« AnteriorContinuar »
remedy for this, the Kansas Station recommends more thorough surface tillage of the sorghum. Inasmuch as broom corn is har. vested soon after the flowers have set, the crop is not an exhaustive one. Broom corn is frequently raised continuously for many years on the same land without material diminution of the crop or injury to the land. Rotation of crops, however, is desirable on account of injury from insects and fungous diseases, particularly the latter.
III. CULTURAL METHODS. 547. Preparation of Seed Bed.—The preparation of the seed bed is similar to that for maize except that greater care is im. perative on account of the smaller seed and the slow early growth of the sorghum plant. For the first month after planting the growth of sorghum is much less rapid than that of maize, and the difficulty of keeping the land free of weeds is therefore greatly increased because of the difficulty of killing weeds with out covering the plants.
548. Time of Planting. In the sections in which it is grown the time required to mature a crop is rather less than that required for maize. During germination and early growth sorghum is very sensitive to cold, wet weather. It should not, therefore, be planted until the land has become thoroughly warm, usually from one to three weeks after the time for planting maize.
549. Rate of Planting.-Generally speaking, about twice the number of plants per acre should be raised of sorghum as of maize. That is to say, if at the rate of one grain every twelve inches in rows forty-two inches apart is the best rate in a given locality for maize for the production of grain, then one grain every six inches would be the best for the Kafir varieties of sorghum for the production of the seeds or grains. If one grain every six inches is the best for the production of maize fodder or silage, then one grain every three inches would be the best for the production of sorghum fodder or silage. Since the Kafir varieties of sorghum do not grow as tall as maize, the rows may be closer together; three feet being often recommended where the rows of maize are usually planted three feet eight inches apart. Experiments, however, do not show that any greater yields of grain or roughage can be obtained by having the rows closer together, provided the same number of plants are raised per acre. Standard varieties of broom corn are planted at the rate of one plant every three inches in rows three feet six inches or three feet eight inches apart; and dwarf varieties are planted with plants two inches apart in rows three feet apart. The quality of the broom may be affected by the rate of planting; the thicker the planting, the finer the brush. Sorghum may be drilled or planted in hills; the former being the more common method. When the latter method is followed the hills are about eighteen inches apart in the rows. There are no experiments to show that the yield is greater in one case than in the other.
550. Quantity of Seed.— The quantity of seed per acre used in practice is quite variable because of the variety of purposes for which it is raised, different methods of handling, difference in size of seed and liability of low germination. Three to four pounds of good seed are sufficient to plant an acre of broom corn. Where Kafir varieties are grown for grain alone five to six pounds of seed are used and twice this amount where fodder is also wanted. Where sweet sorghum is grown for forage fifteen to thirty pounds planted in rows and cultivated produce a palatable product, and is usually the most satisfactory method of handling the crop. When sown broadcast or drilled, as in the case of wheat, to be mown and treated as hay, as high as 100 pounds of seed per acre are used. There is no evidence to show that this method produces greater yields, but it is preferred by some on account of the method of handling the crop, and because of its better keeping quality. Where the canes of sweet
sorghum are large they are apt to retain their juices, which when frozen ferment, and rapid deterioration of the fodder results. Where sweet sorghum is grown for seed for subsequent planting or for sirup two to three pounds per acre are sufficient.
551. Method of Planting.–Any form of maize planter may be used for planting sorghum by substituting special plates. In case special plates are not available the rotary disk plate of the maize planter may be filled with melted lead and bored out the proper size. The wheat drill can also be used as suggested for maize. (305)
“Perhaps the best and most practical is the ordinary grain-drill. As the rows should be thirty to thirty-six inches apart, the holes may be stopped by tacking a piece of pasteboard over all except those which will plant the rows the proper distance. On an eleven-hole drill, by stopping all but the outside holes and the middle one, the rows will be thirty inches apart; or by arranging a thirteen-hole drill the same way the rows will be thirty-six inches apart, providing the distance between the shoes is six inches. A marker may be put on the drill by bolting a twoby-four timber to the middle post of the frame and letting it project behind to fasten the marker to, and pull the other end by a rope or chain from the marker to the doubletree. Or a slat may be fastened to the frame of the drill and project out to the sides in front of the wheels, and a light chain or wire be fastened to the slat to drag in the wheel mark made the previous round, and so adjusted as to indicate the proper distance from the last row planted.” 1
Listing is frequently practiced, but more difficulty is experi- . enced on account of the weeds and the slow growth of sorghum , than in the case of maize. More injury also is experienced from flooding for the same reasons.
552. Cultivation. The principles underlying the cultivation of sorghum and the tools used are the same as those for maize, the only difference being that greater vigilance must be exercised to prevent weeds from getting a start. (312) The land should be kept harrowed sufficiently before the sorghum comes up to prevent weeds getting a start, and after it is up may be harrowed with a weeder or light harrow as suggested for maize.
* Rpt. Kan. St. Bd. Agr., March, 1900, p. 56
veeder or light art, and after it Snum comes
(299) While the plant is between three and eight inches in height it will stand harrowing better than maize.
553. ENEMIES OF SORGHUM.-Weeds are especially troublesome to sorghum on account of its slow early growth; but there are none that are not common to maize. The sorghum plant is attacked by maize rust (Puccinia sorghi Schw.) and also by smut (Sphacelotheca sorghi (L. K.) Clint.), which frequently does much damage to broom corn by producing its black smut spores in the seeds. It may be controlled by soaking the seed for fifteen minutes in hot water at 135° F.1 or by the formalin treatment. The principal insect enemies are the chinch bug (151) and the plant louse. (333)
554. Time of Harvesting.–The stage of maturity depends upon the purpose for which it has been raised. When raised for grain the seeds are allowed to become thoroughly mature, which usually happens while the stem and leaves are still green. Plants may stand in the field in this condition for several weeks without material injury, although there will be some loss from the shattering of the seed. It is desirable, however, especially when use is made of the fodder, to cut and shock it as soon as the seeds have become thoroughly mature. With broom corn, brush of a light color is desired and is obtained by cutting as soon as may be after the pollen has fallen. The early cut brush is also said to be heavier and more durable. The milk stage is as late as it may be safely allowed to stand, although in California seed is allowed to ripen, greatly to the detriment of the brush, as much as a ton of seed per acre being obtained.?
555. Method of Harvesting.—No thoroughly satisfactory method of handling the crop has yet been devised, especially in humid regions where there is some difficulty in keeping both the stover and the grain. It may be cut and shocked after the manner of maize by any of the methods recommended for that crop. (342) In some cases the header has been used, which gathers only the heads and leaves, the stalks standing in the field. In other cases the heads are removed by hand with a
corn knife, thrown directly into the wagon box, and afterwards stored in narrow, well ventilated maize cribs.
556. Threshing.–The heads of the Kafir variety are frequently fed to cattle without threshing. In some cases the whole heads have been ground with fairly good results. For threshing Kafir varieties, the ordinary threshing machine is used, the concave being taken out and a blank concave or smooth board being put in its place in order not to break the grain. In some cases only the heads are fed into the machine, these having been removed in the field or subsequently cut off on a chopping block with a corn knife. In other cases merely the heads of the fodder are put into the machine and removed ; while in still others the whole fodder is allowed to pass through the machine, The latter practice is not considered desirable on account of the readiness with which the shredded stover deteriorates.
557. METHOD OF HARVESTING BROOM CORN.- The brush of the dwarf varieties of broom corn are pulled by hand instead of being cut by knife. The brush is then laid in piles on the ground. On this account rainy weather during harvest is very disastrous to the crop. With the standard varieties of broom corn a method known as tabling is practiced. The rows of broom corn are bent over a distance of thirty inches from the ground toward each other but at an angle of 45° from the direction of the rows. The brush is now cut at a distance of six to eight inches from the base of the brush with a shoe knife; care being taken not completely to sever the upper leat sheat or “boot” when cutting the culm. The brush is then piled on each alternate table, thus leaving the intervening table over which the wagons may enter the fields to remove the brush.
558. PREPARING BROOM CORN FOR MARKET.-As rapidly as the brush is cut it is hauled to the cleaner, where the immature seeds are removed, the brush instead of passing through the teeth of the cylinder being carried in front of and at an angle with it in such a manner as not to injure the brush. Machines are made requiring twelve to fifteen men to operate, which will clean thirty to forty acres a day. There are itinerant machines, but it is more satisfactory for the grower to own his own machine because of the superior quality of brush which can be obtained by prompt handling. The cleaned brush is placed two to three inches deep on slats in open sheds in order to dry rapidly without exposure to rain or strong light. As soon as dry enough so that no moisture can be removed on twisting the stems, which will be in two to four weeks, the brush is piled in compacted tiers to prevent bleaching. When dry it is compressed with a machine similar to a hay baler into a bale, py overlapping the heads, thus leaving the stem end at each end of the bale. A bale