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1 correction by Ben.James - Show corrections

SORGHUM SACCHARATUM. - THE NEW

CHINESE SUGAR-CANE."  

("To the Editor of the Moreton Bay Courier.)      

Sir, - The autumn has brought further information about the Sorghum Sacchara- tum, which was sent to the colony in 1854, by E. Deas Thomson, Esquire, and re- commended as a valuable grain bearing plant. At that time no experience worth mentioning had been gained in this co- lony, the whole of our information coming from Europe. In the first week of De- cember 1857, seeds of the Sorghum Saccharatum were presented by the Govern- ment Resident, the Director of the Botanic Garden, Melbourne, and James Warner, Esquire. I am now in a position to re- port some results. The seeds when received

were sown broadcast on a border in the

nursery ground, where they speedily ve- getated and by the third week 2722 plants were transplanted in rows 4 feet distance from each other, on one acre of ground that had been dug one spade deep for them. They soon became strong and luxuriant, producing from 5 to 8 canes, varying from 7 to 12 feet in length. By the end of February sufficient ripeness having been attained, I took a bundle of the canes and cut them into lengths of from eight inches to a foot long, I threw them into the manger where a horse was standing. The horse blowed upon them and seemed at first quite unwilling to have anything to do with them, but having retired for

about an hour I returned and found that he had eaten them, at least I feel at li- berty to suppose so, having tried the same experiment several times since, and it has required "no reflection" on the horses part

ere he commenced the demoli&hment of

them ; he has eaten them greedily. Cows and calves eat the canes greedily, and I entertain a strong conviction that the produce of the former would be much improved by being partially fed on them. Swine will eat the canes of this épiant raw, in preference to other vegetable pro- ductions when cooked. I have placed the two descriptions of food before thora at one and the same time, and thereby proved it. Graiu has been placed before horses, cows, swine, poultry, and all seem to eat it greedily. For the want of a machine to grind the seeds into flour I am not able to give any re- sults. One hundred plants were cut, and each plant produced lilb. of seed, weigh- ing 48 lbs. per bushel making at that rate 1 ton 16 cwt. 2qrs. 23lbs. per acre. The canes amounted in weight to 1200 pounds, yielding at that rate 14 tons 11 cwt. 2qrs. lllbs. per acre. 200 lbs. weight of canes were pressed with one of Mr. Fowles' Biscuit Machines, and from that quan- tity were squeezed twelve gallons of juice, thus giving 1959 gallons per acre. These 12 gallons of juice were after- wards converted into 12 lbs. of molasses, "good and thick," being 1959lbs. per acre. The sum of twenty pounds being offered and accepted per acre for the first crop of the canes and grain, to be used as food for horses, care being taken to cut the canes above the first joint, near the roots, the plant has grown rapidly. The canes being now 8 feet in length, with a good show of seeds upon them, part of the second crop has been cut, and the old plants have again commenced growing. From the experiments made there can be no doubt but that the sorghum saccharatum can be successfully cultivated. It will grow in most descriptions of earth, but appears to flourish best in a sandy loamy soil. Those who are desirous of cultiva- ting the plant may obtain a portion of its seeds on application.

Cost of cultivating oue acre.

Digging ono spade deep. £3 10 0

Transplanting. 0 8 0 Hoeing between rows 12 times, at in-

tervals. 3 l8 0 Cutting the canes . 0 14 0 Interest in cost of implements. 0 10 0

£9 0 0

Sold oanes and grain per acie:- >

Eil st crop, 23rd February, .,.£20 0 0 Second crop, 24th April, (to bo out

before the seeds aro ripe). 10 0 0

£30 Ú 0

9 0 0

Profit.I.£21 0 0

1 I am sir,

Yours &c.

2 , ' >\ . , (WALTER HILL, . pee

J Botanic Garden», 14th May. . - iii«

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