Lime on Sandy Soil.
Do you think 500 pounds of lime per acre would help a sandy soil which has not been enriched by pasturing or legumes? Of course, we would not apply the lime until next fall before plowing.
Lime is not usually called for in a sandy soil, which probably requires direct fertilizing with stable or commercial fertilizers.
Lime on Alfalfa.
What effect does putting lime on land have in holding moisture? Also, will it pay to put it on a large field of alfalfa? The land is adobe. I can get slaked lime for the hauling, distance being about five miles.
The lime will make the land more friable and, therefore, less disposed to bake and lose moisture by evaporation. Alfalfa is hungry for lime and is generally advanced by the application of it.
Can new cow manure be put on alfalfa? Is not the best way to use the above as a fertilizer in form of liquid being run from barn via pipes to a settling-tank and from there via irrigation ditches to the land to be irrigated? What is the best way to get rid of cow manure so as to keep a barn sanitary and the place free from stench?
Cow manure can be used to advantage on alfalfa. Corrals can be cleaned up and the manure spread at the beginning of the rainy season. During the winter the manure can be spread as it is produced and very good results will be noticed in the growth during the following summer. It is perfectly rational for you to use the liquid fertilizer as you propose in connection with irrigation water, but this is not generally done because of the cost of the outfit and the labor of handling the material in that way. The best way to keep a barn sanitary is to keep it clean, removing all the waste matter to a considerable distance daily, allowing nothing to accumulate, and have the stable drainage arranged so that the stable can be frequently flushed out into good drainage outlets, carrying the water to grass or alfalfa land if possible.
We are going to plant about 20 acres to corn on a sidehill and intend to put some fertilizer on, but want to give it to the corn only. Would it be a good plan, after we have marked out our rows, to scatter some fertilizer in these marks and put the corn right on top of it?
We take it you ask about the use of a readily soluble commercial fertilizer. If so, you can do as you propose, being careful not to use too much. The operation of planting will distribute the fertilizer through enough soil if the application is not too heavy. The effect will depend something upon what showers you get after planting.
Scrap Iron as a Fertilizer.
Is cast or other iron in small pieces plowed into the land of any benefit to trees as a fertilizer? If so, what would be the value as such per 100 pounds? Junk dealers sometimes offer 25 cents per 100 pounds. If it has any value as a fertilizer, I am satisfied it must be worth four times that price. We pay three cents a pound for sulphate of iron as a fertilizer. Of course, it is a salt and dissolves quickly, therefore, I believe cast iron, even if it works slowly, has some value, and at the same time farmers can clean up and get rid of a lot of rubbish.
In most cases the California soils are sufficiently supplied with iron by nature. Iron scraps have a little and remote value because they are so slowly available by the process of rust disintegration. It might, therefore, be worth while for farmers to bury such scrap iron as accumulates on the place below the reach of the cultivating tools. But it would not be profitable to buy iron scraps at junk dealers' price, nor would it be profitable to haul this material any long distance, even if it could be had for nothing.
Kelp as a Fertilizer.
Are there ill effects from using sea kelp as a fertilizer for orange trees?
There is no ill effect. Sea kelp has been dragged from the beaches at low tide, partly dried and used, for centuries perhaps, as field fertilizer for all sorts of crops in Europe, and for decades, to some extent, on the New England coast. The dangerous substance in it would seem to indicate that that is not present in sufficient quantity to cause trouble. The great difficulty lies in securing and transporting the substance, for less than its fertilizing equivalent can be obtained by purchase of other more concentrated manures.
Applying Thomas Phosphate.
When is the best time to apply Thomas phosphate slag on orchard land?
As Thomas phosphate is slowly soluble, it can be applied at any time during the rainy season without danger of loss, and for the same fact, it should be applied early during the rainy season in order to be available to trees during the following summer's growth. It ought, perhaps, to be added that other forms of phosphate have largely displaced slag during the last few years in the United States, other forms being more available.
Sugar Factory Lime for Fertilizing.
Is the lime from a sugar factory a good fertilizer for either oranges or walnuts; if so, about what amount to the acre would you recommend?
If your land needs lime or if it is heavy and needs to be more friable, or if you have reason to think that it may be soured by exclusion of air or by excessive use of fermenting manures, the refuse lime you speak of will do as a corrective just as other lime does, though, perhaps, not so actively. Beyond that there is nothing of great value in it. You can use two or three applications of 500 pounds to the acre without overdoing it - if your land needs it at all.
Nitrate With Stable Manure.
I am going to plant about 2000 plants of rhubarb. I intend to put some cow and horse manure under the plants as a fertilizer, but I do not think I will have enough for all the plants, so I bought some nitrate of lime, with the intention of mixing the cow and horse manure with the lime nitrate, which I thought would allow me to spread the manure much thinner and I could cover more surface. Now I am not sure but the nitrate of lime will burn the manure if mixed with it.
You can mix either nitrate of lime or nitrate of soda with the stable manure as you propose; in fact, it is frequently done. These nitrates are neutral salts and do not act on manure as caustic lime or wood ashes would do. They are quite content to keep along without kicking their neighbors. But, of course, the more nitrate you add the more careful you must be about using too much of the mixture, and as for putting manure under any plant, at spring planting particular, it is dangerous business.
Nitrate of Soda.
How shall I apply nitrate of soda as fertilizer for roses and other flowers and lawns during the summer months?
One has to be very careful in the use of nitrate of soda not to use too much and not to apply it unevenly, so that too much is brought in contact with the roots of particular plants. From one to two hundred pounds an acre evenly distributed is the usual prescription for nitrate of soda, although in the case of bearing orange trees considerably larger amounts have been successfully used. This would be at the rate of about one ounce to one square yard of surface. It would be a safe application to begin with and could be increased a little on the basis of observation of results. Of course, the application should be accompanied by copious irrigation in order to dissolve and distribute the substance.
I have half an acre of strawberries which will fruit their second season this spring, and half an acre set last month. I had intended to use nitrate of soda on them, but was talking to a friend who told me it would kill my soil. That the first year it would produce an enormous crop and the next year I couldn't raise anything. Which would be better to use here, stable manure or commercial fertilizer?
It is true that nitrate of soda is a stimulant of plants, and by rendering soil fertility immediately available may seem to reduce the supply later, and yet it is a most available forcing fertilizer if used with great caution, not over 200 pounds to the acre evenly scattered over the whole surface or a less amount, of course, if confined to particular areas. If used in excess it may actually kill the plants. Still nitrate of soda is being used actively and intelligently by nearly all growers of plants and must be counted on the whole a valuable agency. If you can get stable manure, nothing is better as a complete plant food. Application to strawberries must be made at the close of the season, rubbish scraped away and manure applied and allowed to stand on the surface during the early rains, being worked into the soil during the rainy season. If the soil is light, sandy loam, too much coarse material must be avoided. Therefore, well-rotted manure is important on such soils while on a heavy soil coarser material may be used to advantage if applied early in the rainy season. If you have no well-rotted manure, a complete commercial fertilizer will give best results.
Late Applications of Nitrate.
I have some prune trees which blossomed some time ago and the prunes are already set, and of small size. Would you recommend me to use an application of, say 100 pounds per acre of nitrate of soda, applied immediately, or is it a little too late in the season to get the desired result?
It would be perfectly safe to use 100 pounds of nitrate of soda to the acre well distributed now; in fact, you could safely use twice as much, but we doubt if you would get any benefit from it unless you should irrigate, for there is no reason to expect showers that would have penetrating powers enough to carry the nitrate any appreciable distance into the soil. Of course, the nitrate could be plowed or cultivated in to a considerable depth, but that would probably result in losing moisture by deep opening or turning, which would do more harm than any gain which the nitrate produces, if it were to become available. Our judgment would be, then, that it is too late for any benefit to accrue unless the land can be irrigated.
Charcoal is a Medicine, Not a Food.
Recently a lumberyard burned, leaving quite a quantity of charcoal. I have a lot 50 x 150 feet in rhubarb. Would the charcoal be of any service on that lot as a fertilizer? I now have it well fertilized with horse manure, but would like to use the charcoal if it would be of any material assistance to the plants.
Charcoal is of no value as a fertilizer. It is practically indestructible in the soil. In fact, they are digging up now charcoal in the graves of ancient Egyptians, who departed this life five thousand years ago. Charcoal has corrective influence in absorbing some substances which might make the soil sour or otherwise inhospitable to plants. It has been found desirable sometimes to mix a certain amount of charcoal with soil used in potting plants for the purpose of preventing such trouble. The only way to make your charcoal of any value as a fertilizer would be to set it on fire again and maintain the burning until it was reduced to ashes, which are a source of potash and, therefore, desirable, but it will probably cost more than the product of potash will be worth.
Humus Burning Out.
I would like to know whether or not dry-plowing land, in preparation for sowing oats for hay, injures the soil? I have heard that dry plowing tends to wear out the soil, as the soil is exposed to the sun a long time before harrowing. I have been dry-plowing my land to kill the, weeds, but had a light crop of hay this year.
There is believed to be what is called "a burning out of humus," by long exposure of the soil to the intense heat of our interior districts. It is probable that the reduction of humus is due more to the lack of effort to maintain the supply than to the actual destruction of it by culture methods. Such a little time as might intervene between dry plowing and sowing could not be charged with any appreciable destruction of soil fertility. It is altogether more probable that your hay crop was less from loss of moisture than from loss of other plant food; and it is desirable to harrow a dry plowing, not so much to save the soil from the action of the atmosphere, as to conserve the moisture, which, as you know, will rise from below and will rapidly be evaporated from the undisturbed bases of your furrows. Therefore, we should harrow a dry plowing as soon as practicable, but with particular reference to the moisture supply rather than to other forms of fertility.
Straw for Humus.
Do you consider straw good to plow under for humus, and which kind, wheat, oat, or barley straw, is best?
Straw, by its decay in the soil, produces humus and, therefore acts in the same way just as does the decay of other forms of vegetation. As, however, straw is less easily decomposed than fresh vegetation, it is less valuable and may be troublesome by acquiring a greater amount of moisture by interfering with cultivation or by tending to dry out the soil to the injury of other plants. If the soil is heavy and moisture abundant, straw may be desirable, while in the case of a light soil and scant moisture, may be injurious. There is no particular difference in the straw of the different grains from this point of view.
The Best Legume for Cover Crop.
What would you advise to sow as a crop to plow under? When should it be sowed, and when plowed under?
The best crop for green-manuring in any locality is the one which will make the best growth when surplus moisture is available for it, and when its growth can be undertaken with least interference with irrigation, cultivation and other orchard operation. Generally in California, such a crop can be most conveniently grown during the rainy season, but in some parts of the State where irrigation water is available, a summer growth can be procured with very satisfactory results; so that we are now growing in California both wintergrowing legumes, like field peas, vetches, burr clover, etc., which are hardy enough to grow in spite of the light frosts which may prevail, and are also growing summer legumes which thrive under high temperature, like cowpeas and other members of the bean family, and for which water can be spared without injury to the fruit trees which share the application of the land with them. The plants which are worth trying are burr clover, common or Oregon vetch, Canadian field pea, and the common California or Niles pea. Whichever one of these makes the best winter growth so that it can be plowed under early in the spring, say in February or March, while there is still plenty of moisture in the soil for its decay, without robbing the trees or rendering the soil difficult of summer cultivation, is the plant for you to use largely. All these plants should be sown in California valleys and foothills, as soon as there is moisture enough from rainfall to warrant you in believing they will catch and continue to grow. If the land is light they can be put in with a cultivator and plowed under deeply in the spring, as stated. If the land is heavy, probably a shallow plowing would be better to begin with.
Cowpeas for Cover Crop.
I planted cowpeas between peach trees which I have kept irrigated; when should they be plowed under?
Cowpeas will be killed by frost in most places and should, therefore, be plowed in this fall whenever you have a large growth of green stuff and the ground gets moist enough so that the trees will not be endangered by drying out of the soil, which is likely to occur after plowing in coarse material, unless the soil is kept moist by rain or otherwise.
Garden Peas for Green Manure.
Would it be possible to plant the Yorkshire Hero pea in on orange grove as late as December 25 and get a crop from the peas? Would this pea add much to the fertility of the soil?
You can sow any garden peas as late as December 25, if the ground is in good condition and the temperature not too low. They are grown as a winter crop except when the ground freezes. You would not get as much good for the grove by growing these peas for the market as you would by plowing the whole growth under green, but you certainly will get advantage from the decomposition of the pea straw and of the root growth of the plant.
Grass for Green Manuring.
I wish to sow this fall some green grass to be plowed in next spring to improve the soil of part of my land. I read for that purpose a bulletin I had from the government, but the conditions are so different here in California that I am very much puzzled which kind to select.
There is no grass which grows quickly enough to be worth seeding in the fall for spring plowing. It is a good deal better to use a grain, either barley or rye, for the seed is cheap, the growth quick and you can get a good deal of green stuff to plow under. Legumes are, of course, better because of their ability to absorb atmospheric nitrogen, but any plant which makes a large green growth is good, and it is better to have a heavy weight of wild vegetation than to have a light growth of an introduced legume.
Manure with a Clover Crop.
I have an old apple orchard in which I intend to sow burr clover. In order to get the clover to grow I know that I shall have to use fertilizer of some kind and this is what I want your advice about.
If you can get it, use stable manure at the time of sowing the clover seed. Stable manure alone will restore the humus and overcome the rebellious behavior of the soil. Possibly you cannot secure sufficient quantities of it. In that case a little with the burr clover seed will give the plant a good start, or use a complete fertilizer to secure the growth of a legume in the freest and quickest way.
Fenugreek as a Cover Crop.
Fenugreek has been recommended to be as a nitrogen-gathering plant, but I cannot find information as to the amount of nitrogen it gathers in its roots and tops, nor the amount of crop per acre.
Fenugreek is a good nitrogen gatherer and is desirable for green manuring wherever you can get a good growth of the plant. You can count it worth as much as peas, vetches, etc., if you can get as much growth of the plant. It is most largely used in the lemon district near Santa Paula. The best way to proceed would be to try a small area of all the nitrogen gathering plants of which you can get the seed easily, and determine by your own observation which makes the best growth under your conditions.
Improvement of Cementing Soils.
I would like some advice in handling the "cementy" gravel soil. Manure is beneficial in loosening up the soil, but there is not enough available. Would the Canadian field pea make a satisfactory growth here if sown as soon as the rains begin? I would try to grow either peas or vetch and plow under in February or March and then set trees or vines on the land.
The way to mellow your soil is certainly to use stable manure or to plow under green stuff, as you propose. This increases the humus which the soil needs and imparts all the desirable characters and qualities which humus carries. You ought to get a good growth of Canadian field peas or common California field peas or the common Oregon vetch by sowing in the fall, as soon as the ground can be moistened by rain or irrigation, and, if the season is favorable, secure enough growth for plowing under in February to make it worth while. Be careful, however, not to defer planting trees and vines too late in order to let the green stuff grow, because this would hazard the success of your planting by the reduction of the moisture supply during the following summer by the amount which might be required to keep the covered-in stuff decaying, plus loss of moisture from the fact that the covered stuff prevented you from getting thorough surface cultivation during the dry season. For these reasons one is to be careful about planting on covered-in stuff which has not had a chance to decay. This consideration, of course, becomes negligible if you have water for summer irrigation, but if you expect to get the growth of your trees and vines with the rainfall of the previous winter, be careful not to waste it in either of the ways which have been indicated, and above all, do not plant trees and vines too late. Theoretically, your position is perfect. The application of it, however, requires some care and judgment. Rather than plant too late, you had better grow the green stuff the winter after the trees have been planted.
Needs Organic Matter.
I have what I believe to be decomposed sandstone. Many rocks are still projecting out of land which I blast and break up. The soil works freely when moist or wet, but when dry it takes a pick-axe to dig it up; a plow won't touch it. Among my young fruit trees I tried to grow peas, beans, carrots and beets, and although I freely irrigated them during the summer and fall, and although I planted at different times, my peas and beans have been a total failure, and the beets, carrots and onions nearly so. For years the land has grown nothing but weeds.
Your soil needs organic matter which would make it more easy of cultivation, more retentive of moisture, and in every way better suited to the growth of plants. Liberal applications of stable manure would produce best effects. No commercial fertilizer would begin to be so desirable. If you can dig into the soil large amounts of weeds or other vegetable waste material, you would be proceeding along the same line, but stable manure is better on account of its greater fertilizing content. You ought to be thankful that the soil has spunk enough to grow weeds. The Immanent Creator is still doing the best he can to help you out; take a hand yourself on the same line.
Two Legumes in a Year.
I have land on which I wish to plant to fruits, and I wish to build up the soil all I can, by planting cover crops and plowing under. What would be the best to plant this fall, to be plowed under next spring, and to plant again next spring to plow under in the fall? I will not be able to plant any trees before next fall or the following spring.
Get in vetches as soon as the ground is in shape in the fall. Plow them under early in the spring and close the covering and compact the green stuff by running a straight disk over the ground after plowing. This will help decay and save moisture. Follow with cow peas as soon as you are out of the frost, disking in the seed so as not to disturb the stuff previously covered in. Do not wait to put under the winter growth until it is safe to put on the cowpeas, for, if you do, you will lose so much moisture that the cowpeas will not amount to much.
Handling Orchard Soil.
We average about 35 inches of rainfall. With this heavy rainfall, is there any advantage to be gained by early plowing and clean cultivation right through the winter? Would such plowing and cultivation result in any serious loss of plant food? Would you advise an early or late application of nitrogen, such as nitrate or guano? If there is any loss from an early application, can it be determined by any means?
The old policy of clean winter cultivation has been largely abandoned. Nearly everyone is trying to grow something green during the rainy season to plow under toward the end of it. Even those who do not sow legumes for this purpose are plowing under as good a weed cover as they can get. This improves the soil both in plant food and in friability, which promotes summer pulverization and saves moisture from summer evaporation. Much less early plowing is done than formerly unless it be shallow to get in the seed for the cover crop; the deeper plowing being done to put it under. Guano can be applied earlier in the winter than nitrate, which can be turned in with the cover crop, while the former may be sown with the seed to promote the winter growth. Whether you are losing your nitrate or not the chemist might determine for you by before-and-after analyses. If you are a good observer you may detect loss by absence of the effects you desire to secure.
Do you think it a good practice to soak seeds before planting?
It is more desirable with some seeds than others and when the ground is rather dry or the sowing time rather late, than when sowing in moister ground or earlier in the rainy season, when heavy rains are to be expected. Soaking is simply a way to be sure that the seed covering has ample moisture for softening and the kernel has what it requires for awakening it germ and meeting its needs. The soil may not always have enough to spare for these purposes and germination may be delayed or started and arrested. Ordinarily seeds can be helped by soaking a few hours in water at ordinary temperatures. Some very hard seeds like those of acacia trees, etc., are helped by hot water - even near the boiling point.
My palms are quite small, but they do not seem to grow; they seem to be drying up.
The growth of palms is proportional to the amount of soil moisture available, providing it is not in excess and not too alkaline. Some palms are quite drouth-resisting, but it is a mistake to think of a palm as a desert plant and try to make a desert for it. A young palm, especially, needs regular and ample water supply until it gets well established. Your plants may be drying up, or they may have had too much frost or too much alkali. If they are not too far gone, they will come out later if you give them regular moisture and cultivation.
Water from Wells or Streams.
One of our neighbors insists that water from a well is, in the long run, very hard on the land, and that irrigation water is much to be preferred.
There is no characteristic and permanent difference between waters from wells and waters from streams so far as irrigation is concerned. The character depends upon the sources from which both are derived. Some wells may carry too much mineral matter in the form of salt, alkali, etc., and some stream waters sometimes carry considerable alkali. For this reason some wells may be better than streams and some streams better than wells. There is no general rule in the matter. Your neighbor may be right as applied to your location, and may know from his experience that the well water carries too much undesirable material. That could only be determined by analysis, and the analysis must be made when the water is rather low, because during the rainy season, or soon after it, the water may have less mineral impurity than later in the season when it may be more concentrated.
Shall He Irrigate or Cultivate?
Our soil is of an excellent quality, and I feel if the moisture were properly conserved by suitable methods it could be made to produce fruits or some other very much more profitable than from hay and grain crops.
Whether you can grow deciduous fruits successfully without irrigation depends not only upon how well you conserve the moisture by cultivation, but also whether the total rainfall conveys water enough, even if as much as possible of it is conserved. Again, you might find that thorough cultivation will give you satisfactory young trees, but would not conserve moisture enough for the same trees when they come into bearing. This proposition should be studied locally. If you can find trees in the vicinity which do give satisfactory fruit under the rainfall, you would have a practical demonstration which would be more trustworthy than any forecast which could be prepared upon theoretical grounds.
Condensation for Irrigation.
If a circular funnel of waterproofed building paper, or some better cheap device, were fastened about the base of the tree in such a manner as to catch and concentrate most of the drippings from the leaves, and that water made to run down through a tube leading a suitable depth into the earth, it seems to me that the number of foggy nights that occur in many localities during the season might thus supply ample water for a tree's needs.
The probability is that water would not be secured in sufficient quantities to serve any notable irrigation purposes, or if the fogs were so thick as to yield water enough, the sunshine would be too scant for the success of the plant. Put your idea to the test and see how much water you could get from a tree of definite leaf area, which could be readily estimated.
Last May I irrigated my prune trees for the first time, again during the first two weeks of last December. If no rain should come within the next two weeks, would you advise me to irrigate then? Should I plow before irrigating, or should irrigation be done before the buds swell?
Unless your ground is deeply wet down by the rains which are now coming, irrigate it once, and do not plow before irrigating. The point is to get as much water into the ground and as much grass growth on top as you can before the spring plowing. Never mind about the swelling of the buds. The trees will not be affected injuriously by getting a good supply of winter water into the soil. There might be some danger with trees which bloom late in the spring, like citrus trees or olives, because by that time the ground has become warm and the roots very active. At the blooming time of deciduous trees less danger would threaten, because there is less difference between the temperature of the ground and the water which you were then applying from a running stream. If you irrigated in furrows and, therefore, did not collect the water in mass, its temperature would rise by contact with air, which would be another reason for not apprehending trouble from it.
How Much Water for Oranges?
How much water would you consider absolutely necessary to carry to full-bearing citrus trees an clay loam-that is, how many acres to a miner's inch, figuring nine gallons per minute to the inch?
It would, of course, depend upon the age of the trees, as old bearing trees may require twice as much as young trees. We would estimate for bearing trees, on such retentive soil, 30-acre inches per year applied in the way best for the soil.
My orange seed-bed stack has "damp-off." Same say "too much water;" "not enough water;" "put on lime;" etc. I use a medium amount of water and more of my stack is affected than that of any other grower. One man has kept his well soaked since planting, and only about six plants were affected. Another has used but little water, keeping them very dry; he has lost none.
Damping-off is due to a fungus which attacks the tender growth when there is too much surface moisture. It may be produced by rather a small amount of water, providing the soil is heavy and the water is not rapidly absorbed and distributed. On the other hand, a lighter soil taking water more easily may grow plants without damping-off, even though a great deal more water has been used than on the heavier soil. Too much shade, which prevents the sun from drying the surface soil, is also likely to produce damping-off, therefore, one has to provide just the right amount of shade and the right amount of ventilation through circulation of the air, etc. The use of sand on the surface of a heavier soil may save plants from damping-off, because the sand passes the water quickly and dries, while a heavier surface soil would remain soggy. Lime may be of advantage if not used in too great quantities because it disintegrates the surface of the soil and helps to produce a dryness which is desirable. Keeping the surface dry enough and yet providing the seedlings with moisture for a free and satisfactory growth is a matter which must be determined by experience and good judgment.
Irrigated or Non-Irrigated Trees.
Is there any difference between the same kind of fruit trees grown without irrigation and with it?
It does not make a particle of difference, if the trees are grown well and matured well. Overirrigated trees or trees growing on land naturally moist may be equally bad. Excessively large trees and stunted trees are both bad; with irrigation you may be more likely to get the first kind; without it you are more likely to get the latter. There is, however, a difference between a stunted tree and a wellgrown small tree, and as a rule medium-sized trees are most desirable than overgrown trees. The mere fact of irrigation does not make either good trees or bad trees: it is the man at the ditch.
Too Little Rather Than Too Much Water.
Looking through an orchard of 18-year-old prune trees on riverbottom land, I found a number of the trees had died. A well bored in the orchard strikes water at about 15 feet. I find no apparent reason far the death of these trees unless it is that the tap roots reach this body of water and are injuriously affected thereby.
We do not believe that water at 15 feet depth could possibly kill a prune tree. It is more likely that owing to spotted condition of the soil, gravel should occur in different places, and with gravel three or four feet below the surface a tree might actually die although there was plenty of water at a depth of 15 feet. There is more danger that the trees died from lack of water than from an oversupply of it, and it is quite likely also that you could pump and irrigate to advantage large trees which did not seem to be up to the standard of the whole place, as manifested by lack of bearing, smallness of leaves, which would be apt to turn yellow too early in the season.
Possibly Too Much Water.
My trees are four years old and are as follows: Peach, fig, loquat, apple, apricot and plum. Last year they had plenty of blossoms, but I got no fruit. I always watered them twice a week in summer.
You are watering your trees too much; stimulating their growth too much, and this, while a tree is young, is apt to postpone its fruit bearing. Give the soil a good soaking about once a mouth, unless you are situated in a sandy or gravelly soil, in which more frequent applications may be necessary.
Too Little Water After Dynamiting.
In planting almonds on a dry hard soil I dynamited the holes and ran about 200 gallons of water into each hole before planting. About 95 per cent of the trees started growth, but seem now to be in a somewhat dormant state, the leaves of some being slightly wilted. All the trees were watered since planting. I have been told I made a mistake by throwing water in the dynamited holes. When the holes were watered the ground was very dry and the water disappeared in a few minutes.
You have used too little water rather than too much. Dry soil of fine texture can suck up an awful lot of moisture, which can be drawn off so far, or so widely distributed, that there will not be enough for the immediate vicinity of the roots. The dynamiting tended to deep drying and necessitated much more irrigation.
Irrigating Young Trees.
We have just put out 50 acres to walnuts. The party who put them out wants me to have some boxes or troughs made 15 inches long with a 3-inch opening, and put in on the slant so as to have the water hit the roots.
Many such arrangements of boxes, perforated cans, pieces of tile, etc., have been proposed during the last fifty years in California for accomplishing the purposes which are mentioned in your letter, and all such devices have been abandoned as undesirable. They may bring the water to bear upon a lower level as intended, but the free access of air and the fact that, with their use, proper stirring of the soil is neglected renders them undesirable. The best way to water young trees singly is to make a trench around tree, but not allowing the water to touch the bark, applying the water and then thoroughly hoe when the surface soil comes into proper condition. Young trees treated in this way, with the surface always in good condition, do not require much water. The amount depends, of course, upon whether the soil is naturally porous or retentive.
How extensively used and with what results is the underground tile system for irrigation used, and what especial character of soil is it best suited for?
Not extensively at all; in fact, if there is an acre of it which has been for three years in continuous and successful operation, it has escaped us. After forty years of trial of different systems, none has demonstrated value enough to warrant its use. Theoretically, they are excellent; in practice they are defective. Surface application in different ways, according to the nature of the soil, accompanied with thorough cultivation, is the only thing that at the present time promises satisfactory results, except that where the land suits it, irrigation by underflow from ditches on higher elevations is being successfully used on small areas in the foothills. For gardens the most promising arrangement seems to be a laying of drain tiles rather near the surface, which shall be taken up each year, cleaned of silt and plant roots, and relaid along the rows before planting; but this calls for too much labor, except perhaps for amateur gardeners. The kind of soil best suited to such a system is a medium loam which will distribute water sufficiently to avoid saturation and air-exclusion. Both a heavy soil which does this, and a coarse sandy loam which takes water down out of reach of shallow-rooting plants too rapidly and lacks capillarity to draw it up again, are ill adapted to underground distribution.
Irrigation of Potatoes.
Will you kindly tell me when is the proper time to irrigate potatoes, before they bloom or after they bloom, and do they require much water?
It should seldom be necessary to irrigate potatoes after the bloom appears. Potatoes do not need much water, and there is danger of giving them too much. It is absolutely essential to see that there is no check in the growth of the plant, for once the growth is at all checked by drought, and irrigation is done, a new lot of potatoes start and new and old growth of tubers are worthless. Give what irrigation is needed and make cultivation do the rest. The secret of success is keeping the soil continually at the right moisture, so that the first growth of the plant may continue regularly until the tubers are brought to maturity.
Irrigated or Non-Irrigated Apples.
Where soil and climatic conditions are favorable to the raising of apples, what effect has irrigation an them?
The commercial product of California apples is chiefly made upon deep soils in districts of ample rainfall so that the fruit can be perfected and the trees maintained in thrift by thorough cultivation and without irrigation. In the foothill and mountain regions, however, apple trees are irrigated and first-class fruit produced by the process. There is no particular virtue in the absence of irrigation nor in the presence of it. All that the tree requires is that the moisture supply should be adequate and timely. There are undoubtedly many apple orchards grown without irrigation where a little water during the latter part of the summer would be a great advantage for the perfection of winter varieties.
Irrigating Walnuts-Checks or Furrows.
Which is the best method to irrigate a tract of 25 acres of sandy sediment sail, nearly level, preparatory to planting walnuts?
By all means use the furrow system of irrigation unless your land should be so light that the water would sink in the furrows and distribution would be very unequal without covering the whole surface as is done by filling checks. When the land cannot be covered well by the furrow system, checking is resorted to, but not otherwise.
Summer and Fall Irrigation.
Is it desirable to irrigate peach trees in the fall after the crop is gathered?
The popularity of autumn irrigation for peaches in the San Joaquin valley is based upon the experience of the last few years where trees that have been allowed to become dormant too early in the season and have been weakened by a long period of soil-drought during the autumn, have cast their blossoms or manifested other indications of weakness during the following year. It is thoroughly rational to apply irrigation to hold the leaves and secure their service in the strengthening of bloom buds for the following year by irrigation. Such irrigation should be applied immediately after the fruit is gathered or even before that, if the yellowing of the leaves indicates lack of strength in the tree and the frequency and amount of irrigation during the autumn depends upon whether the soil will hold moisture enough to carry the tree to its proper period of dormancy. This may be determined by the aspect of the trees and by digging down two or three feet to see whether the soil carries moisture which is likely to be sufficient until the coming of the rains. Whether late irrigation will be necessary is also determinable by the character of the soil; on close retentive soil it may not be necessary, while on loose, sandy or gravelly soil it may be essential to the life of the tree. One has to settle all these matters by judgment and not by recipe.
Fertilizers in Irrigation Water.
Do you recommend putting fertilizers in irrigating water? I am about to water the orchard and am thinking of putting some nitrate in the water.
You can distribute any soluble fertilizer by dissolving it in irrigation water, but few have ever done it because of the difficulties of getting equal strength in running water. It is much easier to distribute on land before irrigation.
Irrigating Alfalfa on Heavy Soils.
How does alfalfa succeed on adobe and soils slightly modified from it? Does irrigation work well an adobe planted to alfalfa?
If you get the irrigation adjusted so that the soil shall not be water-logged and so that the water does not stand on the surface when the sun is hot, you can get plenty of good alfalfa on a heavy soil. Irrigation on adobe soils must be done more frequently and a less amount at each application to guard against the dangers named above.
How Much Water for Crops?
Same of my land is heavy but the most of it is light soil. I want alfalfa mostly, same potatoes and grain, and later oranges, olives and other fruit. How much water in inches or acre feet is required per acre per year far the irrigation of it?
The amount of water required to grow different crops depends upon the crop itself, upon the time of the year in which it grows, the character of the soil, etc. There is no such thing as stating how much water would be used for all crops on all soils, and at all times of the year. The range would be from, say, ten acre inches for irrigation of deciduous fruits, which need moisture supplementary to rainfall; twice or thrice as much for citrus fruit trees; four or five times as much for alfalfa where a full number of cuttings are required. These are, of course, only rough estimates which would have to be modified according to local rainfall and soil character. Water should be applied frequently enough to keep the lower soil amply moist. A color of moisture is not enough and a muddy condition results from too much water. One has to learn to judge when there is moisture enough, and a good test of this to take up a handful of soil, squeeze it and open the hand. If the ball retains its shape it is probably moist enough. If it has a tendency to crack upon opening the hand, it is too dry. This test, of course, is somewhat affected by the character of the soil, but one has to form the best judgment possible how far allowance has to be made for that.
What is the usefulness or harmfulness of the outflow from septic tanks for use an fruits and vegetables?
There is no question as to the suitability of the affluent from a septic tank for irrigation purposes. Waste waters are sometimes injurious when they are loaded with antiseptics, but the septic tank will not work unless it has a chance for free fermentation in the absence of antiseptics, therefore, this objection against waste water does not hold with the out-flow from septic tanks. It has the advantage over straight sewage irrigation because fermentation in the septic tank is believed to free the water from many dangerous germs, though not all of them.
Creamery Wastes for Irrigation.
Will the waste water from a creamery, pumped into a ditch and used for irrigating sandy loam orchard land, or nursery stack, in any way be injurious to the land or the trees?
It will depend upon the amounts of salt and alkaline washing materials which it carries. This would be governed, of course, by the amount of fresh water used for dilution in the irrigation ditch. There are two ways to determine the question. One would be to make an analysis of a sample of the water taken when it contains the largest amount of these materials after the dilution with ditch water. Another way would be to plant some corn, squashes, barley and other plants, so that they would be freely irrigated by the water during one growing season. This would be rather better than an analysis, because everybody could see whether the plants grew well or not, and would be apt to be better convinced by what they see than by an opinion which a chemist might give on the basis of an analysis. The use of this water on a sandy loam would obviously be less injurious than upon a heavy retentive soil.
House Waste Water.
Is it feasible to use wash water, etc., for watering fruit trees and vegetables?
Kitchen sink water is not desirable because of its great content of grease, but wash-tub and bathtub water are good. Strong soapsuds should be mixed with considerable rinsing water to escape excessive content of alkali. Run the water in hoe-ditches, along the rows of vegetables, hoeing thoroughly as soon as the land hoes well, changing the runs of water so that the soil does not become compacted but is kept friable and lively.
Draining a Wet Spot.
I have a spot of about an acre that in a wet winter becomes very miry and as a rule is wet up to July. Can I put in a ditch two and one-half feet deep and fill in with small stones for a foot or a foot and a half, until I can afford to buy tiles?
Drains made of small stones are often quickly filled with soil and stop running. However, it will work for a time, and such drains were formerly largely employed in Eastern situations when cash was scant and stones abundant. Dig the ditch bottom to a depth of not less than 3 or 3 1/2 feet, then put in the stones deep enough not to be interfered with by plowing. If you have flat stones you can make quite a water-way with them and fill in with small stones above it.
Part V. Live Stock and Dairy
Legal Milk House.
What is a legal milk house in California?
The State dairy law says little concerning the construction or equipment of the milk house. It says that the house, or room, shall be properly screened to exclude flies and insects, and is to be used for the purpose of cooling, mixing, canning and keeping the milk. The milk room shall not be used for any other purpose than milk handling and storing, and must be 100 feet or more distant from hogpen, horse stable, cesspool or similar accumulation of filth, and must be over 50 feet from cow stalls or places where milking is done. In regard to the size of the milk room and equipment, nothing is said provided it is large enough for the milk to be handled conveniently. Concrete milk houses, however, had best have smooth-finished floors and walls. The interior of the milk house is also to be whitewashed once in two years or oftener. If milk from the dairy is to go to a city, the requirements will be more severe than provided in the State law, and must conform to the ordinances of the city to which the milk is to be sent.
Cure for a Self-Milker.
What shall I do for a young cow that milks herself?
Fit a harness consisting of two light side slats and a girth and neck strap in such a way that the cow cannot reach her udder. Unless she is particularly valuable for milk, it will save you a lot of worry to fix her up for beef.
How can I overcome strong milk in a three-quarter Jersey cow? I had been feeding alfalfa hay with two quarts alfalfa meal and one quart middlings twice a day. Thinking the strong milk came from the feed I changed to oat hay and alfalfa with a soft feed of bran and middlings.
There is nothing in either ration that could cause strong milk, nor will a change of feed likely benefit the trouble. If the cow is in good physical condition the trouble probably comes from the entrance of bacteria during or after milking. Thoroughly clean up around the milking stable, followed by a disinfection of the premises. Have the flanks, udder and teats of the cow thoroughly cleaned before milking and scald all utensils used for the milk. Harmful bacteria may have gotten well established on the premises and the entrance of a few is enough to seriously affect the flavor of the milk. Once the trouble is checked it can be kept down with the usual sanitary methods.
Separator as Milk Purifier.
I have a neighbor who contends that a cream separator purifies the milk that passes through it. I say that it does not purify the milk. I agree that it does take out some of the heavy particles of dirt and filth, but that it cannot take out what is already in solution with the milk.
The purification naturally cannot be very great, and if milk is produced in unsanitary fashion, running through the separator will do little, if any, good. Nevertheless, the separator does remove more than just the solid particles of dirt. The purifying comes by leaving behind the separator slime, so called, the slimy material left behind after a good deal of milk has been run through. In fact, some creameries separate milk, only to mix milk and cream again, largely for the purpose of removing the impurities found in the slime. In this slime are not only the impurities that fall into the milk, but also some of the fibrous matter that is part of the milk, and this gathers, being pulled out by gravity as are the fat particles, it seems to gather with it a few more bacteria than remain in the milk itself. Material in real solution, as sugar is in solution in water, naturally is practically unaffected by separation. You are, therefore, right to the extent that you cannot produce unsanitary milk and clean it with the separator, but your neighbor is right to the extent that the separator does remove some impurities and is used just for that purpose. There is also in the dairy trade a centrifugal milk clarifier which is constructed in somewhat similar manner to a cream separator, but acts differently on the milk in not interfering with cream rising by gravity when separated cream and milk are mixed after cleaning.
Butter Going White.
I bought some butter and during the warm weather it melted. About 40 or 50 per cent was white, while the balance was yellow and went to the top. When the butter remelted, the yellow portion melted, leaving the white portion retaining its shape. The white portion did not taste like ordinary butter. The butter made from our cows' cream melted at a higher temperature, but did not have a white portion. Why did our butter not act like the creamery butter?
Samples of butter have occasionally been sent to this office that have turned white on the outside, and since the white part has a very disagreeable, tallowy flavor, people think that tallow or oleomargarine has been mixed with it, but we have never been able to find any foreign substance in any of the samples. We have found that some of the best brands of butter will turn white first on the outside and the white color will gradually go deeper if the butter is exposed to a current of air or if left in the sun a short time - F. W. Andreason, State Dairy Bureau.
What Is "Butter-fat?"
I would like to know what "butter-fat" means. I have asked farmers this question and no one seems to know. I suppose all parties dealing with creameries understand what the standard of measure or weight of butter-fat is, but it is my guess that there are thousands of farmers whom, if they were asked this question, would not know. We, of course, know that butter is sold by the pound and cream by the pint, quart or gallon, but what is butter-fat sold by?
Butter-fat is the yellow substance which forms the larger part of butter. Besides, this fat butter is composed of 16 per cent or less of water and small amounts of salt, and other substances of which milk is composed. From 80 to 85 per cent or so of ordinary butter is the fat itself. It is sold by weight. The cream from which butter is made is taken to the creamery and weighed, not measured. A small sample is tested by the so-called Babcock test to determine the exact percentage of fat, and payment mode on this basis. For instance, if 1,00 pounds of cream is one-third butter-fat, the dairyman receives pay for 33 1/3 pounds of this substance. If it is only one-quarter fat, he receives pay for 25 pounds. Ordinary cream varies within these limits, but may be much richer or thinner. Cream after the butterfat is removed is much like skimmed milk, although it has less water in it.
Why Would Not Butter Come?
What is the trouble with cream that you churn on from Monday until Saturday, then have to give up in despair and turn it out to the hogs? We warmed it, and we cooled it, and used a dairy thermometer, but nothing would do.
If the cream was in churnable condition otherwise, the probability is that it was too cool when you started churning. It should be about 62 Fahrenheit.
Drying a Persistent Milker.
My cow is to come fresh about the middle of next mouth, and in the last two weeks her milk has changed in some way so that the cream makes very yellow butter and comes to butter nearly as quick as when the cow was fresh. Would it best for her to go entirely dry before coming fresh, or will it be all right if she does not entirely dry up?
If your cow has been able to pick up any special amount of grass since the rains came it might add to the color of the butter. A cow's milk also gets richer toward the end of her lactation period, which may make a richer cream and make the butter come quickly There does not seem to be anything to worry about. The cow would probably do better if she could become entirely dry before calving, but unless you can easily dry her up it would be dangerous to try to force her to do so.
Butter-fat in Sweet and Sour Cream.
The creamery wagon takes our cream every other day. Without ice it is almost impossible to keep the cream sweet during the hot weather. By the time the wagon gets here, several hours after the fourth milking, the cream is quite sour. Does sour cream test lower than sweet cream! Is any butter-fat lost due to evaporation in dry weather?
The test of sour cream will be as accurate as of sweet cream, if properly made, but it is rather more difficult to make; or rather, to get the material into condition to work well. There is no fat lost by evaporation.
Cream That Won't Whip.
When I sell my cream from the separator they say they cannot whip it. Can you tell me if there is any way that I can make the cream whip?
There appears to be no good reason for blaming the separator for your difficulty with the cream. Possibly the cream may be too thin, as thin cream is sometimes difficult to whip. There is also the possibility that the fat globules in the cream may be rather small, but that will be the fault of the cows, not of the separator. Another reason why the cream may not whip well may be that it is used too quickly. If the milk is all right, the cream not too thin and it is permitted to stand for 12 hours or so there should be no trouble with it. Occasionally when cream is pasteurized it will not whip well. In these cases, or any other that may develop, the application of lime water to the cream at the rate of 1 gallon to 60 will remove the difficulty.
What Is Certified Milk?
What process has milk to go through to be called "certified," and what demand is there for it?
Certified milk is simply milk that is produced and marketed under prescribed sanitary conditions. The dairies are inspected periodically by representatives of some medical society or other organization to see that all regulations are observed, who certify that this is done; hence the name. Milk from other dairies is prohibited by law from being sold under the name "certified milk." Among the requirements in its production are that the cows must be free from tuberculosis and otherwise perfectly healthy, the stable to have a concrete floor which is washed out after each milking, the milkers to have special clothes for milking, etc. The milk is cooled and bottled immediately after milking, and kept at a low temperature until it reaches the consumer, to prevent the entrance of dirt of any kind or the development of the few bacteria that must gain entrance before it is bottled. To produce such milk requires much expensive apparatus and much more labor than to produce ordinary milk, and as a result it sells for a much higher price, both to distributor and consumer, so that the market for it is rather limited.
Jersey Shorthorn Cross.
If I cross Registered Shorthorns with a Jersey bull, what dairying value will the progeny have?
This makes an excellent cross. Even beef-strain Shorthorns have lots of milking power if it is developed and the Jersey cross will bring it out in the progeny. The cows have excellent milking qualities and give very rich milk. They also have a big frame and fine constitution. About the finest cows in Humboldt county were of this cross although Jersey bulls have been used so long that the Shorthorn blood is almost eliminated. The first "improved" cattle in California and the first cross made for dairy purposes was Jersey bulls upon grade Shorthorn cows. Later the Holstein Friesians became popular and they and their grades are now most abundant.
A Free Martin.
I have a Jersey cow who has just had twin calves, a heifer and a bull. The heifer was born about five minutes before the bull and seems to be the stronger. My neighbors tell me to fatten both for the butcher, for they say the heifer will be barren. The mother is a young cow, as this is her second calf. Kindly inform if this is one of nature's laws or if there is a possibility of the heifer turning out all right?
The probability is that it will be better to veal the heifer than to raise her, as most heifer calves twinned with a bull are free martins, or animals of mixed sex and no good for breeding purposes or for profitable milk production. If the bull is a good animal, he probably will be all right, as this twinning does not seem to affect a bull calf, though it does the heifer. It does not always happen that the heifer is worthless for breeding, but the probability is so great that you had better have her killed and be done with it.
What Is a "Grade"?
Does the term "grade" mean an animal whose sire is a thoroughbred and whose dam is a scrub, or just one who is selected from others because of her good points or those of her mother?
Roughly speaking, a grade animal is one having more or less pure-bred blood, but not enough, or otherwise too irregular, for registry under the rules of the association of the breed to which it has affiliation. It does not refer to selection without use of a pure-blood sire at some point in the ancestry, but this is not a distinction of much moment, for it is hard to find animals which have not borrowed something from some cross with pure blood, though remote. The terms high and low grade are sometimes used to signify amount of pure blood recognizable by form and other characters or remembered by owners or their neighbors. Generally speaking, a grade is anything not entitled to registry, though ordinarily it refers to the offspring of a pure-bred sire and a cow of another or of no breed. The offspring of a pure-bred cow and a scrub bull would also be a grade.
Breeding a Young Mare.
I have a beautiful colt 22 months old that will weigh 1200 or 1300 pounds; very compactly built, and has extra health, life and vigor. I want this colt for a broodmare. Would you advise breeding at two or three years old?
Authorities agree at placing the age from two to three years, according to the development of the animal and other circumstances.
"To Breed in the Purple."
What is meant by breeding a sow in the purple? I have seen this statement used many times by breeders who advertised "sows safe in pig bred in the purple."
To be "bred in the purple" means to be of royal or princely parentage. It originally was used in reference to the nobility of Europe, as purple was the insignia of royal blood, due to the fact that purple was the rarest and most costly color and only the rich and noble could buy it. When used in referring to live stock, it signifies that the animal in question has a long line of blooded ancestry.
Cows for Hill Country.
What breed of dairy cows do you think would be preferable to keep for butter, at an altitude of about 1800 feet, in Nevada county - Jerseys, Guernseys or Ayrshires? I do not mean to have them to rustle for their own living, but to feed them well, house and care for them in all weather, particularly in stormy weather.
The best breed for a man is the one he likes best, providing it has been bred for the purposes he desires to attain. All the breeds you mention are suited to the scheme you outline.
Is there any risk to run in taking cows to an altitude of 2000 from a much lower one?
There is no quarrel between a cow and a mountain. Ever since the settlement of the State cows have been driven directly from the valley up to the mountain meadow pastures, both for butter and for beef-making, in the summer time. The foothill elevation you mention is only a starting to elevations of 6000 feet and more to which cattle are driven every season.
Jersey bulls are apt to become vicious after a time; is it so to the same extent with bulls of the other named breeds?
The Jersey bull is conceded to be crosser and more dangerous than other bulls, but no bull should ever be allowed to have a chance at a man. Never consider a bull gentle and you will be safe with him.
Breeding in Line.
Is it right and proper to breed a pedigreed registered bull to his daughter, who is the offspring of a grade cow? If it is not right, explain why. If it can be done, will the offspring be physically perfect and an improvement, or will it have poorer qualities than its sire and mother? If this inbreeding can be done successfully, how long can it be carried on, or, in other words, how long could one bull be bred back into his own offspring? Can a herd be perfected in this way?
It is right and proper to breed a registered sire to his daughter, who is the offspring of a grade cow. The first cross is all right and the offspring ought to be physically perfect. This is a first step in what we call line breeding, but in line breeding proper, both animals must be pure bloods and registered, having ancestors on both sides which have a long line of good individuals with strong constitutions and true to type. To do this, one must have a perfect ideal in mind. This line breeding is what has developed the breeds today up to the high standard of perfection. Breeding sire to daughter, if followed along these lines, will be all right; at least, it was so in the case of Amos Cruickshank, the great shorthorn breeder. You cannot successfully breed back on the daughter's offspring, but if you use a straight out-cross on the daughter's offspring you can again use this sire on her produce with marked success. In the case of a grade cow and registered sire, there are two things which will make you either lose or win with one cross, and that is regarding the breeding of your sire. If he is just an ordinary-bred fellow it will be a hit-and-miss game, but if he is from a long line of good ancestors on his dam's side, you can very materially improve the, herd, because always keep in mind the female produce from the sire's dam will grow with age toward the sire's dam. So if your first cross from your first sire is all right, use a straight out-cross bull, but be sure he is what he ought to be, and then you can use your old bull back on his heifers. Of course, a man practicing this breeding ought to be a thorough stockman and a first-class judge of live stock. - W. M. Carruthers.
Whitewashes for Stock Buildings.
I desire whitewash recipes which have given durable results on outbuildings.
It is so desirable to make outbuildings neat and clean, and so important to keep trees from sunburning, etc., that a durable whitewash as cheaply and easily made as possible is very important. The following are commended: No. 1 - To half a bucketful of unslaked lime add 2 handfuls of common salt, and soft soap at the rate of 1 pound to 15 gallons of the wash. Slake slowly, stirring all the time. This quantity makes 2 bucketfuls of very adhesive wash, which is not affected by rain. No. 2 - Whitewash requires some kind of grease in it to make it most durable. Any kind of grease, even though it be old and partly spoiled, will answer all right, though tallow is best. The grease imparts to the whitewash an oil property the same as in good paint. Tallow will stay right on the job for years, and the cheapest of it will do. In order to prepare this grease and get it properly incorporated into the white wash, it is necessary to put the grease in a vessel on the stove, and boil it into a part of the whitewash so as to emulsify it and get it into such condition that it can be properly incorporated with the whitewash mixture. No. 3 - For every barrel of fresh lime, add 16 pounds of tallow, 16 pounds of salt and 4 pounds of glue, dissolved. Mix all together and slack; keep covered, and let stand a few days before using. Add water to bring the right consistency to spread readily. For nice inside work strain it. When less than a barrel of lime is used, the quality of the wash does not seem so good. It is better to apply hot, but it does well cold.
What is the government recipe for whitewash?
"Take a half bushel of well-burned, unslaked lime, slake it with boiling water, cover during the process to keep in steam, strain the liquid through a fine sieve or strainer, and add to it 7 pounds of salt, previously dissolved in warm water; 3 pounds of ground rice boiled to a thin paste and stirred in while hot; half a pound of Spanish whiting and 1 pound of glue, previously dissolved by soaking in cold water, and then hanging over in a small pot hung in a larger one filled with water. Add 5 gallons of hot water to the mixture, stir well and let it stand for a few days, covered from dirt. It should be applied hot, for which purpose it can be kept in a portable furnace. A pint of this mixture, if properly applied, will cover a square yard."
Whitewash for Spray Pump.
Can you give a recipe for a durable whitewash which can be prepared simply and in large quantities? The whitewash will be applied with a spray pump.
To 25 pounds of lime, whole, slacking with 6 gallons of water, add 6 pounds of common salt and 1 1/2 pounds of brown sugar. Stir and mix well and allow to cool. When cool stir in 1 ounce of ultramarine blue. Then add 2 gallons of water, and sprinkle and stir in 2 pounds of Portland cement. If two coats are to be applied, add 1 more gallon of water. Strain for work on smooth surface.
How is paint made with buttermilk for farm buildings?
One gallon buttermilk, 3 pounds of Portland cement, and sufficient coloring matter to give the desired shade. Apply as soon as made, and stir a great deal while being applied. It is said to dry in about 6 hours and to be a good preservative for fences, barns and other outbuildings.
Trespassing Live Stock.
Is there a fence law in this State? In other words, do I have to fence against my neighbors' stock, or does the law require him to care for his stock and keep it off my property?
The old "no-fence law" which was enacted during the troubles between wheat growers and stock rangers has been put out of commission by more recent legislation. The trespassing live stock is liable for damage, but just how to proceed to protect yourself you should learn from a local lawyer who knows statutes and your county ordinances also.
How can I make a rat-proof granary for alfalfa meal and barley?
Omit all boarding of the sides below the floor level and place a heavy inverted pan, milk pan, between the top of each of the supporting posts and the floor beams. Care should be taken that the diagonal bracing of the underpinning or posts does not allow a rat to secure a foot hold near enough the floor to permit of gnawing through.
Concrete Stable Floor.
Is a concrete floor good for a horse stable?
Concrete floors are satisfactorily used for horse stables, provided the floor is ribbed or otherwise roughened in a way to reduce the danger of slipping. Some stablemen have stall floors made that way. Some use a wooden grating over the concrete in places where the horses have to stand for any length of time. Others soften the standing by free use of bedding.
Silo-Heating Not Dangerous.
Is there any danger of a barn burning from spontaneous combustion due to a silo being built in the barn?
There is no danger of the silo overheating and setting fire to a barn. When the ensilage is curing, it often gets warm, but never anywhere near the point of combustion.
To Make Shingles Durable.
What is the best material with which to coat the shingles on my barn roof?
The best coating is a wood preservative, the principal ingredient of which is creosote. There are several reliable brands of preservatives and stains that may be had at a cost of about half that of paint. We must remark also the natural durability of redwood shingles in this climate if the roof has a good pitch. We reshingled our house roof after 20 years of use and found the shingles so sound that we turned them and shingled the sides and roof of a shed with them where they promise to be good for another score of years.
Best Breed of Hogs.
What is the best breed of hogs for pen feeding, shutting them up in small pens from the time they are little pigs and feeding them mostly on skim milk and slops?
There is no best breed. It is a matter of personal preference. Any of the breeds are all right to pen up and feed. The principal thing is to see that the hogs are all pure bred and have not been crossed too often to cause deterioration. Choose one breed of hogs and keep them as pure as possible and you will have no trouble in raising them. All the breeds are good; but some are fancied more than others. Dark-colored hogs are preferred in California because less liable to sunburn.
Part VI. Feeding Farm Animals
Feed for Plow-Horses.
While doing heavy plowing, how many pounds of rolled barley per day should I feed to keep 1300-pound horses in good condition? If I feed part oat hay and part alfalfa hay, together with rolled barley, what ration would be ample?
A ration used by the California Experiment Station was 12 pounds of alfalfa hay, 11 pounds of wheat hay and 7 pounds of crushed barley for 1000 pounds of horse at hard work. The larger the horse the less food for the amount of work he does in proportion to his size, so multiplying these figures by 1.2 would bring a person somewhere near the ration for a 1300-pound horse, and an approximation is as close as one can come to any general ration. Probably more alfalfa and less of the other feeds could well be given, since many farmers are succeeding in feeding alfalfa exclusively.
Vetch for Horses.
Does vetch make good feed for horses? Will vetch produce a heavier crop than grain? When is the best time to sow vetch for hay, and what is the best variety?
Vetch makes excellent stock feed whether used as hay or as pasturage. Vetch falls to the ground so badly that it is very difficult to cut hay from it unless some grain is planted to hold it up. Oats make an excellent hold-up crop and is more generally used. A half a bushel of vetch seed is mixed with a bushel of oats and this is enough to plant an acre. Some growers, however, prefer a bushel of vetch as that makes the stand much heavier.
Can I allow milk cows to pasture on growing Kaffir and Egyptian corn during the summer? Which one is the best for pasture and milk?
There is no difference between Kaffir corn and Egyptian corn so far as feeding goes. They are both sorghums. There is a danger in pasturing on young sorghums, because stock is often killed from overeating it, and they are quite apt to do this when they come upon it from dry feed. If you cut and wilt the young sorghum, or if it is fed sparingly with hay, etc., it becomes innocent of injury. After the sorghum has obtained considerable growth, it also loses its dangerous character.
What kind of salt is used for salting hay, how much to use and how to apply it?
Any good commercial salt such as is used for pork or beef packing is satisfactory for salting hay. A good handful to the ton, scattering it as the hay is stocked is as good a formula as can be had.
What is stover? How is it cut and handled?
Stover is corn fodder after the ears are taken off. The best time to cut the corn for stover is immediately after the kernel becomes dented and the leaves or blades commence to dry. Immediately after the ears are taken off, the stalks should be cut and stacked. The size of the shock depends upon the climate. If it is a foggly climate and stalks are green, it is better to make a smaller shock, but in the interior valley where the weather is warm it is best to make large shocks, so that the stacks will not dry up very rapidly.
Feed for Cows.
What shall I feed cows when they are fresh and when they are dry!
When they commence to freshen, give some green feed, such as alfalfa or corn; if possible, also give, say, two or three pounds of barley or bran, and gradually increase this for two or three weeks until six or seven pounds of bran or barley is being fed. Also give a small amount of hay. Bran may be rather expensive feeding and a substitute is being used. Take four parts of barley to one of bran and mix. With barley at its low price, this makes rather inexpensive feeding. Another substitute is to take the chopped alfalfa hay and barley. These are mixed thoroughly together and moistened. After the cow freshens and gives her full flow of milk, let her eat all the alfalfa hay she wants. A good ration is about 15 to 20 pounds of hay, 6 or 7 pounds of barley or bran and about 10 pounds of roots such as beets or mangels. When the cow is dry, pasture is the best food, supplemented with some green food.
Will Egyptian corn make good ensilage and at what time should it be cut to make the best feed for dairy cows?
Sorghum makes good silage. It must be cut while surely juicy enough, for it is a little more apt to dry out than Indian corn.
Barley for Hay Feeding.
Should the barley for hog feeding be rolled, ground or fed whole, dry or wet? Also, how much should be fed and how often to get best results?
To obtain the best results, the barley should be ground into a meal (not too fine) and have the hulls screened or floated out. This is best fed when made into a thick slop. Some good feeders believe in letting it stand until fermentation sets up, that is, gets a little sour. We prefer a sweet to a sour feed. However, hogs will do well on either, provided there is no change from sour to sweet. The change is the bad part. Hogs should be fed just the amount that they will clean up well, and no more. A hog should always be ready for his feed at feeding time. We would not feed oftener than twice a day: night and morning. - Chas. Goodman.
Sugar Beets and Silage.
Will sugar beets keep in a silo and how sugar beets rank as a hog feed?
Sugar beets would probably keep all right if stored in a silo just as they might if kept in any other receptacle, but it is not necessary to store beets for stock-feeding in this State. They can be taken from the field, or from piles made under open sheds in which the beets may be put because more convenient for feeding than to take them from the field in the rainy season. Beets put whole into a silo would not make silage. For that purpose they would need to be reduced to a pulp, but there is no object in going to the expense of that operation where beets will keep so well in their natural condition and where there is no hard freezing to injure them. Beet pulp silage is made from beets which are put through a pulping process for the purpose of extraction of the sugar and, therefore, best pulp silage is only made in connection with beet-sugar factories and is a by-product thereof which is proving of large value for feeding purposes.
Feeding Value of Spelt.
What is the food value of spelt? It is a Russian variety of wheat, and yet, I am informed, it has about the same value as a stock food that barley has.
We have no analysis of spelt at hand. It is presumably like that of barley, as you suggest, because the spelt has an adhering chaff as barley has. This fact makes it better for feeding than wheat, not in nutritive content, but because the chaff tends to distribute the starchy material, making it more easily digestible; just as barley and oats are better than ordinary wheat for stock feeding.
Concentrates and Corn Stalks.
Is it necessary to feed mulch cows any hay or concentrated feed in addition to green corn stalks?
It is necessary. Green corn is an excellent thing for milch cows, but it is a very unbalanced ration and needs alfalfa or something else to balance it up. Green corn, for example, contains only about one per cent of digestible protein and 11.5 per cent of digestible carbohydrates and 0.4 per cent fat, or a nutritive ratio of about 1 to 12 1/2. A proper ration would be about 1 to 6 or 7, or less. To balance this up alfalfa can be fed better than anything else in California, for that is very rich in protein and the cheapest supply of protein that there is. If you give the cows a good supply of alfalfa hay with the green corn, you will have an ideal combination.
Dry Sorghum Fodder.
Is Egyptian corn fodder good for cows? I have been told it would dry up the milk. I have several acres and would like to feed it if it is not harmful.
Dry sorghum fodder is counted about the poorest roughage that one would think of harvesting. It is much less valuable than Indian corn fodder. Egyptian corn is one of the non-saccharine sorghums which are valuable both for grain or for green feeding. We never heard of direct milk-drying effect, though such a result might be expected from feeding such innutritive material, which is also difficult of digestion. If fed for roughness it should be in connection with concentrated foods like bran or oil meal or with green alfalfa. No cow can give much milk when the feed is hardly nutritive enough to keep her alive.
There seems to be, however, much difference in the dry fodders from different varieties of sorghum. One grower writes: "Kaffir corn is the only variety within our knowledge of which the fodder is of much value. We consider the fodder much more preferable than that of the ordinary Indian corn, and our stock eat it much more readily than the sweet sorghum. However, it requires a much longer season in which to ripen than does any of the other varieties, for which reason it is less desirable to plant in midsummer."
Steers on Alfalfa.
How much alfalfa hay will a two or three-year-old steer eat per day, and about what is the gain in weight per day?
A steer will clean up about 33 pounds per day. Steers will make about 1 1/2 pounds gain in weight per day.
Concentrates with Alfalfa.
I have a good supply of alfalfa hay and have been feeding this as a straight feed for my dairy cows. They are not, however, doing as well as they should and I am looking for some good feed to go with it.
You could probably get better returns by feeding about a pound of cocoanut meal and three of dried beet pulp than by any other combination of concentrates with straight alfalfa. If you are producing market milk or butter prices justify it, more concentrates could profitably be fed. It is an expensive proposition to build up a properly balanced ration with alfalfa and concentrates alone, and unless market milk is being sold, it usually does not pay. The cheapest way to provide a balanced ration is not by concentrates, but by wheat or other grain straw, and let the cows eat all they care for. This is very cheap and helps to balance a ration with green or dry alfalfa hay, is usually cheap, and is fine for cows. Both are much less expensive than concentrates.
Chopping Hay for Horses.
What saving may be made by chopping all oat hay when fed to horses?
There is no particular saving in chopping hay unless the horses are worked very hard and for very long hours, as is often the case with express horses in the cities, or unless the power for cutting is very cheap and feed high. The idea is that, except in unusual cases as above mentioned, the horses can do their own grinding cheaper than it can be done by power. Somewhat less hay is wasted when fed cut than when fed long, but if they are not fed too much long hay they will waste very little.
Grain for Horses.
What is the best formula for feeding work horses with oat hay, alfalfa, barley (crushed) and corn as rations?
Feed one-half oat hay and one-half alfalfa hay, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per day for each 100 pounds live weight of the horse. Add to this from 3/4 to 1 pound of rolled barley or corn for each 100 pounds live weight. If the corn is on the cob, four-fifths of its weight is corn; that is to say, 5 pounds of corn on the cob has 4 pounds of grain.
Feeding Cut Alfalfa Hay.
Would alfalfa hay, cut, say, from one-half to three inches in length be better than whole hay for hogs, cattle and horses, and if it is better, should it be fed wet or dry?
Cattle and horses do much better when fed chopped alfalfa hay than when fed whole hay. They can eat the required amount in much less time and with less exertion. For cattle and horses the hay should be cut about one inch long and fed dry. There is no advantage in chopping alfalfa hay for hogs unless it is mixed with ground grain and made into slop. - L. P. Denny.
Storing Cut Alfalfa Hay.
We are planning on cutting our next season's crop of alfalfa with a feed cutter and storing it in a barn for winter feeding.
The hay must, of course, be thoroughly cured, because of the great danger of heating in a tight mass. A. Balfour says: "I have been cutting alfalfa into a barn for wo seasons. It is absolutely necessary to have the sides and floor tight, and it is easier to feed it if it is in a loft. The hay is best stacked first, and must be thoroughly cured."
Is the curing of alfalfa for grinding different from ordinary; has it to be chopped before grinding, and what is the cost of grinding?
Alfalfa hay should be cut when the very first blossoms commence to appear. At this point the plant contains the greatest amount of protein; from that time on until seed time, the protein diminishes and fiber increases. To make meal, hay should be well cured, have gone through the sweat, and should be dry, or as near dry as possible. It mills easier when dry and makes a finer product. It should be cured so as to retain the green color. To grind it, it is not necessary to cut it before grinding, it mills better if ground just as it comes from the stack. The cost of milling hay varies with the size of the machine, condition of hay, whether dry or damp, or whether tough or tender. With larger plants of a capacity of four to five tons per hour, it costs about 45 cents a ton to put it in the sack, exclusive of the cost of sacks; and with smaller, it runs from that on up to $1 to $2 per ton.
How soon can calves be weaned and not hinder their growth? After weaning, what would you advise to feed them?
After the calf has once nursed, it should be taken away from its mother, but fed its mother's milk for a few days, depending on the vigor of the calf. Commence to add skim-milk after a week or ten days, adding a small amount at first and increasing it daily until the calf is on an entirely skim-milk diet. The milk must be sweet, it must be as warm as its mother's milk and the calf must not have too much of it. Four quarts at a feed twice a day is sufficient for the average sized calf for the first month, then increase it accordingly. Add a spoonful of ground flaxseed to each feed and teach the calf to eat a little grain as soon as possible. Ground barley is the most economical feed to balance a ration containing so much skim-milk. If calves show a tendency to looseness of the bowels, feed less milk, and when this does not remedy the trouble, heat some skim-milk to boiling and when it is cooled to a proper temperature feed this to the calf. A good grain ration to feed calves along with skim-milk is ground barley with green alfalfa hay. When the milk is cut off, feed barley and bran soaked with molasses water. Put a pint of molasses in a pail of water and dampen feed with it. This amount will dampen three bushels of feed. - W. M. Carruthers.
Winter Feed for Sheep.
What would be the best to sow for sheep pasture - barley, oats, rye, vetch or rape?
Of the grains, rye is usually found to be best for quick winter growth, and rye and vetches sown together are very satisfactory, because the rye holds the vetches up so that the whole growth can be more successfully handled with the mower, and if grown that way and fed green in a corral, a very large amount of good feed can be secured. Sufficient experiments have not yet been made with rape to fully demonstrate its value. Even if it grew well, it would be inferior in nutritive value to vetches and rye.
What is a balanced ration for milk cows and brood sows?
When plenty of alfalfa is available many dairymen feed that alone. It is better to feed a little corn, grain hay, beet pulp or the beets themselves to balance up the ration. Some of the best concentrates to feed to offset alfalfa hay are ground barley and dried beet pulp. The same thing can be said about the sows. They will consume about 10 pounds of chopped alfalfa per day and all the skim-milk that is likely to be given them. Not more than eight pounds of concentrates need be fed, of which one-fifth may be bran, the same amount, or more, of cocoanut oil cake, and the rest corn or barley. With plenty of skim-milk and alfalfa, but little grain or other concentrates will be needed. A few beets will also go well with alfalfa.
Pasture and Cover Crop.
I am thinking of sowing burr clover with rye to be plowed under in the spring. Is it good policy to sow rye with clover?
Burr clover and rye would be very satisfactory for sowing, after the rains, to secure a winter growth for plowing under in March or April, or earlier if the growth should be large enough to warrant. Such a cover crop can be pastured lightly to advantage.
Cutting Corn for Silage.
What is the best time to cut corn for the silo? What length is it cut? Is water put on it when it is put in the silo?
The best time to cut corn for the silo is just as the kernels are beginning to glaze. It is cut with a proper ensilage cutter into half or three-quarter inch lengths. No water is used, unless the corn should be unusually dry, with shriveled leaves; in that case, the use of water to compensate for the loss of moisture in the stalks and leaves is desirable.
Fall and Winter Pasturage.
What do you advise for planting in the fall for winter pasture in the Sacramento valley? Are field peas suitable?
The common California field pea, called Niles pea, the Canadian pea, the common vetch (which is sometimes called the Oregon vetch because the seed is largely grown in that State) are all suitable for fall planting and winter growth because they are not injured by ordinary valley frosts. Aside from legumes, you can get winter feed from fall-sown rye, Essex rape or kale.
Summer Pasture for Hogs.
I want to pasture hogs in the San Joaquin valley this spring and summer. Have water for irrigation, but will not have time to get alfalfa started sufficient to pasture.
Sorghum can be planted with pumpkins or some root crop between the rows. The root crop or the pumpkins could be used in the later summer, while the sorghums could come between the natural grasses of the early spring and the root crops. A strictly pasturage scheme is to sow wheat or barley and turn the hogs on this, so that they will eat within certain prescribed limits. In order to do this, the field needs a shifting fence, so that the hogs can be driven from one section to another - never letting the hogs eat too closely, as they will kill off the stand.
Size of a Silo.
I am planning to build a silo 8 feet high and 10 feet across. Will ensilage (corn, oats) keep well in a silo of those dimensions?
The silo you are intending to build is too shallow, and would hold only a very small amount of silage. There would be several inches loss of silage before you could start feeding, and you would have to feed at least two and probably three inches off per day in order to keep the food from spoiling. Sixty inches of silage would thus only last about twenty days. Also, the deeper a silo is, the tighter the ensilage is packed and the more will be contained in a cubic foot. The following table will give suggestions as to dimensions:
Diameter. Height. Capacity. Diameter. Height. Capacity. 10 feet 25 feet 36 tons 14 feet 34 feet 115 tons 10 " 28 " 42 " 15 " 34 " 131 " 11 " 29 " 60 " 16 " 35 " 158 " 12 " 32 " 73 " 20 " 35 " 258 " 13 " 33 " 83 "
A cow can consume four tons of silage in 180 days and more or less as you care to feed, so by figuring out how long you will probably feed, you can see the size of silo to build at once.
Soiling Crops in California.
What are the dates for planting crops to be used for soiling in your State?
We are using Indian corn and sorghums of various kinds for soiling to a certain extent. There is also some cutting and carrying of alfalfa, although most of the alfalfa is pastured. Dates of planting depend upon the frost-free period; sometimes beginning in April, and successive planting for later growth as water may be available for irrigation. There are places where one can see standing corn and sorghum untouched by frost as late as December 1. In other locations the growth of these plants have to be made between May and September. We have also winter-soiling practiced to a small extent in this State and for that purpose rye and barley sown at the beginning of the rainy season are used to some extent.
Brewer's Grains for Cows.
Are sprouted barley grains that may be had from breweries good for milch cows? Will it increase the milk, or will it dry up the cows?
Professor Henry, in his standard work on "Feeds and Feedings," says: "Fresh brewer's grains constitute one of the best feeds for the dairy cow. She is fond of them and they influence most favorably the flow of milk. Fed while fresh in reasonable quantities, supplemented by bright hay or corn fodder for dry feed, the grains being kept in tight feed-boxes which can be kept clean, and with other conditions favorable to the healthfulness of the cow, no valid objection can be raised against this form of feed. From 20 to 30 pounds of wet grains should constitute a day's allowance."
What is the proper way to feed pumpkins to cows? Some say to cut them in halves; while others say they must be chopped fine enough so that the cows cannot choke on them. Some tell me the seeds tend to dry the cows up, and should not be fed with pumpkins.
Pumpkins should be either cut in halves or broken in large fragments so that the stock can get a bite at them or else should be chopped fine, and we could never see the advantage of going to that trouble. Cutting into medium-sized pieces is dangerous because of the temptation to swallow them whole and thus getting choked. It is not necessary to remove the seeds.
Feeding a Family Cow.
What shall I feed family Jersey cow in addition to alfalfa hay to insure a good supply of milk?
One of the best things to feed in addition to alfalfa hay is a couple of quarts of middling or bran twice a day, with which is mixed a cup of molasses with enough water to make a nice paste. Dried beet pulp is exceptionally good with alfalfa, if it is available, this also to be moistened before feeding.
Rolled Barley for Cows.
Will rolled barley hurt milk cows, say two light feeds a day? Will it not do about as much good as the same amount of bran?
Certainly not and otherwise will be good if not used in excess to encourage fattening. Bran is a better feed for milk because it has a higher protein content.
Horse Beans and Pie-melons.
Would it pay me to raise horse beans for fattening hogs? Horse beans do well. Would citrons do well there without irrigation, and would they be better than stock-beets for hog feed?
We do not promise anyone that anything will pay. Horsebeans are good with other feeds for hogs. Theoretically, they will balance well with pie-melons and beets, and both the latter will produce well on good land with proper cultivation in the valley you mention. Theoretically, also, we would rather have beets than pie-melons. The hogs will tell you the rest.
Are "horse beans" a leguminous crop and how does their feeding value for hogs compare to cowpeas and Canadian field peas?
They surely are legumes, and they resemble so closely in composition the other legumes which you mention that their feeding value would be practically the same.