Raising Cane in Hastings
Last November, 4-H youth and their families took part in the “Raising Cane in Hastings” 4-H project. UF/IFAS St. Johns County Extension agents and staff from the Hastings Agricultural Extension Center hosted this hands on learning experience. The orientation to this project included information on cane varieties, basic planting practices, and sugarcane pest management. A taste of sugarcane to chew was passed out to youth as they took in the information. After the orientation youth were put in to action harvesting wild cane on site. Once the cane was cut, youth worked in teams to strip the stalks and cut them into two foot pieces. The next step involved digging a trench into a 100 foot raised bed row.
At the Hastings Center, there are a total of 10 rows planted, 3 of syrup cane, 6 of two varieties of chewing cane and one row of wild cane. If you are in the Hastings area, be sure to stop by to check on the 4-H sugarcane plot at 595 E. St. Johns Avenue, Hastings, FL 32145. 4-H youth taking part in the sugarcane project are expected to visit the cane plots each month, make observations, document growth and scout for pests. Plans are currently being made for the cane harvest that will take place in the fall.
Read more about Florida’s sugarcane industry
Although sugarcane can be grown throughout Florida, counties adjacent to Lake Okeechobee are the state’s largest commercial growers of sugarcane. These counties include Palm Beach, Hendry, Glades and Martin. Palm Beach alone accounts for 75 percent of Florida’s acres grown as well as 75 percent of cane tonnage produced. This location of the state offers warm weather, fertile soil, sufficient water and lots of sunshine. You can find out more about Florida’s sugarcane industry here.