Varieties.—The Department now has 30-40 varieties of sugar-producing sorghums, all valuable to a greater or less degree, accordiug to the soil, climate, cultivation, seasons, and process of manufacture. Other useful varieties are doubtless to be nbtained. The so-called " Honduras" sorghum is ouly one of the kinds indigenous to Honduras; and there are probably several varieties gmwiug iu Central America, and even as far south as the Rio de la Plata in S. America. Early Amber is the favourite variety with planters iu Minnesota and the N.-W. Minnesota Early Amber is claimed as an improvement upon the Early Amber, obtained from selected seed sent to a mons southern latitude to be grown and then returned to Minnesota.
Rudy Amber receives its name from its early ripening, and from the bright amber colour which characterizea its syrup when properly made. It is very rich in saccharine matter, and when properly treated, its products are devoid of the peculiar " sorghum " taste formerly complained of, the flavour being similar to that of pure honey. The Chinese sorgo is about the same height as the Early Amber. Its seed-heads are fuller aud more compact, somewhat resembling a head of aumach, whence the synonym " eumach-cane." Whitt, Liberian is rather taller than Early Amber. The stalk curves at the t,op, leaving the head pendent ; hence the synonym " Gooseneck." It is also styled a variety of the White The Honduras caue grows about one-half taller than either of the other varieties. Its seed-top is reddish-brown and spreading ; hence its name " sprangle-top." It is also called " mastodon " and " honey-cane." Cultivation.—Soil—Some cultivators fear that new land imparts a strong flavour to the syrup. Others say that old land produces a syrup of brighter colour, but not of better flavour. An advan tage of new timber land is the small amount of cultivation required. Costly culture on old land will not pay in opposition to cheap culture on new land. New land is comparstively freo from foul seed, and consequently less liable to weeds. If it is necessary to clear old land of weeds, or to fertilize it with farmyard manure, crop of corn should first be grown on it. General opinion is in favour of a sandy, upland soil, well drained, but not freshly manured. Manuring spoils the flavour of the eyrup. The majority of cultivators are in favour of indefinite repetition of the crop on the same soil. Some have cultivated the same ground for 7 years without deterioration, the
product ranging from 250 to 300 gal. of syrup per acre. The soil is not required to be very rich. Land too poor for wheat has given 200 gal. per acre of excellent syrup.
Preparation of the Ground.—Fall (autumn) ploughing, putting the plough to the beam, causes all foul seed, and especially pigeon-grass, to germinate in the fall, and be killed in winter. Another advantage is that the crop is less liable to injury from droughts in the early •-eason. A large crop can be raised the first year on open prairie and at the first breakage, especially if the La Dow harrow be used. When tbe ground becomes sufficiently warm iu the spring, some go over it with a Beaver Dam seeder, and then with El, drag and roller. This treatment effectually disposes of the grase, generally considered of first importance.
Time of Planting.—The cane should be planted as early as it is possible to work the ground properly, avoiding late frosts. The ground should be well warm before the seed is put in. In Minnesota, the average seeding-time is early May ; it should not be quite so early ou ground impregnated with grass-seed. If postponed till tho season is warm enough to germiaate the seed quickly, better results may be got, as a late spring frost may cut down early plants, and, before they grow again, pigeon-grass is apt to start up profusely.
Seed.—By steeping the seed in warm water for 24-48 hours, it beeornes sprouted, and grows more rapidly ; but a dry season will kill the sprouted seed, and the crop will be a failure. Seed brought from the latitude of St. Louis is in great favour. Some Minnesota growers send their seed to Missouri and Kansas to have a crop grown and its seed returned. Seed imported from S. Indiana produced, on its first sowing, stalks 12-15 ft. high ; but by plantiag the seeds of each crop, its sue,cessor showed a deoliuing height, until it was but 7-8 ft. The sugsr-yield also diminishes. The deterioration of the seed is generally not very marked till the third year. Southern seed excels less in an earlier ripening of the crop, than in increased product, in some eases amounting to one-third. The seed has a value of its own for feeding hogs, sheep, and poultry.