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Farm and Ranch Experiences
We Converted 195 Acres From • • Sagebrush to Alfalfa By JAMES T. MURPHY, Rosebud County MY EXPERIENCE is quite limited, but I have been very successful in obtaining a really good stand of cer tified Ranger alfalfa on 195 acres of virgin sage brush land along the Tongue river in Rosebud county on the ranch holdings of the X Diamond Bar Cattle Ço., owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Brewster, who are co partners with me. On July 7, 1949, we started clear ing this land by having one tractor push over cottonwood trees, and they were considerable. On another trac tor we put a 10-foot subsurface tiller blade and set it to run about 2 to 3 inches under the surface, clearing sage brush. But on the second day we had to give up on the blade, as it was so dry that year that we could not get it to go into the ground. . 42-Day Clearing Job So on July 19, the two tractors with dozers went to dozing sage brush, trees, chokecherries, etc. Nearly all of it had to be dozed 14 mile and some as much as % in order to clean the field, but in about 42 working days we had the ground cleared and ready for plowing. All this land was disced twice with a two-way disc behind which I pulled an Australian harrow. It was plowed with a 5-bottom mold board plow 9 inches deep and disced twice more after plowing with a two-way disc and harrow. We finished the last time on Dec. 7, and that night it froze up. About April 10 we started float ing. All of this land was floated three times and about half of it four times, and when the float left too smooth a top surface, we sent a harrow over it to leave a firm, well-packed, cloddy mulch, not too large clods, about the size of walnuts, if possible. This eliminated the danger of surface crusting in case of snow or rain. Al falfa seedlings are quite delicate and cannot penetrate much crust. On April 17 we started planting. We took the cultivator shoes and arms off a two-row front mounted cultivator and with a welding torch cut an iron bar to fit across the beams of each cultivator gang and hung a vegetable planter on each bar, thus making a two-row planter. Seeded Too Much The planter can be moved on the bar to regulate the width of the rows. We spaced ours to plant 42-inch rows, and by using the smallest hole ■ in the smallest plate, it seeded at the rate of %-pound per acre, which iri our case proved to be twice too much. We also treated our seed be fore planting. Whether we received any benefit from this, I don't know, but we do know we got a perfect stand, except that it is too thick and will have to be thinned out this spring by cross cultivation. Cross cultivating will give us rows 42 inches each way, and that is what we are striving for. Due to the snow that came on the weekend of April 22, and the rainy weather for the first part of May, we did not complete our planting until May 26, and by that time the first planting was quite weedy. Although all of the 195 acres was cultivated three times and some of it four times, I was unable to keep up with the weeds on the April seeding, while the May seeding was clean at all times. Mowed in July The middle of July the entire acre age was mowed, with the exception of five acres. By mowing we hoped to keep what weeds there were from going to seed. The five acres we did not mow we kept for an experiment. We gave it the same cultivation that the rest of the field received, plus a hand hoeing to get what few weeds there were in the rows, May 22, and was no better or worse than the balance of the acreage. We cut this about the 10th of September with a windrower. It was hand shocked and combined out of the shock and gave 133 pounds of clean seed. Not a crop to crow about, but one has to have a really good growth This five acres was planted on to give any seed at all the first year, and we are very well satisfied with the stand as it is today. In our opin ion, the reason for the good stand we obtained was due mainly to the really good seed bed we were able to obtain. started planting. This included plow * n S> discing, harrowing and floating, Hi m y opinion, it does not pay to use shot gun method of farming Have your seed bed in as good a con dition as possible, plant good seed, 1156 y our cultivator and you are mighty apt to raise a crop now and then. Preparation Counts In all, and not including the doz ing or clearing of this land, we went over the 195 acres 12 times before we Our success to date on this venture is due to several reasons—among »4 * /A 7 \ July 1 to 15 By OSCAR L. MOLDENHAUER TYPICAL JULY WEATHER is the outlook for the next two weeks in Montana and northern Wyoming. The first week is indicated to be fairly cool and wet with showers occurring on several days and par ticularly around Wednesday, the 4th. * Showers and thunderstorms are expected to be the main source of moisture and may result in a rather spotty distribution, but in general sufficient moisture is likely during the fest week of July to boost the spring crops along. The second week appears less favorable for mois- ' ture, but its warm, dry weather may be welcomed by those desiring to make hay. Weather Changes The month is expected to begin with showers and cool weather, fol lowed by a barometric disturbance and more showers to move east ward across this forecast region from the 3d to the 5th. This looks like a favorable time for a few days of showers, thunderstorms and a moderate amount of moisture. Mild temperatures are due to set in and continue to the end of the week. Warm and fairly dry weather is indicated to begin about Sunday, the 8th, and, except for probable thundershowers on Tuesday and Wednesday, rather warm, dry weather is likely to continue through Friday, the 13th. A disturbance with showers is indicated to develop and cross Montana about Saturday or. Sunday for precipitation in var ious amounts over the weekend. Montana should fare better than Wyo ming for moisture at this time. Precipitation and temperature: Average about normal. July Weather Data Driest July Dorrest tor Inly Normal Temp. Hiebest lor July Normal Wettest Preeip. July MONTANA— Cent. Division 1.46 Bast. Division 1.60 W. ol Divide 0.29 (1917) 65.7* *117° (1937) *16* Cl*») 0.38 (1917) 70.7' 0.12 (1917) 64.9' 4.05 (1915) 4.06 (1915) 3.12 (1902) 1.07 WYOMING—■ N. Central .. . 1.19 *2.86 (1937) Northeast .... 1,79 •For the state. Not available by divisions. •0.56 (1*17) 66.8* '114* (1900) '10' (1911) tl-O" them was my good fortune in being affiliated with Mr. Brewster, and it was his tractors and other heavy equipment that made it possible for me to clear this land and prepare the proper seed bed that resulted in the stand of alfalfa that we obtained. Another big factor was the help and advice that we received from our local agent, Harley Roath, the Mon tana extension service and Mr. Ralph Mercer. This advice we certainly appreciated and carried out to the best of our ability. We Find Bindweed Can Be Controlled By E. E. SCHELSKE Big Horn County FROM MY EXPERIENCE I firmly believe that morning glory or bind weed is controllable if surrounding territory is not infested with them so that the seed will be carried into your fields by wind and water. We have obtained a good kill by spraying with about two pounds of actual 2,4-D acid per acre after the bindweed had emerged or mostly all come out of the ground, or in other words when they start to bloom well. This is mostly in June. Then we give another application in the latter part of August for those which come up later or have been missed. Where grain was planted to the infested area or field in the spring we sprayed the grain with a solution of 1% pints to 1 quart of 2,4-D when the grain is 4 to 6 inches high. If sprayed later it may set the grain back considerably. This application will kill most of the morning glory and those that it doesn't kill it, will set back enough that they won't go to seed. Then as soon as the grain crop is harvested, spray with a two-pound or two-quart solution in the stubble and we have received a good kill from such a method. Sprinkling System Makes Berry Crop By ED UNE Flathead County WE HAD NEVER grown straw berries but it looked as though they should do well, as our land was full of wild ones where the stumos were not too thick. We set 2,000 plants in the spring of 1939 and, as our experience has in creased with the years, we have gone to strawberries almost exclusively. In the early years we did not get much per acre. Then we set on well-, made ridges and mulched with saw dust instead of straw. Our berries seemed to grow and produce much better. Then it was the same old story— lack of moisture. July and August are usually dry months and to get full prodùction we had to have rain. The life blood of the berries was flowing on our farm in the White fish river. We visited the FSA of fice in Kalispell and had a talk with Russell Marsh, the supervisor then, about irrigation. The following summer we set up our sprinkler system. We have ir rigated for four years and we cer tainly think it is a good investment. We have a 6-inch main line with 4-inch sprinklers. We can make it rain, where and as much- as we want. We don't get the land water logged in places and dry in places. The water is evenly placed over the field. Pastures Provide Grazing Plus Hay By ERIFIN MOSER Lincoln County, Wyoming THE OLDEST of our three irri gated pastures is now in its fifth year. All are on land that took much leveling to get them, into shape, but the leveling and careful placing of ditches paid out in reducing the work and time needed for irrigating. All pastures are watered every 12 days. The ditches on the first pasture of 4% acres are laid out across the slope so that the water from the top ditch runs down to a second ditch and is picked up to be spread below. The mixture used in this pasture includes 7% pounds of smooth brome grass, 7% pounds of orchard grass, 5 pounds of timothy and 5 pounds of white Dutch clover. The first year we did nothing with the field,.but in the second year we put in 4 head of stock (one cow and three yearling heifers) from June to September and then cut 7 tons of hay. Last year, the fourth year, the pasture carried 5 heifers from June to November, 10 cows at night from June 1 to Sept. 15 and 2 horses for 3 months. We have applied barnyard manure and 50 pounds of superphosphate per acre every three years. Another pasture of 2 acres was planted in 1949 to 10 pounds of white Dutch clover and 15 pounds of straw berry clover. The first year we did nothing with it—almost gave it up as being nothing but what it looked like, a perfect stand of fan weed, but last year we pastured it with 91 little pigs plus 14 brood sows from July to October. The third pasture of 30 acres was planted Just last year on gravelly bench land that took extensive level ing. We took seven stacks of hay off the 30 acres last fall.