Published in the Patriot Farmer, Tuesday, August 24, 1948
Progress in agriculture is greatly influenced by men who are willing to take a chance with new ventures, says F.H. Satterwhite, Rowan County farm agent.
Many of the improved practices now accepted by Rowan County farmers were proved on one or two farms in the county before others began to follow them. Mr. Satterwhite lists the following examples where a few farmers proved to others that Extension recommendations meant better farming.
When there was so much talk about whether or not barn hay driers would prove satisfactory, R.S. Edmiston, dairyman of the Mt. Ulla community, installed on in his barn with the help of the county agent and Extension engineering specialist. After installing the hay drier, Mr. Edmiston increased his alfalfa acreage to 756 acres. He now makes silage from the first cuttings and runs later cuttings over the drier. The drier more than pays for itself, not only in removing the weather hazard but also in better quality hay. The increased milk production from his herd of 100 dairy cows proves that.
Several years ago the Bailey brothers of Woodleaf heard about an improves train of Japan Clover called lespedeza. The first seeding of this new crop was made on their farm and in a few years, every farm in the county that grew small grain was seeding lespedeza. Today, there are thousands of acres seeded to the crop each year. It is not only the leading hay crop in the county but is also one of the leading cash crops.
James A. Patterson of China Grove, grower of fresh vegetables for many years, wanted to eliminate the possibility of summer droughts damaging his crop. A free-flowing stream provided the answer and soon Mr. Patterson installed an irrigation system at a cost of $1,000. The extra profits from the tomato crop paid for the new system the first year.
When hybrid corn first made its appearance on Rowan County farms, promotion work was begun to get the seed produced locally. Last year, seven farmers produced 105 acres of hybrid corn foundation seed. The interest increased considerably this year when yields from last year’s crops increased 10 to 20 bushels per acre because of the hybrid vigor. The county champion last year produced 117.5 bushels per acre, six times the county average a few years ago.
Only a few years have elapsed since dairying began to occupy an important place on balanced farms that could grow an abundance of feed and pastures. With the growth of this enterprise, markets were established and milk routes organized. Today, dairying in Rowan County is a million-dollar enterprise.