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Vol. 6, No. 8



B A N K __ O F


August 15, 1951

Mustang— A New Oat Variety
A more winter-hardy and higher yielding
oat variety for the Southwest has been devel­
oped by scientists of the United States Depart­
ment of Agriculture and the Texas Agricultural
Experiment Station.
Farm ers who seeded this new variety,
known as Mustang, in the fall of 1950 state
that it survived the severe winter of 1950-51
as well as wheat and far better than all other
varieties of oats. In fact, about one-half of the
Texas oat crop was killed by the severe freezes
of last winter, but many fields of Mustang oats
survived and gave from good to excellent
yields of grain. During the period 1944-50, in
which winter killing occurred at the Denton
Experiment Substation in 5 of the 7 years, 85.8
percent of Mustang oats survived the winters,
compared with 57.2 percent for the New Nortex variety, 53.6 percent for Frazier, 51.2 per­
cent for Fultex, and 70.4 percent for Stanton.
Tests at the Texas Experiment Substations
covering most of the State show that over a
period of 6 years the Mustang variety yielded
an average of 60.9 bushels per acre, compared
with 56.2 for the Stanton variety, 55.5 for New
Nortex, and 53 bushels for Fultex. The Mus­
tang oat outyielded these varieties through­
out the State except at the Chillicothe Station
in northwest Texas, where winter killing was
not a factor during the testing period. How­
ever, during the 1950-51 season, severe winter
killing occurred even in that area, and the
Mustang variety gave much higher yields than
the Red Rustproof varieties commonly grown
in that section.

Resistance to crown (leaf) rust is also a
characteristic of Mustang oats, and in years
when this rust virtually killed stands of nonresistant varieties, Mustang produced more
than 50 bushels per acre. Resistance to crown
(leaf) rust is of particiular value when oats
are grown in southern regions for winter pas­
ture, because checking the development of
early rust epidemics in southern counties often
prevents outbreaks of the disease in central
and northern sections.
The growth characteristics of Mustang oats
make it especially valuable for forage produc­
tion in the Southwest. Its early growth is close
to the ground, similar to that of winter wheat.
By midwinter it begins to grow vigorously and
produces abundant forage in late winter and
early spring. Limited tests in south Texas indi­
cate that the variety grows more vigorously
and produces more forage throughout the win­
ter than other oat varieties.
Mustang also has shown considerable resist­
ance to a relatively new disease—Helminthosporium blight— which has caused serious losses
in the more humid sections of Texas. However,
growers are urged to guard against losses from
this disease by rotating oats with other crops
and treating all seed with a mercurial dust,
such as Ceresan M or New Improved Ceresan.
The rapidly increasing popularity of this
new oat variety has stimulated a strong de­
mand for seed, and farmers are urged to obtain
sufficient quantity for their acreage as soon as
possible. The variety has been grown over a



wide section of Texas during the past year, and
while the supply is somewhat limited, most
farmers should be able to secure sufficient seed
for at least a small acreage. Seed dealers and
county agricultural agents can direct farmers
to growers who have a supply for sale. When­
ever possible, it is desirable to purchase certi­
fied seed in order to insure that it is pure and
free from other varieties. However, if this is
not possible, the seed from a reputable grower
may be used. Planting dates and rates are the
same as for other oat varieties. Somewhat ear­
lier planting may be desirable if the crop is to
be used for fall pasture.

Recommended Wheat Varieties
Quanah, Wichita, Triumph, Comanche, and
Westar are wheat varieties recommended by
Texas A. and M. College for seeding in Texas.
These varieties, which are hard, red winter
wheats, have proved to be well adapted to
growing conditions in the Southwest.
Quanah, a relatively new variety and only
recently made available, outyielded the other
varieties in tests at Denton, Greenville, Stephenville, and Temple. It is similar to Co­
manche in quality but is more resistant to leaf
rust, stem rust, and stinking smut. None of the
varieties, however, are resistant to the new race
of stem rust known as 15b. This is the rust that
caused severe damage in some parts of Texas
and Oklahoma, and especially in Kansas and
Nebraska, during the 1950 season. New wheat
varieties which will be resistant to this race of
rust are being developed by plant breeders. In
the meantime, Quanah appears to be the most
desirable commercial variety now available.
Farmers are urged to obtain their supply of
seed early, inasmuch as the quantity of the
more desirable varieties will be limited.

Green Bug Infestation Reduced
by Efficient Management
Green bugs have taken a heavy toll of win­
ter wheat in the Southwest during the past 2

seasons. These heavy infestations have been
blamed generally on adverse weather condi­
tions, and it is an established fact that these
pests are much more dangerous under certain
temperature and moisture conditions.
The Oklahoma Agricultural Experim ent
Station points out, however, that their surveys
have shown a definite relation between green
bug infestation and certain management prac­
tices. For instance, green bugs appeared earlier
and were more destructive in fields where
volunteer wheat or oats were permitted to
grow; also, damage became noticeable first in
areas where the soil showed indications of
plant food deficiency.
Other signs of inefficient management that
appear to be associated with heavy green bug
damage include inadequately prepared seed
beds, late planting, and failure to fertilize in
regions where commercial fertilizer is recom­
From these observations, the Oklahoma
Agricultural Experiment Station recommends
that wheat farmers make every effort to pre­
pare the land and seed the crop in accordance
with recommended practices. Volunteer wheat
should be plowed, the seed bed should be given
adequate preparation early in the season, and
the wheat planted in accordance with recom­
mendations of the local county agents. Com­
mercial fertilizer should be applied whenever
experience in the community indicates this
practice to be profitable. Such precautions will
not prevent green bug infestations if fall, win­
ter, and spring weather conditions are ideal for
a build-up of these pests, but they will mini­
mize the danger and in many cases may mean
the difference between success and failure of
the wheat crop.

Barnyard Manure and Cotton
Burs as Fertilizers
The value of barnyard manure as a fertili­
zer and “conditioner” of the land is well recog­
nized in regions of relatively heavy rainfall
but has not been given a very high rating in


the dryland sections of west Texas. However,
tests at the Texas Agricultural Experiment
Substation at Lubbock indicate that barnyard
manure and also cotton burs have value as
fertilizers even in the dryland farming of that
The tests were begun in 1935 and continued
through 1944. The materials were applied to
the land just ahead of seed bed preparation,
usually during February. Applications of barn­
yard manure ranged from 2 to 8 tons per acre,
but cotton burs were applied at only one rate
— 2 tons per acre. These applications were
made for five consecutive years, beginning in
1935. Results were observed during those
years to determine the immediate effect of
these materials and then again during the
period 1940-44 to determine the residual ef­
fect of the applications.
Briefly, these tests show that in years when
rainfall was sufficient to cause the materials to
rot, there was a definite increase in yields. Also,
the cotton in fields which received an applica­
tion of either barnyard manure or cotton burs
matured earlier than in fields which received
no treatment. In 1937, when rainfall during
May and June and also during the previous
September was heavier than average, there
was a very marked increase in yield. In that
year the plot receiving no treatment yielded
354 pounds of lint per acre, while the field re­
ceiving 8 tons of barnyard manure per acre
yielded 524 pounds of lint per acre. The field
receiving an application of cotton burs at the
rate of 2 tons per acre yielded 427 pounds of
lint per acre.
Similar results were obtained in 1941 and
1942 when rainfall was above average, indicat­
ing that the limiting factor in returns from this
type of fertilizer is the amount of rainfall. It is
significant, however, that applications of barn­
yard manure and cotton burs did not cause a
reduction in yields except in extremely dry
years; and in any year in which moisture was
average or above, their application resulted in
a substantial increase. Moreover, this increase
in yield during years of normal rainfall oc­
curred even though the applications of barn­


yard manure and cotton burs had been made
several years earlier.
In summarizing these tests, the Texas Agri­
cultural Experiment Station specialists point
out that where barnyard manure was applied
at the rate of 2, 4, and 8 tons per acre for five
consecutive years and the land planted to cot­
ton for 10 years, the average yearly increase in
lint yields per acre was about 23 pounds per
ton of barnyard manure applied. The 2-ton
application of cotton burs under similar condi­
tions gave an increase of 12 pounds of lint per
ton of cotton burs applied.
These tests suggest that greater use might
be made of these two materials for building
and maintaining soil fertility, even in dryland
sections of west Texas. No doubt, the results
would be even more encouraging on farms
where irrigation is practiced.

“Nervous99 Cattle
During the fall pasture season of 1950, cat­
tle in some sections of the Southwest were
stricken with a severe nervous disturbance.
Symptoms of the disorder varied from a slight
“twitching” of muscles to extreme nervousness,
characterized by inability to stand or walk and
a “wild” or frightened look. Cattle raisers fre­
quently referred to the symptoms as a “shak­
ing” disturbance. In advanced cases, the ani­
mals would stumble and fall.
The trouble was first reported in eastcentral Oklahoma and later spread over a wide
area. Death loss was low, but considerable loss
in weight resulted from the disturbance to the
animals’ behavior. Investigations revealed that
in all cases where this nervous characteristic
was reported, the animals were grazing on ma­
ture Bermuda grass. A thorough check also re­
vealed that the animals recovered in 2 or 3
days if removed from the mature Bermuda
grass. Returning the animals to the pasture a
few weeks later again brought about identical
symptoms. Controlled feeding tests in which
clippings of mature Bermuda grass were used



also brought about a similar nervous condition
in the animals.

weeds by oil-burning flame-thrower) and shal­
low cultivation in the middles.

The Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment
Station made extensive tests and discovered
that the apparent cause of the disorder was a
fungus which attacks and grows on the heads
and upper stems of mature Bermuda grass.
There was no evidence that the nervousness
was infectious or contagious.

Mr. Mayeux predicts that the use of chemi­
cals and flame cultivation in the control of
weeds in cotton will soon be a common prac­
tice in Louisiana. Details for carrying out this
practice can be obtained by writing directly
to Mr. Mayeux.

In v ie w of th e se fin d in g s, O klahom a
A. and M. College recommends that mature
Bermuda grass pastures be clipped before
being grazed. This removes the source of the
fungus which appears to be the cause of the
nervous disorder and should eliminate danger
to the herd.


The occurrence of this disorder should not
discourage the use of Bermuda grass as a pas­
ture, for it is one of the most important pasture
grasses of the Southwest, and a few simple pre­
cautions to avoid running cattle on fields of
mature Bermuda grass can prevent outbreaks
of this nervous condition.

Chemical Weed Control
in Cotton
Control of weeds in young cotton by the use
of chemicals has removed the last stumbling
block to complete mechanization of cotton pro­
duction, according to M. M. Mayeux, Louisi­
ana State University assistant agricultural ex­
tension engineer.
On the demonstration farms which tested
the chemical control of weeds this year, Mr.
Mayeux states that the chemical was applied
at the time of planting. This application, which
was made directly on the soil and is called the
“pre-em ergence” application, prevents the
growth of weeds until the cotton plants are
w ell established. A second application is
usually made in the rows at about the same
time the middles are cultivated. Late weeds
are then kept under control by flame cultiva­
tion in the rows (quick-killing of grass and

Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station,
Baton Rouge:
Artificial Breeding in Louisiana, Extension
Publication 1086, by H. W. Anderson and
E. W. Neasham.
Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station,
Feeding and Breeding Tests with Sheep,
Swine, and Beef Cattle, Miscellaneous
Publication No. MP-22.
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Col­
lege Station:
Lamb Feeding Trials in the El Paso Valley,
1947-49, Bulletin 733, by N. B. Willey
and others.
Hairy Vetch, Bur Clover and Oats As SoilBuilding Crops for Cotton and Corn In
Texas, Bulletin 731, by E. B. Reynolds
and others.
Small Grain Variety Tests in the Rolling
Plains Area of Texas, Progress Report
1373, by I. M. Atkins.
Small Grain Variety Tests in the Blackland, Grand Prairie and Edwards Pla­
teau Areas of Texas, Progress Report
1374, by I. M. Atkins.
Virginia A gricultural Experiment Station,
Father-Son Farm Agreements, Bulletin 9,
by W. L. Gibson, Jr. and F. D. Hansing.

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