• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Abstract
 List of Tables
 Introduction
 The Florida sugarcane industry
 Economics of harvest mechaniza...
 Factors affecting adoption of harvest...
 Projecting adoption of sugarcane...
 Effects on demand for farm...
 Effects on harvest mechanization...
 Implications for manpower...
 Summary
 References






Group Title: Economics Report - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Stations ; no. 72
Title: Effects of harvest mechanization on the demand for labor in the Florida sugarcane industry
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027779/00001
 Material Information
Title: Effects of harvest mechanization on the demand for labor in the Florida sugarcane industry
Series Title: Economics report
Physical Description: iii, 28 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Zepp, Glenn A
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1975
 Subjects
Subject: Sugarcane industry -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Farm mechanization -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Agricultural laborers -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 28.
Statement of Responsibility: Glenn A. Zepp.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "May 1975."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027779
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001614607
oclc - 21028379
notis - AHN9033

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Abstract
        Abstract 1
        Page i
        Page ii
    List of Tables
        Page iii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The Florida sugarcane industry
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Economics of harvest mechanization
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Factors affecting adoption of harvest mechanization
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Projecting adoption of sugarcane harvest mechanization in Florida
        Page 14
    Effects on demand for farm workers
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Effects on harvest mechanization on sugarcane factory workers and truck drivers
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Implications for manpower planning
        Page 25
    Summary
        Page 26
        Page 27
    References
        Page 28
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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . li

INTRODUCTION . . . . . .

Objectives and Procedure . . . . 3

THE FLORIDA SUGARCANE INDUSTRY . . . . 3

Labor Use and Wage Earnings . . . . 4

ECONOMICS OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION . . . ... 7

Net Returns, 1972-73 Season . . . . 8
Net Returns with Projected 1974-75 Operating Rates and
Different Wage Levels . . . . 9

FACTORS AFFECTING ADOPTION OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION . 11

Costs and Returns . . . . . 11
Freeze Damage . . . . ... . 12
Wind Damage . . . . . . 13
Ratoon Damage . . . . ... 13
New Technology. . . . .. .. 13
Availability of Cane Cutters . . . . 14

PROJECTING ADOPTION OF SUGARCANE HARVEST MECHANIZATION IN FLORIDA 14

EFFECTS ON DEMAND FOR FARM WORKERS . ... 15

Effects on Harvest Labor Upe and Earnings . . 1
Effects by Job Skills . . . . 20
Effects on Seasonal Distribution of Employment . 21

EFFECTS OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION ON SUGARCANE FACTORY WORKERS AND
TRUCK DRIVERS ...... .. .. . . . 23

Transportation Workers . . . . 23
Processing Workers ........ . . 24








TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)




IMPtICATIONS FOR MANPOWER PLANNING ... 25

SUMMARY . . . . 26

REFERENCES .......... ....... .... . ... 28















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1 Acreage, production and value of sugarcane produced in
Florida, 1960-61 through 1972-73 seasons . . 4

2 Employment by month in sugarcane production and harvesting
in Florida, 1964-65 through 1972-73 seasons . ... 5

3 Estimated hours of labor use and wage earnings from emplpy-
ment in production and harvesting sugarcane in Florida,
1964-1972 . . . . . . 6

4 Revenue, cost, and net returns for growing, harvesting,
hauling, and processing mechanically harvested and hand cut
sugarcane in Florida, 1972-73 season. . . 8

5 Revenue, cost, and net returns for growing, harvesting,
hauling, and processing mechanically harvested and hand cut
sugarcane in Florida at four selected wage levels (based on
1972-73 prices and projected 1974-75 operating rates) .. 10

6 Projected labor use and earnings per ton net cane by type of
job for mechanical harvesting and hand cutting sugarcane
in Florida .. . . . . .... 17

7 Estimated total labor use and earnings in harvesting sugar-
cane in Florida by origin of workers at four levels of
harvest mechanization (based on projected labor use for the
1974-75 season and wage rates for the 1972-73 season) . 18

8 Estimated average hourly earnings of sugarcane harvest
workers in Florida, 1972-73 season, by origin of worker 20

9 Estimated skill structure of harvest labor for mechanical
harvesting and hand cutting sugarcane in Florida, 1974-75
season . . . . ... . . 21

10 Estimated employment by job types for harvesting sugarcane
in Florida during the 1972-73 season, and with three levels
of projected harvest mechanization . . ... 22















EFFECTS OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION ON THE DEMAND FOR LABOR


IN THE FLORIDA SUGARCANE INDUSTRY

Glenn A. Zepp



INTRODUCTION



Mechanical harvesting will affect the demand for labor in the Flori-
da sugarcane industry. These effects will be manifested as changes in
labor needs by the sugarcane industry and as changes in employment and
earning opportunities for farm workers. This report was written to aid
rural manpower planners and others concerned with farm labor in antici-
pating changes in industry labor needs and in worker employment and earn-
ing opportunities following adoption of sugarcane harvest mechanization
in Florida.
Wages for labor used in growing and harvesting sugarcane have in-
creased steadily over time. Average hourly earnings of sugarcane field
workers in Florida during 1946.were $0.59 [7, p. 69]. This average had
risen to $2.46 per hour by 1972 [6, No. 267, p. 27].
Sugarcane producers have adjusted to these higher wages by using
more capital inputs (such as additional fertilizer, chemical pesticides,
and labor-replacing machinery) and less labor in the production and har--
vesting of sugarcane. Labor use per ton of cane in 1946 was 5.39 hours
[7, p.7]. It had declined to 1.51 hours per ton by 1972 [6, No. 267, p. 7].





GLENN A. ZEPP is an agricultural economist in the Economic Research
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and associate professor of food
and resource economics at the University of Florida.








One task for which labor use has not declined substantially is hand
cutting of sugarcane. Most of the Florida sugarcane is hand cut by
British West Indies workers who travel to Florida to work during the six
month cane harvesting season. The movement of foreign workers into Flor-
ida to cut sugarcane is closely regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor,
including an annual review of the need for foreign cane cutters.
Research, development, and experimentation with sugarcane harvest
mechanization have been conducted sporadically in Florida since 1930.
However, the Florida sugarcane industry has encountered difficult problems
with harvest mechanization which other U.S. cane producing areas have
not faced. Florida sugarcane is grown on a soft muck soil which does
not carry heavy equipment as well as mineral soils do. Furthermore, the
sugarcane grown on Florida muck soils is a high yielding recumbent cane
that is more difficult to handle mechanically than erect cane. The Florida
sugarcane industry also lies in a hurricane prone region and high winds
accompanying such storms lodge and entangle the cane, making its harvesting
still more difficult. In addition, there are occasional early killing
freezes after which sugarcane begins to deteriorate from the top of the
stalk downward. Although deteriorated cane tops can be discarded when the
cane is hand cut and only the remaining good portion sent to the mill,
mechanical harvesters have not yet been developed that can separate the
deteriorated cane from the good. Hence, the average quality of mechani-
cally harvested sugarcane may fall below the critical level needed for
processing sooner than it does with hand cut cane. In this situation,
a larger portion of the crop may have to be abandoned if the cane is
harvested mechanically than if it is hand cut.
About 15 percent of the total 1972 crop wasmechanically harvested.
Although several mills were processing mechanically harvested sugarcane
that season, only one mill harvested all of its cane mechanically.
About fifty sugarcane harvesters were being used in Florida either
experimentally or commercially during the 1972-73 season. Four differ-
ent models were used extensively, and several others were used to harvest




1The 1972 crop refers to sugarcane that was grown during the 1972 calen-
dar year and was harvested during late 1972 and early 1973. The terms "1972
crop" and "1972-73 season" refer to the same crop of sugarcane.








small amounts of cane. Additional investment in mechanical harvesting
equipment has been committed for future crops.
Adoption of mechanical harvesting reduced direct employment and la-
bor costs for harvesting sugarcane. Estimated labor use per ton for
harvesting sugarcane was 0.934 hours for hand cutting and 0.415 for
mechanical harvesting during the 1972-73 season I10, Table 3]. The esti-
mated cost of this labor to the producer was $2.85 per ton for hand cut-
ting and $1.39 for mechanical harvesting. Reductions in labor use per
ton for mechanically harvested cane are anticipated for future crops as
harvesters are operated at higher daily and annual outputs.


Objectives and Procedure


The objective of this study was to estimate the effects which adop-
tion of mechanical harvesting for sugarcane in Florida would have on the
demand for farm workers. Costs for harvesting sugarcane mechanically
were compared with costs for harvesting by hand cutting over a range of
wages and machinery operating efficiencies. Factors other than direct
costs and returns which affect the rate at which mechanical harvesting
of sugarcane would be adopted were identified and evaluated. Projections
were made of the amount of the Florida sugarcane crop that may be har-
vested mechanically, and the subsequent effects on the number of workers
needed, changes in wage rates and wage earnings, and changes in skills
needed by workers were estimated.


THE FLORIDA SUGARCANE INDUSTRY


The Florida sugarcane industry is characterized by a few large firms
concentrated in a small area on the muck soils around the southern half
of Lake Okeechobee. The climate is marginally suitable for production of
warm weather crops during the winter months. The area receives some
freezing temperatures during most years in locations away from the lake [1J.
The 1972 sugarcane crop was grown on 141 farms ranging in size from
about 12 acres to about 60,000 acres of cane and averaging 1,729 acres.
All sugarcane harvested for sugar in Florida is processed by eight
factories. The acreage of sugarcane harvested for sugar has increased








dramatically from 49,000 in 1960 to 244,000 in 1972 (Table 1). Sugar
production amounted to 158,000 tons raw value during 1960-61 and 958,000
2
tons during 1972-73. The revenue from sales of sugar and molasses was
$198 million for the 1972 crop--up from $21 million for the 1960 crop.


Table 1.--Acreage, production and value of sugarcane produced in Florida,
1960-61 through 1972-73 seasons


Acreage Net cane Sugar Value from
Season harvested ground, produced, sale of raw
for sugar for sugar raw value sugar & molasses

1,000 acres ------ 1,000 tons 1------- l,000 dollars

1960-61 48.9 1,554 158 21,119
1961-62 56.1 2,036 206 27,879
1962-63 114.3 4,050 379 60,522
1963-64 139.9 4,446 423 70,828
1964-65 219.8 6,439 572 78,858

1965-66 185.4 5,505 552 80,010
1966-67 190.7 6,057 647 98,911
1967-68 190.6 6,542 714 111,853
1968-69 182.1 5,368 543 87,714
1969-70 153.5 5,197 532 89,936

1970-71 170.0 5,671 649 112,652
1971-72 189.9 6,022 634 119,613
1972-73 243.8 9,288 958 197,880


Source: [6,7].


Labor Use and Wage Earnings


Peak employment in sugarcane production and harvesting occurs during
the four winter months of November through February. During the 1972-73
season, peak employment was almost 12,000 workers--8,250 of these were
foreign workers who were primarily sugarcane cutters (Table 2). The re-
mainder were domestic workers who primarily performed jobs other'than cane
cutting. Peak employment during the 1964-65 season was about the same as



2Raw value is a computed weight used to convert different types and
qualities of sugar to a standard 96 percent purity basis [7, p. 76].






Table 2.--Employment by month in sugarcane production and harvesting in Florida, 1964-65 through 1972-73 seasons

Season and
June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.. Jan. Feb. March April May
type worker


1964-65
Total
Foreign
1965-66
Total
Foreign
1966-67
Total
Foreign
1967-68
Total
Foreign
1968-69
Total
Foreign
1969-70
Total
Foreign
1970-71
Total
'Foreign
1971-72
Total
Foreign
1972-73
Total
Foreign


----------------------------------------- No. workers--------------------------------


3,494 2,994
1,148 674


2,997
548


3,065 5,718 10,751 11,516 11,669 '12,410
778 2,837 7,889 9,434 9,343 8,966


10,009 4,491 3,415
6,794 2,827 1,094


3,429 2,997 2,703 2,348 2,656 7,844 10,509 9,435 8,440 6,634 3,364 2,278
343 0 0 366 1,424 5,121 8,736 8,355 7,535 5,770 2,107 987


1,647
496

1,447
202


1,109
0


1,257
160


1,673
512


1,210 1,478 1,734
0 261 508


1,029 1,048
0 0


1,146
109


2,107
907

2,181
930


1,448 1,872
364 733


6,786 10,103 10,034 8,694 5,789 2,554 1,949
5,636 8,604 8,632 7,509 4,742 1,437 749


6,879 10,178 9,893 8,616
5,674 8,922 8,657 7,651


6,485
5,713


2,267
1,236


5,278 9,929 10,370 8,466 3,918 1,269
4,203 8,318 8,380 6,665 2,399 0


1,094
0

1,192
0


1,286 1,244 1,189 1,707 2,253 4,947 9,215 9,990 8,822 3,970 2,689 2,584
0 0 107 407 1,057 3,960 7,762 8,178 7,190 2,468 0 0


2,352
0

2,544
0


2,366 2,587 3,222 3,833
0 124 432 1,091


7,898 11,326 11,377 10,088 5,423 2,443 2,536
4,607 7,921 7,900 6,793 2,698 0 0


2,543 2,994 3,286 4,230 7,913 11,461 12,303 11,423 7,291 3,386 2,862
0 182 435 1,108 4,570 8,169 8,714 7,997 4,070 400 0


2,913 2,876
0 0


3,041
102


3,315 4,297 9,570 11,946 11,506 10,916 10,512 7,289 3,098
378 1,346 6,533 8,253 7,983 7,613 7,345 4,488 661


aAlthough data were identified as "seasonal labor" (working less than 151 days per year) communication with
the Belle Glade State Employment Office indicates the data includes all employment in sugarcane.
Source: [43.









during the 1972-73 season. There were slight declines in peak employment
during some intervening years.
Although employment remained relatively constant, wage earnings in
sugarcane nearly doubled during the ten years 1964-73 (Table 3). This
doubling of total wage earnings was the net result of three types of
changes--l) a decrease in labor use per ton of cane, 2) an'increase in
the amount of cane produced, and 3) an increase in the average hourly
wage. During the 1964-65 season, 2.11 man hours were needed to grow and
harvest a ton of sugarcane. By the 1972-73 season that figure had de-
clined to 1.51 hours. Average hourly wages were $1.35 in 1964 and $2.46
in 1972. Wage earnings were $2.84 per ton on 6.4 million tons of cane
during 1964-65 and $3.72 per ton on 9,3 million tons of cane in 1972.
Total wage earnings were estimated at $18.3 million during 1964-65 and
$34.6 million during 1972-73. A large part of this increase in earnings
occurred between the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons resulting from a 53.9
thousand acre increase in harvested acreage and a 6.4 ton per acre aver-
age yield increase between those two seasons.


Table 3.--Estimated hours of labor use and wage earnings from employment
in production and harvesting sugarcane in Florida, 1964-1972

Man hours
per ton Net cane Total Average Total wage
Season net canea ground man hours hourly wages earnings

Hours 1,000 tons 1,000 hours Dollars Mil. dollars
1964-65 2.11 6,439 13,586 1.348 18.3
1965-66 1.94 5,505 10,680 1.458 15.6
1966-67 1.86 6,057 11,266 1.584 17.8
1967-68 1.61 6,542 10,533 1.773 18.7
1968-69 1.72 5,368 9,233 1.901 17.6
1969-70 1.66 5,197 8,627 2.040 17.6
1970-71 1.63 5,671 9,244 2.162 20.0
1971-72 1.63 6,022 9,816 2.253 22.1
1972-73 1.51 9,288 14,025 2.465 34.6


aData from Sugar Division, ASCS, USDA, Washington, D. C.

Source: [6.7].








ECONOMICS OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION


Although the level of mechanical harvesting has increased recently,
hand cutting is still the principal harvesting method. In hand cutting,
cane is cut with a machete or cane knife, leaves are removed, and the
clean stalks are placed in "heap rows." A "continuous loader" picks the
cane from the heap row, cuts it into lengths of about 18 inches and loads
it into either a "field cart" or a highway truck or semi-trailer. Cane
in the field cart is hauled to a field transfer station where it is trans-
ferred to a railroad car or truck for transport to the mill.
Two types of mechanical cane harvesters are being used in Florida.
One type is a machine designed for harvesting upright cane but adapted
to handle lodged and recumbent cane under Florida conditions, The second
is a mat-type harvester designed to handle recumbent cane. Most of the
harvesters are combined cutter and loader machines although one mechani-
cal system cuts and loads with two separate machines. The harvesters
load into field carts or highway vehicles. From that point on, mechani-
cally harvested sugarcane and hand cut sugarcane are handled in much the
same manner.
In order to make a complete comparison between mechanical harvesting
and hand cutting, differences in costs for hauling and milling were also
investigated. More sugarcane trash such as unburned leaves, sugarcane
tops and sucker growth is harvested along with the good cane when har-
vesting mechanically. In addition, the mechanical harvesters generally
lose more millable sugarcane in the field than is lost by hand cutting.
Both the higher trash content and the higher field losses result in
lower revenue to producers with mechanical harvesting than with hand
cutting. Furthermore, the additional trash in mechanically harvested
cane increases the weight and bulk which is hauled to the mill and pro-
cessed, thereby increasing the costs for hauling and milling.
The hand cutting and mechanical harvesting systems were evaluated
by comparing estimated net returns for growing, harvesting, hauling,
3
and processing sugarcane. Net returns were estimated for the 1972
crop with both hand cut and mechanically harvested cane. Then net


3The following estimates are based on [10J.







returns from sugarcane were estimated for both harvesting methods with
projected 1974-75 harvester operating efficiencies and several different
wage levels.


Net Returns, 1972-73 Season


Most sugarcane in Florida is grown by the same firms that process it
into raw sugar. The important returns to managers of these firms are the
net to all operations. This net was $40.70 per acre less for mechanical
harvesting than for hand cutting in Florida during the 1972-73 season
(Table 4). Direct costs were lower for mechanical harvesting, but this
reduction in direct costs was more than offset by reduced sugar sales.
Sugar sales and government sugar payments were lower because the addi-
tional field losses and the additional trash from mechanical harvesting
resulted in less net cane being delivered to the mill and in lower sugar
recovery per ton of net cane.

Table 4.--Revenue, cost, and net returns for growing, harvesting, hauling,
and processing mechanically harvested and hand cut sugarcane
in Florida, 1972-73 season

Mechanical harvest Hand cut
Harvested Net ton Harvested Net ton
Item acre of cane acre of cane

----------------Dollars--------------------------

Revenue
Raw sugar sales 714.49 19.30 768.53 20.04
Molasses sales 47.94 1.30 41.15 1.07
Sugar payment 36.83 0.99 39.63 1.03
Total 799.26 21.59 849.31 22.14

Costs
Production 280.92 7.59 280.92 7.33
Harvesting 114.02 3.08 141.12 3.68
Transportation 41.55 1.12 40.48 1.06
Mill operation 176.22 4.76 159.54 4.16
Total 612.71 16.55 622.06 16.23

Net returns 186.55 5.04 227.25 5.91

Source: [10, Table 61.








Net Returns with Projected 1974-75 Operating Rates
and Different Wage Levels


The Sugar Act of 1948, as amended, called for payment of "fair and
reasonable wages" for persons employed in production, cultivation, or
harvesting of sugarcane [8] During the 1972-73 harvest, the fair and
reasonable wages were "at least $2.30 per hour for tractor drivers and
principal operators of mechanical harvesting and loading equipment, and
at least $2.00 per hour to all other workers."
Labor accounts for a larger portion of total harvesting costs with
hand cutting than with mechanical harvesting. An increase in wages that
raised labor costs relative to other costs would cause hand cutting to
become more expensive relative to mechanical harvesting. In addition,
mechanical harvesting during the 1972-73 season was partly experimental.
Often the mechanical harvesting systems were not operating at daily out-
puts which supervisors anticipated for future crops. The profitability
of mechanical harvesting in the future will depend on these future
machinery operating rates.
The profitability of mechanical harvesting for future years was
evaluated by estimating harvesting costs with projected machinery
operating rates and with several different wage levels. The projected
machinery operating rates were ones which industry personnel, who were
using the mechanical systems, projected for the 1974-75 season. The
assumed wage levels were 100, 110, 125, and 150 percent of the 1972-73
wage. All other costs were held constant for making the comparisons be-
tween harvesting systems.
The projected net returns per acre for growing, harvesting, hauling,
and processing sugarcane were about equal for both harvesting methods--
$223.14 for mechanically harvested cane and $227.25 for hand cut cane;


4
This act expired with the 1974 crop.

Up to the time of this study, labor costs were tending to advance
more rapidly than other costs, and it was on the basis of this trend
that the analysis with higher wages relative to other costs was under-
taken. Since the 1972-73 season, the trend of rapidly rising labor costs
seems to have been reversed. The following analysis will be biased in
favor of mechanical harvesting if labor costs do not continue to rise
relative to other costs in future years.








however, the hand cut system still maintained a slight net returns advan-
tage (Table 5). If the wage level were to increase 10 percent relative
to other costs, the net returns advantage would shift to mechanical har-
vesting--$209.00 per acre net returns for mechanically harvested cane and
$205.00 for hand cut cane.

Table 5.--Revenue, cost, and net returns for growing, harvesting, haul-
ing, and processing mechanically harvested and hand cut sugar-
cane in Florida at four selected wage levels (based on 1972-73
prices and projected 1974-75 operating rates)

Mechanical harvest Hand cut
Harvested Net ton Harvested Net ton
Item acre of cane acre of cane

-------------------Dollars-------------------

Total revenue 799.26 21.59 849.31 22.14

Costs
With 1972-73 wages 576.12 15.56 622.06 16.22
Wages 10% higher 590.26 15,95 644.21 16.80
Wages 25% higher 611.48 16.52 677.42 17.67
Wages 50% higher 646.83 17.47 732.78 19.12

Net returns
With 1972-73 wages 223.14 6.03 227.25 5.92
Wages 10% higher 209.00 5.64 205.10 5.34
Wages 25% higher 187.80 5.07 171.89 4.47
Wages 50% higher 152.43 4.12 116.53 3.02

Source: [10, Tables 10 and 11]o


The implications of this section are that although net returns per
acre were higher for hand cut cane than for mechanically harvested cane
during the 1972-73 season, this net returns advantage would diminish as
the mechanical harvesting systems achieve higher output efficiency


S6
The reason net returns per ton were higher and net returns per acre
were lower with mechanical harvesting than with hand cutting was that tons
of net cane harvested per acre were different for the two systems. Average
yield of net cane was 40.5 tons per acre. Because of differences in aver-
age field losses, hand cutting recovered 38.35 tons of this total and
mechanical harvesting recovered 37.02 tons.








in the future. In addition, if wage rates rise relative to other costs
along with greater output efficiency, mechanically harvested cane would
have a net returns advantage over hand cut cane.


FACTORS AFFECTING ADOPTION OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION


During the 1972-73 season, 15 percent of the Florida sugarcane
crop was harvested mechanically. Sugarcane industry personnel projected
that nearly 25 percent of the 1974-75 crop will be mechanically harvested.
Two patterns of adoption have emerged in the current trend toward
harvest mechanization. One pattern is to shift gradually from hand cut-
ting to mechanical harvesting with one or several mechanical harvesters
operating experimentally for a year or two. If the mechanical harvesters
perform satisfactorily, additional harvesters are obtained in following
years and the amount of cane harvested mechanically is increased gradually.
The second pattern is for the mill, after a period of learning and ex-
perimentation, to move directly to 100 percent mechanization. Most mills
in Florida are taking the gradual approach. The purpose of this section
is to identify and assess the importance of some factors determining the
pattern and amount of future adoption of sugarcane harvest mechanization
in Florida.


Costs and Returns


Direct costs for harvesting mechanically were lower than for hand
cutting during the 1972-73 season. However, total net returns were
higher when sugarcane was hand cut. Improved machinery operating effi-
ciency as well as higher wage levels could result in mechanical harvesting
being more profitable than hand cutting. Net returns with both harvesting
systems were about equal when harvesting costs were based on projected
1974-75 machinery operating rates. An increase in wages relative to
other costs in combination with the greater machinery output efficiency
anticipated for future years give mechanical harvesting a projected net
returns advantage over hand cutting. Expected efficiency increases
should result in mechanical harvesting becoming more profitable, thereby
providing the economic incentive needed for its adoption.








Freeze Damage


One factor that may retard adoption of sugarcane harvest mechaniza-
tion in Florida is the uncertainty over additional sugar losses resulting
when freeze damaged cane must be harvested mechanically. Loss of sugar
may be greater following a severe freeze when cane is being harvested
mechanically than when cane is being hand cut. Growth of the sugarcane
stops following a "killing" freeze and a deterioration process begins at
the top of the stalk and progresses down the cane causing sucrose to con-
vert to other compounds which interfere with the recovery of raw sugar.
The deterioration may progress rapidly or slowly depending upon weather
conditions, the variety of cane, and the severity of the freeze. If the
freeze is only moderately severe or is followed by cool dry weather, de-
terioration may be gradual and the sugarcane quality may remain high
enough to process during the remainder of the season. But, if a freeze
is very severe or is followed by warm and wet weather, the sugarcane may
deteriorate rapidly and in three or four weeks be of such low quality
that it could no longer be processed satisfactorily.
In any case the cane needs to be harvested to permit growth of the
following crop from the sugarcane ratoons (roots). However, cane may be
maintained at processing quality longer when hand cutting than when har-
vesting mechanically because the cane cutter can "top" cane more accu-
rately than mechanical harvesters. As the cane stalk deteriorates, the
cutter can lower the top cut, thereby eliminating the deteriorated portion
of the stalk. In cases of severe deterioration, cane may have to be top-
ped near the middle of the stalk to eliminate deteriorated cane. Although
the deteriorated cane is an economic loss, the good sugarcane can be
separated and processed. Most of the deteriorated cane which would have
been removed by hand cutting is recovered by the mechanical harvesters
and mixed with the good cane reducing recovery of available raw sugar at
the mill. In addition, the average quality of the sugarcane delivered to
the mill falls below processing level sooner following a freeze when de-
teriorated cane is recovered and sent to the mill.
The threat of additional losses from freeze damage may cause the
Florida industry to move gradually into mechanical harvesting. In
addition, it may cause some mills to stop short of 100 percent mechaniza-
tion, keeping part of their hand cut harvesting capacity. Partial








mechanization would give a mill greater flexibility in dealing with a
contingency situation such as freeze damage to the sugarcane. A mill
would be better able to make adjustments, such as shifting its hand cut-
ting crews to severely deteriorated cane and its mechanical harvesting
capacity to good cane to maintain the average quality of sugarcane at a
high level.


Wind Damage


Another uncertainty is how well mechanical harvesters will handle
very recumbent sugarcane. The Florida sugarcane industry lies in a
hurricane prone area and can expect to receive wind damage to its crop
periodically. The current mechanical harvesters have not been operated
extensively on wind damaged cane. If loss from wind damaged cane is a
major cost, it may tend to retard the rate of adoption and to result in
some mills stopping short of full mechanization.


Ratoon Damage


There is uncertainty about the effects mechanical harvesting will
have on sugarcane roots or ratoons. The following year's crop grows
from the current year ratoons. Equipment traffic is heavier over the
mechanically harvested fields than on hand cut fields. If this addi-
tional traffic damages the ratoons and results in lower yields in follow-
ing crops, the economic incentive to adopt harvest mechanization will
be reduced. Although opinions differ about the effects of mechanical
harvesting on ratoon crops, industry personnel who were involved in much.
of the mechanical harvesting of the 1972 sugarcane crop report that re-
growth in their mechanically harvested fields compared favorably with
regrowth in their hand cut fields [2, p. 241.


New Technology


Improvement in harvester technology, such as better trash removal
or a reduction in field losses, would lower the cost of mechanical har-
vesting relative to hand cutting. The harvester operating efficiency
used in the above cost projections for the 1974-75 season include the








level of technology projected for the near term future. If unforseen
technical developments are made which improve the harvesters or milling
systems for mechanically harvested cane, it would speed up the adoption
of harvest mechanization.


Availability of Cane Cutters


Currently almost all sugarcane cutters are foreign workers who
travel to Florida during the six month sugarcane harvesting season. Im-
portation of these offshore workers is regulated by the U,S. Department
of Labor. The need for importing cane cutters is reviewed annually by the
Department. If the importation of sugarcane cutters to Florida were ter-
minated, the industry would have little practical alternative other than
to mechanize harvesting for the entire crop.
So long as cane cutters are available to the Florida sugarcane indus-
try, adoption of mechanical harvesting will probably proceed gradually--
5 percent of the crop or less per year--and the rate of adoption may
slow or stop before the entire crop is harvested mechanically. Termina-
tion of cane cutter importation would almost certainly result in nearly
all the crop being harvested mechanically in a short time.


PROJECTING ADOPTION OF SUGARCANE HARVEST MECHANIZATION IN FLORIDA


Projecting the extent of future harvest mechanization requires con-
siderable judgment. Different people may arrive at quite different esti-
mates from the same information. The important considerations determining
the rate of adoption of sugarcane harvest mechanization in Florida seem to
be its economic feasibility, the effects of freeze damage on sugar losses
and the availability of workers for hand cutting cane.
Estimated net returns from sugarcane were lower for mechanical har-
vesting than for hand cutting during 1972-73. Expected increases in the
operating efficiency of the mechanical systems will result in cost reduc-
tions which should narrow or reverse this cost difference in future years.
In addition, increases in labor costs relative to other costs could give
mechanical harvesting a cost advantage. Although mechanical harvesting
does not have a significant cost advantage at present, costs are not so
high as to make its adoption impractical. In future seasons mechanical








harvesting should have a cost advantage over hand cutting.
Currently there is some uncertainty about the effects of freeze
damage on mechanical harvesting costs. If the Florida sugarcane industry
receives several severe freezes in the early stages of harvest mechani-
zation causing large economic losses, the adoption of mechanical harvest-
ing may be retarded. In addition, some mills may mechanize only part
of their harvesting capacity for a number of years to reduce the danger
of losses from contingency situations such as freeze or wind damage.
The most important factor affecting the rate of sugarcane harvest
mechanization adoption in Florida seems to be labor availability. As
long as foreign cane cutters are available, industry-wide adoption will
probably be gradual and it may stop short of 100 percent of the crop
being harvested mechanically. If importation of foreign cane cutters
is terminated, harvest mechanization would be rapid and complete.
Four adoption rates were examined in this study. They were 15,
25, 50, and 100 percent of the total 1972 sugarcane crop in Florida.
The 15 percent rate was the level of adoption during the 1972-73 season.


EFFECTS ON DEMAND FOR FARM WORKERS


Labor needs for harvesting sugarcane in any given year depend upon
both the labor efficiency (output per unit of labor) and the amount of
sugarcane production (acres, tons, etc.). In the following analysis, the
effects of harvest mechanization on the demand for farm workers were
based on production for the 1972 crop. That was 9,513,000 tons of net
cane--9,288,000 tons for sugar and 225,000 for seed. Only the effects
on demand for harvest workers are estimated in this section. The effects
on labor for cane transportation and processing are estimated in a fol-
lowing section. Labor employed in production activities was assumed to
be unaffected by the method of harvesting.


The actual percentage on a gross cane basis was 15.11 during the
1972-73 season; 1,522,181 tois were mechanically harvested and 8,551,919
tons were hand cut.








Effects on Harvest Labor Use and Earnings


The approach used to estimate the effects of harvest mechanization
on labor use was 1) to determine land use per ton of net cane harvested
for both hand cutting and mechanical harvesting, and 2) to determine
total labor use by multiplying use per ton for each harvesting method
times that part of the total crop harvested with each method, Labor
use per ton of net cane for harvesting was 0.9852 hours for hand cutting
and 0.2371 hours for mechanical harvesting (Table 6). The change from
hand cutting to mechanical harvesting results in a "trade off" of jobs--
fewer jobs for foreign cane cutters and additional jobs for domestic
workers. An estimated 0.8275 hours of foreign worker labor used to hand
cut cane is eliminated by each additional ton of cane harvested mechani-
cally. There was an increase in domestic labor use of 0.0794 hours per
ton of net cane harvested mechanically partially offsetting the decrease
in labor for hand cutting cane.
The effects of harvest mechanization on earnings was estimated by
(1) multiplying 1972-73 hourly earnings times the labor use per ton for
each type of worker and (2) multiplying the resulting earnings per ton
times the tonnage of net cane harvested by each method. The wage earn-
ings from employment in harvesting also decrease with adoption of mechani-
cal harvesting--from $2.41 per ton of net cane for hand cutting to $0.62
for mechanical harvesting. The source of the decline is the $2.03 which
is no longer paid to cane cutters and their support personnel when cane
is harvested mechanically. Wages paid to domestic workers increase $0.24
per ton, partially offsetting the decline in total earnings.
Estimated employment in harvesting sugarcane was 8,625,000 hours
during the 1972-73 season--6,961,000 hours of foreign labor and 1,664,000
hours of domestic labor (Table 7). The earnings from this employment
were $21.3 million.


8
Two levels of technical efficiency for labor used in mechanical
harvesting were reported herein. One was labor used during the 1972-73
season. The second was projected labor use for the 1974-75 and future
seasons. The estimates for the 1972-73 season were substantially higher
than projections for future seasons. The 1974-75 projections were for
determining future labor needs with mechanical harvesting. The 1972-73
estimates were for determining actual use during that season.








Table 6.--Projected labor use and earnings per ton net cane by type of
job for mechanical harvesting and hand cutting sugarcane in
Florida

Hand cut Mechanical harvest
Type Labor Earnings Labor Earnings
job per ton Per hour Per ton per ton Per hour Per ton

Hours ------ Dollars---- Hours ------Dollars----
Foreign labor
Cane cutting 0.7917 2.40 1.9000
Cane scrapper 0.0153 2.15 0.0329 0.0323 2.00 0.0645
Support personnel 0.0528 2.40 0.1267 -- -
Total 0.8598 -- 2.0596 0.0323 -- 0.0645

Domestic labor
Equipment d
operator 0.0767 2.42 0.1856 0,1291 2.45 0.3163
Maintenance
and repair 0.0153 4.00 0.0612 0.0215 4.00 0.0862
Supervisor 0.0153 4.00 0.0612 0.0215 4.00 0.0862
Other 0.0181 2.15 0.0389 0.0327 2.15 0.0703
Total 0.1254 -- 0.3469 0.2048 -- 0.5590

Total 0.9852 -- 2.4065 0,2371 -- 0.6235


aBased on projected labor use for 1974-75 season and wage rates for
1972-73 season. Estimates converted to a net cane basis by dividing (1 -
percent trash in cane) into gross cane basis estimates.

bBased on an average cutting rate of 1 1/3 tons gross cane per hour.
Walker [91 estimated a 1.25 ton per hour cutting rate. Testimony given
at the sugarcane wage hearings in Belle Glade, Florida, June 16, 1972 in-
dicated a 1,45 tons per hour cutting rate [8].

Camp supervisors, cooks, leadmen.

dHarvester operator, continuous loader operator, tractor driver,
dump operator.


eUtility men, ticket writers, plus labor for burning cane.








Table 7.--Estimated total labor use and earnings in harvesting sugarcane
in Florida by origin of workers at four levels of harvest
mechanization (based on projected labor use for the 1974-75
season and wage rates for the 1972-73 season)a


Workers and their earnings
in 1972-73 % crop harvested mechanically
Item Unit season 25 50. 100
---------------- Number or value---------------

Labor use
Foreign 1,000 hours 6,961 6,211 4,243 307
Domestic 1,000 hours 1 664 1 382 1,571 1 948
Total 1,000 hours 8,625 7,593 5,814 2,255

Earnings
Foreign $1,000.00 $16,673 $14,848 $10,103 $ 614
Domestic $1,000.00 4 628e 3804 4 8 5,318
Total $1,000.00 $21,301 $18,652 $14,411 $5,932


Based on total net cane harvested of 9,513,000 tons--9,288,000 for
sugar and 225,000 for seed.

b(9,513,000 tons) X [(percent cane hand cut) X (labor use per ton for
hand cut) + (percent mechanical harvest) X (labor use per ton for mechani-
cal harvest)J. Labor use per ton from Table 6.
cLabor use for mechanically harvested sugarcane was .465 hour (0.453
domestic and 0.012 hours foreign) per ton net cane during the 1972-73
season.

d(9,513,000 tons) X [(percent cane hand cut) X (earnings per ton for
hand cut) + (percent mechanical harvest) X (earnings per ton for mechani-
cal harvest)]. Earnings per ton from Table 6.

eWage earnings for mechanically harvested sugarcane were $1.271 per
ton net cane for domestic labor and $0.028 per ton net cane for foreign
labor during the 1972-73 season.








Adoption of harvest mechanization results in reduced employment and
earnings for foreign cane cutters. If 25 percent of the Florida sugar-
cane crop were harvested mechanically, employment for foreign workers
would decline by about 11 percent to 6,211,000 hours and earnings would
decline about $1.8 million to $14.8 million at 1972-73 wage rates.9
Domestic labor use for mechanical harvesting during the 1972-73
season Was substantially higher than projected use for future years.
Total domestic labor use was projected to decline with 25 percent of the
sugarcane crop harvested mechanically--domestic employment was projected
to be 1,382,000 hours or 282,000 hours less than the 1972-73 season
employment.0 Projected domestic labor use with 50 percent of the crop
harvested mechanically was nearly the same as for the 1972-73 season.
If 100 percent of the crop were mechanically harvested, domestic labor
use would be about 284,000 hours higher than that for the 1972-73 season.
Total earnings from employment in harvesting sugarcane during the
1972-73 season were $21,301,000--$16,673,000 by foreign workers and
$4,628,000 by domestic workers. If all the sugarcane crop were mechani-
cally harvested, foreign worker wages were estimated to fall to $0.6
million while earnings of domestic workers were estimated to increase to
about $5.3 million from the $4.6 million in 1972-73.
Adoption of harvest mechanization tends to raise the average hourly
earnings for all farm workers, but lowers the average for domestic workers


9
It is difficult to translate the reduction in hours of employment
into number of workers affected because of the differing lengths of employ-
ment by different workers during the season and because of uncertainty
about how the reduction will be distributed throughout the season. For
example if the reduction in employment were primarily a reduction in the
peak number of workers there would be one effect on the number of workers
affected, but if the reduction were uniform throughout the season there
would be a different effect. For the same reasons, it is impossible to
translate reduced total earnings into change in earning per worker. An
attempt is made in a later section, "Effects on Job Skills"!, to translate.
hours of employment into number of job opportunities.
10
Although mechanical harvesting results in an increase in the use of
domestic labor, there was a projected decrease from the 1972-73 level because
much of the mechanical harvesting was experimental that season and the equip-
ment was not operated at the output efficiency anticipated for future years.
The net change in the domestic labor use from the 1972-73 crop reflects a
decrease due to increased output efficiency of current equipment and an
increase due to the adoption of additional mechanical harvesting.








(Table 8). The average for all workers rises because foreign workers,
who had lower average earnings, accounted for only a small part of the
mechanical harvesting work force. The reason the average earnings of
domestic workers declined with mechanical harvesting was that a larger
portion of the domestic work force was equipment operators or had jobs
classed as "other" than with hand cutting. These jobs tended to pay
lower hourly wages than the remaining jobs held by domestic workers.


Table 8.--Estimated average hourly earnings of sugarcane harvest workers
a
in Florida, 1972-73 season, by origin of worker

Origin of Average hourly earnings
worker Hand cut Mechanical harvest

Foreign $2.40 $2.00
Domestic 2.76 2.73
All workers 2.44 2.63

Estimated as (average earnings per ton, Table 6) + (hours of use per
ton, Table 6).


Effects by Job Skills


Most workers (86 percent of the total) in hand harvesting sugarcane
are cane cutters and scrappers and their support personnel, while equip-
ment operators accounted for only eight percent of the labor force (Table 9).
With the mechanical harvesting systems, equipment operators accounted for
54 percent of all workers, and cane scrappers and workers classified as
"other" (ticket writers, and "utility men") were the second largest classi-
fications.
Estimated total employment in harvesting during the 1972-73 season
was 8,625,000 hours (Table 10). This total would decline to an estimated
7,593,000 hours with 25 percent of the crop harvested mechanically and
to 5,814,000 with 50 percent harvest mechanization. The greatest change
in number of jobs available would be those for foreign workers employed
as cane cutters and scrappers and their support personnel, declining from
about 7,300 during the 1972-73 season to about 4,200 with 50 percent of
the crop harvested mechanically.







Table 9.-- Estimated skill structure of harvest labor for mechanical har-
vesting and hand cutting sugarcane in Florida, 1974-75 season

Type
job Hand cut Mechanical harvest

--------Percent of total hours---------
Cane cutter 80
Cane scrapper 1 14
Support personnel 5
Equipment operatorc 8 54
Maintenance and repair 2 9
Supervisory 2 9
Other 2 14
Total 100 100


aBased on Table 6.

Camp supervisor, cooks, leadmen.

CHarvester operator, continuous loader operator, tractor drivers.

dTicket writers, utility men and labor for burning cane.


The number of jobs normally performed by domestic workers was pro-
jected to change very little. Equipment operator and maintenance and
repair jobs were projected to decline between the 1972-73 season and the
25 percent adoption level due to the projected increase in harvester
efficiency in seasons following 1972-73. Although there was some projected
increase in the number of jobs for domestic workers with additional har-
vest mechanization beyond the 25 percent level, the increase was small.


Effects on Seasonal Distribution of Employment



Labor use in sugarcane harvesting is very seasonal. Peak employ-
ment during the 1972-73 season was nearly 12,000 workers (Table 2).
The smallest amount of employment was about 2,900 workers. However,
the greatest variability was in employment of foreign cane cutters and
their support personnel. Employment of domestic labor was much more
stable, ranging between 2,437 during May to 3,693 during December.











Table 10.--Estimated employment by job types for harvesting sugarcane in Florida during the 1972-73 season,
and with three levels of projected harvest mechanization

Future years with harvest mechanizationb

Type job 1972-73 seasona 25% 50% 100%

1,000 No.c 1,000 No.d 1,000 No.d 1,000 No.d
hours jobs hours jobs hours jobs hours jobs

Cane cutters, scrappers,
and support personnel 6,961 7,366 6,211 6,572 4,243 4,490 307 325
Equipment operator 1,090 792 854 739 979 848 1,228 1,063
Maintenance and repair 231 167 161 139 175 152 205 177
Supervisory 172 133 160 138 175 152 205 177
Other 171 142 207 179 242 210 311 269

Total 8,625 7,593 5,814 2,256


Equals (hours per ton net cane based on [0l, Table 31) X (8,075,586 tons net cane
1,437,414 tons net cane mechanically harvested cane).


for hand cut cane or


bEquals (hours per ton net cane from Table 6) X (tons of net cane cut by each harvesting method).

CAverage hours per season for domestic workers during the 1972-73 season were adjusted upward because
several mills had unusually long harvest seasons that year.

Number of jobs for domestic workers based on an average 55-hour work week for a 21-week harvest season.
Number = (number of hours) + (1155 hours). Number of jobs for foreign workers based on an average 45-hour
work week for a 21-week harvest season. Number = (number of hours) + (945 hours).








Highly seasonal work is often associated with farm worker migration
as workers move to new locations to maintain continuous employment. Such
movement can have a high cost for families of farm workers if they too
must move from place to place. Schooling may be disrupted for the chil-
dren, families may not find suitable housing at some locations, and the
family does not become an established member of any of the communities in
which it lives.
The seasonal nature of employment in cutting cane results in sugar-
cane cutters traveling from their country of origin to Florida for work.
However, most workers do not bring families with them. Movement of farm
workers without families does not create some of the problems which family
migrancy entails.
Adoption of harvest mechanization will result in a significant reduc-
tion in variability of total employment as fewer foreign cane cutters are
employed. However, projected employment of domestic workers such as super-
visors, mechanics, and equipment operators change very little with addi-
tional harvest mechanization, and variability in employment of these
workers will probably be about the same as the present employment pattern.


EFFECTS OF HARVEST MECHANIZATION ON SUGARCANE
FACTORY WORKERS AND TRUCK DRIVERS


Harvest mechanization may have some effect on the demand for labor
for transporting and processing sugarcane. Mechanically harvested cane
contains more trash. Thus, more weight and bulk are hauled to the mill
for processing. This additional material may reduce the amount of cane
a given mill can handle and necessitate building additional grinding and
processing capacity or extending the processing season.


Transportation Workers


Labor use for transportation was assumed to be the same per ton of
material hauled to the mills for both the mechanical harvesting and hand
cutting systems. Therefore, total labor use for transportation would
increase in direct proportion to the increased weight of material due to
mechanical harvesting. During the 1972-73 season mechanical harvesting
recovered on the average an estimated 37.02 tons of net cane per acre--








equivalent to 41.548 tons of gross cane. The tonnages with hand cutting
were 38.35 of net cane per acre and 40.48 of gross.ll Tonnage hauled to
the mill would increase 2,63 percent due to mechanical harvesting.1
Labor use per ton ot net hand cut cane was estimated at 0.1025 hours.3
A 2.63 percent rise in labor use due to mechanical harvesting would in-
crease labor needed for transportation about 0.0027 hours for each addi-
tional ton of net cane harvested mechanically.


Processing Workers


The effects of mechanical harvesting on labor use for processing
sugarcane will depend on the extent to which milling capacity was being
fully utilized before adoption of mechanical harvesting. If milling
capacity were being less than fully used, the additional trash in cane
due to mechanical harvesting might be processed with little or no increase
in labor use. However, if mill capacity were fully utilized to process
hand cut cane, the additional trash due to mechanical harvesting would re-
quire extending the milling season or expanding factory size. In this
section, the sugarcane mill was assumed to already be operating at full
capacity and the additional trash was assumed to require extending the
milling season in direct proportion to the increase in grinding capacity
needed for mechanically harvested sugarcane.
The sugarcane mill's grinding capacity was assumed to increase in
direct proportion to the increase in fiber being processed. Average fiber
contents for the 1972 sugarcane crop were estimated at 11.24 percent for
hand cut cane and 12.87 percent for mechanically harvested cane C10, Table
14
131. Mechanical harvesting caused a 14.5 percent increase of fiber in cane,


11Based on [101. Tons gross cane derived by dividing net cane factors
into tons of net cane.

12E(41.548 40.48) + 40.481 X 100 = 2.63 percent.

13Based on [5, Table 7].

14112.87 percent fiber in hand cut cane) + (11.24 percent fiber in
mechanically cut cane) X 1001 = 14.5 percent increase of fiber in cane.








A 3.5 percent reduction in net cane tonnage due to mechanical harvesting
partly offsets the need for additional grinding capacity due to the higher
fiber content of cane. The net effect of mechanical harvesting op grind-
ing capacity would be to increase the requirement by an estimated 11.0
percent (14.5 percent increase in fiber 3.5 percent reduction in net
cane recovered = 11 percent increase in fiber handled).
Labor used for processing hand cut sugarcane was estimated at 0.042
hours per ton of net cane [5, Table 2].1 Mechanical harvesting would
result in an estimated 0.0046 hour increase in labor needed for processing
with each additional ton of net cane harvested mechanically.


IMPLICATIONS FOR MANPOWER PLANNING


The major adverse impact of sugarcane harvest mechanization will be
on the number of jobs and earnings of foreign workers--the cane cutters
who travel to Florida each winter to cut cane and their support personnel
such as camp cooks and camp supervisors. Domestic manpower programs
have little to offer these workers.
Public manpower training programs are not needed to prepare domestic
workers for employment in harvesting sugarcane mechanically. Many of the
job skills needed with hand cutting sugarcane such as tractor and truck
drivers, mechanics, ticket writers, and dump operators, are the same as
those needed with mechanical harvesting. Those domestic workers pres-
ently employed in sugarcane harvesting should continue to be able to
obtain employment after adoption of harvest mechanization.
There will be an increase in the number of equipment operators needed
for the sugarcane harvest as more of the crop is harvested mechanically.-
However, even with 100 percent of the crop mechanically harvested, only


15[[(38.35 tons net hand cut cane per acre) (37.02 tons net mechani-
cally harvested cane per acre)] + 38.35 tons net hand cut cane] X 100 =
3.5 percent reduction in net cane tonnage due to mechanical harvesting.

16Labor use per hundred pounds of raw sugar was converted to a "per
ton of net cane" basis by multiplying the use per hundred pounds raw
sugar times 2.05.








an estimated additional 270 equipment operators would be needed. Some of
these additional workers would be tractor drivers who need a minimum of
job training. Over a period of several years the Florida sugarcane in-
dustry could recruit and train the needed equipment operators making
publicly financed training to meet this demand unwarranted.


SUMMARY


Each ton of net sugarcane harvested mechanically reduces labor use
by 0.7481 hours-- a 0.8275 hour reduction in employment of foreign cane
cutters and their support personnel minus a 0.0794 hour increase in use
of domestic labor with the mechanical systems. Earnings from employment
in harvesting sugarcane decrease $1.78 for each additional ton of net cane
mechanically harvested. Earnings of foreign workers would decrease by
$1.99 per ton while earnings of domestic workers would increase by $0.21.
Total earnings from employment in harvesting sugarcane during 1972-73
were an estimated $21.3 million--$16.7 million by foreign workers and $4.6
million by domestic workers. Total earnings would have declined to $18.7
million if 25 percent of the 1972 crop were mechanically harvested; $15.9
million if the total crop were harvested mechanically.
Harvest mechanization almost eliminates the need for cane cutters.
An estimated 44,700 worker months of employment were for cutting sugarcane
and providing services for cane cutters during the 1972-73 season. Most
of this employment would have been eliminated if the total sugarcane crop
were harvested mechanically. Employment of equipment operators such as
tractor drivers and harvester operators increases with adoption of har-
vest mechanization. If the total sugarcane crop were to be harvested me-
chanically, about 270 additional equipment operator jobs would be created.
Adoption of harvest mechanization eliminates seasonal variability in
employment of cane cutters to the extent that it eliminates cane cutter
jobs. Seasonal variability of total employment in 'sugarcane also is
reduced substantially by harvest mechanization because cane cutters
accounted for such a large proportion of total employment. Variability
in employment of domestic workers with adoption of harvest mechanization
will probably be about the same as at present.
Harvest mechanization may increase the need for truck drivers and
factory personnel for hauling and processing sugarcane. Mechanically








harvested sugarcane contains more "trash" such as leaves, soil, and imma-
ture stalk than does hand cut cane. This additional trash provides more
bulk and weight which must be transported to the factory and be processed.
Each net ton of sugarcane harvested mechanically raises the labor needed
for hauling by an estimated 0.0027 hours. Added labor needs for pro-
cessing mechanically harvested cane were an estimated 0.0046 hours per
ton of net cane.
Since the brunt of adjustment in employment in sugarcane harvesting
will be borne by foreign cane cutters, special domestic manpower programs
will not be needed as a result of sugarcane harvest mechanization. In
addition, the sugarcane industry will be able to recruit and train addi-
tional domestic workers needed for mechanical harvesting. The important
factors determining future adoption of sugarcane harvest mechanization
in Florida are its economic feasibility and the availability of workers
for hand cutting sugarcane. Costly sugar losses following freeze or wind
damage to sugarcane could retard adoption of mechanical harvesting.













REFERENCES


[Ei Casselman, T. W. The Climate of the Belle Glade Area. Univ. of Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Cir. S-205. Gainesville: 1970.

[21 Castro, J. and J, J. Balardi. "Mechanical Harvesting of Sugarcane
and Its Effects in the Factory at Talisman Sugar Corporation,"
Proc. Am. Soc. Sugarcane Technologists 3 (NS) (June 1974),
pp. 24-25.

[3] Clayton, Joe E. et al. "Field Losses and Trash Contents of Hand Cut
and Mechanically Harvested Sugarcane in Florida, Proc. Am. Soc.
Sugarcane Technologists 3 (NS) (June 1974), pp. 146-148.

[4] Florida Rural Manpower Service. Rural Manpower Report, 1964 through
1973. Tallahassee: n.d.

[5] U.S. Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. Returns,
Costs, and Profits, Florida 1967-69 CropS, Everglades Area.
Washington: n.d.

16J Sugar
Reports, Nos. 201-267. Washington: 1969-1974.

[7] Sugar
Statistics and Related Data. USDA Stat. Bull. 244, Vol. II
(Rev.). Washington: 1969.

[8] U.S. Congress. "Wages: Sugarcane: Florida. Fair and Reasonable
Wage Rates" (Subchapter H--Chapter VIII, Title 7--Agriculture)
in U.S. Federal Register 37: F.R. 23094. Washington: U.S. Govt.
Printing Office, Oct. 28, 1972.

[9] Walker, Charles. Costs and Returns from Sugarcane in South Florida.
Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv. Cir. 374. Gainesville: June 1972.

[10] Zepp, Glenn A. and Joe E. Clayton. A Comparison of Costs and Returns
for Hand Cutting and Mechanically Harvesting Sugarcane in Florida,
1972-73 Season. IFAS Econ. Rpt. 70. Gainesville: 1975.




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