Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

quality of hay than timothy alone, even for horses.'«.Grownto

gether the hay of the first season will consist largely of clover. With the close of the second season, most of the clover disappears and the decaying clover roots will nourish the timothy which remains, so that a much larger yield of that grass is thereby obtained.”9

Kentucky blue grass, often called June grass (Poa pratensis), is a common grass in the meadows and pastures in northeastern United States and also in other parts of the country. It makes a compact sod when once established, is greatly relished by all kinds of stock, and has high nutritious properties.

“Blue grass ripens in early summer, having largely gathered the necessary food materials from air and soil during the preceding late summer and fall. With the coming of spring it pushes forward so vigorously that early in May the fields wear a thick, nutritious carpet of grass, and a little later the seed heads show. With seedbearing late in May, the plant's energies have been exhausted, and blue grass enters a period of rest which lasts several weeks. During this time there is little growth, and if a midsummer drought occurs the plants turn brown and appear to be dying. They quickly revive with the coming of the fall rains, and again the pastures are green and growing. They have had their rest, and each plant is once more busy gathering nourishment for the coming season's seed-bearing. The observant stockman soon learns that it is not wise to rely on blue grass pasture for a steady and uniform feed supply for his cattle throughout the whole season. Accordingly he understocks the pasture in spring, so that the excess of herbage during May and June remains to be drawn upon during the midsummer dormant period, or he fully stocks it and makes up the later shortage by partial soilage. In some districts it has been found profitable to graze blue-grass pastures lightly, or not at all in summer, and allow the self-cured herbage to stand for winter grazing. Kentucky blue glass is primarily a pasture grass and should be so regarded.”10

Red top (Agrostis alba) is especially valuable for moist lands sown in mixtures with other grasses. It is slow in starting growth in spring and does not reach full development when other grasses in the mixture are ready to be cut, but it produces leaves and stems late in the fall and makes a good second growth for pasture. It produces an abundance of pasturage on suitable soils, and makes a fairly palatable hay of fine stems and numerous leaves, although

[blocks in formation]

.

it is not considered equal to timothy hay in quality, and when present in timothy reduces the market value of this hay.10a

Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata) is mostly grown along the southern border of the timothy region, in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky (p. 90), although it is recommended for many northern States and for a variety of soils. It succeeds well in shady places and orchards, but grows in bunches and forms a very rough sod. It is generally sown in mixtures with Kentucky blue grass and white clover. Orchard grass is one of the earliest grasses to start in the spring and is ready to cut before timothy. If cut when in bloom or earlier, it makes a hav of very good quality. If cut after bloom, the hay is coarse and unpalatable to stock.

Like red top, orchard grass hay is high in digestible nutrients, being higher both in digestible protein and carbohydrates than timothy.11

Smooth brome grass (Bromus enermis) is a most important perennial pasture and hay plant in the eastern part of the northern plains region. It occupies a similar place in this region as timothy and Kentucky blue grass do in northeastern United States. This grass makes a good hay crop for a number of years, and is relished by cattle, sheep, and horses. It is especially valuable as a pasture grass for Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas, but it is not adopted to the warm climate of the southern States, nor, apparently, to conditions in the northeastern part of the country.

Bermuda grass is the foundation of all the best permanent pastures in the South, and in many localities is important for hay. As the seed is expensive and somewhat uncertain in germination, this grass is usually propagated by planting small pieces of sod. The yield of hay on rich bottom land may be as much as four tons per acre, less on poor soil, and on dry clay hills not worth harvesting. Its feeding value is fully equal to that of timothy.12 In the irrigated regions of the southwestern States this grass frequently becomes a serious pest.

Johnson grass gives a heavy yield of excellent hay in the South and furnishes good grazing for one or two seasons, but is such a pest when grown in fields where it is not wanted that its planting in clean fields cannot be recommended. It spreads both from seeds and by its vigorous creeping root-stocks.' Johnson grass is also undesirable from the feeder's standpoint, in so far as it may contain prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid), if the growth has become rank, and fatal results have followed when cattle have eaten of it. It is, therefore, a plant that cannot be recommended, in spite of the fact that it yields heavily and furnishes a good quality of soiling crop and hay, under favorable conditions."

Prairie hay, wild hay and stock hay are hay crops obtained from native grasses in the prairie or range sections of the country. They vary considerably in quality and feeding value, according to the kind of grasses making up the hay, the stage of maturity, and other factors. Good grades of these hays have a nearly similar value as timothy hay for feeding horses, cattle and sheep.'*a

10a U. S. Dept. Agr., Cir. 43. 11 U. S. Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin 100, vi. 19 Farmers' Buls. 509 and 814. 13 Farmers' Buls. 279 and 509. 14 Bureau of Plant Industry, Bul. 11, 72, iii and 90, iv; La. Cir. 10, 14a U. S. Dept. Agr., Mo. Crop Rept. Sept. 15, 1915.

Marsh Hay.-Throughout the country there are large stretches of marshes that are cut for hay, especially in dry seasons. Along the coast of the New England States are extensive acres of salt marshes that also furnish considerable quantities of hay for stock feeding. The marshes are cut at low tide, generally at a time when the grasses are in bloom. The yield of cured hay secured varies from one-half to one ton to the acre. The hay from these tide marshes contains about 6 per cent protein, 2 per cent fat, and 30 per cent fiber; its digestibility does not differ greatly from that of common hay. The composition and general value of common marsh hay are similar to those of salt marsh hay; the better kinds of these grasses make a fair quality of rough feed, of a similar value as cornstalks.

Market Hay.—The growing of hay for the market is an important industry, especially in the northeast and western States. It is estimated that about one-fifth of the 1908 hay crop in this country, or over 15,000,000 tons, was removed from the farms and sold on the local market or shipped to city hay markets. Hay markets supervised by an organization of hay dealers are established in a number of our larger cities which provide for official inspection of the hay sold, and for standard quotations and methods of weighing.15 These markets recognize five grades of hay, viz., the standard grades: Choice, No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3, and “No-grade” hay. The following kinds of hay are quoted and sold on these markets: Timothy, clover-mixed, prairie, midland, packing hay, and alfalfa.16

The percentages of different grades of timothy on the market are about as follows, according to McClure: Choice, 10 per cent, and No. 1, 20 to 30 per cent, leaving 60 to 70 per cent of all market hay to grade as No. 2, No. 3, or “No-grade.” When shipped to the market the hay is put up in bales of different dimensions. The statement given below shows the sizes of standard hay bales in common use. Standard sizes of Hay Bales

Weight pounds
Small bales

$14X18X36
16 X 18 X 36

} 60-100

17 X 22 X 36
Middle-sized bales ( } 100-150
Large-sized bales

22 X 28 X 46

150-250

[ocr errors]

Dimensions

The best quality of hay is obtained when the meadows are kept in grass only for a period of three or four years at the outside. A common fault of growers of market hay is to leave the meadows too long in grass after weeds and foreign grasses have entered to lower the quality. The hay crop should be part of a regular crop rotation, which should include some leguminous crop, and a regular system of fertilization, so that the fertility of the soil may be maintained and a choice marketable hay produced. Hay is often cut at a too late stage of growth, after full bloom has passed. Late cutting, faulty methods of curing, the presence of other grasses and weeds, injuries from the weather in curing and before baling, improper baling and loading into cars cause much hay to grade low and are sources of great losses to hay growers. Choice hay always finds a ready sale, for the demand usually exceeds the supply. The better grades of hay, while more expensive, require a smaller addition of concentrates to rations for farm animals than the rer grades, and are, therefore, generally speaking, the best kinds to buy.

15 Farmers' Buls. 362, 508, 677, 977, 987, 1009, 1049; Vt. Bul. 171.

16 The requirements for market hay of the different grades are given in Farmers' Bulletin 508; see also Woll, Handbook, p. 406 a and b.

Rule for Measuring Hay in the Stack.—Both when hay is sold in the stack and in planning for feeding stacked hay to stock, it is important to know how to measure hay put up in this way. The so-called Government rule used in purchasing hay for army posts has given satisfactory results and has been generally adopted. It is as follows:

Multiply the width of the stack in feet by the “over” (ie., the distance of the stack from the base on one side to the base on the other), divide the product by 4, and multiply the quotient by the length. This gives the contents of the stack in cubic feet; for hay that has stood less than 30 days, divide by 512; for 30 to 60 days, by 422; over 60 days, by 380. The quotient gives the tonnage of the stack.

Example: A stack is 20 feet wide by 40 feet over ” and 60 feet long. 20 multiplied by 40 equals 800. 800 divided by equals 200. 200 multiplied by 60 equals 12,000. 12,000 divided by 512 equals 2342 tons." CHAPTER XIII

QUESTIONS 1. State the difference between early- and late-cut timothy hay, and the

relative value of the two kinds of hay. 2. Give the characteristic features of six of the common grasses, and their

relative value for stock feeding. 3. Name the different grades of market hay. 4. State some common defects of market hay, and suggest improvements in

the present method of growing hay for market. 5. Give the Government rule for measuring hay in the stack.

"? Barnes, "Western Grazing Grounds," p. 139. See also Bureau of Plant Industry Circular 131; Woll, Handbook, p. 397, and U. S. Dept. Ayr., Office Sec'y, Cir. 67.

>

GREEN FORAGE AND HAY CROPS (Continued)

I. ANNUAL FORAGE CROPS Indian Corn (Zea mays).—The proportion of corn grown especially for forage in the United States and fed either green, cured, or as silage is relatively small, although increasing with every year. A fuller discussion of this crop will, therefore, be given under “ Cereals," Chapter XVI.

When grown for forage, Indian corn is planted thicker than when grown for the sake of the grain. The difference in the amount of grain and fodder secured by different methods of planting is shown by experiments conducted at the Illinois station." In these trials dent corn was planted on a rich prairie soil, in rows three feet eight inches apart, with kernels from three to twentyfour inches apart in the row. The following table shows the main results obtained:

Results of Planting Corn Kernels Different Distances Apart in Rows

[blocks in formation]

We note that the highest yield of good ears, seventy-three bushels per acre, was obtained when the grain was planted twelve inches apart in the row, and that this method of planting gave the smallest proportion of stover (cornstalks) to ear corn. On the other hand, the largest yields of stover and of digestible substances per acre were secured when the kernels were planted three inches apart in the row, and the yield of nubbins per acre was also largest in the

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »