Page images
PDF
EPUB

mentioned in other parts of this report, consists mainly of field experiments and investigations carried on under glass. The experiments in the green house have been a study of the effect of different fertilizers upon varieties of lettuce; a comparison between the flowering capacity of roses grown from flowering and blind wood cuttings, and experiments which have been conducted here for several years, to discover a practical method of destroying carnation rust. This is one of the most injurious fungus enemies of this important green house plant, and has been a serious obstacle to the profitable cultivation of it. The results of these experiments will be prepared for publication, as a bulletin of the Station by Prof. Corbett, sometime during this year.

Experiments have also been conducted in the Ohio Valley, in the Northern Panhandle counties, having in view the discovery of a remedy for bitter rot, which has seriously impaired the value of the apple crop in that portion of the State for several years. Thus far it has not yielded to any of the treatments administered, but the experiments are being continued, and new treatments are constantly being devised.

Three years ago fertilizer experiments were discontinued in the orchards on the experiment farm, and were carried into the sections of the State where commercial orcharding was being conducted. The owners of these orchards have generously afforded us every facility for carrying on experiments in their orchards, in which the Station is very fortunate, since much more elaborate, and at the same time, less expensive experiments can be planned and conducted than would be possible on our limited grounds. The fertilizer experiments, which are designed to determine the effect of different kinds of fertilizers in the case of young trees, upon the growth of wood and fruit, and in the case of old orchards to extend their years of usefulness, are being carried on by the Station.

Comprehensive and carefully planned experiments are being made upon several thousand trees to determine the best method for destroying the San Jose scale. The principal material used is petroleum or some of its products. About 800 trees in one orchard, all of which were more or less infested with this insect, have beeen laid off in blocks and treated with a number of the crude distillates produced in the process of refining petroleum, which were used in pure and dilute form. Having in view the discovery of a staple, commercial material that would destroy this insect under all normal conditions, and which, when applied, would work no harm to the tree; a number of other experiments have been made in the use of combinations of refined high grade kerosene and the cheaper crude distillate oils, with different amounts of those less volatile products of petroleum, such as vaseline and paraffin,

In 1897 the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents, at my suggestion, empowered me to lease several acres of land in the glades of Preston county, for the purpose of extending experiments in cranberry culture, and also to make experimenes upon these lands in the production of such crops as cabbage, celery, squashes, onions, tobacco, etc. About five acres of land was rented from John W. Guseman for five years, at 850.00 per year. That portion of the land not devoted to cranberries was thoroughly tiledrained and these experiments have been going on. A complete report of this work will be very soon ready for publication. The cranberry work has been so encouraging that one of the large orchard companies, after making careful inquiry about the results, has planned to enter upon the culture of cranberries on a large scale. Along the Allegheny slopes, extending througb a number of counties, is a very considerable area of this glade land, which has been shown by these experiments to be very valuable indeed for the production of the above mentioned crop, and we may reasonably expect to see them brought into profitable use in the near future.

On the first day of May, two years ago, an order of the Board of Regents confirming a sale of the old experiment farm to T. J. Gilmore, and the purchase of the farm now owned by the University from T. J. Meeks was made, after which much of the energies of the Agriculturist of the Station and his assistants was devoted to equipping this farm for future work, and in organizing field experiments, etc. Much of the work done in this way has been reported to the Board of Regents heretofore. Probably more money and labor was expended than would be approved by the

a

casual observer, but when we contemplate that these lands and equipments are to be used for this purpose for many years, I feel sure that the wisdom of the course pursued will be manifest.

Quite satisfactory progress has been made in poultry experiments, substantial equipments for which have already been provided. Whenever it can be done, an incubator and brooder house, suitable for the work, should be constructed. Plans and specifications for this structure have been prepared. The experiments in poultry have been largely along the line of studying the economic value of different foods for the production of meat and eggs, and much attention has been given to investigations of some of the important scientific problems that relate to incubation. Some of this work has already been reported in Bulletins heretofore referred to.

Valuable experiments have been made in feeding sheep, and in a study of some of the internal parasites prevalent in this part of the state among sheep, and experiments have been made to determine the value of certain treatments. This state is finely adapted to sheep culture, and any experiments that may lead to greater interest in it, and more substantial profit, are worthy of consideration. One great trouble with sheep husbandry is the fact that a large per cent of the sheep are put upon the market in a condition absolutely unfit for the block, and much of our work along this line ought to be devoted to discovering economical food rations and methods for improving the character of the stock.

Experiments have been planned and are underway at the Station that are designed to study thoroughly the use of several

inous plants, such as clover, sand vetch and cow peas, particularly the latter, as economic means for improving the soil. This experiment evolves the study of a number of varieties of these plants. In relation to this study elaborate experiments are under way on this farm to study the comparative value of green manures alone and in combination with commercial fertilizers.

Another important set of experiments is being carried on to study the needs of the soils of the Experiment Station Farm, which represents, as disclosed by our soil analysis, a very large portion of the land under cultivation in the State, and in the same connection to observe the ultimate effects of continuous cropping, with and without the use of certain fertilizers upon these lands.

Extensive variety and fertilizer experiments on oats are also being carried on.

Buckwheat is one of the important cereals of West Virginia, and if its value and cultivation were better understood there is no reason why it should not be a source of large income to the farmers of the State, and so various experiments have been conducted upon this crop. A number of varieties obtained in the United States and Canada, together with some varieties obtained through the Department of Agriculture from Europe, are being tested. A study, also, is being made of the best time of sowing this crop, and of various means of increasing its yield.

Quite extensive experiments have been planned, some of which are now going on, to determine the value of various fertilizing materials to improve the yield and quality of grass in meadow and pasture.

In 1897 a contract was made by my predecessor with the Fairmont Index for the printing of Station Bulletins and Reports. In the fall of that year I presented this matter to the Executive Committe of the Board for instructions, and was informed that it was the wish of the Committee to have this contract continued for a time, as the terms seemed to be satisfactory. Upon future investigation, I found that the work could be done cheaper, and with the approval of the President of the Board of Regents, I prepared specifications, which were submitted to a number of newspapers and other printing establishments in the State for bids. The Fairmont Index was the lowest bidder. A contract was made with it at prices about forty per cent. lower than under the old arrangement. This contract expired last fall, and with the same authority, and on the same terms, a contract was made with the Morgantown Post for doing this work, for an indefinite period. I should like to have instructions from the Board of Regents in regard to this work in the future. A copy of the contract is submitted herewith for your information.

Respectfully submitted,
J. H. STEWART,

Director.

« PreviousContinue »