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ANALYSIS OF COTTONSEED MEAL OF STANDARD QUALITY.
Organic matter (including 6.72 per cent of nitrogen),
Of course the fertilizing value of cottonseed meal depends mainly upon its nitrogen, but potash and phosphoric acid are also important. It is such a popular fertilizer and feed that in years of scarcity and high prices, cottonseed meal is adulterated by adding rice meal, etc., or by grinding the hulls into it. This impure meal contains only half or two-thirds as much nitrogenous matter as the pure article, and, if bought at all, it should be at a reduction of twenty-five to fifty per cent from the price of straight goods. The meal with hulls is dark and contains hard, black fragments of hulls. As the Connecticut station truly says, "In ordinary meal, to use as feed or fertilizer, purchasers should require decorticated upland cottonseed meal, containing at least six and one-half per cent of nitrogen, unless they are willing to use the other greatly inferior meal, which cannot be economically done unless it can be got for a greatly reduced price." Oftentimes this meal ferments and sours, which renders it unfit for cattle food, and it is then sold at a less price. This damaged meal is almost, if not quite, as good for fertilizing purposes as the sweet meal, and a considerable saving in first cost is made by using it.
This meal is such an excellent cattle food that it is almost a waste to use it directly as a fertilizer, especially as by far the most of its fertilizing elements are found in the manure, after feeding. For general farm pur* poses, it is more economical to feed it; but tobacco is an exceptional crop, and this meal has been found so congenial to this plant that it cannot be considered wasteful to use it directly. And laying aside its feeding value, and considering it solely as a fertilizer for direct application, it is one of the most economical fertilizers
Cottonseed meal, however, is not a very rapid fertilizer, and it should be applied as long as possible before the setting of the plants, to allow it to decompose. When the land has been dressed with ten cords of manure in the fall, one thousand pounds of meal should be broadcasted after plowing in the spring, and gently harrowed in. This should be done a month or six weeks before the plants are set, by which time it will be well diffused throughout the soil, especially if moist weather has prevailed. When no manure is used, one ton of meat should be applied. Some growers apply it in the fall, but this is not a general custom, although it is a good plan to follow. At Poquonock, 1500 pounds of cottonseed meal per acre, with 1500 pounds of cottonhull ash, made an average crop of 1611 pounds per acre, containing 956 pounds wrappers; when the meal was increased to 2500 pounds, the total crop was not much larger, but it yielded 1065 pounds wrappers; and 3000 pounds of meal made an average crop of 1835 pounds of cured leaf per acre, containing 1226 pounds of wrappers; the ash used was the same in all cases.
Linseed or Flaxseed Meal is also a popular fertilizer in seasons when, because of its abundance, it can be sold at as low, or lower, a price as cottonseed meal. It is not quite so rich in plant food as cottonseed meal, but the difference is slight. The new process linseed meal contains only about three per cent of fat or oil, while old process contains twice as much. At Poquonock, the tests made were with new process only, and results in quantity and quality of leaf from a moderate applica
tion are such that this meal is now largely employed for tobacco. About a ton per acre is used, with potash salts or ashes. To what extent the increased oil or fat in old process meal would injure or benefit leaf tobacco has not yet been determined.
Other Meals rich in nitrogen might be used on tobacco when their price permitted, but in the absence of experiments to show their effect, they should first be tried on a small scale. Gluten meal contains fire per cent of nitrogen, pea meal three per cent, wheat bran two to three per cent.
Castor Pomace.—This article is used to some extent as a tobacco fertilizer, although a prejudice exists against it among some cigar manufacturers, as the claim is made that the tobacco does not come out of the sweat in good shape. This trouble arises from carelessness in application, and not from any inherent peculiarity of the pomace. The castor bean is grown quite extensively in this country. The oil is expressed by pressure and the crushed beans are known as castor pomace. It is a coarse, lumpy material, poisonous as a food, and having an offensive odor. Because of its coarse condition, it is difficult to spread evenly, and it should always be applied in the fall and gently harrowed in. By spring it will be brought into a suitable condition for tobacco growing. If its application is delayed until spring, this process of reduction cannot be accomplished before the plants are demanding the food. It is, however, used with excellent results applied in spring. Its use in a fresh, raw state produces bad results, but when applied at the proper season very favorable results are derived from it.
Castor pomace is much more difficult to manage than cottonseed meal and the latter is rightfully much more popular. Castor pomace is liable to vary in composition, and should be bought on a guarantee of five or five and one-fifth per cent nitrogen. The large amount of organic matter it contains gives it more value than nitrogen salts, especially for light soils. As it contains about one-fourth less nitrogen than cottonseed meal, the application should be correspondingly larger, or 2500 pounds per acre where no manure is used and 1250 when used with manure. When manure cannot be obtained, castor pomace makes a fairly good substitute,— perhaps the best the market affords, as its organic matter acts similarly to that of manure. At Poquonock, leaf grown on this pomace compared favorably in quantity and quality with crops grown on other fertilizers.
Tankage is the name applied to the residue of meat entrails, fine bone, etc., that settle at the bottom of the large tanks in which such refuse is steamed, or rendered, for extracting fat. When the percentage of bone runs large it is called cracklings. It is a dry powder varying considerably in mechanical condition, the meat generally being in a very finely pulverized condition, while much of the bone is considerably coarser. Fertilizer manufacturers use this material quite largely, and they generally make a distinction between beef and pork tankage. The latter contains considerable fat, which retards decomposition, and it is held in less esteem than beef tankage, which is almost entirely free from fat. This distinction is not understood by farmers and they are probably supplied with the less marketable pork tankage.
The quantity of water in tankage varies considerably, ranging from ten to thirty per cent, and the amount of bone also varies. Of course the larger the percentage of water, the smaller is the percentage of nitrogen; when bone is largely present the nitrogen runs low. It is generally sold on a guaranteed analysis, however, and the price varies according to the contents. The average amount of water is twelve per cent; nitrogen ranges from four to eight per cent, averaging about six per cent, while phosphoric acid ranges from seven to eighteen per cent, averaging eleven per cent. It is customary to sell the phosphoric acid as bone phosphate of lime, which runs much larger than the actual phosphoric acid, and farmers often confuse the term, thinking they are the same. Phosphoric acid is combined with lime in the ratio of one to 2.183; that is, one per cent of phosphoric acid is equivalent to 2.183 of bone phosphate of lime. And when tankage contains eleven per cent of phosphoric acid it contains twenty-four per cent of bone phosphate. The term phosphate of lime looks big and is often used by manufacturers to describe the phosphoric acid present in commercial fertilizers, thereby conveying the impression that a much larger quantity of phosphoric acid is contained than is actually present. It is one of the "tricks of the trade." A similar confusion exists between nitrogen and ammonia, as explained on Page 123.
When tankage runs largely to bone, there is little difference between it and ordinary bone meal. For tobacco, the presence of bone in tankage is of little advantage, since the crop requires but a small quantity of that element. In selecting tankag for this crop, care should be taken to choose that which runs high in nitrogen and low in phosphate. The presence of the bone increases the selling price, especially when a fair proportion of nitrogen is present, so tnat tankage cannot be considered an economical nitrogen supply, since it requires the purchase of a large quantity of unnecessary bone. For other crops, however, where phosphoric acid is needed, it is a good purcnase,—a better one than bone.
The meat of tankage is in a very fine state and is easily disintegrated in the soil. It has been supposed to be more readily available for plant food than the organic matter of cottonseed meal and castor pomace, as animal matter appears to ferment and disintegrate