Read Before The Florida State Agricultural Society
CANE CULTURE AND SYRUP
By R. E. ROSE,
President Florida State Agricultural Society
MAY 3, 1900
The constantly growing demand for information and
literature on the subject of cane growing and sugar man-
ufacture in Florida, particularly since the widespread in-
terest on the subject caused by the State's undertaking the
drainage of the Everglades, has induced me to re-publish
this pamphlet, "The Possibilities of Sugar Production in
There are a few facts not generally known that should
be stated as a preface.
The general conditions are the same now as when the
pamphlet was published in 1900. The increase in con-
sumption has continued, while the price of sugar and
syrup has materially advanced, with every indication
that they will not again decline, but will continue to
advance as the consumption increases, the consumption
per capital being 83.00 pounds, against 65.5 pounds in
Machinery has advanced in price. At the same time
it has been improved, and processes made more economi-
cal, thus reducing the cost of manufacture.
This applies not only to the factory, but to the field.
Improved implements for cultivating and harvesting the
crop have materially reduced the cost of production.
Sugar cane is successfully grown in all the counties of
Florida and those of South Georgia and Alabama.
It is successfully and profitably cultivated one hun-
dred miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.
While cane is a tropical plant and obtains full matur-
ity only in those regions where frost is practically un-
known, it is profitably produced in the Southern portion
of the Temperate Zone-as in Southern Louisiana, Geor-
gia and Alabama and North Florida, where for nine
months there are no frosts. Full maturity demands
twelve months' freedom from frost.
South of the twenty-seventh parallel in Florida cane
reaches its full maturity-annually-as is evidenced by
its forming "tassels" or seed arrows, a condition only pos-
sible when the plant is fully mature.
However, the largest acreage and most numerous fields
of sugar cane in Florida are found in the northern coun-
ties-the agricultural counties-where corn, cotton, sugar
cane and dairy farms predominate, as distinguished from
the southern or peninsular counties, where citrus fruits,
early vegetables (trucking) and pineapple growing are
the principal occupations.
While vast sugar plantations formerly existed-"be-
fore the war"-on the Halifax River, in Volusia County;
on the Manatee River, in Manatee County; on the Homo-
sassa River, in Citrus County, the industry has been
abandoned for the more fascinating orange grove and
The soil best adapted to cane is well drained, low
hammock, swamp, or bottom land, though fine crops are
grown on high, rolling lands. Still 90 per cent of the
cane grown in Florida or Louisiana is grown on well-
drained, rich, bottom lands,- cypress swamps and re
No heavier crops, nor richer cane has been produced in
any country than has been grown on the reclaimed
(drained) saw grass marsh lands of Florida; lands iden-
tical in every way, physically and chemically, to the saw
grass muck lands of the Everglades.
These lands, the Everglades, when properly and per-
fectly drained, will produce maximum crops of sugar
cane at minimum cost.
The soil of the "Everglades" is similar in composition
to the marsh and swamp lands of Southwest Louisiana-
No. 1-Cane Cutting at St. Cloud, Florida, 1888-9. Reclaimed Muck Land, six to eight feet
deep, formerly covered with water. Yield 60 tons per acre. Photo by Havens.
in the Parishes of Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Mary and
other Parishes-where vast areas of overflowed marshes
and swamps have been reclaimed by canals, levees, or
ditches, and by a system of drainage pumps similar to
those used in Holland. Vast areas of these Louisiana
swamp lands are now cultivated in sugar cane and rice.
The Everglades are similar, physically and chemically.
They, however, have a greater altitude, being from eight
to twenty-one feet above tide level, while a large part of
the reclaimed lands of Southwest Louisiana are but little
above tidal overflow, and all of them below the high water
level of the Mississippi River, requiring levees and pumps
to insure drainage and immunity from overflow by floods
in the Mississippi.
The Everglades can, and will, be drained by gravity-
only requiring canals sufficient in number and size to
carry off the rain water from a comparatively small water
The lowering of Lake Okeechobee by canals to tide
water in the Gulf and Atlantic, of greater cross-section
than the streams flowing into the lake, will not only pre-
vent ovrflow from the lake, but will provide means for
the land owners adjacent to the canals to drain their
fields into the canals by proper laterals and field ditches.
It is not contemplated that the State canals will drain
the adjacent fields, but that they will provide an outlet
for the waters of the lateral canals and field ditches,
constructed by the land owners.
When this vast area of wonderfully fertile soil is prop-
erly reclaimed by the State canals and the necessary lat-
erals constructed by the land owners, no more productive
sugar fields can be found in this or any other country.
Fields which when properly drained and intelligently cul-
tivated will produce maximum corps of sugar cane, rice
and corn at a minimum cost of production.
Dr. H. W. Wiley, late chief chemist of the United
States Department of Agriculture, in his report on these
lands, published in the Report of the Secretary of Agri-
culture for 1891, says:
"In this region the sugar cane is absolutely
free from any danger of frost, although occa-
sionally .light frosts have been known to injure
more delicate plants.
"It may be said then, with confidence, that in
the region of Lake Okeechobee the lands that
may be recovered for sugar-making purposes have
all the advantages of the climate of Cuba.
"The manufacture of sugar from the cane in
this region may be postponed with perfect safety
until the beginning of February, and the months
of February, March and April will be of great-
est activity in sugar manufacture.
"Another important consideration in connec-
tion with the muck lands of the Okeechobee coun-
try is found in the method contemplated for their
cultivation. These lands will be intersected by
numerous drainage, canals, and by means of these
canals not only can the land be cultivated by
from steam engines carried on boats in the canals
themselves, but also the products of the fields can
be transported on the same canal, with an econ-
omy which will render the competition of mule or
horsepower methods of cultivation almost impos-
"Competent engineers have made estimates
for the actual cost of steam cultivation on the
canal system indicated above, and, allowing for
all contingencies for unexpected expense, it ap-
pears reasonable to ay that, with the yield of
cane which can be secured on such lands, it will
be possible to place the cane at the doors of the
factories by means of a system of canals used
in irrigation and cultivation at an expense which
will fall below $2.00 per ton. This expense in-
eludes all the cost of cultivation, harvesting and
"It is not necessary to dwell upon the fact
that with cane produced upon such a cost, even
the Island of Cuba could not compete with Flor-
ida in the production of sugar. There is prac-
tically no other body of land in the world which
presents such possibilities of development as the
muck lands bordering the southern shores of Lake
Okeechobee. With a depth of soil averaging, per-
haps, eight feet, and extent of nearly a half mil-
lion acres, with a surface almost level, it af-
fords promise of development which reaches be-
yond the limits of prophecy."
Dr. Wiley's conception of steam plows in the Glades
in 1891-twenty years ago-was based upon the success-
ful use of steam apparatus in cane culture at that date.
The gasoline motor was then practically unknown. To-
day the gasoline excavator and "tractor" are successfully
used on these lands, while the "cane loader," operated
by the gas motor, has reduced the cost of harvest more
than half. Mechanical loaders are now the rule in Louis-
iana. The cost of cane production under efficient and
economical conditions has been reduced to $1.50 per ton,
or less, on all fields large enough to economically employ
the "tractor" and "loader." Should Dr. Wiley now visit
the Glades he would see his prediction of 1891 practically
In the meantime the small farmer will continue to pro-
duce crops of superior sugar cane in the other parts of the
State, particularly the northern counties, where the condi-
tions are such as to make the manufacture of choice table
syrup more profitable than sugar-making.
When central neighborhood factories are established
similar to the central creameries of the West, where ex-
pert syrup makers, with improved apparatus, will handle
the crops of the neighborhood-thus producing 50 per cent
more syrup, or sugar, from each ton of cane of a superior,
uniform quality-the business will become one of the most
profitable and reliable in the State.
Any soil in Florida that will produce a fair crop of
corn will produce a corresponding crop of sugar cane.
A white frost does not injure sugar cane. On the con-
trary it checks its growth and hastens maturity. A freeze
kills the "buds," or eyes, and destroys the germinating
quality-hence frozen cane is unfit for "seed" (cuttings).
Frosted cane will make good syrup or sugar if it be "made
up" before the cane ferments.
In the northern counties of Florida seed cane is pre-
served by "bedding," "mat-laying" or "windrowing."
When properly windrowed cane is readily kept in good
condition for planting, or the factory, for months. Thou-
sands of acres are thus preserved in perfect condition for
the factory in Louisiana, South Georgia and Alabama.
The report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for 1910
shows that cane culture is well distributed over the State,
with by far the largest acreage in the northern counties
in the following order:
Jackson .......... 750 Acres.
Leon ............. 543 "
Jefferson ......... 406
Hamilton .......... 374 "
Bradford ......... 334 "
Suwannee ........ 324
Columbia ......... 323 "
Madison ........... 322 "
Washington ...... 289 "
Hillsborough ..... 283 "
Polk ............. 274 "
Duval ............ 269
DeSoto ........... 262 "
Liberty .......... 259 "
Holmes .......... 246 "
Santa Rosa......... 236 "
Calhoun .......... 209 "
Levy ............. 208 "
W alton ........ .. 187 "
W akulla .............
Sum ter .............
St. Johns ..........
Alachua ........... .
Baker ..... ........
C lay ...............
M arion .............
L ake ...............
St. Lucie ..........
Palm Beach .........
Gadsden County, though among the largest producers,
Japanese Sugar Cane, on Farm of C. E. Pleas, Chipley, Florida.
Courtesy of Southern Ruralist, Atlanta, Ga.
with a number of steam factories, makes no report. No
reports are made for Citrus, Dade, Gadsden, Lee. Monroe,
Nassau, Osceola, Pasco and Putnam, in all of which there
are considerable acreages planted in cane.
Southern counties have generally neglected to report
their cane crops. The total acreage for the State reported
in 1910 was 7,522 acres-valued at $794,172.00, or $105 per
acre. It will be noted that more than half this acreage
was produced in the northern tier of counties. It is safe
to say that, using better machinery, mills and evaporators,
this value could readily have been increased 50 per cent, or
to $150.00 per acre.
With a modern central sugar, or syrup, factory, simi-
lar to the beet factories of the West, the value of the
product would have been at least double, or $200.00 per
There is no agricultural product more staple than
sugar-no crop more certain to produce a fair return. A
total failure of a cane crop has never been recorded. The
price fluctuates less than that of any other staple. Sugar,
formerly a luxury, is now recognized as a necessity.
Varieties: The principal varieties are the Burbon
(Red or Purple) ; the Red and Yellow Ribbon; the Green,
or Simpson, and the Crystaline-probably the parent of
all the above except the Simpson. A number of new seed-
ling varieties have been recently propagated by the Louis-
iana Experiment Station. Among them D 74 and 1) 95
are a vast improvement on the older kinds. Parties in-
terested in the subject should write the Louisiana Sugar
Experiment Station for bulletins and other information.
A distinct variety, the Japanese Cane, introduced
from Louisiana by the U. S. Experiment Station in 1885-9,
is a first-class syrup cane and a wonderful forage plant.
It is practically a perennial in Florida. Once established
it will re-produce itself from the roots annually. It will
withstand ten degrees more frost than ordinary cane, and
reproduce itself the following season. Bulletin No. 105, of
the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, in Gaines-
ville, Florida, on "Japanese Cane for Forage," by Prof.
John W. Scott, gives much valuable information regard-
ing this variety.
Persons desiring more information on the subject of
cane culture, sugar and syrup manufacture should write
the United States Department of Agriculture for its vari-
ous publications on the subject, particularly Bulletins of
the Chemical Division-Nos. 70 and 75-on the "Manu-
facture of Syrup From Cane." Also for Farmers' Bulle-
tin No. 131-Sorghum Syrup Manufacture. The rules
and processes therein are equally applicable to cane syrup.
Also obtain the various bulletins of the Louisiana Sugar
Experiment Station at Audubon Park, Louisiana, on cane
culture and sugar manufacture, and particularly Bulle-
tin No. 129 of the Louisiana Station on "Syrup Making,"
by Prof. H. P. Agee.
The "Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer,"
published in New Orleans, is recognized as the leading ex-
ponent of cane culture and sugar manufacture in Amer-
ica. In its columns will be found the advertisements of
the leading manufacturers of sugar machinery and planta-
THE POSSIBILITIES OF SUGAR PRODUC-
TION IN FLORIDA.
Read Before The Florida State Agricultural Society
CANE CULTURE AND SYRUP MAKING
By R. E. ROSE,
President Florida State Agricultural Society
MAY 3, 1900
Before entering upon the subject, "The Possibilities of
Sugar Growing and Manufacture in Florida," it is well
to examine the business from a national standpoint, that
we may appreciate the demand for the article and the
amount annually imported to meet this demand. The
American people are the greatest consumers of sugar in
the world. Our market for foreign sugar is acknowledged
to be the best known. We import annually practically
five thousand million pounds, or 2,500,000 tons. The act-
ual figures for 1897 were 4,918,905,733 pounds imported,
the per capital consumption for the same year being 64.5
Sugar is the only agricultural product which the
United States imports. Of all other crops we export enor-
mous quantities. We have an enormous surplus of wheat,
corn, animal product, tobacco and cotton. Few realize
how large a part of our exports is required to pay for the
sugar we import. No two articles exported-except cot-
Ion-exceed in value the sugar imported. Our enormous
exports of wheat-459,920,000-pay but little more than
half our sugar bill; our tobacco exported-$24,711,000-
less than one,fourth, while all the animals-cattle, hogs,
*mules, sheep and poultry-exported pay less than half the
amount paid for sugar imported.
Recently the production of American sugar has been
nearly doubled by the establishment of the beet-sugar
industry in the West and North. Vast sums have been
expended in Michigan, New York, Kansas, California,
Washington and other localities. Still, with all these re-
sources, the United States produces less than 16 per cent
of tlie ainiount consumed within her borders.
The average price of "Standard A" sugar for the ten
years ending in 1897 has been 5.04 cents per pound; the
highest in 1888, 7.59 cents; the lowest in 1894, 4 cents per
pound. No article of general consumption fluctuates less
in price than does sugar. It will be noted also that dur-
ing the years 1888, 1889 and 1890, when raw sugar was
"free" with a "bounty" to "American producers" and a
"tariff on refined goods," the price was from 6 to 7.59 cents
per pound. A condition to be expected with "free raw
material" and a "protective tariff" on the "finished ar-
ticle," be it sugar, iron, leather or cloth. Sugar is now,
and has been for some time, 51 cents per pound for "Stand-
ard A." With the assistance of the "American sugar re-
fineries," I have no doubt that price will be maintained
and most likely increased.
The recent testimony of Henry 0. Havemeyer, presi-
dent of the American Sugar Refining Company, of J. -N.
Jarvie, of Arbuckles & Bro., and of John H. Post, of the
Mullenhauer, and the National Sugar Company, before
the Industrial Commission, throws considerable light on
the question of sugar growing and sugar refining in the
Mr. Post's declaration that "free sugar from Cuba
would wipe out American raw sugar, both beet and cane,"
is certainly true. However, he did not say what effect
it would have on the refined article.
In 1888 and 1889, under the "bounty law" with free
sugar, the price of "Standard A" sugar averaged 6.69
and 7.50 cents per pound, though raw sugar was imported
free, and none but high-grade domestic sugar received a
That the price of refined sugar to the American public
would be at all reduced by the importation of raw sugar
free of duty is not to be expected, judging from past
experience. If Cuba refined her sugar (which she does
not), and it was imported free of duty, sugar would cer-
tainly be cheapened. This, however, is not the policy (or
business) of the American refiners, be they in the Trust or
Their business is to buy raw sugar cheap and sell it
refined for all they can get for it. There is now a duty
of 0.95 cents on raw sugar and 1.95 cents on refined goods,
with a "differential" of I cent added to refined sugar and
a further addition of a "countervailing" duty equal to the
amount of bounty paid by any country exporting sugar to
the United States.
To read the testimony one would imagine that but j
cent duty was collected, when in fact practically 2 cents
per pound are collected, affording a revenue for nearly
Free raw sugar from Cuba will benefit no one but the
refiners. It will destroy the American raw-sugar indus-
try, an industry now of little importance, as raw sugar
is not valuable in America, except to refiners, who don't
wish to encourage the growing of sugar in the United
States, knowing that the grower will soon discover (as
he has done in Louisiana) that by using modern methods,
late improvements in manipulation, with economical and
labor-saving devices, he can for less cost make more refined
sugar from his cane than he could formerly make of raw
sugar, and sell it direct to the consumer at prices 25 to 50
per cent more than he can now get for his raw product
delivered at a refinery.
There is a considerable amount of humbug and mys-
tery mixed up with this refining business. Chemists and
experts look wise and talk about "glucose," sucrose," "in-
vert sugar," "coefficients," "polariscope tests," "Beaume"
and "brix" simply to confuse the public. The facts are
that a modern central mill can take the cane direct from
the farmer, and, by a no means expensive or difficult
process, thoroughly purify the juice, and make a stand-
ard article of granulated sugar, ready for the table, equal
to any, at a less cost than can the farmer make a brown
sugar with his crude and wasteful apparatus and methods.
At the same time this modern central mill will double
the output of granulated sugar from each ton of cane, as
compared to output of the open-kettle or steam train.
The beet-sugar manufacturer has recognized that fact,
and uses none but the latest-improved apparatus, and
makes none but refined sugar. He is independent of the
refiner and sells direct to the trade.
Louisiana is rapidly learning this lesson, and is now
building numerous central mills or refineries to make re-
fined sugar only.
When Florida, with her superior climate and soil,
builds central mills or refineries, she can make sugar at
a profit in spite of free raw sugar from Cuba, as she will
have the assistance of the Sugar Trust and the beet-sugar
grower in maintaining the price of refined sugar.
In other words, there is a large profit in manufact-
ing a finished article(vide the Sugar Trust), while a raw
product finds slow sale at reduced prices.
Florida can make more refined sugar direct from the
cane, for less cost per pound, than she at present makes
raw sugar; she can increase the yield fully 50 per cent
per ton of cane over present,conditions, and increase the
value per pound fully 30 per cent. This is but a matter
of education-when our farmers begin to think and then
combine their practical knowledge and labor with capital
and skill now seeking profitable employment, the ques-
tion of the American supply of sugar will be solved by the
cane belt of the United States making the necessary
amount to supply the demand.
The beet grower will soon discover that he cannot
compete with cane, and will naturally gravitate into the
cane belt, where his profits will be greater and his crops
I have recently been asked for a comparison of the cost
of making raw and refined cane sugar, and the advisability
of erecting small plants to make brown or raw sugar or
Local circumstances must, of course, govern all cases,
hence a reply must be general in its nature. I will state
that a modern, up-to-date factory, with all the latest labor-
saving and economical devices, similar to those used by
the best and most prominent cane and beet sugar grow-
ers, double or triple mills, bagasse burners, modern clari-
fiers, filters, multiple effects, centrifugals and granulators,
will turn out a dry granulated sugar for 25 per cent less
than an open-kettle or open steam-train factory can turn
out brown sugar, and at the same time will increase the
yield of sugar over the old open apparatus not less than
25 per cent from the same quantity and quality of cane,
while the product will readily sell at any part of the
United States for 50 per cent greater price than raw
A factory to turn out 50,000 pounds of granulated
sugar per day can be erected in Florida for $200,000. Al-
lowing the raw material (cane or syrup) to cost 50 pet
cent of the selling price of sugar, 50,000 pounds will pay
the grower $1,343; cost of manufacture (75 cents per 100'
pounds), $375; net profits of factory per day, $869; gross
daily proceeds, $2,687.
These figures are based on present prices .of sugar-
i. e., 5 3-8 cents for standard granulated. The factory
should run 100 days, showing a net profit of $86.900 per
season. Such a factory will require 300 tons of cane (or
its equivalent in syrup) per day, and will consume the
product of some 1,500 acres of average Florida cane.
There is not a town or village in the State, from Pensa-
cola to Jacksonville, or from Jacksonville to Tampa or
Miami, that cannot furnish within a short distance twice
the required acreage for such a mill. A thousand such
mills would be required to produce the 5,000,000,000
pounds imported annually (in 1897 we imported 4,918,
An open steam-train factory, to make brown sugar
and syrup, handling say 100 tons (or five acres) per day,
can be erected complete for $20,000 to $25,000, the yield
per tone of sugar cane will not exceed 140 pounds of
sugar, while the cost of manufacture will not be less than
1 cent per pound of sugar. Deducting the grower's half
at 4- cents, $3.15 for raw sugar (obtainable only in New
York, Philadelphia, New Orleans or other cities where
refineries are located), and the cost of manufacture, $140,
a net profit of $175 a day is shown. A season of sixty
days is all such a factory can depend upon, or $10,500 net
for the season.
The modern factory will make 170 pounds granulated
sugar per ton of cane, pay the farmer $4.56 per ton and
net the factory $3.29 per ton of cane. The "open house"
will pay the farmer $3.15 per ton and net the factory
$1.75 per ton of cane. The product of the modern house
will find a ready sale wherever offered. The open-house
sugar can only be sold to a refinery, as the American
public will use none but the best granulated sugar.
The following letters from Paul Dupuy, a practical
Louisiana sugar planter and manufacturer, of thirty-five
years' successful experience in that State, and from Prof.
William C. Stubbs, Ph.D., director of the Louisiana Sugar
Experiment Station, fully sustain the position held by
myself for years as to the adaptability of the soil and
climate of Florida for profitable sugar growing and manu-
facture. Doctor Stubbs is probably correct as to having
analyzed the first Georggia canes. I, however, published
in 1890 the first series of analyses of Florida canes, and
have at divers times since. I am particularly gratified
to have Mr. Dupuy, a practical planter, and Doctor
Stubbs, the most eminent authority on sugar growing and
No. 3--Sugar Mill at St. Cloud, Florida, 1888-9.
granulated sugar per day.
Capacity 400 tons cane or 70,000 lbs.
Photo by Havens.
manufacture in the United States, so positively and un-
equivocably endorse the position I have maintained al-
most single handed for years. It now remains for our
farmers and capitalists to unite (co-operate), and de-
velop an industry which has no superior in stability and
regularity of crops, that is immensely profitable to grower
and manufacturer, and for the product of which there
is an enormous demand at home. Twenty-five per cent
of the sum invested in our palatial hotels would pay larger
profits directly, and indirectly add large sums to the an-
nual profits of our transportation lines, at the same time
increasing the wealth of the people in the State, adding
enormously to our population, enhancing the value of our
farms, and making Florida the wealthiest agricultural
State in the Union:
a "SAN ANTONIO, FLA., December 31. 1899.
"DEAR SIR: I enclose you a letter from Professor
Stubbs, which please return. Coming from such an un-
questionable authority, it seems that there should no
longer be any doubt on the subject.
"It is certainly a foolhardy undertaking to continue
trying to grow oranges, vegetables and other tender stuff
in Florida. Sugar, with the facts set forth in this letter,
offers about the only agricultural product that Florida
can turn to. I am surprised at Mr. Stubbs' statement in
regard to the productiveness of these lands, but the state-
ment cannot be controverted, and must be accepted. The
leading question is not so much as to how, much can be
made per acre, but how much per hand. The fact that
large amoupts were realized on oranges has proved ruin-
ous to Florida.
"It does seem that prosperity can only be attained by
growing a staple. The attempts with fires and tents and
houses over orange groves can only lead to further dis-
"My own observations are that pine-land cane is richer
in juice or sucrose than that grown on other lands.
"I have come to the conclusion that St. Cloud was
no test. Bad management was perhaps more the cause
of results at St. Cloud than otherwise.
"If Florida does not engage in a staple industry the
agricultural classes will go deeper into the mire. While
heretofore I have doubted the capacity of Florida to pro-
duce sugar, this letter of Mr. Stubbs, coming as it does
from one entirely disinterested, is conclusive. There
should no longer be any hesitancy about promoting cane
"Therefore, I will be glad to render what service I
can to assist in promoting it. Orange culture has ruined
all of us. PAUL DUPUY.
"P. S. With a sucrose of 15 per cent and 73 per cent
extraction, with an average of twenty tons per acre, with
labor at $15 a month, and $1.50 per eighteen hours in
grinding, cane can be grown and converted into sugar at
less than $30 labor cost. P. D."
(Wilhli above conditions, twenty tons per acre, 15 per
cent sucrose and 75 per cent extraction, a yield of 180
pounds per ton, or 3,600 pounds per acre, should be had, or
a total labor cost of less than 1 cent per pound.)
"Mr. Paul Dupuy, San Antonio, Fla.
MY DEAR SIR: Your letter received and contents noted.
During the latter part of October it was my privilege
to visit southern Georgia and northern Florida, from
Savannah around to Montgomery, Ala., and I was amazed
to find the extent to which sugar cane was grown, and
the quantity of syrup annually made for the market. What
struck me most was the inefficient work of the small horse-
mills and evaporators which they were using in that sec-
tion, and yet I was told by everybody that it paid them
better to make syrup at 17J cents a gallon-extracting
not one-half the juice from the cane, and evaporating
that to syrup without any chemicals whatever, and only
by the crude process of skimming and heat-and that
there was more money in it than in raising cotton or any
other crop in that section. I found crops varying in extent
from one acre up to 150 acres. I spent several days in
the field and weighed quite a number of areas growing
in cane, and to my astonishment found that the yields
were from sixteen to thirty-five tons of cane. I also found
out that, by tightening the horse-mills that they had, the
extraction could easily be made as high as 60 per cent.
Armed with this information I addressed large bodies of
farmers and planters and small growers of cane all
through that section, and got them interested in their
losses, with the result that week before last eleven of
the planters and farmers visited this station, and I intro-
duced them around to our various sugar houses and in-
ducted them into the improved methods of today. This
stirred them up very considerably, and they now realize
that if under their present management they can make
a limit, there is a big profit for them should they adopt
improved methods. Their lands are poor, but, by proper
fertilization and rotation of crops, they can be made pro-
ductive of good results. I may say, further, that their
cane is unusually rich. I have just finished analyzing an-
other batch of nineteen varieties, grown all through that
section, and all show a large superiority in sugar content
to those grown upon alluvial soils. I have no hesitancy
whatever in saying-with the present price of labor, of
land, the abundant supply of fuel all through the coun-
try, the absence of levees, the absence of drainage, as long
as the present price of sugar is maintained-that sugar
growing and manufacturing upon a large scale in that
section can be made profitable beyond a doubt. I have
not seen the articles to wych you refer, but it is difficult
to misrepresent the conditions of affairs there existing.
And the curious thing, as you assert in your letter, is
that they have never known that they were subjecting
themselves to such severe loss, and that they had such a
superior cane, until my visit last October. I suppose that
I analyzed, a few weeks ago, the very first canes analyzed
in Georgia, and it "was a revelation to them as well as
"I shall be glad to give you any further information
in my power. Very truly yours,
"WM. C. STUBBs, Director."
The report of Prof. Win. C. Stubbs, director of the
Louisiana Sugar Experiment Station, on the analyses of
some thirty-seven samples of Florida cane, certainly
shows most conclusively the superiority of Florida's
product. Taking the average of the thirty-seven samples,
we find the following result:
Sucrose.................. 15.04 per cent.
Glucose.................. 1.78 "
Coefficient of purity....... 81.68 "
This is certainly a good average for the State. It
means, with modern apparatus, a yield of 187.53 pounds
of granulated or pure sugar per ton of cane. A fair aver-
age in Louisiana is 160 pounds.
This analysis also shows that the purple (red) and
striped (ribbon) cane is far superior to the green in sugar
content, and has much less glucose in it; hence, is by all
means to be preferred for sugar making-a fact long since
discovered by Louisiana and South Georgia.
The thirteen samples of purple and striped cane show
the following average:
Sucrose.................. 17.12 per cent.
Glucose.................. 1.08 "
Coefficient of purity ...... 88.02 "
or an available sugar content (with modern apparatus) of
204 pounds of pure sugar per ton of cane.
It is not necessary to go into figures to show the
superiority of the red over the green varieties.
In an open-system kettle or evaporator just one-half of
the above results can be expected in raw or brown sugars.
It is needless to say that the modern apparatus is to be
preferred, making refined goods direct from the cane.
Louisiana has discovered this, and is rapidly discarding
the open system for the close system. There are numbers
of factories of the old style thrown out and now offered
at very low figures. They are dear at any price.
The sugar cane that will make 100 pounds of raw or
brown sugar and 100 pounds of molasses by the old system
will make 200 pounds of pure white or granulated sugar
in an up-to-date vacuum or close system with modern
separators, filters, evaporators, etc.
At the same time, while the old system will require
not less than three cords of wood for each acre of cane
(or ton of raw sugar), the modern apparatus will require
no fuel but the pulp or bagasse.
It actually costs more per pound to make an inferior
brown sugar than a refined white sugar. One yields one,
half the number of pounds of an inferior article of Wttle
value and hard to dispose of; the other an article always
in demand at most profitable prices.
With a cane averaging as the purple canes in Prof.
Stubb's report averaged, sugar can be manufactured for
40 cents per 100 pounds. At twenty tons to the acre the
cane can be grown, harvested and delivered for $2 per ton,
making the actual cost of sugar (200 pounds per ton of
cane) $1.40 per hundred pounds, or less than 1- cents per
pound. I have maintained that, under proper economical
methods, with modern apparatus, first-class "Standard
A" sugar could be grown and manufactured in Florida at
a profit, when selling at 2 cents per pound. In addition
to the foregoing testimony in sustaining my position, I
also quote Mr. J. S. Murray, a most practical and success-
ful sugar grower and manufacturer:
"Estimate prepared by Mr. J. S. Murray, former Gen-
eral Manager Soledad Sugar Estate, Cuba.
"From reliable data, taken from actual work at the St.
Cloud Sugar Factory, near Kissimmee, Fla., we have the
following result on 100 acres of land, thirty tons of cane
Preparation of soil at $2.50 per acre. ........ $ 250.00
Seed cane, four tons per acre, $4 per ton...... 1,600.00
Planting ................................... 250.00
Two weedings .............................. 200.00
Three plowings .............................. 600.00
Cleaning ditches ................ ......... 50.00
Harvesting 3,000 tons cane at $1............ 3,000.00
Profit first year............................. 2.450.00
Price of sugar 3.c. per lb.=$2.80 per ton of cane $8.400.00
* "There is reason to believe that south of the
frost line as many crops can be made from one planting
as in Cuba, and that cane will rattoon for from nine to
ten years; that 300 acres of cane, properly cared for and
cultivated, will produce $8,000 net profit per year" *
It will be noted the above figures are only from the
grower's standpoint, the cost of the cane delivered at
the mill being $1.96 per ton. The cost of seed cane and
all charges are fixed at maximum prices, with sugar far
below present quotations. These figures were made some
years ago and based on ninety-six test sugar, similar to
that made in Cuba. The same quantity of standard gran-
ulated goods (less 4 per cent water) can be made from the
same cane. On the basis fixed "one-half the product"
this cane would pay the grower $4.54 per ton (170 lbs.@
5.35 cents-$9.09 per ton of cane).
The same authority says:
"In Cuba, sugar can be, and has been, manufactured
ready for shipment at a cost of less than 30 cents per 100
pounds. Labor and other conditions being nearly the
same in Florida, there are no reasons why sugar cannot
be manufactured for 40 cents per 100 pounds in Florida.
"In late years cane has been paid for delivered on the
cars or alongside of cane carrier at prices based on the
weight of juice in degrees B., increasing or decreasing 5
cents per degree for each half cent per pound selling price
"From the preceding data we have:
Nine thousand tons of cane (juice, 9.4 B.),
at $3.15 per ton ........................ $28,350.00
Manufacturing 1,530,000 lbs. of sufiar at 40s.
per 100................................ 6.120.00
Profit ................................... 19,080.00
One million five hundred and thirty thou-
sand pounds of sugar at 31c. per lb...... $53,550.00
On the basis of 300 acres, with thirty tons of cane per
acre, yielding 170 pounds of sugar per ton-by no means
an unusual yield-at present prices (5.35 cents) I esti-
mate the result as follows:
9,000 tons of cane delivered at mill, $4.54 per ton ...... $40,860.00
Cost to grow and deliver, $1.96 per ton............... 17,640.00
Grower's profit on 300 acres..................... $23,220.00
Profit per acre to grower, $77.00.
The factory account would stand thus:
9,000 tons of cane@$4.54 .................. $40,860.00
Manufacturing 1,530.00 lbs. sugar@40c. per
100 lbs. ................................ 6,120.00
Factories' profits.......................... 34,875.00
1,530,000 lbs. of sugar at 5.35 cents....... .$81,855.00
While Mr. Murray's estimate based on raw sugar
shows a most profitable result to both grower and manu-
facturer, the product of refined goods for the American
market is by far the most profitable to the American pro-
ducer. On the rich alluvial soils alluded to by Mr. Mur-
ray the yield of thirty tons per acre is not unusual; yields
of far greater tonnage have been frequently made. On
good pine or sandy lands yields of thirty tons are by no
means uncommon. As stated by Dr. Stubbs, sixteen to
thirty tons were found in divers localities last year, one of
the shortest years had in many. My general estimate
of twenty tons per acre, with an average yield of 175
pounds per ton, with a manufacturing cost of not to ex-
ceed 75 cents per 100 lbs., I consider well within reason-
able bounds. The area of lands suitable for cane culture
is practically unlimited. There are few townships in the
State not capable of furnishing a mill with a capacity of
5,000,000 to 10,000,000 pounds of sugar per season. While
vast areas of hammock and marl lands are found from the
St. Marys to Key West, from Pensacola to Jacksonville,
eminently suitable for the crop. The lands of north and
middle Florida are conceded to produce a superior cane to
those heavy muck or alluvial lands of the lower penin-
sula. Their season is shorter and the crop has to be re-
planted oftener, though the tonnage is less.
In all of the counties of this State and in Southern
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana good crops
of sugar cane are raised. Barring the great freeze of
1886, 1895 and 189!) no frost to materially damage cane
lhs occurred in this State.
A white frost does not injure sugar cane. On the con-
trary, it causes it to ripen its juices and make better
sugar. A killing frost destroys the "bud" and injures
the cane for seed only. If properly windrowed imme-
diately after freezing and before fermenting, such cane
will make good sugar for some sixty days after wind-
rowing. The freezes of 1886, 1895 and 1899 did not kill
stubble or rattoons on well-drained lands in Florida.
In the northern counties, if seed is desired for spring
planting, the cane should be "banked" or "matlaid" in
November. In South Florida windrowing will answer
the purpose. The best portion of the cane for seed is the
immature top, with the leading eye or "bud." Fall plant-
ing is preferable in Florida, adding three months to grow-
ing season of the crop.
In cutting the cane it should be cut low, at or below
the surface of the soil. Stubble projecting above the soil
No. 4.--Sugarcane in Tassel. Marl Prairie Lands, Fellsmere, Florida.
Courtesy of East Coast Homeseeker.
is apt to be injured by frost. Allow the trash or cane
fodder to remain on the rows until spring opens. Well-
cared-for stubble will rattoon for three years in most parts
of this State; longer in the southern portion. Much de-
pends upon the quality of the soil and the method of cul-
There are several popular kinds of cane. The "Ota-
hite," or large green, is a favorite for use in small mills.
It is easily crushed and yields well, and is the best for
chewing. It is tender, and requires a long season. "Red
ribbon" is a favorite all-around cane for small mills. It
rattoons well, and makes a fine yield of syrup. "Bour-
bon" or red cane is hardy, grows quickly, matures early,
and for the northern sections is the favorite. It is very
hard and requires a powerful mill to extract its juices.
For South Florida the "Crystalline" is probably the best.
It is a rank grower, fairly early, a first-class stubble cane,
and makes a good stand year after year.
Any soil in Florida that will produce a fair crop of
corn will make good sugar cane; the richer the better.
Clay and marl suburbs are preferable, if well drained.
Flat pine land, with a clay subsoil, well drained and fer-
tilized, makes fine crops.
Nothing is better than "cow penning." On fair pine
land, and medium hammock thirty tons per acre are fre-
quently made the first and second years after "cow pen-
ning." Cotton-seed meal, 500 to 1,000 pounds per acre, is
a first-class fertilizer, containing all of the necessary ele-
ments in about the correct proportions. It should be ap-
plied one-half before planting and the balance during the
All low and flat lands must be thoroughly drained.
Cane will grow in moist, but not in wet lands. Low
Note-A better formula would be-
1200 pounds Cotton Seed Meal.
600 pounds 16% Acid Phosphate.
200 pounds 50%Sulphate of Potash.
Making a ton. Apply 500 to 1000 pounds per acre.
hammocks, swamps and saw-grass marshes, thoroughly
drained, make the best of cane. If not drained perfectly
a failure will result. The permanent "water table"
should not be less than three feet below the surface of
That portion of the cane that has shed its blades is
mature; in November one-half to two-thirds of the stalk,
in December, four-fifths or more. For sugar making none
but mature cane should be used (the tops can be used
for seed). For syrup a part of the immature tops can be
used, the glucose adding to the volume and preventing
crystallization. Early ground cane makes the best syrup;
late or mature cane the most sugar.
Small mills are wasteful and are not advised; better
sell the' cane to a custom mill. A well-built, horizontal,
three-roll mill, powerfully constructed, driven by steam,
to extract from 50 to 60 per cent of the total weight of
the cane in juice, with boiler and engine, to grind forty
tons of 'cane per day, with fire-heated evaporators, can
be erected complete for about $3,000. This outfit is only
suitable for making syrup and dripped sugar. While a
vast improvement on horse-mills and kettles, it is waste-
ful and comparatively expensive.
A double mill (six rollers), with steam train (evapora-
tors), begasse furnace and centrifugals, to make a light-
yellow, clarified sugar, with a capacity of sixty tons of
cane per day (7,500 pounds sugar), will cost, approxi-
mately, $15,000. These mills, while a vast improvement
on present crude methods, and capable of yielding from
20 to 30 per cent greater product, with less labor and fuel,
are still very wasteful in labor, fuel and cost of attend-
ance. However, they will pay large profits, as compared
to other agricultural pursuits. Such mills will care for
100 to 200 acres.
A mill handling from 400 to 800 tons of cane per day
requires no greater number of skilled employes, engineers,
sugar makers, etc., uses little fuel, the waste of house
is reduced to a minimum, the extraction is practically
perfect (80 to 82 per cent), practically no labor is required
after the cane is placed on the carrier, the product is
ready for immediate consumption. -Such a house should
make none but granulated sugars, at a cost not to exceed
that of crude sugar or syrup, with a much greater yield.
The plant is peculiarly robust and easily cared for,
subject to few disasters. It will withstand degrees of
drought or flood fatal to all other crop. No peculiar skill
is required to cultivate it, as is the case with beets. After
years of personal observation and having consulted large
numbers of practical growers, I am justified in saying a
total failure of a cane crop has never been known. Any
one who can raise Indian corn can make sugar cane.
One man can easily attend twenty acres. While beets are
a good crop for Kansas and Nebraska, there can be no com-
parison between the results of sugar cane and beets in the
profitable growing and manufacture of sugar.
The cost of the manufacturing plant and the cost of
manipulation are in favor of cane. The item of fuel (fur-
nished by the "bagasse" from the cane) will alone pay a
fair interest on the cost of the plant.
The risk in growing cane is reduced to a minimum.
No one has ever heard of a total faihlre of a cane crop.
Corn, wheat, oats, rice, cotton, and beets sometimes totally
fail from drought, heat, rust, blight, or insect pests. Ex-
cepting from an overflow caused by a break in a levee, a
cane crop was never lost entirely.
As to climate, Florida's climate is certainly superior
to that of any other State for sugar growing. Our "rainy
season" is during the growing months, when required.
A wet fall or winter is the exception. A dry fall and
winter insures the ripeness of the cane and a quick har-
vest; a wet fall or winter (frequent in Louisiana) retards
the ripening, and entails heavy expense for harvest. A
"killing" frost seldom occurs in Florida before January.
Grinding begins October 15 in Louisiana, and seldom
before December 1 in Florida, insuring forty-five addi-
tional days for maturing the crop. In South Florida kill-
ing frosts are of rare occurrence, and grinding continues
from December 15 to February. In tropical Florida,
south of the 27th parallel, frost to kill oranges, lemons,
limes or tropical cane is unknown. The climate of West,
North and Middle Florida has full thirty days longer
growing season than Louisiana, while South Florida has
forty-five to sixty.
In tropical Florida the element of frost does not come
into the calculation. Grinding may begin when the crop
is ready and extend into the next growing season. As
to quality of cane, little has been done in Florida to se-
lect or improve the plant; in fact, the poorest, short-joint-
ed, stunted stubble is generally used for "seed," while the
best and finest cane is worked up. The same varieties
introduced by the "Jesuits are still grown. This neglect
of selecting seed cane, however, is not peculiar to Florida.
'The same careless methods prevail to a large extent in
Louisiana and Cuba. Had the same care and scientific
experimenting been practiced with cane as with beets dur-
ing the last twenty years, the amount of sugar in the
plant could have been largely increased (though average
tropical cane now contains much more sugar and less im-
purities than the best varieties of beets).
The wonderful recuperative and reproductive powers
of the plant are phenomenal. With good soil and culture,
wonderfully fine cane, rich in sugar, vigorous and thrifty,
is frequently grown from seed canes of the most worth-
less quality. Small, knotty, short-jointed stubble, the re-
sult of years of neglect, when replanted in good soil and
well cared for, have made crops of immense weight and
large sugar content, with little impurities in the juice.
No plant more quickly responds to generous treatment,
and none will suffer greater neglect and still return a fair
harvest than will tropical cane.
Much interest is now had in beet culture and sugar
No. 2-Harvesting Cane at St. Cloud, Florida, 1888-9. Yield 60 tons per acre. Reclaimed
Muck Land. Photo by Havens.
making in the West. Were it generally known that larger
amounts of sugar can be made in Florida, at a much less
cost per acre, with less labor, with but little skill required
in growing, with far less capital required for machinery,
and manufacturing, than in beet-sugar making, vast sums
would be invested in the business. The location of cen-
tral mills, at various parts of the State-near Quincy,
Tallahassee, Madison, Lake City, Gainesville, Ocala,
Leesburg, Brooksville, Lakeland, Plant City, Bartow,
Fort Mead, Punta Gorda and Braidentown-could each
afford a supply of cane for mills making each 5,000,000 or
more pounds per annum. On the St. Johns River and
East Coast, St. Augustine, Hastings, De Leon Springs,
Tomoka, Daytona, Port Orange, New Smyrna and Titus-
ville afford equally as fine opportunities for the establish-
ment of central mills.
SThese mills or factories, purchasing their supplies
from the farmer, can afford to pay for the cane delivered,
a price, equal to the sum now obtained for his crude
syrup, now made in a crude and wasteful manner, saving
the farmer the annoyance and cost of manufacture, and
packages, and at the same time make large profits on the
Further south in Dade and Lee Counties, below the
twenty-seventh parallel, where vast areas of rich land
in large bodies can be had, the plantation or "gang-sys-
tem" will prove most satisfactory, where the planter
owns the factory and cultivates the cane also. This sys-
tem is applicable only where there is no probability of
killing frost, where large fields can be safely allowed to
stand till wanted by the mill. North of the twenty-
seventh parallel the central-factory system, similar to the
beet-factory system of Germany, Austria and the West,
will be found most satisfactory. Where the acreage is
made up by numerous small fields of ten to forty acres
each, each farmer, in case of threatened freezing weather,
can properly care for his crop by windrowing or mat
laying, as is now practiced in Georgia, Mississippi and
frequently in Louisiana.
The crop can then be delivered as the factory requires
it. This process of securing the crop adds but little to the
cost and keeps the cane perfectly for months. No silos
or bins are required for cane as with beets. The delay
caused by a cold snap seldom retards the work of sugar
making to exceed three days.
I advocate the central-mill plan, purchasing cane from
the farmers, that the best results may be had both in the
field and in the factory, the farmer devoting his time,
skill and labor to producing the largest possible crop of
high-grade cane, the miller to the most economical
methods of making the best sugar, each receiving the
greatest reward possible for his skill in his particular line.
For technical data, analyses and value of cane, I am
indebted to Dr. Stubbs; Professors Stockbridge, Kirchoff,
Sutton and Wiley and Mr. J. P. Murray as. to the quality
of the cane. I have the facts as to cost of cane from L.
M. and U. J. White, James S. Murray, Paul Dupuy and
numbers of others, together with my own experience.
The cost of manufacture cannot be disputed, as this factor
is a fixed one.
Given the cane of quality as stated, with the price of
sugar as now prevailing, and no agricultural and manu-
facturer's business will compare to the growing of cane
and manufacture of sugar in Florida.
R. E. ROSE.
KISSIMMEE, FLA., May 1, 1900.
The Disston Sugar Plantation
Its Success and Its Failure.
It is frequently asked why the Disston Sugar venture
on reclaimed lands in Florida failed and was abandoned.
This query has been answered frequently in the press by
citizens of Osceola County, who were familiar with all
A short history of the St. Cloud sugar plantation on
the muck or swamp lands reclaimed by the "Disston
Drainage Company" (The A. & G. C. & 0. Land Com-
pany), in Osceola County, should be properly inserted
here to correct the many erroneous and misleading re-
ports as to the cause of the failure and abandonment of
this enterprise after several years of phenomenal success-
cess, both agriculturally and financially.
The lands on which the plantation was located were
prior to the cutting of the drainage canals in 1884-a
vast saw grass marsh, interspersed with cypress, gum,
bay and willow swamps, with a muck or peat soil from
four to ten feet deep. Before the drainage canals were
cut the territory was constantly covered with water
from one to three feet deep, in which grew the saw grass,
flags, rushes, bonnets and other acquatic plants-a
territory identical in every respect, chemically and physi-
cally, to the Everglades. The canals draining this ter
ritory were finished in 1884-5. The general level of the
lakes (Tohopekaliga and East Lake) was lowered eight
feet by these canals. During 1885, the Writer, then in
charge of the "Disston Drainage Company's works, pur-,
chased the original St. Cloud Plantation, some 420 acres.
In January, 1886, the first agricultural development
was begun by cutting the necessary lateral and sub-lat-
eral ditches to drain the fields adjacent to the canal.
Though the waters of the lakes and canals were six to
eight feet below the surface of the adjacent lands, the
lands were still saturated with water, which could only
be removed by field ditches, the lands having very little
In the spring of 1886 a small field of cane, some twenty
acres, was planted; also seventy-five acres of rice and
fifty acres of corn. All these crops were unusually pro-
ductive, an average of fifty bushels of both rice and corn
being harvested per acre.
In the fall of 1886 and spring of 1887 the cane fields
was increased to ninety acres.
In 1887 Mr. Hamilton Disston purchased one-half in-
terest in the farm and furnished means to increase the
acreage to 1,800 acres, all first-class muck, or reclaimed,
land, and to erect the first sugar factory, as illustrated
by cut No. 3. A small area of cane was harvested in
1887-8, yielding some 5,000 pounds of granulated sugar
per acre. Most of the cane, however, was used for seed,
there being 420 acres of cane on the farm in 1888-9, 100
acres Ratton and 320 acres Plant cane. The illustrations
No. 1 and 2 show this cane on the best drained (highest)
land on the plantation taken where the muck is six to
eight feet deep, this cane averaging sixty tons per acre,
with 14 per cent Sucrose.
These photos were taken by 0. Pierre Havens, of Jack-
sonville, in the winter of 1888-9.
A sugar mill with a capacity of 200 tons of cane per
day (24 hours) was built. Some 90 acres were harvest-
ed the first year; the second year some 400 acres. None
but first-class sugar was made. The yield averaged 35
tons of cane per acre (the maximum yield being 60 tons
off the oldest, best drained cuts) ; the average sucrose
content was 14 per cent; the average available sugar was
8 per cent, or 160 pounds of granulated sugar per ton of
cane, showing rather a poor result from the factory stand-
point, the factory not having all the necessary modern
economical devices. The yield, however, some 5,000
pounds of sa4gar per acre, was superior to, any American
record up to that time. During this time sugar sold at
3.25c to 3.75c per pound, at no time reaching 4 cents.
Results were so satisfactory that Mr. Disston proposed
largely to increase the capital stock, and the area of the
cane fields (then 600 acres).
He was largely influenced by the immense speculative
interest in sugar production, aroused by the "bounty
law" passed by Congress, paying 2c per pound to Ameri-
can sugars. Millions of dollars were invested in Louis-
iana cane sugar and Western beet sugar production. An
era of extravagance was inaugurated in Louisiana and
in the beet-producing regions of the West. The St. Cloud
Plantation was reorganized as the "Florida Sugar Manu-
facturing Company" and capitalized at $1,000,000, an ex-
pensive factory erected at a cost of $350,000, and a large
area of lands purchased-some 36,000 acres. While the
cane fields were not increased materially-at no time
was there to exceed 1,000 acres in cane while the factory
had a capacity of not less than 3,500 acres per season.
When this reorganization occurred the Writer declined
to join it, but sold his stock, believing, and as subsequent
events proved, that the "bounty law" would be repealed
by the next Congress and the extravagant investments
in cane and beet sugar would result in bankruptcy to the
investors. This did occur, as anticipated. In the mean-
time, a bond issue of $1,000,000 was made to pay for the
A capitalization of $2,000,000 to be taken care of by
a cane field of some 800 to 1,000 acres, extravagantly
managed bry inexperienced men, ignorant to a large extent
of agriculture, and particularly of drainage and mod-
ern methods of cane culture and sugar manufacture. St.
Cloud, however, was by no means an exception. Hun-
dreds of similar wrecks occurred in Louisiana and in the
West. Wrecks of immense cane and beet sugar ventures
were common throughout the country. During the
bounty period granulated sugar sold for from 6.50 to 7.40
cents per pound, with an added 2 cents bounty (see the
U. S. Agricultural Reports for these years.) The ex-
travagance of management, however, absorbed not only
the market price, but the bounty also, and left a large
deficit in addition. While economically managed, large
dividends were made, with sugar selling at 3.75c per
pound, with a factory by no means most modern and
economical; with an up-to-date factory, provided with
all modern economic devices, with the same quality of
cane, with sugar selling at 6.50 and 7.40 cents per pound,
and an additional bounty of 2c per pound paid by the
Government, a disastrous failure resulted.
This was not peculiar to Florida nor St. Cloud, as the
same condition prevailed in Louisiana and in the West,
where wrecks of similar ventures were numerous. The
failure at St. Cloud was not caused by climate, soil, or
quality of cane, as no richer cane, nor larger tonnage is
made in Cuba than was made at St. Cloud and South
Port-in the same county-on reclaimed muck land, and
is still being made on the same and similar lands in the
same locality. The failure was caused:
Second-By ignorance of proper methods of culture
and manufacture and neglect of drainage.
Third-By want of proper business methods on the
part of the company and its managers.
R. E. ROSE,
Tallahassee, April 1912.
CANE CULTURE AND SYRUP MAKING.
BY R. E. ROSE, STATE CHEMIST, TALLAHASSEE, FLA.
The culture of sugar cane, and the manufacture of raw
sugar or syrup in Florida, dates from the earliest settle-
ment. The plant was introduced by the Jesuit Fathers
and largely cultivated on the East Coast, near St. Augus-
tine and New Smyrna, by the early Spanish settlers, the
canes having been introduced from the West Indies, where
it was cultivated on a commercial scale as early as 1518.
The remains of sugar factories, and evidences of sugar cul-
ture on an immense scale, are still found at New Smyrna
in the Turnbull hammock. A drainage system is still in
use, established by sugar and indigo planters more than
two hundred years ago. There is no reason to doubt that
Florida was the first of the United States to cultivate
and manufacture sugar on a large scale.
ANCIENT MACHINERY AND METHODS
I regret to say that the same primitive methods used
in those ancient days still prevail, and that a modern,
economical sugar factory does not exist in the State to-
day. To this fact, and the lack of modern apparatus, I
attribute the present condition of the industry. No
effort has been made to improve the wasteful two-roller
horse mill, with wooden frame, and the old Jamaica
kettle set in a clay furnace, the mill extracting not ex-
ceeding 50 per cent. of the juice, and frequently less,
while the kettle, juice trough and skim barrel account
for a loss of 20 per cent. or more of the small quantity
secured by the mill. I am convinced, by observation of
a number of syrup plants in the State, that on an aver-
age, not to exceed 40 per cent. of the sugar content of
the cane is secured, and that 60 per cent. is wasted after
producing the cane and hauling it to the mill. The meth-
ods generally pursued in Florida are as primitive as those
still followed in Mexico and South America. A few
modern syrup plants have been erected, notably in Gads-
den and Jackson Counties.
MODERN APPARATUS REQUIRED
A modern factory, with improved mills, evaporators,
filters, bagasse burners and other modern labor-saving
devices, properly constructed clarifiers, filters, etc., will
readily secure double the quantity of syrup or sugar, of
a much better quality, from the same amount of cane,
than can possibly be accomplished by the crude and
wasteful apparatus universally employed in Florida to
day; at far less cost.
ONLY CRUDE METHODS EMPLOYED.
In no other agricultural and manufacturing enterprise
has the farmer and manufacturer failed to take advan-
tage of the improvement in methods and machines. I can
only attribute this to the generally accepted belief that
cane growing and syrup making, even under the present
crude and wasteful method, is considered a most profit-
able business. I have talked with hundreds of farmers
in all parts of the State, from Pensacola to Key West,
from Jacksonville to Tampa, and have yet to meet one
who did not positively assert that he derived more cash,
with less labor per acre, from his cane patch than from
any other crop.
MAXIMUM TONNAGE PRODUCED.
The fact that we produce crops of cane of from fifteen
to thirty-five tons per acre, with an easy average of twenty
tons, cannot be gainsaid.
QUALITY OF CANE SUPERIOR.
That this cane is equal to any in sugar content, and far
superior to that grown in other States, cannot be denied.
Too many tests and analyses have been made from canes
taken from all parts of the State, and from all kinds of
land, by eminent chemists and sugar makers, who have
unqualifiedly stated that our canes are equal to any, and
superior to most, grown in America, or even in Cuba, to
permit a doubt to exist as to the peculiar advantages of
Florida's soil and climate for producing a plant of maxi-
mum tonnage and sugar content.
IMPROVED APPARATUS IN LOUISIANA.
Louisiana for years struggled with the horse mill and
open kettle, making brown sugar and molasses. This
had to be sent to the refinery and treated by the old "clay
process." Gradually the methods of the refiners im-
provetl, clarification was perfected, filters were improved,
the juice was made chemically and mechanically clean,
the vacuum pan was evolved, which led to the "double
effect" (or vacuum evaporator), the mill was increased
from two to three, then five, then six, and now nine roll-
ers are used. The extraction formerly thought very good
at 60 per cent. has been increased to 83 per cent. leaving
practically only the dry fibre of the cane. The fuel bill,
formerly three cords of wood, or equivalent in coal, per
acre, has been eliminated, the pulp or bagasse of the cane,
in a well-balanced modern factory, furnishing all the
necessary fuel for all purposes. The evolution in the
sugar factory of Louisiana has been in keeping with the
progress along all other lines. Twenty years ago the
modern "central factory" was the exception; today it is
the rule; there are hundreds of such factories in Louisi-
ana, handling from 500 to 1200 tons of cane per day, mak-
ing large profits, while selling granulated sugars at 4,
to 5 cents per pound. These factories extract and produce
fully 100 per cent. more sugar from a given amount of
cane than can possibly be secured by using the antiquated
mill and open kettle. At the same time, the quality is
such that the value of the sugar per pound is increased
from 3 to 41 or 5 cents, or from 50 to 65 per cent. increase.
RAW SUGAR, OR SYRUP, COMPARED TO REFINED
OR PURE SUGAR.
A ton of cane, producing 90 pounds of raw sugar,
worth $2.70, will, with improved apparatus of large ca-
pacity, produce 180 pounds of granulated goods, worth
not less than 4 cents per pound, or $7.20, while the cost
of producing this 180 pounds of granulated goods will be
less than to produce the 90 pounds of brown sugar.
BEET SUGAR FACTORIES EMPLOY ONLY IM-
The only reason why it is possible to make beet sugar
profitably is the fact that none but the most modern ap-
paratus is used, making it possible to secure all the sugar,
at the least possible cost, from the beet, a plant well
known to be inferior to tropical cane in average sugar
content and also containing larger percentages of impuri-
ties. No beet sugar factory would attempt to make raw
sugar and sell it to the refiners at the price fixed by the
refiners. The result would be disastrous to the grower
and manufacturer of raw sugar. On the contrary, the
beet sugar factory makes none but the finest granulated
goods, goes directly into the market, and demands and
receives the market price fixed by the sugar refiner for
first-class goods. The culture of beets is one of the most
precarious and difficult crops known, requiring extraor-
dinary skill and immense labor; the crop is subject to
many disasters; in infancy it is delicate and easily de-
stroyed by adverse climatic conditions; it requires skll-
ful culture, heavy fertilizing and proper irrigation. When
ready for harvest the work must be promptly finished,
the crop stored free of frost, and carefully handled at all
times. Five acres per hand for culture is a fair task,
while a yield of ten tons, with an average of 12 per cent.
sugar, is a fair average yield, or 2400 pounds of sugar
per acre, paying the grower a maximum of $5.00 per ton
of beets, or $250.00 per annum for culture, harvest and
delivery of five acres of beets, with a total failure ex-
pected two years out of five from drought, rain or frost.
SUGAR CANE A RUGGED, ROBUST PLANT, EASILY
CULTIVATED AS INDIAN CORN.
To a Florida audience I need not say that cane is a
robust, rugged plant, as easily cultivated as corn, requir-
ing no thinning to a stand at enormous cost of labor, no
special care, and seldom properly fertilized; still, I have
yet to learn of a total failure of a cane crop from drought,
flood or insect pest.
ACREAGE PER MAN EMPLOYED.
Twenty acres per hand, with a yield of 20 tons of cane
per acre, is not unusual. (With the same amount of fer-
tilizing and labor as demanded by beets, one man can
grow 30 acres, with an average of not less than 25 tons
of cane per acre, that will yield in a modern factory 10
per cent. of pure granulated sugar per ton of cane, or
5,000 pounds per acre, or 125,000 pounds per hand used
in culture). Understand that while one man can culti-
vate 20 acres under ordinary conditions (and 30 if he
works as hard and constantly as the beet grower), no
one man can harvest such a crop, nor can the beet grower
harvest his five acres without help. This cane, delivered
at the factory, will furnish practically all the fuel neces-
sary. The beet factory must use coal. This, however, is
offset by the value of the beet pulp for feeding purposes;
still, the beet factory is, compared to the cane sugar fac-
tory of equal capacity, more costly, while the process of
manufacture is more complicated and expensive. The
extraction, clarifying, filtering and purifying of beet
juice, owing to the large amount of impurities, is far
more difficult than in handling cane juice. Raw beet
sugar is not fit for consumption by man or beast. This
fact has had much influence on the industry and forced
the employment of the best and most scientific methods
in beet sugar manufacture. Cane sugar, as we all know,
is a most palatable and nutritious food, from the cane
itself up through the various preparations of syrup, raw
sugar, molasses eandy, to refined sugar, or rock candy.
In no stage can it be said sugar cane and its products
are not fit for food.
COST OF CANE SUGAR, COMPARED TO BEET
I have frequently stated, and again assert, that first-
class granulated sugar can be made from Florida cane
at a large profit when selling the sugar at less than it
costs to product beet sugar. That if these facts were in-
telligently placed before the American farmer and capi-
talist, the enormous sums now being invested in beet cul-
ture and manufacture would be diverted to the sugar belt
of the South, and particularly to Florida.
It requires no experimentation, there are no facts to
demonstrate, they are here ready for investigation; the
plant, the amount it will produce per acre, its sugar con-
tent, the cost of production, in labor and time; these
factors are the only one that need to be authoritatively
established by our Agricultural Department, or by our
own people, to induce the influx of labor and capital.
While I am not an advocate of syrup-making as a
general industry, knowing that it is but a crude and
wasteful method, and at most but an expedient, still, a
well-made syrup, cleanly prepared, properly clarified and
neatly packed, is in demand at fair prices and will pay
fair dividends on the investment.
CENTRAL FACTORIES NEEDED.
Until our people are educated to the necessity and
value of "central factories," where the farmer may sell
his cane direct to the factory for more than he now gets
for his syrup, it will be well to encourage the syrup in-
dustry. Provided none but the best is made, top prices
may be expected; if thin, dirty, dreggy slops, packed in
a sour keg or dirty barrel, is produced, it is only fit for
the pigs-and not good for them.
WHAT GOOD SYRUP IS.
In making syrup (good syrup), the object is to pro-
duce a thick, clear liquid, that will not granulate or
"sugar off." It may be startling to a number of my
auditors when I assert that first-class syrup contains but
comparatively little sugar. A first-class syrup, be it made
from cane, maple sap, corn, rice, potatoes, beets, water-
melons or other vegetable substance, is but a solution of
glucose, or "invert" sugar, with no appreciable quantity
of sucrose, or sugar; hence, to make a good, thick, heavy,
clear syrup, we proceed to change our sugar to glucose, or
"invert" sugar, exactly opposite to the desire of the sugar
maker. The sugar maker seeks to prevent the "inversion"
of his sugar to glucose, and to get his sugar to the "grain"
as quickly as possible; he desires as little glucose as pos-
ible, and separates the molasses and glucose from his
crystals as rapidly as possible.
Starch, glucose and sugar are all closely related, all
carbo-hydrates-the basis of fats in animals, which are
hydro-carbons. The difference between sugar and glu
cose is but the addition of one molecule of water. Sugar
being "C12, H22, 011," by adding one molecule of water
("1H20") we have glucose-"C12, H24, 012." By the
addition of water, in the presence of heat, acids or fer-
ments, sugar takes up a molecule of water and becomes
glucose. Starch also in the presence of an acid and heat,
or a ferment, becomes glucose.
Sugar does not ferment, it must become glucose, "in-
vert" sugar, first; neither does starch ferment, it must
also be changed to glucose before it ferments. Another
fact to be remembered is that glucose, in the presence of
heat and moisture, will attack and convert sugar into
glucose; by the action of long-continued heat the whole
of the sugar will be converted or "inverted." A quantity
of pure sugar, dissolved in pure water, kept simmering
on a stove for some time, the evaporation supplied will
in time become a solution of "invert" sugar, with no
sugar (sucrose)' in it. If the juice of an apple, orange
or a few grapes, or other acid fruit, is added to the vessel
the "inversion" will occur more quickly.
Cane juice is a solution of sugar, glucose and other
solids and gums. Ripe cane has but little glucose-fre-
quently less than 1 per cent., generally 2 to 2 per cent.
Unripe cane has a much larger percentage of glucose,
sometimes as much as 50 per cent.; the immature tops
of cane are always high in glucose and poor in sucrose,
or sugar. Evidently the starch in the cane (or what
would be starch in corn, rice or potatoes) is first formed
in the immature part of the cane. It is by the subtle
chemistry of nature changed into sugar, a chemical feat
the despair of the most eminent scientists. To change
a sugar into glucose is a daily performance in the labora-
tory and factory; to remove the molecule of water and
change glucose to sugar has been the dream of the chem-
ists for years; so far it has not been accomplished.
SUGAR MAKING DISTINGUISHED FROM SYRUP
Knowing now the materials we have to deal with, and
their behavior in the presence of acids, heat and ferments,
we can proceed to prepare the substance we require. If
we want syrup, we do not demand ripe cane, which the
sugar maker requires; a quantity of glucose in the un-
ripe tops will do no harm, hence we begin grinding when
the canes are ripe from one-half to two-thirds the length
of the stalk (say October 15), though ripe cane makes
more syrup in proportion than unripe cane. Unripe cane
will make good syrup, but not good sugar. Ripe cane,
quickly "boiled off," will certainly granulate if boiled to
the proper density; unripe cane can hardly be made to
granulate by the most expert sugar makers.
RIPE CANE FOR SUGAR.
To make sugar, use ripe cane, cut off the immature tops,
leaving as little unripe cane as possible, clarify and evap-
orate rapidly, place in coolers of large area to allow quick
cooling and granulation.
UNRIPE CANE MAY BE USED -FOR SYRUP.
For syrup making, use considerable unripe tops; do
not hurry the process at any point; the juice may stand
in the tank for some time (one or two hours), a little
ferment will not hurt it; clarify and skim at a moderate
beat; evaporate slowly, and skim carefully. This slow
evaporation will insure a heavy, non-crystalable syrup.
Much of the excellence of Florida syrup depends on the
slow evaporation in deep kettles, with great heat long
continued, the delay in the juice barrel between strikes,
and the large amount of ferment necessarily added to
the juice by the mill with its wooden frame and the sour-
ness of the various strainers and utensils used. The mill
is seldom washed off, and is never "limited" to destroy
The evaporator is never a favorite with syrup makers;
they can't boil thick before the syrup sugars. This is a
fact. If, however, larger quantities were run at a time,
and the fire kept low, equally as good syrup could be
made on the evaporator as in the kettle. For practical
purposes, on a fairly large scale (10 to 20 barrels, or 400
to 800 gallons, per day of syrup), I should advise a sepa-
rate clarifier and a partial evaporator, and finish in a
separate vessel. The secret of good syrup is perfect clari-
fying and straining, careful and continuous skimming,
and plenty of time given to the evaporation, using more
or less unripe cane, with some fermentation allowed. Boil
your syrup to a uniform density of about 33 degrees
Beaume, while hot; this will yield a syrup of about 38
degrees Beaumne, when cold. These saccharometers can
be purchased of any instrument dealer, or can be ordered
through any druggist. They are absolutely necessary for
APPARATUS.-The first prerequisite is a first-class hori-
zontal mill, well built and exceedingly strong, to extract
the juice; such a mill can only be had from manufac-
turers who have had long experience in building sugar
apparatus. A first-class three-roller mill, properly set,
will extract 60 per cent. of the weight of cane in juice
or 70 per cent. of the total juice. The clarifier and evap-
orators should, if possible, be steam-heated, the coils made
of copper, for economical reasons. Copper conducts heat
better than iron; while iron pipes will make as good
sugar, they will require 40 per cent. more fuel to do the
same work; a copper coil will work better with 60 pounds
of steam than an iron coil with 100 pounds.
ADVANTAGES OF STEAM APPARATUS.
The advantage of a steam train is obvious; the manipu-
lator has absolute control of the heat and can regulate it
as circumstances demand. A fire-heated evaporator can-
not be so perfectly regulated. In either case, steam or
fire-heated evaporators, I strongly advocate a copper heat
ing surface, on account of fuel economy; the difference in
cost will be more than offset during the first season. There
are a large number of reliable.manufacturers of first-class
apparatus who can, and will, furnish apparatus at far
less cost than they can be designed and built for locally. A
"home-made apparatus is most expensive and unsatis-
CULTURE.-Tt is useless for me to attempt to instruct
Florida farmers in cane culture. The methods are fully
understood by them. I can only say that a large part of
the culture should precede the planting. The bed should
be deeply plowed and in perfect tilth before planting. I
prefer fall planting, particularly in South Florida. By
having the ground ready, the planting can be done at the
time of Erinding, using the immature tops for seed. An
acre of tops should plant more than an acre of new land.
In South Florida, cane should yield at least three good
crops from one planting; frequently, with proper care,
it will last five or six years. The culture should be shal-
low, at all times working a low ridge around the cane.
For fertilizing, nothing is better than cow-penning, which,
however, should be re-inforced by 150 to 200 pounds of
high grade sulphate of potash (45 to 50 per cent. of
potash) and 500 to 1000 pounds of 16 per cent. acid phos-
phate. Cane requires potash to mature its juices, as
does all fruit or sugar-producing plants. A general fer-
tilizer for cane should have about these proportions: Am-
monia 3, phosphoric acid 6, potash 4. Cotton seed meal,
acid phosphate and kainit mixed in equal parts and ap-
plied, 1000 pounds per acre, will give most excellent re-
sults; this will yield the necessary fertilizing elements
in about the correct proportion.
At present prices, this fertilizer should not cost to ex-
ceed $25.00 per ton at seaports. Six hundred to one thou-
sand pounds per acre should insure a crop of not less
than 20 tons of cane per acre, with an average of 10 per
cent. sugar, or 4000 pounds sugar per acre, or 400 to 500
gallons of first-class syrup per acre, using a first-class
apparatus and exercising due economy. About one-half
this amount can be secured with the usual apparatus
now generally employed in this State.
VARIETIES OF CANE.-There are a number of different
canes, probably seventy-five or more known varieties. In
many cases the same cane is known by different local
names. There are not to exceed a dozen kinds that are
valuable in Louisiana and Florida, of which probably
three distinct kinds are worth considering. The "Crys-
taline,' from which a number of different canes have
originated, is generally considered best; the "Red Rib-
bon" and the "Purple" canes come next. The large white
or Hawaiian cane is largely planted in Florida; it is
a favorite for chewing. It is a slow grower, late in start-
ing, and does not rattoon perfectly.
The "Crystaline" is considered the best all-around cane.
It is known by many local names. It rattoons well, is
early in sprouting and ready to "lay by" by May 15; its
sugar content is high and impurities small.
The "Red Ribbon" is also an excellent cane, and infe-
rior to the "Crystaline" only in the fact that it does not
rattoon so perfectly.
The "Purple," or Bourbon cane, is a hardy cane, smaller
than either of the others named; its sugar content is
equal to the "Red Ribbon" or "Crystaline"; it is well
adapted to North Florida, and is almost exclusively cul-
tivated in Georgia; it will stand more frost than the
"Crystaline" or "Red Ribbon."
A new seeding cane, perfected by Dr. William C. Stubbs,
recently Director of the Louisiana Sugar Experiment Sta-
tion, known as "Demarrara No. 74," has been largely in-
troduced into Louisiana. It is a robust, hardy, green
cane, with a much larger sugar content than the ordi-
nary canes; a heavy producer, with but few impurities.
It has not yet been extensively introduced into Florida.
Where it has been tried, it has been found desirable, be-
ing early in maturity and has a much larger sugar content
-10 to 15 per cent. more than the ordinary varieties.
A variety known as the Japanese cane was introduced
from the Louisiana Sugar Experimental Station some
fifteen years ago; it rattoons profusely and will grow on
high pine land, making heavy crops where ordinary cane
would fail to produce profitable crops; it makes first-
class syrup, but is not considered a first-class sugar-pro
ducer on account of its high percentage of glucose, and
solids not sugar. I believe it will be of great value to
those situated on high pine ridges, and as it stands frost
better than ordinary cane, it will be an acquisition to
North Florida and Georgia.
PREPARATION OF SOIL-PLANTING.
Soil for cane (or corn) should be well drained and
deeply plowed; not less than six inches-preferably eight
or more inches, depending on local conditions. This
should be done as early as practicable in the fall, not
later than November 15 for spring planting; if for fall
planting, in October. The soil should be well harrowed
putting the seed-bed in first-class tilth. The fertilizer
should be spread, or scattered, broadcast, and thoroughly
harrowed in before planting. Fall planting should be
done in November; spring planting in February or March.
Rows should be opened six feet apart, four inches deep;
the seed canes laid in the furrow, continuously, lapping
each cane one or two joints, if the seed is sound and the
eyes perfect. In case of damaged seed cane, more is re-
quired; frequently "two canes and a lap" are needed;
the object being to get one sound eye for every six inches
of row, to insure a good "stand." Cover fall-planted cane
four inches deep, in the spring, when germination has
begun; remove part of the covering, to allow the heat and
air to penetrate the soil. Much cane is lost from too deep
planting. For spring planting, cover not more than two
Germination will frequently begin in North Florida in
February; in Middle Florida in January, when part of
the covering should be dragged off, to assist in germinat-
ing. In tropical Florida, below the 28th parallel, cane
will sprout and grow at any time, and can be planted
The culture of cane is exactly similar to the culture
of corn; one of the best tools for early cultivation is the
weederr." It cnn be used at any time from the planting,
and run in any direction-with the rows or across them-
and can be used exclusively until the cane is two feet high,
after which a cultivator should be frequently run in the
rows. The culture should at all time be shallow, not
to disturb the root system. A turn-plow should never be
used to cultivate cane. Continue cultivating till the cane
completely shades the ground. Allow no weeds to grow
in the rows, nor the middles, at any time.
Harvest begins in Louisiana October 15-though the
cane is far from mature at this date. The large areas,
however, demand early harvest. In North Florida, No-
vember 1 to 15; in South Florida, December 1; below
the 28th parallel, harvest may be delayed till January 1,
and is frequently continued till March 15, sometimes till
April 1, the climate being practically similar to Cuba,
adding full sixty days' growth and maturity to the crop.
That portion of the plant which has shed its blades or
leaves is mature; that part to which the blades still cling,
the toips, is not fully mature. Generally two-thirds of the
stalk is matured by November 1st.
When ready for harvest, the cane should be stripped of
its leaves, to allow the sun to mature the juices-a lath
is a good tool for this purpose. Enough cane should be
stripped at one time to supply the mill several days.
CUTTING CANE FOR SYRUP.
When cutting cane for syrup, top it high, to leave two
or three of the upper, unripe, immature joints; this im-
mature cane juice is largely glucose, or "invert" sugar,
and tends to prevent crystallization.
CUTTING CANE FOR SUGAR-MAKING.
In cutting cane for sugar-making, top low, using only
the fully matured or ripened cane. Cut only what is
necessary to supply the mill each day. Only fresh-cut
cane should be used for making sugar.
A slight fermentation will not damage cane for syrup-
making, adding to the "invert" sugar ((glucose) and al-
lowing the syrup to be boiled thick without danger of
A very small amount of fermentation will materially
damage cane for sugar-making, increase the "invert"
sugar-molasses, and decrease the crystals of sugar in
proportion to the amount of glucose present. Fermented
cane cannot be made into sugar, though with proper care
it may be worked into fair syrup.
Use none but a heavy, well-made mill, with large shafts,
requiring not less than two good animals to pull it.
A steam-power, horizontal mill should be used when
there are more than twenty acres to harvest.
The pulp (or bagasse), when passed through the mill,
should be broken into short, dry fragments, apparently
free of juice. When passing the mill as flat ribbons, un-
broken at the joints, it has not been well ground, and
still has a large percentage of juice left in it. A well-set
horse mill can be run to extract 60 per cent. of the weight
of the cane in juice, leaving 25 per cent. still in the cane
(cane is composed of 85 per cent. juice and 15 per cent.
of dry fibre).
Seldom do horse mills extract more than 50 per cent. of
juice, leaving 35 per cent. in the cane. A well-designed,
powerful, six-roller steam-power mill will, when kept
properly set, extract 75 per cent., still leaving 10 per
cent. of juice in the cane. Seldom do steam mills extract
more than 75 per cent. of the weight of cane in juice.
The most powerful steam mills-nine rollers, with
crusher and "saturation" between the last six rolls-
average not to exceed 80 per cent. of the juice, or 93 per
cent. of the total sugar in the cane.
A mill extracting less than 65 per cent. of the weight
of the cane in juice is not an economical apparatus. A
good steam-power mill, with six rolls, will average 75
per cent., a gain of practically 20 per cent. in syrup or
Few cane growers realize the enormous losses they
sustain by using inferior mills.
STRAINING AND CLARIFYING.
Between the mill and the juice tank, or barrel, a
coarse wire strainer should be placed, to remove coarse
particles of cane or leaves; under this a gunny-bag
strainer; below this a coarse muslin or cheesecloth
strainer. Needless to say, these strainers must be kept
clean and frequently changed. They sholud be stretched
on hoops, like sieves, and a number kept on hand for
changing. From the mill to the juice tank, near the clari-
fier, or evaporator, a pipe should be run-generally below
the ground, not to interfere with the team. At its outlet
another strainer of flannel, or "filter cloth," should be
Thorough straining wonderfully reduces the labor of
skimming and greatly improves the quality of the syrup
The juice tank at the mill need not be of great capacity.
It serves only as a funnel for the pipe to the larger juice
tank near the clarifier or evaporator. This tank should
hold at least sufficient for a charge (or run) or well-
strained juice; it also acts as a settling tank and re-
moves large amounts of heavy impurities that settle to
the botom. It should be cleaned at least once a day, and
well washed out.
MILK OF LIME FOR CLARIFYING.
The universally used clarifying agent in all well-con-
ducted sugar or syrup factories is a mixture of freshly
burned quicklime and water. Air-slaked lime will not
answer the purpose, and should not be used. To prepare
this "milk of linee" use one pound of quicklime to one
gallon of water, thus having two ounces of lime to each
pint of the mixture.
Place 40 pounds of quicklime in a 40-gallon harrel;
slake it with water; when it is Ihoroiughly slakel, add
water to make 40 gallons '(if the water is at all times
above the lime it will keep indefinitely, fit for use).
Before dipping out a portion for use, stir the "milk of
lime" thoroughly to get the necessary lime suspended in
the portion to be used. It should be about like thick
For each 50 gallons of raw, strained juice, use one pint
of this "milk of lime." Take one pint of "milk of lim ,"
add one gallon of water; stir it well to suspend the lime;
scatter this over the surface of the juice in the evaporator
or clarifier; distribute it well and mix it thoroughly
with tihe juice.
Bring the juice to a boil quickly, but do not let it
"boil up"; when the "green blanket" forms and begins to
"crack," draw the fires, or turn off the steam. Remove
the blanket of green scum quickly and carefully. Don't
let the scum fall back into the juice at any time.
After cleaning carefully, renew the fires, or turn on the
steam; skim continuously and carefully, while evaporat-
ing; evaporate with moderate heat for syrup, quickly for
Normal cane juice is always slightly acid. If cane has
been cut some time, or exposed to the sun for some time,
it frequently becomes quite acid (ferments). The lime is
to neutralize this acid-cougulate the gums and albumins.
Practically all the lime is removed in the scums, or the
The amount of lime recommended-one pint of "milk of
lime," equal to two ounces for each 50 gallons of juice-
is but approximate. Very ripe cane, sweet and unfer-
mented, may require less; green or sour cane, more than
For syrup-making, the juice should at all times have a
slightly acid reaction; for sugar-making, it should be
neutral-neither acid nor alkaline.
TEST FOR ACID.
A few sheets of Blue Litmus paper should be pro-
cured. Cut this into half-inch strips, about four inches
long, and keep in a dry bottle. Before liming the juice,
dip one of these strips into the juice. The blue paper
will be at once turned pink or red, depending on the
amount of acid present. After liming, dip another strip
into the limed juice. It should show but a pale pink. If
it remains blue, you have too much lime, and raw juice
should be added till you get a faint pink color on the
paper. Juice for syrup should always be slightly acid,
turning the blue paper a faint pink.
Foa SYRau.-After thorough clarifying and skimming,
boil steadily and slowly (skimming all the time) till the
syrup makes 33 degrees.
FOR SUGAR.-Boil off as quickly as possible, until lhe
saccharometer shows 36 degrees.
For uniform syrup or sugar making, an instrument (a
hydrometer) called a "Beaume Saccharometer" is abso-
lutely necessary. These instruments cost 50 cents each,
and can be had of any instrument dealer. Any druggist
can order them.
In syrup-making, boil till a sample of the hot juice
shows 33 degrees on the spindle, which will be about
38 degrees when cold.
Use a glass or tin cylinder about ten inches long for
testing; fill the cylinder full of hot juice and drop the
spindle in; it will float at the point of density of the
syrup. Syrup should show 33 degrees when hot; for
sugar, boil to 36 degrees, hot.
The finished syrup should bp bottled or canned, while
still hot, in perfectly cleaned and sterilized bottles or
cans, and sealed hot. Cans, corks, caps or covers should
be boiled or steamed to sterlize them.
Barrels or other wooden containers cannot be success-
fully sterilized, and will certainly ferment in a short
time. Any syrup, thick or thin, sealed hot, in sterlized
cans or bottles, will not ferment until exposed to the air
and becoming infected by the germs of fermentation. No
harmless preservative (or anti-ferment) is known. Chem-
icals that will prevent fermentation will also prevent
digestion, and are prohibited by good morals, as well as
the pure food laws of the country.
A central factory for syrup or sugar, with an assured
acreage of from 200 to 500 acres, where farmers can fur-
nish from 10 to 20 acres without too great haul, should
be a most profitable investment. Such a factory should
purchase cane on the basis of one-half the syrup or sugar
made; the farmer purchasing necessary packages if he
prefers to take his share "in kind," rather than accept
the value of his half at the factory without packages.
The amount of syrup or sugar in the cane is readily de-
termined by the specific gravity of the juice at the mill.
With a good mill and modern apparatus, a yield of 30
gallons per ton of average ripe cane of 8 degrees Beaume
can be expected. This syrup should be worth 30 cents per
gallon at the factory, or $9.00 per ton of cane, of which
the farmer should receive $4.00; at 20 tons per acre his
gross yield is $80.00; by proper fertilizing and culture,
he can increase both the sugar content and the tonnage;
30 tons are frequently made, while 40 to 60 tons have been
produced per acre on the rich hammock and muck lands
of the State, when properly drained, fertilized and cul-
Packages for syrup should not exceed five gallons each,
while one-gallon cans and quart bottles, neatly labeled
and sealed hot, to insure the preservation of the aroma
and peculiar flavor of well-made cane syrup, are prefer-
able. A fair price for good syrup in five-gallon cans is
from 40 to 60 cents per gallon, while quart bottles will
sell from 60 cents to $1.00 per gallon. Five-gallon cans
will cost 25 cents delivered, each, or 5 cents per gallon;
one-gallon cans will cost 10 to 15 cents each, while quart
bottles will cost 5 cents each. These prices, of course,
can be reduced by purchasing in car lots, or by purchas-
ing the material and having the cans made at the factory,
as is done in most canning establishments. The freight
on ready-made cans is a very large item of expense. An
outfit for making cans is not expensive, while the skill
required is not great.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
This question is of such importance that the United
States Agricultural Department has recently undertaken
a series of experiments in Georgia and Florida, along the
line of syrup-making. I believe our State could make no
better investment than to establish a sugar experimental
station in Florida, along the lines of the Louisiana Sugar
Experimental Station, which has added enormous sums
to the profits of the Louisiana sugar planters; has edu-
cated numbers of practical sugar growers and sugar
makers. This station would soon be a self-supporting and
self-sustaining institution, and should be run on practical,
as well as scientific, principles, and thus train our young
men to "know how," as well as to "know why," certain
processes will yield certain results.
BULLETINS AND LITERATURE.
I would suggest to all those interested in sugar cane,
syrup and sugar-making, to write to the Louisiana Sugar
Experimental Station, at New Orleans, for a copy of
"Sugar Cane," by Prof. William C. Stubbs, Director of
the Louisiana Sugar Experimental Station ( enclosing 50
cents for the same) ; also, to obtain from the United
States Agricultural Department, Farmers' Bulletins Nos.
90 and 135, "The Manufacture of Sorghum Syrup." The
apparatus and methods therein recommended are equally
applicable to the manufacture of syrup from cane.
During recent years experiments under the direction
of the United States Agricultural Department have been
made in Florida and South Georgia in manufacturing
syrup from sugar cane. A report, covering a number of
analyses of soils, and a larger number of analyses of cane
has been published in these bulletins, Nos. 70 and 75, of
the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Agricul-
tural Department. This report sustains the position
assumed by myself and others that Florida and South
Georgia produce cane equal to any country in sugar
content, and that the tonnage compares favorably with
more tropical territories.
AVERAGE ANALYSIS OF FLORIDA CANE.
The average Florida and Georgia shows:
Sucrose, or pure sugar ..................12.08 per cent.
Glucose, or reducing sugars............. 1.32 per cent.
Co-efficient of purity .................... 79.50 per cent.
While these general rules and directions are given,
there are many "kinks" and conditions arising that re-
quire experience and skill to succeed in making a really
good quality of syrup or sugar. The art of sugar boiling
is like all other arts, and requires practice and skill to
become an adept. While it is possible to tell "why" cer-
tain results should follow certain processes, one can only
learn "how" by practice. Numerous failures may be ex-
pected. Some of the most skillful sugar boilers are un-
able to tell "why," but they do know "how" to produce
the best results. There are numbers of chemists who,
while they know "why" certain results are to be expected
from given conditions and processes, have not the skill
required to boil syrup or sugar successfully. "Syrup boil-
ing" in all sugar-making countries is a distinct art, trade
or profession; skillful sugar boilers frequently being paid
as much, or more, than either the superintendent, man-
ager, chemist or engineer of a sugar factory.
DR. H. W. WILEY'S CONCLUSIONS.
In conclusion, I quote from Prof. H. W. Wiley, Chief
Chemist, United States Agricultural Department:
"The problems connected with the sugar and starch
products are four or five in number.
"First of all, the soil is to be considered and, therefore,
agricultural interests should pay some attention to staple
crops-that is, crops that have a market the year around
and can be preserved and marketed at any time. Sugar
and starch are types of such crops. These substances
take absolutely nothing from the soil; they are fabricated
by the plant from the atmosphere and water; hence, the
sale of such products does not tend to impoverish the soil.
"The soils of Florida are largely of a sandy nature. ***
*** *** Sandy soils are not suitable for producing
wheat, for instance, but they are well adapted for pro-
ducing sugar and starch. In Florida, it is more a ques-
tion of climate than of soil, since, with a favorable cli-
mate, scientific agriculture will produce a crop, from
almost any kind of soil.
"The second problem to be considered is that of fer-
tilizers. Perhaps there is no State more favorably situ-
ated than Florida in respect of fertilizers. You have here
inexhaustible deposits of phosphate. In the leguminous
crops which grow here-namely, peas, beans, alfalfa and
beggarweed grass-you have a most valuable means of
assimilating nitrogen from the air. In cotton seed, fish
scrap and other animal refuse, you have access to large
stores of nitrogen. Through your seaports, stores of fer-
tilizer materials, such as nitrate of soda and potash salts,
can be brought from South America and Germany. It
would be hard to find any other portion of our country
where fertilizers could be sold more cheaply than in this
"The third problem is the character of the market. This
country is the greatest sugar and starch consumer in the
world. We use more than 2,000,000 tons of sugar an-
nually. Of this quantity, before the Spanish War we
made only about 300,000 tons-about one-seventh of all.
"Since the Spanish War we have acquired Hawaii,
Porto Rico and the Philippines, all of which gives us
large additional quantities of sugar. This year we will
produce about 100,000 tons of beet sugar, so that at the
present time it may be said that we produce about one-
third of all the sugar we consume; but still there is a
vast foreign market, which we might supply with a home
"There is no danger, therefore, of overstocking our own
market with increased sugar productions, nor is there
danger of the beet sugar driving the cane sugar out of
the market. For many purposes-as, for instance, the
manufacture of syrup-beet sugar is unsuitable, and
there will always be a demad for all the cane sugar that
can be made.
"The sugar crop of the whole world for the present
year is about 10,000,000 tons, of which nearly 7,000,000
tons are made from the sugar beet.
"The sugar beet cannot, however, be grown in Florida
profitable. Here you must depend on the sugar cane for
sugar, and upon the cassava and potato for starch. From
starch, glucose can also be made, and it seems to me
that in the near future the glucose industry will pass
from the Indian corn belt to the cassava and potato belt.
In one particular industry Florida and the southern
parts of Georgia and Alabama stand pre-eminent, and
that is the manufacture of table syrup from sugar cane.
It is important, however, to secure uniform grades to
hold the markets of the world, and this can only be ac-
complished by mixing together the products of small
farmers, or by the establishment of central factories,
where the cane grown in the neighborhood can be manu-
factured under standard conditions.
"By the development of these great industries, sugar
and starch making, including table syrups, untold wealth
will in the near future flow into Florida.
"From by-products of the factories, immense quantities
of cattle food can be obtained, both from sugar cane and
the starch-producing plants. Thus, a dairy industry can
be established in connection with sugar and starch mak-
ing, which will add much to the wealth of the State."
R. E. ROSE.
Tallahassee, Fla., September, 1910.