Maffra and District Historical Society

M&DHS operates the Maffra Sugar Beet Museum, part of the Local History Collection at the Maffra Library, and a Dairy Museum at the Robotic Dairy at Winnindoo.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Teaching Cows to eat Sugar Beet


Now, you would think it would not take much to get cows to eat Sugar Beet. Above is the famous photograph of a cow in Johnson Street, Maffra (the main street), having a good feed on some that had fallen off on their way to the factory.

And the pulp that was a residue of the process was a favourite stock food, taken home by the cart load by farmers.

So maybe it is not a case of teaching them to eat it, but studying it as a stock food. You wouldn't think there would be much to it.

Today, as we were working at the museum, we came upon this book for cataloguing. All 390 pages of it: Cattle Feeding with Sugar Beets, Sugar, Molasses and Sugar Beet Residuum. Wow! Published in America in 1902.

We have recently been looking at what books we do hold, and they are a mixed lot. Apart from the various published government reports, they are mainly from America, whereas now we tend to talk in terms of it being mainly a European crop. Just for starters, here are some of the titles we hold:

A practical handbook on the distillation of alcohol from farm products, 1918

Field Manual for Sugar Beet Growers, 1913 (There were 61 Sugar Beet mills in America at that stage)

Sugar Beet Seed: History and Development, 1918 (120 pages, just on the seed)

Beet-Sugar Making and its Chemical Control, 1909 (354 pages. It is a complex chemical process - you don't just squeeze the beet, and out comes the sugar)

Principal Insect Enemies of the Sugar Beet, 1920

The Technology of Sugar, 1916 (526 pages)

Beet-Sugar Manufacture, 1910

Condensed Description of the Manufacture of Beet Sugar, 1920

These books, mostly from the private library of one of the factory managers, show just how important an industry this was, especially in America. Whereas we only had the one Beet Sugar Mill in the Southern Hemisphere.

In Maffra.


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