Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; 118
Title: Sugar-cane and syrup making
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 Material Information
Title: Sugar-cane and syrup making
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: p. 49-67 : ill., plans ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Spencer, A. P ( Arthur Perceval )
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1913
Subject: Sugarcane -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by A.P. Spencer.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026398
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000921876
oclc - 18161090
notis - AEN2344
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Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida



Agricultural Experiment Station






Fig. 7.-Covering seed-cane with disk cultivator. (Japanese cane.)

The Station bulletins will be sent free upon application to the Experiment
Station, Gainesville, Fla.
Pepper Pub. & Ptg. Co., Gainesville, Fla.



Introduction ........... ...... ................. .. .............. 51
Soil ................................ ............. ................ 51
Soil Preparation ...................... .......... .. ... ........... 52
R otation ...................................... .... ................. 53
F ertilizers ....................................... ... ............. 53
Planting ............................................... ........... 54
Cultivation .................. .................. ..... .. ............. 55
H arvesting ..................................... ..... .............. 55
Seed-C ane ....................................... ................... 56
Time to Save Seed-Cane ......................................... 56
Laying Down the Bed ................... .... .................. 57
Stubble or Ratoon Cane ........................ .................... 58
V varieties ......................................................... 58
Japenese Cane ..................................... .. .............. 59
Cane Grinding ........................................... ............ 59
Evaporation of Juice ............................................... 60
Fermentation in Syrup ............................................... 64
Diseases of Sugar Cane ................................. ............. 65
R ed R ot ........................................... ............. 65
Insect Enemies of Sugar-Cane ......................................... 66
The Cane Borer ............................... ................. .. 66
The Army Worm ................................................ 67
Danger in Imported Canes ........................................ 67


(1) Sugar-cane is successfully grown throughout Florida, though it only
matures perfectly in Southern Florida.
(2) Any good agricultural soil in Florida that has sufficient drainage is
capable of producing profitable crops of sugar-cane.
(3) Sufficient moisture is the controlling element in the production of
sugar-cane, from its earliest growth.
(4) Ammonia and potash are especially needed in any fertilizer applied,
while phosphoric acid is needed in lesser quantities.
(5) Cultivation should be frequent until the crop is well-grown, but always
with shallow-working implements.
(6) The longer the cane can stand without danger of frost, the higher will
be the sucrose content, and the better the quality of syrup.
(7) Sugar-cane will give a better yield if the seed-cane has been selected
for healthiness and maturity.

(In preparing this bulletin, reliable information was derived from the
bulletins of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, from the writings
of Mr. C. K. McQuarrie, and from the publications of Capt. R. E. Rose, State
Chemist. For all this, due acknowledgment is hereby made.)



Sugar-cane is among the most certain of Florida crops. Crop
failure for the State has never been reported. Sugar-cane has
been grown more or less in almost every county in Florida, and
with a degree of success on almost every grade of agricultural
soil in the State. It must not be inferred that sugar-cane has no
preference as to soil fertility, moisture, or physical condition of
the soil. Success in growing this crop is governed by the meth-
ods adopted in each stage of its growth.
Sugar-cane is a tropical plant. The different varieties re-
quire more or less than twelve months without frost to reach full
maturity. Certain varieties are propagated successfully and
profitably as far as 100 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. Below
the twenty-seventh parallel, or the region around Manatee and
Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida, sugar-cane matures, form-
ing long sprays of bloom called "arrows." In seasons with little
or no frost, the cane may mature even north of this line. In all
sections of the State it reaches a stage of maturity sufficient for
making syrup or sugar.
Up to the sixties, large plantations of sugar-cane existed on
the low hammock lands of Manatee, Volusia, and Citrus Counties.
At this time the industry was perhaps the most important one in
Florida. At the close of the war, these plantations were nearly
abandoned. Some of this land was planted in orange groves.
Since this period, little attention has been given to growing sugar-
cane on a large scale, although nearly every county of the State
produces more or less of it. At the present time the largest acre-
age is on the rolling high pinelands of West Florida.


The greatest tonnage of canes per acre is usually produced
on low rich hammocks where the drainage is good. However, it

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

is still an open question what class of soil in Florida is best for
producing syrup. The better grades of high pine land in West
Florida are producing from fifteen to twenty-five tons of sugar-
cane per acre, and a superior grade of syrup. We may conclude
that any good agricultural soil in Florida that has sufficient drain-
age is capable of producing profitable crops of sugar-cane, if the
crop is grown by methods suitable to the soil. The rolling pine
lands are well adapted without further drainage. Flat-woods
soils frequently require drainage to carry off the surplus water
that is usually present during the rainy season. The flat ham-
mock lands and reclaimed marsh lands, for the most part, have
usually artificial drainage to control the surplus water during the
wet season. While sugar-cane is a heavy consumer of moisture,
it must have an open soil with the water table below the feeding
area of the roots. It is a vigorous plant, and succeeds well on any
soil suitable for corn or other farm crops.


Soil intended for sugar-cane should be prepared as long in
advance of the planting time as the previous crop will permit; be-
fore November 1 for fall planting, and not later than January 1
for winter planting. After the vegetable matter has been plowed
under, the surface should be harrowed and pulverized two or three
times before the land is laid off for planting. Soils that have not
been plowed deeply and worked back into condition cannot con-
serve the moisture already in the soil, or absorb and store up the
rainfall that occurs during the winter months. Sufficient mois-
ture is the controlling element in the production of sugar-cane
from its earliest growth. The conservation of moisture is one of
the main things to look to in the preparation of the soil for grow-
ing sugar-cane.
The deeper the land can be plowed, the better for sugar-
cane, because of the extensive root system and the long season
the cane remains in the growing stage. Fields that have been
in cultivation for a number of years will be benefited by subsoiling
until a depth of sixteen or twenty inches is secured. This may
be done with an ordinary subsoil plow, or by a scooter following
in the furrow behind a turning plow in breaking. This gives
additional depth to the seed-bed, and proves advantageous to the

Bulletin 118

crop, in that it gives a large storage area for the moisture supply


In rotation, sugar-cane may follow almost any of the ordi-
nary farm crops, but preferably sweet potatoes, velvet beans, or
other leguminous crops; the latter being especially desirable be-
cause of the liberal amounts of humus they add to the soil.
Because of its gross feeding tendencies and the large amounts
of fertilizing elements it consumes in the making of a twenty-ton
crop, it is not advisable that sugar-cane shall follow itself on the
same land, unless where it is desirable to grow it from the
"stubble" or "ratoons," and then not for more than three years in


With the exception of the rich hammock lands, sugar-cane
will require liberal applications of fertilizer. Ammonia and pot-
ash are especially needed in any fertilizer applied, while phos-
phoric acid is needed in lesser quantities. The richer the soil in
humus and decaying organic matter, the less will be the need of
heavy applications of ammonia. This is evidenced by the very
heavy crops grown in the hammock lands of Southern Florida be-
fore the war, when commercial fertilizers were nearly unknown
here. On high pine land a fertilizer analyzing 5 per cent. of
ammonia, 4 per cent. of phosphoric acid, and 8 per cent. of pot-
ash, should be applied at the rate of 600 to 1,000 pounds per acre,
ten days before planting. The ammonia should come from an
organic source, because of the long season required by the crop
for growing. If the crop appears uneven and yellow, and shows
an unthrifty appearance, it will be advisable to give a second ap-
plication of ammonia not later than August 1. This ammonia
should be applied in the form of nitrate of soda at the rate of 200
pounds per acre, and broad-casted. It matters little in what
form the potash or phosphoric acid is applied, because of the gross
feeding tendencies of the sugar-cane plant. It is, however, con-
ceded by some growers that a better grade of syrup will be pro-
duced by using sulphate of potash, instead of muriate of potash
or kainit. This, however, is still an open question.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Fig. 6.-Seed-cane in open furrows. (Japanese cane.)


When ready to plant the crop, lay off the furrows six inches
deep and six feet apart. In these furrows plant the canes, after
cutting them in lengths of three or four joints each, lapping them
in the furrow a few inches (Fig. 6). Cover the canes with
about three inches of soil (Fig. 7). If they are covered too
deeply in mid-winter the eyes will be slow in sprouting, and likely
to make a less vigorous growth than if they sprouted readily.
After the cane is well up, the furrow may be filled in to the level.
This places the roots well below the surface, giving a better root
system (Fig. 8), and helps to prevent the canes from blowing

Fig. 8.-Rootlets of one stalk of cane, washed out of the soil; over five
feet long. (Japanese cane.)

over when the crop is about mature and top-heavy. Canes that
are planted very shallow will often blow over and tangle during

Bulletin 118

the heavy wind storms of October. A tangled cane patch re-
quires more labor for cutting and harvesting than one which
stands erect.


The cultivation of sugar-cane is similar to that of corn.
This cultivation should begin soon after the canes are planted,
mainly to prevent the loss from evaporation that will occur dur-
ing the spring months unless the surface soil is kept stirred.
The first two or three cultivations may be done with the weeder
or harrow, which may be run in any direction over the rows.
After the canes are too high for the weeder to pass over, the one
or two-horse cultivator, running shallow, is a good implement to
use. Cultivation should be frequent until the crop is well grown,
but always with shallow-working implements. If the ground is
allowed to become dry from lack of cultivation at any stage in
the growth, the cane suffers. A maximum crop cannot be made
unless the plants have an abundant supply of moisture. In all
probability the rainfall will be sufficient between June 1 and Sep-
tember 1, but during this period the weeds and grass will get a
good start and fill the land unless the cultivation is frequent.
The most likely period for the cane to be injured from lack of
moisture is between planting time and June 15. It is advisable
to keep the cultivation up just as long as it is possible to go
through the cane patch.


The first operation in harvesting is stripping the canes. This
should be done about the last week in October in West Florida,
and two weeks later in Central Florida. By removing the dead
leaves the sunlight is admitted to the ground, which is thought
to hasten the ripening of the canes. As there is a large amount
of work involved in handling one acre of sugar-cane, it is further
advisable to have this stripping done early, so that there will be
no delay when the grinding season begins. The longer the cane
can stand without danger of frost, the higher will be the sucrose
content, and the better the quality of syrup, as immature cane
makes inferior syrup. Cutting should commence about Novem-
ber 15 in West Florida, and in Central Florida about ten days
later. The tops are removed before the cane is cut. It is rec-

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

ommended to leave about one immature joint to every eight
mature joints, because of the glucose contained in the immature
stalk, which helps to prevent crystallization in the evaporation of
the juice. After the cane is topped, it should then be cut as
low as possible and put into rows, or on the wagon for hauling
to the cane mill. In the event of approaching freezing weather
it is well to cut all the canes and cover them up with the tops to
prevent them from freezing. A white frost does not injure sugar-
cane, but checks its growth and hastens maturity. A freeze is
apt to kill the buds or eyes, and so injure them for seed; but it
does not injure the canes for syrup or sugar, unless they fer-
ment in the meantime.

Sugar-cane will give a better yield if the seed-cane has been
selected for healthiness and maturity. While this is one of the
most general crops in the State and has been grown for many
years, yet comparatively little attention has been given to careful
selection of seed-cane. The loss from inferior seed-cane comes
in several ways. If immature and poorly developed canes are
planted, the stand of canes is almost sure to be uneven. The
poorer canes will have many immature eyes that will not germi-
nate at all, and many more that will germinate slowly, so that
in the next year's crop there will be several blank spaces and
many short-jointed small canes. There is the possibility of put-
ting diseased seed-canes in the bed, perhaps causing the entire
bed to rot, or at least injuring the growing powers of even the
best canes. The selection of proper seed-cane is of the greatest
importance in the growing of sugar-cane. Seed-canes should
have well-matured buds, and joints of medium length. If the
joints are short, the cane is apt to be less vigorous in growth.
It will require upward of 1,800 whole canes to plant an acre.
In filling the beds it would be a wise precaution to allow at least
2,500 canes for each acre to be planted, so that in case of a loss
there will be a sufficient number left for planting. No canes
should be bedded from any field where red rot is suspected or
known to be present. This disease is described on a later page.

It has been already stated that cane buds are injured by a
freeze. It is important that the seed-canes should be cut and

Bulletin 118

bedded before a freeze is likely. This date would be in west
Florida about November 20, and in middle Florida about ten days
later. It is to be remembered, however, that the seed-cane is
more likely to grow well if it is well matured and if the buds are
large and well developed. So that it is advisable to allow the
canes to stand as long as they are safe from frost.


The bottom of the bed for the seed-cane should be shnmt l i-ht
inches below the surface of the ground. The bed should be six
feet wide. The seed-canes should be placed in this bed in even
layers about four canes deep on the sides and a little deeper in
the center, so as to give a rounded top to shed the water. Seed-
canes should not be topped. Each layer in the beds should be
about ten inches forward of the previous one, so that the tops
will cover the joints of the lower layers. The bed should be
made as uniform and even as possible, so that no canes will be
left uncovered and no depressions occur in the bed to collect wa-
ter during rains. It is well in all cases that the butts of the
canes should touch the ground and the canes be moist when laid
down. This will help to prevent the buds from drying out, and
also prevent dry rot. "Immediately after a heavy rain is a good
time to bed seed-cane." When the bed is filled, it should be cov-
ered with about two inches of soil as a protection against frost.
A strip about two inches wide may be left open along the ridge
the entire length of the bed to give ventilation, and one or two
furrows thrown up with a plow on each side to drain the water
away. Should water stand in the bed during the winter, even
for a short time, the canes would probably ferment and the buds
be destroyed. If the bed is located on a slope, there is little
danger of water standing in it. It might be again emphasized
that a lack of moisture in the seed-bed will probably produce dry
rot or drying out of the buds, causing them to germinate slowly
if at all; while standing water in the seed-bed will destroy the
buds and possibly destroy the cane entirely. If the stubble is to
be bedded for seed, it is best to dig it up by the roots, and bed it
with the root attached. It would not be wise, however, to bed
stubble cane in this way in the same bed with seed-canes; al-
though about the same protection against freezing, and the same
precautions as to excess or lack of moisture are recommended.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station


While it is generally considered that a better yield of cane
will be secured if the canes are planted annually, it is neverthe-
less a common practice to use stubble or ratoons for seed-cane.
Unless these ratoons have more care than is frequently given
them, an uneven stand will result in the following year. This is
due to many causes, most of which can be avoided. In the first
place, ratoons should be cut very low. If they are cut high there
will be fermentation and decay, which injures the buds. A prac-
tice that is adopted by the best cane growers is to run a light
furrow along one side of the cane, and then turn the ratoons up-
side-down in this furrow, throwing a light furrow on them. This
gives a covering for protection during the winter and prevents
decay of the stumps of the canes.
It is not considered a good practice to use ratoons for more
than two years in succession. Those who do this seldom get as
good yield in the third year as in the second year.


Little attention has been given to the varieties of sugar-cane
in Florida. Nevertheless the best growers usually select the
light-colored canes because these produce a lighter colored
syrup. It is fortunate that the light-colored canes usually pro-
duce as well as the red or purple canes.
In Louisiana the best results have been obtained from D. 74,
which is a light-colored cane. It produces a larger tonnage of
cane than other varieties in Louisiana. It is said to resist heavy
winds, and to be altogether desirable. It is recommended by the
Louisiana Experiment Station in preference to the purple or rib-
bon cane. A few farmers in Florida have, also, reported D. 74 to
be one of the best canes for Florida. In Bulletin 129 of the Lou-
isiana Experiment Station, the author speaks of it as follows:
"In nearly all sections of Louisiana it has given heavier yields
than the purple or ribbon canes. It is reported to be in tonnage
20 per cent. superior to either green or ribbon canes. In addition
it is reported to contain a larger percentage of sugar in its juice."
The richer in sugar a cane, the larger the amount of syrup that
can be made from it. With the ordinary process of manufacture,
this high percentage of sugar will cause crystallization in the

Bulletin 118

syrup, but with the better methods, crystallization can be avoided
in other ways.


Japanese cane was introduced into Florida about 1889 from
Louisiana. It makes an excellent grade of syrup, but it is not
generally recommended for syrup-making. It is much harder to
grind than other canes, and the juice is more difficult to extract.
It usually has a lower yield of syrup. There are, however, excep-
tional cases when Japanese cane has yielded as high as five hun-
dred gallons of syrup per acre. The average yield of all canes in
the State is less than three hundred gallons an acre. Where this
exceptionally high yield was obtained, it was under very favorable
conditions, and in these cases other canes would probably have
given still greater yields. Japanese cane will withstand ten de-
grees of frost, and is therefore a perennial, and can be grown
several years in succession without replanting. Some growers
claim it will not require replanting for an almost indefinite num-
ber of years, but experiments do not altogether bear this out.
The test plots on the Experiment Station farm show a much
greater yield on the newly planted plots than on stubble originally
planted about six years ago. Japanese cane is not generally rec-
ommended for syrup-making, but has proved an excellent winter
forage crop for live stock. Because of the extra labor involved in
stripping the leaves, and because the hardness of the cane re-
quires heavier mills to get as high a percentage of the juice, this
cane is less desirable than the other sugar-canes for syrup-mak-


Most of the cane mills in Florida are of the small type, and
are operated by horse power. They will not give a high extrac-
tion, and are not to be recommended, except where only a small
amount of syrup is made. It must be remembered that the great-
er the extraction, that is, the larger the amount of juice that is
pressed out per ton of cane, the greater will be the amount of
syrup secured per acre. Very few of the small mills extract more
than fifty per cent. of the weight of the cane in juice, leaving 35
per cent. still in the cane. (Cane is composed on the average of
85 per cent. juice and 15 per cent. dry material.) To secure the

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

full extraction, it is necessary to set the rolls so close that the
pulp or bagasse when passed through the mill will be broken into
short pieces apparently free from juice and so dry that they will
burn readily. A well designed steam power mill, when properly
set, will extract 75 per cent. of the weight of the cane in juice,
leaving only 10 per cent. in the bagasse. The most powerful
steam mills extract an amount of juice equal to about 80 per
cent. of the weight of the cane, or nearly all the sucrose in the
cane. A large percentage of the sucrose is wasted on farms
where light mills are employed.
When sugar-cane has been properly grown on a good quality
of soil, a yield of twenty tons per acre may be expected. As high
as thirty or thirty-five tons have been produced under exception-
ally good conditions. The average yield for the State is perhaps
fifteen tons. One ton of well matured sugar-cane will produce
about twenty gallons of syrup at a density of 33 degrees Baume.
The exact figures cannot be given, since analyses of Florida canes
vary from 9 to 18 in percentage of cane-sugar in the juice.
Several firms manufacture cane mills of standard designs,
and it would be well for those who contemplate buying new syrup-
making equipment to investigate the tonnage capacity per day
and horse-power required to operate the machinery, bearing in
mind that the chief value of a mill lies in its power to extract the
highest percentage of juice from the canes. (The names of these
firms will be supplied to those who request them.)


As the juice comes from the mill, it contains large quantities
of coarse materials that should be removed before it goes into
the evaporating pans. Thorough straining at this particular
stage is necessary in the manufacture of high-grade syrup. As
the juice leaves the mill, it should pass through a close wire screen
to remove the coarse particles and leaves. Below this would be
a coarse cloth strainer to catch finer pieces, and then the juice
should pass through coarse muslin. Just before going into the
receiving tank it passes through a woolen blanket which catches
most of the finest sediment. These filters should be stretched on
hoops, and a number of them kept on hand so they can be fre-
quently changed and cleaned, otherwise they will become clogged
and prevent the juice from passing through. Thorough strain-
ing before the juice enters the evaporating pans will not only re-

Bulletin 118

duce the amount of skimming, but also improve the quality of the
syrup. The receiving tank for the strained juice should be large
enough for a full run in the evaporating pans, so there may be
no delay when evaporation begins. This receiving tank also acts
as a settling tank between the process of straining and that of
evaporation. For plants suited to handle from five to forty
acres of cane, the evaporating pan with steam coils is recom-
mended. The better pan evaporators are equipped with steam
coils for evaporation, while the smaller outfits are of the fur-
nace type with the pans immediately over the firebox. (See
Figs 9, 10, 11.) The steam coils are to be preferred because of
the control in boiling the juice. These pans are manufactured for
their special purpose and can be purchased complete from the

Fig. 9.-Outer view of small evaporating plant, showing skimming
barrel to left and syrup gate to right.

When the juice enters the first evaporating pan, it should boil
up quickly. This throws up a large amount of sediment and
scum, which must be removed with a skimmer. If this boiling is
slow, a large amount of the sediment will not rise to the surface
and cannot be skimmed off; but will pass over into the second pan,
from which it is more difficult to remove it because of the greater
density of the juice in the second pan. In the first pan the juice
is evaporated to a density of about 25 degrees Baume. In the




mc~^---- ____ -

-------- --- --- --- --- ---.--- ...........--._ .... ........... -


S '. *2L,'' i l :j N


Fig. 10.-Small syrup evaporator in section.


h a




Fig. 11.-Plan of small syrup evaporator.





Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

second pan the evaporation continues until the density of the
syrup is 33 or 34 degrees Baume. With larger plants the juice
remains in the receiving tank for six hours or more, so that the
sediment goes to the bottom. Then the juice is drawn from the
top, over into the first evaporating pan. Most of the clarification
takes place in the first evaporating pan. As the juice becomes
of a greater density it will hold a large amount of the sediment
in suspension. If not thoroughly clarified before leaving the first
pan, it will be almost impossible to remove the finer particles when
the juice has become more concentrated in the second evaporat-
ing pan. A cloudy syrup results.
When the juice has been boiled to the required density, it
should be run into the containers, and immediately sealed up.
The secret in making syrup of a uniform grade and high quality
is in the care exercised in securing proper straining and the
proper density in each stage of evaporation. It is nearly im-
possible for anyone to determine the exact density without the
use of a Baume spindle. This Baume spindle is a glass float with
a graduated scale. The point to which it sinks into the liquid
will indicate the density. A small quantity of syrup may be re-
moved from the boiling mass and placed in a glass or tin, and the
Baume spindle inserted. The heated syrup in which the instru-
ment sinks to 33 or 34 degrees has been sufficiently boiled. This,
on cooling, will give a density of 37 or 38 Baume, which is the
proper density for marketable syrup.


Fermentation in syrup is caused by molds, yeasts, or bacteria.

Fig. 12.-Baume spindle.

The preservation of syrup consists in sterilizing it, which can be
done by continuous boiling until all the mold spores or microbes
which cause fermentation have been destroyed. This steriliza-
tion may be accomplished by heating it to 180 degrees Fahren-
heit. Fermentation, however, will take place even though the
syrup has been heated much above 180 degrees, unless the con-

Bulletin 118

tainers into which the syrup is placed have also been completely
sterilized. It is practically impossible to thoroughly sterilize a
barrel under the ordinary conditions around a small syrup plant.
In most cases the fermentation that syrup undergoes after it
has been standing three or four months in barrels is due to the
condition of the barrel when the syrup is placed in it. For this
reason, syrup placed in cans or bottles will usually keep a longer
period if the containers have been properly sterilized by thorough
boiling before the syrup is placed in them. Under this condition,
syrup will keep for an almost indefinite period if the cans are
filled while the syrup is still hot, and are immediately sealed, to
prevent further contamination from outside sources. Steriliza-
tion of both syrup and container is therefore the only means of
preventing fermentation in cane-syrup. Furthermore, it should
be borne in mind that cleanliness in manufacture, from the time
the cane enters the mill until the syrup is placed in the container,
is the main thing in keeping syrup sweet. The rollers of the
mill should be washed with lime water when stopped for any
length of time. The juice gutters and all surfaces over which
the juice passes must also be thoroughly cleaned. The walls of
the building and the surroundings should be kept clean. Where
it is practicable, cold storage will facilitate the keeping of the
syrup. Fermentation of syrup does not take place at low tem-
peratures, so that if the syrup can be put in cold storage it should
keep almost indefinitely. It is a mistaken idea that syrup is a
readily perishable product. There should be no more difficulty in
preserving it than there is with canned sweet potatoes, if it has
been handled properly during the process of manufacture.

(H. S. Fawcett)
The disease has characteristic marks inside the canes by which it may
be recognized, but is difficult to recognize externally. It is therefore apt
to be overlooked until it becomes so serious as to attract attention. When
the diseased canes are split lengthwise the soft tissue of the internodes
shows a reddish discoloration. In these red discolored areas are found
white spots which shade off into the red. These white spots are especially
characteristic of Red Rot. As the disease advances the central portion of
the stem gives way, forming a long straight cavity, in which is a whitish
mold made up of fungus threads. The nodes and buds become first brown,
and finally black. The hard outside of the stalk remains apparently un-

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

changed. When the disease has not progressed so far as this, the canes
may appear at first glance to be healthy; but when they are split length-
wise the soft tissue in the internodes will show the beginnings of the
disease as small reddish patches. Because it is so easily overlooked, the
grower should keep a watch for it. There are other diseases that may cause
reddening of the soft tissue, but if there are also white patches within the
red areas, the -disease may be pronounced Red Rot.
Although Red Rot is usually not noticed until the cane is cut for
planting, it may be present during the summer. In some cases the fungus
causing Red Rot may seriously check the growth of the plant during the
summer, and redden the leaves and the soft tissue inside the canes.
The fungus attacks the plant most easily through wounds or holes made by
borers. It appears to get to the growing plant, however, mostly by means
of the planted cuttings, and does not spread much through the air. Usually
the injury is only slight during the growing season. At the bedding season,
however, the fungus is present ready to cause serious damage to the dormant
canes. It is at this time that the fungus grows, advances into the interior
of the canes, and kills the buds. In the beds decay appears to start mostly
at the ends of the canes, although it may also start at other places along the
MEANS OF CONTROL.-1. Plant only healthy canes. In Hawaii and
other places, it has been found that this disease may be easily and successfully
controlled by planting only healthy canes that show no sign of discoloration.
Any canes showing even the slightest discoloration of the, interior should be
discarded. It will be necessary, in sections where the disease has become
prevalent, to grind all the cane, and get seed-cane for planting from some
other locality.
2. As an extra preventive the selected canes may be dipped in Bordeaux
mixture just before they are planted. This will kill any fungus that may
have gotten onto the cut ends or surfaces. A large wooden trough is conven-
ient for holding the Bordeaux mixture while dipping. The formula, 5 pounds
of copper sulphate, 5 pounds of lime, and 50 gallons of water, may be used.
The cost is but slight.
3. Whenever possible plant the canes in the fall instead of bedding
them. Planting the cane in the fall will give one an opportunity to discover
the disease, if present, and will do away with danger from contamination in
the bed.
4. Burn all the trash in the old bed, and all diseased cane.


The most serious enemy of cane is the borer (Diatraca saccharalis). In
some parts of the State this is a serious pest. Luckily it is not generally
distributed, and many localities are entirely free from it. It is very impor-
tant for growers in such places to keep it out.
The borer is the caterpillar of a moth. The female moth lays her eggs
on the foliage. The young caterpillars, hatching out, feed on the tender

Bulletin 118

leaves for a few days, but soon enter the cane through a bud or "eye," thereby
reducing the stand of cane. They spend their entire larval life in the cane,
tunnelling up and down, stunting its growth, weakening it so that the wind
may blow it over, reducing the sugar content, and making easy the entrance
of fungus diseases. Here they go into the pupa stage, to hatch out as small
moths in a week or so, unless delayed by cold weather, in which event the
pupae spend the winter in the cane.
Control is difficult once the borer becomes established in a field, hence
we urge Florida growers to be very careful about introducing this pest into
a community now free from it, as such a community has a great advantage
over the infested one in the matter of cane-growing. A little carelessness
in this respect now may cause, in a community, a loss of thousands of dollars
in a few years. Dissemination is almost entirely through infested seed-cane,
as the female flies only a few score feet. Planters should carefully inspect
all seed-cane, and any canes exhibiting holes should be promptly burned.
Remedy. -Once introduced the best the grower can do is to reduce the
numbers of hybernating larvae by burning the tops and rubbish as soon as
sufficiently dried, cutting the canes low, and destroying shoots that start
from the roots where cane is cut early. Plant in the fall from sound canes
only. Rotation of crops must be practiced in infested fields.

Sugar-cane is one of the favorite food plants of this caterpillar (also
known as the Southern grass worm), which in some years occurs in de-
structive numbers. On cane it can readily be controlled by the arsenic
compounds. Use a spray of three pounds of lead arsenate paste or one pound
of zinc arsenite powder to fifty gallons of water, or dust the plants with the
latter, using air-slaked lime as a filler.


There are, in the West Indies, many serious enemies of cane that have
not yet been introduced into the United States, or which are rare here.
Among them are the larger cane-borer, the weevil borer, frog-hoppers, root-
borers, pink mealy bugs, and mites. For this reason introduction of West
Indian cane for seed should be done, if at all, with the greatest care pos-
sible and the most rigid inspection. The Bureau of Entomology of the
United States Department of Agriculture, recommends that such introduced
canes be grown during the first year, at least, under the constant supervision
of an entomologist.

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