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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
(1904)

Henry, W. A.
A lesson in fertility: the importance of feeding milling by-products in Wisconsin,   pp. 31-41 PDF (2.3 MB)


Page 35

 
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 
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