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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 linety-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.1 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, 1 o; 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. Bui. 52, p. 109.
'Number of stations recommending the variety.
and a long season of growth. The Red Rust Proof appears to have a wide adaptation to the conditions existing in the Southern States.
"It can be sown both in fall and in late winter in this latitude. It is generally not greatly injured by rust, but is rust resistant rather than rust proof. The straw is short, an objection in very poor or stony land, since short straw means loss in harvesting. The height of straw can be increased by the liberal use of nitrogenous fertilizers, such as cotton seed, cotton seed meal and nitrate of soda." 1
The station results clearly indicate that there are types of oats specially adapted to Southern conditions, but do not appear to indicate any marked adaptability among the North Atlantic, North Central and Western States.
388. Improvement of Varieties.—The qualities to be sought in oats are (1) high percentage of kernel, (2) yield, and (3), to meet commercial demands, high weight per bushel, which is not necessarily related to per cent of kernel. Factors which influence yield, and to some extent quality, are (1) hardiness, (2) earliness, (3) stiffness of straw, (4) resistance to heat and drouth, (5) rust resistance. Oats have 'been improved by selection and by crossing. Improvement may be accomplished through continuous seed selection (402) and through the selection of individual plants by means of the breeding nursery. (108) The oat grower may keep his variety true to type and possibly improve it by maintaining a small seed patch (say an acre) on which is grown seed selected from the best portion of his field or the best plants of his seed patch the previous year.
389. Introduction of New Varieties. — The most important variety improvement in America has been due to the introduction of new varieties from northern Europe. Probably more new varieties of oats are imported and distributed by seedsmen than of any other cereal. It is not clear, however, to what extent the improvement has been merely in weight per bushel rather than in yield, except in instances where specially tested
1 Ala. Bui. 95 (1898), p. 161.
varieties have been introduced as described below, and it seems probable that rigid selection under a given environment would bring about better results in the end. (393) A number of stations have tested and introduced foreign varieties:
Joanette.—Imported from France in 1889; panicle spreading; grain black. Where successfully grown produces very large yields of grain. Produces a very short straw. Not suitable for growth throughout the greater part of the Province. Sown very thinly (four pecks per acre) on rich soils, cut a little on the green side, and bound into small sheaves, they bring good results. They are the greatest stooling oats and possess the thinnest hulls (which necessitates caution in threshing) of any so far experimented with. The grain is of excellent quality.
Siberian.—Imported from Russia in 1889; panicle spreading; grain white and of excellent quality; hulls comparatively thin. Produces a long straw and is well suited for medium to poor soil. Appears to have the widest adaptability of any variety raised in the Province and is one of the most popular in Ontario at the present time.
Oderbrucker.—Imported from Germany; panicle spreading; grain white, of good quality. Straw not so stiff as that produced by Siberian, and the grain weighs somewhat less per measured bushel. 1
Tartar King has recently been brought out by Garton Bros., England. It has a stiff straw and a larger percentage of hull than most varieties tested at Ottawa. Color of grain, white. The yield of grain is not so large as with some other varieties, but for rich soil is probably worthy of a trial.
Swedish Oats (wisconsin No. 4).—Originated in Sweden; introduced into Finland and Russia, and into the United States from Russia by the Department of Agriculture and distributed to United States Experiment Stations. This station obtained seed (six pounds) in 1899 sufficient to sow one-tenth acre. Its evident good qualities led the station to continue its cultivation two years for seed for the field and for distribution. The variety was more productive than the varieties previously grown. Of thirty-eight different varieties tested for five years at the station, this variety proved the most satisfactory. It likewise gave best results under field conditions during the same period. The Swedish oat has its panicle spreading, grain white. It is noted for its special adaptability to well-drained soils, to soils of poor grade, its strength of culm and its resistance to drought, the last named quality being due to its abundant root development. It has been reported that this variety does not fill well and produced straw too abundantly on rich prairie soil. *
1 Rpt. Ont. Agr. Col. and Expt . Farms, 1901,1902,1903. * Wis. Rpt. 1902, p. 219; 1903, p. 265.
Kherson Oats.—Introduced into Nebraska in 1897 from the Kherson government of Russia. Panicles spreading; grain light yellow; small, but numerous, and having a very thin hull. The growth is vigorous, but not rank, the culm being very short; leaves very broad. In weight per bushel and yield per acre, this variety has led all others at this station. On account of its habit of growth the oat is reported to be peculiarly adapted to central and western Nebraska. A three years' test indicates that it is earlier, yields better, and, excepting the Texas Red, weighs heavier than any other variety. At this station it has proved itself the superior of Texas Red in yield per acre. It is reported as having remarkable drought-resisting qualities. In an experiment in 1902, in which Swedish Select lodged so badly as to make it impossible to determine yield, Kherson oats, though partly lodged, yielded forty-two bushels per acre. Sixty Day, also from Russia, although not lodged, partly shelled, and yielded only thirty bushels per acre. 1
390. Crossing.—The indications are that oats are nearly always self-fertilized. Artificial cross-fertilization is most successfully accomplished on cool, moist days.' No American cross-bred variety of oats has as yet been widely distributed.
391. Influence of Climate Upon Distribution.—Oats are naturally adapted to a cooler climate than wheat, barley or maize. North Dakota Station has shown that oats require less number of days and less heat units than spring wheat or maize.1 The climate needs to be both cool and moist. Oats grow fairly well in the South, where, while warm, it is moist, but in California,
where both warm and dry, oats do not do as well as wheat or barley. Oats grow to perfection in the cool, moist, insular climate of Scotland, Norway and Sweden, as well as in Canada. Doubtless the pendant spikelets, with large outer glumes, protect the flowers from cold rains. Oats may be grown as far north as 65° N. Lat. both in America and in Norway, and have matured seed in Alaska where the thermometer reached 300 F. or lower every month in the year.
392. Influence of Climate Upon Distribution and Yield.-^-The relative adaptability of oats compared with other cereals to certain climatic conditions is shown by results of experiments in central Canada and central Ohio. By growing oats, barley, field peas and spring wheat separately and
1 No. Dak. Bui. 47 (1900), p. 704.