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he must educate himself and his children back in the country district school to know good from evil, to understand the conservation of the soil and the great economic laws that underlie his very existence?
He cannot escape the demand of the millions who wait upon his hand for bread and meat. He is responsible to his own good citizenship not to waste the productive energies of the state. He owes it to himself and the hoped for profit of the labor of his hands that he make of this question of the conservation of the farm the foremost question of the age, as it truly is.
Dairy farming, if rightly understood and conducted, has the power to “knit up this raveled sleeve,” to reindow all of these wasted farms with their original fertility and productiveness. For, understand, the true dairy farmer must be a wise manipulator of the soil, of plant life as well as animal life. No man in the domain of agriculture is confronted with a greater necessity of “knowing good from evil,” at every turn and in more ways, than is the dairy farmer. Ignorance is at work here to destroy fertility and profit as well as in all other branches of agriculture. But there are certain natural advantages that govern here more than in other lines of farming. (1) The dairyman must so handle his farm as to support sufficient animal life to give him a living profit for his time and labor. (2) That animal life is a constant contributor to the fertility of the soil through the abundant manure that is made. (3) As a rule the dairy farmer is a buyer as well as grower of feed, particularly of nitrogenous feeds. This gives added fertilizing value to the manure. (4) He builds silos and so consumes the coarser roughage of the farm, enabling him thereby to carry a much larger stock of cattle, hogs and sheep than he otherwise could. (5) He is obliged to build borns and sheo- whereby the forage of the farm shall be stored with the least possible loss of its nutritive powers, and consequently this saves waste very greatly. (6) He is compelled to become a large producer of legumes, like clover, alfalfa, vetch, etc., whereby by natural means, nitrogen is more largely restored to the soil. All these are the natural and inevitable things that belong to his vocation if he is a man big enough to comprehend them. But there are some things he must do of an extra character if he handles his farm so as to constantly increase its fertility. He must be a liberal feeder of the land as well as his animals. He must comprehend that nothing can be grown on the farm without an expenditure of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. The nitrogen, to a large extent, the legumes will evolve and deposit in the soil. But the phosphorus and the potash must be purchased. He must know something about these important elements, and he must accept it as one of his fixed expenses of the farm that these elements, as well as lime, must be yearly supplies. Certain forms of dairying, like milk shipping, cheese making and condensing, are wasteful of fertility, unless the farmer guards against such loss, by artificially supplying the lime, and phosphate potash. It is largely through this taking of the whole milk from the farm without adequate making up of the loss, that so many farms in the eastern states became depleted of their fertility. Whenever butter dairying was carried on, and consequently the skim milk was used to grow calves and pigs, the live stock complement of the farm was kept up and the manure supply greatly enhanced. Such sections like Delaware county, New York, have suffered much less in the depletion of the soil in the past fifty years, than did Herkimer, St. Lawrence, Madison, Oneida and other of the cheese making counties of that state. The same depleting process has been going on in New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and farther west. The wonderful growth of villages and cities calls for an enormous consumption of dairy products. This means taking the whole milk from the farm in a large degree and thereby greatly reduces the growing of live stock. We well remember sixty years ago how that central New York produced great crops of clover and a large supply of cattle, hogs and sheep. The tops of the hills were kept covered with the splendid forests that characterized that state. The springs and small streams were by that means maintained and we fished for trout in brooks that have not known a trout for the past thirty years, and which are dry most of the year. All this has been changed and sadly so for the worse. Had the farmers kept the tops of the hills covered with trees it would have conserved the water supply and helped maintain the side hill pastures. Fifty years ago Horace Greeley, through his Tribune, warned the farmers of New York against the destructive effect of stripping the forests from the hill tops, Dairying in all its branches of butter production, milk shipping, cheese making and condensing, must, of course, be kept up for the necessities of the great army of consumers who demand it.
But the demand is just as imperative that the dairy farmer know what he is about and conduct his farm with an eve single to the preservation of its fertility. He must know more of the scientific side of his calling. He must be more willing to use some of his revenue in the purchase of fertilizers to produce against the natural waste that is constantly going on. He must adopt the principle that it is to his ultimate greater profit as well as the well being of the state that he farm towards an increase rather than a decrease of the fertility of his land.
These are some of the paramount problems of the day and hour that confront the dairy farmer. The trouble is that here as well as elsewhere in this broad field of agriculture, ignorance has held sway. “We all, like sheep, have gone astrav.” The wise live teachers of agriculture are becoming more obsessed every day with the thought that if the future millions of this country are fed, the American farmer must wake up, and that right soon, to the fearful mistakes he has been making through his ignorance and indifference in destroying the productive capacity of his land.
Every man, woman and child in the Nation is vitally interested in the promotion of conserving intelligence among the farmers of this country.
BACK TO THE FARM
BY HENRY IDE WILLEY.
. This is the slogan of our clan: too long has the farm been deemed the dumping ground for those whom poverty or mediocre ability has kept out of the professions, arts and sciences. “Anyone can farm” was the ancient idea. Not so the modern maxim. It is “back to the farm,” with education, intellect and experience that more than double the production of our soil and elevate the farmer to the same high plane occupied by others of equal ability and intellect in other callings. . . Back to the farm is the maxim of our chief executive as he tours our country in the interest of progress. It is not the aim of this article to enter into a scientific dissertation upon the chemical properties of all fertilizers, or to cover the entire ground with reference to the art of fertilization, it would prove too scopey a work to attempt any such a othin the time and space that could be prudently allotted upon an occasion Ike this. All that I shall attempt to do will be to touch upon some salient features of the art, and deal briefly with the most important details to he kept in view by the progressive farmer, who seeks to get the maximum results from a minimum area and amount of labor. Also I want to warn you of the danger of being victimized by unscrupulous dealers in fertilizers, and suggest some basic precautions to be observed, and finally to convince you that there is no dearth of fertilizing material in the United States that should be available at a reasonable price, to all who may require it. A just and beneficent Deity seems to have wisely provided abundantly all of the factors required to enable us to equalize the productions of our country, only demanding that we perform a certain amount of prefatory labor and wisely use the brains He has endowed us with. Generally speaking we are required to do a dollar's worth of work to obtain a dollar's reward in all vocations. One dollar's value in any of the precious metals requires a dollar's worth of work or outlay; the same is true with a dollar's worth of wheat, oats, beans, or anything else. Where rains are not abundant and opportune, there are adjacent mountains with their precipitating possibilities and lakes, or reservoir sites in which to store water to irrigate about all of the lands capable of being profitably watered. Just so within our area are vast deposits of calcium, phosphates and other fertilizing factors, only requiring a certain amonut of labor, to enable us to place them where they will do the most good. Florida probably produces the greatest volume and best quality of calcium phosphates. Tennessee next. Then the Carolinas, Utah and Idaho, the former only needing railways to provide transportation facilities to provide abundant and cheap supply throughout the west. In 1889, Albert Richter, Esq., discovered these last named deposits which are When tillage begins, other arts follow. Daniel Webster says: “The farmers therefore are the founders of human civilization.”
Farming is as much a business as any other vocation, and primarily, the farmer should be a good business man to be successful. In the main he follows his calling for the money he can make thereby, like other prudent men, seeking the largest possible return from his outlay.
It is not enough to raise a crop, a profit must be realized upon the labor and capital invested He must understand his business, must observe needed economics, yet must be ever ready to spend a dollar when he can see a fair interest to be derivable there from. Farming is not only a business, but equally an art—the art of producing animal and plant life needful and useful to mankind. A true knowledge of agriculture and kindred occupations necessitates a complete grasp of the principles upon which the art is based. In this enlightened age such knowledge is indispensable. When our country was new and only the most fertile soil was tilled, “anyone could be a farmer.” To sow and reap were all that was required, so lavish was Dame Nature in giving of the fertility stored up for centuries. But this soon sapped the vitality of the soil, its tillage ceased to be profitable, and in many instances abandonment of the farms ere long would follow. This unfortunate result is greatly to be lamented, because, by intelligent precautions the calamity could have been averted. The farming of the future must be carried on by intelligent, educated men of liberal training. Geology, botany, zoology, chemistry and physics have already done much toward the conservation of the fertility of the soil, but not generally, as should be the case. Importance of water, as a source of plant food and a conveyor thereof, is one of the most important factors developed by chemical analysis. The enormous proportion of water entering into the composition of the plant and its incalculable value as a conveyor of plant food to the roots. Nearly 000 of 1,000 parts of the matured corn plant are water, exclusive of exhalations, which are considerable, or 1,000 pounds of corn during its growing period use about thirty tons of water. As this amount of corn can be raised on one-thirtieth of an acre, 900 tons, or an eighth inch depth layer, would be required for an acre, and about the same amount being lost by percolation and drainage gains as 1,800 tons of water per acre, thus proving the need for the conservation of the moisture of the soil. In fact 300 to 500 times more water in pounds is required, than dry matter. First, as it composes 80 per cent of the mature crop, it is the most essential plant food. It also furnishes the hydrogen and oxygen found in dry matter equal to 10 per cent more, making 90 per cent in all derived directly from water. Water also dissolves the plant food, facilitating its distribution. It stiffens, or prevents the wilting of plants to replace losses by evaporation, probably controls the temperature of the plants, and water is indispensable for the movement of food within the plant, constituting this the most vital single factor in determining the fertility of land, hence the great importance of irrigation where moisture is not abundant. Within the time and space allotted, it would be impossible to deal with every factor relating to question of fertilization such as carbon, nitrogen, etc. I will therefore proceed to treat of the most potent and affective fertilizing compound. Phosphoric acid, tricalcite phosphate of lime or calcium phosphate. This is present in normal soil, in much smaller quantities than potash, and experience demonstrates. is more likely to become exhausted. In fact in some regions no other fertilizer is used. The phosphates may be subdivided into two general classes, natural and the manufactured phosphates: The natural phosphates have two general sources—the hones of dead animals, and certain phosphates containing minerals which will be designated. Raw bone meal is made by the grinding of raw bones to a powder, and the finer it is, the more valuable the product. This contains about 22 per cent of phosphoric acid and 4 per cent of nitrogen. Raw bones contain a small quantity of fat also, and as this promotes rapid decay of the bone, the phosphoric acid and nitrogen are quite slowly disseminated to the crop. Most of the bone meal of commerce is made from bones previously steamed to remove the fat, and a portion of the nitrogen compounds. Bone so treated contains about 28 per cent to 30 per cent of phosphoric acid and 1% per cent of nitrogen, As these can be ground finer and decay more rapidly, they are more valuable and effective than the raw bones. Tankage is an important source of phosphoric acid in so-called animal politogess, When the product contains a very large proportion of bone, it is sometimes designated as bone tankacre, and mav contain 7 to 18 per cent of phosphoric acid.
Bone black or animal charcoal is made by heating bone in air-tight vessels, until the volatile matter is drawn off, and is used in the refineries to purify sugar.
After it has become spent or used by refineries, it is sold for fertilizing purposes. Bone black contains from 32 to 36 per cent of phosphoric acid. In a numbe: of places rock deposits are found that contain varying percentages of phosphate of lime. These phosphates are usually named after the place where they are obtained, as “Carolina,” “Florida,” “Tennessee” phosphates.
These rocks contain from 18 to 32 per cent of phosphoric acid, and differ from the bone products in that they contain no organic matter, and are purely mineral substances. Ground to a fine powder, they are sometimes sold under the name of “floats,” but the rock phosphates are used only to a limited extent in the crude condition. The phosphoric acid in all the natural phosphates described is combined with lime, in a form that is extremely insoluble in water. In order to render the phosphate soluble it is sometimes treated with sulphuric acid which unites with part of the lime, leaving a phosphate which contains only a third as much line as the natural phosphate and is soluble in water. The lime and sulphuric acid make a compound which is the same as found in gypsum or landplaster. This combination of soluble phosphate and gypsum made by treating the natural phosphates with acid is called by various names of superphosphate—soluble phosphate, acid phosphate, acidulated rock, etc. For its manufacture the rock phosphates are generally employed, both because they are cheaper, and because the organic matter in the bones interferes with the use of sufficient acid to make all of the phosphate soluble. A good sample of phosphate contains about 16 per cent of phosphoric acid in a form that is soluble in water. Sometimes when insufficient acid has been used a part of the soluble phosphate will change into a form intermediate in solubility, between the natural phosphate and the acid phosphate, and this is said to have undergone “reversion.” The new compound being called “reverted phosphates.” The latter product is supposed to be more available to the plant than the insoluble or natural phosphate, hence, the soluble and reverted phosphoric acid taken together are known as the “available phosphoric acid.” Sometimes, hone meal is treated with a limited amount of sulphuric acid and the product is called “acidulated bone.” This contains a much smaller proportion of its phosphoric acid in soluble form, than does the rock superphosphate. When soluble phosphates are added to the soil, they combine soon with the mineral matter and are converted, first into the reverted phosphate, and finally into the insoluble form, such as is found naturally in the soil. In this way the phosphoric acid is fixed and there is no danger of its being lost by leaching. The soluble phosphate present in acidulated goods is generally considered the most favorable form of phosphoric acid for use as a fertilizer. At first sight it seems useless to go to the expense of making the phosphate soluble when it is again rendered insoluble by the soil, before the plant can make use of it. The true object in making it soluble is to aid in its distribution to the soil and thence to the plant. When an in soluble phosphate is applied it remains where it falls, except for the slight distribution it receives by cultivating. In the case of the soluble phosphate, on the other hand, the phosphate dissolves in the soil water, and is widely distributed before it becomes fixed by the soil. In the former, also, the roots must go to the phosphate, while in the latter, the phosphate is carried to the roots. It will therefore be observed that after the soluble phosphate is distributed throughout the soil, the individual particles must be very much smaller than is the case with the insoluble phosphate. The importance of fineness of division can not be too strongly emphasized. Too much stress cannot be laid upon the need of intelligent use of fertilizers. A little expense and effort in carefully analyzing the soil to be treated, proving its component parts and proportions, then leaving what should be added to result in the largest production of the crops desired. No guessing nor conjecture should be indulged in. it can only lead to disaster, whereas a little scientific investigation and analysis will render success certain. Analysis alone will not suffice. Actual testing of the various classes of soil. dividing same into small blocks and using different proportions of fertilizers on some, none on others, will instore the best results. Farmers are furnished with a great variety of so-called fertilizers of greater or less merit, and a vast variety of mixtures almost too numerous to classify, many of which I regret to state are not at all what they are represented to he, and often are worth less than one-third the price charged therefor. No one should under any circumstances be induced to purchase anything claimed to be a fertilizer, without first having had an analysis made of the same by some chemist of unimpeachable integrity. A failure or refusal to observe this precaution will be certain to defeat the purpose in view and result in loss, instead of the gain desired. There can be no good excuse given for the unfair adulteration of fertilizers, because the supply of basic material is abundant, cheap, and can be reasonably transported, leaving a good profit for all dealers, when an absolutely pure article. As the product is now sold it ranges from 1 to 3 per cent ammonia, 6 to 12 per cent phosphoric acid, 4 to 10 per cent potash. The unit basis of purchase is a fair one to both vendor and vendee. A unit means 1 per cent on the basis of a ton, or twenty pounds. For example, a unit of available phosphoric acid would be twenty pounds, and if the quotation was $1.00 a unit, the phosphoric acid would cost five cents a pound. The system is applied to the sale of nitrate of soda, the potash salt, blood, meat. tankage, superphosphate, etc., and in nitrogenous goods the price is usually stated as so much a unit of ammonia. The number of units in the material is determined by chemical analysis. This system could be applied as well to mixed as unmixed goods. But home mixing would prove by far the wisest policy, as none of the frauds common to commercial fertilizers could then be perpetrated. It is little less than idiocy to buy any mixed fertilizer for any specific tract of land. because you may be paying for an excess of many elements, when the addition of some one single acid, such as sulphuric, for instance, would double its production. Lime, marl, muck, wood or coal ashes only would at times produce better results than the most perfect and elaborate mixed fertilizer. Apropos of this subject, permit me to call attention to a little work of great value to every farmer. None should be without it. Viz., A treatise on “American Manures, and Farmers' and Planters' Guide,” by Wm. H. Buckner. Analytical Consulting Chemist, and J. B. Chynoweth, Eng., published in Philadelphia. The great lawyer, Theodore Cuylor, and others, give this work unqualified approval, and any farmer, after its perusal, is amply advised as to the many frauds perpetrated in the name of fertilization, and can guard against being victimized thereby. To attempt to deal with the fertilization question without giving ample scope to the question of water supply, would be a waste of effort, as water is the most important of all elements to be considered. Not all land is to be benefited by irrigation, but vastly more is improved than is generally supposed. There are few sections where the natural supply is precipitated at the right time, and in proper proportion, and wherever this is the case irrigation can be profitably resorted to always, providing the supply can be economically obtained and distributed. For example, take the rich Willamette valley in Oregon, where the rainfall is excessive during the entire spring, but little or none falls during the summer months, and it has been proven that larger or more frequent crops can be raised there with irrigation, even in this “Web-foot state.” Perfect production is only attainable when control of all the elements is possible, and this can be accomplished only in a hot house or conservatory. But the nearest approach thereto in the open, is in an almost rainless country, where the sunshine is constant by day, the soil fertile, and irrigation possible. Where these conditions prevail, as in Sinaloa, Mexico, as many as three crops a year can be produced upon the same area, and it is safe to state that there are few regions where the irrigation of the land will not prove beneficial. In most instances the providing of irrigation carries with it the necessity for a drainage system as well. It is not the placing of water on the land which causes the benefit. but the passage of the water through the soil, carrying the fertility or plant food to the roots, hence flow must he kept up, and often this can only be insured by providing a drainage system. Our country is so new, and our soil was so fertile originally, that abundant crops were produced thereon for many years, but this constant cropping of the same product, year after year, has exhausted vast areas and their life must be renewed. . . Fertilizers are abundant and accessible in the United States and can be laid down on any farm near to lines to transportation, and if of genuine character and properly applied, crops can be doubled or better each season. Professor Hopkins of the Illinois university more than doubled the production of wheat on a certain tract of land under this supervision. The natural yield was about twenty-four bushels: fertilized, fifty-six bushels per acre. Although the phosphate deposits now known to exist are of vast area, it was not until 1889 that the Florida deposits were accepted as valuable and extensive. Pebble deposits of Florida are supposed to underlie an area of about 2000 square miles, and are on lands about 160 feet above sea level.