Imágenes de páginas

and common gray. The grain of the silver hull is smaller and plumper than the Japanese. In the latter variety there is a tendency for the angles or edges of the hull to extend into a wing, making the faces of the grain more concave. The plant is also stronger and somewhat larger, and its flowers less liable to blast from hot weather. Each of these varieties has given the largest yield of grain in single tests at different stations. At the Ontario Agricultural College the average yield of grain during seven years has been Japanese, twenty-one; silver hull, eighteen, and common gray, sixteen bushels; of straw, 2.9, 2.8 and 2.6 tons respectively. At the North Dakota Station two

the best results. The Japanese is sometimes mixed with a smaller growing variety. It is thought that more blossoms develop and that the Japanese in shading the smaller variety prevents its flowers from blasting. The desirability of this practice has not been experimentally demonstrated.

577. Climate.—Buckwheat is adapted to a moist cool climate; and while it will germinate in very dry soil the yield is very

altitude and its center of production is farther north than any other cereal in America. Under favoratie conditions it will mature a crop of seed in eight to ten weeks, thus making it the shortest season cereal crop.

578. Soil.—Buckwheat does best on a rather sandy welldrained soil. It is possible to mature buckwheat on poor soil, and it is frequently grown on soil that is both poor and badly tilled. While apparently the soil has less effect upon yield than climate and season, nevertheless buckwheat will respond to a good soil, and no unfavorable results will follow from a high state of fertility. As in the other small grains, the proportion

[ocr errors]

of straw will be greater, but when lodging occurs, the consequences are more serious than with the true cereals, since the plant has no method of rising again. (378) Buckwheat responds to applications of cheap low-grade fertilizers more regularly than most crops. In Pennsylvania farmers who do not use fertilizers on any other crop buy it for buckwheat. The fact that these low-grade manures are usually low in nitrogen and potash, but fair in phosphoric acid, indicates that it is especially benefited by the last

579. Rotation.-Rotation is seldom practiced because of the place buckwheat holds in the farm management, being fre. quently resorted to as a substitute for meadow or maize that has failed. Other things equal, it is placed upon the poorest soil or upon that in the lowest state of productivity for cropping. The crop it follows is perhaps less important than the crop which follows it. It is often held that the succeeding crop of maize or oats is reduced because of its growth. Buckwheat leaves the soil in a remarkably mellow or ashy condition, which in the case of light soils is objectionable, but in the case of heavy soils is desirable, especially as preparation for potatoes particularly, on account of the smoothness of the tubers when the latter follow buckwheat. The following rotation is sometimes practiced : potatoes, one year; oats or wheat, one year, and medium red clover, one year. The first crop only of clover is harvested, when the land is immediately plowed and sown to buckwheat.

580. Green Manuring.–Buckwheat is sometimes used for green manuring. The ash constituents and the nitrogen are rather high for a nonleguminous plant. It will germinate in rather dry soil, grows rapidly and rots easily. Where these factors are important considerations the use of buckwheat for green manuring is indicated. It is possible by the use of buck. wheat to incorporate organic matter into a soil that is almost too poor to grow any other crop.

582. Preparation of Seed Bed. Since a great deal of buckwheat is sown because of the failure of some other crop or be

cause the delay in farm work has prevented the preparation of the land in time for an earlier sown crop, the preparation of the seed bed usually takes place immediately before seeding. The land is usually plowed and prepared as for any other cereal. Early and thorough preparation of the seed bed, however, is ad visable, as shown

by the illustraBuckwheat: variety, Japanese, showing influence of preparation of seed bed upon growth. Plat on which larger plant grew was vous

as tions in this cultivated during the spring, while in plat upon which smaller one paragraph. grew the weeds were allowed to grow in the usual manner. Just before seeding, which was July 6, all plats were plowed

582. Seeling. and prepared in usual manner. Illustration shows plants at six weeks from seeding. From unpublished data of Cornell Station. The date of (One-twelfth natural size.)

seeding varies from May first to August first. The preferred time varies from the middle of June to the middle of July, depending upon locality. If sown too early, the flowers are liable to blast by the warm weather. The plant begins to blossom when quite small and continues until frost comes. Thus the plant has seeds in all

stages of maturity. When the earlier blossoms are blasted the later blossoms produce the seed. For this reason and because of the lateness of sowing, the crop is particularly liable to suffer from frost. The amount of seed used varies from two to five pecks, three to four pecks being common; depending principally upon the preparation of the seed bed. There is little trouble from foreign seed or from lack of germination. While the seed is usually sown broadcast by hand and harrowed in, the same reason exists for using the grain drill as in the case of wheat and other cereals. (131)

583. Enemies.—On account of its rapid germination and the quickness with which the plant shades the ground, as well as the time of year at which it is usually sown, buckwheat is little troubled with weeds. It is also especially free from insect attacks and fungous diseases. The principal causes of failure are the blasting of the flowers from hot weather and from drouth or flood.

584. Harvesting.–Buckwheat is usually harvested when the first seeds are fully mature, which is ordinarily in September. Buckwheat is a rather difficult crop to harvest. Much of it is still harvested with the cradle. Where the land will permit, probably the self-rake reaper is the most desirable implement. In this case it is not bound but is set up in shocks something after the manner of maize fodder. It may be cut with the selfbinder, put in long shocks without caps and threshed as soon as dry. It is rarely stacked or put in the barn on account of the difficulty of getting the straw cured sufficiently to prevent heating. The grain is said to keep better, when carried over from one season to another, if put in two-bushel bags and piled loosely so as to admit of a good circulation of air, than when stored in bins. (168)

585. Use.—The principal use of buckwheat is for the production of flour from which the well-known buckwheat cakes are made. There is also some sale for buckwheat groats, which is made by breaking the hull and separating the same from the kernels of the grain. The constant use of buckwheat is supposed to produce a feverish condition of the system which mani. fests itself in eruptions of the skin. Brewer suggests that inasmuch as plants of the buckwheat family are used for their medicinal properties, perhaps the cultivated species has some such property which affects its physiological value as a food. Buckwheat is highly prized as a poultry food, it being popularly supposed to stimulate the egg laying capacity of hens. There is no experimental evidence to support this belief. When ground, it makes a good food for swine. Under favorable conditions, 100 pounds of grain will produce sixty pounds of flour, twenty-four pounds of middlings or bran, and sixteen pounds of hulls. Buckwheat middlings is highly prized as a food for milch cows on account of its high percentage of protein and fat. Buckwheat hulls are of little value. They are sometimes mixed with the middlings, the mixture being known as buckwheat feed. As a food for domestic animals, the former is greatly to be preferred.

Buckwheat straw if protected from the weather is relished by stock. Where hay is so abundant that there is no occasion to feed straw, buckwheat straw has little feeding value; but if roughage is short it may be made to help out to good advantage. Used as bedding it does not last well, but it makes good bedding for cows, and because it is rich in minerals and rots so quickly it is desirable for manure. An old buckwheat straw stack or chaff pile is counted almost as good as manure. Some farmers report good results from using buckwheat as a green forage crop. It is highly prized for dees, buckwheat honey having a recognized place in the market.

586. Production.—Buckwheat is grown throughout the cooler portions of Asia, being extensively grown in Japan, and is rather sparingly grown in Europe, being less important there

« AnteriorContinuar »