Wettest wet season on record slices Palm Beach County’s sugar cane harvest


This season’s sugar production dropped significantly due to record rainfall last summer that flooded farms and hampered the sugar cane crop’s important summer growth cycle, two Palm Beach County sugar companies said Tuesday.

The Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, Belle Glade, and Florida Crystals Corp., West Palm Beach both saw production drop 9 percent from a year ago. Summer rains were 46 percent above average.

Of Palm Beach County’s 461,000 acres devoted to agriculture, 400,000 acres consists of sugar cane fields in western Palm Beach County, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office.

The cooperative’s 45 grower-members produced more than 2.8 million tons of sugar cane which yielded 332,154 tons of raw sugar and 16 million gallons of blackstrap molasses during the 2013-14 harvest that ended March 6, spokeswoman Barbara Miedema said.

“Our crop was impacted by the wettest wet season on record,” Miedema said Tuesday.

During the summer, known as cane’s “grand growth period,” the tall grass plant can grow an inch a day.

Cooperative President Tony Contreras said the losses were offset by the excellent performance of its sugar mill and agricultural operations.

“Glades Sugar House set new records for energy efficiency and for the quality of the raw sugar produced. We applaud the teamwork of our growers and our workforce who achieved these results despite the obstacles delivered by Mother Nature and in the marketplace,” Contreras said.

In the 2012-13 season, the Cooperative produced more than 3 million tons of cane, resulting in 363,514 tons of raw sugar and 16.7 million gallons of molasses.

Florida Crystals’ harvest began Oct. 16 and was completed after rain delays on March 15. At its two sugar mills in western Palm Beach County, Florida Crystals produced 5,303,925 tons of sugarcane; 622,615 tons of raw sugar and 29 million gallons of blackstrap molasses.

In the 2012-13 season, Florida Crystals produced 688,729 tons of raw sugar.

Gaston Cantens, Florida Crystals spokesman, said: “As has been widely reported, record rainfall wreaked havoc across the entire region of South Florida last year and the effects on agriculture were no different. The rain flooded our farms and caused delays, but our team worked diligently to manage risks and mitigate reductions”

The Cooperative and Florida Crystals jointly own ASR Group, the world’s largest cane sugar refining and marketing company with a global production capacity of more than 6 million tons of refined sugar annually.

Its brands include Domino, C&H, Redpath, Tate&Lyle, Sidul, Sores and Notadolce.

U.S. Sugar Corp., Clewiston expects to complete its harvest in April.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Convicted rapist won't have joint custody of victim's child after judge rescinds ruling
Convicted rapist won't have joint custody of victim's child after judge rescinds ruling

The Michigan judge behind a controversial ruling last month, which granted a convicted sex offender joint legal custody to the child conceived by his 12-year-old victim in 2008, has rescinded his decision, CBS News reports. Sanilac County Judge Gregory Ross ruled Tuesday that 27-year-old Christopher Mirasolo will not have any parental...
Oklahoma police officer who shot, killed daughter's boyfriend found guilty of manslaughter
Oklahoma police officer who shot, killed daughter's boyfriend found guilty of manslaughter

A jury has reached a verdict in the fourth murder trial of a former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer. After more than five hours of deliberation, the jury found Shannon Kepler guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 killing of Jeremy Lake, his daughter's boyfriend, and recommended 15 years in prison. Kepler is accused of killing Lake in 2014...
He helps people secure their passwords with Keeper
He helps people secure their passwords with Keeper

CHICAGO — What’s it really like to work at Chicago startups and tech companies? Blue Sky’s Inside Job lets people on the ground tell us in their own words. Steven Bertrand, 32, User Experience/User Interface Interactive Designer, with a focus on Motion Design, for Keeper Keeper is the world’s leading password manager and secure...
10 household items rendered obsolete by your smartphone
10 household items rendered obsolete by your smartphone

The smartphone’s rise in prominence over the last decade has served as the death knell for many former household tech staples. In just 10 years, smartphones have become the Swiss Army knives of the tech world, being able to do so much more than simply making phone calls and sending text messages. Here are 10 items you’ll never need to buy...
Mark Cuban invests in Factmata, a startup that fights fake news
Mark Cuban invests in Factmata, a startup that fights fake news

Billionaire tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban is funding the fight against fake news. He’s invested in a British startup that’s using artificial intelligence to weed out inaccurate online stories, according to Business Insider. Cuban kicked in funding to a seed round for Factmata after getting a cold call from the company&rsquo...
More Stories