Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Scotland, Durham, and Randolph County Farmers Who Won Production Contests, 1949

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State University, as published in the Charlotte Observer, Dec. 12, 1949

Scotland County farmers have ended their 10th annual cotton production contest. C.S. McArthur of Laurinburg won the first prize of $50 with a yield of 761 pounds of lint cotton per acre on five acres. Gilchrist Brothers of Laurinburg won second place with a yield of 734 pounds of lint per acre, and Will McLeod, who farms one of the Z.V. Pate farms near Laurel Hill, took third honor with a yield of 717 pounds of lint. These winnings in the 10-year-old cotton growing contest were announced at a meeting of the Scotland County Farmers Club held recently at the Old Laurel Hill Church Community building. R.F. McCoy, president of Laurinburg Merchants Association, presented the prizes, as offered by his organization. Mr. McArthur was given a check for $50; Gilchrist Brothers, $30; and Will McLeod, $20.

This cotton production contest is the forerunner of North Carolina’s five acre contest and during the 10 years that the Scotland Farmers Club has been promoting this annual affair it has attracted the attention of the whole South. H.M. Morgan won the first contest with a yield of 897 pounds of lint per acre. The highest yield ever recorded during the 10 years was 1,210 pounds of lint per acre on five acres grown by D.D. Wilkinson in 1944. The next largest was an acre produced on the farm of Mrs. W.N. McKenzie Sr. by Sylvester Parker, who picked 1,192 pounds of lint per acre last year. J.G. Pate probably produced the third largest in 1942 with a yield of 1,074 pounds of lint per acre to take the top prize in that year.

County Agent E.O. McMahan says that Mr. McArthur, winner of the 1949 contest, planted his cotton on April first in rows of 40 inches apart. He chopped so as to leave a little over two stalks per hill to every foot of row. He fertilized with 600 pounds of 5-10-10 mixture per acre and then top-dressed with 200 pounds of a high nitrogen fertilizer. He dusted the cotton eight times to control the boll weevil using Benzene Hexachloride six times and Toxaphene twice. Dusting was started on June 21 and continued during the height of the boll weevil infestation. Even so, his yield of 761 pounds of lint is the lowest ever made in the long history of the Scotland County contest. Mr. McMahan said that this was perhaps the hardest year to make a crop of cotton in the recent history of cotton growing in that section. The remarkable thing is that Mr. McArthur and his nearest competitors were able to make as much as they did.

At the same time that the winners in the cotton contest were announced by the Scotland Farmers Club, they also announced the close of their three-acre corn growing event for this year. First prize of $100 U.S. Savings Bond was awarded to John McLaurin of Laurinburg with a production of 132.5 bushels per acre on the three acres. W.W. Thompson of Laurinburg took second place and a $50 bond with a yield of 109 bushels; and Fletcher Walters won third place and a $25 bond with a yield of 107.3 bushels. County Champion McLaurin grew the Dixie 17 hybrid and the runners-up grew the NC 27 hybrid. Clyde S. Stutts, cashier of the Commercial State Bank of Laurel Hill, presented the bonds to the successful corn growers.

During the five years that this three-acre corn contest has been underway, acre yields have steadily climbed from 70 and 80 bushels an acre during the first two years to 101.7 bushels by Gilchrist Brothers in 1947, to 129.2 bushels by John F. McNair and W.C. Bracy last year, and to 132.5 bushels by Mr. McLaurin this year. Dixie 17 has topped the acre yields both in 1948 and 1949.

Mr. McLaurin planted his corn on April 27 in rows 38 inches wide and 11 inches apart on the row. He first applied a ton of manure per acre over the three acres. This was followed by 125 pounds of 50 percent potash and then by 800 pounds of a 4-10-6 fertilizer at planting time. The corn received a side application of 600 pounds of nitrate of soda and it was planted on a field which grew soybeans the year before. Mr. McLaurin says that while his fertilizer use might seem a little heavy, it actually cost him only 30 cents a bushel for the corn produced. He is satisfied when he can make corn at such a low cost for the fertilizer used.

Randolph County plans to hold its famous 100-bushel corn club meeting sometime this month. E.S. Millsaps says this meeting is to be staged by the Asheboro Chamber of Commerce and that the county prize winners will be announced at that meeting. However, Mr. Millsaps is certain that 39 men and boys in Randolph County have produced over 100 bushels per acre this season. He has figured that Randolph can now lay claim to 120 members in the North Carolina 100-Bushel Corn Club and some of the farmers over there have made this membership for three years in succession now.

W.B. Pace of Durham County also reports that careful checks have been made on the farms of 33 Durham County corn growers who are competing in the Durham contest this year. Quite a few men would not have their acres surveyed because of the heavy losses in yield which they sustained due to storm damage in September. However, the 33 men so far checked have produced an average yield of 93.1 bushels and 12 of them have made over 100 bushels an acre.

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