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Crawford, Robert S. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 26, Number 7 (May 1925)

Hagemann, J. A.; Nicholoy, W. E.
University service to the pea canning industry,   pp. [255]-257


Page 256


THE WISCONSIN ALUMNI MAGAZINE-
which our industry was entitled. I remember
now that you smiled, and I wondered why. Now
I know. True, we were not getting- the service
which we are now receiving, but it was entirely.
our own fault. Even at that, we were getting
much more than the majority of us imagined-
if we ever took the trouble'to imagine.
   Our industry, being primarily an agricultural
industry, benefits most from the work done by
the different departments of the College of
Agriculture. No sooner had I begun to study
the work of these different departments than
I found that they had been going along in their
quiet way for years, receiving little or no en-
couragement from the canning industry as a
whole, but doing their best to solve our problems
as they saw them    and even anticipating our
future problems. I learned that the first ap-
plication of science to the art of canning was
made by our own Experiment Station back in-
1894. At that time very heavy losses frequently
occurred in the canned product after' it was
processed in the factory.   In those days the
process of canning was invested with much
secrecy. The influence of germs on the keeping
quality of the product was unknown.      Spore-
bearing- and gas-producing bacteria were un-
heard of except by a few scientific men.
   Louis Pasteur, an eminent Frenchman, dis-
 covered most of the fundamental principles
 involved in the science of baeteriology. H. L.
Russell, now Dean of the College of Agricul-
ture, was one of the few men in this country
at all familiar with this new science. Fortunately
for the industry, he was asked to aid in check-
ing the then very heavy losses, and he dis-
covered the cause was due to insufficient steriliza-
tion. This was the first application of the new
science of bacteriology to canning in this country.
Now every one knows that heat is the only
agent necessary to insure sound, sterile, canned
foods. Even the housewife has almost entirely
abandoned the use of injurious canning com-
pounds and preservatives. -
   The Department of Agronomy has spent
 years studying varieties of canning peas. By
 selection they have improved old varieties and
 by hybridizing have developed new varieties,
 some of which promise to be much better than
 any we have ever had. This work is at present
 being carried on largely at the branch experi-
 ment stations at Ashland. and Sturgeon Bay.
 Not only are new and better varieties being
 developed, but each of these varieties is disease-
 resistant.
   Not so many years ago we used to blame the
 weather for all of our crop failures. Land once
 in peas was found to produce better pea crops
 than new land. Naturally, we took advantage
of this knowledge and only when greater acreage
was needed did we plant new soil. But the time
came when crops failed and we could no longer
blame the weather.     Something was wrong,
The Department of Plant Pathology was called
in. They found the-soil diseased. Root rot it
was called, and we now know that it is caused
by lack of proper rotation. The problem even
now is far from solved, but satisfactory progress
is being made.
  Here again the Department of Agricultural
Bacteriology came to the rescue. If soil once
planted to peas produced better pea crops than
new lands, why not transplant some of this
soil to the new fields? It did help, but at the
same time we were transplanting the root rot
bacteria. We know this now and we also know
that all we were doing Was to carry a little
natural inoculation from one field to the other.
The Department of Agricultural Bacteriology
has made a careful study of the value of inOcula-
tion and we are now able, at a very small cost,
to inoculate our seed peas with a pure pea
culture which produces uniform' and full results.
Experiments carried on last year showed in-
creases of as high as 5o%   in yield and-every
indication of a much better quality. -This work
is not finished, but I am satisfied that the De-
partment will not quit until they have covered
every angle and phase of the problem.
   The Soils Department through their study
of soil types and fertilizers are doing a real work.
Drainage, both natural and artificial, is another
important problem that is receiving careful
attention. And there are many others.
   The Department of Entomology with the
 assistance of the U. S. Department of Agri-
 culture probably has in hand one of our most
 important problems, the control- of the pea
 louse or aphis. Thousands of dollars are lost
 annually by Wisconsin farmers and canners
 through the ravages of this pest. Experiments
 conducted this past season have practically
 established the aphidozer as the best method
 of control. By use of this machine, developed
 here at Wisconsin, 6ver ioo pounds of aphids
 have been collected from 5 acres of green peas.
 Yields have been increased well over 5o% and
 here again is every indication of -a high in-
 crease in quality.
   One thing which has helped greatly in all of
 this great work is the Canners Short Course.
 Once each year for one week the University
 puts on a canners program, when, by lecture
 and laboratory work, the canners study the
 work of the College of Agriculture during the
 past year. And not only is this a benefit to the
 canners. The contact of the canner with the
 men at the College of Agriculture affords each
    COME BACK and hear Mendota when her shores are all in tune with the chorus
of the trees upon the hills.
Every woodland path is vocal. In June's vibrant air are sweetly chording
fingers. Come and listen!
256


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