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of a new region are often not well understood, and it is usually more profitable to help the settlers learn for themselves and work together than merely to teach them methods that have been successful elsewhere but which may not apply locally.

In the establishment of irrigation projects it might be practicable to provide good roads and certain other physical improvements of which the cost would be relatively small. Such improvements would make it much easier to attract a better class of settlers.

Irrigated lands are usually isolated from other settlements and relatively thickly settled from the first. These conditions result in the need for community action in many matters. Cooperative activities are valuable in the direct results they give, and still more so in the training they afford in community action.

The extravagant exploitation of irrigated lands has tended to react unfavorably. People who are not familiar with agricultural matters are often inspired with hopes destined to be disappointed, while those who are acquainted with such matters are likely to regard with suspicion any project about which it seems necessary to make extraordinary claims. Irrigation opportunities are not, as a rule, much better than opportunities elsewhere, but they are usually good enough to justify interest without such highly colored advertising as is generally resorted to.

There is a tendency on the part of some of the States to provide impartial information as to their irrigation opportunities. Such information is much needed and greatly benefits all the interests concerned.



Agronomist, Office of Forage-Crop Investigations, Bureau of Plant Industry.


There is much interest attached to the introduction and testing of new crops, especially when these crops belong to a class that is of great agricultural importance. Since the beginning of systematic plant introduction by the Department of Agriculture the native and cultivated forage crops of the world have been studied with a view to securing new and valuable species for sections where the need has been the greatest. The search has been particularly close for hay crops adapted to the South and to the dry lands of the West, where natural conditions are not well suited to the plants that are most commonly cultivated for hay. Native and foreign species have been tried, and even those that gave only remote indications of value were tested, with the hope that they might succeed under new environment. In this work history and experience have taught the value of introduced species, foreign countries having yielded a majority of our most important hay crops. With one possible exception, our native flora has added nothing to our list of cultivated grasses in recent years, and the prospect of domesticating any of our valuable native species not already in cultivation seems now to be very remote. It is because of this that attention has been directed to Europe, Asia, Africa, and other countries for new material. In the course of its work the Department of Agriculture has introduced a large number of species and varieties of true grasses; and while, as might be expected, a great majority of these showed little or no promise for our conditions, there were some whose value was apparent almost from the first.

Though always interesting, it is rarely the case that the introduction and testing of new crops result in the spectacular. The newcomers that have proved successful have done so usually after an extended period of testing and in a very modest manner. Among the grasses that have been received within the past few years, however, are species that promise to be exceptions to the rule. Not only are they practically assured a place among our cultivated crops, but one species especially seems likely to produce a material change

in the agriculture of the region to which it is adapted. These grasses are Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth) and Sudan grass (Andropogon sorghum Bret.); also, possibly another form of sorghumTunis grass. Rhodes grass is adapted only to the extreme South, while Sudan grass and Tunis grass are suited to a much wider area. All of these species were procured from Africa, where, at the time of their introduction, they were grown under cultivation only to a very limited extent.

Rhodes grass was introduced into Australia about the same time as into this country, and is now fast becoming an important forage crop there. There is no record of Sudan grass or Tunis grass being cultivated to any extent in any part of the world, and it is probable that there will be more of the former at least grown under cultivation in the United States next year than in all the other countries combined. We have growing wild in this country species of the genus to which Rhodes grass belongs, none of which are of much agricultural value, and under cultivation many relatives of Sudan grass and Tunis grass-the sorghums and Johnson grass-all very important crops.

While not closely related botanically, and differing materially in important characteristics, Rhodes grass and Sudan grass have proved almost equally promising in the preliminary tests in the sections to which they are apparently adapted, and are almost certain to become staple hay crops within a comparatively short time.


The history of the introduction of Rhodes grass under cultivation is by no means complete, but the available records indicate that it was first cultivated by Cecil Rhodes at Cape Town, South Africa, probably about 1895. Mr. Rhodes, seeing the grass growing wild and appreciating its possibilities under cultivation, had seed collected and sown on his estate, "Groote Schur." When visited in 1903 by Messrs. Lathrop and Fairchild, who were interested in introducing plants for this country, the grass had already proved its merit and was attracting much attention locally. A small quantity of seed was procured and sent to the Department of Agriculture under S. P. I. No. 9608. This is the first introduction of Rhodes grass into the United States of which there is a record. Accompanying the packet of seed was a note by Mr. Fairchild giving a brief account of the grass on Mr. Rhodes's estate and a description of it under cultivation. The original importation was received under the botanical name Chloris virgata, and was so recorded in the published inventory. This mistake, however, was the result of confusion in connection with the common names of the two species and was corrected later when the grasses were more carefully studied.

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