Sunday, July 15, 2012

N.C. Farmers Share Results with Livestock, Potato Crops, 1946

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, as published in the Wilmington Star, July 8, 1946

North Carolina farmers say it appears that they must grow their own feed or go out of the livestock and poultry business.

According to Troy McKnight of Mt. Airy, Route 1, Surry County, it’s an easy matter to get most of your feed from crops grown on the home farm. Mr. McKnight bought 20 pigs about 50 days ago. They weighed about 45 pounds each, and now each pig will average about 140 pounds each. This gain was made largely on a good pasture of Ladino clover and orchard grass.

In other words, the animals gained an average of 95 pounds in 50 days, which is much over the accepted average gain of a pound a day. To be exact, it is a gain of 1 9/10ths of a pound a day. The pigs had all the succulent grazing that they could consume, and then the lot was fed 4 pounds of wheat bran and 1 ½ bushels of corn and 200 pounds of the bran for the entire lot during the 50 days. Mr. McKnight said it was about the cheapest pork that he had ever produced.

Norman Teer of Durham County has cut more than a ton of extra hay an acre from a 5-acre pasture which he seeded last September to orchard grass, herds grass, and Ladino clover. To be certain that he had plenty of feed for his 10 cows, he also seeded a supplementary pasture of barley, oats, vetch, and crimson clover.

Mr. Teer says that this supplementary pasture furnished all the grazing that he needed for eight to 10 cows kept on the 5-acre field from the first of March until the first of June.

Tyrrell County farmers have been greatly pleased with the seedings of vetch and oats which they planted for hay last fall. T.H. Blake of Columbia, Route 2, has been planting this kind of hay mixture for 7 years, and, this spring, he cut an average of 2 ½ tons of good hay per acre from 3 ½ acres. Before the hay was cut, Farm Agent H.H. Harriss visited the farm and says that the growth stood an average of 4 feet high. At places it was high enough to hide a man standing upright in the field.

The seeding was made last fall on the first of October when Mr. Blake planted 1 ½ bushels of oats and 15 pounds of vetch seed an acre. It is best, he said, to use only this much oat seed so that the growth might better support the vetch. Corn has been planted on the stubble and, thus, a double supply of feed will be grown on this 3 1/2 acre plot.

Ralph Summey of Dallis, Route 1, Gaston County, planted 6 acres of good land early last fall with 2 bushels of barley, 2 bushels of oats, and 15 pounds of crimson clover seed per acre. He fertilized the land before planting with 300 pounds per acre of a 4-10-6 fertilizer and then he added 100 pounds of nitrate of soda, in addition to a good coating of stable manure.

This spring, when he badly needed food, Mr. Summey put 40 cows on this 6 acres and kept them there for 30 days. He says the 40 cows got all of the grazing they wanted on this 6 acres and that the milk flow of the herd jumped by 10 gallons a day. Not only that, but he saved some very valuable lespedeza hay that he badly needed for future feeding. Mr. Summery told Farm Agent Paul Kiser that supplementary grazing, planted in the fall, provides the cheapest feed that can be produced on a farm, and that it fills a gap in early spring before the pasture is ready. Mr. Kiser says nearly all the dairymen in Gaston County will plant grazing crops this fall. This will be true of North Carolina as a whole.

Another very interesting field demonstration was conducted in Tyrrell County this spring when C.E. Morris of Columbia, Route 2, tried out the difference in spacing Irish potato plantings on the row. He used the rate of 2,300 pounds per acre of a 6-8-6 fertilizer under the crop, planting Cobbler seed on March 4. Plots were then laid off and the seed pieces spaced 9 inches apart on the row; 12 inches apart; and 15 inches apart.

Observations made on April 22 showed that the seed pieces planted 9 inches apart were showing the quickest growth, with the 12 inch spacing next. All of the plots were harvested on June 4, and, where the potatoes had been planted 9 inches apart, the crop produced 260 bushels of U.S. No. 1’s; but they were small and would have been penalized had there been too many of this size offered on the market. The feathering also was at least 20 per cent greater than on the other two plots.

Where the potatoes had been planted 12 inches apart, they produced 276 bushels of U.S. No. 2’s. The tubers from these plots were all of good quality and size.

Where the planting was 15 inches apart on the row, the yield was 236 bushels of U.S. No. 1’s, and 18 bushels of U.S. No. 2’s per acre. The tubers here were larger than where they were planted 12 inches apart, and the color of the skin indicated that they were more mature than were those harvested from the other two plots. However, there was no difference in feathering.

As a result of his demonstration, Mr. Morris said that 12 inches seems to be the best distance apart for planting early Irish potatoes in that section. Higher yields and a better quality were obtained and the tubers were very uniform, of a medium-large size and of high quality. The 12-inch spacing yielded 16 bushels more per acre than where the seed pieces were spaced 9 inches apart and 40 bushels more than where they were spaced 15 inches apart.

Therefore, those who grow early Irish potatoes next year should stick to the 12-inch spacing.

Isaac Brickhouse of Columbia, Route 2, also is trying out an interesting demonstration this year in an attempt to control the flea beetle which infests the sweet potato crop of Tyrrell County. Mr. Brickhouse is cooperating with Farm Agent Harris and Dr. C.F. Smith, research entomologist of the State College Experiment Station, to spray a portion of his field with a DDT solution to control the pest. The plot is being re-sprayed after each rain so as to keep the vines covered. 

Levy Swain of Columbia, Route 2, is duplicating this test, and they say they should be able to find out whether the DDT will help them in protecting their sweet potato crops.

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