Wednesday, October 22, 2014



 Seed Corn Best Dried Using a Small Stove

Although Iowa’s corn crop is riper than usual this time of year, seed corn should be picked before September 25. Early picked seed is always freer from disease, especially the dry rots. Well-matured ears from healthy plants in hills of three or four stalks should be selected.

An amount 50 to 100 percent in excess of the amount of seed needed should be selected. It should be dried immediately, which can be done by hanging it in a small building and heating with a small stove. When the moisture content is down to 15 percent, the seed should be stored where the air is dry, the temperature constant and where rats and mice cannot get at it.


Soybeans Only Now Being Appreciated

The soybean was introduced into the United States as early as 1804, but only in the last 10 years have we really begun to appreciate it. Production is now reaching commercial proportions, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The crop has many things in its favor. It produces a large yield of beans and an excellent forage. It is easy to grow and to harvest. The beans have great possibilities in the production of oil, meal and human food and industrial products. Soybean production will continue to increase as we find better methods and machinery for handling the crop and still more uses for the soybean and its products for industrial purposes.

Seed Value of 1930 Corn

That barrenness and smut infection in this year’s corn will not be carried in the seed and appear in the 1931 crop, except as local conditions at that time may favor these conditions.

A high percentage of barren corn plants have been noted in the areas of Ohio that recently suffered severely from drought. The same barren plants are commonly badly smutted. Although these plants will produce no seed, they did mature pollen, which fertilized other plants. Will this result in an abnormally high proportion of barren plants or smutted plants if seed from these fields is planted next year?

All the evidence points to the conclusion that both barrenness and smut infection will be determined by the local conditions of 1931, rather than by what has happened to the plant this season. Corn would be no more likely to inherit abnormal barrenness from this year’s seed than would next spring’s lamb crop be likely to inherit docked tails from docked parents.

Certain types of barrenness may indeed be inherited—likewise, susceptibility to disease, but inherent tendencies appear not to be brought on by environmental agencies such as the past season’s drought, even though the present generation is greatly affected.


Edible Soybeans

A bulletin recently issued by the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Illinois comes very appropriately at this time, because of inquiries from gardeners in many sections regarding edible soybeans. The last line of the bulletin sums up extensive work in a very succinct conclusion: “This new vegetable is worthy of extensive trial.” These modest words may be regarded as a good example of under-statement, for just above them it is recorded that reports from 810 persons showed successful production from Maine to the Pacific Coast, and from near sea level to an altitude of 8,000 feet.

Reading through the new bulletin, one is struck by the number of times the Giant Green variety is mentioned, and always favorably, though its performance is recorded in wildly differing localities. It produced a satisfactory crop in Manitoba, in Kansas it performed especially well by reaching edibility before the hottest weather, and in Maryland it was mentioned as the most drought-resistant.

Extracts from a number of letters are quoted in the bulletin and are interesting in that they represent a wide cross section of growers and conditions, but with remarkable unanimity and approval. Here are some examples: “Our season was so dry that the usual beans failed to produce anywhere near a normal crop. I do not see how the soybeans could have produced more” (Harrison Country, Indiana). “A blessing for poor rural population as they will never be destroyed by Mexican bean beetles, although they do attack them to some extent, and they will produce on poor hill land” (Tyler County, West Virginia).


Industry Backing Texas Research of Sorghum as an Energy Crop

The Gas Research Institute, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, has initiated a program with the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station (TAES) of Texas A & M University to research development of hybrid sorghum as an energy crop, according to Dr. Edward Hiler, head of agricultural engineering at the university.

The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, as the original developer of hybrid grain sorghum, has decades of research experience with sorghum that go far toward maximizing the energy potential of the sorghum plant.

According to Hiler, these new hybrids can produce a high yield of feed grain, while the remainder of the plant is used as a methane feedstock.

Sorghum, ranked as the fifth largest agricultural crop in the U.S., was selected by the Gas Research Institute (GRI) for this intensive research. Screening studies had ranked biomass candidates in terms of crop production and potential for providing high methane yields at rapid biomass-to-methane conversion rates.

Sorghum can be grown as an annual or perennial crop, is climatically adaptable, and can tolerate a wide pH range in soil. Sorghum requires a relatively short growing season, relatively little water, has lower fertilizer requirements than most agricultural crops, and can be grown in rotation with other crops.

In the research GRI is funding, TAES scientists will select sorghum hybrids for cultivation research, hoping to optimize crop yields by examining the effects of changes in crop management practices, fertilizer types and application rates, and water application requirements.

“Genetic improvements and the examination of crop management practices, in a development test farm of about 1-10 acres per sorghum variety, will constitute the first phase of crop production research and development,” Hiler said. “A process development unit test farm, of from 10-100 acres, may also be developed for some varieties. Our research will include harvesting and storage studies, development of methane conversion schemes for sorghum feedstocks, system and economic analyses, and further hybridization and productivity studies.”

Soybeans and the Plant Variety Protection Act

The Plant Variety Protection Act was intended to encourage private companies to invest resources in developing superior varieties of crops such as soybeans. Thirteen years after the Act’s passage should provide adequate benefits and see if they are accruing to farmers, other segments of agriculture, and the general public.

Expansion of private breeding programs in the past 13 years has been documented by others. There are now 30 private companies with programs established in this period. Did the commitment of private resources result in superior varieties for farmers?·

An examination of the yield capacity of public and private varieties revealed that with private varieties, the PVP varieties were the highest yielding. The reverse was true of public varieties. It seems clear that the PVP Act has resulted in development of higher yielding varieties at a faster rate than from public breeding programs alone. Also, it appears that private breeding programs are resulting in new varieties with greater yield potential than new varieties from public programs.

In 1983, 26.2 percent of the major variety soybean acreage in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio was planted to private varieties as identified by the USDA. The analysis of University of Illinois data from its state performance trials clearly shows private breeding programs are contributing to the release of improved varieties. This data also suggests private programs are producing varieties which outyield varieties released from public programs. Finally, the data indicates the increase in yields from all the varieties released in 1972 through 1982 contributed about .2 of a bushel per year to increasing the yield of soybeans.

Bronco Herbicide Cleared for Grain Sorghum Seed Use

Bronco, a Monsanto herbicide especially formulated for weed control in double-crop and no-till farming, is now for use in grain sorghum.

According to Dr. Mark Winkle, weed control specialist with Monsanto, the herbicide recently was granted a label from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in grain sorghum seed treated with screen seed protectant. Available from many seed companies, sorghum seed treated with screen is protected from herbicidal injury.



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