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Southern Wisconsin Cheesemakers' and Dairymen's Association / Proceedings of the eleventh annual meeting of the Southern Wisconsin Cheesemakers' and Dairymen's Association held at Monroe, Wisconsin, Friday and Saturday, January 20 and 21, 1911
(1911)

Graber, L. F.
The growing and curing of alfalfa,   pp. 46-59


Page 49


SOUTHERN WIS. CHERSEMAKERS' & DAIRYMEN'S Ass'N. 49
ALFALFA REQUIRES A SWEET SOIL.
Another important soil requirement of alfalfa is that the
soil be sweet and not acid or sour as we term it. Acid soils
have been the cause of many failures in the growing of
alfalfa. A good indication of an acid soil is an abundant
growth of sheep sorrel. This is a weed that loves an acid
soil and when once it finds a sour soil it spreads very
rapidly. Acidity in soils can also be determined chemically
by the use of blue litmis paper. This is a cheap paper
which can be procured at most any drug store which when
placed in contact with a moist soil turns pink if this soil
is acid, while in case it is not acid it remains blue. This
test must be conducted carefully and the surest way to
determine whether your soil is acid or not is to send a
sample to the Experiment Station, Madison, Wis., for
examination.
APPLY LIME TO CORRECT ACIDITY.
An acid soil indicates a lack of lime -a material essential
for the growth of any plant and especially essential for
alfalfa. Proper applications of lime will correct sour soils
and make them sweet so that alfalfa will thrive. Unburned
ground limestone can be procured at S2.00 per ton and
applications of from 1000 to 2000 pounds per acre are
recommended. Fresh burned lime may be applied in smaller
quantities but it is more expensive. It must be slacked
before it is applied.
Alfalfa growing on an acid soil generally has a sickly
yellowish color and a very slow growth. When lime is
applied to such a field the plants generally respond immedi-
ately with healthy green appearance and rapid growth.
ALFALFA RFQUIRES AN INOCULATED SOIL.
If we were to examine the roots of alfalfa we would of
course first note their immense depth. Seven to ten feet
being quite common to our open soils. No wonder alfalfa
resists drought. But if we made a careful examination
especially of the finer roots we would note numerous small
nodules. It is these very nodules that make alfalfa an ex-


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