Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Sugar cane is a tropical perennial grass that grows to 2-6 meters in height. This grass is Florida's most valuable field crop, and ranks third in Florida's agricultural economy, behind the greenhouse/nursery and citrus industries.
In Florida, the commercial sugarcane industry is located around the southern tip of Lake Okeechobee. Palm Beach County accounts for approximately 70% of the commercial sugarcane acreage and 75% of the total harvested tonnage.
The sugar cane fields in south Florida are burned immediately before harvest, which occurs between late-October and mid-April. The fires are spectacular but of short duration - a 40-acre field burns in 15-20 minutes. The cane is then cut and taken to the mill where it is crushed between heavy rollers to squeeze out the juice.
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