Experiments with corn

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Speer, R.
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Extension and Experiment Station Publications
It can be very challenging to locate information about individual ISU Extension publications via the library website. Quick Search will list the name of the series, but it will not list individual publications within each series. The Parks Library Reference Collection has a List of Current Series, Serial Publications (Series Publications of Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service), published as of March 2004. It lists each publication from 1888-2004 (by title and publication number - and in some cases it will show an author name).
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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?