyl y trinexapac-ethyl.
Biostimulants are mostly liquid fertilizers that exert physiological functions when applied to crops. They are generally foliar fertilizers that possibly require high application volumes to achieve greater foliage coverage. Among them stand out the formulations from amino acids, some macro and micro elements, and phytohormones. The most used biostimulants in sugar cane in Colombia are: Bioticon y Foliar potassium.