Bulletin: Volume 1, Issue 7
Neuroterus flavipes, n. sp. Gall:— A hard woody swelling of the mid-rib or one of the main veins of a leaf, the leaf becoming much wrinkled and deformed as the result. Large galls measure three-fourths of an inch in length and one-fourth of an inch in width. The flies usually escape from the upper surface, sometimes through a slightly raised teat-like projection.
Galls were gathered at Ames, Iowa, July 6, 1888, from which the flies had already begun to issue.
Gall-fly:— Female.— Head thorax and abdomen black; antennae and legs light yellow; length, I. 6mm. (1 inch=25.4 mm).
During last August 1 learned that the pigs on the College Farm were being troubled with lice. I had for some time been anxious to try the kerosene emulsion remedy against these disgusting pests as used so successfully for the destruction of cattle lice last winter and reported upon in Bulletin 5 of this station.
Mixtures of kerosene and lard, and lard and sulphur, as ordinarily recommended against parasites upon domestic animals were first tried that I might know from experience how much of a task it would be to use these substances in the usual way. As I had anticipated, it was found to be a tedious operation if many animals were to be treated and especially if they were wild. In fact I came to the conclusion that any remedy like the preceding where oils or washes are to be applied with a cloth, brush or curry comb, can hardly be practical except in cases where the lice are very abundant or where there are but a few very valuable tame animals that do not object to being handled. At least, this method of treatment would be very unsatisfactory in most cases.
When corn or other crops fail to grow on account of defective seeds, cut worms or other causes; it is necessary frequently to plant something else as a substitute, which will ripen before frosts. But the list of crops which can be grown in Iowa as substitutes in suchcases, is very short. The millets, buck-wheat or beans, are used for such purposes generally; but they have proved failures much oftener than corn, oats, barley or clover. I have grown such crops frequently, not as substitutes for other crops ; but because they were profitable. I intend to grow them in the future also, but I will be careful to select the best varieties for seed, and prepare the ground for them properly. Hungarian grass and, (the weed) Fox-tail, belong to the millet family.
Last spring, we planted a large collection of millets which we procured from many different sources. They were billed to us as Hungarian grass, Common millet, German .millet, Pearl millet and Golden Wonder millet. When they were fully grown, the differences between the varieties proved to be great ; but not greater than the differences between the plants which were grown from the seeds that were received in each of a considerable number of packages, which were labeled German millet. The seeds in a few of them were nearly pure or true to name ; while the plants from the seeds of others showed from twenty-five to fifty variations between Fox-tail and German millet. The Pearl millet lacks vitality and proved a failure on our grounds last year and this year. The common millet is a week earlier than Hungarian grass and two weeks earlier than German millet. Its average heighth on good ground is from 31/2 to 4 feet, and its stalks are slender and liable to be blown down by storms. Its blades are very thin and narrow ; it is smothered frequently in old fields by Fox-tail and other weeds, and it yields only about half as much hay per acre as German millet. The principal distinctions between Hungarian grass and common millet are, that the former is later and larger than the latter. Neither of them are profitable crops, except on rich, clean ground. The average heighth of German millet is about four feet. Its stalks are so large and strong, that it stands up much better during rain storms than wheat, oats or oarley. Its blades are long, very thick and from 3/4 to 1 inch in width. It produces from three to four tons of nutritious hay per acre usually on good ground, and the chinch bugs let it alone; while they are extremely fond of the smaller and earlier varieties. As it is the best of the annual grasses I saved a peck of seeds from carefully selected stalks, to which I expect to add improvements by similar selections of seeds in the future.
Sixteen acres of corn were grown on the grounds of the Iowa Experiment Station in 1889. The principal part of it was produced from the best ears of our last year’s crop of Learning corn, and the remainder consisted of Arleus and early Mastodon corn. It was grown on a black heavy soil, which was too wet formerly in wet seasons, to produce paying crops of anything, except grass; but last year it was tile-drained thoroughly.
The greater part of the field had been used for many years as a pasture and the remainder, (perhaps five acres) was a part of an old field which had been used for different kinds of crops. It was well plowed early in September, 1888. Last spring, we ran over it twice with a disc harrow and once with a reversible harrow and then plowed it about eight inches deep. Then we ran over it again with a disc harrow and a reversible harrow and also with a heavy farm roller. It was planted May 2d and 3d, with a two horse planter in rows three feet and eight inches apart. From two to three grains were planted in each of the hills, which were thirty inches apart in the rows; but the entire field was thinned afterwards to two stalks in each hill. The field was harrowed twice with a Thomas smoothing harrow after the com came up; when it was divided into four lots, each of which was cultivated four times afterwards and hoed once. The south lot was cultivated each time with the Tower cultivator. The lot next to it was cultivated each time with the Eagle- Claw cultivator. The next or third lot, was cultivated with the riding Pearl cultivator, and the remainder of the field each time with the Albion Spring Tooth cultivator. The work of the Tower cultivator was excellent where oat stubble had been plowed under; but where old weeds or corn stalks were near the surface of the ground, it did not work well. The work of the Eagle-Claw cultivator was better than could be done by the walking or riding plows which are used in every neighborhood; because it pulverizes the surface of the ground better and leaves it level. But the Albion 248 Spring Tooth cultivator excels all other kinds which we have used, on all kinds of ground and in every respect. When our crop of corn was husked and measured during the latter part of October, the yield of the entire field proved to be eighty bushels per acre of sound shelled corn. I find from the reports of the Secretary of the Iowa Board -of Agriculture, that the average yield of corn in Iowa for the years 1883-8 inclusive, was 31 and 312/3 bushels per acre. The highest average yield per acre for a single year, was considered remarkable, being 411/4 bushels. When we compare such crops with our crop, we can not help asking, why are there such differences?
The two vacant pages of the Bulletin give limited space for notes on our twelve years experience with the one acre on the college grounds known as the vineyard. Previous to my taking charge of the Department, this plot had been twice planted with vines which were lost almost wholly by root killing in winter. Believing the loss to result from too shallow planting the rows, were reset with strong, one year old plants in the bottom of holes eighteen inches deep, filling the holes gradually as the canes made growth.
With this deep planting no vines have been lost of hardy varieties in twelve years, except a few on a gravelly point where we shall re-set at a still greater depth.