Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 History of sugar
 Sugarcane in the Everglades
 Sugar in America
 A short look at the sugar...
 United States sugar corporatio...
 Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc.
 Sugar by-products
 Research and experiments
 Disease and pests
 Florida's sugar prospects
 1958 Mainland Sugar Program in...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Bulletin - State of Florida. Department of Agriculture ; no. 94
Title: Florida's sugar bowl
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002877/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida's sugar bowl
Series Title: Bulletin
Physical Description: 63 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Shoemaker, Jack
Publisher: State of Florida, Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee
Publication Date: <1960>
Subject: Sugarcane -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Sugar trade -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Sugar -- Manufacture and refining -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: revised by Jack Shoemaker.
General Note: "R March 1960".
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002877
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001962960
oclc - 29960596
notis - AKD9637
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    History of sugar
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Sugarcane in the Everglades
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Sugar in America
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    A short look at the sugar house
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    United States sugar corporation
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc.
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Sugar by-products
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
    Research and experiments
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Disease and pests
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Florida's sugar prospects
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    1958 Mainland Sugar Program in Florida
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Back Cover
        Page 64
Full Text


_ ^ *5~




Director, Bureau of Immigration

NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner

Ii l"; I kdli

Mature sugarcane ready for harvest-note comparative height.


History of Sugar ..... .- .. .. ... .-..- -- 5

Sugarcane In The Everglades ._. ----------------........- 13

Sugar In America .... ------------ 16

A Short Look At The Sugar House ....------- ---- 22

United States Sugar Corporation ...-------------- 28

Okeelanta Sugar Refinery ............... .... 36

Okeelanta Division .. ...........~. 36

Fellsmere Division .......... .... 44

Sugar By-Products ............. 50

Research and Experiments ----- -- -.. .... .... 53

Disease and Pests --..- ------------ .......... 55

Florida's Sugar Prospects ----------- ..... .... 57

1958 Mainland Sugar Program ---------.. .. -. 62

Aerial view typical cane field of huge proportions, Clewiston, Florida


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

I'Iii n t I ng s lll Uz i l by t 111 1i1dl on U. S. Sugai r ( orporn t i-ittion pInntation.


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


A1 i AA I n. .. .

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
this enterprise.
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
Gamble mill.


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.

Late Development

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 two companies are engaged in the production of
commercial sugar at three locations in Florida: The United
States Sugar Corporation with headquarters in Clewiston; and
the Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc., at Okeelanta, near South
Bay, and at Fellsmere, just northwest of Vero Beach.
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
900 raw sugar of 325 pounds per bag. In 1958-59, it produced
220,680,538 pounds of sugar from 1,042,677 tons of cane.
In Fellsmere, Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc., during the 1959-
60 season produced 12,000 tons of refined sugar. The refinery
has an output of more than 150 tons of sugar daily, most of

Typical young cane field in the Everglades

Sugar Cane for Sugar and






Value of



Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Estimates Division, U. S. Department of Agricul-
ture. J. Charles Townsend, Jr., Agricultural Statistician, 1222 Woodward Ave., Orlando, Florida.




Tons of Gallons of
Sugar Molasses
Produced (000)
14 1444
27 2202
43 3292
98 5906
94 5139
61 4147
65 4505
68 5545
100 6317
94 6716
90 5430
80 7141
105 6877
105 8583
122 8749
154 9474
150 9075
130 8348
119 8188
129 8761
136 8819
136 9141


which is marketed in Florida under the trade name "Florida
Crystals." The 1958-59 production was 14,602,525 pounds of
sugar from 86,637 tons of cane. Capacity of the plant is 1,500
tons of cane daily.
The Okeelanta Sugar mill at South Bay, the baby of
the three plants 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 1959-60 production was 54,000,000
pounds of sugar from 315,000 tons of cane. Capacity of this
mill is more than 3000 tons of cane each day.
The production of sugarcane in Florida has grown from the
14,000 tons in 1929 to 1,356,000 tons, valued at $10,929,000, in


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 more than 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, 1958-59, a total of 1,356,000
tons of cane was processed from 35,800 acres of land, resulting
in 136,000 tons of sugar and approximately 9,141,000 gallons of
blackstrap molasses. The value of production amounted to $10,-

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 1958-59 there were approximately 7,000 acres of such
cane which produced an estimated 800,000 gallons of cane syrup.


V 1

A weedicide spray machine in operation on a field of young cane.

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.

A view showing average height of Everglades sugarcane

rPlhlI 'I!
!~~"5y@ ~'~~
c~: ;r


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
12 percent.
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.

Sugar Policy
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.


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 21 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 (luring
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
their people.
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

I v.

IHarvesting cane on mugarcnne pliintation.

i r





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

Field Wagons Conveying Cut Cane to Hloists


conditionall 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.

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-
mum wages.

Sugar Utilization

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. Dur-
ing 1957 per capital consumption of sugar was approximately
100 pounds.



'I'ran-porting sugarcimne in field wragons

A Short Look At The Sugar House

United States Sugar Corporation
Clewiston. Florida
U. S. Sugar ('orplrition
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 clone by hand. Cuttings are laid in fur-



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,J/ 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
Receiving Station.

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.

Control Laboratory
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

7::j m-c~

.` ..,.

.J'nii ed States, Sug~ar (orporit inn I'Plant nt (atiewton


-S-- .


S -


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 320 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.


Vacuum Pans
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
off 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 weighed 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.


In addition to growing sugar cane and producing raw sugar,
black-strap molasses and poultry litter United States Sugar
Corporation also owns and operates:

Sugarland Ranch
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 ranches. One of the highlights of this ranch is its
extensive breeding program involving the breeding of Purebred
Registered Brahmans, and the crossbreeding of Purebred Bhah-
mans with beef type cattle of European breeds-Charloais, Here-
ford, Angus, and Shorthorn.


United States Sugar Corporation

Clewiston, Florida
Grinding Capacity: 6,500 Tons Cane Per 24 Hours

Agricultural Operations
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 32,000 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 1,200,000 tons of cane per year. The
principal varieties grown are F.31-436 and CL 41-223.
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 three plantations. The Western Division
is divided into eight plantations.
The average number of field laborers employed during the
harvesting season is approximately 1,600 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
Haven, Florida.

Plantation Shops
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 Vice President
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.

Field Cane Loader

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
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.

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 11/. 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
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
field ditches.
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

This area spoken of contains about 107,000 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/' 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 its uninterrupted program of
cane breeding and selection of varieties of sugar cane especially
adapted to the climate and soils of the Florida Everglades. Many
improvements in cane breeding technique have been effected
and ideal indoor facilities for crossing work installed, providing
aerial and root temperature, humidity and light-intensity control
throughout the fall and winter. Considerable success has at-
tended this effort, especially in developing early, high-sucrose,
disease and insect resistant, cold-resistant canes. Variety Cl.
41-223 has proved itself so well adapted and possesses the above
qualities to such a high degree, that it now occupies over 80%
of the cultivated acreage.
The importance of a newly recognized virus disease affecting
cane culture in the entire cane areas of the United States known
as "ratoon stunt," has necessitated much work in testing for re-
sistance all promising canes and building up disease-free clones
of commercial varieties as seed sources for commercial use. Vir-
tually all new commercial plants are made from disease-free seed
cane propagated from stocks produced and maintained by this
Cooperative research with new weedicides is being conducted
with the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station under a special
grant-in-aid for this work, plus the use of many replicated plot
tests maintained and sampled under our trained supervision.
Soils research has been greatly intensified with special ref-
erence to the development of special rapid procedures for de-
termining the optimum levels for available phosphate, potash and
other mineral elements contributing to maximum yields of cane
with high per cent yields of sugar. Similar studies are also in
progress involving the optimum levels of basic and trace elements
in certain plant parts of each major cane variety in relation to
optimum yields of sugar per acre. Often, several years of crop-
ping are required to establish minimum levels, so that these
projects are long-term in character.
Considerable research has been conducted on new and im-

Transferring sugarcane to railroad cars by field elevator.


proved methods of juice clarification and in the cleaning of scale
from the evaporators in the sugarhouse at minimum cost and
with minimum corrosion damage to both cast iron and copper
parts. New methods for both of these major operations have
been worked out in our laboratory, tested semi-commercially and
finally adapted as standard procedures because of the many ad-
vantages obtained.
Bagasse and bagasse pith have been studied as to their suit-
ability, after certain chemical treatments, to replace expensive
sphagnum moss for certain horticultural uses, including the mar-
cotting of plants. Results so far have shown marked success
and the experimental data made public in an effort to stimulate
new uses for these byproducts throughout the country.
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.
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.

Resume of Manufacturing Results

Year- 1957-1958 1958-1959

Start of crop season ------...- ...._ Oct. 27,-57 Nov. 4,-58
End of crop season .........--------------- Apr. 20,-58 Apr. 22,-59
Number of crop days .........--- 181 170
Lost time, % total time --.--.--.......... 5.34 2.12
Tons of cane milled ..--...-................... 1,094,339 1,042,677
Tons milled per hour --..---......... ... 266.30 261.54

% Sucrose ------...- .---.. ----- 11.94 12.51
% Fibre .- -...-...-.--. ...------.........-. 10.52 11.06
% Bagasse __..--..--..----................ 24.54 26.05


% Sucrose .... .
% Moisture .......... ..
% Fibre __.....-... ..........

Normal Juice-
SSucrose -.......---...-----
% Purity ..... .---------...
Normal juice extraction ------__
Sucrose extraction--% sucrose
in cane -------------___
Maceration % cane -_---_____-

Final Molasses-
% Purity _____- __._.-----..._--__._-
Gal per ton cane 32 Be
Pounds of sugar, 96' test per
ton of cane -____--------

Lb. 96 deg. test sugar ---
Gallons molasses -----













Prior Record of Crop Production

C-Tone Cane
C- 1,219,395
M- 6,955,722

S-Lbs. Sugar
1953-54 1954-55
1,146,236 1,033,053
240,480,869 218,984,870
6,392,757 5,894,340


il. Molasses


Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc.

Okeelanta Sugar Refinery
Okeelanta Division, South Bay, Florida
Capacity: 3000 Tons Cane per 24 Hours

General Information
Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc., a Florida Corporation, owns
and operates Okeelanta Sugar Mill and Fellsmere Sugar Mill.
The main office of the company is located at 427 Pan American
Bank Building, Miami, Florida. Telephone: Franklin 4-7952.
The Okeelanta Mill is located approximately six miles south
of South Bay-bordering U. S. Highway 27 on the west. Atlantic
Coast Line Railroad has been extended to service the Refinery.
For information concerning Fellsmere Division see page 44.
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

T_ --Cr~rr~i~C~~i:F
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OkceIlanta I)isision-OkeehalntaI Sugar Relinery. Inc.


the great sources of supply of sugar for the continental United
States. Sea traffic 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
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
mills 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

'- Io

Hauling sugarcane to mill-dircct front the fields by railroadI


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-
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
may be.
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 Sugar Refinery Inc. now owns ap-
proximately 21,000 acres of land adjacent to its Okeelanta Mill.


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
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.

Agricultural Information
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 CL 41-223.

Resume of Manufacturing Results

Year --.... .._....... ... 1957-58 1958-59

Start of crop season ..-- --- Nov. 11, 57 Nov. 12, 58
End of crop season ... Mar. 16, 58 Feb. 16, 59
Number of crop days ---- 126 97
Lost time % total time ---- 23.859 13.325
Tons of cane milled -- --- 183,875 177,048
Tons milled per hour -- 80.248 88.370


% Sucrose -.......-......-----.. 11.441 11.373
% Fibre ..........-... --- 12.216 11.832
% Bagasse .....--.---- 27.931 25.749

% Sucrose .--..---.--. --- 3.352 3.079
% Moisture .--...-..-.------ 51.809 49,923,
% Fibre ._-...........--.- 43.736 45.948

Normal Juice-
% Sucrose -. ---_---------- 13.804 13.398
% Purity .._.._-. __._ 83.689 83.319
Normal juice extraction 76.080 78.963
Sucrose extraction-% sucrose
in cane .._-...-..-...-......... 91.817 93.029
Maceration % cane 20.943 16,021

Final Molasses-
% Purity ---_____ ---_. 38.434 36.565
Gal. per ton cane 420 Be ........ 4.70 5.10
Pounds of sugar, 960 test per ton
of cane .......-..- .......---------------- 195.940 196.700

Lb. 96 deg test sugar ---------. 36,028,538 34,824,202
Gallons molasses --..._._. -. 865,516 902,650
From Feb. 20, 1959 to March 16, 1959, 50,742 tons of excess quota
cane were ground to produce 1,067,000 gals. of invert molasses
with the following composition: Bx. 84.6 Total Sugars: 74.3.
1956-16,594 Tons of Sugar Produced.
1955-10,589 Tons of Sugar Produced.
1954-12,597 Tons of Sugar Produced.

I 1 ."

FI -~

Train loads of sugarcane on way to mill



Fellsmere Division

Fellsmere, Fla.
Grinding Capacity-1500 tons cane per 24 hours
Refining Capacity-300,000 pounds per 24 hours

General Information
The Fellsmere Division of Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc., is
located at Fellsmere, Florida, on Florida Highway No. 512, ap-
proximately 12 miles West of Sebastian, Fla., which is located
on U. S. Highway No. 1 about midway between the cities of
Jacksonville and Miami.
Railroad communications: None. Florida East Coast R.R. at
Sebastian. Accessible by all Truck Lines.
The company was established to produce raw sugar but since
1935 the raws produced have been refined and marketed under
the trade name of "Florida Crystals." It was the first factory
in Florida to produce refined sugar from locally grown sugarcane
and now is the only factory producing refined sugar in the state
of Florida. For years this company operated as a cooperative
under the name "Fellsmere Sugar Producers Association." It
was sold to Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc. in 1958.
The present owners harvested their first crop in 1959, grind-
ing sugarcane obtained from approximately 7300 acres of land.
About 2000 acres are in plant cane and about 5,300 acres de-
voted to ratoon cane. CP 34/79 continues to be the major va-
riety with close to 55% of the land planted to this variety.
Variety F 36 819 represents about 24, of the total, CP 50/28
amounts to 199' and the remaining 2',; made up of miscellaneous
varieties. Research work on the propagation of new varieties is
continually being made in cooperation with the U.S.D.A. Ex-
perimental Station at Canal Point, Fla. and the Florida State Ex-
perimental Station at Belle Glade, Florida.
All land devoted to the growing of sugarcane is reclaimed
marsh land, elevation 17 to 22 feet above mean sea level. This
land is maintained by an elaborate system of dikes, canals and


~- -.


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I I' -


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Fellsmere Division-Okeelanta Sugar Refinery, Inc.



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'kF"~, ~'-~~"~p~

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drainage ditches to control the water table and soil moisture.
During the dry season the entire farm may be irrigated by a
system of gravity irrigation. During the hurricane and rainy
season, generally comprising the month of August, September
and October, surface waters are controlled through a battery of
three pumping stations.

Factory Data

The Fellsmere refinery processes all raw sugar produced dur-
ing the harvest season into refined, granulated sugar sold under
the trade name of "Florida Crystals." Factory operations usually
last for a period of from three to four months.

Resume of Manufacturing Results
Year -__.--. --.....- .....----...--.. ---....... 1957 1958
Start of crop season -...- ---.........-..--- Dec. 2 Nov. 17
End of crop season .....-.......-..-..-----. March 6 Feb. 15
Number of crop days ---........--.....---- 82 79
Lost time, % total time ......-......--._ 30.66 20.43
Tons of cane milled* ----.......----.....-- 83,260 86,037
Tons milled per hour -..--...........-.. 61 58

% Sucrose .--..---.....---.---~.......--... 10.40 10.95
% Fibre ---.....---......------.......... 17.63 16.77
% Bagasse .. --...~.-.._.- ....-...- --36.27 34.94
% Sucrose ---..----.......---......... 3.06 3.03
c Moisture ..--. -...-....-------..--. 47.11 47.93
% Fibre ---.........--..-- ..-----------.. ..... 48.62 47.92
Normal Juice-
% Sucrose ....- .....- ........... 13.42 13.60
% Purity .... .. ..... ........... .. 78.42 81.30
Normal juice extraction ...-..-...-..----.. 69.19 72.73
Sucrose extraction-% Sucrose
in cane ........ -... .... ... ... 89.35 90.33
Maceration '{ cane -...---.. ---------......... .. 15.27 15.97

Grinding tandem, interior Clewiston Sugar House



Final Molasses-
% Purity ----.....--..--.... -..--..----...---.... 37.30 38.19
Gal. per ton cane, 320 Be -............ 10.20 7.13
Pounds of sugar, 960 test, per
ton of cane ....-----..---...........- ....----. 148.40 168.50

Lb. 96 deg. test sugar** ......-----. 11,862,362 14,602,523
Gallons Molasses --......-....------. 803,903 543,521

Prior Record of Crop Production

C-Tons Cane S-Lbs. Sugar M-Gal. Molasses
1952 1953 1954 1955 1956
C- 104,639 120,095 92,287 78,969 81,943
S- 19,144,300 22,981,481 17,872,274 14,005,240 13,252,020
M- 635,457 666,867 478,800 478,522 591,179
*Reported as Gross Cane and not as "Trash Free" cane.
**Calculated from Refined Sugar Production by multiplying
refined sugar production by 1.07.

Refinery Section-Raw sugar is affinated and this sugar dis-
solved in a semi-continuous melter to 60 Brix and between 90 and
100 degrees F. This liquor is decolorized using the two-stage
Sucro-Blanc Process.
Packaging-For the bulk packaging of sugar, 100 lbs., pre-
sewn, valve type, multi-wall paper bags are filled on a shifting
tube, automatic bagging machine manufactured by the St. Regis
Paper Co. Five pound, sewn bags, paper, are filled on machinery
supplied by the Triangle Packaging Co. Bales containing 12
five pound bags are filled by a Standard-Knapp automatic packer.
with attached feeder belt.

Dumping a carload of sugarcane into conveyor for grinding



Loading Raw Sugar in Boxcars

Sugar By-Products

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


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 % 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 industry.

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.

J I~ ri *i

-. '\'

Sugar Boiling Floor--vacuum pans on left; evaporators on right.


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
the Everglades.
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.


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.


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 die. 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
to rot.
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,


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
single night.
In the Everglades no appreciable damage is being done by
mealybugs or nematodes, and so far rodents have been well con-


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.


Research men at work in control laboratory.

9 ,



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L `i`i~


S -


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
these restrictions. See page 62 for data on the 1958 Mainland
Sugar Program.
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.
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
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



"Florida's production shows the depressive effect of the re-
strictive sugar quotas as well as the economically feasible ex-
pansions of unrestricted years in the following table:

Florida Production
Short Tons, Raw Value
Crop Year
1951 (quotas suspended) --- 122,625
1952 (quotas suspended) ...------ .. -- 154,260
1953 (quotas reimposed) ..--- -. 150,587
1954 (quotas in effect) --_..-- 132,712
1955 (quotas in effect) --.- ...... 121,404
1956 (quotas in effect) -- .. 127,860
1956 (quotas in effect) _---- 135,632
1958 (quotas in effect) ...... 131,467
1959 (quotas suspended) -..--.. 179,000 (estimated)


Once more Congress is considering the expiring sugar act
restrictions and it is readily apparent that, if the current sugar
legislation will permit, the production of cane sugar will continue
to be an ever increasing factor in the industrial and agricul-
tural economy of the State of Florida."

1958 Mainland Sugar Program
In Florida

State and County ASC Committees again carried out the ad-
ministration of Title III of the Sugar Act of 1948 as amended,
during the 1958-59 crop year. Title III is known as the "Con-
ditional Payment" provision of the Act.
Under this program growers who complied with the pro-
visions of Title III of the Sugar Act were eligible to receive
payment on commercially recoverable sugar produced. Pro-
vision is also made for making deficiency payments and pay-
ments on bona fide abandoned acreage resulting from damage
from freeze, flood, or other unavoidable causes.
Payments under the program are conditioned upon com-
pliance with proportionate shares (acreage allotments), pay-
ment of minimum wages, and in the case of producer-processors,
minimum prices to growers from whom they purchase sugarcane
for processing.
A total of 1,302,898.3 tons of cane was processed from 34,422.6
acres harvested for sugar, resulting in an average yield of 37.85
tons per acre for the State. Approximately 136,431 tons of
sugar, raw value, was produced and approximately 8,049,021
gallons of blackstrap molasses (80 Brix) was produced as a by-
A marketing allotment governing the total tonnage of sugar
permitted to be marketed during 1958 was established for each
factory follows: Fellsmere Sugar Producers Association 8,29c


tons, Okeelanta Sugar Refinery 22,397 tons, United States Sugar
Corporation 143,878 tons; total 174,574 tons.
Funds used in making payments under this program are
derived by excise taxes paid by processors and in past years
have resulted in a surplus which reverts to general fund of U. S.
Source: Mainland Sugar Program information USDA-ASC
Committee, Gainesville.
These 1958 marketing allotments were rescinded on Novem-
ber 13, 1958 and each factory was permitted to market their
sugar production with no restrictions.


E. O. :,.INTEfr

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