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Group Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: Effects of freezing temperatures on sugarcane in the Florida Everglades
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026852/00001
 Material Information
Title: Effects of freezing temperatures on sugarcane in the Florida Everglades
Series Title: Bulletin 278 ; University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 12 p. : ill., charts ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bourne, B. A ( Benjamin Arthur ), b. 1897
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: May, 1935
Copyright Date: 1935
Subject: Sugarcane -- Frost resistance -- Florida -- Everglades   ( lcsh )
Plants -- Effect of cold on -- Florida -- Everglades   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by B.A. Bourne.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 12).
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026852
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - AEN4963
oclc - 18207300
alephbibnum - 000924345

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
Full Text

Bulletin 278 May, 1935






Research Department, U. S. Sugar Corporation


Bulletins will be sent free to Florida residents upon application to


John J. Tigert, M.A., LL.D., President of the Geo. H. Baldwin, Chairman, Jacksonville
University A. H. Blanding, Bartow
Wilmon Newell, D.Sc., Director A. H. Wagg, West Palm Beach
H. Harold Hume, M.S., Asst. Dir., Research Oliver J. Semmes, Pensacola
Harold Mowry, M.S.A., Asst. Dir., Adm. Harry C. Duncan, Tavares
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor J. T. Diamond, Secretary, Tallahassee
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
Jefferson Thomas, Assistant Editor
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian BRANCH STATIONS
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Manager
K. H. Graham, Business Manager NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY
Rachel McQuarrie, Accountant
Rachel McQuarrie Accountant L. Gratz, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist in
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist
J. D. Warner, M.S., Agronomist
AGRONOMY R. M. Crown, B.S.A., Asst. Agronomist
W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist** Jesse Reeves, Farm Superintendent
W. A. Leukel, Ph.D., Agronomist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S.A., Associate* CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED
Fred H. Hull Ph.D., Associate John H. Jefferies, Superintendent
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Associate Plant
John P. Camp, M.S., Assistant Pathologist
W. A. Kuntz, A.M., Assoc. Plant Pathologist
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., Animal Husbandman** W. L. Thompson, B.S., Asst. Entomologist
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman
W. M. Neal, Ph.D., Associate in Animal EVERGLADES STATION, BELLE GLADE
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian A. Daane, Ph.D., Agronomist in Charge
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Asst. Veterinarian R. N. Lobdell, M.S., Entomologist
W. W. Henley, B.S.A., Assistant Animal F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agronomist
Husbandman G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Assistant Plant
P. T. Dix Arnold, B.S.A., Assistant Dairy Pathologist
Husbandman J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Biochemist
R. W. Kidder, B.S., Assistant Animal
Ross E. Robertson, B.S., Assistant Chemist
R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Chemist**
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate
R. B. French, Ph.D., Associate H. S. Wolfe, Ph.D., Horticulturist in Charge
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant W. M. Fifield, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
H. W. Jones, M.S., Assistant Stacy O. Hawkins, M.A., Assistant Plant
C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist** WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION,
Bruce McKinley, A.B., B.S.A., Associate BROOKSVILLE
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate
A. H. Spurloek, M.S.A., Assistant E. W. Sheets, D.Agri., Animal Husbandman
in Charge*
ECONOMICS, HOME W. F. Ward, M.S.A., Asst. An. Husbandman*
Ouida Davis Abbott, Ph.D., Specialist**
L. W. Gaddum, Ph.D., Biochemist FIELD STATIONS
C. F. Ahmann, Ph.D., Physiologist
J. T. Hall, Jr., B.S.Ch.E., Asst. Physiologist Leesburg
ENTOMOLOGY M. N. Walker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist in
J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologist** W. B. Shippy, Ph.D,. Asso. Plant Pathologist
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Associate K. W. Loucks, M.S., Asst. Plant Pathologist
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant J. W. Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Entomologist
J. W. Kea, B.S.A., Assistant C. C. Goff, M.S., Assistant Entomologist
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Horticulturist** A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist R. E. Nolen, M.S.A., Asst. Plant Pathologist
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Associate Cocoa
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Truck Horticulturist
R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Specialist, Fumigation A. S. Rhoads, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Research Hastings
R. D. Dickey, B.S.A., Assistant Horticulturist A.H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
A. M. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist** G. B. Fairchild, M.S., Assistant Entomologist
George F. Weber, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. K. Voorhees, M.S., Assistant Bradenton
Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Assistant Botanist
*In cooperation with U.S.D.A. E. R. Purvis, Ph.D., Assistant Chemist,
"** Head of Department. Celery Investigations



IN T R O D U C T IO N ............. ..................................... ...................................................... ............................... 3
M ATERIALS AND M ETHODS................... .. .............................. ......................................... 7
The Core-Punch Method of Field Sampling......................... ......................................... 7
RESULTS AND OBSERVATIONS...........................................-............. .........-............................ 10
ABSENCE OF CERTAIN SUGAR HOUSE DIFFICULTIES................... ................................... 11
SU M M A R Y ..................................................... ....... ................................................................................ 11
L ITE R A T U R E CITE D ............................................................ ........ ............................................... .... 12


The main varieties of sugarcane grown commercially in the
Florida Everglades are P.O.J. 2725, 2714, 2878, 36-M, S.C. 12-4,
C.P. 27-139, Co. 281 and Co. 290. Since P.O.J. 2725 occupies
by far the greatest acreage of any variety at present, its behavior
subsequent to freezing weather early in the grinding season is
of considerable interest and practical importance.
The combinations of soil types and climate are distinctly dif-
ferent from those existing elsewhere in North America and
probably also from any other cane growing country. Informa-
tion on deterioration of various "P.O.J.", "Co." and other canes
is available through the researches of several workers in the sub-
tropics, including Cross and Delascio (2)*, Sartoris (4) and
Balch and Lauritzen (1). Observations on P.O.J. 2725, however,
have not been available in any of these instances, so that the
record of its recent performance is of value, not only from the
standpoint of direct commercial utilization, but for use in breed-
ing types suitable for local conditions.
Because of the relatively high temperatures which ordinarily
occur in the Everglades subsequent to heavy frosts, many ex-
perienced observers acquainted with conditions in Louisiana
predicted that sugar house operations would be able to go for-
ward for about 10 days after the freeze, but certainly no longer
than 30 days. Since everything has actually proceeded satis-

1Formerly Plant Physiologist at the Everglades Experiment Station,
Belle Glade, now Head, Research Department, U. S. Sugar Corporation.
The writer is under obligation to H. T. Vaughn and other chemists of
the sugar house control laboratory for assistance with the analytical work;
also to R. T. Mitchell of the drainage division for making the tracings used
in figures 1 and 2.
Figures in parenthesis (Italic) refer to "Literature Cited" at the end
of this paper.

8 9 II 1s 1 14 15
1 ,2466 M 4 t4G 1 6 11 ;146 4a 24 4 6 0 46 6 t 2 I 4 6 451 468 1 4 6 5 OM 14 G Mq 1 4 1 46e 1 |14466S G03 246 1 M1 4660112 46 4
90I 9 .10 | 11 12. .. . . .5.


i 9 t 10mIe r 12 r S r e 8-15 1

Fig. 1.-Chart of temperatures recorded at research laboratory of the United States Sugar Corporation December 8-15, 1934. S

Effects of Freezing Temperatures on Sugar Cane 5

factorily with the frozen crop for over 75 days, the average
sugar yield for the period being well over 6.5 percent of 960
test, the suitability of this region for growing sugarcane types
adaptable to prevailing environmental conditions has been amply

Fig. 1 shows the thermographic record of temperatures at
Clewiston, 30 inches from the ground surface in the field during
the week of Dec. 8 to 15, 1934, inclusive. It is seen that the
temperature remained below freezing for eight hours on the
nights of both the 11th and 12th. A minimum of 27 F. was
recorded on the night of the 11th and 210 F. on the night of the
12th. These temperatures have no counterpart at such an early
date in the official weather records of the Everglades. The
U. S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau reported mini-
mum temperatures of 250 F. close to Lake Okeechobee in 1917
(18 years previous), but these occurred early in February. In
1895 (or 40 years previous), records at Tampa, considerably
north of this region, show minimum temperatures similar to
those of this season, but here again, these occurred in February.
Such low temperatures occurring so early in December in this
region would appear to have a probability of being recorded
only about once in 50 years or longer.
Rainfall during the period from Dec. 1, 1934 to Feb. 9, 1935,
amounted to only a total of 1.90 inches in Clewiston, which
precipitation was typical of the area with frozen cane under
Since the deterioration of sugarcane after a freeze depends
so largely upon weather conditions, especially the average daily
temperature, these have been compared this season with those
for the same period during the previous year when no freeze
was experienced. This information might also be of interest
to other observers in sub-tropical countries where sugarcane is
grown, and is also periodically subjected to freezing tempera-
During the period Dec. 11, 1934 to Feb. 9, 1935, when frozen
cane was being ground continuously, Fig. 2 shows that there
were three periods, viz. from Dec. 11 to 20, Jan. 5 to 10 and
Jan. 22 to 29, inclusive, when the average daily temperature
during the present crop season was distinctly below that of last

6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

S1 ii t :~ i

-Ajli: 171 ;1
7 1 P A.
Ii i; P ['I-;1 r.ilrassq ^^^ M-^ |

'I r '!:* H 0- tiiti^~ V 7 ^ rcW r^ \
r I I c

i. M '. i.--: .... . ... ---^L ^a l^ y ^ T ^

A8 1' iu- f f | ;

...i ..... ....

-1 -- ---- ---- ----

Fig. 2.-Chart showing comparative deterioration of sugarcane in percent
sugar yield and also giving records of temperatures December 1EFebruary 9,
1933-34 (broken line) and 1984-35 (solid line).

Effects of Freezing Temperatures on Sugar Cane 7

season during the same period2. These 24 days of rather cool
weather undoubtedly were of great benefit in preventing very
rapid deterioration.


The daily yield from the sugar house having a normal 24-
hour capacity of 4,000 tons, grinding mostly P.O.J. 2725, has
been compared with the calculated sugar house yields obtain-
able from field analyses secured from 20 typical fields of P.O.J.
2725 from a total of 1,044.9 acres, selected at random on differ-
ent soil types around the south and southwest part of Lake
Okeechobee. Analyses were made from each field approximately
every 12 days by what has been termed locally the "core-punch"
Approximately 75 separate mid-stalk cores were removed at
random with a special instrument developed for the purpose3
from each of the four sides (about 76' inward from the edge)
of the fields, which were mostly 40 or 80 acres in size. The
juice of each 75-stalk sample was then expressed immediately
in the field with a powerful hand-press and preserved in a glass
jar with a small quantity of mercuric bichloride. Within a few
hours the sugar analysis was completed4. A large number of
comparative sampling tests showed conclusively that no deterio-
ration of juices occurred after standing in the jars for seven
hours at ordinary field temperatures, when expressed and pre-
served in this manner. The hand-press was found to give an
2A comparative study of the thermographic records during the 61-day
period, Dec. 11 to Feb. 9, for the six years from 1929-30 to 1934-35 inclusive,
showed that the average daily temperature for this period was 64.95 F.
The average daily temperature for this period during 1933-34 was 64.450 F.,
which is seen to be practically a normal situation for the period studied,
whereas, for 1934-35, it was only 62.100 F., which is distinctly below normal.
The average minimum temperature during this particular period in 1934-35
was only 50.1" F., this being the lowest record in the whole six-year period,
the average of all years being 54.50 F. and for 1933-34, 53.1.
3This tool (See Fig. 3 A) consisted of a sharp, tool-steel core punch,
21/2" long and %" inside diameter, connected to a closed brass cylinder with
screw-cap (51%" long x 2" diam.), which served as a handle and to collect
the cores as they are made and also prevent the evaporation of moisture
from them.
4Since the quantity of juice (75 cc.) obtained from an average sample
was insufficient for making a Brix determination with the usual large
hydrometer, the miniature Brix hydrometer with thermometer (Fig. 3 C),
made to order by the A. H. Thomas Company and requiring only 60 cc. of
raw juice, proved exceedingly rapid and accurate for the work. The regular
"Zeiss" hand refractometer (Fig. 3 center) also was used for determination
of Brix, temperature corrections being made to the readings obtained.

8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

extraction of approximately 60 percent. Calculations of 96
sugar yield were made, assuming- the juice to be comparable
to sugar house crusher juice, and then applying the same
formula and factors
".F-0i: 3. e ,. i...o used in calculating
yields of 960 sugar,
which are based on
actual performance
at the local sugar
house. By means of
this method of field
sampling, experi-
ence for two seasons
has shown that it
forms not only a
"reliable and rapid
means of studying
the ripeness of fields
of considerable size,
but a decidedly close
correlation was ob-
tained between field
analyses and actual
sugar house yields.
A study of the
accuracy of the
method as applied
to frozen cane was
made by taking
duplicate random
samples from 10
fields of P.O.J. 2725,
seven of which were
Fig. 3.-The tool (A) used for making core- approximately 80,
punch samplings, the hand refractometer (center) and three, 40 acres
and the miniature hydrometer used in making
Brix determinations. in size. The aver-
age results show a
very close correlation in degrees Brix, sucrose, purity, percent
yield of 960 sugar and degree of acidity, as shown in Table 1.
Analyzing the results from the standpoint of percent yield of
96' sugar, it is seen that the mean difference between samples
A and B is 0.36 percent. With a standard deviation of 0.81 and
"z" factor of 0.44, the mean differences of the two samples in

(VARIETY P.O.J. 2725)
Sample No. A Sample No. B (Duplicate)
Field Percent Degree Percent Degree
No. Degrees Percent Percent Yield 96 of Degrees Percent Percent Yield 960 of
S____ Brix. Sucrose Purity Sugar Acidity* Brix. Sucrose Purity Sugar Acidity*

1 14.44 11.21 77.63 8.02 0.8 13.94 10.62 76.18 7.49 0.7
2 14.00 11.11 79.36 8.11 1.0 13.50 10.62 78.67 7.75 1.0
3 14.76 11.98 81.16 8.87 0.8 14.96 12.24 81.82 9.12 0.7
4 15.00 12.57 83.80 9.49 1.1 15.25 13.21 86.62 10.17 1.5
5 11.75 8.17 69.53 5.56 1.5 12.25 9.24 75.42 6.56 1.2
6 13.10 9.55 72.90 6.78 0.4 12.30 10.28 83.58 7.86 0.9
7 10.40 6.00 57.69 3.81 1.0 12.30 8.20 66.67 5.58 1.3
8 12.80 8.83 68.98 6.09 0.6 12.00 8.47 70.58 5.93 0.4 o
9 13.60 10.25 75.37 7.38 0.9 13.10 9.37 71.53 6.61 0.8
10 14.00 10.57 75.50 7.61 0.4 14.25 11.19 78.53 8.28 1.0 2

Average............. 13.38 10.02 74.19 7.17 0.85 13.38 10.34 76.96 7.53 0.95

*Number of cc. of 0.1 N. NaOH required to neutralize 10 cc. of juice, using phenolphthalein as indicator.

10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

percent yield of 960 sugar only show odds of significance of 8
to 1, as given in tables by Love (3). In view of the fact of this
close correlation from 10 duplicate random samples, the deterio-
ration graph of P.O.J. 2725 in Fig. 2 which was constructed from
approximately 80 random core-punch samples can be viewed
with considerable confidence.

The temperatures experienced on the nights of Dec. 11 and
12, 1934, were sufficient to kill all the leaves, growing points
and the majority of buds above ground. The stalks were com-
pletely water-soaked at the tip and base, as well as for the most
part along the rind. In many cases, all the stalks along the
edges of the fields were almost entirely water-soaked in appear-
ance when split lengthwise. The water-soaked appearance did
not clear up to any appreciable extent on standing.
Fig. 2 shows the actual daily sugar house yield for all varieties,
the major portion of which consisted of P.O.J. 2725, during a
considerable part of the crop season of 1934-35, when frozen
cane was being ground exclusively. The calculated sugar house
yield of P.O.J. 2725 from an average of approximately 80 ran-
dom core-punch samples of 75 stalks each, taken about 12
days apart from 1,044.9 acres shortly after the freeze on Dec.
12, is also shown graphically. Subsequent to the freeze, the
knives were lowered in the field to a point so that only about
the bottom five feet of stalk were utilized. Since the P.O.J. 2725
field stalk samples were taken from the middle of the stalk,
they are comparable to whole-stalk analyses. Therefore, while
the actual sugar house yields are seen to be somewhat higher
for all varieties than those calculated from the field tests of
P.O.J. 2725, nevertheless, the general tendency of the deteriora-
tion curve is the same for both. The average deterioration of
P.O.J. 2725 after the 28-day period subsequent to the freeze
is seen to amount to a decline of only 0.47 percent yield of 96
sugar, even though the whole stalks were being considered.
The average decline in sugar yield for the 28-day period amount-
ed to approximately 0.017 percent 960 sugar per day. Of course,
by lowering the knives, the percentage yield of sugar can be
kept up to an economic figure much longer. This was readily
confirmed by comparative tests made on 123 acres of P.O.J.
2725. After the yield figure had dropped to 6.28 percent about
the middle of January, using the analyses from the middle of

Effects of Freezing Temperatures on Sugar Cane 11

the stalks, this figure was raised to 7.09, or 0.81 percent sugar
yield higher, by analyzing the middle portion of the bottom
four-foot cut, this being the portion then being sent to the
sugar house.
On Feb. 28, the last thousand tons of cane was ground. Al-
though frozen for over 75 days, the average yield of 96' sugar
was 5.83 percent, a very remarkable showing of far-reaching
importance to the local industry.

In spite of the fact that the major portion of the crop was
frozen long before it had attained its maximum maturity, no
difficulty was experienced in clarification or recovering sugar
from the comparatively low grade of cane which arrived at the
sugar house, even 75 days after being frozen. Walton and Fort
(5) mention specifically the formation of mannite and dextran
by sugarcane after being frozen in Louisiana. These materials,
especially mannite, cause considerable difficulty in working the
low-grade products, so that the mills have to be closed sooner
than would be the case if such decomposition products were not
formed. Acetic acid fermentation also becomes a factor of
major importance in Louisiana when working with frozen cane.
No trouble was experienced at all from these various causes
in this region of Florida, even when the cane reached the sugar
house 75 days after being frozen. Since the major amount of
cane handled was P.O.J. 2725, the increased acidity in this
variety after 60 days is of special interest. The average of
over 80 separate analyses from middle joints of 1,044.9 acres
as cc. (0.1 N.NaOH per 10 cc. juice) immediately after
- the freeze on Dec. 12. Sixty days later, the analyses of the
four-foot bottom cut being harvested from these same fields
showed an average titration of only 1.76 cc., an acidity not at
all abnormal for ordinary handling.
1. Temperature and rainfall conditions during the crop season
of 1934-1935 have been recorded and discussed in relation to
the deterioration of sugarcane after freezing weather in the
Everglades of Florida. The probability of such low temperatures
occurring so early in December is shown to be about once in 50
or more years, judging from past experience.
2. The general deterioration curve for all varieties, and that
for P.O.J. 2725 in particular, are given. The rather slow de-

12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

terioration of the latter cane after being frozen, i.e. approxi-
mately 0.017 percent 960 yield per day, has been especially noted.
3. A rapid and accurate field method of sampling large areas
of cane during the crop season is described. Certain data pre-
sented show the confidence which may be placed in the results
secured from samples taken in this manner.
4. The absence of such common sugar house difficulties usually
caused by the decomposition of frozen cane and the formation
of mannite, dextran and acetic acid, has been noted in connection
with the successful handling of a cane crop over an extended
period of 75 days after being frozen in the Everglades of Florida.
5. Experience has shown that soil and climatic conditions are
so favorable for the sugar industry in the Florida Everglades
that even after the territory experienced freezing weather earlier
than it has ever been known to do in the past 40 years, with
very low minimum temperatures, a successful harvest season
has been possible.

1. BALCH, R. T., and J. I. LAURITZEN. Windrowing qualities of Co. 281
and other varieties of sugar cane under Louisiana conditions. U. S.
Department of Agriculture Circ. 304: 1-14. 1933.
2. CRoss, WM. E., and SALVADOR DELASCIO. An interesting example of the
resistance of Java seedling canes to frost damage. Revista Indus. y
Agric. de Tucuman. 11: 678-679. 1921.
3. LOVE, H. H. A modification of Student's table for use in interpreting
experimental results. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 16: 68-73. 1924.
4. SARTORIS, G. B. Rate of deterioration of sugar content of some P.O.J.
sugar cane varieties in Louisiana. U. S. Dep. of Agric. Circ. 97: 1-26.
5. WALTON, C. F. JR., and C. A. FORT. Mannite and dextran in the jellying
of molasses from juice of frozen and deteriorated cane. Indus. and
Engin. Chem. 23: 1295-1297. 1931.

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