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NEWS LETTER

F E D E R A L
Vol. 6, No. 9

R E S E R V E

B A N K

OF

DALLAS, TEXAS

D A L L A S
September 15, 1951

SUPPORT THE DEFENSE BOND DRIVE
SEPTEMBER 3 - OCTOBER 27
*

Defense bonds are your safest investment. Invest a part of your cash farm income in a
share in America.

*

Every defense bond bought by an individual is a personal blow against inflation; buying
defense bonds is one way every farmer and rancher can fight this threat to our Nation's
economic stability.

*

Defense bonds provide a safe, sure way for farmers and ranchers to build a reserve fund
to meet future financial needs— to replace needed equipment, to meet unanticipated per­
sonal expenses, to expand farming operations, and to provide an educational fund.
Defense bonds are a basic part of a balanced savings program.

*

Deflation and depression, with ruinous price declines, have been the historic conse­
quences of unchecked inflation. Don’t let it happen again. Fight inflation by buying your
share of defense bonds.

SAVE THE SAFE WAY

—

BUY A SHARE IN AMERICA

Pigs Pay
Two successive short cotton crops in parts
of the Southwest are convincing more and
more farmers of the necessity of diversifying
their farm operations. The addition of live­
stock to the farm program is an essential part
of such diversification. To date, cattle have
been the first choice of most farmers, probably
because they are more familiar with the prob­
lems of raising cattle and because, tradition­
ally, the area has been a “cattle country.”
Hogs also are a satisfactory livestock enter­
prise for many farmers in the South, accord­
ing to A. D. Fitzgerald, associate animal hus­
bandman of Louisiana State University. In a
recent bulletin entitled “Pigs Pay,” he points
out why most farmers will find it profitable

to include hogs in their farm program: first,
only a small initial investment is needed to
get into the hog business; second, this invest­
ment can be turned over rather quickly, since
less than a year is required to produce a mar­
ketable hog; third, hogs make more efficient
use of more crops and waste products than
any other kind of livestock.
The more humid areas of the Southwest
have certain advantages over other areas in
production of hogs. The relatively mild winter
climate is favorable for raising early spring
pigs which can be marketed in August or Sep­
tember, when prices are usually highest. Yearround pastures also can be used to reduce
feed costs, and the development of high-yield-

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

ing hybrid corn for this region makes possible
the production of an ample supply of feed.
As a result of these factors, the hog business
has become big business in parts of northern
Louisiana and east Texas. Many farmers now
keep a few brood sows and “feed out” the pigs
raised by these sows. This provides an addi­
tional source of income with only a small in­
crease in labor requirements. Other farmers
have found that they can buy feeder pigs in
May, turn these pigs into the corn fields when
the corn begins to mature, let the hogs harvest
the corn crop, and sell in August and Sep­
tember, when hog prices are usually highest.
This “hogging-off” process has brought
about a new way of measuring corn yields,
and it is not uncommon to hear a farmer speak
of the number of pounds of pork per acre
rather than the number of bushels of corn.
The practice has several advantages, one of
which is the low labor requirement, inasmuch
as the hogs require very little care and the
job of harvesting the corn is entirely elimi­
nated. Most farmers sow soybeans with their
corn, thus providing a protein supplement
along with the corn. When a mineral mixture
is provided in a self-feeder, the hogs can bal­
ance their own ration.
In discussing the prac­
tice of “hogging-off” crops,
Mr. Fitzgerald points out
that good-quality pigs will
gain from IVz to 2 pounds
per day and that they will
c o n su m e fro m 7 to 8
bushels of corn for each
10 0 pounds of weight added,
corn producing 45 bushels, with a good stand
of soybeans, should produce about 600 pounds
of pork. The amount of corn required to pro­
duce 10 0 pounds of gain can be reduced some­
what by including an animal protein, such as
tankage or meat scraps, in the supplement.
Just as in the cattle business, there are two
methods of obtaining “feeders”: to buy them

on the market or to raise them. Most hog pro­
ducers in the Southwest follow the practice of
buying feeder pigs weighing from 80 to 10 0
pounds. These feeder pigs are bought in May
shortly before the corn is ready for “hoggingoff” and then sold when they reach the weight
of about 2 0 0 pounds.
This method has the advantage of elimi­
nating care of brood sows and little pigs but
has the disadvantage of increasing the risk of
disease and un th rifty animals. Feeder pigs
assembled from several farm s or bought
through a public market may have picked up
cholera, stomach worms, or may develop di­
gestive troubles which sometimes cause seri­
ous losses. Moreover, it is frequently difficult
or impossible to find sufficient feeder pigs of
desirable quality.
These facts are encouraging many farmers
to grow their own feeder pigs. Such a program
involves keeping an adequate number of sows
throughout the year to provide enough pigs to
“hog-off” the corn produced. These sows re­
quire some labor throughout the year and
must be given careful attention at farrowing
time. However, with this method of producing
pork, it is possible to follow a rigid program
of sanitation and to inoculate all hogs against
cholera and reduce to a minimum the risk of
loss due to disease and parasites.
Mr. Thompson points out that the hog pro­
ducers who follow this method of pork pro­
duction should become thoroughly familiar
with the problems involved in feeding, breed­
ing, and caring for brood sows. Each brood
sow and her litter will require from one-half
to an acre of good pasture, and some grain
must be fed while they are nursing the litter.
Following good management practices which
will insure large litters (six or more) of strong,
thrifty pigs that will grow rapidly is the secret
to profits in this type of operation.
With the rapid strides being made in in­
creased production of corn and other feed
crops, more farmers in the Southwest may

AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

find it profitable to give consideration to hog
production.

ISext Year’s Calf Crop Endangered
The dry weather and intensive heat that
have prevailed over much of the Southwest
this summer may have an adverse effect upon
next spring’s calf crop, according to U. D.
Thompson, assistant extension animal hus­
bandman of Texas A. and M. College.
The prolonged
hot, dry w e a th e r
has reduced range
and pasture feed,
and Mr. Thomp­
son points out that
breeding cows that
a re n o t g e ttin g
enough feed now
to maintain their own body weight are not
likely to produce healthy, vigorous calves next
spring. Since the calf crop is their chief source
of income, cattlemen should give careful at­
tention to the cow herd at this time.
In order to carry breeding stock through
this critical period, Mr. Thompson recom­
mends that livestock producers give supple­
mental feed to their breeding herds until pas­
turage again becomes available. Many feeds
can be used, but Mr. Thompson recommends
that the daily ration contain 1 V2 to 2 pounds
of 41-percent protein cake and 2 to 5 pounds
of green, leafy hay. Also, bone meal and gran­
ular stock salt should be available at all times.

3

Inoculate and Fertilize Winter
Legumes
An essential step in planting legume seed
is to mix the seed with a commercially pre­
pared inoculant just before planting. The inoculants, which are gelatin-like substances,
contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria which must be
present in the soil if the farmer is to gain the
maximum benefit from the legumes.
Here’s why inoculation is so important. The
air above every acre of land contains about
35,000 tons of free nitrogen. In this state it is
totally useless to plants, but when converted
to another form of nitrogen and placed in the
soil, it becomes readily available to all plants
just like any commercial nitrogen fertilizer.
Nature has given legumes the power to take
this nitrogen from the air and put it into the
soil. However, the nodules formed on roots of
legumes by the nitrogen-fixing bacteria pro­
vide the power to transfer this nitrogen from
the air to the soil. The plant furnishes the
necessary energy for the bacteria, and the bac­
teria use this energy to “fix” the free nitrogen
from the air.
Unless these nitrogen-fixing bacteria are
already in the soil or are placed there through
the use of an inoculant at the time the legume
seed are sown, this process will not take place
and much of the value of the legume will be
lost.

Silage, Sudan, or Johnson grass or other
temporary grazing can also be used as a sub­
stitute for part of this ration. Mr. Thompson
points out that it is essential that the cows get
some green feed or yellow corn in order to
insure an adequate supply of Vitamin A.

Inoculating legume seed is a very simple
and inexpensive process and can be done
easily in a tub or other large container. The
manufacturer’s directions should be followed
carefully, and under no circumstances should
the inoculated seed be exposed to bright sun­
light before planting. Sunlight tends to kill the
bacteria in the inoculant.

Although supplemental feeding adds great­
ly to the cost of raising cattle, these costs may
be small compared with the loss in income
that may result if next year’s calf crop is
reduced materially in size or quality.

Commercial fertilizers are also recom­
mended for legumes in most areas of the
Southwest. The exact kinds and amounts vary
with the different soil types, but usually from
200 to 400 pounds of a fertilizer containing

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

phosphate and potash but little or no nitrogen
is recommended. On v e ry infertile soils or
badly depleted land a complete fertilizer, such
as 5-10-5, should be used.
By using the fertilizer attachment on the
grain drill or row crop planter, the fertilizer
can be applied at the same time the legume
seed are sown, thus lowering costs and placing
the fertilizer where it is readily available to
the plants.

Treat Oats with Ceresan
Seed oats, whether resistant or nonresistant varieties, should be treated to prevent
smut, according to A. E. Schlehuber, agrono­
mist at Oklahoma A. and M. College.
N ew I m p r o v e d
Ceresan or Ceresan
M is recommended
and should be used at
the rate of Vz ounce
per bushel. The use
of this chemical, if
d ire c tio n s are fo l­
lowed carefully, will
control not only smut but also other seedrotting organisms in the soil, according to Mr.
Schlehuber.
Care should be taken to avoid overtreating,
especially if the operation is done a month or
two before seeding, as the seed germ can be
destroyed by the use of too large a quantity
of the chemical. However, the seed should be
treated at least 2 weeks before planting, in
order that the fumes of the chemical will have
time to be dispersed throughout the grain.

Chemical Sprays fo r Maturing Rice
The uneven ripening of rice fields is a con­
stant problem to rice growers, as the imma­
ture kernels in the harvested grain raise the
moisture content to a point where artificial
drying becomes necessary. If combining is de­
layed until all kernels are ripe, there is con­

siderable loss of early matured heads and
kernels due to shattering during harvest, birds
feeding on the ripe grain, and stormy weather.
Science now appears to have a solution to
the problem in the form of chemical sprays,
which when applied to matured fields hasten
the ripening of green kernels. Application of
these sprays a few days before combining
causes immature kernels of rice to mature
quickly and enables the grower to harvest a
crop uniformly ripe and much lower in mois­
ture content than is possible under normal
conditions.
In tests near Beaumont, Texas, last year,
application of chemical sprays 4 days before
combining reduced the moisture content of
the grain from about 23 percent at the time
of application to as low as 16.2 percent when
combined. Grain from check plots which were
not sprayed still tested 23-percent moisture
at the time of harvest.
Chemicals used in these tests included
sodium T.C.A., dinitro, sodium pentachlorophenate, and sodium monochloroacetate. They
were applied with an airplane and tested on
Rexark, Nira, and Blue Bonnet varieties of
rice.
These preliminary tests indicate that bene­
fits from such treatment include: ( 1 ) uniform
moisture content of grain over the entire field;
( 2 ) killing of weeds, thus eliminating highmoisture weed seeds and vegetation; and (3)
easier combining, because the upper leaves
of the rice plants are killed.
Careful analysis of the rice grain that was
sprayed revealed no injury to seed germina­
tion and no presence of sodium monochloro­
acetate. Growers who are interested in trying
these new sprays can secure additional infor­
mation from the Texas Agricultural Experi­
ment Substation at Beaumont, Texas.
The Agricultural News Letter is prepared in
the Research Department under the direction
of C a r l H. M oore, Agricultural Economist.