by Gerald Proverbs for the 16th Annual Technical Conference of the BSTA, 2000
Still a relevant analysis nearly 20 years later…
As we enter the 21st century, Barbadian agriculture is at a crossroads. The way it develops from here on will increasingly involve new directions. The analogy of a crossroads permits the various ideas/proposals suggested herein, and has been debated by many over the past three decades.
Barbadian Agriculture at the Crossroads.pdf
by C. Keith Laurie for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA, 1989
Molasses is the cheapest energy feed available in Barbados. Another advantage is that it has no fibre thereby allowing its use with fibrous plants, high in protein, to make up a balanced ration. Because of its attractive flavour it can be used as a carrier of unpalatable feedstuffs such as urea, poultry litter and other non protein sources of nitrogen.
Various systems for the packaging of molasses for the distribution to livestock farmers in Barbados pdf
By Colin Hudson for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA 1989
Like so many soil amendment questions, there is a shortage of hard facts about the value of flyash, but there is considerable circumstantial evidence for its benefits.
In the early 1960’s, when ash arrestors became common and flyash was available by the truckload, some enterprising farmers spread it on fields which were felt to be substandard. Invariably good responses were observed.
Flyash = Soot = Good News pdf
by David West for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA
After many months of discussions during 1988 the sugar industry decided in favour of cane payment by quality, to be introduced over a four year period, 1989 – 1992
In the first year, 1989, it was proposed to evaluate a First Expressed Juice (FEJ) method of cane testing. This is the method used in Australia, and although it is considerably less expensive than most acknowledged alternatives, it is of unrivaled accuracy.
It should be noted that, should this procedure not have the confidence and full support of the growers after the 1989 experience, the procedure may be conveniently changed to one of direct cane analysis with either pre or post hoist sampling.
It was also agreed that if the procedures tested were acceptable to growers, the scheme would be implemented at the remaining three factories for the 1990 crop and cane payment by quality would start in 1990 with a 33.3% influence and this would be increased to 66.7% in 1991 and a total payment by quality would be effected in 1992
To satisfy the first phase of implementation the Cane Testing Pilot Project (CTPP) was introduced at Andrews factory for the 1989 crop. Every effort was made to have the cane testing operation functional as early in the crop period as possible, given the constraints of equipment importation.
The equipment list includes two computers, analytical and sampling equipment, a washer and oven for fibre determination, and electronic load tracking components.
Cane testing pilot project Andrews 1989 pdf
M. F. Armstrong for the 7th annual conference of the BSTA 1989
The conditions under which the factories work today require a higher fibre % cane or rather fibre demand. The greatest constraint here being the rate of supply of cane. If a factory is crushing at a rate of 75% of its “Available Grinding Time” (A.G.T.) and during the remaining 25% of its “A.G.T.” it is stopped due to “low steam,” the factory will have a higher “fibre demand.” This is a concept which I know will be difficult to accept. The storage of cane will lead to frequent factory stops which will again increase the fibre demand. The importance of bagasse is increasing from year to year.
The research we see in journals and in proceedings from external organisations is often in response to situations affecting these groups and reflects their inter est. It is apparent that we will be forced to continue to use bagasse as a fuel and we cannot afford to lose the supplies which we store between crops.
Bagasse: Some insights into the cause of the deterioration on storage pdf
It cannot be determined with complete accuracy when engineering, as now known, was first introduced in Barbados, but it is reasonable to assume that Mechanical Engineers were required when steam-operated sugar mills began to replace windmills. This took place about the middle of the last century, it is recorded in Schomburgk’s “History of Barbados” that the first steam plant was installed in 1845, and in Bowen’s 1868 Almanac of Barbados that by 1854 there were five steam-operated sugar mills. These were at Bulkely, Carrington, Lamberts, River (St. Philip) and Walkers (St. Andrew). Also recorded in Bowen’s Almanac, the number of steam engines increased rapidly to thirty in 1868 and fifty-nine in 1880 and a hundred in 1895. It is of interest to note that only nine sugar factories are in existence today (1976), capable of making more sugar in four months than the five hundred odd windmills made in six months.
The following article was written by the Hon. Sir Francis C. Hutson, Ki.B., C.B.E., Eng., F.I.Mech.E., some thirteen years ago, but has never been publicised as far as is known. It recently came into this writer’s hands, and I believe Sir Frank may have originally written it for The Barbados Museum & Historical Society’s Journal, of which he was President around the time, or possibly just for his own amusement.
I have taken the liberty of updating it here and there (all the sections in italics) and of publishing it as the information contained therein is of much interest to those in the engineering business, as well as historians.
Engineering in Barbados 1976 pdf
H.G. de Boer for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA, 1989
At the 4th Annual BSTA Conference, a graph was published (de Boer, 1986) based on work by Chase (1969-1981) which clearly indicated an optimum level of N application of somewhere between 115 and 140 lbs N per acre – less for plantcane, more for ratoons. This optimum level will vary with the cost of fertilizer, with receipts for cane sold and with the cost of harvest.
The Agronomy Research Unit (ARU) of Barbados Sugar Industry Ltd (BSIL) decided in 1983 to carry out some experiments to test the common perception among farmers that higher levels of fertilizer would be worth their while. It was also felt that maybe the figures produced by Chase were not directly applicable to current farming practice since his trials were carried out entirely by hand labour. It was considered possible that the cane would respond to higher levels of fertilizer under farming conditions where fertilizer is applied mechanically and the cane cut by combine harvester.
Excerpts from the conclusion
Not only did the cane in the trials reported on here not respond any better to extra fertilizer than in the MAFF trials by Chase (1969-1981), it did not respond at all to extra fertilizer – except in the presence of compost. The reason(s) for this need investigation and this paper indicates a number of possible lines of action.
In the meantime, farmers need to be advised that ap plying excess fertilizer is most likely to be a waste of scarce resources. The fact that the cane may look healthier and/or greener after heavy doses of fertilizer is no guarantee of extra yield. The data presented in this paper are accurate reflections of exactly what happens under commonly used farming practices and must therefore be taken seriously
More fertilizer more yield? pdf
Michael James for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA 1989
‘Dry Skin’ or dry rot in yams is a disease found wide-spread in Barbados on the yam cultivars currently being grown here and indeed on nearly all the varieties of Dioscorea spp.
The causal agent is a nematode, Pratylenchus coffae which seems to work in association with a fungal organism and the disease causes both quantitative and qualitative damage to harvested tubers. (Brathwaite & Hutton, 1980)
A look at the ‘dry skin’ problem in yams pdf
Jeff St.A. Chandler and Louis E. Chinnery for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA, 1989
The dynamic nature of the International Flower Market demands that new introductions enter the market place from time to time. This is to satisfy the need for something different, be it in form or colour. The creation of new variation in existing species would maintain florists’ enthusiasm and excitement and would enhance their creative skills at satisfying the all important consumer.
An update on the propagation of Heliconias from seed pdf