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AGRICULTURAL

NEWS LETTER

T HE
Volume V

FEDERAL

RESERVE

BANK

Dallas, Texas, October 15, 1950

OF

DALLAS
Number 10

Cotton Production— 1951
Cotton production in 1951 will be free of
government restrictions, but it may be ham­
pered severely by other factors, such as
weather and lack of planning on the part
of farmers. Although weather is an unpre­
dictable and an uncontrollable factor in
agricultural production, farmers can do
something about such things as planting
cover crops, plowing under old cotton stalks,
using adapted seed, and applying fertilizer—
all of which contribute to higher production.
What can farmers do to insure maximum
production of cotton in 1951?
♦ Make plans for planting cotton only
on land that is suited to its production and
that will, with normal care, give a reason­
able yield per acre. Not every acre should
be planted in cotton, even though there are
no government restrictions on planting. Fit­
ting cotton into a balanced farm program,
which includes the growing of legumes and
rotation of crops, will, over a period of
years, enable farmers to produce more cot­
ton at lower costs. Moreover, it is unlikely
that unrestricted production will be per­
mitted beyond the next year or two. Thus,
those who abandon their long-range farm
program and go all-out for cotton in 1951
may again face an expensive and difficult
readjustment in their farm operation when
and if controls are reimposed.
♦ Obtain at an early date sufficient un­
damaged seed of a desirable variety to plant
all of next year’s cotton acreage, including
a reserve for replanting. This action will
prove advantageous because the supply of
desirable cottonseed has been reduced ma­
terially by the short 1950 cotton crop and

the wet, cloudy weather this fall; and cotton­
seed for planting will be scarce next spring.
Much of the seed being harvested either has
been damaged in the field or has a moisture
content too high for safe storage.
In tests at the Texas Agricultural Experi­
ment Station in 1949, stored cottonseed con­
taining more than 11-percent moisture heat­
ed excessively and showed a marked decrease
in germination percentage. In these tests
heating and loss of germination of cottonseed
with as much as 12-percent moisture were
prevented by drawing air through the seed at
weekly intervals. This aeration was also effec­
tive in keeping unsound, damaged seed with
14-percent moisture from becoming excess­
ively hot; however, germination, which tested
only 40 percent at time of storage, dropped
to zero after 4% months in the bin.
♦ Plow under all cotton stalks and trash
immediately after harvest. It is generally
agreed that much of this year’s early infesta­
tion of cotton insects, particularly boll wee­
vils, and the spread of pink bollworm into
southcentral Texas were the direct result of
the incomplete clean-up programs last fall. In
virtually all tests, early destruction of stalks
has proved to be an essential and effective
step in controlling boll weevils and pink bollworms. Production in 1951 could be reduced
materially by failure to clean up fields this
fall.
❖ Plant cover crops following stalk de­
struction. Cover crops, such as vetch, Aus­
trian winter peas, small grains, and many of
the clovers, help to hold the soil in place,
improve soil aeration and drainage, and add
valuable humus and plant food to the land.

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

When properly fertilized, their use in the
rotation can boost cotton yields as much as
50 percent.
♦ Purchase sufficient fertilizer for next
year’s crops and, if you have storage space,
take delivery now. Even though production
of commercial fertilizer is likely to be at or
near a record level, the demand is increasing
each year, and those who wait until next
spring may find their dealer sold out or unable
to make delivery. Fertilizer manufacturers
and transportation companies can make ade­
quate quantities of fertilizer available only if
delivery can be spread over several months.

Seasonal Trends in Turkey Prices
Raising turkeys has become big business
for many southwestern farmers. Production
in this area in 1950 is expected to be a new
record of more than 80,000,000 pounds, and
income from this source may exceed $25,000 , 000 .

Profits or losses on turkeys will depend, in
many cases, upon obtaining the highest possi­
ble market price for the birds. A drop in
price of 2 or 3 cents per pound may wipe out
the profit margin, while still sharper declines

may result in serious financial loss to some
producers.
Selling at the wrong time or at undesirable
weights and marketing poor-quality birds
frequently result in unprofitable prices for
growers. These mistakes can be corrected by
buying poults hatched from improved broad­
breasted varieties, suited to the demands of
the market; by selling only well-finished,
full-fleshed birds; and by watching market
quotations and comments to determine the
weights in greatest demand.
Selecting the proper time to sell requires a
study of seasonal trends in prices. While
prices cannot be forecast with accuracy by
such a study, the most probable trend from
week-to-week can be anticipated. Past records
show that in years of high turkey production
prices usually decline rather sharply after
Thanksgiving. (See accompanying chart.)
This trend did not hold true in 1949, for
although production was at a high level, prices
increased from October through most of De­
cember. However, it should be remembered
that last year a price-support program was in
effect for turkeys and that the Government
bought heavily during December. Without
this support, prices likely would have fallen
rather sharply after Thanksgiving.
The Department of Agriculture has an­
nounced that prices for this year’s record
turkey crop will not be supported. Under
such conditions it is likely that prices will
follow the normal seasonal pattern, and mar­
keting of birds as soon as they are well fin­
ished and are of desirable market weights
may be advisable. Early sales—by Thanks­
giving—are expected to bring highest prices.
Heavier marketings of broilers as well as of
pork, anticipated during December, will ex­
ert downward pressure on turkey prices dur­
ing the Christmas season.
Growers should also take note of premiums
usually paid for turkey hens and for lighterweight toms. Heavier birds usually sell at a
discount, so there is little reason for holding
them after they are well fleshed and finished.

AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

3

matically at any given time. Mr. Moore rec­
ommends
use of two 25- to 40-watt light
Lambs are extremely sensitive to changes bulbs for each
400 feet of floor space.
in feed, and heavy losses may result if care is
not exercised in changing from one type of
The Sixth Little Pig
ration to another, states Dr. J. W. Wolfe,
veterinarian at Oklahoma A. & M. College. Litters of fewer than six pigs are unprofit­
as income from the sale of five pigs is
Dr. Wolfe points out that death losses able,
needed
to offset the cost of producing a
caused by a sudden change in feed are usually litter, according
to A. A. Heidebrecht, Okla­
the result of an outbreak of a disease called homa A. & M. College
animal husbandman.
"enterotoxemia.” Changing suddenly from
poor- or ordinary-quality feed to a rich and More litters of a profitable size will be
more palatable ration creates conditions fa­ raised, says Mr. Heidebrecht, if farmers select
vorable for the disease. Outbreaks frequently breeding gilts from sows which have farrowed
occur when lambs are changed from dry large litters, since size of litter is dependent,
areas to regions with abundant nutritious in part, upon inherited characteristics.
grass or when they are placed suddenly in
the feeding lot with access to large amounts
of concentrates. Any change in the ration
should be made gradually to prevent an out­
break of the disease.
Enterotoxemia is usually fatal, with death
occurring within 4 to 8 hours. If the disease
is suspected, the flock should be placed in a
lot and fed only hay and water until the
veterinarian has made his diagnosis and rec­ Of equal importance is care of the sows,
ommended treatment. Spreading of the dis­ particularly just prior to and immediately
ease can be checked by a veterinarian with after farrowing. They should be given access
the use of certain biological products, but fast to plenty of clean water and fed a ration con­
action is necessary to avoid loss once the taining about 20-percent protein and forti­
disease develops.
fied with calcium and phosphorus. Plenty of
green pasture will reduce feed requirements
Lights Increase Egg Production materially and, also, provide a source of Vita­
As days become shorter, use of electric mins A and D. If pasture is not available,
lights in the laying house increases egg pro­ bright, leafy legume hay should be fed daily.
duction. Higher egg prices during the fall
New Dairy Barn Plans
months make this practice particularly prof­
itable.
Plans for milking barns that reduce labor
For maximum egg production, a hen needs and can be used for either a large or small
12 to 14 hours of light each day, according herd have been prepared by the Louisiana
to W. J. Moore, associate poultry husband­ State University Extension Service. An out­
man of the Texas A. & M. College Extension standing feature of the barns is that milking
Service. Use of artificial lights to lengthen stalls are on a level 30 inches above the aisle
the hen’s working day should begin early in in which the milker works, making it possible
the fall and be continued throughout the to care for the cows and do the milking with­
winter.
out bending or squatting.
Lights can be used either in the morning Like most of the "milking-parlor”-type
or evening, and a simple timing device can barns, space is provided for only four to six
be installed to turn the lights on or off auto­ cows. As the animals come in from the pasture

Change Lamb Ration Slowly

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

or loafing barn, they are washed in stalls at
the entrance to the milking barn and then
moved up a ramp into stalls where they are
fed grain and milked. When the first group
of cows has been milked, they are driven out
and a second group brought into the milking
stalls. The use of this type of barn permits
an expansion in the dairy herd without the
expense of constructing additional barn
space.

Cotton Defoliation
Recommendations
Defoliation of cotton is necessary if the
crop is to be harvested with mechanical
strippers. Natural defoliation will occur if
harvest is delayed until after frost, but chem­
icals can be used to defoliate the plants ear­
lier, thus permitting harvest of the crop with
less deterioration in quality due to exposure
to weather.
Even if cotton is harvested by hand, de­
foliation increases the speed of picking and
usually results in a cleaner pick. Defoliation
prior to the first frost also destroys food for
cotton insects and facilitates a thorough
clean-up of stalks.
The specific chemical defoliant to use and
the method of application depend on the
growth of the cotton plants and on weather
conditions at the time of defoliation, accord­
ing to F. C. Elliott, cotton work specialist
for the Texas A. & M. College Extension
Service. Chemical defoliants should be ap­
plied at least 2 weeks before the first frost
is expected and preferably when the youngest
bolls are 25 days old.
Either dusts or sprays can be used. When
dust defoliants are used, plenty of moisture
in the air and a heavy dew on the plants are
necessary for satisfactory results, and best re­
sults are obtained when dusts are applied
with airplanes. On the other hand, sprays
may be applied at any time, even with winds
up to 10 miles per hour, and application
with ground machines gives satisfactory re­
sults.

Several chemicals, such as calcium cyanamide dust, ammonium thiocyanate, potassium
cyanate, and sodium monochloroacetate, have
been used successfully for defoliating cotton,
and sprays can be prepared from most of
these materials by mixing at the rate of 1
pound of powder for each gallon of water.
Spray applications should be made at the rate
of from 6 to 10 gallons per acre, depending
upon the chemical used. It is important to
follow manufacturer’s directions in applica­
tion, because too much defoliant may "freeze”
the leaves on the plants, while an underdose
gives poor defoliation.

Publications
Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station,
Baton Rouge:
Creep Feeding Calves, Extension Publica­
tion 1066, by W. T. Cobb.
Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station,
Stillwater:
Charcoal Rot of Sorghum, Bulletin No.
B-3 55, by Dallas F. Wadsworth and
John B. Sieglinger.
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Col­
lege Station:
Peanut Htills, Johnsongrass Hay and Vetch
Screenings in Rations for Fattening
Steers, Progress Report 1264, by B. C.
Langley and others.
Grain Sorghum Variety Tests at Lubbock,
1947-49, Progress Report 1265, by D. L.
Jones and others.
Cotton Defoliation Tests in the Lower Rio
Grande Valley, Progress Report 1267,
by C. A. Burleson and others.
Production and and Marketing Administra­
tion, United States Department of Agri­
culture, Washington, D. C.:
Development of Scourable Sheep-Branding
Fluids, by George C. LeCompte.
Copies of these bulletins may be secured by
request to the publishers.