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These bundles were taken from an unsprayed field. Compare with other photograph of grain and weed.


Farmer Fears Weeds No Longer

By May Wood-Simons

HOW to kill standing weeds will survive in the soil for ten years.

in fields of grain without The mustard is also a weed that harbors injuring the crop is one numerous vegetable pests and parasites. of the gravest problems Through large areas of Illinois, Wisconthat confronts the agri- sin, Minnesota and the Dakotas it in

culturist of any country. fests fields to the extent of giving the It is impossible to cultivate them out and appearance when in bloom of being a unless the farmer tramps through his field of mustard. grain field, pulling up each weed by hand The grain farmers of the Northwest -an impossible task—they must be left have a continual battle with wild musto grow with the grain, drawing in the tard. A few seeds will cover an entire moisture, spreading rank leaves for the field in two years if not kept down. It is sunlight and extracting nourishment impossible to eradicate it where it has from the soil.

once taken hold. In some fields where The most persistent weeds occurring it has not grown too strong Minnesota in the grain fields of the United States and Dakota farmers spend several days are the wild mustard, Canada thistle and with all the children and women obtainrag weed. The wild mustard of which able picking the weeds from the fields there are over eighty species is consid- during the month of June. It is of no ered by farmers the most troublesome. benefit to turn the ground into meadow It is of so hardy a character that its seed or pasture for the seed will lie dormant

for years and when the sod is plowed course of a single, season. Cattle and will come up again as great a pest as horses cannot eat grass or hay with ever. Professor R. A. Moore of the which the thistle is mixed. Land values Department of Agronomy of the Agri- are appreciably decreased by the prescultural College of the University of ence of this weed. Wisconsin says, "Hundreds of square It is estimated that weeds cut down

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miles of farming land in the state which the yield of grain in this country at least otherwise would be the finest agricult- twenty per cent. Under these conditions ural land in Wisconsin are covered with agriculturists have for several years ocmustard.”

cupied themselves in the attempt to disThe Canada thistle is no less dreaded cover a chemical that can be used for by the farmer. It is a positive menace spraying grain fields. To make it a sucto agriculture. The thistle spreads cess it is necessary that the chemical .through running roots deep under should destroy the weeds but leave the ground. It is relentlessly persistent. A cereals uninjured. Dr. Frank has carsmall portion of a root will serve to ried on extensive experiments in Gerstart a new growth. Many farms have many. Yorkshire College, Leeds, has been abandoned to this weed. The writer also made several tests on farms in Enhas seen this pest spread into large areas gland. Numerous methods of extermiand crowd out other vegetation in the nation have been tried and abandoned

because they were ineffective, injured institution. The discovery of a practical the grain crop, poisoned stock or were method of eradicating weeds will be of too expensive.

at least twice the value of either of these. From this it is evident that any means The experiments carried on consist in that can be found to destroy these pests spraying the field with a ten per cent sowill mean one of the greatest discoveries lution of iron sulphate. The idea of for agriculture that has ever been made. controlling wild mustard by this method No mechanical invention in farm ma was conceived last year at the University chinery will compare with it in impor Experiment Station. The work was tance.

based on information derived from Ger


A FIELD OF OATS SHOWING EFFECT OF SPRAYING. This photograph was taken four weeks after the spraying of one-half of the field. The side showing white weed flowers

is the unsprayed.

It can now be said with certainty that many where experiments had been tried such a discovery has been made. The on mustard. Plans were laid to make first successful experiments were at tests on the University farm as soon as tempted in June, 1906, by the Agricult- the wild mustard appeared. No machine ural College of the University of Wis- for the purpose is made in this country. consin. The work has been carried on A sprayer costing $135 was imported under the direction of Professor R. A. from Germany. The tests on the UniMoore. It should be recalled that the versity farm were entirely successful. University of Wisconsin has already es- Professor Moore then experimented on tablished a wide reputation for itself. other Wisconsin farms, in Dane, KenoThe Babcock milk test which has saved sha and Waukesha counties and at Lynn, more to the farmers of Wisconsin than Lyons county, Minnesota. As far as the cost of the whole university from its known these are the only experiments foundation to the present time, resulted that have yet been made in this country from experiments at the Wisconsin Ag- and in every case there is evidence that ricultural College. The formaldehyde the weeds have been annihilated while treatment for smut in grain is also one there has been no perceptible injury to of the successful discoveries of the same the grain. The grains that have been

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tested are oats, barley, wheat and spelz. No tests have been made on rye in the United States, but Professor Staglich has had success in spraying rye in Europe. Experiments are also being made on Indian corn and the results so far have been successful. The only effect that is seen on the grain is the blackening of the lower and older leaves that are doomed to wither eventually, while the young leaves, that bring the cereal to maturity, are unharmed. There are no complaints from any center of deterioration either in the quality or quantity of the grain crop sprayed. There has been no difference observed in the time of ripening. No tests have been made in this country on clover or grasses but experiments made in Scotland show that in no case was damage done to the young clover or grass while the mustard was entirely destroyed.

So far, the sulphate of iron solution is found to act definitely on mustard, yellow dock, cockle bur, smart weed, rag weed, and Spanish needles while there is

every reason to believe that it will destroy Canada thistle. Professor Moore says, “A sprayer of German make was recently shipped to the college for use in this investigation and I believe that it will mean the redemption of much land now infested with noxious weeds. Canada thistles can eventually be killed off, too, but as they are perennials, sending up new heads from the root, they must be treated several times during successive seasons. Experiments along this line are now being carried on by the station, but definite results cannot be obtained until another year shows whether the thistle roots are killed, as we hope, by the frequent blighting of the tops."

It is at once apparent that every section of the country will share in the benefit of this discovery. The various weeds that iron sulphate will destroy are found to prevail in different localities. The white daisy is familiar to eastern farmers, the rosin weed to western, wild mustard is widely scattered and Canada thistle grows in most of the northern states.

By means of the various tests carried - the grain crop by driving over it at this on it is now pretty well established that time of the year. In the test made, strips the best time for spraying grain field in- were left unsprayed in the center of the fected with mustard is when the mustard grain fields to prove the effectiveness of plants are in the third leaf. If done be- the experiments. After two days the fore this there is risk of some seed ger- strip stood out distinct with its yellow minating after the operation which would blossoms. Where the spraying was done make a second spraying necessary. If not a live plant could be found. delayed on the other hand until the The sprayer used for the tests has flower buds are formed the spraying the appearance of a chemical fire engine checks but does not entirely destroy the but for the fact that the large copper tank weed and seed may be formed. In the which holds seventy-five gallons of soluWisconsin experiment, however, mustard tion is mounted on a two wheel cart and twenty-six inches high was destroyed is drawn by one horse. Pipes filled with with one spraying. The best results are numerous holes extend like arms ten obtained when the plants are taken in feet from each side of the machine. A the younger stage. It is the opinion of fog like spray is spread over the field English authorities that if the mustard from these pipes. A pump is set in mois sprayed after the stems and flowers tion by the drawing of the machine. are formed that though the leaves are This keeps a pressure of one hundred destroyed the stems and flowers retain pounds on the liquid. The arms of the sufficient vitality to form seeds, the num- machine can be adjusted so that the ber of which is much less than in the spray is brought close to the crop or in case of a plant in the normal condition. case of narrow places the arms can be The principle acted upon is to prevent raised perpendicularly. Care is taken to the mustard from forming flowers and prevent foreign material from gaining seed. The stock of seed in the ground entrance to the reservoir. The solution will then be used up in the course of time before using is strained through a fine and if no further seeding takes place, wire sieve. the pest will be completely gotten rid of. To spray one acre of grain requires

The time for making the test is of about one hundred pounds of iron sulextreme importance. The condition of phate dissolved in fifty-four gallons of the weather is a factor to be considered. water. The sulphate of iron is a bluish The day must be bright and sunshiny. powder and resembles granulated sugar. There must be no wind and the dew should have evaporated. If rain fol"lows the spraying within

a few hours the solution will be weakened and the mustard will not be successfully exterminated. If rain follows sixteen hours after the spraying the extermination will be quite perfect. In a case of rain two hours after, fifty per cent of the mustard lived to produce seed.

Two days after the spraying all that can be found of the mustard is a black powder where the plant stood. Very

Wild MUSTARD. little damage is done to


When the weed is at this stage, spraying will cause it to disappear entirely.

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