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AND FARMER. VOL. 1. CULTIVATION OF ALFALFA. WHAT GOVERNMENT EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT.— APPROPRIATE TO ARID COUNTRIES. Heat, Moisture and a Fertile Soil Necessary. — Imperial the Place* Cultivation of Alfalfa. The government has recently issued a bulletin giving full information rel ative to the cultivation of alfalfa that will be of interest to many who pro pose growing this crop, and who have had little or no experience in this line of farming. We publish herewith co pious extracts from that bulletin tak ing that portion suited to the condi tions as we find them here in South ern California. During the next few years hundreds of thousands of acres will be planted to alfalfa in the Im perial Settlements in San Diego county under the Imperial Canal, and this work will commence this fall, when probably from 50,000 to 100,000 acres will be planted in that section, following is the information on this subject given by the Agricultural De partment of the government: Soil and Conditions of Growth. Alfalfa will grow in favorable soil anywhere from above sea level to 7000 feet elevation. The limit of altitude is attained in the foothills and moun tain valleys of California and Colo rado. Alfalfa does not seem to be in fluenced so much by altitude as by such conditions as the depth and warmth of the soil, the depth of the ground water below the surface and the physical character of the subsoil. It grows best in a light and sandy rich loam underlaid by a loose and permeable subsoil. The best condi tions for the growth of this plant seem to be attained in the arid re gions of the West and Southwest, where there is a light rainfall, and the water supply can be accordingly arti ficially controlled. The plant grows "Water is King— Here is its Kingdom." IMPERIAL, CAL, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1901. best under irrigation. Good drainage is necessary, as the plants are quickly killed by excess of water in the soil or on the surface. Water must never be allowed to stand on a field of al falfa more than forty-eight hours at a time, for, if the ground becomes sat urated with water and is allowed to remain so for any considerable time, the plants will be drowned out and the roots will decay. Alfalfa feeds most heavily on lime, potash, mag nesium, and phosphoric acid, and suc ceeds best where the soil is rich in these elements. Of these soil constit uents, lime seems to be the most es sential to rapid growth, and there will not be a large or paying crop on soils lacking this fertilizer. The prime condition for success is that the land A MODEL DAIRY FARM — SUCH AS WILL SOON BE FOUND IN THE IMPERIAL SETTLEMENTS. be well drained. If the subsoil is heavy and stiff and impervious to water, alfalfa will not be a permanent success, no matter how well the sur face soil has been prepared. Under these conditions there can be no cer tainty of the plant living beyond a year or two. Preparation of the Soil. A clean piece of ground should be selected, and it should be thoroughly plowed and subsoiled. If the farmer has no subsoiling plow, the best sub stitute is two turning plows, the one following in the furrow made by the other. The best results from this crop are obtained after the second year, because alfalfa does not reach ma utrity until the third or fourth sea son. Hence, the field selected should be one that can be kept in alfalfa for a number of years. The first cost of a deep and thorough preparation of the soil may seem large, but it must he remembered that the farmer ex pects to take two or more cuttings off the land each year for from three to thirty years. The primary expense of AN ALFALFA NUMBER a thorough preparation is, in a sense, thus spread over a series of thirty years. Deep plowing pays, because there will be a greater yield from the land than in the case of the too common shallow cultivation. After plowing, the field must be harrowed and rolled several times, or until the seed bed is perfectly smooth and mel low. Sowing the Seed. In California and the Southwest. — Pulverize the soil to the depth of from 12 to 20 inches — the deeper the better. Twenty-five pounds of seed is about the average amount to sow per acre. Many farmers report fair results from a less amount, say 12 to 15 pounds per acre. The seed can be drilled in rows or cultivated or sown broadcast. The time of seeding varies much in prac tice, being any time from August to the middle of December or from Feb ruary to April. Those who practice spring sowing usually sow with oats or wheat as a nurse crop. If this method is followed, one or two crops of hay can be cut the first season, after the grain crop has been taken off. It is often better to sow without a nurse crop and get a good stand than to get a crop of wheat or oat hay or a small crop of grain and have a poor stand of al falfa, resulting from so many of the plants being choked out. There is some little advantage, however, in this system, in that the rank growth of weeds is prevented; but the ac companying small grain is liable to be just as injurious as a rank growth of useless weeds would be. If a nurse crop is used, the alfalfa should be sown after the grain, and should be covered to the depth of not more than one inch with a light harrow or brush. Still better results will follow if the seed is rolled in after the oats or wheat have been sown. All kinds of grasses, clovers, and small grain grow better, and a better stand is al ways secured, if the soil is pressed down around the seed, and this can best be done with a roller. Alfalfa does not often winter-kill unless it is cut too late in the season. In some parts of California small uirds are quite a pest at seeding time and it is necessary to use more seed per acre than would otherwise be re quired. Alfalfa grows better on lands re quiring irrigation than on naturally moist soils, simply because the latter do not, as a rule, have good drainage. Alfalfa Hay. There is no better hay plant than alfalfa in regions where it will grow. The making of hay requires consider able skill on account of the nature of the plant. If the hay is put into stacks or into barns before the stems are cured it is liable to heat and mold and if it is allowed to lie upon the ground too long before stacking, the leaves get dry and brittle, and will drop off, and a large share of the most valuable part of the forage will be lost. To make the best hay, the field should be cut just when the first flowers commence to appear. If al lowed to go until in full bloom, or un til after the plants have finished flowering, the stems become hard and woody, and are unfit to be eaten by stock. To make good hay, cut alfalfa in the forenoon. Let it lie in the swath until the leaves are thoroughly wilted, but not dry and brittle; then rake in windrows and leave it a little while, and remove it from the wind rows directly to the stack or to the barns. The best machine for this pur pose is a stacker, or some machine constructed on the principle of the old-fashioned "go-devil." It is better to stack it in the field than to carry it a long distance to a barn, for al falfa hay should be handled as little as possible. Every time it is forked over some of the leaves will be lost, and the leaves are the most palatable and nutritious part of the hay. The art of making good alfalfa hay is to be acquired by practice rather than by following directions, as the quality depends upon putting it in stack when it is just sufficiently cured to keep without heating, and is yet green enough to hold the leaves. This happy mean can be acquired only as the result of practice. In the Eastern States the general practice is to cure in windrows, and then put in cocks five or six feet high and as small as will stand. If the cocks are too large they must be opened out in a day or No. 32.