Monday, February 5, 2018

Sugar cane post harvest

Sugar cane is a hardy crop that is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions for its sucrose content and by products such as molasses and bagasse. Sugar cane is grown by planting cutting from the stalk, each containing a bud. The length of time that the cane is allowed to grow before harvesting varies in different countries and may be from 7 months to 2 years.

The plant grows in clumps of clinical stalks measuring from 1.25 to 7.25 cm in diameter and reaching 6 to 7 m in height. The sugar cane stalks contain sap from which sugar is processed. The yield of sugar from cane juice is about 14-17%.

Sugar cane is harvested by cutting the stalks cuts above the ground. In some countries, hand cutting of sugar cane is still widely practice, although this has been completely replaced by mechanical harvesting in many countries. One hectare of plantation will deliver 60-70 tones of cut cane.

A cane ripener is normally applied to the crop some 5-6 weeks before harvesting to promote ripening by suppressing photosynthesis in the leaves. Ripeners act by encouraging concentration of sucrose in the cane stem.

At this time, the tops of the stalks are cut off, because they contain high concentrations of an enzyme that hydrolyses and great reduces the yield of cane sugar. Also at the time of harvesting, the leaves are stripped from the canes although they may be burned off prior to harvesting.

Some proportion of this leaf material is of value in the agriculture system, improving the soil condition. The remainder of this extraneous matter is potentially available as a feedstock for biomass value-adding process such as bio-ethanol production.

Parts of the sugar cane other than the tops contain some of the enzyme that coverts sucrose and so the cane must be processed as soon as possible after harvesting in order to obtain maximum yields. Normally processing plants are located near the major areas of sugar cane production.
Sugar cane post harvest
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