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others, made notable progress in the study of the relation between the water supply of the soil and the growth and health of plants, i. e., the true duty of water in plant growth. It has been shown that, while deficiency of water retards the growth of plants, excess of water, as in careless irrigation, may seriously affect their health.
The work of the stations is emphasizing more strongly each year the fact that progress in the improvement of agricultural crops must be based upon a fundamental, scientific knowledge of the nature of the qualities it is desired to develop and perpetuate, as, for example, yielding capacity, drought resistance, disease resistance, hardiness, and the like.
The Wisconsin Station is preparing to distribute a considerable number of new varieties of plums and apples that have been developed at the station. In 1910 it distributed over 300 pounds of improved tobacco seed to growers in the State. Pedigreed barleys have been disseminated through the Wisconsin Experiment Association. The work has been extended to include boys' clubs, and contests have been arranged in growing corn, barley, and oats, $18,000 in premiums being offered in various fairs, contests, etc. The yield of a pedigreed strain of oats on the station farm is reported at 76 bushels per acre.
The plant-breeding work in the department of horticulture in the South Dakota Station has become very extensive. Some excellent hybrid plums, plum and sand-cherry crosses, and hybrids of raspberries have been given to the public, and others are receiving final trial before they are distributed. The hybrids of purple-leafed plum of Persia with the sand cherry have turned out to be valuable ornamentals, and the union of the native plum and the Chinese apricot has resulted in varieties promising as profitable market fruits. A hybrid raspberry sent out from the station is winning much favor over a wide area of the Northwest and is the hardiest raspberry so far produced. The same department is carrying on alfalfa-breeding work, in which seven or eight species of Medicago are being used, to develop hardy strains for hay, pasture, and seed production. This station is also carrying on work in the breeding of sugar beets in cooperation with this department. This work has so far resulted in more than 40 different strains of selected beets, as many more crossbred varieties, and a number of single individuals selected on account of excellence. As a result of several seasons' work it is claimed that hybrid sugar beets have not given as good results as those developed from a process of straight selection from known mother beets. In sugar-beet breeding work carried on by the Utah Station, strict methods of pedigreed breeding are employed, and the total hereditary power of each original mother is ascertained. The seed produced last year showed a gain of over 14 per cent in the sugar content as compared with the imported seed of the same original strain.
Many of the stations have achieved noteworthy results and observed valuable points in the improvement of field crops.
The work of the North Dakota Station in plant breeding was particularly large in breeding alfalfa, corn, and winter grains. The blue-stem wheat was largely disseminated through the demonstration farms; the result of 17 years' work was the first blue-stem seed distributed by the station. The yield at the station in the very dry year of 1910 was 273. bushels per acre on 5 acres, while the average wheat production for the entire State was estimated at only 51 bushels per acre. A winter rye bred by the station proved hardy to a considerably greater degree than common rye sown in the country and gave greater yields. In a similar way the development and distribution of new varieties among farms of the State was continued by the Minnesota Station. A new variety of winter wheat and three varieties of oats originated at the station, and which outyielded ordinary grains by 15 to 25 per cent, were distributed. One variety each of wheat, oats, corn, and flax originated and sent out by this station have become known commercially and are now quite widely grown in Minnesota and the adjoining States.
The increase and fixation of desirable properties in plants by the Ohio Station included work with 130 strains of alfalfa propagated from seed from as many different plants, 245 strains of red clover, 100 strains of corn, 569 strains of oats, 125 strains of soy beans, and 1,560 strains of wheat. Pedigreed strains of corn have been developed which are thus far yielding 5 to 14 bushels more than the original varieties; pedigreed strains of oats and wheat are yielding 3 to 6 bushels more than the original stock, and soy beans 21 to 6 bushels more. It is estimated that the hybrid wheats originated and distributed by the Washington Station for the last four years resulted, in the season of 1910, in an increase of 1,500,000 bushels in the production of wheat.
Special attention is being given to problems of soil bacteriology, including the importance of humus as a medium of existence for the soil organisms which have to do with soil fertility. The Colorado Station has demonstrated the occurrence of areas of soil in irrigated orchards and sugar-beet fields containing nitrates in such excessive amounts as to destroy the crops. Apparently the excess of nitrates is due to phenomenal bacterial activity, and the problem is to devise means for the utilization of this rapid nitrate formation for beneficial purposes and to prevent it from becoming a menace to crops. The California Station in studying soil bacteria under arid conditions found nitrifying bacteria down to a depth of 12 feet, while in humus soils they occur within the first 6 inches. Results secured at the Kansas Station suggested that plowing from 8 to 10 inches deep tends to increase the number of soil bacteria in both sandy and silt soils, and also tends to increase bacterial activity. The maximum number of bacteria was found within the fifth and sixth inches of the soil. An increase in soil temperature was found to increase the activity of the bacteria and an excess of moisture to reduce their number. The Montana Station observed that where moisture content of the soil was good the nitrate formation was relatively high. In connection with these studies it was shown that the great benefit from summer fallow was due to nitrates accumulated in the moist soil during the fallow season, which gives a rapid growth the following year, so that the crop usually has advanced beyond the stage of liability to serious injury before the dry period of the year arrives.
The Utah Station in studying the formation and movement of nitrates in irrigated soils found that the nitric nitrogen tended to accumulate in the lower foot sections during winter and spring.
In a series of feeding experiments the Nebraska Station demonstrated that when corn is above 35 cents per bushel and alfalfa not over $7 per ton, the old method of fattening cattle for market, which consists of feeding heavily with grain and using little roughage, is much less profitable than a moderate use of grain and correspondingly more roughage. In a five-year trial of fattening cattle on bluegrass pasture at the Missouri Station, better gains were made and a more uniform finish was obtained when corn was substituted for either gluten, linseed, or cottonseed meal.
The Tennessee Station has worked out double cropping systems for the State under which two crops are grown on the land annually, and in that connection has been able to maintain a steer for every acre in this work.
The North Dakota Station conducted feeding experiments with hogs, in which different feeds were compared. It was found that corn produced a much larger proportion of fat than barley and in consequence made a poorer grade of pork. It required 18 per cent more of barley than of corn to produce a given gain in weight. Another test showed that ground rejected wheat produced good gains when fed to swine with shorts. In comparison with corn it required 8.9
per cent more rejected wheat than corn to produce the same gains, but the quality of pork produced was better than that produced on corn.
Several of the stations have shown that heavy feeding of silageup to over 40 pounds a day-can be followed with advantage in fattening cattle. In one instance 3 pounds of gain a day were made in this manner, with little grain, and the beef was finely finished. In this connection it is worthy of mention that a number of stations have given considerable attention to silo construction. The Iowa Station has designed a silo built of hollow tile, reenforced between courses of
blocks, which is proving very efficient and cheaper in construction than concrete where sand and gravel have to be shipped in.
In testing different methods of preparing corn for hogs, the Iowa Station found that the most satisfactory results were secured from feeding dry ear corn until the hogs weighed about 200 pounds. For heavier hogs soaked shelled corn gave the most economical gains of all the forms in which corn was fed. In experiments in hogging down corn this station has produced pork at less than 3 cents a pound.
At the New York Cornell Experiment Station it was found that mangels raised at a cost of $4 per ton and judiciously used to take the place of one-half of the grain ordinarily fed are profitable in feeding the dairy cow.
The results of shelter experiments conducted at the Pennsylvania Station showed that steers fed in an open shed on succulent rations, including silage, made more rapid and cheaper gains and attained a higher finish than similar cattle fed in the same way in the basement of a barn.
Along horticultural lines studies at the Missouri Station on the dormant period of plants have shown that hard freezing or severe drought will force the development of buds, and that anything that will delay ripening will cause a prolonged resting period. Late growth due to fertilizing and cultivation has resulted in heavy crops of fruit where frosts destroyed those in orchards which were permitted to mature in a normal manner. Peach trees pruned according to the methods advocated by the station were made to produce two additional crops in eight years. Last year the Jonathan apple orchard on the horticultural grounds returned over $300 per acre, while unsprayed Jonathan apples in the neighborhood had almost no marketable fruit. In a demonstration experiment a sprayed acre of Jonathan apples in a commercial apple orchard produced more marketable apples than the remaining 139 acres which were not sprayed.
The Arizona Station has worked out two methods of artificial ripening of dates, which will largely overcome the failure of the fruit to ripen sufficiently early and its tendency to sour in damp weather during the ripening period. One method depends upon stimulation of the ripening process by chemicals at ordinary temperatures; the other method consists in heating under controlled conditions of moisture. Both methods are practiced and give a finished product of high quality. The Arizona Station now recommends the planting of Deglet Noor palms in the Salton Basin, along the lower Colorado, and in southern Arizona up to the altitude of 1,200 feet.
After experimenting with orchard fertilizers for 15 years, the New York State Station has concluded that commercial fertilizers are of little benefit to young apple orchards growing on soils naturally suited to apple culture, provided the orchards are well tilled, well drained, and properly supplied with organic matter from stable manure or from cover crops.
The entomologist of the Kansas Station has demonstrated the practicability of high temperatures as an efficient method of control of insects in stored grains. The method has been successfully installed in several mills in the State. He has also shown that the chinch bug winters in bunch grasses in Kansas, and that burning over these areas materially reduces the attack of the chinch bug the next year. In connection with inspection work carried on in cooperation with the State horticultural department and provided for by the State horticultural law, the Maryland Station discovered over 700 nests of the brown-tail moth in imported nursery plants and destroyed them to prevent distribution.
The New Hampshire Station demonstrated the possibility of controlling the black fly in the White Mountains by treating streams where these flies breed with a suitable soluble oil, which kills the larvæ without injury to the trout in the stream.
The veterinary department of the Delaware Station, in cooperation with the Bureau of Animal Industry of this department, has produced a serum with which sheep may be protected against an otherwise mortal dose of anthrax bacilli and an immediate passive immunity produced. In an investigation of the strongyloid parasites of calves the South Carolina Station has found that their attack may be avoided by keeping animals on other than low, moist pastures.
The Minnesota Station reports in its studies on stable ventilation that the relative percentages of oxygen and carbon dioxid do not seem to be of material effect, but that the confined air seems to influence the kidney secretions. It was observed during the year that pigs from immune sows appear to be born with very high resistance to cholera. This natural immunity was found to disappear gradually, but was sufficient up to at least 5 weeks of age to make it possible to inoculate such pigs with very high virulent blood with an unimportant percentage of loss.
The California Station found that under California conditions the use of bovo-vaccine seemed to produce some immunity against tuberculosis but to fail in protecting calves until 21 years old. It was also found that tuberculosis spreads rapidly in cattle under strictly outdoor conditions.
The dairy expert of the New York Cornell Station in his work with the milking machine found that immersion of the milking parts