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Sugar Beet Raising

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"I think the American farmer wil find uis salvatiou in the raising of sugnr beets,"' said Mr. Paul G. Sukey to liie Journal representative at Arm Arbor yesterday. xMr. Sukey is a Germán chemist well kuown in southern Michigan, where he has lived for the past seven or eight years, and for months has been giving nis whole attention to an investigatiou of the sugar beet industry. This present year he has spent some time in Germany and Italy, where the culturéis of long standing, and he returns to his home with much data of a scientiflc and practical interest. "I am contident," said Mr. Sukey yesterday, "thatin this immediate district the beet could be raised advantageously, but the farmer does not want to begin the cultivation of the vegetable until there are signs at least that a factory for the handiing of it is to be erected in the vicinity. The great drawback to the cultivation of the beet is in its transportaron to the milis. However, that is neither here nor there, for as soon as tüe capitaiists are shown that the beet can be raised here they will not be long in putting up the faetones necessary to the extraction of the sugar. "Yet there is no branch of farming that requires so much intelligence as does the cultivation of sugar beets, The operator must be a business man, else he will make a great and glittering failure of his efforts to better himself by the raising of the Germán vegetable". I fear for the work of attemptmg to cultívate the beat in America for this very reason. I fear that hundreds of farmers will think the sugar beet a sort of Klondyke, and will rush into the business without any practical knowledge of it. If they do, thev will surely fail, and their failure will keep out practical men who otherwise might go into the cultivation of the beet. This is the great danger of the industry in this country, where it is a new and untried experiment. As for beet land, any good barley land is sufficient to produce a beet varying in percentage of sugar frorn 14 to 21, which latter is the alnjost average per cent in Germany, but there, you know, they are familiar with all branches of the business, and have been employed in it for years. "Then, too," continued Mr. Subey, "the American farmer who plows six inches thinks he is doing a great thing. He can't plow six inches and raise sugar beets. He will have to go down frotn 12 to 14 inches, and unless he does he might as well give up trying to raise the beets at all, for nis efforts will be crowned with failure. There must be a good sub-soil to the sugar beet land, a porous loam such as it is in Iowa, where the flelds may be sown with corn year af ter year without the land ever becoming worn out. Iowa is the sugar beet state of the uuion, in my opinión, yet I do not doubt they could be raised advantageously here if means of transporting the beets frorn the winter cellars to the milis were provided. "If many farmers in the section go into the sugar beet mdustry, tne wise move tor them to make would be to build their own factory aud have it operated on the co-operative plan. [f this were done, I would say the farmer of this country would before long find himself better off than he had ever even hoped to be. As an experiment only. I, a few years ago, started the cultivation of sugar beets from the best Germán seeds, in this section of Washtenaw county, and 1 must say I was very successful. I analyzed my beets myself and found them to contain a very large percent of sugar, enough to make their general cultivation profitable. There was no mili, however, in this vicinity at that time. and the cost of transporting them to the only mili within reasonable distance would liave knocked the proüts completely out of the venture. I did it simply to satisfy myself that they could be raised here. and I succeded. "The suger beet industry is the most complete and logical branchof farming for the reason that nothinjr is lost. The real sugar of the beet comes from the air throunh the leaves, being formed, of course, by the action of the Chemicals of the earth on the combinations drawn from the atmosphere. Then the beet is pulled up and taken to the mili. There it is shaved and the process of getting at the sugar is gone through with. At the conclusión the farmer receives back the beet shavings, which form the very best food tor cattle. Then there is a lye formed in the process of manufacture that is a splendid fertilizer for beet fields. The shavings fed the animáis employed in the cultivation are eventually thrown back on the fields as a fertilizer, and thus the complete circle of the sugar beet products is made. "In Germany they understand this, and every bit of the refuse from the milis goes back to the fields. That is why the cultivation of the beet is so successful in that country. The Germán sugar beet raiser is a business man first and a farmer second, and he allows nothing to go to waste, as the American farmer has fallen into the habit of doing.'' In speaking of the industry as practiced in foreign countries, Mr Suiey said: "The best beet seeds come from Germany. These are the seeds that should be this country. They produce smooth, perfect beets from 14 to 20 inches in length. The French seeds are not so good. The beet raised from them are il] formed and their per cent of sugar is not so great. As for Germany, I am aware of one thing. The Germán farmer today reads the American news in his paper as anxiously as though the countries were at war. He is frightened almost to death in the though that the sugar beet industry will be taken up in this country. He knows well thit the valuable vegetables can be raised here, and in sufficient quantities to forcé him out of the flelds, and asa cousequence he is on the anxious seat most of the tiine. He fears night and day that his next morning's paper, if he takes a daily, or his agricultural paper, at any rate. will contain news to the effect that faetones are going up all over this country. It would injure him if such should prove to be the case. He kuows the industry can be carried out here,and his greatest surprise is that it hasn't been taken up, just as his greatest fear is that it will soon be. And I think it will. I believe the American farmer has come to the conclusión that he must do something different from what his forefathers did before him, and, moreover, that that something he must do is to cnltivate the sugar beet. As I said at first, it will prove his salvation.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News