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Bulletin: Volume 1, Issue 12

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Experiments with potatoes in 1889-1890
( 2017-07-17) Speer, R. ; Extension and Experiment Station Publications

It is more difficult to improve the potato, (Solanum tuberosum) by the production of new varieties from seeds, than any other common field or garden vegetable. Although hundreds of promising kinds are produced every year, yet none of the new varieties is better than the old Mercer, Pink Eye, Snow Flake, Early Goodrich or Jersey Peach-blow. No other experiments have been tried oftener, than the planting of big potatoes against little ones or pieces with several eyes or single eyes, yet nothing has been gained by such experiments. Sometimes the little potatoes or the single eyes come out ahead; but generally, about the time that the results appear to be satisfactory, somebody else gets very different results. I have conducted such experiments and many others, without being able to discover why potatoes are inclined to degenerate, or why the single eye pieces come out ahead one year and fall behind the next. In 1888, we planted about 80 varieties of potatoes on our experiment grounds. All of the seed potatoes had been carefully assorted, and they were cut into two and three-eyed pieces as nearly alike in size as possible. The planting of all of the varieties was done on the 21st day of May in the same manner, and they received the same cultivation during the following summer. About the time the early varieties were flowering, I observed that all of the stalks or vines of certain kinds were of the same size and equally vigorous, and that there were great differences between the vines of other varieties. In some of the rows I found the vines of one-third of the hills very vigorous; another third was much less thrifty, and the remaining third were small and appeared to be unhealthy. When we dug the potatoes in the fall, I found as great differences between the products of the hills of the different varieties, as I had found between the vines while they were growing. I was convinced that the discovery of the causes of such differences would show that all of the faults were in the pieces of seed potatoes, and I determined to give the matter special attention during the following summer. About the 1st of May, ’89, I examined our seed potatoes which had been stored in bushel boxes in an out-door cellar, and found that the early varieties had produced sprouts from their seed ends from two to three inches long; but all of the eyes or buds on their stem ends were dormant. I had observed the early sprouting of the seed ends of potatoes often before, and I knew that the terminal buds of trees always started first, and that their stems grew upwards and their roots downwards; but I did not inquire for causes, as I supposed it was their nature to do so. Before leaving the cellar, the question occurred to me: If I should plant the vigorous buds from the seed ends of the potatoes, would they produce a better or a worse crop, than weak and dormant buds from their stem ends? I knew that both ends of the potatoes were well supplied with starch; but I thought that the difference between the starting of the eyes might be caused by a scarcity of albuminoids in their stem ends.

Front matter
( 2017-07-17) Extension and Experiment Station Publications
Notes and experiments with injurious insects and insecticides
( 2017-07-17) Gillette, C. ; Extension and Experiment Station Publications

Much that is written in this paper is fragmentary and incomplete, but as the writer is about leaving for a new field of labor, it is thought best to record here such observations and experiments as have been carried far enough so that a knowledge of them will be of economic importance.

Sugar beets
( 2017-07-17) Patrick, G. ; Eaton, E. ; Extension and Experiment Station Publications

Only two varieties of sugar beets were grown on the station grounds last year (1890), namely, the White Improved Vilmorin and the Klein-Wanzleben. Data on these are given in tabular form below.

In November last, when about to commence the analysis of the station beets, one of us caused to be published in various papers an offer on the part of the station, authorized by the director, to analyze all samples of beets sent in by residents of the state, accompanied by a record of the kind of soil on which they were grown, the manuring, cultivation, and variety name of seed.

A feeding experiment
( 2017-07-17) Speer, R. ; Extension and Experiment Station Publications

Several years ago I saw an interesting account of a feeding experiment in a newspaper, but the result was not satisfactory. The statement was as follows: “Two fat steers which had been off feed for twelve hours, were fed good rations of corn meal in the morning, and as soon as it was eaten, they were driven across the street to a slaughter house and butchered. When their stomachs were examined, it was found that most of the meal had passed directly from their gullets to the third apartments or manifolds of their stomachs,” but here the experiment was dropped. Dr. Armsby says in his work on cattle feeding, “that cows have been wintered on corn meal exclusively, and that, although rumination was entirely suspended for several months, no ill effects were observed.” As many farmers feed meal and grain to their cows before they give them hay, it is important that we should know whether the remastication of such food is advantageous or not. When we feed meal in large quantities to fattening cattle, much of it passes through them undigested. By mixing meal with cut hay or straw, we could compel cattle to remasticate a large share of it. Would it pay to do so or not, is a question which I tried to solve in February and March of 1889. From a lot of twenty-nine calves, I selected six animals that were from 9 to 10 months old, and much alike in size and vigor. On the eighth day of February, three of them were placed in one stall and the other three in another. On the first day of the trial each lot o f calves received ten pounds of corn and cob meal in the morning and as much more in the evening, and both lots received all of the hay and water that they wanted from the beginning to the end of the experiment. In the west stall the meal was fed dry and timothy hay was fed afterwards. We ran a part of the hay for the lot in the east stall through a feed cutter, and at the regular feeding times some of it was moistened and the rations of meal were thorouglv mixed with it before they were given to the calves. In a few days the daily allowance of meal for each lot of calves was increased from twenty to twenty-four pounds, which was the daily meal ration afterwards to the end of the trial. After the 12th o f March, each lot of calves received daily seven pounds of beets. The weight of each calf was recorded daily from the beginning to the end o f the experiment.