By Frank H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published May 9, 1946, in a Greensboro newspaper.
Thousands of acres of medium to poor land throughout the piedmont section of North Carolina can be made to yield good grazing crops through proper fertilization and seeding, as shown by farm demonstrations conducted in Wake County under the direction of County Agent Lloyd T. Weeks.
Last week about 40 farmers visited six temporary pastures, eight permanent pastures, seven farms growing alfalfa, two farms with hay driers, one model calf barn, and one farm that grew purebred hogs, all in a full day’s trip through Wake County that lasted for 11 hours.
The first stop was at the farm of Theo L. Jones, Raleigh, Route 4, where growers saw 20 cows on 14 acres of temporary pasture on land that was in broom sedge and briars three years ago. Believe it or not, the animals cannot begin to take care of all the grazing on the field this spring.
Jones put 2 tons of lime per acre, 300 pounds of 3-12-6, an application of stable manure, and some phosphate during the three-year period. His seeding of the present grazing crop was 15 pounds of white clover, 15 pounds of rye grass, and 2 bushels of barley and oats per acre.
He had a second field of one acre of temporary grazing for two Percheron horses and a third field of one acre for his Hereford bull, with a good wire fence around it. The bull gets the majority of his feed during the year from his one acre of permanent pasture.
Farm Manager C.A. Keisler showed an excellent dairy barn at Kildare Farm near Cary with a curing of about 18 tons of pea-green alfalfa hay from 25 acres on a mechanical hay drier. The crop was current. The complete cost of the hay drier was about $700 when put in last year, and it cured out 80 tons of hay. Each crop of hay was piled on top of the other for curing, and it went up to the roof of the large barn, the last curing taking the shortest length of time. Keisler said that heat from the roof was probably responsible for this.
The visiting farmers also saw a temporary pasture on Kildare Farm that was taking care of better than three cows per acre. It had received manure, 1 ½ tons of lime per acre, and 500 pounds of 2-12-6 with a seeding of 15 pounds of rye grass and 15 pounds of crimson clover. Keisler plans to increase his rate of seeding to 20 pounds of clover and 30 pounds of rye grass per acre next year so as to establish a still thicker sod and get more days of grazing. He topdressed with nitrogen in late February and up to last week had obtained 46 days of grazing. "With plenty of grazing and good alfalfa hay our milk production jumped from 75 gallons a day up to a total of almost 125 gallons a day," he explained.
"That was just about my experience," chimed in Blanny Franks, who lives about 7 miles southwest of Raleigh. The grazing crop on the Kildare Farm was seeded September 1.
Also on Kildare was a native pasture of blue grass and white clover that has never been seeded. There was also considerable low hop clover. During the two years it had received 700 pounds of 20 per cent superphosphate, 2 ½ tons of lime, two applications of manure, and 200 pounds of 2-12-6 per acre. All of the growth was from native grasses.
Another pasture of this same general type was seen during the afternoon on the farm of Irvin Jackson of Raleigh, Route 1.
John L. Sears, Morrisville tobacco grower, told how a permanent pasture and increased hay crops had paid off in reduced feed costs for work stock and his milk and beef cattle. S.S. Yancey of Varina showed how alfalfa planting had saved a sadly worn field on his Holly Springs farm, and another Varina farm-owner, J.W. Adcock explained how he had used nitrates and fertilizer to grow alfalfa on sandy soil.
After a brief stop for lunch, the group inspected a permanent pasture of John H. Pope’s farm near Garner, looking over temporary and permanent pastures and a day drier on the farm of Obie Haithcock at Route 5, Raleigh, and examined temporary and permanent pastures and an alfalfa stand at the W.V. Green farm at Neuse.
Moving on to Wake Forest, the tour took in two farms operated by W.W. Holding, to look over first and second year alfalfa and a temporary pasture and cinder brick calf barn.
At Wendell, C.H. Horton showed the group a permanent pasture he had built up out of a cleared timber tract and a field of alfalfa. In Zebulon, where the tour ended, the group looked over P.M. Horton’s temporary hog pastures and one of the county’s leading herds of pure bred Poland China swine.
When 21 farmers were questioned during the lunch hour, 11 reported that they were growing alfalfa; 14 hybrid corn; and 17 permanent pastures. They said that they were getting most of their information on improved farm practices from the county agents, farm magazines, and other farmers.