JULY 1, 1914.
W. A. McRAE
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
SUGAR CANE GROWING IN FLORIDA
Entered January 81, 1903, at Tallahassee, Florida, as second-class
matter under Act of Congress of June, 1900.
THESE BULLETINS ARE ISSUED FREE TO THOSE REQUESTING THEM
APPLEYARD, State Printer,
SUGAR CANE AND SYRUP MAKING.
By A. P. Spencer.
SOME IMPORTANT FACTS.
'1) Sugar-cane is successfully grown throughout Flor-
ida, though it only matures perfectly in Southern
(2) Any good agricultural soil in Florida that has suffi-
cient 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
(5) Cultivation should be frequent until the crop is well
grown, but always with shallow-working imple-
(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 anid maturity.
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 fer-
tility, moisture, or physical condition of the soil. Success
in growing this crop is governed by the methods adopted
in each stage of its growth.
Sugar-cane is a tropical plant. The different varieties
require 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 Okeechqbee in
Southern Florida. sugar-cane matures, forming 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 exist-
ed 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 acreage is on the rolling high pinelands of West
The greatest tonnage of canes per acre is usually pro-
duced on low rich hammocks where the drainage is good.
However, it 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 agri-
cultural soil in Florida that has sufficient drainage is
capable of producing profitable crops of sugar-cane, if the
crop is grown by methods suitable to thesoil. 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 hammock 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; before 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 har-
rowed 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 conserve
the moisture already in the soil, or absorb and store up
the rainfall that occurs during the winter months. Suffi-
cient moisture is the controlling element in the produc-
tion of sugar-cane from its earliest growth. The conser-
vation is one of the main things to look to in the prepare
tion of the soil for growing 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 ordi-
nary subsoil plow, or by a scooter followingin the furrow
behind a turning plow in breaking. This gives additional
depth to the seed-bed, and proves advantageous to the
crop, in that it gives a large storage area for the moisture
In rotation, sugar-cane may follow almost any of the
ordinary farm crops, but preferably sweet potatoes, velvet
beans, or other leguminous crops; the latter being
especially desirable because 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 de-
sirable to grow it from the "stubble" or "ratoons," and
then not for more than three years in succession.
With the exception of the rich hammock lands, sugar-
cane will require liberal applications of fertilizer. Am-
monia and potash are especially needed in any fertilizer
applied, while phosphoric acid is needed in lesser quan-
tities. 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 before
the war, when commercial fertilizers were nearly un-
known here. On high pine land a fertilizer analyzing 5
per cent. of ammonia, 4 per cent. of phosphoric acid, and
8 per cent. of potash, 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 un-
thrifty appearance, it will be advisable to give a second
application 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 or the
sugar-cane plant. It is, however, conceded by some grow-
ers that a better grade of syrup will be produced by using
sulphate of potash, instead of muriate of potash or kainit.
This, however, it still an open question.
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.
Cover the canes with about three inches of soil. 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,
and helps to prevent the canes from blowing over when
the crop is about mature and top-heavy. Canes that are
'planted very shallow will often blow over and tangle dur-
ing the heavy winds storms of October. A tangled cane
patch requires 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 during 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 unfil the crop is well
grown, but always with shallow-working implements. If
the ground is allowed to become dry from lack of cultiva-
tion 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 rain-
fall will be sufficient between June 1 and September 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.
SBy 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 November 15 in West Florida,
and in Central Florida about ten days later. The tops
are removed before the cane is cut. It is recommended
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 evap-
oration 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 ferment 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 at-
tention 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 putting 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.
TIME TO SAVE SEED CANE.
It has been already stated that cane buds are injured
by a freeze. It is important that the seed-canes should
be cut and 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 re-
membered, 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.
LAYING DOWN THE BEDS.
The bottom of the bed for the seed-cane should be about
eight 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 beds 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 water 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. "Im-
mediately after a heavy rain is a good time to bed seed-
cane." When the bed is filled, it should be covered 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 lenDfli 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 stand-
ing 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; although about the
same protection against freezing, and the same precau-
tions as to excess or lack of moisture are recommended.
STUBBLE OR RATOON CANE.
While it is generally considered that a better yield of
cane will be secured if the canes are planted annually, it
is nevertheless 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
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
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-color-
ed canes usually produce as -well as the red or purple
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 ribbon cane. A few farm-
ers in Florida have, also, reported D. 74 to be one of the
best canes for Florida. In Bulletin 129 of the Louisiana
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 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 is it 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, exceptional cases when
Japaneses cane has yielded as high as five hundred 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 degrees of frost, and is therefore
a perennial, and can be grown several years in succession
without replanting. Some growers claim it will not re-
quire replanting for an almost indefinite number 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 recommended for syrup-making, but has
proved an excellent winter forage crop for live stock. Be-
cause of the extra labor involved in stripping the leaves,
and because the hardness of the cane requires 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 extraction, and are not to be recommended, except
where only a small amount of syrup is made. It must be
remembered that the greater the extraction, that is, the
larger amount of juice that is pressed out per ton of cane,
the greater will be the amount of syrup 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
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 exceptionally good conditions. The aver-
age 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
Several firms manufacture cane mills of standard de-
signs, 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.
EVAPORATION OF JUICE.
As the juice comes from the mill, it contains large
quantities of coarse materials that should be removed be-
fore it goes into the evaporating pans. Thorough strain-
ing at this particular stage is necessary in the manufac-
ture 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 wooden 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 frequently changed and cleaned,
otherwise they will become clogged and prevent the juice
from passing through. Thorough straining before the
juices enters the evaporating pans will not only reduce
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 recommended.
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.
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
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 skim-
mer. If this boiling is slow, a large amount of the sedi-
ment will 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 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 bot-
tom. 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 be-
fore leaving the first pan, it will be almost impossible to
remove the finer particles when the juice has become more
concentrated in the second evaporating pan. A cloudy
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 secur-
ing proper straining and the proper density in each stage
of evaporation. It is nearly impossible for anyone to
determine the exact density without the use of a Baume
spindle. This Baume spindle is a glass float with a gradu-
ated scale. The point to which it sinks into the liquid
will indicate the density. A small quantity of syrup
may be removed from the boiling mass and placed in a
glass or tin, and the Baume spindle inserted. The heated
syrup in which the instrument 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.
Fermentation in syrup is caused by molds, yeasts, or
bacteria. The preservation of syrup consists in steriliz-
ing it, which can be done by continuous boiling until all
the mold spores or microbes which cause fermentation
have been destroyed. This sterilization may be accom-
plished by heating it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Fer-
mentation, however, will take place even though the syrup
has been heated much above 180 degrees, unless the con-
tainers into which the syrup is placed have also been
completely sterilized. It is practically impossible to
thoroughly sterilize a barrel under the ordinary condi-
tions around a small syrup plant. In most cases the fer-
mentation that syrup undergoes after it has been stand-
ing three or four months in barrels is due to the condi-
tion 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. Fur-
thermore, 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 temperatures, 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.
DISEASES OF SUGAR-CANE.
RED ROT OF. SUGAR-CANE.
(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 dis-
eased canes are still 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 charac-
teristic 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 ap-
parently unchanged. When the disease has not progress-
ed 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 grow-
ing plant, however, mostly by means of the planted cut-
tings, and does not spread much through the air. Usual-
ly 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 canes.
MEANS OF CONTROL.-1. Plant only healthy canes. In
Hawaii and other places, it has been found that this dis-
ease may be easily and successfully controlled by plant-
ing 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
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 con-
venient 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
3. Whenever possible plant the canes in the fall in-
stead 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
4. Burn all the trash in the old bed, and all diseased
INSECT ENEMIES OF SUGAR-CANE.
J. R. Watson.
THE CANE BORER.
The most serious enemy of cane is the borer (Diatraea
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 important
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 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 andl 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 care-
ful 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 ex-
hibiting holes should be promptly burned.
Remedy.-Once introduced the best the grower can do
is to reduce the numbers of hybernating larvae by burn-
ing 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 prac-
ticed in infested fields.
THE ARMY WORM.
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 destructive numbers. On
cane it can readily be controlled by the arsenic com-
pounds. 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.
DANGER IN IMPORTED CANE.
There are, in the Wrest 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 in-
troduction of West Indian cane for seed should be done,
if at all, with the greatest care possible and the most
rigid inspection. The Bureau of Entomology of th6
United States Department of Agriculture, recommends
that such introduced canes be grown during the first year,
at least, under the constant supervision of an entomol-