Talks on Manures - A Series of Familiar and Practical Talks Between the Author - and the Deacon, the Doctor, and other Neighbors, on the - Whole Subject
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Talks on Manures - A Series of Familiar and Practical Talks Between the Author - and the Deacon, the Doctor, and other Neighbors, on the - Whole Subject

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Talks on Manures.
A SERIES OF FAMILIAR AND PRACTICAL TALKS BETWEEN THE AUTHOR AND THE DEACON, THE DOCTOR, AND OTHER NEIGHBORS, ON THE WHOLE SUBJECT OF MANURES AND FERTILIZERS.
BY
JOSEPH HARRIS, M.S.
AUTHOR OF “WALKS AND TALKS ON THE FARM,” “HARRIS ON THE PIG,” ETC.
NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION,
INCLUDING A CHAPTER SPECIALLY WRITTEN FOR IT BY SIR JOHN BENNET LAWES, OF ROTHAMSTED, ENGLAND.
NEW YORK:
ORANGE JUDD COMPANY,
1919
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by the ORANGE JUDD COMPANY In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. Printed in U.S.A.
III CONTENTS. INTRODUCTION TO NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION. PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION. CHAPTER I. Farming as a Business.— High Farming and Good Farming.— Summer-fallowing and Plowing under Clover.— We must raise larger Crops per Acre.— Destruction of Weeds.— Farming is Slow Work.— It requires Personal Attention. CHAPTER II. What is Manure?— The definitions given by the Deacon and the Doctor. CHAPTER III. Something about Plant-food.— All soils on which plants grow contain it.— The Season.— Water, Shade, Light, and Mulch, not Manures.— Several Definitions of Manure. CHAPTER IV. Natural Manure.— Accumulated Plant-food in the Soil.— Exhaustion of the Soil.— Why our Crops are so Poor.— How to get Larger Crops.— We must Drain, Cultivate thoroughly, and 23 Make Richer Manure. CHAPTER V ...

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A few typographical errors have been corrected. They have been marked in the text with mouse-hover popups.book coverTalks on Manures.A SERIES OF FAMILIAR AND PRACTICAL TALKS BETWEEN THE AUTHORAND THE DEACON, THE DOCTOR, AND OTHER NEIGHBORS, ONTHE WHOLE SUBJECT OF MANURES AND FERTILIZERS.YBJOSEPH HARRIS, M.S.AUTHOR OF “WALKS AND TALKS ON THE FARM,” “HARRIS ON THE PIG,” ETC.NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION,IBNECNLNUEDTI NLGA WA ECS,H AOPF TREOR TSHPAEMCISATLELDY,  EWNRGITLTAENND .FOR IT BY SIR JOHNNEW YORK:ORANGE JUDD COMPANY,
1919Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by theORANGE JUDD COMPANYIn the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.Printed in U.S.A.IIICONTENTS.IIVIXXINTRODUCTION TO NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION.PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION. CHAPTER I.Farming as a Business.— High Farming and Good Farming.— Summer-fallowing andPlowing under Clover. We must raise larger Crops per Acre. Destruction of Weeds.9Farming is Slow Work.— It requires Personal Attention.CHAPTER II.What is Manure? The definitions given by the Deacon and the Doctor.19CHAPTER III.Something about Plant-food. All soils on which plants grow contain it. The Season.21Water, Shade, Light, and Mulch, not Manures.— Several Definitions of Manure.CHAPTER IV.Natural Manure.— Accumulated Plant-food in the Soil.— Exhaustion of the Soil.— Why ourCrops are so Poor.— How to get Larger Crops.— We must Drain, Cultivate thoroughly, and23Make Richer Manure.CHAPTER V.Swamp-muck and Peat as Manure. Draining Swamp-land. Composition of Peat and29.kcuMCHAPTER VI.What is Potential Ammonia.CHAPTER VII.Tillage is Manure.— The Doctor’s Lecture on Manure.CHAPTER VIII.Summer-fallowing. Mr. Lawes crop every other year. Wheat after Barley. For Larger34Crops raise less frequently, and Manure Higher; also keep better Stock, and Feed Higher.CHAPTER IX.How to Restore a Worn-out Farm.— The Author’s Farm.— Tillage renders the Plant-foodstored in the soil available. Cultivated Lands contain less Plant-food, but are more37productive.— Grass alone will not make rich land.CHAPTER X.How to Make Manure.— We must get it out of the Land.CHAPTER XI.The Value of the Manure depends upon the Food— not upon the Animal.CHAPTER XII.Foods which Make Rich Manure.— Table giving the composition of 31 kinds of Food andthe value of the Manure they yield. Cotton-seed Cake. English and German Clover.4513234134
47Nitrogenous matter in Rich and Poor Foods. Manure from Corn compared with that from45Straw.IV CHAPTER XIII.Horse-manure and Farm-yard Manure.— Why the one is richer than the other.— Amount ofManure from a Horse.— Composition of Farm-yard Manure.— We draw and spread a ton to50get 33 lbs. of Nitrogen, Phosphoric Acid, and Potash.CHAPTER XIV.Fermenting Manure.— Composition of Manure when Fresh and in its stages ofFermentation. Loss in Fermentation and from Leaching. Tables showing the52composition of Manure at different stages.— Fermenting makes Manure more Soluble.CHAPTER XV.Keeping Manure under Cover.— Dr. Vœlcker’s Experiments.— Manure Fermented Outsideand Under Cover. Loss from keeping Manure spread in the Barn-yard. Keeping well-59rotted Manure in a Heap.— Conclusions from Dr. Vœlcker’s Experiments.CHAPTER XVI.An English Plan of Keeping Manure.— Box feeding of Cattle.— Spreading Manure at once. Piling in Heaps in the Field. Old Sods and Ashes from Charred Sods.69CHAPTER XVII.Soluble Phosphates in Farm-yard Manure. Fermented, the Manure has the most. Over7240 per cent. of the Phosphoric Acid is Soluble.CHAPTER XVIII.How the Deacon makes Manure.— A good plan for making poor Manure.CHAPTER XIX.How John Johnston Manages His Manure. Summer-fallows for Wheat.— Does not plowunder Clover. Value of Manure from different foods. Piling Manure. Applies Manure76to Grass-land in Fall, and Plows under in Spring for Corn.— His success due to the Effect ofManure on Grass.— It brought in Red Clover.CHAPTER XX.The Author’s Plan of Managing Manure.— Piles as fast as it is Made.— What it is Made of.— Horse and Cow Manure Together.— Horse Manure for Bedding Pigs.— To PreventFreezing.— Liquid Manure from Pigs.— Bedding Sheep.— Piling in the Field.— Where the83Piles should be Made.— Manure in a Basin.— Reasons for Piling.— What we Gain byFermenting Manure.CHAPTER XXI.Management Continued.— Why We Ferment Manure.— Dr. Vœlcker’s Experimentsshowing the Loss when Manure is spread in Yards.— Fermenting adds Nothing to Manure,but makes it more available. Mr. Lawes Experiments on Wheat and Barley. Dr.94Vœlcker’s Results.— Ellwander & Barry’s Experience.— Loss of Ammonia by Fermenting.— Waste from Leaching.— How to Save the Liquid Manure from Cows.CHAPTER XXII.Manure on Dairy Farms.— Wheat removes much more Nitrogen than Cheese.— Manuresfor Dairy Farms. Letter from Hon. Harris Lewis. How to make more and better Manure101on Dairy Farms.— How to save and apply it.— Letter from T. L. Harison, Esq.V CHAPTER XXIII.Management of Manures on Grain Farms.— Letter from Hon. Geo. Geddes.— Grain onDairy Farms.— Sheep on Grain Farms.— Visit to John Johnston.— Mr. Lawes’ Wheat-field.111— Mr. Geddes and Clover.— Gypsum and Clover as Manures.CHAPTER XXIV.The Cheapest Manure a Farmer can use.— Clover vs. Tillage.— As Plant-Food.—Constituents of a Crop of Clover, as compared with one of Wheat.— Making a Farm Rich by127Growing Clover.
CHAPTER XXV.Dr. Vœlcker’s Experiments on Clover.— Lawes and Gilbert’s on Wheat.— Clover Roots perAcre. Manures for Wheat. Liebigs Manure Theory. Peruvian Guano on Wheat.135Manures and the Quality of Wheat.— Ammonia.— Over 50 Bushels of Wheat to the Acre.CHAPTER XXVI.Experiments on Clover Soils from Burcott Lodge Farm, Leighton Buzzard.— Soil from Partof 11-acre Field twice Mown for Hay. Soil from do. once Mown for Hay and left for Seed.149— Amount of Roots left in the Soil by different Crops.— Manures for Wheat.CHAPTER XXVII.Lawes and Gilbert’s Experiments on Wheat.— Most Valuable and Instructive Tables nowfirst made accessible to the American Farmer.— The growth of Wheat Year after Year onthe same Land, unmanured, with Farm-yard Manure, and with various Organic and170Inorganic Fertilizers.CHAPTER XXVIII.Lime as a Manure.— Prof. Way’s Experiments.— The uses of Lime in the Soil.— Lime inthis Country. Composts with Lime.215CHAPTER XXIX.Manures for Barley.— Composition of Barley, grain and straw.— Valuable Tables giving theResults of Lawes and Gilbert’s Experiments on the growth of Barley, Year after Year, on thesame Land, without Manure, and with different kinds of Manure. Manure and Rotation of227Crops.CHAPTER XXX.Manures for Oats.— Experiments at Rothamsted.— Experiments of Mr. Bath of Virginia.—At Moreton Farm.252CHAPTER XXXI.Manures for Potatoes. Peruvian Guano for Potatoes. Manure from different Foods.255Experiments at Moreton Farm.— Mr. Hunter’s Experiments.CHAPTER XXXII.What Crops should Manure be Applied to? How, and When? John J. Thomas manner265of Applying Manure.— Top Dressing.— Doct. Vœlcker’s Experiments.CHAPTER XXXIII.Manures on Permanent Meadows and Pastures. Experiments at Rothamsted.271VI CHAPTER XXXIV.Manures for Special Crops. Hops. Indian Corn. Turnips. Mangel-Wurzel or Sugar-274Beets.— Cabbages, Parsnips, Lettuce, Onions, etc.CHAPTER XXXV.Manures for Gardens and Orchards. Market Gardens. Seed-growing Farms. Private294Gardens.— Hot-beds.— Manure for Nurserymen.— Fruit Growers.— Hen-Manure.CHAPTER XXXVI.Different Kinds of Manures.— Cow Manure.— Sheep Manure.— Buying Manure.— LiquidManure. Nightsoil and Sewage. Peruvian Guano. Salts of Ammonia and Nitrate of302.adoSCHAPTER XXXVII.Bone-Dust and Superphosphate of Lime. Bone furnishes Nitrogen as well as Phosphate314of Lime.— Increasing the Availability of Bone with Sulphuric Acid.CHAPTER XXXVIII.Special Manures.— Liebig’s Views.— Special Manure for Wheat and Turnips.—Rothamsted Experiments.CHAPTER XXXIX.Value of Fertilizers. Cost per pound of the Essential Constituents of Fertilizers. Value of324023
423Guanos.— Potash as a Manure.CHAPTER XL.Restoring Fertility to the Soil, a Chapter by Sir John Bennet Lawes.— The Treatment of aPoor Farm, to Restore it most Profitably.— Meat-making the Back-bone of the System.—The Use of Sheep to Manure the Soil. The Feeding of Cotton-seed Cake. Artificial342Manures not Profitable on Poor Land.— The Loss of Nitrogen.— The Formation of Nitric.dicAAPPENDIX.Letter from Edward Jessop.— From Dr. E. L. Sturtevant.— From M. C. Weld.— From PeterHenderson.— From J. B. M. Anderson.— Manure Statistics of Long Island.— Letter fromJ. H. Rushmore. Letter from John E. Backus. Manure in Philadelphia. Various other352Letters. APPENDIX.INDEX. Advertising.IIVINTRODUCTION TO NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION.243163Sir John Bennet Lawes kindly consented to write a Chapter for the new edition of this work. TheDeacon, the Doctor, the Squire, Charlie and myself all felt flattered and somewhat bashful atfinding ourselves in such distinguished company. I need not say that this new Chapter from thepen of the most eminent English agricultural investigator is worthy of a very careful study. I haveread it again and again, and each time with great and renewed interest. I could wish there wasmore of it. But to the intelligent and well-informed reader this Chapter will be valued not merelyfor what it contains, but for what it omits. A man who knew less would write more. Sir John goesstraight to the mark, and we have here his mature views on one of the most important questionsin agricultural science and practice.Sir John describes a tract of poor land, and tells us that the cheapest method of improving andceankriec.h iWneg  iat ries , ptloe akseeedp  tao  lfairngde t hbarte tehdiisn igs  filno cakc coof rsdhaenecpe,  awintdh  ftehee dg tehneemr alA tmeearcihcianng  cooft toounr- sTeaeldks, asgiven in this book several years ago.When this work was first published, some of my friends expressed surprise that I did notrecommend the more extended use of artificial manures. One thing is certain, since that time theuse of superphosphate has been greatly on the increase. And it seems clear that its use must beprofitable. Where I live, in Western New York, it is sown quite generally on winter wheat, and alsoon barley and oats in the spring. On corn and potatoes, its use is not so common. Whether this isbecause its application to these crops is not so easy, or because it does not produce so markedan increase in the yield per acre, I am unable to say.Our winter wheat is sown here the first, second, or (rarely) the third week in September. We sowfrom one and a half to two and a quarter bushels per acre. It is almost invariably sown with a drill.The drill has a fertilizer attachment that distributes the superphosphate at the same time thewheat is VIII sown. The superphosphate is not mixed with the wheat, but it drops into the sametubes with the wheat, and is sown with it in the same drill mark. In this way, the superphosphateis deposited where the roots of the young plants can immediately find it. For barley and oats thesame method is adopted.It will be seen that the cost of sowing superphosphate on these crops is merely nominal. But for
corn and potatoes, when planted in hills, the superphosphate must be dropped in the hill byhand, and, as we are almost always hurried at that season of the year, we are impatient atanything which will delay planting even for a day. The boys want to go fishing!This is, undoubtedly, one reason why superphosphate is not used so generally with us for cornas for wheat, barley, and oats. Another reason may be, that one hundred pounds of corn will notsell for anything like as much as one hundred pounds of wheat, barley, and oats.We are now buying a very good superphosphate, made from Carolina rock phosphate, for aboutone and a half cents per pound. We usually drill in about two hundred pounds per acre at a costof three dollars. Now, if this gives us an increase of five bushels of wheat per acre, worth sixdollars, we think it pays. It often does far better than this. Last year the wheat crop of WesternNew York was the best in a third of a century, which is as far back as I have had anything to dowith farming here. From all I can learn, it is doubtful if the wheat crop of Western New York hasever averaged a larger yield per acre since the land was first cultivated after the removal of theoriginal forest. Something of this is due to better methods of cultivation and tillage, andsomething, doubtless, to the general use of superphosphate, but much more to the favorableseason.Tplhoew perde suepn, ta yneda trh oeu lra wndh ereats ocrwonp,  taunrnd ehdu onudtr eedxsc emeodrien gwlyo uplodo rh. aHveu nbdereend sp loof waecrde us po fh awdh iet ant owterebeen for the fact that the land was seeded with timothy grass at the time of sowing the wheat, andwith clover in the spring. We do not like to lose our grass and clover.Dry weather in the autumn was the real cause of the poor yield of wheat this year. True, we had avery trying winter, and a still more trying spring, followed by dry, cold weather. The season wasvery backward. We were not able to sow anything in the fields before the first of May, and ourwheat ought to have been ready to harvest in July. On the first IX of May, many of our wheat-fields, especially on clay land, looked as bare as a naked fallow.There was here and there, a good field of wheat. As a rule, it was on naturally moist land, or aftera good summer-fallow, sown early. I know of but one exception. A neighboring nursery firm had avery promising field of wheat, which was sown late. But their land is rich and unusually wellworked. It is, in fact, in the very highest condition, and, though sown late, the young plants wereenabled to make a good strong growth in the autumn.In such a dry season, the great point is, to get the seed to germinate, and to furnish sufficientmoisture and food to enable the young plants to make a strong, vigorous growth of roots in theautumn. I do not say that two hundred pounds of superphosphate per acre, drilled in with theseed, will always accomplish this object. But it is undoubtedly a great help. It does not furnish thenitrogen which the wheat requires, but if it will stimulate the production of roots in the earlyautumn, the plants will be much more likely to find a sufficient supply of nitrogen in the soil thanplants with fewer and smaller roots.In a season like the past, therefore, an application of two hundred pounds of superphosphate peracre, costing three dollars, instead of giving an increase of five or six bushels per acre, may giveus an increase of fifteen or twenty bushels per acre. That is to say, owing to the dry weather in theautumn, followed by severe weather in the winter, the weak plants on the unmanured land mayeither be killed out altogether, or injured to such an extent that the crop is hardly worth harvesting,while the wheat where the phosphate was sown may give us almost an average crop.Sir John B. Lawes has somewhere compared the owner of land to the owner of a coal mine. Theowner of the coal digs it and gets it to market in the best way he can. The farmer’s coal mineconsists of plant food, and the object of the farmer is to get this food into such plants, or suchparts of plants, as his customers require. It is hardly worth while for the owner of the coal mine totrouble his head about the exhaustion of the supply of coal. His true plan is to dig it aseconomically as he can, and get it into market. There is a good deal of coal in the world, and
there is a good deal of plant food in the earth. As long as the plant food lies dormant in the soil, itis of no value to man. The object of the farmer is to convert it into products which man andanimals require.X Mining for coal is a very simple matter, but how best to get the greatest quantity of plant foodout of the soil, with the least waste and the greatest profit, is a much more complex and difficulttask. Plant food consists of a dozen or more different substances. We have talked about them inthe pages of this book, and all I wish to say here is that some of them are much more abundant,and more readily obtained, than others. The three substances most difficult to get at are: nitricacid, phosphoric acid and potash. All these substances are in the soil, but some soils containmuch more than others, and their relative proportion varies considerably. The substance which isof the greatest importance, is nitric acid. As a rule, the fertility of a soil is in proportion to theamount of nitric acid which becomes available for the use of plants during the growing season.Many of our soils contain large quantities of nitrogen, united with carbon, but the plants do nottake it up in this form. It has to be converted into nitric acid. Nitric acid consists of seven poundsof nitrogen and twenty pounds of oxygen. It is produced by the combustion of nitrogen. Sincethese “Talks” were published, several important facts have been discovered in regard to howplants take up nitrogen, and especially in regard to how organic nitrogen is converted into nitricacid. It is brought about through the action of a minute fungoid plant. There are several thingsnecessary for the growth of this plant. We must have some nitrogenous substance, a moderatedegree of heat, say from seventy to one hundred and twenty degrees, a moderate amount ofmoisture, and plenty of oxygen. Shade is also favorable. If too hot or too cold, or too wet or toodry, the growth of the plant is checked, and the formation of nitric acid suspended. The presenceof lime, or of some alkali, is also necessary for the growth of this fungus and the production ofnitric acid. The nitric acid unites with the lime, and forms nitrate of lime, or with soda to formnitrate of soda, or with potash to form nitrate of potash, or salt-petre. A water-logged soil, byexcluding the oxygen, destroys this plant, hence one of the advantages of underdraining. I havesaid that shade is favorable to the growth of this fungus, and this fact explains and confirms thecommon idea that shade is manure.The great object of agriculture is to convert the nitrogen of our soils, or of green crops plowedunder, or of manure, into nitric acid, and then to convert this nitric acid into profitable productswith as little loss as possible. Nitrogen, or rather XI nitric acid, is the most costly ingredient inplant food, and unfortunately it is very easily washed out of the soil and lost. Perhaps it isabsolutely impossible to entirely prevent all loss from leaching; but it is certainly well worth ourwhile to understand the subject, and to know exactly what we are doing. In a new country, whereland is cheap, it may be more profitable to raise as large crops as possible without any regard tothe loss of nitric acid. But this condition of things does not last long, and it very soon becomesdesirable to adopt less wasteful processes.In Lawes and Gilbert’s experiments, there is a great loss of nitric acid from drainage. In no casehas as much nitrogen been obtained in the increased crop as was applied in the manure. Thereis always a loss and probably always will be. But we should do all we can to make this loss assmall as possible, consistent with the production of profitable crops.There are many ways of lessening this loss of nitric acid. Our farmers sow superphosphate withtheir wheat in the autumn, and this stimulates, we think, the growth of roots, which ramify in alldirections through the soil. This increased growth of root brings the plant in contact with a largerfeeding surface, and enables it to take up more nitric acid from its solution in the soil. Such is alsothe case during the winter and early spring, when a good deal of water permeates through thesoil. The application of superphosphate, unquestionably in many cases, prevents much loss ofnitric acid. It does this by giving us a much greater growth of wheat.I was at Rothamsted in 1879, and witnessed the injurious effect of an excessive rainfall, intwhae sahuitnug monu.t  Ito fw tahse  asno ile xnictreaetdei nofg lsyo dwae ta sneda ssaolnts,  aofn da tmhme olonisas,  owf hniictrha twese roe ns aollw tnh ew idtihf ftehree nwt hpleoatts inwas very great. But where the nitrates or salts of ammonia were sown in the spring, while the