During the last quarter of the nineteenth century Tucumán's sugar industry experienced unprecedented growth. Tucumán's mills relied on their lands as well as on outside growers for the supply of the cane. By 1895 cañeros and colonos were cultivating two-thirds of the cane processed in the province. This practice resulted in the incorporation of thousands of small and medium farmers into sugar production, a rather exceptional case among Latin American sugar economies. This article sheds light on this peculiar aspect of Tucumán's sugar industry by focusing on the diversity that characterised the group of cane planters, the circumstances under which they were incorporated into cane agriculture, the tensions that materialised in sugar-growing areas, and the strategies developed by planters to settle their conflicts with mill owners.