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SOIL BUILDING FOR SOUTH CAROLINA.
Hy W. H. BARTON.
Full Text of Circular No. 13, Issued by 5. C. Experiment Station, Clemson College, S. C
TUB PURPOSES OF THIS CIRCULAR AUK.:
1. To represent in comprehensive form by diagram, the logi
cal order of practice to bo pursued, by means of which practice,
the farmer may most easily, most economically and most rapidly
enrich and develop the ordinary South Carolina farm.
2. To briefly indicato in regular order some of the results
accruing to allied and dependent Interests of modern agriculture
as a result of such a logical and well organized practice.
3. To give the farmer, in detailed form, information and in
structions necessary for his putting into practice the principles
outlined in this circular. To which end, we have discussed each
principle separately, making reference to the diagram. Thus
endeavoring to lix in tho mind of the farmer the kind of practice,
the order of practice, and the details necessary for intelligent
action on his part.
4. To briefly suggest a simple plan of co-operation between
agricultural and country school education in tho community, aa
a nucleus for the development of co-operative uplift along all
lines of community interests-un effective way to reach the major
ity of the great masses in the country, who either cannot or will
not bo reached otherwise.
\V. H. BARTON, District Agent.
Farmers' Co-operative Demonstration Work of Clem
son College and the United States Department of Agri
The following diagram represents the logical order of practice
necessary for the enrichment of our soils, and suggests some of
the results which will naturally follow such a practice:
These principles are being put into practice by the Fanners'
Co-opera ti vo Demonstration Work of Clemson College and the
United States Department of Agriculture in joint co-operation
with fanners. step by step, In the order indicated in the diagram.
I. Deep Fall Flowing; ?. Better
Terracing ami Drainage; ii. Better
Seed Red; 4. Bettor Seed; ">. Moro
Frequent Shallow Cultivation. These
live principles always will bo neces
sary to tho best farming, but unless
wo introduce tho second step, we
shall soon bankrupt the State by
bankrupting the soil.
WINTER COVER CROPS
of VETCH, CLOVER and CHAIN to
be double disked and turned just be
fore planting In tho spring. Thia
practice means more than all else to
the Southern fanner, since it fur
nishes a foundation for relatively all
else, when vetch and clover aro prop
erly Inoculated and supplied with a
sufficiency of phosphorus and potas
sium -"Acid and Potash."
DIVERSIFICATION AND ROTA
TION OF CHOI'S
with winter cover crops of vetch,
clover and grain on all open lands.
The cover crop is the most important
pail of any rotation, provided ibo
legumes aro properly inoculated and
supplied with tho necessary mineral
fertilizers - PHOSPHORIC ACID
The production of hoes, sheep, cat
tle, horses, etc., should be gradually
increased as the practices above fur
nish sufficient (dieap feeds on tho
resulting fertile soil. ENRICH TI IE
SOIL TO FF FD ANIMALS, rather
than FEED ANIMALS TO ENRICH
THF SOIL, should be our policy.
with nature's nitrogen from the air
instead of expensive production, ?is
we now have it, with high-priced
ammonia od fertilizers.
instead of soil robbery such as ex
ists ?it present.
MERCANTILE AND COMMERCIAL
instead of a "scramble" for the rela
tively small volume of business of
with something to tax, and a con
stituency who will demand taxation
instead of fighting it as at present.
Prosperity demands good things (In
the country as well as else 'here)
and it is usually willing to pay for
OUR "ROBBERY SYSTEM" AND "SOIL BUILDING SYSTEM"
(See Fig. 1.)
ROBBER CROPS: Wheat, rye. oats. corn, cotton, sorghum,
sweet and Irish potatoes in fact all non-leguminous plants take
their nitrogen from tho soil aloro.
SOIL BUILDING CHOI'S: Peas, beans, vetches, clovers
briefly, all leguminous plants, especially when planted <>n poor
soil, take probabiy at least one-half to three-fourths of their
nitrogen from the air, the amounts depending upon the poorness
of the soil and the supply of phosphoric acid and potash, ?ill else
South Carolina, with robber crops, In lilli, removed from
tho soil In fruit, roots and stalk growth, approximately $69,000,
000 in plant food-phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen. With
our robbery crop system, we practically returned only about
000,una in commercial fertilizers, apparently leaving $40,
000,Otu? deficit. Of course, considerable plant food should have
been, and was returned when the stalk growth was turned under;
but even at that, then- was a large overdraft In available fertility
made upon the Boll. If we had been farming a two-year or three
year rotation, with winter cover crops, such as vetch and clover,
turned in the spring, instead of having a ruinous overdraft, we
should have had $30.000,000. approximately, "ca: h hillanco" In
our bank of fertility ,he soil.
THE RATE OF ROBBERY.
For each unit of tho following robbery crops we remove fer
tility in root, stalk and grain, as approximately Indicated below:
Corn.$.48 per Hu.
Wheat . !.63 per Bu.
Oats.32 per Bu.
Lint Cotton .045 per lb.
Sweet Potatoes .045 per Bu.
Irish Potatoes.035 per Bu.
When all growth, except grain, or fruit, is turned in the fall,
this fertility cost of production ls reduced to the following:
forn .$.3:? per L.t.
Wheat .. .3:1 i>or Bu.
??ts . ... .Kir, per Bu.
Lint Cotton.*.0ir?8perlb. when
seed are sold, and only 45 cents per 500-pound bale when seed
are fed, or used as a fertilizer, assuming seed to be fed in form
of meal gotten In exchange for seed.
TUB HATE OE REBUILDING.
The following soil building crops deposit approximately the
amounis indicated in the two columns. The left hand column
represents the amount of fertility returned to the soil when the
entire plant ls turned. The right hand column shows the amount
of fertility deposited when these crops are cut off, as hay, and
Approximate value of
fertility desposltod,i>er Approxmato value of fertility de
dry ton of growth, i>oslted in root?, per dry ton of
when turned. hay, when hay ls cut and sold.
$ 8.30.Cow Peas.$ .50, about 6 p.c. of whole growth.
12.00.Burr Clover ... 1.30, about ll p. ?. of whole growth.
15.50.Vetch. 1.70, about 11 p.c. of whole growth.
11.25.Crimson Clover .08, about 6 p.o. of~whole growth.
11.90.Red Clover ... 3.80, about 32 p.c. of whole growth.
8.3".Soy Beans.54, about 6.6 p.c. of whole growth.
(E~\ ' .. es based on nitrogen at 20 cents per pound, and phos
phorous and potassium at 5 cents each per pound.)
1< ls apparent what becomes of our fertility when we sell hay,
as indicated in the right hand column, by the small volume of
fertility (principally nitrogen), left in the soil. The "other
follow" gets it.
On poor land, the humus added by turning the entire growth
is probably worth as much as the fertility thus returned to the
soil. If so, the left hand column would read as follows:
Cow peas, $1G.G0; burr clover, $24.00; vetch, $31.00; crim
son clover, $22.50; red clover, $23.80; soy beans, $16.66. lt is
thus seen that only a small percentage of the fertility in legumi
nous crops is under the ground, the general belief of the farmer
to the contrary notwithstanding. Of course, the stubble left
varies In amount as the mowing is made high or low, and each
farmer can roughly estimate as to how much to add to the right
hand column when taking an inventory of his soil fertility.
DEEP FALL PLOWING, BETTER TERRACING AND DRAIN
AGE, BETTER SEED BED, BETTER SEED, AND
MORE FREQUENT SHALLOW CULTIVATION.
(See Fig. 1.)
The above principles contained In "First Step" (Fig. 1) are
so well understood and practic ed by the best tanners, both white
and black, that nothing probably, could stop this practice In some
communities of South Carolina. The practice of these principles
will always be necessary for the best farming, but if this first
step is all that we propose doing, it would be better for us as far
mers, had w i never been born. These principles ALONE consti
tute SOIL ROBBERY, and the resulting failure of the farmer and
of all allied and dependent interests.
The greatest need in South Carolina agriculture is humus,
(decayed vegetable matter) for development of friendly soil bac
teria, for airing the soi', for prevention of washing and leaching,
for retaining sufficient moisture to enable plants to continue feed
ing during drought, for quick drainage of root-feeding areas in
wet weather, for making available, on clay soils, ample potash,
and for treoting crude, ground phosphate rock in the soil (in
stead of in Mle manufacturing establishment), at about one
fourth the present cost for phosphorous as now purchased in the
form of phosphoric acid. We must, therefore, turn to the prac
tice represented in "Second Step," Fig. 1.
WINTER COVER CROPS.-(See Fig. 1.)
If properly Inoculate' and sown on well-drained land, vetch,
cilmson and burr clovers will succeed from the mountains to the
seashore of South Carolina, provided they are supplied with at
least 200 pounds of sixteen per cent phosphoric acid on clay
land, and the t...no amount, with an additional application of
100 pounds of kalnit, of 25 pounds muriate of potash, on sandy
soil, lier acre. If soil contains acidity, use lime at the rate of at
least one thousand pounds of the burnt, or a ton of grour.d "lime
stone per acre. These plant? have different inoculating bacteria?
To inoculate vetch, use soil where vetch or English (Canada
field ) peas have grown vigorously for two years. Sow September
?st to October 15, above Columbia; below, sow until Novem
To Inoculate crimson clover, use soil where crimson, red or
little white clover has succeeded for two years. Above Columbia,
sow September 15 to October 15. E?low Columbia, sow until
Burr clover carries Its own inoculation, if sown in the burr,
but the best results the first year require aodltlonal Inoculation.
Use soil where burr clover has succeeded for two years. Above
Columbia, sow September 1 to October l?. Relow, probably as
lato as November 1.
Vetch will bear deeper covering, but does not require it.
Cleaned clover seed require only about % Inch covering. Burr
clover In the burr should be sown on freshly plowed land with
out covering. Sow burrs only if possible. (Ask Clemson College
for information on how to save seed of these crops.)
In using soil for inoculating these plants, best results will
be secured by sowing broadcast 500 pounds or more per acre, and
immediately incorporating it with the soil on which it ls sown.
Otherwise, the light and heat will destroy the bacteria.
"Farmo Germ" and Government (free) bacteria will give fair
resulta if used very carefully on good land. It doesn't Inoculate
so well on very poor land. For cover crops or for hay always
sow rye or some grain with these legumes, as both crops will
grow together more per acre than either alone; and too, If one
should fail, you have the other. Besides, grain holds up these
crops and facilitates cutting when used for hay. Remember, that
liquid bacteria (as well as Inoculated soil) should be Immediately
incorporated with the soil on which it is sown.
Sow 15 pounds crimson clover per acre; 20 pounds hairy
vetch pc; acre, and. 20 pounds burr dover in the rough, or 15
i .ou-ids clean seed per acre, when sown with grain. When sown
alone, sow 5 pounds of cleaned seed per acre additional. Vetch,
like cow ;*oas, will fetand moro seed-probably 30 to 4 0 pounds.
Or."j land Is well Inoculated, it is Inoculated for all time, pro
vided these legumes are kept as a part of our system of rotation.
These winier cover crops, when turned on poor land, mean more
to Southern farmers than any other principle lu modern agricul
ture. This practico is tho foundation stone of real, economic
soil building, provided wt keep these crops well supplied with
phosphoric acid and potash. They will double yields on poor
lands in two to three years If properly handled. The turning of
theso winter legume crops is a cheaper and more rapid method
of nitrogen supply than cattle feeding or anything else known to
modern science. Four fifths of the Atmosphere is nitrogen-tho
most costly ingredient we buy, and we can obtain enough through
turning vetch and clover to produce paying crops, and increase
tlie fertility of our soils rapidly from year to year. Besides,
wlhen we shall have filled the soil with humus (decayed vegeta
ble matter) we shall force clay hinds to give ni? ample potash.
We then can also use crude ground phosphate rock containing
about twice ns much phosphorous as the treated product, and at
about half tho present price, thus getting our supply of phos
phoric acid at one-fourth tao preseni cost, 'i hinK or ttl Nitrogen
tree, potash free, and phosphorous at one-fourth the present price.
Natuio is anxious to li ol p ns, and we act "No." Whereas, by
ai m pie co-operation with nature, all good things would accrue to
the farmer and to those who are do|>endent upon his production.
Don't forget that the winter cover crop of vetch and clover is the
agency which brings these blessings In greatest abundance, In the
len?*, time, and at least cost. *
Some ono has said, "Humus first, then nitrogen." Why not
both humus and nitrogen together, by thc use of peas and beans
In summer, and vetch and the clovers in winter.
TH HU) STEP.
DIVERSIFICATION AND ROTATION.
Diversification and rotation has always been regarded as good
i: -actice which will double yields within eight to ten years. This
practice combined with winter cover crops, as outlined in "Second
Step," 'Fig. 1) will double yields in two to three years or less
time if properly handled, and will establish a firm basis for ani
No one-crop system has ever succeeded in any similar coun
try. lt means soil robbery, unless it be in a case like this: Cot
ton, for example, followed by grain and vetch and clover, and
this cover crop turned each spring Just before late planting; in
which case the yield has been known to quadruple in four years
with the same cost each year for fertilizers. Even this is not best,
however, for the land or the country; for it fails to give maxi
mum yields and it 'produces one article of consumption out of
proportion to others. The law of supply and demand, therefore,
is compelled sooner or later, to levy its penalty, and as the farmer
suffers, all allied and dependent isterests suffer.
Th? following figures, 2 and 3, represent probably the best
practice for South Carolina In diversification and rotation.
Cotton. Com. Grain.
Winter cover crop Peas, or peanuts Summer cover of
of rye, vetch or and peas bei ween peas and winter
clover. rows. cover of rye and
vetch or clover.
Corn. I ?rain. Cotton.
Peas, or peanuts Summer cover -winter cover crop
and peas, between crop of peas and ol- rvo aml vetcn
rows. i winter cover ol' or clover.
rye ami vetch or,
crop of peas and
winter cover of
rye and vetch or
Winter cover erop;i>t,a8i or peanuts
Of rye and vetch ann pea8i between
crop of ry?
and vetch or
er of peas,
cover of rye
and vetch or
Peas or pea
cover of ryo
and vetch or
Peas or pea
a n (1
Stun mer cov
er of |>eas,
'cover of rye
and vetch or
and vetch or
crop of ry?
and vetch or
ANIMAL INDUSTRY.-(See Fig. 1.)
Animal industry will probably always be a part of farm econ
omy-an important part If lt ls introduced as c fourth step in our
development of principles and practice; for we shall then have
ample food In the proi>er proportions and at sufftcicntl> low cost
for the necessary feeding of live stock.
Ry sowing and turning legumes, more and cheaper fertility
can be obtained; besides, In rebuilding poor soils, it will be
accompanied by an adequate humus supply. Stable manure
contains only about five hundred pounds of humus per
ton, which, oil poor soil, ls as much out of proportion probably
as a pound of hay to ten ears of corn would be for a horse feed.
The manure falls to give maximum yields for lack of humus to
retain sufficient moisture to enable plants to feed during drought.
We should use all the manure we possibly can get at the proper
cost, but at tho same time we should get better results from it by
using the winter cover crop in connection with it. Land
can be enriched faster and cheaper by putting on win
ter cover crops of grain and vetch or clover, (apply
ing always sufficient phosphoric acid and potash, which can
be obtained from the mines cheaper than from the animal as the
only source.) In September and October and double disking and
turning them In spring until the land will produce paying crops.
Then, and not until then, should live stock industry be under
taken to any considerable extent. Re it remembered, however,
that when wo have completed Steps 2 and 3, (Fig. 1) we shall
of necessity go Into the raising of live stock. These three steps,
cover crops, rotation and animal industry, combined with "First
Step," wiil constitute the acme of perfection In soil building and
lay a firm foundation for farm economics in Its highest form of
In our practice we must learn tho difference between the soil
robber crops and the soil building crops, as au aid to our most
rapid development; for, w? must farm at even a better profit
than we have been doing while we at the sam? time rebuild th?
waste places. We must learn what to sell and what to buy; what
to feed and what to turn under as soil builders. For instance,
the man who sells butter and lint cotton, sells only 36 cents In
i'ertUlty for each ton of butter, and 4 5 cents in fertility for each
500-pound halo of cotton. No man would think of feeding or
turning either of these, but there are many who sell pea hay and
cotton seed, thereby selling great quantities of their soil fertility
to the "other fellow." Cotton seed aro worth about $7.50 as a
fertilizer for each five hundred pound bale produced. Yet. we c\n
at present (1913) exchange them for cotton seed meal worth more
than twice as much for feed or fertilizer. The cotton stalks on
which a 500-pound bale of cotton has grown arc worth about
$ 1 2 as fertilizer, which should be turned In the fall or winter if
possible. Rriefly, the man who farms with his head has facilities
for success, whereas the man who simply follows his nose, his
horso and present day robbery methods, will soon "make a suc
cess at failure."
RESULTS 1, 2, il AND 4.-(Seo Fig. I.)
Lack of space forbids ti full discussion of the four natural
results indicated In Fig. 1, which would follow such a practice
as we have outlined. Suffice it to say, these results are the re
wards of logical and faithful co-operation with nat tire, who ls
our best friend if allowed to perform her perfect work. "The
face of the earth will renew itself," if we co-operate instead of
HOW THE COUNTRY SCHOOL CAN CO-OPERATE.
Plant on or near the school grounds a plot of vetch and
clover, securing tho services of the County Farm Demonstration
Agent, who will gladly show how to inoculate these crops, how
to sow them, and he will talk on the Importance of Inoculation and
growth of such plants. All this can be dono In September or
October, when the agent visits the school to organize and instruct
the member? of the Roys' Corn Club. Tho whole school will soon
become Interested In these valuablo soil building plants, and
their us? will soon be common in tho school community, rebuild
ing tho soil and increasing the production of the farms in the
community-all resulting in agricultural prosperity which usually
demands as good things for th? country as for tho town, and for
which prosperous farmers usually are willing to pay. Under
such conditions tho school soon becomes a center for general In
formation and uplift of all Interests of tho community through
co-operation. This is the ultimate end which ls sought by the
Farnaors' Co-Operativ? Demonstration Work of Clemson College
and tho United States Department of Agriculture, which aro
working In Joint co-operation for the uplift and development of
the thousands who will not or cannot bo developed otherwise.