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ordinary pinhead; so they are on alfalfa, but they are long and white in color. They are caused by the presence of bacteria. If the soil does not have in it the kind of bacillus required by alfalfa, then it is probable that alfalfa will not thrive on that soil until that bacillus has been introduced there. We have tested that thoroughly in Washington. We have sent out thousands of specimens of seed of all the legumes, inoculating half the seed with bacilli, and in all cases magnificent crops were obtained from the inoculated seed, while the other half" was a total failure. We have done that so many thousand times that we are ready to say po sitively that unless these bacillı are present it will pay to add them to the soil. In so me districts they are already present.
Q.: Will the same bacteria inoculate red clover and alfalfa ?
Prof. Spillman: No, there is a different one for each kind of legume; but the kind which flourishes on red clover will thrive on alsike, and vice versa, and the kind that grows on sweet clover thrives on alfalfa; but as a rule, if you take the bacteria of one of the kinds and put it on another, the plant will not thrive as well as if you take its own kind.
Q.: Where can we get that bacteria?
Prof. Spillman: Our department in Washington furnishes it free to our farmers, I do not know whether they would send it here, but if you will annex us we will do it. (Laughter.)
Q.: How is it sent out?
Prof. Spillman: In the form of powder. The farmer puts this in a bucket of water, in which the bacteria will grow. He sprinkles the water over the seed, lets it dry, and sows it. Or if you know that a certain soil is inoculated all right, get a sack full of dirt from that field and scatter it over the new field.
Q.: Would you recommend the Govern ment here to supply it to the farmers?
Prof. Spillman : Yes; alfalfa does not th rive readily without it. It would not cost a great deal for the Government to do it, as the methods have been thoroughly worked out. We will send your Government all the bacteria it needs to start with, and all that will be necessary will be for some man to attend to it. It will not cost more than $1,500 a year to grow all that could be utilized in Canada.
Mr. W. S. Fraser: In many sections of the Province you will find that experience varies very much in regard to alfalfa ; some grow it successfully, others cannot. In that case, would it be wise to go to the farm where it succeeds and get soil from there?
Proi. Spillman: If the plant growing there has white nodules on the roots, then the field is inoculated, and it will certainly pay you to take dirt from that field, say two . bushels, and distribute it on the land that has failed to produce a crop.
Q.: With regard to clay, I have had success on the heaviest clay; in fact, it does better there than anywhere else. This opinion was confirmed by several other members.
Prof. Spillman: It may be that your •colder climate will cause a clay soil to behave differently from what it does with us. The point is that the reason it does not thrive on a very heavy clay soil with us is that such a soil is liable to be water-soaked.
Prof. Zavitz: In Ontario it seems to depend more on the sub-soil than on the surface soil.
Prof. Spillman: I refer to the sub-soil, not the surface soil; to the drainage of the soil.
Prof. Harcourt: I know of a field that has been in alfalfa for ten years, that has a heavy surface clay and a heavy sub-soil clay, and I know that in digging for a well they found the roots in the stiff clay seven or eight feet down in the ground, and the roots were large enough to make lines of demarcation in breaking up ground. That field produced three crops a year. It is not on a hill face, but rather low lying, but it
drains out. I do not think it matters so much what the surface soil or the sub-soil is, so long as it drains out properly.
Prof. Spillman: I see that we are differing in the terms we apply to soil. When you get south of the glacial drift there are soils that take a week to wet and a year to dry. What we call a clay soil down there does not behave at all like the soils I have described. We call such a soil as you describe a clay loam.
In regard to feeding alfalfa to horses, if they are fed exclusively on alfalfa hay, they are liable to kidney disease. If they are fed alfalfa only once a day there is no difficulty about it. There are thousands of horses in the west that never eat anything but alfalfa, but in that region it is common to have horses die of kidney disease.
Q.: Is there any difference between the first and second cut in this respect?
Prof. Spillman: There is a great difference of opinion on that point, and it has never been settled. The time to cut alfalfa for hay is the time it has begun to bloom. The curing is difficult because it sheds its leaves very rapidly as it gets dry. The hay should be put up in rather large cocks before it is dry and allowed to cure there, and be put under shelter just as soon as it is dry enough not to heat. Experience is the only thing that can tell you when it is dry enough not to heat. You may spoil some alialia hay when you begin.
For cows I will say that if I were feeding hay, I should prefer to feed alfalfa hay rather than any other. I feed them straight alfalfa, and if I feed a little grain with it I think it is the finest ration a cow can eat. Alfalfa hay and five, six or seven pounds of cracked shelled corn a day for a cow in full milk is an excellent ration; it will savo half your grain bill.
Q.: How will it do for silage?
A.: It makes very fine silage, and is very easy to handle. For hogs it is my preierence of all the pastures I know of. If hogs are put on alfalfa and given no other feed at all, they make an enormous growth of bone and muscle, and apparently a good growth of fat, but the fat is water, and not oil, and if you put it in the pan to iry, it will boil, instead of fry. If you want to produce hard bacon, you must feed grain or something else along with the alfalfa. In the United States our packers pay no attention to whether the bacon is soft or hard; we do not know any difference between highclass bacon and second-class bacon; we eat our own bacon. I imagine that peas and barley along with alfalfa would make hard fesh. At the Kansas Experiment Station they fed their hogs on chopped alfalfa hay through the winter, and wintered them nicely. Governor Hoard, of Wisconsin, tried the same experiment, and says that it is now his regular feed for brood sows during the winter.
Q.: How does he feed it?
Prof. Spillman : I do not know; I do not think that is a matter of much importance. It is also good for chickens.
Mr. Clark: I had twenty acres of alfalfa and pastured my stock on it all summer, and had no trouble with bloating.
Prof. Spillman: There is one section of our country where on the uplands I never knew of a case of bloat. But an alfalfa field is too valuable to allow sheep or cows upon it, because they will kill it out if they pasture it at all closely.
Q.: What about its place in the rotation?
Prof. Spillman: We have a noted farmer named Joseph Wing, of Ohio. He has a very simple rotation, namely corn and alfalfa-four years of alfalfa and one of corn. He says the only reason he grows the corn is that the grass invades the alfalfa erop and he had to plow it up, but he got one hundred bushels of corn to the acre right afterwards. When he has got rid of the grass he goes back to alíalfa. He sows alialia and brome grass and uses it for pasture. It will keep six times as much stock to the acre as blue grass.
Q.: How much seed is required ?
Mr. Spillman: I have seen it a good many times and have grown it a few times; in general I regard it as a failure in the United States. Sweet clover is one of the best honey plants.
MACDONALD-ROBERTSON SEED GROWERS' ASSOCIATION.
By G. H. Clark, B.S.A., Ottawa. Good work has been done along various lines by the Dominion Department of Agriculture, and by some of the Provincial Departments of Agriculture in Canada, with a view to encouraging the use of high-class seed of the best varieties
of farm crops. From what I have observed, I believe that for a large share of the improvement in field crops in the Province of Ontario, much credit is due to the efforts of Mr. Zavitz. The total value of agricultural crops grown in this Province-which is now estimated to be in the neighborhood of $150,000,000—has been increased, to a great extent, through the work carried on in connection with this Agricultural Experimental Union; but there is yet room for a considerable increase in the average yield of common field crops in Ontario by the use of better seed grain.
I expect that the object of forming associations of seed growers is not perfectly clear to all. The idea may be new in Canada. but there are associations of seed-growers
in other countries that have done good work. Many of you, doubtless, are acquainted • with the operations of the “Illinois Seed Corn Growers' Association.” The benefits de
rived from associations of breeders of live stock are also pretty well understood. Those associations have rendered valuable service in the improvement of live stock. The advantages to be derived from organized efforts on the part of seed-growers are not dissimilar to the advantages which breeders of pure-bred live stock get through the medium of their associations, and the general operations of an organization of seed growers may be carried on in a manner similar to those of live stock associations.
Associations of breeders of pure-bred live stock fix a minimum standard which must be attained in order that animals produced will be recognized by the association as being
In fixing standards of perfection for pedigreed animals the principles which underlie improvement are recognized. The same principles that are applied in the improvement of animals are also applied in the improvement of varieties of farm crops. Heredity is the lever by which improvements are made, and on which breeders of either plants or animals depend to fix desirable characteristics; but this law that like begets like must be taken in its broad sense, because it would not be possible to make improvement if it were not for the tendency to ward variation. Heredity, and a tendency towards variation, can be turned to good account in the improvement of plants equally as well as in the improvements of animals, but, unfortunately, few farmers make any attempt to systematically apply those principles in the improvement of things that are smaller in size than a hog.
Heredity and variation in improved varieties of field crops tend toward reversion to the wild types from which they evolved; but when improved sorts of field crops are provided with environment hest suited to their growth and a continued selection of the most desirable ones be applied, then this natural tendency toward reversion is over
It follows then that our improved field crops, as well as our highly-bred ani
mals, must have kindlier treatment in order that they may yield their powers of selfdefence with which nature endowed them. Though it is highly important that the variety of grain be well suited to the locality where it is to be grown, too much faith has been pinned on the names of varieties, with out due attention being given to the quality of the seed itself. It is not always recognized that there may be as much difference between two strains of seed of the same vari ety of grain as there is between two distinct varieties, as far as the capacity of the seed to give a large yield of grain of good quality is concerned. It is therefore not only important to use seed of the best variety, but it is also equally important to use seed of that variety that has had kindly treatment and continued selection for several years. In the production of good paying crops the cost of the seed is small, but the influence of the seed is great. The mere fact thať grain is plump and free from impurities is not sufficient proof that it is seed capable of giving a good crop. Breeders of poultry do not pay much attention to the size of eggs for incubation; they want, first of all, to know something about the good qualities that the germ in the egg has inherited from the parents, and not only from the parents, but from the bulk of the ancestors. It is equally important that seed be taken from a crop in which the individual plants have had an opportunity to attain a maximum vigor and yield per plant, and it is just as important to have definite information about the crops. and how the work of selection was carried on for several preceding years, as it is to have a knowledge of the ancestors of breeding animals. In consideration of these principles which underlie improvement in common grain crops, and in view of the limited supply and growing demand for high class, pure seed grain, an effort is be made by the Department of Agriculture at Ottawa to unite the efforts of farmers who make seed growing a special industry in their farm operations and form an association that will operate for the mutual benefit of seed producers and seed consumers.
The general plans of procedure which led up to the formation of the MacdonaldRobertson Seed Growers' Association were outlined to me in April, 1900, by a man whom I know to be given to habits of meditating on matters pertaining to the progress of agriculture and of the people of Canada. I refer to Prof. Robertson.
To go back to the beginning of the association, a seed grain competition was started in the spring of 1900 among farmer boys and girls, who, during a period of three years. each operated a seed grain plot of one-quarter of an acre, according to a system outlined for their guidance by Prof. Robertson. Over fifteen hundred competitors commenced growing seed of wheat or oats, according to that system, but before the competition was finished more than one-half of them had tired of the work and dropped out of the competition. I have visited many of those who continued with the work throughout the three years, and can say that, with some few exceptions, the competitors were encouraged in their work of selecting seed grain by parents who are among the best class of farmers in the localities where they live. Many of those farmers are now members of this association.
The Macdonald Seed Grain Competition closed with 1902, and in the spring of the present year Prof. Robertson invited those farmers who were directly interested in that competition, and also other farmers who were interested in seed growing, to form themselves into an association of seed growers. Provisional rules were drafted for the guidance of members for 1903; these will be considered and revised at the first meeting of the officers of the association for the Dominion. Copies of these rules may be had on application to the Seed Division, Department of Agriculture, Ottawa.
There are now seventy-four farmers in the Province of Ontario who are members of the association. With a few exceptions they have been visited and their work inspected during the past season. Each of them produces seed for his general crop on a small, specially cultivated plot, ranging in size from one quarter of an acre to two acres of
land. It is recommended that in sowing those plots the seed be sown thinly. The in. dividual plants are thus given more room to “stool out”; the plants get more moisture and more food, and they are more vigorous and have larger and better filled heads oi grain. When a grain drill is used in sowing those small plots, it is advisable to plug every other tube of the drill, thus making the drills of grain fourteen, instead of seven, inches apart.
The object is to obtain the maximum vigor and large heads of grain. From these small seed plots enough of the largest heads of grain are picked by hand each year to get seed to sow the seed plot of the succeeding year. For this purpose forty-five pounds of wheat, twenty-five pounds of oats, forty pounds of barley, or ten pounds of corn are considered sufficient for an of land. It should not take more than four hours, with two persons, to select by hand enough good seed for an acre seed plot, and the grain so selected can be threshed by hand.
The members of the association use the grain that is harvested in the regular way from the hand-selected seed plots to sow on a large field after a summer fallow, after a hoed crop, or following in rotation after clover or other leguminous crop. They have the grain produced therefrom to sell for the purpose of seed. In this way the rules of the association require of seed growers that they provide, as far as possible, a favorable environment for the growing crop, and also that they turn the natural tendency toward variation in plants to good account by following a continued system of handselection.
According to the provisional rules of the association, seed grain that is pure, true to variety, and has had the benefit of this system of careful growing and continued selection for three consecutive years, is recognized as improved seed. The operations of members who are seed producers are closely inspected and records are kept of the amount and pedigree of the seed they produce each year. It is proposed to issue a catalogue for general distribution each year, in which the names and addresses of members may be given, together with the kinds and varieties of seed produced by them, the pedigree of the seed, the amount of seed for sale, and the price per bushel. It is also proposed to supply members with association certificate forms, having printed thereon the rules of the association, with which members are required to comply in the production of seed. Purchasers of pedigreed seed may obtain one of these certificates of registration with seed bought from a member; the signature to the certificate of registration would be a guarantee, on the part of the member, that the seed supplied had been produced in accordance with the rules printed on the certificate.
The purchaser would then have an opportunity to verify the pedigree of the seed by having it Tegistered.
The work of organizing this association has, to some extent, been retarded by the illness and consequent absence of Prof. Robertson. According to the present plans, the organization will consist of an advisory board, comprised of men selected from each of the Provincial associations. The advisory board will make general regulations and direct the operations of Provincial associations, control the registrations of pedigreed seed, and otherwise advance the interests of associations. The more important work of the organization will, how ever, be carried on through the medium of Provincial associations; their scope for useiul work is practically unlimited. The operations of producers of pedigreed seed require to be carefully studied by some competent persons acting in the capacity of superintendent. It is expected that the superintendents of Provincial associations will have direct charge of enforcing the rules, preparing annual catalogues, arranging for holding seed fairs, and otherwise advancing the interests of seed producers.
I trust that the farmers of the Province of Ontario appreciate the need for a few farmers to make a specialty of growing high-class seed in every