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Meteorological Summary for the month ending June 30th, 1886. Highest temperature,
82.0° Lowest temperature,
40.0° Mean temperature,
63.2° Total rainfall,
South to Southwest.
11 The two principal storms of the month were of an unusual long duration ; while the rainfall was exceptionally small.
FODDER CORN AND CORN ENSILAGE. The last annual report on the work of the Experiment Station contains upon pages 52 and 53 a record of observations concerning the gradual increase of vegetable matter in the fodder corn during its successive stages of growth. A series of tests carried out with plants taken from our fields had demonstrated the fact, that the vegetable matter in the variety of corn on trial (Clark) had increased from fifty to one hundred per cent. in actual weight, between the time of the first appearance of the tassel and the beginning of the glazing of the kernels. It was found that the same variety of corn, raised under fairly corresponding circumstances, as far as the general character of the soil and the mode of cultivation are concerned, contained in one hundred weight parts, at the time of the first appearance of the tassel, from twelve to fifteen weight parts of dry vegetable matter and from eighty-two to seventy-five parts of water ; whilst at the time of the beginning of the glazing of the kernels the former was noticed to vary from twenty-three to twenty-eight weight parts and the water from seventy-seven to seventy-two.
results of our investigation left no doubt about the fact, that our green fodder corn at the time of the beginning of the glazing of the kernels contained nearly twice as much vegetable matter per ton weight of the crop, as at the time of the appearance of the tassels.
This feature in the change of the composition of the fodder corn during its growth is not an exceptional one; similar changes are noticed in all our farm plants. Our observations in this direction were reported for the purpose of furnishing some more definite numerical values for the consideration of practical farmers. As long as the vital energy of an annual plant is still essentially spent in the increase of its size, as a rule, but a comparatively small amount of valuable organic compounds, as starch, sugar, etc., accumulates within its cellular tissue. The comparative feeding value of the same kind of fodder plants or any particular part of such plants is not to be measured by its size, but by the quantity of valuable organic nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous constituents stored up in its cellular system. The larger or smaller amount of dry vegetable matter left behind from a given weight of samples of the same kind of a fodder plant of a corresponding stage of growth indicates in the majority of cases their respective higher or lower economical value for feeding purposes. Agricultural chemists for this reason usually begin their examination of fodder plants with a test for the determination of the amount of dry vegetable matter left behind, when carefully brought to a constant weight at a temperature not exceeding 110° C.
The taller varieties of corn are not necessarily the more valuable kinds for the production of fodder; on the contrary it would be more judicious, on general principles, to doubt thier superior fitness for that purpose until otherwise proved. This statement applies in particular to some varieties but recently transferred to our section of the country, for they seem to require an exceptionally rich soil to yield the best results they are represented to be capable of producing. Raised in a soil of moderate resources of plant food, but little of the latter can be left over, after the production of their tall stalks and bulky. leaves, to assist in the formation of valuable organic compounds, as sugar, starch, fat, nitrogenous matter, etc., to enrich the entire plant. The same mode of reasoning applies to the raising of exceptionally large sized roots, potatoes, etc., they are usually but partly matured, and thus of a watery and indifferent taste.
The general character of the climate and the physical and chemical condition of the soil control the local adaptation of a plant for a successful cultivation. Extremes of seasons and one-sided modes of manuring are apt to modify the growth of a plant and to alter thereby its composition. To learn how to check an inherent tendency of a plant to a rank growth, in the interest of a fairer chance for a complete maturity of the final crop, is most desirable information to secure; for success in that direction insures not unfrequently a superior pecuniary return. A careful study of the special characteristics of the plant on trial under the influence of existing local resources of the soil and of the prevailing local features of the weather during the growing season alone, can furnish a safe guide for the attainment of the desired end.
The determination of the relative feeding value of different samples of the same kind of plants, raised under different circumstances, is always carried out with plants of a corresponding stage of growth. Progress in the growth of plants alters not only their composition in regard to the quantity of the vegetable matter which they contain in a given weight, it changes also very materially the absolute and relative proportion of their essential food constituents, i. e. their nutritive value.
The amount of vegetable matter in a given weight of green fodder corn, cut at the beginning of the glazing of the kernels, is known to be not only nearly twice as large as compared with that contained in an equal weight of green corn fodder cut when just showing the tassels, it is also known to be pound for pound more nutritious, for it contains more starch, more sugar, more of valuable nitrogenous matter, etc.
Considering the previously stated views correct, we filled our silos during last autumn with fodder corn which had just reached the point, when the kernels began to glaze over, expecting to secure an ensilage of superior feeding value. The results of our experiments in that direction have been very satisfactory and may be summed up as follows:
1. The course adopted for the production of corn fodder for the silo, secures the largest amount of valuable vegetable matter, which a given area of land, planted with fodder corn can produce under corresponding circumstances as far as land and season are concerned.
2. The ensilage of a more matured fodder corn has a higher feeding value pound for pound, as compared with that cut at an earlier stage of growth.
3. The more matured fodder corn on account of a harder texture is less crushed by close packing and consequently better resists the peculiar influences, which tend to deteriorate and ultimately destroy the contents of the silo.
As a more detailed description of the products of our silos may not be without some interest to our readers at this period of the season, we publish below the essential part of our results, beginning with an abstract from our late annual report, which relates briefly the course pursued in filling the silo.
The corn fodder, when cut for the silo, September 3 and 4, began to acquire a slightly yellowish tint along the outside of the field, yet was still green and succulent in the interior parts; the kernels were soft, their contents somewhat milky, and their outside just beginning to glaze.