By F. H. Jeter, Editor, Agricultural Extension Service, N.C. State College, as published in the Charlotte Observer, June 13, 1949
The folks in Cleveland always set great store by their crops of small grain. Two important meetings were held at the outstanding fields, where grain grown by Lee McDaniels of the Bethlehem community and Lloyd Wilson of the Fallston section was inspected. More than 150 neighbors gathered at the McDaniel farm to study the different methods of fertilizing small grain along with the proper seed bed preparation, time of seeding, different varieties, and the results of applying top-dressing material at different times.
The North Carolina Crop Improvement Association is conducting an official variety test in co-operation with Lloyd Wilson. About 75 men gathered to see the difference in yields by the several strains and varieties planted by Mr. Wilson. The growers say that weeds are becoming an increasing menace to grain growing in that area. Many of those who grow small grain on the same field, year after year, find that the weeds almost choke out the growth in a year or so. Particularly do they have trouble with the ragged robin. Some have just about discontinued the production of wheat on their farms because of this weed trouble.
The work of reclaiming good land through the use of dynamite blasting gained headway this season. Over 175 of his neighbors gathered in early May at the farm of C.B. Austell who had a good piece of rich bottom land completely unusable because of poor drainage. Mr. Austell blew a ditch 2,000 feet long and said that this one ditch has reclaimed some of the most fertile land on his farm.
Many of his neighbors have similar situations. C.C. Falls of Lawndale, Route 3, had to blow three ditches to reclaim some rich bottom land standing covered with water. He used 10 sticks of dynamite but said the results were worth the expense.
Paul Davis and A.T. Randle of the Stone Point community have used the blasting method to reclaim good land needing drainage on their farms. Mr. Davis blew a ditch 375 feet long to reclaim a field that was useless to him because the water would stand on it after a rain.
All the liverstock in Cleveland County has benefitted from the fine pastures. Ted Ledford of Kings Mountain, Route 2, in the Midway section of the county, says that ladino clover and orchard grass can be more than a pasture. He owns about 30 acres of improved pasture but the clover and grass grew so fast this spring that he cows could not keep up with it. So when he saw the orchard grass with 40 inches high and the clover covering the whole earth to a depth of 15 inches, despite his cows grazing there, he very promptly brought out his tractor and mowing machine and converted this extra growth into hay. In his opinion, this 30-acre field is one of the most profitable spots on the farm and he suggests to all Ladino planters that they keep their growth under control so the clover will not die out.
Several farmers are using fescue grass with the Ladino, and Tom Cornwell of Shelby, Route 1, says it is about the best grass that he has ever had on his farm. Paul and Dewey Hawkins seeded five acres of fescue in the fall of 1947, and they say it’s a real help to beef cattle. Two years ago, only four or five men had any fescue, but now it is being grown in all parts of the county. Those who have it say they can begin grazing by March 1, which is early for that section.
While sod crops aid with livestock production and also help to keep the land from washing, Cleveland is still a cotton growing county, one of the best in the state. They made about 63,000 bales on 63,000 acres [mistake in one of the numbers?] last year. When cotton is grown on that rolling countryside, there is some erosion. Most of the farms were already well terraced but much additional terracing was done this year before the cotton crop was planted.
K.W. Carroll of Kings Mountain, Route 1, terraced 40 acres of cotton land; Robert Blanton of Shelby, Route 4, terraced 70 acres; and quite a bit of terracing was done by Gus Evans of Shelby; R.H. Bridges, Shelby, Route 4; and C.C. Owens of Shelby, Route 4.
Cow owners of the county have learned by experience that horns on their milk cows are just as serious as cotton land without terraces. Cows with horns do not permit their herd members to eat in peace, especially when the animals are placed in the lounging barn. Cows with horns are also dangerous to those handling them. So, there was much dehorning throughout the county before the hot weather set in. H.R. Early of Lattimore, Star Route, finished dehorning the remainder of his herd, and all the animals with horns on the farms of Ray Wilson, Ed Carroll, Henry Bingham, and Harold B. Dellinger of the Fallston community were dehorned.
The quality of dairy cattle in the county may be seen by the fact that J.C. Randle of Kings Mountain, Route 2, sold one of his Guernsey bulls to the Southeastern Artificial Breeding Association at Asheville. This animal is one of the best in the state, with a record of high producing daughters. Mr. Randle has 100 acres of cleared land on his farm, with 27 acres in seeded pasture.
Twelve grade “A” dairy barns were built in ClevelandCounty as the price for processing milk began to decline. Noah Pruett of Casar, Route 1, has a nice herd of Jersey cows and an excellent Ladino pasture. Dairying suits and rolling land of his farm and with the aid of temporary grazing crops, he can produce milk just about as economically as the next man. He is, therefore, getting fixed to stay in the dairy business from now on and will sell only the premium grade “A” product.
Paul Herman of Kings Mountain, Route 2, is building a grade “A” barn for his Jersey herd. He added a metal silo in 1948 and has excellent pastures. Grady Hamrick of Boiling Springs, another enthusiastic Jersey breeder, has just completed a grade “A” barn to be used in connection with the good pastures which he seeded last fall.
Nearly all of these Cleveland dairymen have alfalfa for hay along with the pastures, and many of them are seeding more acres to the hay crop as they add cows. It takes good hay for roughage as well as good grazing to produce milk economically. Plenty of good roughage helps to control bloat when the pastures are lush with spring growth.