1O1tginallv Pointed in 19;9I
Revirsd By JACK SHOEMAKER
I)iDrtor. Bureau of Immingimtion
ST''ATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF .AGRIC:L.'I'.LRE
NAIITHAN .MAO. (C.omnissiner
IUl1.1.1 TIl. N ). !1
Mature s4Ixgurclane reaidy for Iuirvemt
TABLE OF CONTENTS
History of Sugar ..... ....... 5
Sugarcane In The Everglades ..... ......... ...... 12
Sugar In America .. ................ ........... 15
A Short Look At The Sugar House ..... ........ 21
United States Sugar Corporation -.. .... ......... 27
The Okeelanta Sugar Mill ........ ... .... 43
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery .. .. ...... ............. 52
Fellsmere Plantation -...... .. ....... ....... 60
Sugar By-Products .... ...... .... ......... .............. 74
Research and Experiments .. -..- ... .............. .. 77
Disease and Pests ... .................... .... .. ....... 79
Florida's Sugar Prospects ..................... ........- 81
1954 Mainland Sugar Program .. .. .... ........ 83
Mainland Sugar Program, 1946 to 1953 .. 86
Aerial view typical cane field of huge proportions, Clewiston, Florida
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 5
History of Sugar
Sugarcane was grown as a commodity in Asia long before in-
troduction into Europe. Chinese historians mentioned sugar as
early as 800 B. C. Greek and Roman writers occasionally referred
to "India salt," and reports came from Persia of loaf sugar;
Arabia, Sicily, and Egypt helped to develop the product. In the
medical science of these countries sugar was given a prominent
The art of making sugar by crystallization of cane syrup was
introduced into Spain by invading Moors of the eleventh century,
about 200 years before other European countries learned the
secrets of its manufacture.
Sugarcane was brought to the western hemisphere by Colum-
bus in 1493, on his second voyage of exploration. Its cultivation
spread among the Spanish colonies. In the West Indies the plant
grew prolifically and with larger stalks than in its former Euro-
pean home. Its cultivation progressed to such an extent that in
1518 there were 40 grinding mills operated by horse or water-
power in Hispaniola alone, and so much sugar was being produced
in the New World by 1553 that ships returning to Spain needed
no other load for ballast.
In America, honey was originally the principal sweet of the
Indians. Menendez probably first introduced sugarcane culture
into Florida soon after he founded St. Augustine in 1565. The
great Spanish governor used such delicacies as white flour and
sugar to entertain the Indian chieftains whose friendship he
Until comparatively recent years refined sugar, as we know it,
was a luxury. In colonial days in this country a pound of this
choice sweetening ingredient cost as much as a good horse. An
advertisement offering sugar for sale appeared in the New York
Gazette, August 17, 1730:
"PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that NICHOLAS BAY-
ARD of the city of New York has erected a Refining House
for Refining all Sorts of Sugar and Sugar-Candy, and has
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
procured from Europe an experienced Artist at that Mys-
tery-At which Refining House all Persons in City and
County may be supplied by the Whole-Sale, Re-tail and
both double and single Refined Loaf-Sugar, as also Powder
and Shop-Sugars and Sugar-Candy at Reasonable Rates."
During the English period in Florida, sugar was manufactured
on a commercial scale at the New Smyrna colony between 1767
and 1776. The object of the projectors of this colony was to en-
gage principally in the cultivation of indigo and sugarcane, their
products to be shipped to European markets where they then
commanded high prices. Louisiana did not start sugar produc-
tion until 1791.
By 1777, the New Smyrna colony had disbanded and the set-
tlement fell in ruins, so for a period the commercial sugar in-
dustry was lost to the State. Until 75 years later, the cultivation
of sugarcane had virtually disappeared from written history, but
there can be no doubt that during the period sugarcane was cul-
tivated throughout Florida.
In a description of the commerce of East Florida, Luis Fatio
wrote in 1790:
"Sugarcane grows very well in this province, and there are
people who now have enough of it in their gardens to make
syrup for their use. In the time of the English two or three
mills had been begun at the Mosquitos (Mosquito Inlet near
New Smyrna) and on the Ais (Indian) River which pro-
duced sugar that was very white and of the best quality.
From the head of the said river to the Florida cape all the
higher lands are good for this, but as there are no people
settled in those localities no one ventures to risk his
negroes and property to the inroads of the Indians, pirates,
and rogues from the Bahamas who infest all these coasts."
Ruins of old cane mills and syrup vats are still to be found
at various places over the State, including Port Orange, the New
Smyrna vicinity, and DeLeon Springs. This suggests that at
times during the early colonial period sugarcane culture and sugar
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Cultivating young cane with a mechanical four-row cultivator.
manufacture by crude methods was of considerable importance
in Florida. While information concerning the old establishments
is limited, it is known that slave labor was largely used in the
adventurous enterprises. From the location of the old mills, all
of which are in the vicinity of great hammock swamps, the type
of land best adaptable to the growing of cane was evidently well
known. At Port Orange the smokestack of an old furnace still
stands, while in the vicinity is part of the steam-driven machinery;
of a mill said to have been brought from Europe 167 years ago.
Traces of old kettle-cooking positions can still be seen at DeLeon
Between 1850 and 1860, Major Robert Gamble of Tallahassee
moved to Manatee County and erected a mill for the manufacture
of sugar, but the War between the States and fire put an end to
In the United States census for 1860, Florida was credited with
"1669 hogsheads, or 2,002,800 pounds of sugar," and it is generally
believed that this amount included the first year's output of the
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
The St. Cloud Sugar Factory was built at Kissimmee by Ham-
ilton Disston. It offered prospects until the death of Mr. Disston
in 1896, when the mill was closed.
The State Department of Agriculture was created in 1889, and
in that year a systematic record of sugarcane production and
cane products was established. This has been maintained, with
records of all farm statistics, to the present.
The present sugar manufacturing industry in Florida is a
development of recent years, beginning in 1923 at Canal Point
with the opening of Everglades lands to cultivation through an
extensive drainage project. Intermittent attempts to produce
sugar in the Everglades on a commercial basis were made as far
back as 1885, with experiments at Moore Haven, and later in the
Diston Island, Hialeah and Canal Point Districts. They failed
largely because of a lack of proper water control, unsuitable
varieties and cane diseases.
At present three companies are engaged in the production
of commercial sugar in Florida: The United States Sugar Corpor-
ation with headquarters in Clewiston; the Fellsmere Sugar Pro-
ducers Association at Fellsmere; and the Okeelanta Sugar Re-
finery at South Bay.
The United States Sugar Corporation was formed in 1931 to
effect a reorganization of the Southern Sugar Company which
was organized in 1925 but went into receivership in 1930. The
23-roll grinding tandem of the company's mill or "Sugar House"
as Clewiston is said to be the largest in the United States.
During the operating season, the Clewiston mill has a capacity
of 6,500 tons of sugarcane every 24 hours. For the 1938-39
grinding season this plant produced more than 526,000 bags of
90c raw sugar of 325 pounds per bag. In 1954-55, it produced
218,984,870 pounds of sugar from 1,033,053 tons of cane.
In Fellsmere, the Fellsmere Sugar Producers Association at
the conclusion of the 1938-39 season had produced 5,900 tons of
refined sugar. The refinery has an output of more than 100 tons
Typical young cane field in the Everglndes
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
of sugar daily. The 1954-55 production was 16,692,800 pounds of
sugar from 92,287 tons of cane. Capacity of the plant is 1,200
tons of cane daily.
The Okeelanta Sugar mill at South Bay, the baby of
the three companies in Florida in terms of age, was born
during the war, with its first real production being recorded in
1947, at 2,197 tons of sugar. The 1954-55 production was 25,216,
021 pounds of sugar from 133,100 tons of cane. Capacity of this
mill is more than 2,000 tons of cane each (lay.
The production of sugar in Florida has grown from the
14,000 tons in 1929-30, to 1,281,000 tons, valued at $10,248,000, in
Here's a Table Picture of Florida's sugarcane production.*
Not Available Yet
OSource-USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Orlando, Fla.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Sugarcane In The Everglades
Although sugarcane cultivation is one of Florida's oldest agri-
cultural enterprises, it is only recently that the commercial pro-
duction of sugar in the State has developed to such an extent that
Florida has become an important cane-producing area of the
Practically all sugar produced in Florida is from cane grown
in the region of the Everglades. Here from the beginnings of an
experiment barely 35 years ago, advancement has been made to
an aggregate planting of more than 40,000 acres. So adaptable is
the rich soil to cane growth that Everglades cane often grows
20 feet high and produces from 40 to 80 tons of cane an acre.
At the completion of the 1940-41 harvesting season, about
970,000 tons of sugar were produced, with a by-product of 5,170,
000 gallons of blackstrap molasses, for a value of $5,393,000.
During the most recent harvest, 1954-55, a total of 1,258,440
tons of cane was processed from 38,625 acres of land, resulting
in 132,336 tons of sugar and approximately 7,939,725 gallons of
blackstrap molasses. One factory also produced 408,648 gallons
of inverted molasses from "excess" sugarcane harvested.
With between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 acres of Everglades land
suitable for the production of sugarcane, enough sugar could be
produced in Florida to supply almost the entire country. Of
course, this would be so if there were no restrictions such as at
For many years, sugarcane was grown on individual farms
almost entirely for syrup. These are grown on small patches of
land and for individual family use, with the surplus being sold
locally. In 1954-55 there were approximately 7,000 acres of such
cane which produced 840,000 gallons of cane syrup valued at
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 13
The principal reasons for the tremendous increase in sugar
production has been due to the high increase in sugar yield
through the extensive research of the various sugar companies
biologists and experiments by state and federal governments.
This experiments resulted in the development of cane varieties
particularly adapted to the climatic conditions of the Everglades,
improved methods of cultivation, better drainage and water con-
trol practices and better harvesting procedures.
Another Cane Cultivating Scene
A vie w nilowr'In g iaveat e heglhd t ol I-Wve ig 111(le mul git rcii he
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Sugar In America *
About 8,000,000 tons of raw sugar have been distributed
annually in the Continental United States in recent years. This
amounts to approximately 7,500,000 tons of refined sugar. The
domestic areas supply 55 percent of our requirements, Cuba
furnishes nearly a third of our needs and the Philippines about
Slightly more than one-half of the domestically produced
sugar is supplied by the mainland cane and beet areas with most
of the remainder coming from Hawaii and Puerto Rico. A small
fraction is also produced in the Virgin Islands.
In the US, sugar beets are produced in 22 Western and North
Central States, led by California, Colorado, Idaho and Michigan.
Sugarcane is grown in a number of Southeastern and South Cen-
tral States but none produced for the manufacture of sugar except
in Louisiana and Florida. Cane produced elsewhere is used to make
In the domestic areas, there are more than 119 raw cane
sugar mills, 39 refineries, and 70 beet-sugar factories. They
represent an investment of more than a third of a billion dollars
in land, plant and equipment. Approximately 72,000 workers are
employed in the plants. More than 70,000 producers grow cane
or beets. About 300,000 farm workers are required, mostly on a
seasonal basis, to cultivate and harvest the cane and beets.
Since the passage of the first Sugar Act in 1934, the sugar
policy of the United States has been to maintain a healthy do-
mestic industry of limited size; to promote the general export
trade, and to assure adequate sugar supplies to consumers at
reasonable and stable prices.
The sugar program first started in 1789 when the new govern-
ment, seeking means of supporting itself, imposed a tariff on
*The United States Sugar Program, U. S. D. A., Agriculture Information
Bulletin No. 111, July 1953.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
sugar to raise revenue. At that time and through most of the
next century, import duties and domestic excise taxes were the
major source of government receipts, yielding close to 20 percent
of all import duties. This duty remained continuously until 1890
about 2!/ cents a pound.
This tariff provided considerable market protection for the
Louisiana and Hawaii sugar cane growers. This tariff was re-
pealed in 1890 when there was a surplus of revenue in the Treas-
ury, but protection was continued in the form of a 2-cent bounty
on each pound of sugar domestically produced. Production in
Cuba was stimulated with the removal of the tariff and Hawaii
was hurt badly for previously sugar produced there had been
admitted duty-free. Now duty-free sugar exported by Cuba
soon made Hawaii lose its position in the American Market.
In 1894 the bounty system was discontinued and a new tariff
levied on sugar, with the primary purpose being to protect the
domestic industry. This second tariff program remained in force
from 1894 to 1934, and the history of the sugar industry during
that period is a sequence of stable earnings, wild prosperity,
severe but short-lived depression, temporary recovery and pro-
longed depression in that order.
As a result of the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico, the
Philippines and Cuba received protection in our sugar market.
Production expanded rapidly in these areas and Cuba and Puerto
Rico became specialized one-crop areas directly dependent upon
the continuation of our protective policy for the livelihood of
At the turn of the century, slightly more than half of our
sugar cane came from foreign countries other than Cuba. But
by 1813 the increase in sugar supplies in the United States, its
territories and in Cuba practically pushed all foreign sugar from
our market. In World War I the Government placed rigid con-
trols on sugar distribution and a price guarantee was placed on
Cuban sugar. Again Cuba increased production of sugar cane.
After World War I with the lifting of controls and the prospect
of short supplies, sugar became one of the speculative leaders
of the inflationary boom, reaching first to more than 19 cents a
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
pound and then to a low of less than 5 cents a pound. In 1923
prices began to advance on sugar and Americans poured large
sums of money into Cuban Sugar Production. In 1925 world
sugar production began outstripping world demand and prices
toppled. With higher production and better cultivation and pro-
cessing practices, the yield increased and prices dropped lower
and lower, along with the depression in 1932-33.
By May 1932 the world price of sugar had dropped to less
than one cent a pound, with the United States price falling to
less than three cents a pound. It was generally agreed that do-
mestic producers needed higher prices if they were to realize a
fair return. During early 1933 the US Tariff Commission recom-
mended a quota system of selling sugar in this country. In this
year numerous conferences were held to develop a marketing
agreement for sugar, and from these meetings came a Sugar
Stabilization Agreement. This pact was rejected but it prepared
the way for the Sugar Act of 1934 which allowed quotas, produc-
tions and levied taxes on the processors. The tax was repealed
in 1936 but the quota and allotment system remained in effect.
The Sugar Act of 1937 was enacted with a new excise tax. This
act was extended through 1947. The Sugar Act of 1948 changed
the method of establishing quotas, assigned fixed quantities to
domestic areas and variable quotas to Cuba and other foreign
countries. This gave the benefit of increased consumption largely
to Cuba. This country felt obligated to help Cuba market its
record crop because we requested that country to increase pro-
duction during World War II and Cuba responded, marketing a
large part of its output to America at prices far below the pre-
vailing world market price.
In 1951, Congress again amended the sugar legislation, pri-
marily with those sections relating to quotas, with Cuba's share
being reduced somewhat. The sugar determination, made by the
Secretary of Agriculture, establishes the quantity of sugar in
short tons, raw value, that may be marketing in the United States
during the year under consideration. Under this amended Act,
fixed quotas are still in effect for domestic areas and the republic
of Philippines and variable quotas for Cuba and other foreign
' 1, :
Field ~lagon% ('onicving ('ul Cane to Iloists
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Conditional payments, financed by a tax of one-half cent a
pound, raw value, on all sugar processed and imported, act as
incentives to growers to adjust their production to the quota
and carryover needs. There is also a system of limited benefits
for growers in the form of special payments for disaster losses.
Results of the Sugar Program
The imposition of sugar quotas in 1934 caused a sharp cut
in sugar production. Between 1923 and 1933 production in the
domestic areas increased from 2,044,000 tons to 3,907,000 tons.
In 1934, domestic production was cut to 3,584,000 tons, and the
following year, 3,419,000 tons. In later years, sugar prices had
recovered somewhat and the consumer income was up. There-
after, as the market expanded, with increased population and
improved demand, the quota totals were increased. At the present
time, most of any increase over regular quotas in sugar require-
ments through 1956 will be filled by imports from Cuba and other
Other results of the Sugar Program include stable and ade-
quate earnings for the refiners and processors, growers gross
incomes have increased substantially, and the standard of living
of the canefield workers has greatly improved with higher mini-
Annual per capital distribution of refined sugar increased
steadily from the Civil War period to 1926, from about 18 pounds
to 109 pounds. During the next eight years, 1926 to 1934, distri-
bution fell about 15 pounds and then recovered somewhat until
the beginning of World War II when supplies were inadequate.
Imports from the Philippines were cut off completely and they
dropped from Cuba. In 1942 the per capital distribution was 81
pounds and this increased to about 100 pounds during the late
1940's and in 1952 it was steady at 103 pounds per person.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Transporting sugarcane in field wagons
A Short Look At The Sugar House
United States Sugar Corporation
By WILLIAM LANIER
U. S. Sugar Corporation
It takes a lot of sugar cane-over 6,500 tons daily-to produce
the million pounds of sugar shipped daily from the Sugar House
and that's the reason for those vistas of brilliant waving green
around Clewiston. Those are the cane fields. They stretch east
and west around the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee to cover
more than 30,000 acres, all served by a vast system of water con-
Cuttings of sugar cane about two feet long are used for plant-
ing, the planting being done by hand. Cuttings are laid in fur-
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
rows so that the end of each cutting overlaps the next cutting.
The cultivation is by machines.
The harvest season usually commences about November 1
and ends around the middle of April. When mature it is hand cut
close to the ground, stripped of leaves and topped; the stalk
is cut into about four-foot lengths and laid lengthwise across the
middles in readiness for the mechanical loaders to pick it up
and load it into field wagons. From 4 to 6 of these wagons, each
loaded with about 31/2 tons of sugar cane, are coupled together
and these wagon trains are pulled by tractor to the field railroad
siding. At the field railroad siding it is transferred by especially
designed loaders into railroad cars especially built for that service.
These cars are transported in train-loads to the Sugar House
of United States Sugar Corporation at Clewiston, Florida.
At the Sugar House these cane-laden cars arrive at the Cane
Cane Receiving Station
Here each car is passed over a track scale for weighing just
prior to being emptied. From the scales the car is moved to a
hydraulically-operated tilting table where, after being turned
partly on its side, the contents are emptied onto an endless con-
veyor which rapidly transports it to slashing knives which shred
it and then to the crusher rolls.
Each car contains about 20 tons and approximately 7 to 18
carloads per hour are emptied, depending upon the rate of grind
ordered by the Sugar House Superintendent.
Samples of sugar cane juice are continually taken at various
points during the sugar processing and brought here for analysis.
Within a few minutes the Chief Chemist can tell the Sugar House
Superintendent the sucrose (sugar) content of each carload of
cane. The work here may be compared to that of an accountant.
A constant check is kept on all income, in this case sucrose, the
United States Sugar Corporation Plant
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
losses are noted and the net amount of raw sugar is balanced
against the theoretical return.
Crusher and Grinding Tandem
Here there are a two-roll crusher and seven three-roll mills to
extract the juice from the cane. The fiber which remains after
the juice is extracted is known as bagasse. The greater part of
this material is transported by conveyor to the boiler room where
it is burned as fuel under the boilers to supply the power for
operating the Sugar House and the steam used in the process.
A small part of the bagasse is baled and sold under the trade name
"Flor-Kane" as an all-season, all purpose litter for the poultry
trade and other users of bedding and litter.
Juice Heating and Clarification
From the crusher rolls and tandem the juices are passed
through a liming treatment to correct alkalinity and to aid the
clarification process. From the juice pit the juice is pumped to
juice heaters where it is heated to a temperature of 2180 Faren-
heit. After heating it is clarified in huge continuous clarifiers.
The clear juice is then passed from the clarifiers to storage tanks
and the impurities are pumped from the bottom of the clarifiers
to the filters which remove most of the sucrose. This recovered
sucrose is returned to the clarifiers while the residue or impurities
are diluted with water and pumped onto fields south of the plant
to build up the soil in those fields. After the juice is clarified it is
weighed and transferred to the evaporators.
In this process much of the water is vaporized and the juice
concentrated into a heavy syrup to a density of 32' Baume. The
water evaporated out of the juice is pumped to the spray pond
just outside the Sugar House where it is air-cooled and returned
to the factory for use in the condensors to produce vacuum for
the vacuum pans.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
One of the most important steps in the production of sugar
is sugar boiling. The heavy syrup from the evaporators is pumped
to vacuum pans which, as the name implies, are operated under a
vacuum to permit boiling at low temperatures and it is during
this boiling process that the syrup is converted to crystals or
grains in a "massecuite." or cooked mass.
The sugar crystals and molasses which comprise the "mass-
ecuite" are separated in centrifuges. These machines are essen-
tially a perforated drum or basket which revolves at high speed
within an iron casing; the centrifugal force spins the molasses
of the sugar crystals, leaving the sugar within the basket while
the molasses passes into the iron casing. All of the molasses is
returned into the process for reboiling. After the second reboiling
the molasses is exhausted of recoverable sugar and this finished
by-product. known as "Blackstrap Molasses," is weighe:l and
stored. It is an essential and highly nutritious feed. Production
of molasses is utilized by the feed mixing industry and cattlemen
for direct feeding to livestock, as well as fed "free-choice" to
the cattle on the Corporation's Sugarland Ranch.
Loading Raw Sugar into Railroad Cars
All raw sugar produced by United States Sugar Corporation
is loaded in bulk (except upon special request of the refinery for
sugar to be shipped in bags) directly into standard railroad cars
which are moved out daily. The sugar flows from the storage bin
overhead onto the belt conveyor just below it. The conveyor
extends right up to the railroad car door and the sugar pours from
the belt into the small portable loading machine which distributes
it into the railroad car. Each car is loaded to the marked capacity
or on an average of 80,000 to 110,000 pounds per car. All carloads
of raw sugar are shipped to Savannah, Ga., where it is refined,
packaged and marketed under the trade name "Dixie Crystals"
by the Savannah Sugar Refining Corporation.
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
In addition to growing sugar cane and producing raw sugar,
black-strap molasses and poultry litter United States Sugar
Corporation also owns and operates:
Located one mile west of Clewiston on US Highway No. 27,
with its thousands of acres of improved pastures planted to
permanent grasses, with two-way water control, is one of the
nation's finest. One of the highlights of this ranch is its extensive
breeding program involving the breeding of Purebred Registered
Brahmans, and the crossbreeding of Purebred Brahmans with
beef type cattle of European breeds- Charloais, Hereford, Angus,
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
United States Sugar Corporation
Grinding Capacity: 6.500 Tons Cane Per 24 Hours
United States Sugar Corporation's agricultural operations in
the production of sugar cane extend along the southwestern,
southern and eastern borders of Lake Okeechobee, a distance
of approximately 45 miles. Approximately 31,000 acres are de-
voted to the cultivation of sugar cane, both administration and
independent growers. This acreage results in an annual produc-
tion of approximately 1.000,000 tons of cane per year. The
principal varieties grown are F.31-962, F.31-436 and F.31-223.
The cane cultivated area of United States Sugar Corporation
is divided into two Divisions: The Eastern Division with 45'/
and the Western Division with 55':, of the acreage. The Eastern
Division is divided into six plantations. The Western Division
is divided into eight plantations.
The stubble canes are fertilized with 141 pounds per acre of
K.O from Muriate of Potash, 34 pounds per acre of P.O from
The plant cane is fertilized with 150 pounds per acre of K20
from Muriate of Potash; 36 pounds per acre of PO from triple
Superphosphate; 14 pounds per acre of MnO from Manganese
Sulphate; 1.3 pounds per acre ZnO from Zinc Sulphate; 6.3 pounds
per acre of CuO from Copper Oxide and, on some areas, from 200
to 400 pounds of Sulphur per acre are applied.
For the agricultural operations, power is supplied by sixty-one
65 hp. crawler type tractors; twenty-seven 65 hp., 4 wheel drive
rubber tire tractors; sixteen 35 hp. crawler type tractors; thirty-
six 25 hp. crawler type tractors; and fifty 30 hp. wheel type
Twenty-eight Link-Belt Speeder loaders and six continuous
loaders, developed on the property, are used to load the cane in
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
the fields. The cane is transported from the fields to the railroad
hoist with 500 crawler type and 148 rubber tired type five-ton
The stubble cane is cultivated with 2-row tillivators and the
plant cane with 3-row disc cultivators with drill scratchers at-
Weedicides are used in the control of weeds in the drill where
The average number of field laborers employed during the
harvesting season is approximately 1,700 and during the culti-
vating season about 700.
All cane is transported to the Sugar House at Clewiston via
the lines of the Florida East Coast Railway and Atlantic Coast
Line Railroad. The Florida East Coast Railway serves all the
Corporation's plantations from Canal Point, Florida, to Lake
Harbor, Florida, where it delivers the cane trains to the Atlantic
Coast Line which line serves the Sugar House at Clewiston and
the balance of the property from Lake Harbor. Florida to Moore
Plantation repair shops are maintained in both Divisions, the
Eastern Division with headquarters at Bryant, and the Western
Division with headquarters in Clewiston. All repair shops in
the two Divisions are under the supervision of a Superintendent
whose headquarters are at Clewiston, Florida.
These shops are charged with the repair and maintenance of
the fleet of mechanical equipment necessary in the field operations
and to fill the transportation requirements of the Corporation.
In the Western Division Plantation Shops the Superintendent
is aided by an Assistant Superintendent and a Foreman who sup-
ervises the repair shops. These latter include a machine shop,
blacksmith shop, welding shop, auto repair shop, tractor repair
shop, electrical and magneto shop, dragline repair shop, cane
loader and wagon shop and a parts department to supply the
various shops with parts and material. The Western Division
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Shops maintain a repair crew of 36 men and a field crew of 16
men which includes two field equipment Supervisors in addition
to the Assistant Superintendent and Shop Foreman.
The Superintendent is aided in the Eastern Division Shops
by a Supervisor and one assistant. These shops have a crew of 21
men and a field crew of 14 men which includes one field equipment
Supervisor in addition to the Shop Supervisor and Assistant.
Field Cane Loader
In addition to the maintenance of field equipment a certain
amount of construction of new equipment is also carried out in
United States Sugar Corporation has an Engineering
Department for the development and construction of new equip-
ment. A new method of loading and transporting sugar cane has
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
been worked out embodying entirely new equipment developed
and built in the Corporation's Shops. Continuous cane loaders em-
bodying a new process in loading cane has been developed which
will pick up cane previously cut and wind-rowed by hand, cut
the cane in short lengths and load directly in field wagons in one
continuous operation. These machines will load at an average rate
of approximately 80 tons of cane per hour and have loaded as
high as 150 tons per hour under ideal conditions. An entirely new
type field wagon was also developed and built in the Corporation's
Shops to transport cane loaded by continuous loaders. These wag-
ons are mounted on eight rubber tired wheels for maximum flo-
tation and are designed to side-dump the cane. A new continuous
cane elevator has been designed and built which receives the
cane from the rubber tired wagons and transfers it into rail cars
for delivery to the Sugar House. In order to utilize the higher
speeds possible with the new rubber tired wagons the Corpora-
tion's Engineers developed a four-wheel drive, rubber tired, trac-
tor. These tractors pull strings of from four to six field wagons
at speeds up to 16 miles per hour. The mechanical car spotters
were developed to spot rail cars at the cane elevators. At the
present time two plantations have been completely converted to
this new type equipment and work is now under way to convert
two additional plantations.
Drainage and Water Control
Surrounding Lake Okeechobee, is a levee of large proportions
to protect the life and property of the adjacent territory.
To control the elevation of the water in the Lake, there are
two large canals, St. Lucie Canal discharging surplus water into
the Atlantic Ocean and Caloosahatchee Canal discharging surplus
water into the Gulf of Mexico. The agricultural operations of the
United States Sugar Corporation extend from 1/2 miles east of
Moore Haven to 2 miles north of Canal Point, south and east
of Lake Okeechobee. This area is generally muck soil, needing
drainage to enable it to be used for agricultural purposes. The
following drainage districts have been formed to supply this need:
Diston Island Drainage District
Sugarland Drainage District
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Clewiston Drainage District
South Florida Conservancy District
Ritta Drainage District
South Shore Drainage District
East Shore Drainage District
Pahokee Drainage District
Pelican Lake Sub-Drainage District
A sub-drainage district is a political sub-division of the State
of Florida and is organized by authority of the legislature that
creates the district and provides for its administration. The ad-
ministration of the drainage district is by three supervisors, one
of which is elected annually by the landowners within the district.
The design of these districts is more or less uniform. A levee
is constructed surrounding the entire unit to protect it from ex-
traneous waters. A central pumping plant is established either
for the district or units thereof. Then there is a main collecting
canal built to the far reaches of the boundary of the unit. At
half-mile intervals laterals are constructed which discharge into
the main collecting canals. At right angles to the laterals. field
ditches are dug, either at intervals of one-quarter or one-eighth
mile. Surface drains are let into the field ditches. At right angles
to the field ditches and at a depth of approximately thirty inches,
mole drains are constructed. These mole drains are formed by
drawing a projectile shaped slug through the muck land and
are spaced at intervals of approximately 15 feet. The muck soil
being plastic, the mole drains remain open for a number of years
and allow the water that percolates from the surface to reach the
The central pumping plants are designed to pump water from
the interior of the district at a capacity equal to one inch in depth
covering the territory each 24 hours. The depth of the ditches and
laterals are so designed that the water will flow at a rate to
operate the pumps to this designed capacity. In the main canals.
under clean conditions, it usually requires a grade line of three
inches to the mile to develop the necessary flow. The slope
needed to make the water flow is created by the pumps. Some of
the pumps discharge directly into the lake and others into arterial
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
This area spoken of contains about 137,000 acres of land. In
the combined drainage districts above named, there are twenty-
seven separate pumping plants which contain 50 individual engine
pump units. The combined power of the engines driving the
pumps is 7,708 horsepower. When all of the pumps in these 9
drainage districts are pumping simultaneously they have a com-
bined capacity to move approximately three and one-half billion
gallons of water per twenty-four hour period. The water, after
a heavy precipitation, which often occurs in the summer time, is
lifted an average height of 51/2 feet. This process enables the land
to be used.
The cost of the pumping averages approximately $1.90 per
acre per annum.
The annual rainfall in this area averages approximately 54
inches per annum and the amount of water that must be pumped
is entirely dependent upon the distribution of the rainfall to-
gether with the evaporation and transpiration.
The Corporation has carried on uninterruptedly the breeding
and selection of disease and insect resistant new varieties of
sugar cane particularly adapted to commercial cultivation in the
Florida Everglades and capable of giving optimum yields of sugar
per acre. Many thousand new cane seedlings are bred and tested
annually. All major diseases have been kept well under control
by the use of immune and highly resistant, superior yielding
sugar canes. Insect pests have never presented a serious threat
to the local industry due to the use of resistant types and the
discovery of cultural methods and chemical treatments which
effect satisfactory control.
All phases of sugar cane culture have been studied during the
past two decades. The best width of row to use, the best methods
of planting, fertilization, fertilizer placement, cultivation, etc.,
have been developed by experimental trials locally.
With the advent of chemical weedicides, a research program
was instituted to develop the best chemical formula for weeding
cane and the best field equipment to apply the chemicals economic-
Tranerring s arcane fro field wagons to railroad cars
Transferring sugarcane frot field wagons to railroad ca rs
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ally and effectively. These studies have saved considerable sums
of money yearly, formerly expended for hand weeding of cane.
Experiments continue from year to year to test our new chemi-
cals and procedures.
Soil investigations have been made over approximately
40,000 acres of land. The organic soils in each 40-acre block have
been properly classified as to their mineral content and com-
position, soil reaction (pH), etc. The sandy soils have been clas-
sified as to their organic content, chemical composition and re-
action. In rather detailed studies, spectrographic analyses have
been performed to determine the entire mineral composition of
typical soils, thus giving a complete picture as to both major and
minor, or trace elements, found therein.
Many physiological studies have been completed under con-
trolled laboratory and greenhouse conditions with sugar cane in
an effort to study accurately mineral deficiency symptoms due to
major and minor element deficiencies. These symptoms have
been recorded photographically in color for future use in detect-
ing physiological disorders in commercial fields.
At the present time, both soil and plant analyses are being
employed to check certain mineral deficiencies in all sugar cane
fields as an aid to economical and efficient fertilization practices
and recommendations. By these means production levels have
been kept high.
Special studies, both in the laboratory and in a fair sized
pilot plant have been made concerning the problems of cane juice
clarification with special attention to major commercial varieties
on different soil types. This has resulted in marked improvements
applicable to factory scale use.
Since fiber content in sugar cane is so very important in its
effects on grinding rate and sugar extraction efficiency, special
studies have been made during the past two decades to determine
the fiber content of all important commercial and experimental va-
rieties of potential promise. The policy of selecting low fiber canes
in preference to higher fiber types, all other favorable qualities
being equal or better, has enabled the development of commercial
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
sugar canes with an average fiber content much lower than in
The Research Department, in addition to having laboratory
and field facilities for studying chemical and biological problems
of soils, plants and animals, maintains a library for use of its
scientists and other workers, and is an important division of the
organization for maintaining up-to-date contact with work in
other research institutions both in this country and throughout
Cane Handling-All cane comes to the factory in standard
railroad cars and is unloaded by hydraulic operated tilting table
directly into a feeder carrier. Because all cars must be loaded
well above car doors in order to get a minimum load of twenty
tons, a dragline type Speeder with grab hook is used to remove
the surplus from the top, thus permitting rapid unloading of cars.
About twelve to fifteen twenty-ton cars are unloaded an hour.
A 40 hp. motor is used for the "topper."
The feeder or No. 1 carrier is 8'0" wide by 90'0" long. The
main or No. 2 carrier is 6'6" wide by 134'0" long. Both carriers use
Chabelco No. 2198-K2 chain and steel slats. No. 1 carrier has a
50 hp., 575 r.p.m. variable speed motor. No. 2 carrier has a 60 hp.,
690 r.p.m. motor at full speed reduced to 4.9 r.p.m. at head shaft.
Cane Preparation-No. 1 carrier has a knife set equipped with
thirty Scharnberg double edged knives, set to cut about 18" above
the slats, driven by a 300 hp. 1,100 r.p.m. motor with the speed
of the knives reduced to 450 r.p.m. thru V-belt drive.
No. 2 carrier knife set is driven by a 400 hp. motor, 505 r.p.m.,
with V-belt drive increasing speed of knife set to 550 r.p.m. This
set cuts to about "/." above carrier slats. It has thirty-six
Scharnberg knives, eighteen hubs, into which the knives dove-
tail and require only a set screw to hold them in place. Knives are
furnished by Krajewski-Pesant Manufacturing Company.
Milling Equipment-The crusher has 40" x 78" rolls, differen-
tail grooving on upper and lower rolls. It is driven by a 221/2" x 42"
Corliss engine which at 85 r.p.m. produces 4.87 r.p.m. at crusher.
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
A Dings magnetic separator is located in the chute between
the crusher and the first mill and this has been instrumental in
removing much tramp iron.
There are seven mills. The first mill has 36" x 78" rolls driven
by a 400 hp. motor, 1,200 r.p.m. reduced to 5.06 r.p.m. at mill.
The second mill speed is 4.11 r.p.m. with engine speed of 70 r.p.m.
The second, third and fourth mills are driven by a 38" x 60"
Hamilton Corliss engine. The third mill has 4.02 r.p.m. and the
fourth 4.12 r.p.m. with engine speed of 70 r.p.m.
The fifth, sixth and seventh mills have speeds of 3.78, 4.08
and 5.06 r.p.m. respectively at 68 r.p.m. engine speed. They are
driven by a 38" x 60" Fulton Corliss engine. The steam pressure
is 140-145 p.s.i. and 12-15-lb. back pressure.
The top rolls of all mills except No. 1 are 351/4" x 78"; the
cane rolls 35" x 78"; and the bagasse rolls 35" x 78". The top and
cane rolls of crusher and all mills have longitudinal grooves.
Crusher journals are 161/," x 22". All others are 18" x 25". All
engine pinions and intermediate gears are cast steel with cut
teeth. All rolls have differential grooving.
Steam Plant-There are nine water tube boilers with rated
capacity of 9,250 hp. There are four Babcock & Wilcox Stirlings
rated at 500 hp. each, installed in 1928, to produce steam at 150
lbs. The boilers with Hofft furnaces are used for emergencies
only. In 1929, three Edge Moor boilers of 1,000 hp. rated capacity
each were erected and are still operating, at greatly increased
rating since the installation of air preheaters for the 1946-47 crop.
The Edge Moor boilers have the horseshoe hearth furnaces and
produce steam at 175 p.s.i. with 1000F. superheat.
A Babcock & Wilcox high pressure (650 lb. and 6500) boiler
was erected in 1945. It has a Ward furnace for bagasse, and
burners for oil and/or gas. It is rated as 100,000 pounds per
hour on oil or gas and 70,000 on bagasse but will produce more.
Air is preheated.
A Babcock & Wilcox marine type boiler using oil only was
erected in 1946. It is rated at 60,000 pounds per hour. It has an
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 37
air preheater. Each boiler now has its own steel stack with
forced and induced draft.
The low pressure boilers are served by two motor driven and
one steam turbine driven pumps. These pumps have a capacity of
500 g.p.m. at 1,770 r.p.m. One of these pumps will usually furnish
sufficient water. There is one motor driven pump and one steam
turbine driven pump as a spare for the high pressure boiler.
Capacity of each is 320 g.p.m. at 3,540 r.p.m., 1,980 foot head.
Feedwater-The high pressure boiler requires pure water.
To secure this, water is obtained from a pumping station six miles
out in Lake Okeechobee. This water is first treated by a cold soda-
lime process at one plant, which also supplies the City of Clewis-
ton. The water is then treated by the hot soda-lime process which
reduces the hardness to 10 ppm. or less. It is also treated intern-
ally in boiler so that blowdown is zero hardness. This water is also
used in the low pressure boilers as make-up. All condensate is
filtered to remove oil and treated internally in the boilers to secure
zero hardness. It is also tested every fifteen minutes for sugar.
Since this treatment was adopted, foaming is unknown and scale
in tubes practically nonexistent.
Electric Plant-There is one 3,500 kw. turbine generating at
2,300 volts, and a 2,000 kw. turbine generating at 440 volts.
These are the only ones operating at present and the output is
about 4,000 kw. per hour. One 1,000 kw. turbine generating at
400 volts is held in reserve.
Clarification-All the primary juice as well as juice from the
secondary clarifier goes into the juice pit and a single clarification
given. From this pit it is pumped by three pumps with a capacity
of 1,000 g.p.m. each and 289 foot head, through a U. S. Pipe &
Foundary Company heat exchanger where the temperature of
the juice is raised approximately 20 by the No. 3 condensate
going to the mills as maceration water. Thence, the juice goes to
the six primary juice heaters, so arranged that they may be
used in series or two may be used in parallel. Four heaters are
Murphys with 320-1! /" tubes 12'2" long or 1,529 square feet of
heating surface each. Two are Kilby heaters with 603 square feet
of heating surface each.
38 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The liming is controlled automatically by means of a Fox-
boro control which holds the pH very closely within desired
The primary clarifiers consist of: one 18' Dorr, 31,900 gals.;
one 22' Dorr, 43,300 gals.; two 20' Seip (or Graver) 39,000 gals.
each, and one 32' Graver, 116,650 gals.
All clarified juice is weighed in two Richardson scales holding
about 19,000 pounds each. The weighing is done by an automatic
Foxboro Controller. When one tank is full the juice valve is closed
while the valve to the second tank is opened. The total weight is
recorded. The juice flows into the evaporator supply tank below,
18,625 gals. capacity.
Mud from the primary clarifiers is mixed with hot water,
relimed, and pumped by one of two pumps, 500 g.p.m. each, 140'
head, 1,160 r.p.m., each driven by a 30 hp. motor, thru three Kilby
juice heaters to secondary clarifiers. The secondary heaters have
603 square feet of heating surface each.
The secondary clarifiers are two 18' Dorrs, 21,520 gallons each.
The mud from the secondaries is pumped to a "U" shaped tank
where it is mixed with bagacillo blown over from the boiler room
and flows to three Oliver filters, 8'0" x 16'0". The filter cake is
mixed with water and pumped to the fields. The juice from
the last three mills is pumped back to the first mills for macera-
Exaporation-From the evaporator supply tank the clarified
juice is pumped to the pre-evaporators. One is a single body
11'6" diameter with 8,390 sq. ft. heating surface returning the
partially evaporated juice to the supply tank. The other pre-
evaporator consists of four bodies which are so arranged that
they may be used as two double-effect pre-evaporators, or as a
quadruple. Total heating surface 32,020 sq. ft.
There are two quadruples: one has a total heating surface of
28,507 sq. ft. and the other has a total heating surface of 23,592
sq. ft. Total evaporation surface 89,509 sq. ft.
There are six calandria vacuum pans: one 10'O" I.D., 1,368 sq.
ft. heating surface, 1,085 cu. ft.; one 13'0" I.D. copper pan, 2,944
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
sq. ft. heating surface and 2,030 cu. ft.; one 13'0" U. S. Pipe &
Foundry pan, 1,921 sq. ft. heating surface and 1,957 cu. ft. ca-
pacity; two 13'0" U. S. Pipe & Foundry pans, 3,574 sq. ft. heating
surface and 1,963 cu. ft. capacity; one 13'0" Macfarlane pan,
2,943 sq. ft. heating surface, capacity 1,710 cu. ft. Total heating
surface 16,324 sq. ft.; capacity 10,708 cu. ft. Three pans are
equipped with Scharnberg homogenizer circulators; the other
pans have no circulators.
Vapors from the pre-evaporators are used for juice heating
or can be connected directly to a Schutte-Koerting water jet con-
denser. The two quadruple evaporators and all the pans have in-
dividual condensers of the same type as above. All the pans are
Condenser Water-Part of this water is obtained from deep
wells; part from the Lake, treated water used for turbine cooling,
used largely for "makeup" in spray pond. To pump to the con-
densers there are: one 12,000 g.p.m. pump driven by 300 hp.
motor; one 3,000 g.p.m., 100 hp. motor, and two 2,500 g.p.m. with
100 hp. motors. One 12,000 g.p.m. pump driven by 300 hp. motor
pumps water out to the spray pond which has 63 spray nozzle
stands with four nozzles each.
Crystallizers-There are fifteen "U" type crystallizers. Ten
are 7'2" wide by 32'0", with Rolston coils. Two are 9'0" x 21'0",
without Rolston coils. These twelve are for cooling "C" sugar
massecuites, and their total capacity is 19,250 cu. ft. Three, 7'2"
x 32'0", are for storage above "A" and "B" centrifugal mixers;
capacity 5,011 cu. ft.
The mixer for "C" sugar is 64' long, capacity 947 cu. ft., and
the mixer over "A" and "B" sugars is 47'2" long, capacity 2,973
Centrifugals-For high grade sugars, "A" and "B" there
are ten American Tool Company 40" x 24" centrifugals individ-
ually driven by 40 hp. Westinghouse motors, making 1,150-1,200
"C" sugar massecuites go to fourteen 40" x 24" Hepworth belt
driven centrifugals. There are two line shafts. Six centrifugals
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
are driven by a 100 hp. motor, 860 r.p.m., with V-belt pulleys
which increase the speed to 1,000 r.p.m. The other eight are
driven similarly by a 150 hp. motor. They make 1,150-1,200 r.p.m.
Sugar Handling-Normally no sugar is stored at the factory
but it is loaded directly into the cars for shipment to the re-
finery. All the sugar is shipped in bulk.
The sugar is dropped onto a rubber belt from the bottom of
an elevated sugar bin. The belt discharges through a chute
directly to a Stephens-Adamson "car loader" which throws
sugar to the end of the car. Signode doors are used so that no
bulkheading is needed except on very wide car doors. It is pos-
sible to load a car almost to full capacity before removing car
loader. The car load limit is then loaded over the Signode door
with the collapsible chute. Car stands on a standard car track
scale while being loaded.
Final Molasses Storage-There are three tanks for molasses
storage. One is 77' x 29'4" high, capacity 1,000,000 gals. Two are
106'6" I.D. by 30'0" high, capacity 2,000,000 gals. each.
Factory Buildings-The Mill Room is 176' by 61'7" center to
center of 18" steel columns, with a runway for a 15-ton Box
Crane running full length of the building. The Mill Room adjoins
the factory, of which the original building was 176' x 86'8". To
this was added 128' x 144' of factory space and 150'8" x 48' of
warehouse space for storing sugar, not needed for storage at
present. The Pan and Evaporator floor is 45' high; central nave is
78" high to gable. A space 32' x 32' at one end of the sugar storage
section has been partitioned off for the Electric Shop.
Boiler Room and Bagasse Storage are 301'x 63'0" of which
64' is for bagasse storage.
The Power Plant 120' x 43' x 25' high. The high pressure tur-
bine is located in the extension, 40' long, which was added in 1937.
The various supplies needed for the factory and some field
supplies are carried in the Central Supply Warehouse, a building
144' x 48'. The offices of the Superintendent, Assistant Superin-
tendents, and Engineering Department are in this building. All
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 41
of these buildings are of steel construction throughout, with
A building 90'x 46' of steel and concrete houses a well
equipped machine shop. A Salvage Warehouse of similar con-
struction, 90'x 40', is used to store spare motors, pumps, and
other material used as spares.
A service building, 110'x 40' is built of reinforced concrete
and concrete blocks. It contains the timekeepers' office, first aid
rooms for white and colored employees, as well as toilets, showers
and lockers. There are 424 lockers for white and 148 lockers for
The Locomotive Repair Shop is 80' x 40' x 20' high, all steel,
with a crane over the pit for removing wheels. Three standard
gauge locomotives are in use continually, with two as spares, at
Clewiston, during the grinding period, while two are in use at
There are 469 standard gauge cane cars which will hold from
20-25 tons of cane, and two molasses cars. Most of the molasses
cars are rented or supplied by companies buying molasses. There
is an Industrial Works locomotive crane with a capacity of
60,000 pounds at 15' and 14,500 pounds at 50'.
Resume of Manufacturing Results
Year ....... ... 1953-54 1954-55
Start of crop season Oct. 27 Nov. 2
End of crop season .. May 6 Apr. 19
Number of crop days ...191 169
Lost time, % total time ... 2.15 2.24
Tons of cane milled -. 1,146,236 1,033,053
Tons milled per hour 255.83 261.30
% Sucrose 12.36 12.67
'; Fibre 11.62 12.17
Bagasse 26.17 27.76
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
; Purity -...-
Normal juice extraction
Sucrose extraction--% sucrose
in cane .....-
Maceration cane ..
'/ Purity ---
Gal. per ton cane, 320 Be .....
Pounds of sugar, 96 test, per
ton of cane
Lb. 96 deg. test sugar
Prior Record of Crop Production
1948-49 1949-50 1950-51 1951-52 1952-53
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
History of Okeelanta Sugar Mill
By GEORGE SALLEY
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery
The Sugar Mill at Okeelanta is definitely a "war baby." It
is a product of World War II. Around the turn of the century,
a sugar mill was erected on Vieques Island, a short distance off
the east coast of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. Vieques is a tiny
island, lying between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and
about forty miles from each of them. With the advent of World
War II and the intense increase in military and naval activity
on the part of the United States, the Government decided that
Vieques Island would be an excellent target range for naval
gunnery practice. Accordingly, the sugar mill situated upon the
Island was dismantled and transported to Puerto Rico. The Island
became the focal point of most of the naval training in the east
coast area. War maneuvers were constantly being carried on
and the former sugar plantation on Vieques Island shook with
the explosion of heavy missiles from the ships of the United
States Navy and bombs dropped from Marine Corps' planes.
As the war progressed it became increasingly difficult to ship
civilian merchandise over the sea lanes of the world. Further-
more, upon the outbreak of war in the Pacific, it will be recalled
that Japan over-ran the Phillipines and thus eliminated one of
the great sources of supply of sugar for the continental United
States. Sea trallic between the mainland and the Hawaiian
Islands was mostly taken up with the shipment of military sup-
plies and personnel.
The many levies upon the civilian manpower, occasioned by
the demands of the military services for recruitments, replace-
ments and additional personnel, vied with the increasing hazards
of maritime transportation to restrict the available supplies of
sugar in the continental United States. The Government became
intensely interested in increasing these supplies. So much so,
that when the Puerto Rican owners of the Vieques mill decided
to develop a sugar plantation and reconstruct the mill on the
rich muck lands just south of Lake Okeechobee in Southern
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Florida, it was arranged to ship the dismantled factory by Navy
transport. This was done in the middle of the most intense period
of the World's greatest war. By the time the Mill had been trans-
ported and stored upon the Mill site in Okeelanta, it looked more
like the scrap pile of some steel mill than a sugar mill. The wind
and weather had coated every inch of the metal with rust. How-
ever, as the actual steel framework for the buildings arose, sand
blasters were busy scouring the steel and iron to a shiny bright-
Now came the third phase of the War's contribution to the
Okeelanta Sugar Mill. When the tide of War turned and the
prisoner of war camps began to fill up with Germans and Italians
captured by the Allied powers, a not inconsiderable number were
confined in South Florida. A large part of the construction work
on the roads, ditches and dikes around the Okeelanta Mill, if not
in the actual erection of the Mill itself, was performed by the
prisoners of war incarcerated in the area.
The Okeelanta Sugar Plantation is unique among the pro-
ducer-processors of sugar cane in the mainland cane area. Its
entire plantation is located on muck. Even the other two pro-
cessors in Florida conduct operations on several different varie-
ties of land, only a part of which are muck. Actually, the Okee-
lanta lands are designated by the U. S. Department of Agri-
culture Soil Conservation Service as Everglades Peat, are organic
in origin, and are unique in characteristics of cultivation. The
Florida muck lands have a fine powdery surface soil which is
extremely unstable when dry; on the other hand, when wet it
quickly becomes a gelatinous quagmire. Therefore, in a land of
violent climatic extremes such as Florida, there is a definite limi-
ted opportunity in any one year to prepare these lands for culti-
Unlike lands of igneous or alluvial origin, the Florida muck
lands must be thoroughly artificially saturated with minerals
before planting. Sound farm operation requires lands to be
plowed, harrowed or disked and the minerals to be given about a
year within which to permeate the land prior to planting.
At the outset, however, before even this can be attempted, a
system of dikes, ditches and drainage canals, together with two-
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
way pumps and a complete and coordinated method of controlling
the water table of all lands to be brought into production must
be installed. This in itself requires a great deal of time, effort
and expense. While it might be possible to put ten or twelve
thousand acres of this land into cultivation within two or three
years time, it would be financially impractical, and, economically
speaking, absurd. The vast numbers of men and machines re-
quired for such an undertaking, within the limited time available
during any given year would require an expenditure of many
millions of dollars. It is, therefore, incumbent upon anyone, and
was incumbent upon the developers of Okeelanta specifically, to
produce an operating farm unit, that they must construct it bit
by bit, and year by year, over a long period of time; even then
the capital requirements are tremendous.
The Florida muck lands cannot be rotated in use as can be
the lands of many others of the processors and producers in the
Mainland cane area who have an option of utilizing their lands
for the production of cotton, rice, wool, or mutton as the case
When the Okeelanta land was purchased it was considered
necessary, in order to accommodate the sugar factory and re-
finery to be placed upon it, to acquire about eighteen or twenty
thousand acres of land, and this amount was bought at the outset.
As a matter of fact, Okeelanta now owns approximately 21,000
acres of land.
The builders of Okeelanta were confronted on the one hand
with the economic necessity of producing about 30,000 tons of
sugar from some 300,000 tons of sugar cane in order to remain
financially solvent, and on the other, with the equally rigid eco-
nomic necessity of bringing their properties into production
gradually, utilizing an ancient and in many instances dilapidated
conglomeration of machinery and equipment, which they knew
could not survive in its entirety from one year to the next. In
other words, the operation could not be successful or remain
solvent unless producing about 30,000 tons of sugar per year and
it was impossible to reach such a production figure short of some
eight to ten years. The inevitable result came to pass. The in-
vested and operating capital of the developers was spread too
Hauling sugilrcane to mill--direct from the fields by railroad
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 47
thin. Financial debacle ensued. A mortgage lending institution,
the Columbia Bank for Cooperatives, Columbia, South Carolina,
which had become heavily involved, was required to take over
the operation lock, stock and barrel during the 1948-1949 season.
The Bank operated the properties for three years until its sale
to the present owner, a Florida corporation named Okeelanta
Sugar Refinery, Inc., which was incorporated July 2, 1952, and
acquired the properties as of August 1, 1952.
Like millions of other war babies, Okeelanta was left to shift
for itself pretty much within a year or two after hostilities ceased.
The farmers' sons of America who had been flying planes and
driving tanks returned to drive tractors instead. The influx of
manpower, together with the increased efficiency acquired by
necessity during the war years, pyramided production on Amer-
ica's farms. Surpluses piled higher and higher. The government
stepped in with more and more restrictions and limitations upon
the amount of land the farmer is permitted to develop, cultivate
Okeelanta Sugar Mill presents an excellent example of the
farmers' plight in general. The production history of Okeelanta
has shown a steady increase from its first year of operation
through the last year of freedom from quota restrictions, which
was the 1953 crop year. The past two crop years reflect drastic
reductions in production.
The Florida Sugar Cane crop is normally harvested during the
winter season commencing in the late fall, October or November,
and finishing in the early winter months of January, February or
March. The following figures refer to crop years, and in each
case the production is for the completed crop commenced to be
harvested in the year mentioned but completed early in the fol-
lowing year. Thus, the last crop figures given are for the 1955
crop year, harvesting of which was actually completed on January
12, 1956 at Okeelanta. This table shows what has happened to
Okeelanta; its production given in short tons has been:
Crop Year Tons of Sugar Produced
1947 (First year) 2,197
48 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The peak year of production saw Okeelanta harvesting cane
from 5,335 acres. The present acreage imposed by governmental
regulations is limited to 3,305 acres. The necessity for improving
varieties of cane and agricultural methods as well as increasing
operating efficiency of the sugar factory resulting from such re-
strictions have created a constantly improving operation. During
the past year, in excess of sixty tons of cane per acre was har-
vested from one tract of land, and this cane yielded more than
11% sucrose per ton. The capacity of the mill has climbed steadily
from the 38 tons per hour, 933 tons per day, ground in 1947 to
last year's 89 tons per hour, 2143 tons per day.
No article on the Florida sugar industry would be complete
without the following excerpt from page 376 et seq., Chapter
XVIII, "Sugar in the Florida Everglades (1880-1950)" of "Sugar
Country" by J. Carlyle Sitterson, published by the University of
Kentucky Press at Lexington, Kentucky. What Professor Sitter-
son has to say about the United States Sugar Corporation is
equally applicable to the Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc. and its
"Beginning with the passage of the Jones-Costigan Act
in 1934, sugar legislation has limited the expansion of
sugar production in Florida. That act and subsequent bills
in 1937 and 1941 provided for marketing quotas for conti-
nental cane and beet sugar producers. Since Florida pro-
duction had been small prior to 1934 and quotas were based
on previous production, the quotas seriously restricted the
expansion of the Everglades industry. The mainland pro-
ducers of cane sugar were allocated 6.29 per cent of the
total American sugar market, of which Louisiana produc-
ers received 5.35 per cent and Florida producers .94 per
cent. The United States Sugar Corporation through its
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
president, Clarence R. Bitting, a big, aggressive and force-
ful man, took the lead in condemning the entire federal
sugar legislation, including marketing quotas, processing
taxes and benefit payments. Bitting protested repeatedly
against a system by which American cane and beet sugar
producers were prevented from supplying but 30 per cent
of the American market. He contended that Florida paid
the highest wages of any area supplying the American
market and at the same time produced sugar at a lower
cost. Yet, he complained, Florida was permitted to market
less than one percent of the sugar consumed in the United
"Although Florida's governors, congressmen, legis-
lators, and sugar producers added their voices to Bitting's,
they were powerless to alter the sugar quota system. In
an attempt to influence congressional opinion, in December,
1936, Bitting chartered a special train and brought nearly
100 members of Congress and other influential persons to
Clewiston to see the sugar production of the Everglades.
The visitors were impressed by the sugar enterprise and
surprised at the airport, golf course, and charming inn
where they were wined and dined on the black bass of Lake
Okeechobee and the deer and turkey from the Big Swamp.
But no relaxation of the quota was forthcoming. It was
not until the war brought an impending shortage of sugar
for the domestic market that quotas were suspended in
April, 1942. Then the shortage of labor and capital facili-
ties prevented Florida producers from any extensive in-
crease in production. In the postwar years, however, Flor-
ida production increased to 105,000 short tons of raw sugar
in 1949 and 108,000 in 1950, compared with an average for
the ten years 1936-45 of 75,000 tons. IF UNRESTRICTED
PRODUCTION OF SUGAR WERE ALLOWED IN THE
FLORIDA EVERGLADES, THERE SEEMS LITTLE
REASON TO DOUBT THE OPTIMISTIC PREDICTIONS
OF A VAST INCREASE IN CANE ACREAGE AND
SUGAR PRODUCTION BY BOTH THE UNITED
STATES SUGAR CORPORATION AND INDEPEN-
50 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
"THE EVERGLADES SUGAR AREA IS SIGNIFI-
CANT NOT ONLY BECAUSE OF SPECTACULAR SUC-
CESS IN THE CULTIVATION OF THE MUCK SOILS,
BUT BECAUSE IT REPRESENTS AN APPROACH TO
SUGAR PRODUCTION RADICALLY DIFFERENT
FROM THE FAMILY-SIZED PRODUCER OF THE
LOUISIANA REGION. THE UNITED STATES SUGAR
CORPORATION OFFERS ONE OF THE BEST ILLUS-
TRATIONS OF THE APPLICATION OF CORPORATE
ENTERPRISE, WITH ACCOMPANYING RESEARCH,
ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY, AND CENTRALIZED
MANAGEMENT ON A LARGE SCALE, THAT HAS YET
APPEARED IN THE AGRICULTURAL SOUTH. IT
HAS DEMONSTRATED A CAPACITY TO OUTPRO-
DUCE SMALLER GROWERS AT A LOWER COST
WHILE AT THE SAME TIME MAINTAINING HIGHER
LIVING STANDARDS FOR ITS EMPLOYEES. THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS FACT FOR THE SOUTHERN
SUGAR AREA AND INDEED FOR THE ENTIRE
SOUTH CANNOT EASILY BE DISMISSED."
Florida's production after 1950 shows the following depres-
sive effect of the re-imposition of sugar quotas in 1952:
Year Florida Production in Short Tons
1952 154,260 (Quotas re-imposed)
It is fervently to be hoped that the present sugar legislation
will provide substantially increased quotas for Florida sugar
producers, and that Okeelanta will continue its ever-increasing
importance as a part of agricultural and industrial economy of
the State of Florida.
52 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc., South Bay, Florida
Capacity: 2500 Tons Cane per 24 Hours
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, formerly owned and operated by
the Columbia Bank of Cooperatives, Columbia, South Carolina, is
now owned by Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc., associated with
sugar interests in Cuba of Garcia-Diaz and Company, Aguiar 453,
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc. has its operations located ap-
proximately six miles south of South Bay-bordering U. S. High-
way 27 on the west. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad has been ex-
tended to service the Refinery.
Approximately 8,000 acres are devoted to the production of
sugar cane. This does not include approximately 1,200 acres of
independent growers' cane. The principal variety of administra-
tion cane grown is 31-962, an early maturing variety well adapted
to sawgrass muck land.
The basic fertilization of plant cane consists of Muriate of
Potash, Copper Sulphate, Manganese Sulphate and Zinc Sulphate.
There are instances where it becomes necessary to apply Sulphur
or triple Superphosphate, or both, depending upon soil analysis.
Stubble cane is fertilized, following harvesting with 150
pounds of KO per acre, derived from Muriate of Potash.
Cultivation of cane is done with three row cultivators made
up with discs or scratcher teeth, or both.
Selective weedicides are used in the control of weeds, and as
pre-emergence spray for some grasses.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
T-4 Link-Belt Speeder Loaders are used to load cane into
wagons from the field. The cane is transported to the factory
either of two ways. On short distances the six ton track type
wagons, pulled by crawler type tractors are delivered directly to
the factory; for long distances, the cane is lifted from wagons
in slings and transferred by dragline, to trailers. The trailers,
which are pulled by truck-tractors, carry three wagon loads or
approximately 15 tons.
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc. maintains its own water con-
trol facilities. There are a series of turbine and panel pumps with
a combined capacity of 256.000 g.p.m.. powered by diesel units,
which control the water table.
Cane Handling. One steel derrick equipped with detachable
grabs for storing or feeding cane to the mill; the derrick is of
6-ton capacity, powered by Caterpillar diesel; there is also one
overhead electric crane for unloading cane in slings under cane
shed for night operations. The cane is fed on the elevated cane
tables and then fed on a 7 ft. Macfarlane cross conveyor to a
Jeffrey 5 ft. 6 in. conveyor. A new set of seven foot knives
built by Macfarlane driven by a 250 hp. Moore turbine is being
installed in addition to one set of Farrel revolving cane knives
driven by 150 hp. motor, 587 r.p.m. Both cane carriers will be
new Rex chain.
Mill Equipment. One Fulton pre-crusher with 3" grooves
driven by a 20" x 42" Fulton Corliss steam engine; one Fulton
crusher with 3" grooves driven by gear from main Corliss mill
engine, size 30" x 60" and three sets of 3 roll mills. An Edwards
hydraulic accumulator system is used on all mills and all cast
iron housings have been replaced with Dibert Bancroft & Ross
steel housings to take 36" rolls with 17" journals.
Steam Plant. Two B & W Sterling type water tube boilers
with new type Ward furnace installed 1952; rated capacity of
40,000 pounds of steam per hour each, design pressure of boiler
250 pounds per square inch, 100 superheated furnace is equipped
with air from American Blower forced draft fan with preheated
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
system; also induce draft fans, Enco forced draft oil burners.
Boiler feed pump 2 stage centrifugal pump. The impeller was
changed to raise the T. D. H. from 525 feet to 663 feet at 3,600
r.p.m.; one pump driven by 55 hp. Moore turbine and one by an
electric motor. In 1952 installed one Babcock & Wilcox boiler
FM-167, FM9-61 integral furnace, package type unit, 250 pound
design pressure, 200 pound operating pressure, 27,500 pounds
of steam per hour, 48" diameter, stack 45' high, complete Bailey
control, this being oil fired.
In 1955 a new B. & W. 1,500 hp. Sterling type boiler, with
Bigelow-Liptak furnace, was added.
Clarification. Raw juice is pumped from mill over 2 Roberts
vibrating screens and from there through the heaters. Have
three 1,000 sq. ft. Honolulu type heaters. Built by Macfarlane.
For clarification, one Graver continuous clarifier, 5 compartments;
22 feet in diameter, 20 feet high, operating holding capacity
53,000 gallons. Also an 85,000 gallon Pearson clarifier built by
Macfarlane has been installed; also installed two 500 ft. re-
heaters. The clarified juice pumped through a pre-evaporator.
Clarifier muds handled by a 8' x 14' Oliver Campbell vacuum
filter, 350 sq. ft. of filtering area. Bagacillo for filter is obtained
from stationary screens mounted in bagasse conveyor.
Evaporation. One standard evaporator, consisting of four
9' bodies. Tube sheets '/", 28" dia. downtake, 54" long. Copper
tubes 2" in dia. by 481/t" long. Total square feet of heating sur-
face 9,880 feet. Installed this year one pre-evaporator with 2,200-
13/8" copper tube 7 ft. long, 7,700 sq. ft. heating surface built by
Vacuum Pans. One cast iron 10' dia. calandria pan; one 8' dia.
calandria cast iron pan; 1 Kelvin 10' dia. cast iron vacuum pan;
one Frank L. Allen steel 10' dia. calandria pan. All four pans
equipped with individual Schutte-Koerting multi-jet condensers.
Spray Pond. I Morrison centrifugal pump, 10' x 12' x 12',
2,825 g.p.m., 60 hp. motor, 1,750 r.p.m.; two new Delaval centri-
fugal pumps, sizes P-10", 3,200 g.p.m., 73 ft. T.D.H., 75 hp. motor,
1,750 r.p.m.; 1 Morrison 10" x 12" x 12" centrifugal pump, 60
hp., 1,750 r.p.m., 2,825 g.p.m.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Cooling Pond. One 58'-9" x 188'-9" x 2'-0" cooling pond, 142
Yarway involute Klein type C nozzles size 2".
Water Injection Pump. One Pomona deep well 2 stage, 2,900
g.p.m., 140 ft. T.D.H., 125 hp., 1,750 r.p.m. motor; one Cook deep
well pump, 5,000 g.p.m., 140 ft. T.D.H., 3 stage, 150 hp., 1,250
r.p.m. motor; one Allis-Chalmers centrifugal pump, 5,100 g.p.m.
Raw Water Pump. One Goulds 4", 550 g.p.m. pump.
Crystallizers. The eight cylindrical crystallizers were con-
verted to U type of 800 cu. ft. capacity and 8 are used for C sugar
and 4 for B sugar.
Centrifugal, A & B Sugar. The present setup consists of two
48" x 24" driven by individual Louis Alis motors and two 40" x
24" Hepworth individual electrical motors.
Centrifugal. C Sugar. One set of Hepworth belt driven 40" x
24", 1,600 r.p.m., driven by a 150 hp. motor Allis-Chalmers design.
Raw Sugar Bulk. Raw sugar is loaded in cars by a 100 ft.,
24" belt conveyor Link-Belt type; one Stephens-Adamson loader.
Molasses Storage. One tank Chicago Bridge & Iron Construc-
tion, 500,000 gals. capacity. One new 1,500,000 gallon tank was
erected this year.
Fuel Oil. Fuel oil storage-one steel tank 20' in dia., and 20'
high, 54,000 gals. capacity, being relocated due to bagasse storage
Okeelanta has its own water treatment plant, capacity 350
g.p.m. System used, lime-catalizer treatment.
1950-53 RECORD OF CROP PRODUCTION
C-Tons Cane S-Lbs. Sugar M-Gal. Molasses
1950-51 1951-52 1952-53
C- 64,498 89,544 171,304
S- 9,868,240* 14,516,548 30,309,800
M- 460,000 642,127 914,563
Start of crop season
End of crop season
Number of crop days
Lost time, % total time
Tons of cane milled
Tons milled per hour
Normal Juice Extraction
%Sucrose in cane
Maceration 7< cane
Gal. per ton cane, 321 Be
Pounds of sugar, 96' test, per
ton of cane
Lb. 96 deg. test sugar
UME OF MANUFACTURING
Nov. 20 Nov. 8
Mar. 31 Mar. 3
Train loads of sugarcane on way to mill
i.. ,U e
",'; *' ..,ia
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
W. J. BATISTE
Fellsmere Sugar Producers Assn.
The agricultural and manufacturing facilities of the Fellsmere
Sugar Producers Association, a cooperative organization, is lo-
cated in the Town of Fellsmere, on the East Coast of Florida,
roughly midway between the cities of Jacksonville and Miami.
Originally, the Company was primarily engaged in the pro-
duction of raw sugar. Since 1935 the raws produced have been
refined, producing granulated sugar, using the Sucro-Blanc pro-
cess. The sugar produced is marketed under the trade name of
FLORIDA CRYSTALS and is sold in 100 lb. multi-walled paper
bags, as well as 5 lb. multi-walled paper bags, packed in 60 lb.
The original organization was the first of its kind in Florida,
in modern times, to produce both raw and refined sugar and up
to a short time ago, had the distinction of being the only factory
in Florida, as well as on the East Coast of the United States, to
produce refined sugar from domestic grown sugarcane. The
present average, factory output is in excess of 100 tons of refined
sugar per day.
As a matter of sequence, let us say something about the
agricultural division of the Company. All land devoted to the
growing of sugarcane is reclaimed marsh land, elevation 17 ft.
to 22 ft., above mean sea level. This land is continuously main-
tained by an elaborate system of dikes, canals, and drainage
ditches, in an effort to control the water table and subsequent
soil moisture. During the "dry" season the entire farm may be
irrigated, in whole or part, by an equally ingenious system
of both mechanical and gravity irrigation. Deep wells are not
resorted to-surface or marsh waters are impounded for this
purpose. During the hurricane and rainy season, occurring dur-
ing the months of August, September, and October, surface
waters are controlled by a pumping station equipped with seven
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Couch Two-Way turbine pumps, each capable of handling 36,000
gallons of water per minute. These are directly connected to
either General Motors or Caterpillar stationary diesel engines.
All water removed in this fashion is carried off first, in a canal
15 feet deep, 35 feet wide, and about 8 miles long, which dis-
charges into a main canal 15 feet deep, 100 feet wide, and about
6 miles long-all ultimately discharging into the Indian River, a
nearby main waterway.
For the crop to be harvested during the 1955-56 season, there
will be about 5,300 acres of cane to cut and bring to the mill for
grinding. From this is anticipated a yield of 10%, in terms of
refined sugar. The two principal varieties of cane grown here are
F-819 and CP 34-79, originally developed at the Florida State
Experimental Station, and the United States Department of
Agriculture Experiment Station, respectively, and commercially
developed, to our own satisfaction, on our own farm lands.
There are several other very promising varieties under de-
velopment, which are being further propagated in our own ex-
perimental areas to determine their adaptability to the various
available soil types. This is quite an important factor in this area
as the soils are made up, either in whole or part, of muck, sand,
and clay. Of course, both new and old varieties are constantly
being examined for resistance to freeze, hurricane, flood, rodent,
and cane borer damage.
Of particular interest, might be the mention of what is being
done to curtail manufacturing and growing losses through rodent
and cane borer damage. At least three times during the growing
season, poisoned, diced sweet potatoes are distributed by plane
over the entire plantation. Each baiting usually requires about
5 tons of diced potatoes. The poisons considered most successful
for the control of rats are zinc phosphide and thallium sulfate.
Borer control is quite another problem. Laboratories are
maintained where the cane borer parasite Lixophaga Diatraea is
reared for subsequent release in the sugarcane fields. Thousands
of these flies are set free each year in an effort to control this
very harmful insect-the Cane Borer. Up to the present time,
dusting has not been found practical because of peculiarities in
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 61
climatic conditions, which prevent any definite cycle of borer
growth to be established. The parasitic wasp, Agathis Stigma-
terus, Cress., has been periodically recovered in quantity since
its introduction here in 1936. All of this work is being done with
the very close cooperation of the entomologists of the United
States Department of Agriculture.
The entire plantation at Fellsmere is laid out in approximately
50 acre tracts of land, or one-third by one-quarter mile in size.
This sub-division is again divided into cane beds, containing
about 15 rows of cane, each row one-third of a mile long. Usually
a 50 acre block contains 16 beds or 240 rows of cane, for a net cane
area of 40 acres. The ditches between beds, prepared by Killefer
plows, serve as either irrigation or drainage ditches, as do the
canals bordering each block.
Cane is normally planted in August through November, the
weather permitting. Furrows are opened by furrowing plows-
three rows at a time, and the seed cane dropped manually, the
equipment so designed that six rows are planted simultaneously.
Covering is accomplished by sets of disks, mounted on a wheeled
frame drawn by power equipment suited for the soil conditions.
About seven days are required for germination after the seed
has been covered, stools appearing about every eighteen inches
apart. In those places in the cane drill that show poor germina-
tion, or no germination at all, an effort is made to replant these
"skips." This is done to insure as close to 100'/ stand as is pos-
sible, with a corresponding high cane tonnage per acre of land.
Fertilizer is usually applied using two to three applications
with an appropriate time lapse between each application. This
chemical fertilizer is added at the total rate of 800 to 1,000 lbs.
per acre. New or "plant" cane is usually fertilized at the time
of planting with a fertilizer containing one of many insecticides.
This is done to control undesirable soil insects. The older or
"ratoon" canes are fertilized starting in March and finishing the
final application by June.
Equipment developed by the experimental shops, permit the
field crews to fertilize three rows of cane at one time, depositing
the material as a side dressing to each row. At the same time,
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
sufficient bulk fertilizer is carried along, to insure a very economi-
cal operation. Presently an 8-6-15 and a 12-4-8 with, and without
secondary elements, is being used. Applications of lime and dol-
mitic limestone are also made to land requiring such treatment,
which involves raising the pH of the soil, or increasing its mag-
As an adjunct to chemical fertilization, fields are periodically
taken out of cane and cover cropped. The seed-Sesbania Spec-
tabilis-is used and is broadcast by an end gate distributor of the
Cultivation is both of the mechanical and manual type. Hand
cultivation, or hoeing, is usually performed by imported farm
workers, brought in from the West Indies. Mechanical cultiva-
tion, as well as most of the other land operations, is carried out
by both imported and local domestic labor. All such operations
use as motive power, Caterpillar Tractors and Farmalls, both
regular and high clearance-both gasoline and diesel powered.
Initial land clearing is accomplished by bulldozers and chop-
pers. After deep plowing, ditching, and pan breaking if necessary,
the land is then ready for division into beds. Before any planting
is started, the land is again thoroughly plowed and disked to in-
sure complete mixing of the soil, and any organic matter from the
previous bulldozing and chopping operations.
Any land used for sugarcane is leveled, insofar as is possible,
with large drags. After this leveling operation, Killefer ditches
are again installed as permanent irrigation or drainage ditches,
and are maintained until the cane is plowed out for reasons of
economy. Until the cane has reached inoperable height, tractors
and Farmalls, pulling cultivating discs or scratchers, are continu-
ously at work removing weeds and grasses, as well as keeping
the soil loose and friable.
Chemical cultivation has been resorted to, but only in a
minor sort of way. The weed-killing harmone 2-4-D, as an amine
salt, has been used in the form of a spray, and applied by ground
Plant cane is generally at least 15 months old before har-
vesting, and ratoon cane at least 12 months old. All cane is
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 63
burned, standing, before being cut by hand, using imported work-
ers as farm labor. However, considerable effort is being expended
to develop means to both cut and load cane mechanically. While
this has been quite successfully accomplished in some cane pro-
ducing areas of the world, difficulties have been encountered
here, which have as yet, not been solved. Cane which has been
subjected to both flood and hurricane damage, does not always
attain the full, erect, sturdy growth that is so necessary to
efficient mechanical harvesting.
By the time the first of November rolls around, the stage is
pretty well set for the start of harvest, and the beginning of the
grinding season. During the month of October, as well as during
the crop itself, many cane samples, both commercial and experi-
mental, are ground and the juices analyzed. This is done, not
only from an experimental viewpoint, but to follow the course
of the cane's ripening. In this way, it is hoped that cane at maxi-
mum solids and sucrose content, is brought to the mill, for the
commercial recovery of sugar.
While outwardly the scene is one of feverish activity, all
operations are very well planned and coordinated, with a minimum
expenditure of time and effort, from the time the cane is burned,
prior to cutting, till the time it enters the cane storage area,
prior to grinding.
As previously explained, all cane is grown in forty net acre
tracts of land, each tract bordered by ditches, canals or roads.
These, then, make perfect fireguards for the protection of
bordering blocks of cane, particularly since all cane is burned just
The entire farm is further protected from fire, by dividing the
land holdings into four main groups, each section divided from
one another by seventy-five to one hundred foot fireguards, run-
ning east and west. Fires are usually set to windward, using
gasoline torches to start the proceedings. In from sixty to ninety
minutes, the entire block or forty acres of cane has been burned
over, and it need but cool, before crews are sent in to cut, top,
and pile-row the stalks.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Thomson hydraulic cane loaders are then sent into the fields
to pick up this cane and load it into rubber-tired wagons.
Each wagon is loaded with a chained bundle of cane, aver-
aging about four tons in weight. A train of these wagons
is then brought to conveniently located loading stations, using
Caterpillar Tractors for motive power. Here the bundles are
transferred from the wagons to steel cane cars-two bundles
per car--six cars to a train.
Traveling over any part of the twenty miles of standard guage
track brings the loaded cane cars to the weighing station, at
which point the cane may be placed either in position to go directly
to the mill for grinding, or else placed in the storage area for
grinding during the night shifts. This means that sufficient cane
must be brought in during daylight hours to carry the factory
through at least twenty-four hours operation. A Howe platform
scale is used to weigh all cane delivered from the fields.
All field operations, except for the actual cutting of the cane,
are highly mechanized. However, in the planting operation there
is some manual labor employed for the dropping of the seed
cane into furrows. Such mechanization requires that there be
available at all times adequate facilities to maintain this equip-
ment. This is accomplished through the medium of a well-
equipped and staffed garage. In this building all types of ground
equipment are serviced and repaired. Its facilities are also used
for the development of equipment for new or improved mechani-
cal agricultural practices.
Factory operations usually last for a period of from three to
four months. The "idle" season or period between grinding
operations is devoted to the repair and maintainance of existing
equipment as well as the erection of new buildings and the in-
stallation of modern machinery.
Here at Fellsmere, the cane is delivered to the mill and is
either sent directly to the factory for immediate grinding or
stockpiled in bundles for grinding during the later shifts. The
cane is transferred from either the cane cars or the storage area
through the use of two guy-type, electrically operated revolving
cranes. One crane has an 80 foot mast and 60 foot boom while
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
the second crane has a 100 mast and an 80 foot boom. All cane
is carried to the mill by a steel-framed, steel-slatted conveyor
five foot six inches wide. Quite some attention is given the cane
as regards preparation for grinding. Two sets of cane knives,
operating ahead of the crusher, thoroughly shred the cane. One
knife set is made up of twenty-six, straight-bladed, ground edged,
hard surfaced cutting edges, all bolted to a master shaft driven
by a G.E. 500 R.P.M., 150 H.P., 440 Volt, 60 Cycle induction type
motor. The second set consisting of 32 knives, is driven by a
Westinghouse induction-type motor, rated at 125 H.P. and oper-
ating at 500 R.P.M. Again, this uses 440 volts, 60 Cycle current.
Immediately ahead of the cane knives are two washing sta-
tions. Here the cane comes in contact with jets of water which
remove burned cane particles, sand, clay, bacteria and other
miscellaneous objectionable material clinging to the cane. Water
for this purpose is delivered by two Davidson centrifugal pumps
with six inch suction and five inch discharge.
The present grinding facilities, keyed to the output of re-
fined sugar, are capable of handling 1,200 tons of cane per day.
The milling tandem is made up of one Fulton-type two roll
crusher driven by a Fulton-Corliss type steam engine. The first
three mills are Whitney mills and these are driven by a Hamilton-
Corliss steam engine. The fourth mill is a Fulton product and
the fifth and last mill is manufactured by Service Foundry. The
fourth and fifth mills are driven by a Fulton-Corliss type steam
engine. All these engines operate at 125 lbs. steam pressure-
the exhaust steam being used for factory processing operations.
The mill rolls are all 51/,S feet long and contain a total of 782 sq.
feet of grinding or crushing area. Pressure is exerted on the
rolls through the use of Edwards Hydraulic Accumulators in-
stalled on all mills. The bagasse, or cane residue remaining after
grinding, is handled in the normal fashion and is used as a fuel.
Steam for process work and for generating power is produced
through a combination of four boilers, depending on steam and
power requirements. We have one Keeler, 500 H.P. water tube
boiler, equipped with an auxiliary fuel oil burner. The furnace
box is of the modified horse-shoe type designed for bagasse
burning. A 630 H.P. Combustion Engineering Boiler is also on
the line. This is equipped with super-heater and air pre-heater
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
as well as an additional fuel oil burner. No. 3 boiler is a Stirling,
470 H.P. water tube unit with a Hofft furnace. This is equipped,
as are the others, with an auxiliary Ray Oil Burner. The fourth
boiler is a 375 H.P. Babcox and Wilcox water tube boiler equipped
with a Ward-type bagasse burning fire box.
Boiler feedwater is chiefly condensate water, and requires
very little in the way of chemical control. Repeated examinations
indicate little or no formation of scale deposits, and an apparent
absence of pitting. Hourly tests are made for the detection of
sugar in the feedwater. Similar tests are made for alkalinity,
the pH being maintained by the use of caustic soda solution.
Blow-down on all boilers is intermittent, normally occurring every
three hours. All in all, sufficient condensate is available for use
as feedwater, and an ample supply is usually available for factory
process work, particularly for melting affination sugar, diluting
raw house molasses, refinery run-offs, and for washing both raw
and refined sugars.
The main power plant consists of a 1000 KW General Electric,
non-condensing type steam turbine, rotating at 5030 R.P.M. and
operating at 15 lbs. per square inch back-pressure. The General
Electric generator is geared down to run at 1200 R.P.M. with an
output of 480 volts, and a rating of 1000 KW or 1250 KVA. The
switchboard and switchgear are also supplied by the General
Electric Company. A standby, or emergency unit, with an output
of 480 volts is also maintained. This is a General Electric Turbine
directly coupled to a General Electric Generator, operating at
3600 R.P.M. with a rating of 500 KW at an 80'/ power factor.
For emergency or out-of-season use we have tied in with the
Florida Power and Light supply.
All juice from the crusher and the first two mills, after screen-
ing, is collected and pumped through brass pipe lines to a pair
of Howe juice scales. The bagasse and bagacillo removed by this
screening operation is conveyed and deposited on the cane carrier
between the crusher and first mill. The juice is weighed in 14,000
pound units and then sent to the liming station, to which station
about 1500 gallons of juice is delivered every 7 to 10 minutes.
The liming station consists of two 3000 gallon cylindrical
tanks, equipped with suitable mechanical agitators and washout
lines for maintaining as complete a bacteria free system as pos-
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 67
sible. The first, or primary liming tank is used to continuously
manually lime the juice to about 7.0 pH. The partially limed juice
is then pumped to a second or final liming tank where the pH is
raised to the desired point (7.5-7.8 pH). by a Bristol, series 590.
Indicating pH Controller, using a flow type electrode located on
the discharge side of the limed juice pump. Lime for this opera-
tion is prepared in a 650 gallon cylindrical tank equipped with
mixer and circulating pumps.
The limed juice is then pumped through any two of the exist-
ing four heaters, each heat exchanger possessing 500 square feet
heating surface. These heaters are cleaned periodically with
caustic soda solution and inhibited 20 Baume Muriatic acid. Juice
temperatures are maintained manually and recorded on Tagliabue.
twenty-four hour, temperature recorders.
After liming and heating to 220 degrees F.. the juice is clari-
fied in either of two continuous defecators. We are equipped
with a three-compartment. 23 foot diameter. Dorr. and a five-
compartment, 20 foot diameter, Graver clarifier. These hold
25,000 gallons and 50,000 gallons respectively. The clarified juice
is delivered to a storage tank prior to concentration. The muds
are limed and sent to an Oliver Continuous Vacuum Filter, 8 feet
in diameter, and 8 feet long. Both cloudy and clear filtrates are
returned to the secondary liming tank for further recovery of
sugar. The cake on the Oliver screens is removed, mixed with
water, and pumped to a collecting pond. From time to time this
waste material is removed, and distributed over areas which
might benefit agriculturally from the fertilizing ingredients con-
tained in the mud. Vacuum for the Oliver filter is produced by a
Nash Hytor vacuum pump equipped with a Maxim Silencer.
The hot clarified juice is first passed through a heater and
then through a ten foot diameter pre-evaporator containing 6000
square feet of heating surface, and operating at a 10 pound pres-
sure with a vapor pressure of four pounds. The vapors from this
body are used for the juice heaters, pans, and in the first body
of the quadruple effects. We have two sets of "Quads" alternating
in operation when cleaning becomes necessary. Both sets are
made up of 8 feet diameter bodies-one set containing 6000, and
the second set containing 8000 square feet of heating surface.
When cleaning becomes necessary, it has been fond most prac-
68 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
tical to boil out with caustic soda solution, wash, scrape the tubes
with spiral shaped wire brushes, and then boil out with inhibited
muriatic or sulfamic acid. After a final washing and inspection,
the evaporators are again ready for use.
The raw house is well provided with both pan and tank ca-
pacity. We have one 500 cubic foot pan, one 340 cubic foot seed
pan for footings for crystallizer strikes, one 980 cubic foot, 11
foot diameter calandria pan, for either A or B sugars. This is
a steel pan with a Fletcher-type cast iron bottom, having a
heating surface of 1965 square feet. The crystallizer pan is
also an 11 foot diameter calandria pan, with a gross volume of
close to 1000 cubic feet. This pan is equipped with a steam actua-
ted foot valve. The 500 cubic foot pan uses a parallel flow con-
denser, the seed pan a counter-current type condenser. The crys-
tallizer pan, manufactured by Sucesores de Abarca, Puerto Rico,
is equipped with a multi-jet Schutte-Koerting condenser. The
large A and B pan, built by the Puerto Rican Iron Works to our
specifications, operates using a Chicago-Beyer counter-current
condenser. The production of seed for crystallizer strikes is
greatly facilitated through the use of Webre controls mounted on
the 340 cubic foot pan. These pan boiling instruments were pur-
chased from the United States Pipe & Foundry Company.
Water for all condensers, in both the raw house and refinery, is
obtained from the surrounding marshlands and is used in the
form of free running surface water. This water is pumped to
the vacuum pans and evaporators using two Alberger electrically
driven centrifugal pumps with six inch suction and five inch dis-
charges. Additional water is obtained through the use of a four-
teen by fourteen steam operated Blake Duplex pump.
Two electrically driven vacuum pumps and two additional
steam driven pumps make up the units for the so-called "dry-
The A and B sugars are dried in direct-driven covered basket,
Western States centrifugals, operating at 1200 R.P.M., automatic-
ally controlled by Westinghouse electric timers. The sugar is
washed, using superheated steam, at a pump pressure of 70
pounds per square inch. After mingling, the magma is affined,
using similar type centrifugals employing the same washing
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Crystallizer strikes are cured, usually for about 48 hours, in
Dyer-Blanchard, "U" shaped crystallizers. We have six of these
units, each with a net capacity of 934 cubic feet or one strike.
The coils are driven through a chain drive by a 10 H.P. Link-Belt,
Motorized Reducer Unit, with an output speed of 68 R.P.M.
After curing, the massecuite is purged in belt-driven Hepworth
centrifugals. five machines making up the battery. The resulting
"C" sugar is mingled with either syrup or clarified juice. The
resulting magma seed is pumped to the pan floor and held in a
seed mixer till required.
Blackstrap molasses is stored in a 500,000 gallon storage tank
equipped with a Tank-O-Meter gauging device. All molasses is
sold for use as one of the ingredients of dry mixed feed for the
dairy, beef cattle, and allied industries. In some cases, it is fed
directly to the animal as is, or in a more diluted form.
The affination sugar is dissolved in a batch melter, to 60 de-
grees Brix at a temperature of between 90 and 100 degrees F.
This liquor is decolorized using the Sucro-Blanc process, a two-
stage treatment involving decolorization by calcium hypochlorite,
and the formation of tri-calcium phosphate as a flocculating agent.
Clarification is accomplished by a continuous clarifier operating on
the principle of froth flotation. After final treatment the decolor-
ized liquor is filtered through a pressure type leaf filter designed
and manufactured by the Enzinger-Union Corporation of Angola,
New York. Individual leaf outlets, highly polished filtrates and
very little "down" time makes this filter a highly desirable unit
for the sugar industry. The muds from the continuous refinery
clarifier, and the sweetened-off cake from the Enzinger filter, are
all picked up on plate and frame presses for the recovery of sugar
solids contained in these muds. All sweetwaters are used for
melting aflination sugar.
The pans for the refinery, which normally boil under a four
strike system, consists of one 429 cubic foot pan, with a Schutte-
Koerting multi-jet condenser, and one 450 cubic foot pan, with a
counter-current type condenser. The two pans have a total of
about 1450 square feet of heating surface.
White massecuities are dried in two Western States covered
basket centrifugals rotating at 1200 R.P.M. As is the custom
70 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
here, washing is accomplished with superheated steam. Damp
sugar is stored in wooden bins, by grade, and later mixed in a
scroll fed by intermediate feeding units. A uniform product is
thus obtained. After drying, granulating and cooling, the sugar
passes over an Eriez permanent magnet and thence to a wooden
storage bin where it is held for ultimate packaging.
One hundred pound, pre-sewn, valve-type paper bags are
filled on a shifting tube, automatic bagging machine, manufac-
tured by the St. Regis Company, represents the bulk package
prepared for sale. Five pound, sewn paper bags, are filled on
machinery supplied by the Triangle Packaging Company. Bales
containing twelve 5 pound bags are filled using a Standard-Knapp
Automatic Packer with attached feeder belt. This unit collects
filled bags in units of six, and by means of a ram or plunger
automatically inserts them into the "baler" or sixty pound con-
tainer. The finished package is sealed with two transverse sections
of 3 inch Kraft tape. From the packaging department, the
finished sugar may be either delivered to the warehouse for
storage, or loaded directly onto trucks for ultimate delivery
and use by both the industrial and domestic consumer with-
in the State of Florida and adjoining areas. All such sugar is
sold and distributed by our sugar brokers-Minford and Com-
pany, Inc., of New York and Fellsmere.
As a matter of general interest, it might be well to note that
at the height of the manufacturing season this company employs
close to 500 workers. This includes all administrative, clerical,
manufacturing, maintainance and agricultural personnel.
Here are recent production figures:
1954-55 1953-54 1952-53
Acres for Seed 290 151 360
Acres Millable Cane 5,526 6,317 6,228
Tons Cane for Seed 5,987 3,146 3,251
Tons Millable Cane 92,287 120,095 104,639
Cwt. of Sugar Produced 166,928 214,078 191,443
Molasses Produced 492,502 655,785 609,813
Dumping a carload of sugarcane into conveyor for grinding
Grinding tandem, interior Clewiston Sugar House
Grinding tandem, interior Clewiston Sugar House
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Loading Raw Sugar in Boxcars
The molasses byproduct, from which the raw sugar has been
separated, is known as "blackstrap" molasses. At one time this
material was thrown into the lakes and bayous as useless. It is
now used for a number of things, principally in the manufacture
of ethyl alcohol, acetone, butanol, and in the production of high
quality silage and cattle feeds. The high-speed presses necessary
for the publication of modern newspapers and magazines are
partly made possible by this product. The inking rolls consist of
a mixture of molasses and glue. Due to the high-nitrogen organic
soils of the Everglades, "Blackstrap" molasses from this area is
74 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
considered much higher in food value than "Blackstrap" from
other sugar-producing areas. Typical analysis of this "Black-
strap" molasses will average better than 81/2% Protein. Because
of this, practically the entire production of Everglades "Black-
strap" molasses is used in the manufacturing of cattle feed.
There was also a time when "bagasse" was hauled into the
fields and burned. As has been described, this residue used as a
fuel at the Clewiston plant furnishes its source of power. The
"bagasse" which is now burned contains a very high percentage
of "alpha cellulose" and when means have been discovered for
the extraction of this valuable product, the use of this material as
a fuel probably will be ended. This cellulose content is a basic
constituent of paper, rayon, and other like products. "Bagasse"
also contains large quantities of ingredients which are basic to
the manufacture of adhesives. Lately it has been found that non-
fibrous, pith particles of this product sifted through a screen,
dried and mixed with molasses, make an ideal food for livestock.
Many experiments in the United States for the manufacture of
paper from "bagasse' have been made but so far these have not
been entirely successful from a financial standpoint. In several
states wallboard, called "celotex," and other building materials
are now being made extensively from "bagasse." The manufac-
ture of such byproducts is an important part of the Louisiana
Cane tops, now largely left in the fields as a mulch, contain
many possibilities for future profit. Alcohol can be distilled
profitably from this material, and already cane tops are being
used to a considerable extent for silage, which makes an excellent
food for livestock.
Filter cake, manufactured from the final residue of impurities
from the cane juice and formerly wasted except for its use as a
fertilizer, is now making appearance in Louisiana as feed for
mules. Including the limitless number of patches of sugarcane
grown over the state for the manufacture of syrup, this product
could easily be made in quantity in Florida. Set aside during the
grinding season and salted down, it will keep almost indefinitely.
Research Laboratory, Clewiston, Florida
76 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Research and Experiments
One of the principal factors in the development of the Florida
sugar industry, has been the laborious experiments in selection
of crosses, strains and varieties of sugarcane most suitable to
Because the first sugarcane varieties introduced into Florida
were tropical types unsuited to their sub-tropical environment,
they proved to be too sensitive to the shorter growing and ma-
turing seasons of this country. Sugarcane fundamentally de-
mands a uniformly high temperature, ample sunshine, rich soil,
and a large and constant supply of moisture to mature the plants
quickly before the cold weather. But it is a very particular plant,
and the many varieties differ in disposition and adaptability.
The problem at the beginning of the Everglades development
lay in the selection of the basic varieties. Mistakes were apt to
be costly. Some varieties with a high juice content, and especially
adaptable to the soil of the Everglades, were found to be more
susceptible to disease in that region than certain other varieties.
However, other varieties more resistant to disease had too low
juice content for profitable culture, or the stalks presented diffi-
culties in stripping at harvest time; some varieties, ideal in most
respects, matured too late.
One of the first conclusions drawn from these preliminary
studies was that the Everglades lands were unlike any other
sugar-producing area, and that much care would have to be used
to prevent first-hand acceptance of traditions and selections
prevalent in other sections.
Then began a complicated series of experiments that resulted
in many failures and few successes. However, a few successes
were all that were needed, and important results were attained.
Out of approximately 125,000 new varieties of sugarcane propa-
gated for testing, only a few have so far established themselves
to commercial plantings. The requirements for a successful
variety of sugarcane in the Everglades include resistant to wind,
water, temperature and disease, together with early maturity,
high cane tonnage and sugar production per acre.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 77
About 10,000 new varieties of sugarcane are propagated yearly
for testing by the various sugar producers. These companies con-
duct their own varietal, fertilizer, and agronomic field experi-
ments on all soil types scattered over its properties. A private
cane breeding station, plant quarantine station, chemical, soils,
entomological, and botanical research laboratories are all main-
tained in the Everglades area. The State has also been expending
money for similar work as an independent project.
Office Building, U. S. Sugar Corporation
Partly as a result of these experiments and the faithful com-
mercial application thereof, the added tonnage of cane produced
per acre, together with the improvement in the percentage of
sugar yield per ton of cane, amounts to a tremendous increase in
the yield of sugar per acre. The growing of sugarcane for syrup
is not so restricted by climatic conditions and many other south-
ern localities have acreage planted to this crop.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Disease and Pests
Sugarcane, like all other things that live, is subject to a
measure of diseases and pests. Victory over these scourges is
won for the commercial planters through the persistent efforts
of the cane breeder who develops types resistant or immune to
Of the diseases, red rot, root rot, mosaic disease, ring spot,
brown stripe, and eye spot are the most common. Cane planters
also wage war on the cane borer, the mealybug, the wireworm
and the nematode, and considerable damage is done each year
by rodents, chiefly several species of rats and rabbits. In the
Everglades, studies and experiments for combating these afflic-
tions are constantly being carried on.
Red rot is a disease usually carried to the growing cane from
seed cane where it has had time to develop while the cane has
been stored in banks or windows from the preceding season.
The outside of the infected stalks may not show the disease, but
badly infected plants often (lie. Red rot reduces the sucrose con-
tent of the growing cane. The fungus causing it also persists
in the soil.
In root rot, the roots are invaded by fungi, causing the roots
Mosaic disease was imported into the United States from
foreign countries and through the agency of man as well as certain
insect vectors has spread rapidly. The disease destroys the
green coloring matter of the plants and reduces production.
So far, mosaic disease, red rot, eye spot, brown stripe, and
ring spot have been the major diseases seriously threatening
Everglades cane but damage has been greatly reduced by elimina-
tion of susceptible varieties of cane and their replacement by
resistant and immune types.
The insect menace is a source of considerable trouble to the
grower. The cane borer is the caterpillar of a moth that tunnels
inside the stalk so that the stalk becomes weakened and often
breaks off. So limited is any method of control over this insect,
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
that frequently in badly infested areas over the country it has
been necessary to discontinue the growing of cane altogether for
several years. Damage from the cane borer has not been serious
as a whole in the Everglades. The common egg-parasite and also
a parasitic wasp, introduced from Peru, are proving valuable aids
in destroying the larvae of this pest.
The mealybug infests fields of young cane, causing the plants
to become stunted. In dealing with this pest the interesting dis-
covery was made that a relationship exists between it and the
Argentine ant. Apparently, the bugs are tended and protected
by the ants and under these conditions they increase rapidly.
Eliminating the ant by poison bait reduces the infestation. Seed
cane can be freed of mealybugs by immersion in heated water of
designated temperature and thus spread of the insect into new
territory may be prevented.
The nematode. a microscopic worm, damages sugarcane by
boring into tender roots, thereby stunting and deforming the
roots and frequently killing the plant. As the nematode lives,
breeds and remains in the ground and will only infest the roots of
certain plants, crop rotation or growing resistant plants is about
the only method of control.
Rodents, which chew away the plants and roots and raise
havoc generally, are responsible for heavy damage in cane-grow-
ing areas. An elaborate system of poison baits, traps, and various
preventatives has been worked out. Often, in isolated patches
over the State, when the old formula "eternal vigilance" is neg-
lected, a good deal of damage may be done by these pests in a
In the Everglades no appreciable damage is being done by
mealybugs or nematodes, and so far rodents have been well con-
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Florida's Sugar Prospects
Most of the sugar produced in the United States is manufac-
tured from sugar beets. Florida and Louisiana are the only two
states in this country producing commercial sugar from sugar-
cane; the latter's annual production being much greater than
that of this state.
Growing sugarcane in Florida differs greatly from Louisiana.
Not only is the Everglades harvest season twice as long as in
Louisiana but the development of new types of cane is giving
Florida a harvest season three times as long.
Sugarcane is grown by one of two methods. It may be propa-
gated each season from "seed cane," or cuttings planted between
August and December or in the spring from cuttings banked in
the ground from the previous fall. The method of planting by
cutting into pieces has been described. The other method is to
allow the roots to remain in the ground after the cane has been cut
at harvest. The roots put out new shoots and bear additional crops
over successive seasons. These crops are known as "stubble" or
"ratoon" crops. While the tonnage of sugarcane per acre tends
to decrease in the "ratoon" crops, such decreases are offset by
the improvement in the sucrose content of the juices. In Louisi-
ana two "ratoon" crops are generally obtained and in some in-
stances three crops. Sugarcane in the Everglades is good for
an average of six "ratoon" crops from one planting.
With its abundant rainfall and ideal growing conditions, in-
cluding the extreme fertility of Everglades soil, this is the only
section in the country where sugarcane grows to a frequent height
of 20 feet and produces between 40 and 80 tons of cane an acre.
Florida sugarcane can stand much longer after it reaches ma-
turity than in other sections of the country with small chances
of damage by frost. This means a relatively higher sugar con-
Because of these many advantages, the cost of Florida sugar
production is lower than in almost any other area of the world
where sugar is produced from cane.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 81
As before stated, with the almost unlimited acreage of rich
Everglades soil, ideal for the production of sugar, a sufficient
quantity could be produced to nearly supply the entire country
with this product. However, not only is Florida restricted in the
production of sugar but the entire country, under Federal con-
trol, is allowed to produce only about 24'/ of its consumption.
In various sugar acts, Congress set up quota percentages for
Florida, Louisiana and other states. Importation of sugar from
Cuba, Porto Rico, Philippine Islands, and Hawaii supplies the bal-
ance of sugar consumed in this country and is responsible for
Florida growers feel that a modification of the quota restric-
tions would not only bring a new era of prosperity to the Ever-
glades, but to the whole state.
82 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
1954 Mainland Sugar Program
State and County ASC Committees again carried out the ad-
ministration of Title III of the Sugar Act of 1948 as amended,
during the 1954-55 crop year. Title III is known as the "Con-
ditional Payment" provision of the Act.
Under this program growers who complied with the provisions
of Title III of the Sugar Act were eligible to receive payment on
commercially recoverable sugar produced. Provision is also made
for making deficiency payments and payments on bona fide
abandoned acreage resulting from damage from freeze, flood,
or other unavoidable causes; however, no payments of this type
were made due to good growing conditions during the 1954-55
Payments under the program are conditioned upon compliance
with proportionate shares (acreage allotments), payment of
minimum wages, and in the case of producer-processors, minimum
prices to growers from whom they purchase sugarcane for pro-
cessing. For the first time since 1940, acreage restrictions (pro-
portionate shares) were effective in 1954. Due to these restric-
tions, growers had to forego harvesting several thousand acres
of sugarcane for sugar or seed in order to be eligible for the con-
ditional payments. The excess cane was either used for manufac-
ture of syrup, inverted molasses, livestock feed, plowed out or
left standing at completion of harvest.
A total of 1,258,440.1 tons of cane was processed from 38,624.5
acres harvested for sugar, resulting in an average yield of 32.58
tons per acre for the State. Approximately 132,336 tons of 960
raw sugar were produced and approximately 7,939,725 gallons of
blackstrap molasses (800 Brix) were produced as a by-product.
One factory also produced 408,648 gallons of inverted molasses
from "excess" sugarcane harvested.
Each processor (sugar factory) was also required to abide
with a "marketing allotment" covering the sales of sugar pro-
duced. As a result, it is estimated that approximately 35 percent
of the sugar production from the 1954-55 crop processed will have
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
to be stored and sold under the 1956 marketing allotment since
sales of sugar stored from the 1953-54 crop exhausted the pro-
cessors' 1955 calendar year marketing allotment.
The 1954 marketing allotment for each of the Florida pro-
cessors is shown below.
Fellsmere Sugar Producers Association 8,582
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery 13,305
United States Sugar Corporation 97,634
The marketing allotment for Florida is 23.9 percent of the
National marketing allotment of 500,000 tons provided for under
Funds used in making payments under this program are de-
rived by excise taxes paid by processors and in past years have
resulted in a surplus which reverts to general fund of U. S.
A summary by counties showing program data is included
on the following page.
SUMMARY OF DATA-1951 MAINLAND SUGAR PROGRAM
Proportionate Harvested Harvested
Total Share for for
Measured Acreage Sugar Seed
Acreage No. Acres No. Acres No. Acres
Tons of Commercially
Cane Recoverable Payment
for (Pint. Purposes)
Sugar Cwt. No. Amount
Glades 2,560.7 8 2,562.5 6 2,323.6 6 78.7 82,992.9 184,163.66 6 $120,387.48
Hendry 27,475.7 2 24,941.1 1 24,666.6 1 262.5 907,766.8 1,941,713.19 1 702,563.96
Indian River 5,816.1 9 5,816.3 9 5,525.7 9 290.4 92,287.3 206,908.14 9 148,809.10
Palm Beach 7,199.9 10 6,237.6 9 6,108.6 6 73.4 175,393.1 363,860.83 9 223,488.37
TOTAL 43,052.4 29 39,557.5 25 38,624.5 22 705.0 1,258,440.1 2,696,645.82 25 $1,195,248.91
'Farms listed in county in which farming headquarters are located.
Sugarcane on such farms is grown in adjoining counties in certain cases.
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL
Mainland Sugar Program, 1946 to 1953
PREVIOUS YEARS DATA OF MAINLAND SUGARCANE PROGRAM
IN FLORIDA-1946 to 1953
Indian River 9 3,955.6 3,710.1 59,866.9 9 $ 97,459.78
Palm Beach 10 2,992.7 523.3 19,021.8 4 $ 25,789.68
State Total 27 35,318.2 31,773.5 1,037,208.1 20 $838,600.16
-- -- S C- 5
C) 04 F .
Glades 9 2,072.3 1,856.9 51,037.3 7 $ 67,614.88
Hendry 3 28,288.8 25,549.7 732,621.1 3 548,340.95
Indian River 9 3,960.2 3,518.5 62,342.2 9 93,515.77
Palm Beach 13 4,073.2 3,635.9 75,168.4 5 116,497.81
State Total 34 38,394.5 34,561.0 921,169.0 24 $825,969.41
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
2 Sc) c)S 'AC)C'2
Glades 10 2,575.8 2,490.5 72,765.2 7 $ 91,001.42
Hendry 3 26,973.5 26,284.3 874,332.4 1 592,451.79
Indian River 9 4,898.1 4,557.3 89,782.0 9 130,045.53
Palm Beach 13 4,641.4 3,248.7 88,842.4 5 118,962.59
State Total 35 39,088.8 36,580.8 1,125,722.0 22 $932,461.33
A total of 1,169,327 tons of sugarcane was processed from 37,357 acres
harvested which resulted in average yield of 31.3 tons per acre for all areas.
A total of 218,535,269 pounds of raw sugar was produced from the tonnage
Glades 8 2,714.1 2,500.8 70,751.0 7 $ 83,991.87
Hendry 3 26,991.1 25,834.4 895,376.7 2 615,873.54
Indian River 9 5,622.1 5,299.7 94,302.6 9 139,488.67
Palm Beach 8 4,216.2 3,722.1 108,896.7 5 131,734.15 ,
State Total 28 39,543.5 37,357.0 1,169,327.0 23 $971,088.23
FLORIDA'S SUGAR BOWL 87
A total of 1,259,526 tons of cane was processed from 38,933 acres
harvested resulting in average yield of 32.35 tons per acre for the State.
Approximately 122,115 tons of sugar raw value were produced and 8,749,444
gallons of black strap molasses (80 Brix) were produced as by-product.
o a a
- S bL-
A total of 1,495,338 tons of cane was processed from 42,841 acres har-
vested, resulting in average yield of 34.90 tons per acre for the State. Ap-
proximately 152,000 tons of sugar raw value were produced and approxi-
mately 9,400,000 gallons of blackstrap molasses (80' Brix) were produced
_o 0 cJ oa. Ymcn C
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
A total of 1,453,056 tons of cane was processed from 44,531.5 acres har.:
vested, resulting in average yield of 32.63 tons per acre for the State. Ap-
proximately 150,396 tons of sugar raw value were produced and approxi.
mately 9,075,305 gallons of blackstrap molasses (800 Brix) were produce
as by product.
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