Full text of Agricultural News Letter : Volume II, Number 6
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AGRIC ULTURAL N E W S LETTER THE Vol. II FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF Dallas, Texas, June 15, 1947 DALLAS Number 6 NEED F OR T R A I N E D MEN IN A G R I C U L T U R E Speaking recently before the Dallas Agri cultural Club, Dean Charles E. Shepardson, of the College of Agriculture of Texas A. & M., stated that American agriculture must have capable, well-trained men. if it is to con tinue to fill its vital role in our national economy. He pointed out that farming is no longer an occupation which can absorb un skilled men who have failed in other lines of endeavor; that it requires training and knowl edge in more different scientific and profes sional fields than almost any other type of industry. The successful farmer must have a knowledge of soils and of how to conserve and improve them; of new crops or new forms of existing crops which are better adapted to varying local conditions; of the duty of water and of the water requirements of different crops; of the control of insects; of genetics and the principles of livestock breeding; of the principles of nutrition and proper feeding and the chemistry of feeds; and of range and pasture management. There is, therefore, great need for welltrained owners and operators on American farms; but there is need also for personnel to continue research in various fields of agri culture and to teach farming people how to improve the efficiency and profitableness of their farms. Dean Shepardson stressed that the call for people in these fields of agricultural research, teaching, and demonstration is greater today than ever before. The war made heavy de mands on the resources of the land, and the meeting of these demands has seriously im paired the fertility of American farms. Simul taneously war has also reduced the supply of trained personnel in the field of agriculture who could repair the damage done to our farms during the war and could lead the way in developing a more efficient agriculture. In order to supply the trained personnel, who, in turn, will aid in increasing the ef ficiency and man-hour output of American THE BOND-A-MONTH PLAN During June and July the Treasury Department is promoting the Bond-A-Month Plan. That Plan should be of especial interest to farmers, since it offers to them the same automatic bondbuy in,g privileges that the Pay Roll Savings Plan continues to afford to millions of wage and salary earners. Farmers have enjoyed a high level of income during the past six years; estimates of farm income for 1947 indicate another igood year. E-bonds bought each month for the farmer’s account by his bank represent the safest investment of the farmer’s money and make possible an assured monthly income for his future. Bankers are urged to support the Treasury Department’s program by bringing to the attention of all their depositors the real advantages of the Bond-A-Month Plan. Banking leaders and banking associations have recognized the real merits of the Plan and have pledged their active support to the program. Advertising and publicity in all media will emphasize the part played by banks in making the program a success and will direct depositors to “ask at your bank. . . see your banker” for information about the Bond-A-Month Plan. —SAVE THE EASY AUTOMATIC WAY— WHERE YOU WORK—WHERE YOU BANK 2 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER farms, Dean Shepardson pointed out that there is urgent need of increasing undergrad uate enrollment in agricultural colleges and stated that people engaged or interested in agriculture have a real responsibility to help draw young, properly-trained men into farm ing or the teaching of agriculture by ac quainting them with the true opportunities that exist there. One obstacle which must be overcome, according to this speaker, is the present general attitude regarding the type of men needed in agricultural work. He stated that many people who are advising high school graduates encourage them to go into almost any vocation but agriculture, and that, as a result, only a very small percentage of the most intelligent and capable high school students enter the field of agriculture. Sum marizing the results of a study at Texas A. & M. College, Dean Shepardson said that of the freshmen entering the College of Agri culture only 15 per cent were from the top 30 per cent of the class, while 46 per cent were from the bottom 30 per cent. “ If we are to secure and train the top scien tists necessary to the solution of the problems confronting agriculture,” Dean Shepardson said in closing, "it is our job to show the high school graduate the challenge and the oppor tunity there is for him to exercise his talents and ingenuity to the limit of his capacity in this field. We need to acquaint them [high school graduates] with the fact that agricul ture has opportunities to offer. And, if there are those who still deplore the fact that our agricultural graduates do not go back to the back breaking, soul killing manual labor type of farming, let me say to them that the fu ture success and prosperity of agriculture is dependent not on more men doing that kind of labor, but on more men with the vision and intelligence to develop means whereby we can reduce or eliminate the drudgery which is driving so many of our young peo ple from the farm.” MORE AND BETTER HAY THROUGH MECHANICAL DRYING Use of mechanical drying equipment in curing hay and other feedstuffs promises to aid the livestock industry by increasing feed supplies and improving their quality. Agron omists and soil scientists, working with other interested groups, have increased the yields o f hay crops grown in this area and have devel oped strains well adapted to climatic and soil conditions found here. A large portion of these crops is lost each year, however, before it reaches the farmer’s barn because of un favorable weather at harvest time. When hay is first cut, the moisture content varies from about 60 to 80 per cent, and this moisture must generally be reduced to around 20 per cent before the hay can be stored safely. It may be necessary for the hay to remain in the field from one to several days for the sun and air to reduce the moisture content the required amount. During this time rain may ruin or seriously damage the crop. Therefore, if farmers are to be assured an adequate sup ply of low-cost roughage to support their ex panding livestock enterprises, it will be neces sary to carry the work already done by the agricultural scientists a little farther and de vise ways of reducing this loss. Hay-drying equipment, developed in the last three or four years by the Tennessee V al ley Authority, Ohio State University, Texas A. & M. College, and other research groups, promises to aid in solving this problem. Basi cally, this equipment consists of a series of air tunnels constructed along the floor of the barn loft or storage shed and a large fan which forces air through the tunnels and then up through the hay stacked above. The mois ture content of the hay is reduced through absorption by the upward moving air, thus making it possible to store hay, either loose or baled, only a few hours after it is cut. By reducing the time that the hay must remain in the field for curing, it is possible to elimi nate much of the risk of crop loss resulting from unfavorable weather at harvest time. Use of such equipment also aids in maintain ing the nutritional value of the crop which is sometimes reduced by the bleaching action of the sun and by the loss of leaves due to shattering during the field curing process. Hay cured in this manner is more palatable, for mould from inadequate drying or tough ness resulting from overexposure to the sun AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER will be eliminated. The fire hazard which fre quently develops from farmers’ attempts to store improperly cured hay is also reduced. For several years farmers in this area have indicated their interest in this type of equip ment through hundreds of requests to county agents, vocational teachers, and the A. & M. College of Texas for information regarding construction of hay or grain drying, or “ fin ishing,” equipment. In response to these re quests, agricultural engineers at the A. & M. College began a series of studies in 1944 to develop practical equipment adapted for dry ing the hay, grain, and other farm products of the area. The studies were conducted in the coastal section of the State, and it was necessary to use heated air in the drying proc ess because of the high relative humidity in that section. A lateral-type air distribution system was used in these experiments, consisting of a main tunnel constructed along one side of a 30 by 60 foot loft or storage area and a series of small ducts or lateral tunnels extending out from the main tunnel at right angles. The main tunnel was 44 feet long, 4 feet high, and varied in width from 2 feet 6 inches at one end to 8 inches at the other. It was con structed of plywood, but rough lumber, lined with tar paper to make it air-tight, could be used. The lateral tunnels were about 1 foot square, and best results were obtained when they were constructed of welded steel wire mesh. A motor and fan, set at one end of the main tunnel, forced air through the laterals and up through the stored hay. The cost of constructing a drying system varies with the size of the storage area and with the amount of construction and installa tion work the farmer is able to do himself. Estimates made in other sections of the coun try indicate that materials and equipment similar to those used in the Texas study would cost $3 50 to $500 without a burner attachment for heating the air. If a heater attachment is included in the system, the out lay will be raised significantly, due to the cost of the burner itself and of installing the burner and a series of automatic switches to guard against fire. This new drying method provides a prac 3 tical way for every farmer to insure himself an adequate supply of high-quality hay. The cost of installing and operating such equip ment will be more than offset by reduction in the proportion of the crop lost to rain or other damage and by improvement in the quality of the feed. More detailed informa tion regarding the construction of both hay and grain driers can be obtained on request from local county agents or from A. & M. College of Texas, College Station. COMMODITY NOTES The Poultry Situation Recent forecasts by the United States De partment of Agriculture suggest a moderate reduction in supply of poultry and eggs but a generally favorable price outlook for poultrymen for the remainder of this year. The number of chickens being raised is about five per cent less than last year, indicating well sustained prices for broilers and fryers and a reduction in laying flocks. Turkey produc tion in 1947 will be at least 15 per cent below 1946. The output of poults in the first four months of 1947 was about 20-25 per cent be low last year. Turkey prices are not expected to decline much this fall and winter because of the reduced production and the govern ment price-support program. Egg production during the first half of 1947, estimated at 99 million cases, is five per cent less than in the same period last year. Cold-storage holdings of shell eggs on May 1 were 1.7 million cases, one-fourth of last year’s large holdings, and the smallest on rec ord. Frozen egg holdings were down from last year’s level of 15 5 million pounds by about 22.5 per cent. Supplies of eggs in the second half of this year are expected to be about 20 per cent less than in the first half and about 10 per cent below supplies in the last six months of 1946. Per capita egg consumption in the United States remains high, but the demand for eggs for the remainder of the year may weaken if consumer purchasing power declines and if meat prices decline sea sonally. Government Begins Purchases of Wheat The Department of Agriculture has an nounced that purchases by the Commodity 4 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER Credit Corporation of new-crop wheat for export are being started. Purchases will be made at prices not in excess of prevailing market prices. Offers to sell are invited on a delivered seaport or lake-port price basis, with delivery to be made either at seaport or in terior elevator, as may be mutually agreed upon. Purchases will be handled, as in the past, by the CCC grain offices at Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon. World Food Situation Little, if any, change is forecast in the world food supply for 1947-48 by the United States Department of Agriculture, and it is expected that the demand for and price of food items produced by American farmers will continue at high levels, even though there may be moderate adjustments in the prices of some commodities. Strong efforts have been made to expand world food pro duction, but present indications are that dur ing the consumption year 1947-48 produc tion will hardly more than equal that of 1946-47. Grain production in some areas may be increased, but such increase is not likely to do more than offset the smaller crops in prospect in other areas. This is unfortunate from the standpoint not only of the countries needing more grain imports but also of the strain which will be placed upon the trans portation facilities of exporting countries. Some increase in production of sugar, pota toes, and fats and oils is expected, but sup plies of these commodities will still be below prewar. The most important factors thwarting at tempts to increase food production are re ported to have been labor shortages, floods, and severe weather, particularly extreme cold in Europe and droughts in Asia. TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS Nitrogen Fertilizers Research at the Louisiana State University Experiment Station has shown that a cover crop of hairy vetch will supply the nitrogen generally furnished by commercial fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorous, and potas sium. Moreover, a higher yield will be ob tained from the cotton crop which im mediately follows the vetch. A test was made of the relative effect of the vetch cover crop plus an application of 0-8-8 fertilizer on one plot of land, as compared with an application of 6-8-8 fertilizer without cover crop on an other. The former yielded 38 per cent more cotton than the latter. In reporting these re sults, Mr. I. W. Carson of the Louisiana A gri cultural Extension Service pointed out that it is likely that a smaller increase would have been shown had smaller quantities of phos phorus and potassium been used. The United States Department of Agricul ture has developed a slow-acting nitrogen fer tilizer that feeds crops over a long growing period which may be used if it is not feasible to secure required nitrogen through the use of cover crops. This new material is known as Uraform and as yet is being produced only on a laboratory scale. Uraform does not leach out of the soil easily and can be applied to row crops at planting time, thereby eliminat ing the need for additional application of fer tilizer after the crops are up. ANNOUNCEMENTS The Eighth Annual Cotton Research Con gress convenes in Dallas, July 16-18. There will be a program of addresses and group dis cussions on topics of timely interest to all who are interested in the cotton industry. Also the versatility of cotton will be demon strated by elaborate exhibits of many of the almost innumerable products made from cot ton and cottonseed. Recent Publications Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, T ex as Agricultural and Mechanical College, College Station: Hay and Grain Drying, 1946, Progress Re port 1070, by J. W. Sorenson, Jr., and others. Farm Land Market Activity in Three Tcxas Counties, 1946, Progress Report 1077, by William F. Hughes and Joe R. Motheral. Copies of these bulletins may be secured by request to their respective publishers.