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avoid the use of chlorides, which, as the experience in all countries agrees, are likely as a rule to injure the burning quality of the leaf. Chlorides exist as chloride of sodium, or common salt and chloride of potash, or muriate of potash. Low grade sulphates of potash, such as kainit, carnallite, krugit, etc., also contain a large admixture of common salt, and therefore should not be used.
It has been found that the texture of the leaf, and to some extent its burning quality, is frequently injured by certain coarse forms of nitrogenous matter, and some substances, as castor pomace, are regarded with disfavor by manufacturers, some of whom refuse to purchase a crop grown on pomace. This is a matter of far less consequence than the presence of chlorine, for the deleterious effects of coarse nitrogen compounds can easily be eliminated. And castor pomace itself can be, and is, used with perfect safety, when it is intelligently handled. In fact, this pomace is a very popular tobacco fertilizer in some sections, and dealers who profess to refuse to buy crops grown upon it, nevertheless do purchase many a lot so grown, being kept in ignorance of the fact by the grower, and no complaint is made when the grower is skillful, and has a reputation for producing good tobacco. The Poquonock experiments certainly indicate castor pomace when it is properly used.
The same objection can be raised against coarse animal matter, such as green slaughterhouse waste, coarse meat scraps, etc. The whole point is, that when such matter is applied directly to the land, it should be done early in the fall, that the process of violent fermentation and putrefaction may pass long before the plants are set. Such matter decomposes with an excessive fermentation, amounting to a violent putrefaction and, owing to the coarse, lumpy form, this excessive fermentation is long continued, and the nitrogenous matter is not wholly converted into nitrates, and other forms suitable for plant growth, until a long time has elapsed. The early stages of this violent decay create a condition in the soil that is bad for quality in tobacco, developing a leaf with coarse texture, large veins and an excess of woody tissue. Wherever possible, all animal and vegetable matter should be ground to a fine, dry powder, in which form it is much more easily disintegrated and that, too, without excessive fermentation. Furthermore, a much more even distribution of the fertilizer can be made, which insures a thorough fertilizing of the land, avoiding the liability of omitting parts of the field. WHAT TO USE AND HOW TO APPLY IT.
The trouble with this class of materials is entirely in the mechanical condition. Coarse fertilizers are proverbially slow. The same matter, in a finely divided state, can be used with perfect safety. But if, os in castor pomace, this is impossible, it should be applied so long in advance of the crop, that all danger of excessive decomposition shall have passed before the plants are set. Chlorine in any form should be avoided by the skillful grower, and coarse, nitrogenous matter should be used with discretion and with an understanding of its dangers and limitations. These constitute the only forms of plant food that are positively dangerous, and that should not be used because of the danger. Phosphoric acid is not assimilated by the crop to any material extent, and its application, in more than very .moderate quantity, is unnecessary, and therefore wasteful, unless the soil is deficient in this element, but its presence does not produce any markedly bad results; it is simply useless to incur the expense of an element that is not required.
[For analysis of manures, manurlal substances, etc., used on tobaccot consult Table IV, Pages 112 and 113.]
Manure.—In former times, the excrement of domestic animals was the only plant food at the command of the grower; it was the only dependence, and its use has not ceased, for it is still largely relied upon, although it is now generally used in conjunction with other fertilizers, as a sort of foundation upon which to build. It is still one of the most important fertilizing materials at the command of the tobacco grower, and it is more universally used than any other single substance. It is surely entitled to receive the first consideration. But it is now applied with an understanding of its deficiencies as well as excellences, and often for different purposes in a different way than formerly.
Barn Manure is a general term covering the mixture of the excrement of cattle, horses and swine, or that of cattle and swine only, or that of cattle only. Horse manure, when kept distinct from the general mass, is separately classed, and is used for special purposes. On the ordinary farm, manure is the mixture of the excrement of the leading farm animals. There are several striking characteristics that are peculiarities of barn manure. The most noticeable of these is the large quantity of vegetable matter it contains; and incidentally the large amount of water. This organic matter is the greatest peculiarity of manure, and from it certain effects are produced in the soil that cannot be obtained from any other fertilizer. Another peculiarity is that manure is a complete fertilizer, it contains some of every element that is required by growing crops,—nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potash, as the more important plant food elements, as well as lime and magnesia. A third peculiarity is the variability of the quantities of these food elements, depending upon the classes of