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Vol. 8, No. 3







March 15, 1953

Grass-Legume Mixtures fo r Higher Production
During the period 1949-51, a fescue grassMadrid clover mixture produced an average of
4,050 pounds of forage per acre the first year
of growth and 4,950 pounds the second season
at the Blackland Experiment Station, Temple,
Texas. This is more than six times the amount
of forage produced by fescue grass planted
These results were obtained on blackland
soils. The plots were fertilized with 40 to 60
pounds of phosphoric acid per acre in the fall
when the grass and legume were planted.
Fescue grass is one of the newer strains of
grasses introduced in the South and Southwest
to improve the production of forage from
pastures. Like most grasses, it is a perennial
plant, growing year after year once a stand has
become established. It has proved to be quite
well adapted to conditions in most of the
Southwest, being more productive than many
of the native grasses.
Madrid clover is a biennial legume, also re­
cently introduced to the Southwest. It has been
grown extensively as a cover crop and for
forage and seed production in rotation with
cotton. It is especially well adapted to the
blackland soils of Texas.
It is generally recognized that a grasslegume mixture is more productive than either
crop grown alone. The legume furnishes some
nitrogen for the grass, and the grass adds to
the volume of forage produced. During the past

4 years the Blackland Experiment Station at
Temple has conducted tests to determine the
value of certain grass and legume mixtures. Of
the three tested, the fescue grass-Madrid clover
combination was the most productive.
Other legumes used in mixtures with fescue
grass were vetch and hubam clover. The
fescue-hubam mixture produced forage yields
the first year that were comparable with the
fescue-Madrid mixture, but since hubam
clover is an annual plant, forage production
dropped sharply the second year after planting.
In addition to the forage produced, grasses
and legumes aid in restoring organic matter
to the soil. The tests conducted at Temple also
measured the volume of root material pro­
duced by the plants, and it was found that the
fescue-Madrid mixture produced nearly twice
as many pounds of root material per acre as
did fescue grass alone.
In other tests the amount of forage produced
by a mixture of fescue and alfalfa was com­
pared with that produced on a plot seeded only
to fescue. Hereford steers were grazed on these
pastures, and their weights were used in meas­
uring the results. During the first year, steers
grazing the fescue grass gained 1.4 pounds per
head per day, while steers grazing the fescuealfalfa mixture gained only 1 pound per head
per day. However, the second year the rate of
gain on the fescue dropped to 1.1 pounds, while
the fescue-alfalfa mixture produced a gain of
1.6 pounds per head per day.



On the basis of these tests, specialists at the
experiment station point out that fescue by it­
self appears to hold little promise as a pasture
grass for the southern Texas Blacklands. How­
ever, when grown in combination with Madrid
sweet clover or alfalfa, it can be a highly pro­
ductive forage crop.

produce more feed than the livestock eat can
be divided and a part of the acreage cut for
hay. Plantings of Sudan grass will furnish sup­
plemental pasture later in the season and also
may be cut and baled for hay. Johnson grass,
if cut in the early boot stage, produces a v e ry
high-quality hay.

Growing such a mixture for 2 or 3 years re­
duces materially the infestation of cotton root
rot. Also, the value of legumes and grasses as
a soil-building crop is most important in judg­
ing their value in the farm program. The addi­
tion of more than a ton of organic matter in
the form of roots, even if all of the top growth
is harvested for hay or pasture, is an important
step in maintaining soil productivity. Yields of
cotton following 2 or 3 years of such a grasslegume mixture are frequently double those
grown on similar fields without any soil-build­
ing crop in the rotation.

Silage crops, such as corn, sorghum, grasses,
and legumes, can be stored in trench or up­
right silos to provide succulent feed when no
green grazing is available.

Other grass-legume mixtures are being
tested by several experiment stations in the
Southwest, and farmers will find it profitable to
study the results of these tests and find a grasslegume mixture that is suitable to their farm

Another, but no less important, method of
“storing” feed reserves is in giving ranges and
pastures time to recuperate from the severe
drought. Ted Trew, Extension pasture special­
ist of Texas A. & M. College, suggests th at
grasses, such as Bermuda and Dallis, that w ere
heavily grazed or severely injured last fa ll
should be given from 4 to 6 weeks’ rest this
spring before grazing.
Ranchers are encouraged to go slow in r e ­
stocking their pastures, in order that the native
grasses can develop new root systems and b e­
come firmly established. Heavy grazing the
first season following a drought may kill most
of the productive grasses.

Build Reserve Feed Supplies
Many stockmen are tempted to increase the
number of livestock when the flush spring
growing season arrives. But southwestern farm­
ers and ranchers have learned that, if herds
are to be maintained throughout the year, sup­
plemental feed must be provided for periods of
drought or stormy weather when livestock can­
not obtain feed from pastures and ranges.
Now is the time to make plans for storing
a reserve supply of feed. The next few months
usually provide the greatest growth of forage
crops, and the farmer or rancher who stores
some of the surplus feed produced in the spring
can reduce materially his feed bill later in the
There are many types of roughage and
several methods of storing them. Pastures that

Size and Shape of Seed Corn
Large round, medium-sized flat, or other ir­
regularly shaped kernels of corn are just as
good for seed as the uniform large flat kernels,
says E. C. Coffey, associate agronomist for the
Texas A. & M, Extension Service.
Many farmers insist on the grade of seed
corn labeled “large flat”; as a result, this grade
of seed corn is higher priced and, in m any
cases, the supply may be exhausted early in
the planting season.
One reason farmers have insisted on the
large flat kernels is that they are easier to use
in most corn planting machines. Mr. Coffey
points out that although changing to another
size or shape of seed may necessitate some ad-


justment in the planter in order to give a uni­
form stand, these changes are usually very
minor and inexpensive. Their cost and incon­
venience are mbre than offset by the saving
in the cost of seed corn that can be obtained by
the use of the smaller, more irregular kernels.
In addition to the lower cost of the seed, a
bushel will plant about 40 percent more land
than will a bushel of the large flat kernels, be­
cause there are more seeds per bushel in the
smaller size.
Another corn planting tip is offered by W. B.
Coke, Extension agronomist of Texas A. & M.
College. Mr. Coke says not to plant corn more
than 1 to 1 V2 inches deep. Planting at deeper
levels retards germination and, contrary to
popular opinion, does not give the corn plant a
deeper root system.

Control Southern Corn Rootworm
Each year the southern corn rootworm
causes considerable damage to corn. The worm
injures the young seedling plant, frequently
resulting in a loss of from 20 to 30 percent of
the stand. Some years the entire stand has been
lost due to this pest.
Tests by the Texas Agricultural Experiment
Station show that insecticides applied at plant­
ing time in the furrow ahead of the planter
have given satisfactory control. Several of the
newer organic insecticides were tested and
found satisfactory. One of the more effective
materials was chlordane applied at the rate of
2 V2 pounds per acre. Parathion applied at the
rate of .17 pounds per acre also gave good
Preventive measures must be used to con­
trol the rootworm, because no treatment is ef­
fective after the corn begins to show damage.

Prepare a Deep Seed Bed
for Cotton
Breaking cotton land to a depth of 6 to 10
inches increased yields by 163 pounds of seed


cotton per acre in tests in Richland Parish,
Louisiana, during 1952.
In one test, the deep breaking of the seed
bed was done in the fall, and in another, in the
spring. The spring operation gave a slightly
larger increase in yield.
Specialists working with these tests believe
that the deep breaking need not be done each
year but probably should be carried out once
every 3 years.

Tractors Need Clean Air
In burning 5 gallons of fuel, the tractor en­
gine uses as much air as would be contained in
a silo 15 feet in diameter and 30 feet high.
Hence, W. L. Ulich, Extension agricultural en­
gineer of Texas A. & M. College, urges all
farmers to service air cleaners on their tractors
after each 10 hours of operation.
M r. Ulich
p o in ts o u t
that failure to
service the air
properly re ­
sults in exces­
sive wear on
bearings, pis­
tons, rings, and other moving parts of the trac­
tor engine. Eventually, this causes excessive
oil consumption, loss of power, and waste of
Directions for servicing the air cleaners are
given by the manufacturers. Nearly all direc­
tions include removing the oil cup from the
container, pouring out the dirty oil, washing
the cup with fuel oil or kerosene, refilling with
clean oil, and replacing on the tractor.

Most insecticides are poisonous to humans;
hence, extreme care should he used in their
handling. Always follow carefully the direc­
tions of the manufacturer. Keep all insecti­
cides well out of reach of children and animals.



Plant the Best
It always pays to plant the best seed. Good
certified seed of guaranteed quality, properly
labeled and described, costs only a little more
than the poorest seed on the market. The dif­
ference in yield in favor of the high-quality
seed is worth many times the additional cost.
Protect your investment in labor and other
costs of growing a crop by planting only highquality seed.

Make Your Own Wind Gauge
A homemade wind gauge can be constructed
easily in the farm shop or by a local black­
smith by following plans prepared by the
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.
The importance of knowing the wind veloc­
ity stems from the fact that the Texas Herbi­
cide Law requires that a record be kept of
wind velocity and direction during the appli­
cation of 2,4-D and similar growth-regulatortype herbicides. This law applies to all of cen­
tral and east Texas and to certain counties in
the southern and western portions of the
The wind gauge described in the* Texas
Agricultural Experiment Station’s plans is
simple in construction, sufficiently rugged to
withstand normal use, compact, and does not
require batteries or other accessories.
Copies of the plans for building this instru­
ment can be obtained from county agricultural
agents or by writing to the Texas Agricultural
Experiment Station and asking for Progress
Report 1466.

Improper Fertilizer Costly
The importance of using the right combina­
tion of fertilizer materials is shown in tests con­
ducted last year by the Louisiana Agricultural
Experiment Station.
Application of 600 pounds of an 0-8-8 ferti­
lizer (containing no nitrogen) increased the

per acre yield of seed cotton only 88 pounds
over an unfertilized plot. However, application
of the same amount of a fertilizer containing
only nitrogen increased the yield 221 pounds
over the unfertilized plot.
On a third plot, the application of 600
pounds of 12-8-8 fertilizer increased the yield
by 1,142 pounds. Adding 220 pounds of lim e­
stone and 600 pounds of 8-8-8 fertilizer per
acre increased yields by 1,324 pounds per acre.
These results emphasize the need for having
the soil tested to determine the plant food
needed for maximum crop production and
then applying the proper fertilizer to correct
deficiencies of the soil.

Heat-resistant tomato varieties that w ill set
fruit throughout the summer include the Portet
and the Summer Prolific.

USDA Needs Twin Calves
A long-time research program being carried
out by the United States Department of A gri­
culture in cooperation with several state uni­
versities requires a large number of identical
twin calves. The Department recently an­
nounced that it is in need of more calves to
continue the experiment.
To be useful in the test, the calves must be
identical twins and of dairy breeding, but they
may be either grade or purebred. They should
be less than 4 months old, free of disease, and
in reasonably good condition.
Owners of calves meeting these require­
ments are asked to contact the Louisiana State
University Dairy Department at Baton RougeAge, sex, breed, health, color, and price of the
animals should be given.
The Agricultural News Letter is prepared in
the Research Department under the direction
of C a r l H. M oore, Agricultural Economist.