Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Chemicals Help Crop and Dairy Farms, 1946

“Carolina Farm Comment” by F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published May 13, 1946, in the Wilmington Star

So many new chemicals are being prepared for use on the farm these days that it is hard for one to keep up with all of them. All sorts of preparations are being developing for the killing of weeds, for instance. Only last week, Farm Agent A.V. Thomas conducted a demonstration using chemicals to control sandspurs in a Jones County pasture.

The tests were made on E.E. Bell’s farm where the sandspurs had covered a small area. The results are not yet apparent but, if these chemicals are like others which have appeared on the farm market, they presumably make the weeds grow until they are exhausted and then die. That seems a strange way to kill a plant, but that’s the way it is.

This new chemical, Fermate, used to prevent blue mold in tobacco plant beds seems to have done a satisfactory job. Robeson County farmers say the blue mold situation has cleared up nicely in that county. Every man who used the Fermate to control the disease this year will use it again next season. They also found that while nearly every bed sprayed with the Fermate had a little of the blue mold, it was only a light infestation, and the plants recovered quickly. The spray really controlled the trouble until the plants were ready to be set.

That seems to be the experience of most tobacco growers. The Fermate is not an absolute preventive, but it does keep the blue mold under control and so well checked that the plants are able to grow out of it without too much damage. The material is worth the price just for this good effect alone. Many of those who had trouble with the disease, in spite of spraying, perhaps did not use the material exactly as it should have been used, because many growers had to apply the spray with make-shift apparatus. It was nearly impossible to get the spraying equipment needed. Tobacco growers say they hope they shall be able to get such equipment next year.

It seems a shame, they say, that farmers are compelled to lose so much now because they cannot get tractors, plows, combines, and other equipment that they so badly need, all because selfish interests are holding up the production of coal and manufactured products to their own personal advantage.

Jonas Fields of Seven Springs in Wayne County has just completed the work with another chemical which he used last fall in controlling weeds in his tobacco bed. He used Cyanamid to do this and secured excellent results. All spring, while his neighbors were laboriously picking or pulling the weeds from their plant beds with their hands, Mr. Fields had practically no weeds. But he did not follow the manufacturers’ recommendations in using the chemical. Instead, he just let it remain on the top of the soil until it came time for him to plant his tobacco seed. Then he prepared the plant bed in the usual manner.

He secured such good results that a number of top men, officials of the manufacturing company, went down to Wayne County to see for themselves. They told Farm Agent C.S. Mintz that they were very much impressed with Mr. Fields’ results. There is no doubt that this cyanamid does control the weeds. Joe Anthony, over in Wilson County, says there is no comparison as to the amount of hand labor needed where the material is used and where it is, there are no weeds. Wilson tobacco growers are progressive and they try out every good thing coming their way. Their use of the cyanamid each fall on tobacco plant beds has increased rapidly.

Still another new chemical is being tried out by eastern Carolina tobacco growers this year. This is our old friend copper sulphate or bluestone. Some growers have added a little of this bluestone to their tobacco fertilizers, particularly to dark soils, to get the effect of the copper as a fertilizing element. Preliminary tests show that the copper does add to the yield and vigor of the plant on such dark soils, but it also affects the taste of the tobacco.

Two Wayne County growers will try one acre each with the copper suphate added to their fertilizer this year, but the material is not being recommended by Experiment Station research men.

A.M. Frazelle of Richlands, Route 1, in Onslow County, used Cyanamid on 400 yards of tobacco bed last fall to control weeds, and has had practically no weeds at all this spring, reports Charley Clark, farm agent. Right next to this treated bed, however; is another bed of 400 yards which had so many weeds that there have been practically no tobacco plants available for setting.

It cost Mr. Frazelle just about $150 to have his weeds picked from his tobacco beds not treated with the cyanamid, and, nothing where they were treated. He has invited all of his neighbors over to see the difference, an no one need ask what he plans to do this coming fall as he again selects the sites for his plant beds.

Mr. Frazelle also used the Fermate solution to spray his plant beds this spring, treating them twice each week. There was little or no blue mold on the treated beds. Those not treated were severely attacked by the disease. It seems, therefore, that all of us must learn to know and live with these new chemicals as they come along if we are to stay in the farming business.

Dairymen are getting ready to use the new DDT spray to keep flies under control this summer. Charles Turner, who owns the Vine Knoll Dairy near Reidsville in Rockingham County, has just applied his first spray of DDT to the walls and windows of his milk house; and, when J.E. Foil went out there the other afternoon, not a fly could be found on the premises. In fact, such excellent control was secured that Mr. Foil has asked all the other dairymen of Rockingham County to visit Mr. Turner’s dairy and see the results for themselves.

Down in Hyde County, R.B. Stotesbury is spraying one-half of his apple orchard with a DDT solution and comparing it with his regular spray material. D.M. Swink, a neighbor, is using the material to spray his pecan grove so as to control the nut chose bearer, an insect which has been causing him considerable losses each season. J.P. Woodward, farm agent in Hyde County, says this spraying is really experimental work and is being done in cooperation with Dr. Clyde Smith, associate entomologist of the North Carolina Experiment Station.

Dr. Smith, by the way, has prepared a rather interesting little multilithed pamphlet on the practical use of DDT on North Carolina farms; and, if you would like to have a copy, let me know and I shall be glad to send one to you free of charge. Just drop a line to Frank Jeter, editor, North Carolina State College, and your copy will come immediately.

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