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2. The Distant Market.—Many growers must ship. For such, combination is essential. The method adopted by the Eastern Shore potato farmers (Virginia) is noteworthy. There are 2,500 shippers in the Exchange. They sell all their produce tlırough selected receivers, appointed by the directors, in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The receivers charge 8 per cent. commission, of which 3 per cent. is given to the agent who solicits the business. This agent should be familiar with the market requirement and give instructions in regard to methods of grading, assorting, and packing, and in this way render the produce more valuable. Combinations such as the following commend themselves : the use of the “registered label,” which is similar to a “union label," and is placed on all packages, or a trade-mark similar to that used by the Farmers' Produce Association, of Delaware, which carries the number of the shipper, and enables the selected salesman to inform the grower at once if any. thing is wrong.
FARMERS' PRODUCE ASSOCIATION
OF DELAWARE (27)
Commission Rates.-In Cleveland potatoes are sometimes sold on a commission basis of 4 and 5 cents per bushel, or 10 per cent. of the sale price. In St.
Louis the wholesaler purchases and makes his profit by selling to large customers and hucksters at an advance of 10 cents per bushel over what they cost him in car lots.
In Cincinnati the rate of commission is 3 cents per bushel. In Kansas City the brokerage for handling is 2 to 27/2 cents per bushel. In Richmond, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia, if not sold by the grower, 10 per cent. is the commission. In Lincoln, Nebraska, when potatoes retail at 80 cents per bushel, the money is divided about as follows: Retailer's share, 20 cents; wholesaler's share, 10 cents; railroad freight, 18 cents; seller's commission, 7 cents; net price to producer, 25 cents ; 69 per cent. of the cost to the consumer goes to pay the transporters and distributors, and 31 per cent. to the grower. At Portland, Oregon, the commission is 5 per cent., and the burlap sacks in which the potatoes are handled cost about 5 cents each. The retailers sell at an advance of 10 to 30 cents per sack (100 pounds). At New York and Philadelphia 8 and 10 per cent. commission will find good salesmen. The producer usually receives, net, between 25 and 65 per cent. of the retail price of potatoes. Taking a number of market returns, they show that the producer's returns are about 63 per cent. of the price paid in the markets, and of this, in some cases, about half is paid to the railways for transportation if the goods are sent by rail, so that, then, roughly. speaking, the producer, transporter, and distributor divide the customer's money equally. The value of a local market, where the producer can sell direct to the consumer, is apparent.
Grading.–The proper grading of potatoes is essential to success. Scabby, second-growth, ill-shapen, diseased, and undersized tubers must be removed from first-class grade. The grading may be done by having a sand screen on trestles set at such an angle that the potatoes roll down into baskets at the bottom, while the dirt falls through, and the seconds and refuse are thrown into baskets or boxes on the side. Let two men sort and one shovel, and have one emptying and bagging if they go into bags. A sack-holder is a convenience in filling the bag. The small potatoes and dirt may be removed by a potato-sorter (Fig. 49), of which there are several types on the market.
Packages.—Potatoes are sold by the pound, peck, bushel, barrel, cental, and car lot. The early potatoes are shipped in barrels holding 3 bushels (180 pounds). A canvas cover is nailed on the head. Such barrels cost about 20 cents, including the cover. The late crop is sometimes shipped in bulk in car lots. In the East seed potatoes are shipped in double-headed barrels containing 165 pounds, net. Such barrels cost, new, about 30 to 33 cents. Flour-barrels are often purchased at about 15 cents each instead. The high price of new barrels leads some to ship seed potatoes in strong burlap sacks which hold the same amount as a barrel. The sacks cost 15 to 20 cents less than the barrel. Boxes are used for shipping small quantities. On the Pacific Coast burlap sacks holding a cental (100 pounds), and costing 5 cents each, are used.
Barrels.—Before filling, drive the hoops firm on the bottom and nail with shingle nails; drive on the bulge FIG. 49—GRADING AND BARRELING POTATOES FOR MARKET hoops, and secure with 3 or 4 barrel nails; then proceed to fill. The potatoes should be shaken down occasionally while filling, and the barrels filled full, and, if headed, the head should be put in where it belongs with a screw press, so that the potatoes cannot rattle. The head should be nailed firmly with shingle nails. If in bags, sack them up well, and tie tight; or sew up, according to requirements.
Bushel Boxes.-For marketing early potatoes in the local market bushel boxes or crates are often used. T. B. Terry uses a bushel box 13 x 16 inches and 13 inches deep, all inside measurement. The sides and bottoms are of 38-inch, and the ends are 5/8-inch, white wood. Hand-holes are cut in each end, and the upper corners are bound with galvanized hoop iron to strengthen them. They cost $25.00 to $30.00 per hundred at the factory, and weigh 6 to 7 pounds each. Each box has a lid, so that in changeable weather the potatoes can be picked up and covered as fast as dug. This box holds five pecks. The legal bushel for grain is 2,150.4 cubic inches, and in measuring potatoes the rule is to heap the half-bushel measure sufficiently to add one level peck to the two level half-bushels. Five level pecks are held in 2,688 cubic inches. These boxes hold 2,700 cubic inches when level full; hence, they may be piled three or four high on a wagon. The recent introduction of a crate in which the sides fold onto the bottom when not in use reduces the amount of storage room required by about two-thirds. These crates cost the same as others, and appear to be equally strong.
Advantages of a bushel box :