Wisconsin Dairymen's Association / Thirty-second annual report of the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association : held at Platteville, Wis., February 10, 11 and 12, 1904. Report of the proceedings, annual address of the president, and interesting essays and discussions relating to the dairy interests
Henry, W. A.
A lesson in fertility: the importance of feeding milling by-products in Wisconsin, pp. 31-41 PDF (2.3 MB)
Wisconsin Dairyvmens Association. wheat straw and that wheat bran is a good deal richer than corn, and oil meal, 0. P., still far richer. Corn contains a great deal more phosphoric acid than wheat straw and wheat bran nearly four times as much as corn. Clover hay is rich in potash, while corn is relatively poor. A careful study should be made of this table by a thoughtful farmer. By it we learn what fertility a given weight of any of these materials takes from our fields. Our fields contain a certain fixed quan- tity of these and other constituents. These under discussion are the only ones we need consider, for when they are ample the other plant constituents are present as a rule in such abundance that we need not take thought of their supply. The farmer who sells straw, hay, corn, etc., takes from his fields the amount of fertility indicated by the table for each thousand weight, or half ton, of products grown and disposed of. If this process of growing crops and selling them off the farm continues long enough without putting anything back, the fields become depleted of their fertility. Moreover, by cultivating the fields the soil leaches some of its nitrogen downward and this escapes in the drainage water. Thus there are two sources for the loss of nitrogen, while the second does not hold to any extent for the phosphoric acid and potash. When we talk about our fields being worn out and run down, wie mean that the available fertilizing constituents are reduced so that the roots of the crops cannot get at them as they should. Part of the fertility in any given soil is immediately available. This corresponds to cash which we may have in the bank ready to draw at a moment's notice. Another part of the soil fer- tility is locked up in the soil particles and is only slowly avail- atle. This may be represented by long-time securities which an investor holds. Often he cannot turn these securities and get cash for them although they may represent real value. When we talk about a Wisconsin farm being run down we mean more properly that its available fertility assets are low. Its slow assets in fertility may be abundant but the roots of its growing crop cannot get at them. We all know that once Wisconsin grew great crops of wheat. Then the soil had an abundance of quick assets, and the wheat 35
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