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On the Growth of Sugar-beet in New Zealand.

(New Zealand■ Herald )

The following is the concluding portion of the paper by Dr. Curl on the above important subject, read at the meeting of the Auckland Institute, on the 25th October :

Upon examining my notes of the profit made by farmers in France, Germany, and elsewhere, I find they are much Jarger than my highest figures, and better than all, instead of being a very temporary, advantage to the farmer to' cultivate beetroot it is a great gain to him, besides what ho acquires directly from the sale of the beet-root, as it is a well proved fact that the fields improve eacli year under beet culture, and that after the beet-root comes off, the land will grow a bettor crop of wheat or other corn than it would before these roots were : grown. In fact the beet crop is an excellent preparation and preparatory crop for wheat or other corn ; and in addition to the roots sold, the green tops of the beet cam be fed to cattle or live stock as well, and then the manure' applied to the land with the beet crop, and the working this gets so prepares the soil for the subsequent cropping,- that a beet crop in rotation enables the farmer to grow more wheat in a series of years than he could without the beet was grown on his land. Again, iu many parts of Germany- and France when the farmer sends a load of beets to the factory he brings back a return load of the expressed beet, pulp from which the sugar lias' been' .extracted, and with this lie feeds cattle, or other live stock, thus' adding food for his animals, and letting them turn it into manure for his fields, so that while'feeding the leaves and pulp back to his cattle he only‘removes the sugar.which the beets made while growing upon his land, ‘and as the sugar is composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, obtained principally from the atniospherc in the shape of rain. and. carbonic acid,.the soil is exhausted by the beets being grown upon the lands, and judicious applications of manures, in addition to the leaves and pulp, more than keep up the fertility of. the soil 1 ,,t0 the condition it held before the beets were cultivated ; while the preparation of the land, and culture of the beet-root, and the profit mad© .therefroiti;enables/more laborers to be kept all the year round upon each farm, and at better wages, and yet be remuneratively employed, than would be possible without the beet culture.. .But, leaving the farmers for the prefent,; \yhfl; would grGW-ftliclibectjdaid'

turning, to those who would manufacture it into sugar. The larger the capital invested in bootsugar manufacture to a certain amount—supposing the, management .to be equally good- in each instance—the greater the profit,;and the'better altogether for all more perfect machinery and mpre-certaini results can;: be to, or - tfldompany €6nld start arid work a factory and make sugar for a yearfrom a capital of L 25,000, yet it would be far wiser and better in everyway to have a capital of L 70,000, or, if possible, LlOO,ooo,.which would^pay 'slims.*' But as thprgi would be no difficulty in •raising the sum in Europe for such a pur-.peso,;-if:^itJie. dkectory f an.d what, it should be, it would be well to have the larger sum invested. But, taking L 75,000 as the capital of a coihpany, le£ us see ; what similar enterprises return as'profits for such a capital in other places. , • Capital, L 75,000, . L50,0t)0 of which .would ,be ,expended upon building, and machinery, and plant generally, and 1,25,000 to be reserved,.or.spent .upon a year’s working expenses^' In France and Lcrmany the average cost of producing a weight of sugar, if calculated in English weight and money, is equal, to from to 2cl.' per pound, ■varying according to the perfection of the factory, plant, Ac., or about LIS per ton. A factory furnished with a plant like this proposed could easily work up and convert into sugar. 30,000 tons of bebt-root, and from these, if the beet yielded at the rate of about & per cent of crystallised sugar, or a total equal to 2,392 tons of crystallised sugar, which .would'cost L 43.056 to produce, blit would, if sold at L 36 per ton, leave a profit for sale of sugar of ■L43,05G. ■ There would then be left from this quantity of beet 800 tons of molasses, which if sold at L2 per ton would amount to LI6OO ; and therewould bo about 5,700 tons of beet pulp, which, if sold at 10s. per ton to the farmers or dairymen, or to any keeping live stock, would amount to L 2,850 ; being, a total of L47,806‘ for the year’s operations, 11111011 a profit of over CO per cent, upon the whole of the capital. ' ' But large as these profits.are, calculated upon the data furnised by factories working in France and Germany, they would be exceeded here, as they are based upon an average of less sugar in the beet than would be found here, for we might certainly calculate for 11|- per cent of sugar hi our beet-roots, whereas the preceding figures are calculated for only 10 per cent as a total, and 8 per cent as sugar extracted and crystallised. But even if they were much worse, and :instead ;_of showing a profit .of GO per cent, if mismanagement arid a less percentage of sugar, and sold at a lower price, even then the-profits must be very large, and must altogether 1 depend upon the management of the factory. But, whatever may be thought of the exact amount of the profits that would accrue, there can be no doubt that large profits, would be made, as is proved by the rapid way in which this industry ; has spread on the Continent of Europe, and the enormous wealth that has been developed thereby, not oiily amongst manufacturers, but amongst the farmers, and others who are engaged and interested in the beet industry. In 1850, in France, an area equal to 87,000 British acres was under beet culture, and fifteen years afterwards this area under beet culture increased to over 300.000, and it has been increasing at a very rapid rate ever since. . In fact, the production of beet-root sugar has doubled in France every ten years. In Germany they arc more' than doubling their production of sugar every ten years. In 1850, in Germany, they made 53,000 tons of beet sugar, and in 18G5 they made 187,000 tons. In 1867 France made 220,900 tons of beet sugar, and has as rapidly increased ever since. In Austria they have over 200. beetsugar manufactories, and are always increasing the number. The increase of this industry is also equally rapid .in Holland,. Belgium, Sweden, Poland, and Russia. In the year 1866 there was produced in the whole worldjthis quantity-—2,320,000 tons of sugar froni the beet, -the maple, the cane, the palm, the date. Out of this quantity there was more than ono-fourth manufactured from the beet-root, namely,, 638,500 tons, of which France produced 216.000, Germany 190,000, Austria 80.000, Russia 80,000, "Belgium 40,000, Poland and Sweden together 25,000, and Holland 7,500. ' . In the year ended, 1866, in France, the returns from the beet harvest in that country were as follows, reduced into English moneyßeet sugar, LG,250,000 ; spirit distilled from beet, LI,350,000; potash from refuse of beet, L 500,000 ; exhausted pulp sold at factories, LI,.000,000; total, L 9,200,000, in addition to which there were the leaves fertile cattle to feed upon. In that year there were over 100,000 hands engaged in the sugar factories, and over 26,000 in the beet distilleries. Lands leased by the farmers to grow’ the beet-roots aveiaged 200: francs per hectare —over L 3 per acre English. The growers of the.beet-root consider, that it thrives best in a temperate climate, with sufficient, but not too great moisture ; a moderate amount of sun, but not too hot ; as all this root should grow underground to contain the largest amount of silgar, in a soil not too dry or too hard, it follows that this climate would admirably suit it.

Whenever it has once been fairly tried it is never given up, but always increases. 'The laborers’ wages rise, the fanner gets richer, the manufacturer becomes wealthy. The money that would have gone out of these countries, for cane sugar, .is now kept in and not wasted for what they can themselves produce, and are we to be more reckless and wasteful, than they, and send our thousands of pounds every year out of the colony for what we can produce so well here 1 Are our commercial men such incapables that thoy'wiU allow this wealth to slip past them without inaugurating an industry that would benefit them and all concerned ? Are our farmers so obtuse that what a Frenchman, a German, a Swede, a Russian, a, Hollander, an Austrian, or a Pole bah do, and i imprdvib' ! his farm with, and have a conatant-nnd steady income therefrom, that our farmers cannot do the same ? Are they ’so much behind the other nations that they cannot or will not adapt themselves to a new culture that is no more difficult than the old, and that is in no * -way speculative, as most other nations have seized upon it, and are always going more 'fully; into it, finding it so profitable and worthy l 0f ; 'attention ? Surely the men who - ! have-snade New Zealand their home, and have settled upon uhese fertile lands, and where the climate is so suitable to the beet culiire, that it developes more sugar than in other places, will-not much longer refrain from tins magnificent industry that .will ’make their families well off, and render them more prosperous each year, enabling them l to employ-more labor, more machinery, and more'highly cultivate and always keep limproving tlieir.farms,; ;and making their lands more valuable, while they are. estab- 1 fishing an industry that will make them more, independent of corn .and meatgrowing: each year, but; will enable them if they cliddse, to gfbV more wheat aiid meat to the acre than they can now possibly do, by reason of the improvement that this woidd efiect ’ m' the tillage ; hiid'’improvement of these lands, while they will he keeping the money .in the country that is how being sent out in hundreds of thousands to purchase the sugar and spirits that are now draining, the money kiutof-the'-colbhy. 1 '•> i a ' - ->■

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Bibliographic details

On the Growth of Sugar-beet in New Zealand., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 211, 8 December 1880

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On the Growth of Sugar-beet in New Zealand. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 211, 8 December 1880

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