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The progressive farmer and southern farm gazette. (Starkville, Miss.) 1910-1920, March 19, 1910, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065610/1910-03-19/ed-1/seq-3/

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$500 More a Year farming: how to Get It
By Tail Butler.
-"|EW PEOPLE truly .and fully
appreciate the part which
_ water plays In crop produc
tion. In certain sections of light
rainfall tho water problems are lim
ited to those Involved in supplying
a sufficient quantity to meet the re
quirements of the plants, but In the
South, where the rainfall Is usually
abundant and frequently excessive,
other and equally difficult problems
are encountered in preventing an
excess of water remaining In tho soil
to the detriment of the growing
rrops. Our problems are two-fold
in that, while wo frequently have
an excess of water on nil except well
drained lands, we also very frequent
ly suffer from Insufficient moisture
In the soli to meet the full needs of
the growing crops.
The season of 1909 gave a good
example of our two-fold problem.
Early in the season the excess of
water reached such an extreme as
to nearly ruin the crops In many
sections; but later In tho season
practically all crops suffered because
of a lack of sufficient moisture. At
the outset, however. It may be well
to offer the opinion that our rainfall
Is sufficiently abundant and equi
tably distributed to meet the needs
of large crop production, when
such means for its control, as are
within the reach of the Intelligent
farmer, are properly used for that
It.-*tolling an Kirrw of Water.
The problems which confront the
Southern fanner because of our large
rainfall are many. The first one
generally considered Is tho proper j
removal of the excess of moisture;
from the soil, but when this Is done J
great progress has also been made
towards solving the other water
problem* which confront us.
It Is a well known fact that most
farm crops suffer severely when
water stands over the surface of the
land for more than a few hours and
It I* universally conceded that such
lands need draining, hut even the
prompt removal of this visible sur
face water does not necessarily
mean proper dralnago. To follow j
this matter a little further, It may
be stated that an excess of freo wa
ter In any part of the soil Into which
the roots of crops penetrate Is also
Injurious to these crop*.
Kach soli particle, however dry
lUV (HUM •*«Hf MVV VIMV| ••
surrounded by n film of moisture.
When this moisture becomes so re
• ducod, or this film becomes so thin,
that the roots of the growing plant*
ran no longer obtain their needed
supply of water, the crops suffer; ,
but on the other hand, free water,
which nils up those spaces between
the soil particles Into which the
roots penetrate, has much the same
effort, except lu degree, a* water
covering the top surface of the soil.
In many soils, therefore, under
draining Is ns Important as surface
drainage and this holds true for all
oils under which the subsoil Is of
such a nature as to prevent the ex
ce«s of water, or free water, prompt
ly draining out of that portion of
the soil penetrated by the feeding
roots of our farm crops.
Why T«m» Much Water Means |»oor
The air cannot enter freely Into
any soil In which the spaces are
upaoet between the soil particles are
filled with water and this is prob
ably the chief reason why farm crops
do not thrive on such soils; but
there are many other reasons why
such soils are not productive. It
is a well-known fact that soil fer
tility Is largely a question of bac
terial activity. Loose soils filled with
decaying organic matter maintain a
large and varied bacterial life and
these «re fertile soils; but when
farm crops will not grow on land
because the spaces between the soil
particles are Riled with free water
other plants, such as bacteria, are
also likely to find conditions unsuit
able for their growth and work; and
yet, this germ life in the soil is es
sential as a means of breaking
down and making soluble the plant
foods in the soil. Too much water
kills a soil by killing bacterial life.
These are important problems, but
the removal of surface water and
the under-draining of our soils are
not the solution of all our excess
water problems. The manner in
which this excess of water is re
moved is or scarcely less Importance.
The heavy rainfalls during both
winter and summer, when crops are
growing and when the land is bare,
are the cause of rapid decay of or
ganic nitrogen compounds and the
means of leaching large quantities
of nitrogen from the soil. This loss
of nitrogen by leaching is added to
through the same heavy rainfalls by
the washing away of our soils and
plant foods from all rolling lands.
Not only must we drain our lands,
but we must also reduce leaching
and washing to a minimum, and
these combined make the question of
controlling our excess of moisture
one of the greatest problems con
fronting the Southern farmer.
Our Crops Should Not Suffer From
Lack of Moisture.
No lands which are properly
drained and contain humus to sup
port the needed bacterial, or germ
life, should suffer for lack of mois
ture. with a well distributed annual
rainfall of from 50 to 60 Inches, and
yet it is the land which suffers most
from excess of moisture in wet
u.mlluir (lint tiunnilv RiifferR most
from lack of moisture In dry
To prevent crops suffering for lack
of moisture we must have well
drained soils. Not alone those on
which surfaco water is not allowed
to stand, but also those properly
under-drained. If these conditions
do not naturally exist because of
die lay of tha land and the nature
of the subsoil, they must be brought
about by man. The soils must also
be well-filled with humus so that
they will hold large quantities of
water and permit water to pass free
ly downward by gravitation and up
ward by capillary action. They must
also be deeply broken and receive
shallow cultivation; but we leave a
further discussion of the direct rela
tion of water supply to the produc
tion of crops to bo discussed in the
next article of this series.
Simply Methods Advocated by The
Progressive Farmer and Gazette
and Other Agricultural Workers.
We are In frequent receipt of in
quiries asking to be informed of the
government methods of cultivating
cotton and corn as carried out in the
Farm Demonstration Work being
conducted by the United States De
partment of Agriculture under the
direction of Dr. S. A. Knapp. In
answer to these inquiries we may
state that the “government cultural
methods” are simply those methods
which have been advocated or taught
by The Progressive Farmer and Ga
zette and other teachers and leaders
Ib agricultural matters for the past
fifteen years. The methods of culti
vating cotton and corn which have
been editorially advocated In this
paper during the past year are the
cultural methods advocated and used
by the government. Any man who
has read the best agricultural papers
and Experiment Station Bulletins
during the past, is entirely familiar
with the best methods of cultivating
crops now known to the agricultural
world and these are the methods
which the government demonstration
agents are using to the best of their
ability to Induce farmers to adopt.
The present condition of our agri
culture Is not so much due to a lack
of knowledge among the farmers as
to Indifference and a non-progressive
conservatism on the part of those
tilling the soil.
The best methods of cultivation
are known by a majority of our farm
ers, but they do not believe In these
strongly enough to cause them to
break away from the old easy one
horse plow and the purchase of soil
fertility ready-made for easy applica
Those who think the demonstra
tion work Is going to bring them a
new and easy way of making large
crops or enable them to get some
thing for nothing are doomed to dis
appointment This demonstration
work is one of the best ideas that
has been developed in agricultural
education work in this country, but
neither the idea, nor the methods
used, are new. They have not been
devised or invented by Dr. Knapp;
but the work is exerting a wonderful
influence for the extension of bet
ter methods and must receive the
full and active support of all work
ing for or interested in the advance
ment of agricultural Interests. It
carries to the farms themselves, to
the soil, the methods advocated by
the agricultural press and all agrlcul
tn wo 1 tnnnVinea a f atanrllnap in fKn
South for the last ten or fifteen
We hope the work may be extend
ed to every section of the South as
rapidly as possible, but no one need
wait for the arrival of the govern
! ment agent to put in operation the
so-called government “Cultural
; methods.” Follow those methods ad
vised by this paper, by the Bulletins
of the United States Department of
Agriculture and the Experiment Sta
tion of your State and you will be
using the approved Government Cul
tural Methods.
" should be placed by the States in every
public school in the land and every boy
and girl should be required to read it.”
So Writes One Enthusiastic Georgia Reader Concerning
"A Southerner in Europe”
Associate Editor sod Manager The Progressive Farmer and Gazette
And thousands of other readers re-echo the sentiment. One reader
wants permission to reprint the chapters in his county paper; a prom
inent teacher is using it ns a text-hook; one reader says: “It's the
only book of travels ever written for the farmer and his family.” A
few other typical new comments are given herewith.
What the Whole South Says About the Book:
San Antonio Expreee: “No other book Sewanee Review: “Mr. Poe is alive to the
written between Virginia and Texas has prov- Ifauty. art and poetry of Europe as well as to
, . .., . . ., . . , the conditions of commerce and agriculture,
ed so popular this year. A notable study of xhe book is full of keen, original observations
Southern problems and opportunities." of men and manners, and is characterized by
a spirit of freshness, spontaneity, and fair
LOUISIANA minded nes*.
New Orloano Timee-Domocrat: Mr. Poe s Fayetteville Index: “We read the book at
suggestion are sound and practical and de- a single sitting some time ago, but with that
serve serious attention.’* we were not satisfied; we kept It in easy reach,
and frequently re
MISSISSIPPI read certain pass
. . ,, ages of it with rare
John Sharp Wil- delight. Every page
Uams : 1 have en- of the book is vigor
J o Jed 11 v e ry ous and holda the M
much- reader's in tereat fl|
ALABAMA like a novel."
Montgomery Ad- VIRGINIA I
rortloer: “A book jR. E Barden, V
of remarkable in- Straohnrg: “I’m
sight and sound just revelling with
sense, relating the the greatest de
hore and there in light in reading ‘A
strong, pleasing Southerner in Eu
Knglish." rope.’ It is charm
rtnorn ingly written and
GEORGIA holds one's interest
Thoe. E. Wateon in Jeffersonian Magazine. easily to the end. My only complaint is, it isen
Allanla: "It was time for a new book on tirely too brief, and I wish Mr. Poe had toured
travels in Europe. All of the works of that every country of Europe, and parts of Asia and
kind that are on our bookshelves are out of Africa and given us the benefit of his fascinat- j
date. What we wanted was a volume which insr pen in portraying the re&ults of his obaer
would picture to us the condition of things vationsand experience.”
now. Mr. Poe has supplied this demand with- MARYLAND
out the waste of a page."
Baltimore American: * It isabooknotonly
SOUTH CAROLINA of readable and interesting travel sketches. 1
but even more notable as a vigorous and
YorkvUle Ennuirer : “No Southern-written thought-provoking review of the needs and
book of years past has compelled more genuine oppor' unities of our Southern people as seen
praise or met with more widespread approval." in the light of Old World conditions.”
Ambamador Jamee Bryce, of Great Britain: “Equally fresh and graphic in its pictures,
judicious and penetrating in its reflections, A Southerner in Europe seems to me singularly
fair and acute."
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