This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, has published a circular letter showing what has been done towards manufacturing sugar from Indian corn and Sorghum. Sugar can be obtained from a large number of plants, but so far no process has been discovered to make the article cheap enough to compare with ordinary cane sugar. Sorghum has had some success as against ordinary cane molasses, but it barely holds its own. We do not find by this report that the cost of production has been materially reduced over that of past times. We are told that the total cost of production "should not" exceed two and one-half to three cents per pound, and that there " ought to be " a ton of sugar to the acre of ground, if the instructions issued by the department be carefully followed. This makes the cost about $60 per acre. At the present time such sugar can be bought in any wholesale market at about eight cents per pound. It is the general experience with all farm products that after transportation, commissions and other expenses of marketing are paid, only about one-half the market rate comes to the producer. Often he thinks himself well off to get this.
If we allow two cents per pound as the final profit to the producer, it only yields a profit of about $40 per acre, and this is no more than an average crop of corn ought to produce, and much less than the profit when " instructions for good culture are carefully followed." But there is still another point to be considered; eight cents per pound is the rate now. If we double the product we cheapen the demand, and the price will therefore fall with the increased product.
The department deserves great praise for its endeavors to have the subject carefully investigated. And though we do not see that what has been done has advanced us far, good may come out of it all in time, and the Commissioner has our hearty commendation for his endeavors in this direction.