Experiment station wheat and oats in 1889
Wheat was a profitable crop in Iowa until about 1870, and averaged from 20 to 30 bushels per acre. Since then, on account of deterioration ol soils, changes of climate, rust, blight and chinch bugs, the acreage and average yield have grown less steadily. Last year the average yield of wheat in the state was nine bushels per acre, and in 1881 it ran as low as six bushels. At the present time we are depending on Minnesota and Dakota for a large share of our bread, but the constant falling off in the yield and quality of the wheat in the states just named indicates, that we will have to go farther for it before long or grow it ourselves. One of our tasks at the Iowa Experiment Station will be, to produce hardier and more productive kinds of wheat than those which we have now, and determine the best methods of preparing the ground for them. Last year we sowed twelve kinds of wheat broad-cast, at the rate of 75ft>s per acre on undrained ground which received only ordinary preparation ; but all of them proved worthless on account of rust and blight. Last summer, we broke up an old pasture to the depth of four inches after tile draining it. Last March, 2.30 acres of this plat were thoroughly pulverized with a disc and reversible harrow and sowed broad-cast at the rate of 7oft»s per acre with the following kinds of wheat, viz: Black Sea, Fife, White Fife, Manitoba Fife, Golden Globe and Lost Nation. The ground was then thoroughly harrowed and rolled. Immediately afterwards, I applied top-dressings of Peruvian guano, land plaster and common salt to strips running across the different kinds of wheat, leaving other strips between them not fertilized. All of the varieties grew well and promised a good crop-until most of their blossoms had fallen, when— about one-fifth of the plat, including all of the varieties, was blown down by a rain storm. A few days alter the storm, the entire piece of wheat showed much rust and more or less blight. I was unable to discover that any of the different kinds of wheat had been affected by the guano or the land plaster; but I did see clearly, that the best wheat and the cleanest straw was on the strip to which I had applied salt. As I did not consider any of the varieties sufficiently rust-proof to warrant me in sowing them again, I threshed them together in tbe field on July 30th and the yield of the mixture per acre, proved to be 19 bushels o f more or less shriveled wheat. On the south end of the Station grounds is a plat of i TV acres, three-fifths of which is old ground and the remainder was a low, wet slough, which was thoroughly drained and broken in June, 1888. Last fall this plat was plowed to the depth of eight inches, and last March it was well pulverized with a disc and reversible harrow, when it was sowed, (broad-cast) with one bushel of Velvet Chaff Blue Stem wheat and then harrowed and rolled thoroughly. It came up well, stooled well and made a large growth; but on the lowest ground about one-fifth of the wheat was blown down when it was in blossom and remained down. A few days afterwards, I noticed that the blades of the blue-stem wheat were slightly rusted, but at no time did any appear on its stalks. On July 30th, the wheat on this plat was threshed in the field and yielded 48% bushels by weight of plump wheat, or 28.62 bushels per acre. I also sowed 3y? pecks of Sascatchawan wheat broad-cast on 1.55 acres adjoining the blue stem plat, on the same day that the latter was sown. It was old ground which had never produced wheat and it was plowed deeply last fall. In other respects it was treated like the blue stem plat. The Sascatchawan wheat stooled well; it stood up well, and was affected but little by rust or blight. It was threshed in the field at the time the other varieties were threshed and yielded 46^ bushels by weight of full, plump wheat, or at the rate of 29.80 bushels per acre.