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Planting sugarcane in Louisiana

How do farmers plant sugarcane in Louisiana? While most planting in agriculture is done in the spring, the Louisiana sugarcane farmer plants seedcane in the late summer. Take a look at the photo gallery to learn more.

The Louisiana sugarcane harvest typically begins in October. However, the farmer must keep a percentage of his farm planted with new seedcane on an annual basis. It’s very important to get the planting done before harvest but rain and muddy conditions can delay planting completion.

There are several commercial sugarcane varieties available for Louisiana’s farmers. Some varieties grow better on sandy soil. Others tolerate the heavier clay soils. Some have cold tolerance and some varieties produce a high level of sugar early in the season. Since sugarcane is a grass, a Louisiana farmer typically gets three or four crops from one planting of cane. Typically a farmer may try to plant new seedcane on about 20 to 25 percent of his land. As soon as a cane stalk is tall enough, the farmer wants to begin his planting season.

Cane is not planted with seeds. It is planted with whole stalks of cane simply called whole stalk cane which is cut by a whole stalk harvester. Or, it is planted with shorter stalks of cane called billets. The whole stalks or billets that are planted are called seedcane. The seedcane is placed into open furrows either with hand planting or mechanical planting techniques. Some farmers like the hand planting technique because they don’t have to use as much cane to plant an acre. Some farmers use mechanical techniques because it is faster and offers more planting flexibility, especially after a storm. It is a “farming decision” that the grower must make.

Here are some photos from the Louisiana cane belt that show a variety of cane planting techniques.

Sugarcane planting in Louisiana


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