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F E D E R A L __R E S E R Y E
Vol. 6, No. 7




Ju ly 15, 1951

Legumes fo r Higher Profits
Fertilized legumes are the backbone of any
improved farm program in the Southwest.
They add humus to the soil, break up plow
sole, increase the water-absorbing capacity of
the soil, reduce runoff, and thereby increase
yields and profits. Biennial or perennial
legumes are the most beneficial because they
are deeper rooted and add more organic mat­
ter to the soil, but winter legumes and other
annuals should be used when the longergrowing varieties cannot be fitted into the
crop rotation.
Southwestern farmers face a difficult sched­
ule this year in maintaining their program of
planting legumes following cotton. The large
cotton acreage, lateness of the crop, the prob­
able shortage of labor for harvesting, and the
inadequate supply of fertilizer are major ob­
stacles in this year’s campaign to clean up
cotton fields, plow under stalks, and seed
legumes before frost.
Nevertheless, the need for soil-conserving
and soil-building legumes will be especially
urgent this fall and winter. The acreage of
row crops—cotton, corn, and sorghums—is

larger than usual; thus, more land is suscept­
ible to erosion and depletion of organic mat­
ter and soil fertility. Extensive use of winter
legumes is essential if profitable yields are to
be obtained next year.
Sweet clovers, including Hubam, Madrid,
and Evergreen, are excellent legumes for
most areas of the Southwest except the lighter
soils of east Texas and Louisiana, where
Crimson clover is suggested. Singletary peas
are also adapted to the eastern areas of the
Southwest, while Austrian winter peas can be
grown in central and western regions. Hairy
vetch is adapted to a wide area and is recom­
mended for most counties. Alfalfa, a peren­
nial, is excellent for west Texas, especially
under irrigation.
Agricultural leaders and s p e c ia lists in
Texas have prepared a map of the State
showing recommended legumes, rates and
dates of planting, and suggested fertilizer
applications for each county. Copies of this
map have been mailed to bankers, ginners,
and seed and fertilizer dealers throughout
the State and are also available from county



agricultural agents. Other southwestern states
have similar recommendations, which can
be obtained from county agricultural agents.
All legume seeds should be inoculated be­
fore planting, to insure the presence of nitro­
gen-fixing bacteria. These organisms enable
the legume plant to convert free nitrogen of
the air into a form available to plants. W ith­
out this process, much of the value of legumes
as a soil builder is lost. Moreover, many seedings may die for lack of nitrogen if they can­
not manufacture their own supply from the
Legumes should be planted as soon as pos­
sible after cotton harvest. Early seeding per­
mits maximum plant growth, thus adding
more organic matter to the soil and giving
more effective protection from wind and rain.
It is important that farmers place their orders
now for legume seeds and fertilizers, to insure
an adequate supply at planting time. All fer­
tilizers are critically short, and if not already
purchased, orders should be placed now. The
supply of most legume seeds is expected to
be sufficient to meet the demand, but local
shortages may occur if farmers wait until fall
to order.

1. When the farm is operated under a
1-year rental agreement and payments are
received from the Production and Marketing
Administration for seeding of legumes and
application of phosphate, it is suggested that
the landlord pay all of the cost not covered
by the PM A payments. If no PMA payments
are received, it is suggested that the landlord
pay two-thirds of the cost and the tenant,
2. If a long-term rental agreement is in
effect and PMA payments are received, it
is suggested that the landlord pay one-half
and the tenant, one-half of the cost not cov­
ered by the PM A payments. If no PMA as­
sistance is received, it is suggested that the
landlord pay one-third and the tenant, twothirds of the cost.
In all cases, it is suggested that the tenant
furnish the labor and equipment for applying
the phosphate and seed and for any other
job which this practice would necessitate.

A farm water system should be large
enough to deliver at least 350 gallons per
hour, according to the Louisiana State Uni­
versity Extension service.

Sharing the Cost of Legumes
A major obstacle to the seeding of legumes
on many tenant-operated farms is the failure
of the landlord and tenant to work out satis­
factory arrangements for sharing the cost of
seed and fertilizer.
In order to assist landlords and tenants
who are anxious to work out a mutually
beneficial legume program, Texas A. and M.
College has given considerable study to an
equitable division of the cost of legume seed,
inoculant, and fertilizer. The suggestions
which have been developed through this
study are given below and are based on a
one-third and one-fourth rental agreement,
which is common throughout the Southwest.
Landlords and tenants may not want to fol­
low exactly this pattern of sharing the costs,
but the suggestions should furnish a basis for
arriving at a satisfactory agreement.

Grass Gets “Hungry9" Too
Many pastures virtually starve to death
during summer months for lack of essential
plant food, and Louisiana State University
specialists point out that the carrying capac­
ity of many southwestern pastures can be
increased as much as three times by proper
When grasses are grown in a mixture in­
cluding legumes, the legumes usually will
provide sufficient nitrogen for the grasses,
but in pasture m ixtures containing only
grasses, nitrogen is nearly always deficient.
Even the legume and grass pasture mixtures
sometimes require additional nitrogen, but
phosphate is most likely to be needed on
these pastures.


In south Texas, results of tests by the
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station indi­
cate that fertilization of King Ranch bluestem grown on low fertility soils pays big
Analysis of 3- and 4-year-old stands of
unfertilized K.R. bluestem in south Texas
during the summer of 1949 showed that the
grass had a protein content of only 2.25 per­
cent and a phosphoric acid content of only
0.13 percent. Dr. R. C. Potts, agronomist in
charge of forage investigations, points out
that a forage containing less than 6-percent
protein and 0.33-percent phosphoric acid is
not considered a satisfactory livestock feed
unless supplemented with other high protein
or high phosphoric acid feeds.
Fertilization of these stands of King Ranch
bluestem with 64 pounds of nitrogen and 80
pounds of phosphoric acid per acre increased
the protein content to 7.62 percent and the
phosphoric acid content to 0.30 percent. This
still left the phosphoric acid content of the
grass below the level desired, but renovation
of the area, plus fertilization, increased the
phosphoric acid content to 0.35 and the nitro­
gen to 8.31 percent.
On the basis of dry forage production, the
fertilization and renovation increased yields
from 350 to 1,330 pounds per acre. It is
significant to note that the application of
nitrogen alone or phosphate alone gave very
little increase in forage yields, but the com­
bination of these two plant foods gave highly
satisfactory results.
Farmers are urged to check with their
county agricultural agents for the latest fer­
tilizer recommendations. Each field and each
pasture mixture should be considered sep­
arately, since the requirements differ widely.

Killing Persimmon and Sassafras
Persimmon and sassafras sprouts com­
monly infest many fields and pastures, and
their presence adds materially to the cost of
breaking the land in preparation for a culti­
vated crop. Their control is made especially


difficult because hoeing and grubbing merely
serve to increase the infestation.
Mowing the fields while they are in pas­
ture, between row crops, is helpful in control­
ling these sprouts and perennial weeds but
will not bring about complete eradication.
However, the use of chemical weed killers has
proved to be an effective supplementary
method of control. Since only limited use can
be made of the chemicals while crops are
being grown on the land, it usually is more
profitable to apply the chemical weed killers
while the land is in pasture and a year or
more before breaking the land for a row crop.
An Ammate solution, made by mixing 2
pounds of Ammate to 1 gallon of water, was
the most successful treatment for killing per­
simmon and sassafras sprouts in tests made
by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Sta­
tion at Jacksonville. The sprouts should be
cut off at or just below the ground and a
small quantity of this solution poured directly
on the stump. Tests have indicated that this
treatment during the summer or early fall
kills about 90 percent of persimmon and
about 75 percent of sassafras sprouts. Similar
treatments also have been used recently in
controlling sweet gum sprouts and bear grass.

Summer Poultry Hints
Poultry growers are urged to feed a good
growing ration to their pullets during the
summer months in order to insure maximum
egg production during the fall, when egg
prices are usually highest.
The Louisiana Agricultural Extension Serv­
ice recommends that the summer feeding
program for pullets include whole oats and
a good growing mash. These should be kept
before the birds at all times in self-feeders,
and if milk is available, it can be added to
the ration. An abundant supply of clean, fresh
water should be provided for the chickens at
all times.
In view of the high cost of feed and the
need for keeping expenses as low as possible,
Louisiana State University poultry specialists
suggest that short, tender, succulent grass,



soybeans, or Sudan grass be provided for the
young pullets whenever possible. The top 2
inches of such feed usually has a higher pro­
tein content than commercially mixed grow­
ing mash. Use of this “pasture” can save as
much as 20 percent on feed costs.
Parasites, particularly round worms, can
be controlled by separating the pullets from
the old flock and putting them on ground
where no chicks have run for at least a year.
If this is not possible or if pullets show signs
of worm infestation, treat the flock for worms
with one of the recommended medicines avail­
able from most feed stores.

Fly Control Pays Big Dividends
Control of flies on livestock during sum­
mer months is essential for highest produc­
tion. For example, it has been estimated that
beef cattle gains may be increased as much
as 50 pounds or more per year if hornflies
are kept under control. In the dairy herd,
failure to control flies not only increases the
danger of contaminating milk but may seri­
ously reduce milk production.
Each kind of fly usually requires a specific
control measure, and James A. Deer, assist­
ant extension entomologist of the Texas Ex­
tension Service, suggests that livestockmen
contact their county agricultural agents for
latest recommendations. The more common
insecticides in use are DDT and toxaphene,
usually recommended as sprays or dips in a
concentration of Vz of 1 percent. Spraying
with either of these materials will protect
cattle from hornflies for a period of 20 to 45
days. It is important that the animals be
covered thoroughly if sprays are used, in
order to give maximum protection.

Insecticides Can Be Dangerous

handled, they are safe and are an essential
weapon in the farmer’s fight to save his crops
from destruction by insects. However, during
the peak of the poisoning season, when almost
every farmer is handling these materials fre­
quently, it is easy to become careless or to
disregard certain precautions in an effort to
save time. For this reason, the Texas Agri­
cultural Extension Service emphasizes the
importance of following directions of the
manufacturer carefully and completely in
the handling of insecticides.
Keeping the poisonous material stored in
a closed, tight container out of the reach of
children is, of course, the first rule to be fol­
lowed. Second, the operator should be care­
ful to avoid inhaling dusts or sprays and,
also, to avoid spilling any of the material on
his hands or other exposed portions of the
body. After using the more dangerous in­
secticides, clothing should be removed and
washed before being worn again.
If any degree of illness is noted during or
after using the insecticides, a doctor should
be consulted immediately.

New Cleaning Device for Cotton
A new device for removing trash from
seed cotton has been developed by The
Batelle Memorial Institute of Columbus,
Ohio. The patent rights to the invention have
been assigned to the United States Depart­
ment of Agriculture, which is now making
application for a patent, and manufacture
of the cleaner should begin relatively soon.
The cleaning device consists of two cylin­
ders— one within the other. Air from a num­
ber of small pressure jets entering through
the outside cylinder blasts trash from the
cotton. The trash is then skimmed off through
slots in the inside cylinder.

Many of the improved insecticides being
used by southwestern farmers are also highly
poisonous to humans. Serious injury, and
even death, may result from improper handl­
ing of materials such as parathion and TEPP.

It is hoped that this improved method of
cleaning seed cotton will be of help to ginners who are handling large amounts of me­
chanically harvested cotton.

The fact that these chemicals can be in­
jurious to humans should not cause farmers
to discontinue their use, because if properly

The Agricultural News Letter is prepared in
the Research Department under the direction
of C a rl H. M oore, Agricultural Economist.