Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/215

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201
THE PRODUCTION OF BEET-SUGAR.

tained 5,145 pounds per acre. In other words, with the use of a fertilizer, an increase of 3,030 pounds of sugar was obtained.

The application of highly nitrogenous fertilizers, or the incorporation of partly decayed organic substances—like stable manure—in the soil in the autumn or in the spring, directly preceding the cultivation of the sugar-beet, is known to act injuriously on the composition of the roots. Such manuring increases the foreign substances in the juice, prevents a desirable development of the sugar, besides placing the latter under unfavorable circumstances for separation. Thus no fertilization must be used during the year of the beet crop.

After the plowing and harrowing of the soil, much the same as required for a potato crop, leaving the ground as smooth as a garden, the sowing of the seed commences early in the month of May, when the beet-planter, represented in Fig. 1, is brought into requisition.

PSM V35 D215 The germania beet planter.jpg
Fig. 1.—The Germania Beet-Planter.

Like the mower, reaper, binder, and other agricultural wonders, it saves the labor of many workmen. It is drawn by two horses, and plants eight rows, eighteen inches apart, at each passage. The seed is placed in hoppers extending along the top of the machine; thence it descends through chutes or apertures, which can be enlarged or contracted at pleasure, into the body of the machine. A shaft, furnished with small spoons, runs through the body of the machine, and is made to revolve with greater or less rapidity by an arrangement of cog-wheels connecting the shaft with one of the driving-wheels. At each revolution each little spoon brings up a seed and deposits it in a small hopper, from which it descends through a series of funnel-shaped tubes, which telescope into each other, into the seed-box of the drill. Another series of cog-wheels is set in motion by the other driving-wheel, and these cause another shaft to revolve, faster or slower, according to the arrangement of the wheels. This shaft is furnished with eight wheels, with cams or projections on the circumference, which operate the valve-rods that open and shut the seed-boxes in the drills, and thus this gearing regulates the distance at which seeds are dropped, just as the other regulates