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Two pounds of seei per acre seems to be the amount required. Growers claim that northern grown seed ripens earlier and is best for this latitude. The seed should be well soaked in warm water, and
may be planted in rows or drills at a depth not to exceed one inch, and the shallower the better. If in rows they should be three and one-half to four feet apart each way; if in drills, the rows should be three and one-half to four feet apart, with four to six inches between each plant. Drill planting seems to have the preference, and it is claimed that rows running east and west stand the best, as the heaviest storms in the summer come from the west. Planting should be done in May, as soon as the ground can be put in good condition. Careful planting is of the utmost importance in securing a good crop. The ground should be carefully worked over as soon as it is possible to discover the growing plant, and afterward the same cultivation as for corn will suffice. A prominent writer does not recommend hilling, and says late cultivation protracts the growth and stimulates the suckers on the upper joints, which is not desirable. Deeply ploughed loose soil, carefully planted seed, and early cultivation are the necessities for a good crop. The cost of cultivation is given from one to five dollars more than that of coro. The harvesting or cutting should commence about September 1st, or as soon as the seed is in the dough, and the crop cut up as expeditiously as possible, to prevent injury by frost.
In regard to stripping there is much discussion - one party de. monstrating by actual experiment that unstripped cane produced a higher per cent of juice of richer quality than stripped. Another contends there is a loss, though doubtful, if enough to pay the cost of stripping. All agree that if unstripped the leaves must be kept in a bright condition, otherwise it will injure the color and flavor of the product. The usual manner is to strip while standing, cut the stalks, and bind them with leaves at both ends in bundles of from tbirty to fifty stalks.
The seed heads with about two feet of the cane should be cut off and bound into bundles. The leaves and tops are equal to hay for fodder, and the crushed seed to oats for seed. In case of a hard freeze, the whole crop should be slashed down, leaves on,
butts to the north, and put through the mill with the greatest dispatch. It is said the frost does no harm of itself, but warm weather afterward causes fermentation. After cutting the bundles they should be ricked in the mill.yard, either under cover or in the open air. Placing the butts protects the cane from the sun, , and it also should be covered with leaves and tops. It should lie this way for two or three weeks (especially for sugar making), and then be ground. The season for grinding extends from forty-five to sixty days, and even much longer, if the cane be prevented from freezing. The juice must be treated immediately after being expressed, even a few hours' delay being dangerous on account of fermentation. Dumping carts or tiling wagons add greatly to the convenience of handling the crop.
It was my intention to give a brief description of the manufacture of sugar and syrup, but find the process so completely in its infancy, and so many disputed points, that I thought best to leave the investigation to those who contemplate engaging in the busi
The Agricultural Department is making strenuous efforts in this direction, and it is announced that important discoveries will be made public in time for the beneît of the coming crop.
I will now attempt to give an estimate of the profit in producing the Early Amber cane for syrup, taking an acre as a basis to compute from. As to the cost of raising, I have simply copied from the Hedges' Book, which is the highest estimate I can find. It is as follows:
Preparation of soil for planting.
Total cost .
A very common, we may say low average yield is 150 gallons per acre, while 340 gallops is mentioned by one correspondent.
The syrup is quoted at wholesale prices of from forty to seventy cents per gallon. Taking 150 gallons (a low yield), at forty cents (the lowest price), we find the product of an acre $60. The usual charge for manufacturing by small mills is one-half, or twenty cents per gallon, equal to $30 per acre. Add the cost of raising as per table, $27.50, and we have $57.50, leaving a balance of $2.50 per acre clear net profit. Let me here say I am not making fancy figures on paper, to entice into a business that will disappoint and cause you loss. I have taken the most unfavorable estimate possible to obtain, and still it pays you well for all your time. Interest at ten per cent. on your land, valued at $50 per acre, and $2.50 per acre clear profit. Charge the same expense to your corn crop and multiply your yield by thirty cents, the present price — say sixty bushels, or $18, and you have a net loss of $9.50 and $12 less than the cane produces. In the table given above, the author manages to show a profit of $29.40, instead of $2.50, as by my calculation, and none of the estimates place the profits at less than $20. One of the most prominent growers says the cane can be delivered at the mill for less than $17, being a profit in our estimation of $13. Another estimate as low as $10, netting $20. I give you these figures that you may judge for yourselves. I take the lowest price named for the syrup, because having dealt somewbat in that article, think it as high a figure as should be placed upon it for large quantities, until fur. ther improvements are made in its manufacture. For the producer's own consumption it is worth more intrinsically than can be procured at retail for sixty cents, the only objection being a peculiar taste, which, we predict, with the rapid improvements being made, will soon disappear. The yield of sugar per acre is estimated all the way from 1,000 to 3,000 pounds, so it seems 1,500 pounds ought to be a safe figure. At seven cents, this would give us $105. I can find no estimate of the cost of sugarmaking over tbat of syrup, as that branch is yet hardly more than an experiment, but think it is safe to say a successful one.
From present appearances the sugar crop would be the most profitable, but so much experience is required, that at least one season should be spent syrup-making before the manufacture of
sugar should be undertaken. Our subject is of too much importance and of too broad a nature to be more than glanced over in so short a time. It is already assuming a national character, and our Commissioner of Agriculture predicts that within five or six years the great northwest will produce its own sugars and syrups. Wisconsin is now accredited with the most varied resources of any state in the Union. To copper, iron and lead mines, her great lumber interests, her victories in cheese and butter making, stock raising: crops of fruits, hops, and all of the cereals, let us add the manufacture of pure sugar and syrup. Let us make a good article so cheap and plentiful that acids and other poisonous adulterations will be driven from the market. No state has soil or climate better adapted for good results, and no locality in the state more favored than our own. The discussion of any subject is in vain and of no effect unless conclusions are acted upon. Let our farmers carefully experiment and investigate, and we predict a rich harvest will be the result. Do not act in haste, but plant a small piece of ground, give it your careful attention, and you can ascertain without danger of serious loss, whether the picture is what enthusiasts paint it. Efforts should be made to induce the placing of machinery, and if appearances are not deceptive we will soon enjoy some of the “sweets of life," growo within sight of our own doors, without paying tribute to transportation companies or foreign countries. Regretting lack of time in preparing, and of ability in presenting this matter, I now leave it in your hands, hoping that its importance will prevent its being entirely lost among the many subjects so ably presented to this convention, and that it may be followed with practical results.
Mr. Hatch-I graduated in this thing several years ago. I will say that Gen. Le Duc, the present Commissioner of Agriculture, has brought down the ridicule of the agricultural press of the country for his persistent assertions that there were great resources undeveloped in sorghum. A gentleman in Pennsylvania thought he had the thing in a nut shell, and he compounded something from sulphuric acid, and they thought they had a thing that was going to revolutionize sugar making, and transfer it
from Cuba to Wisconsin. It is Stewart's process, using sulphuric acid. I will say concerning the use of lime water, that while it may assist in removing acids and greenness, it will discolor. The experiments conducted by the Commissioner of Agriculture have resulted in one discovery, that sugar can be made from ripe cane. That is the secret of the whole thing. One gentleman in Illinois made forty-two thousand pounds, and sold it in Chicago for ten cents a pound. In the per cent. of sugar obtained, it was found by the experiments that the Amber cane exceeded that obtained from other cane.
Mr. Sheldon — It does not follow that if the seed is sufficiently ripe to germinate the cane is ripe. We used to ripen our old. fashioned sorghum cane so that the seed would be good to grow the next year.
Mr. Hatch — It seems that the Amber cane has a degree of maturity in it that the others don't possess.
Secretary Bryant — The difference is this. It is the same as that between a great grown boy and a good, solid, plump man. One kind would not produce another. Captain Blakeslee, who represents a district in Sauk county in the legislature, told me within the past week that the sorghum raised in his vicinity had completely driven the syrup business away from him ; that they had not sold one single gallon of any kind of molasses, in his store, since they commenced to make sorghum last September. The whole people around there get their sweets from the sorghum. Now we have some sorghum in the other room that was sent here last year.
Mr. Orange Judd, the editor of the American Agriculturist, was here last suinmer, and spent several days. He was the first man that brought sorghum seed into this country; he got it from France. They got it from somewhere else, China, probably, and had raised it there, in France, and then it came here. The last importation seems to have had the effect to get more sweet from it, so that we are able to make sugar from it.
Mr. Daniells — The experiments of the Agricultural Department say seeds fully ripe. That is all that is said in regard to the ripeness of the plants. The chemist of the department does not ex. pect that this thing is settled. These are the indications of one