A major objective of this study is to investigate the effects and mechanisms of different agronomic water saving measures on sugarcane confronting seasonal drought. Four treatments including plastic film mulch + organic manure (T1), water retaining agent + organic manure (T2), sugarcane trash mulch + organic manure (T3), sugarcane trash mulch + water retaining agent (T4) and row-planting (CK) were conducted to explore the effects on relative soil water content (RSWC) and emergence rate (ER), root traits and photo-system indices, dry matter accumulation, agronomic and economic characters for tested cultivar ‘YT 94-128’. The results showed that mulch significantly increased RSWC under the early stage of drought, which was plastic film mulch > sugarcane trash mulch > no mulch, ER of T1 was significantly higher than CK. Compared with CK in 2015, the highest plant height (PH), stem diameter (SD), and leaf length (LL) appeared in T1 (18.1%), T4 (30.6%), T1 (21.8%), respectively, but the PH, SD and leaf width (LW) of T2 significantly decreased. Fv/Fm and SPAD significantly increased in T1, +1 leaf PSII quantum efficiency (ΦPSII) significantly increased in T4, there was no significant difference among the other treatments. Dry matter accumulation for T1, T2, T3 and T4 was 94.5%, -37.0%, 53.4% and 79.9% higher than that of CK. T3 significantly increased the root length density (RLD), root surface area (RSA) and roots, which was opposite to T2. T2 and T3 possessed high single stalk weight (SSW) but the millable stalks (MS) were significantly lower than that of T1, which made T1 the highest yield. In 2016, there were no significant differences for agronomic characters, physiological indies and dry matter production among each treatment comparing with CK. But compared with 2015, the agronomic characters of T1, +1 leaf ΦPSII of all treatments and dry matter accumulation of T1, T2 and T3 decreased, while the agronomic characters of T2 and dry matter accumulation of T4 and CK increased. The root biomass and root length density of T3 were significantly higher than that of CK, resulted from the increase of fine roots. The result of the difference analysis between MS and yield was consistent.The Br° of T1, T2 and T3 was significantly higher than that of T4 and CK in both 2015 and 2016, reveling that organic manure improved the sugarcane quality. In conclusion, the agronomic water saving measures promoted the emergence rate and formed strong plants via reducing loss of soil moisture, which could increase the millable stalks and dry mater accumulation, and enhance the root system of sugarcane to resist the seasonal drought, which guaranteed the cane yield and quality.