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From King Cane to the Last Sugar MillAgricultural Technology and the Making of Hawaii's Premier Crop$
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C. Allan Jones and Robert V. Osgood

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824840006

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824840006.001.0001

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Depression, War, Federal Legislation, Science, and Technology—1930 to 1969

Depression, War, Federal Legislation, Science, and Technology—1930 to 1969

(p.119) 4 Depression, War, Federal Legislation, Science, and Technology—1930 to 1969
From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill

C. Allan Jones

Robert V. Osgood

University of Hawai'i Press

The decade of the 1930s began on a positive note, with the industry producing its first million-ton sugar yield. However, The Great Depression, the federal sugar legislation, and World War II pressured the industry to reduce labor costs and increase efficiencies. Selection of high yielding and disease resistant sugarcane varieties dramatically improved sugar yield. Improvements in soil preparation, disease and insect control, chemical weed and ripening control, irrigation, plant nutrition, harvesting, transportation, and factory operations produced increasing sugar yields per acre and per employee. In response, labor demanded increased wages, and major strikes in 1945-1946 and 1958 produced industry-wide wage concessions. On Maui, HC&S merged with Maui Agricultural Company in 1948, and the work force of the combined plantation declined by more than half, to less than 1,500. HC&S remained profitable throughout the 1950s and 1960s by gradually reducing employee housing, increasing groundwater pumping, and improving irrigation efficiency and fertilizer and herbicide use.

Keywords:   Sugar Act, Great Depression, World War II, labor unrest, strikes, sugarcane breeding, mechanization

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