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Wisconsin Farmers' Institutes / Wisconsin Farmers' Institutes : a hand-book of agriculture
Bulletin No. 11 (1897)

Convey, Thomas
Tillage,   pp. 21-27 PDF (2.0 MB)

Page 27

attempt to replow later in the fail that
hard pan is al gone, and it is mel-
lowed up to the depth of the original
Mr. Convey-That is true, and that
acconts for the improved condition
of land that is underdrained.  The
water percolates through the soil
rapidly and it dries out rapidly; the
wetting and drying tend to create a
crumbly or loose condition Of the
soil, so that land that is under-
drained improves in condition for
several years after.
Mr. Brooks-Don't    you   trink
there would be a great deal more
fall plowing done In your part of the
state if it was not that they have to
guard so against the washing of the
Mr. Convey-The washing and
blowing of the soil are the serious ob-
jections to fall plowing.
Mr. Brooks-If your }and was as
level as it is In the eastern part of
the state don't you think you could
follow fall plowing?
Mr. Convey-I have followed fall
plowing for a number of years and I
have come to the conclusion that as
near as I can I will keep a growing
crop on the land; the mechanical con-
dition is very much better and there
seems to be better results.  The ad-
vantages are all in favor of fall plow-
ing, I think, except that one fact;
where you keep a growing crop on
the land It tends to retain the fertil-
ity, prevents the washing and Im-
proves the mechanical condition of
the soil as well.
Mr. Arnold-I think the soil
should be occupied, It should not be
without a tenant.  Soil that is left
bare cannot help but lose its fertility.
I am of the opinion, however, that in
the southern and western parts of
the state, in order to mature the best
crop, if the ground is not too rough,
the time to plow the ground is in the
fail of the year; let it rot, and then
It will not blow. There is something
to be lost and there is something to
be gained. We lose this crop that
is occupying the ground and the fer-
tility is being lost when the ground
is idle. Nature sees to it that there
Is some kind of a growing crop on
the ground, if possible, but if you
want a good crop next year you must
perhaps lose some of this fertility
in order to insure a good crop next
year to have the ground sufficiently
Mr. Convey-I apprehend that Mr.
Arnold speaks of plowing under a sod
or something of that kind, where It
is absolutely necessary that you do
fall plowing in order to get the land
in condition for the next crop, for In-
stance tough sod, but I speak partic-
ularly of the clover sod that has only
been in clover one or two years. It
is just as easy to reduce it to a con-
dition fit for the use of the crop as
It is stubble land. Where grass land
is allowed to remain until spring "Is
it   advisable  to   allow   that
grass to grow just as large as pos-
sible before cropping?" is a question I
am asked. It is not At the Exper-
iment Station they have determined
where they spring plowed land rea-
sonably early and they took proper
care of the soil afterwards, and later
on compared the soil with that where
the crop was allowed to grow as late
as possible prior to plowing, they
found  In  the  first  place  that
with early plowing they had
twenty pounds of moisture to the
cubic foot, whereas In the latter case
it showed only six pounds of mois-
ture; besides, where you allow a crop
to grow large and woody, like that,
it may form a layer between the sub-
soil and the surface soil and intercept
the moisture that would arise by
capillary action. Besides, where you
allow it to become woody it is difilcult
to produce decay under those condi-
tions, when moisture may be deficient,
consequently good results will not be
obtained. Therfore there Is a ne.
cessity of plowing reasonably early.
a~rvr-;-.   --w

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