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383. Composition.—The average of American analyses is as follows:
Rather wide variations are found in the composition of the oat grain, due doubtless to the variation in percentage of hull, since the composition of the oat kernel shows only moderate variations. Taking the grain as a whole, oats differ from maize principally in having a larger per cent of crude fiber at the expense of starch. The kernel is richer in protein and fat than the corresponding part of any of our other cereals. Oat straw has a higher percentage of protein and a lower percentage of · crude fiber than wheat or rye straw. The composition of oat hay cut when the grain was in the milk is very similar to that of timothy hay.
No coherent substance similar to gluten in wheat is to be obtained from the oat kernel; hence light bread cannot be made from it. Osborne has found that the proteids of the oat kernel undergo great changes when brought in contact with water or sodium chloride solution. It is necessary, therefore, to distinguish between the primary and secondary proteids of the oat kernel. Of primary proteids, the oat kernel contains about one and one-fourth per cent of an alcohol-soluble proteid; about one and one-half per cent of salt-soluble proteid or globulin, while the rest of the proteids contained in the oat kernel is an alkali-soluble body. This substance which forms the larger portion of the proteids has been given the name avenine, 1
1 Memoirs National Academy of Sciences, Vol. VI, p. 51; also Conn. Rpt. 1891, p. 134.
384. Germination.-Saunders has reported the average germination of four samples of oats during six years as follows: 90, 93, 78, 67, 54 and 30 per cent. The viability was greater than with wheat, barley, peas or flax.' Kinzel found that the percentage of germinable seed steadily increased for eight to ten months, after which there was a decrease. The Ohio Station found an average yield during five years of forty-eight bushels per acre where seed of the previous year's growth was used, and forty-five bushels per acre where seed was one year older,
The Wisconsin Station reports that soaking oats in a solution of two and one-half parts of formaldehyde to 1,000 parts of water decreased germination from six to seventeen per cent. An increased yield has been observed in some instances from hot water and potassium sulphide treatment beyond that resulting from replacing smutted panicles with sound ones. This may be explained by supposing that many plants are attacked with smut without developing spores when seed is not treated, and by its possible higher germinative energy. Kellerman found that treatment with hot water and potassium sulphide generally caused better and greater germination ;5 while the Wyoming Station found copper sulphate, hot water and potassium sulphide generally injurious.
385. Classification.— There are spring and winter (fall) varieties of oats. The winter varieties are principally grown south of the southern boundary of Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas, or about 37° N. Lat., where they are the chief varieties grown. The area of cultivation of winter oats is grad. ually extending northward. Where successfully grown they are to be preferred to spring varieties, because of their more vigorous early growth in the spring and their earlier ripening. At the Alabama Station fall sowing gave about twice the yield of grain and straw as spring sowing. There is, however, greater danger of absolute failure of fall seeding on account of winter killing Oats may be further classified according to their date of
1 Can. Expt. Farms Rpt. 1903, p. 44. 2 Landw. Vers. Stat. 54 (1900), No. 1-2, p. 123. 8 Ohio Bul. 138 (1903), p. 48. 4 Wis. Rpt. 1902, p. 268. 6 Ohio Bul. 3 Tech. ser. (1893), p. 201.
ripening, according to color and shape of grain and according to the shape of the panicle. The panicle may be spreading or open, or the branches may hang mostly upon one side of the rachis and be more upright, which gives the panicle a closed appearance. Such varieties are known as side oats. There are all degrees of variation between the varieties with open and closed panicles.
There are varieties Variety with open or spreading panicle of oats known as hullless oats, in which the flowering glume and palea are removed upon threshing. These varieties may have either open or closed panicles. On account of the smaller yield, due in part, at least, to the removal of the hull, they are not generally raised.
1 Ala. Bul. 95, p. 165.
The Ohio Station, which has tested seventy-one varieties for ten years, has divided these varieties into four groups: (1) Welcome group, with open panicle, coarse straw and short, plump grain, includes twenty-one varieties; (2) Wide Awake group, grain longer and more pointed, requiring slightly longer season, includes twenty-three varieties; (3) Seizure group, panicle one-sided, stiff straw, still longer season, includes thirteen varieties ; (4) Mixed group, in which varieties are placed not clearly belonging in any of the above groups.
386. Value of Different Types and Varieties.Carleton states that side oats are usually white or black; that white and black varieties of any type are usually found in northern regions; that red varieties usually, and gray varieties almost entirely, are grown as winter oats. Experiments seem to indicate that there is no material difference in yield between varieties with open and closed panicles, between varieties of different colored grains, or between varieties having short,
Variety with closed plump grains, and those having long, slender or one-sided pan. grains, and consequently between varieties of icle. different weight per bushel. In America there are more early maturing varieties with short, plump, white grains and open panicles than any other kind; and at the Ohio Station and at the Ontario Agricultural College ranked rather better than other types.
While it cannot, perhaps, be demonstrated that early maturing varieties are more prolific than late maturing varieties, they have the advantage in that their growth and maturity are during the
I Rpt. Kan. St. Bd. Agr., Quar. ending March 1, 1904, p. 19.
2 Ohio Bul. 138 (1903), p. 45, and Ont. Agr. Col. and Expt. Farms Rpt. 1897, p. 154.
cooler portion of the season, and also because they may often be harvested so as to avoid storms which injure the late varieties. In some localities early maturing varieties are desirable in order that they may be harvested in time to prepare for the succeeding crop. There is a difference of about two weeks in varieties grown in this country when grown side by side in a given locality. At the Ohio Station the average length of seasons during ten years varied for seventy-one varieties from iinety-eight to 105 days, except in Early Ripe, which was eightyseven days. During eight years North Dakota Station has found an average variety variation of from eighty-eight to 102 days, while the extreme limits due to both season and variety were eighty to 118 days. Early varieties usually have shorter stems, and are, therefore, less likely to lodge.
387. Varieties of Oats.—Twenty-eight stations have tested varieties of oats from one to fifteen years and have obtained satisfactory results with 125 different varieties. Of these varieties, only sixteen are recommended by four or more stations. Two are winter varieties suited to sowing in the South in the fall, viz., Red Rust Proof, 8;2 Virginia Gray, 4. Of the fourteen spring varieties, eleven are white with open panicles, as follows: American Banner, 10; Badger Queen, 6; Lincoln, 5; Wide Awake, 5; Improved American, 4; Clydesdale, 4; White Bonanza, 4; Pringle's Progress, 4; Siberian, 4; Welcome, 4; White Wonder, 4. Two varieties have closed panicles, White Russian, 4, and Black Russian, 4, with the color of grain as indicated in name. Burt (synonym May) is recommended by four stations : Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi, where an early maturing spring variety is desired.
There is a group of varieties of which Virginia is the type that are especially adapted to growing for grazing or for hay. They are hardy, have tall fine straw, a low percentage of grain
I No. Dak. Bul. 52, p. 109.