Traditional Vs Modern Sugarcane Harvesting Method

The difference between traditional and modern sugarcane harvesting methods

Southeast Asia may not claim the throne as the most significant global producer in the expansive realm of sugarcane production, a distinction bestowed upon India, Brazil, China, and Thailand. Nevertheless, this vibrant region is a significant force, with Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines reigning as its top sugarcane producers. Yet, the time has come for Southeast Asia to embrace a transformative agricultural approach that harnesses the remarkable capabilities of agriculture drones. 

These cutting-edge companions hold the key to catapulting the region's sugarcane industry to unprecedented heights, heralding a new era of efficiency and innovation. Let's embark on a journey to explore how agriculture drones can sweeten sugarcane production while unravelling the current obstacles in its path.

Sugarcane production in Thailand

(Source Bangkok Post)

Why Sugarcane Does Not Grow

Inappropriate Planting Time

Picture a tropical paradise where the sun's warmth and abundant sunlight are essential ingredients for the flourishing of sugarcane. This resilient plant thrives when nestled in the earth during the spring or early summer when the days are long and the weather is invitingly warm. Timing is crucial, as a late planting might leave it yearning for growth before the arrival of the first frost.

However, the perfect planting window for sugarcane varies according to the climate it encounters. Generally, when the soil temperature reaches a delightful 65 degrees Fahrenheit, sugarcane finds its ideal moment to take root. In cooler climates, a sweet spot arises in the spring, right after the last frost bids farewell. Meanwhile, in warmer temperatures, sugarcane happily settles into its new home during the fall or winter, relishing the milder seasons.

Inadequate Sunlight

Sugarcane is a tropical plant that loves warm temperatures and sunlight to grow. It's best planted in a location with at least 6 hours of daylight daily. It won't grow as tall or produce as much sugar if it doesn't get enough sunlight. Sugarcane can tolerate some shade but will not grow well in shady areas.

Insufficient Water

Water is an invaluable ally that holds the key to its abundant growth. This magnificent plant, thirsty by nature, demands a substantial water supply to flourish. However, its need for hydration becomes even more critical during the initial weeks after planting. Like a diligent caretaker tending to their prized garden, providing regular and ample watering is essential to nurture the young sugarcane saplings. This timely irrigation supports their root development and sets the stage for a vibrant and thriving sugarcane crop, ready to bestow its sweet rewards upon diligent farmers.

Traditional Sugarcane Harvesting 

Farmers determine when to harvest sugarcane in various ways, but none are foolproof. The two most commonly used methods involve looking at colour or feeling the thickness of the stalks. However, these techniques are only sometimes 100% reliable due to varying conditions and varieties of sugarcane.

Look at the Colour Manually

One traditional method is to look at the colour of the sugarcane stalks. Mature stalks will change into golden brown. But, the stalk's colour will not be the same each other because the growing condition influences it. 

Just Feel the Thickness of the Sugarcane

Another traditional method is to feel the thickness of the sugarcane stalks. When you taste the mature stalks, the taste will be firm and hard. Like colour changes, the thickness tase also depends on how you grow the sugarcane. 

Modern Sugarcane Harvesting 

Firstly, agriculture drones can be equipped with high-resolution cameras to snap great pics of the fields. These snapshots provide farmers with valuable information like the colour and thickness of their sugarcane for better crop management.

Secondly, they can also pack sensors that can measure the sugar content of sugarcane. That means farmers won't need a refractometer to get the necessary information to harvest their crops.

Thirdly, agriculture drones can collect data on the weather and growing conditions. This info is handy because it can help identify factors that may affect the maturity of the sugarcane crop, like pesky pests or annoying droughts.


With advanced drone technology, farmers now have a powerful tool to glean essential information about their precious sugarcane fields. These airborne marvels effortlessly collect crucial data on the colour, thickness, sugar content, and other key factors influencing the perfect harvest timing.

Posted by : Nurhayati Published At : 25/05/2023 04:14:14


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