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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47

Beet Sugar

Beet Sugar.

A gentleman in New Westminster has started a beet sugar factory, and is pleased with his prospects.

It seems to me almost certain that British Columbia will produce beet sugar for herself, and perhaps also to export. The primary essentials for this manufacture are cheap land and fuel, and pure water—three things which British Columbia can oiler more of than any region in North America. The sugar of a civilised country, it is said, costs nearly as much as its wheat, and certainly beet sugar is almost a necessity in British Columbia, where the cost of carriage to many parts of the country must always add so much to the price of imported cane sugar. The demand in the province at present is, of course, in proportion to the population; last year about 20,000l. worth of foreign sugar was imported. The refuse of the beet is good food for either beef-cattle, cows, or sheep—3 tons of refuse beet being equal to 2 tons of the best hay.

Sandwich Island sugar is at present largely used in the province, and is sold in Victoria for about 8 to 13 cents. (4d. to 6½d. English per lb.) The price in the interior is much higher. Foreign sugars, according to grade, are subject to a duty of ¾ cent, to 1 cent, a lb., and 25 per cent, on the value.

About 15 tons per acre have been grown in British Columbia, with rough cultivation, but this could be largely increased. The average yield of beets per acre in Austria is 10 tons; in France 12 tons; in Prussia 14 tons; in Ireland 16 to 40 tons. France produced 300,000 tons in 1869 worth 25l. English (125 dollars) per ton.

I may add that for the beet, a mixed soil, not too easily dried, is best. The alkaline matter should not be in large proportion for sugar, but for spirit manufacture this circumstance is not so important. Deep ploughing is a page 90 requisite to success, and even double ploughing is desirable. Seed, in England, should be sown by the middle of April. A fair average yield would be 20 tons of beets, and the leaves besides. A beet crop takes largely from the soil valuable ingredients—for instance, potash and phosphoric acid—and their waste should be supplied by manuring with the refuse matter of the sugar manufacture. The waste liquor of distillation alone contains three-fourths of the abstracted potash. The manure of animals fed upon the pulp and the leaves would nearly embody the remaining fourth.