JOHN M. SCOTT
State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
NATHAN MAYO Commissioner
T. J. APPLEYARD, INC., TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture........ Tallahassee
T. J. Brooks, Director, Bureau of Immigration..... Tallahassee
Phil. S. Taylor, Supervising Inspector............. Tallahassee
John M. Scott, Agricultural Editor .............. Gainesville
The quality of the livestock produced in a community.will
depend to a large extent upon the legume crops that can be
grown. Of course legume feed crops can be shipped in from
other sections but the cost of transportation adds greatly to
the expense of raising livestock. Wherever these crops can be
grown successfully, all classes of livestock can be produced
more economically and at the same time our soils will be im-
proved by the growing of these crops.
Florida farmers, if they choose the proper types of soil, can
grow as great a variety, if not more, of legume feed crops than
farmers in many other states.
As the acreage of these legumes is increased in the State, so
will the quality of our livestock be improved. The productivi-
ty of our soils should be increased as a result of growing these
various legume crops.
This bulletin gives the results of experiments that show the
feeding value of some of these legumes and also the increased
yield that it is possible to obtain from crops following some
of these good legumes.
Some of the crops discussed may be new to some of the
readers of this bulletin, therefore directions for planting, culti-
vating and harvesting have been given.
Legume Feed Crops Grown in
By JOHN M. SCOTT
sri;:1,ili;,, deeringianur Bort.
T HE velvet bean has been known and grown in Florida for
nearly fifty years, and during the last thirty years it has
been grown on a commercial scale. From about 1912 to
1916 a large acreage was grown for seed production, as there
was considerable demand for seed in Mississippi, Alabama,
Georgia, and South Carolina at that time. Since then farmers
in the above Southern States have to a large extent produced
their own seed.
During the past ten years a considerable amount of velvet
beans have been used in mixed dairy feeds, but at the present
time nearly the entire crop is grown as a soil improving crop
or as feed to be grazed by cattle during late fall and winter.
The following is a botanical description of the plant by
Katherine Stephens Bort, taken from'Bulletin 141 of the Bureau
of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture.
"Stizolobium deeringianum Bort.-An annual, herbaceous,
climbing vine sometimes 20 meters in length when growing on
supports, and even on the ground attaining a length of from
2 to 6 meters, bearing long, pendent racemes of purple flowers
which produce dark, velvety pods 5 or 6 centimeters long.
Stems rather slender, terete, sparsely pubescent, with white
appressed hairs, especially on the ridges. Petioles equalling
or exceeding the leaflets, pubescent like the stem, and continued
for 2 to 4 centimeters beyond the lateral leaflets; stipules subu-
late, pubescent, about 1 centimeter long; stipels similar but
smaller; petiolules about 5 millimeters long, stout, very pubes-
cent. Leaflets rhomboid-ovate, the lateral ones oblique, mem-
branaceous, acuminate-euspidate, 5 to 15 centimeters long,
about half as broad, sparsely pubescent above, especially on
the veins, more densely pubescent beneath, the white hairs
closely appressed. Inflorescence a raceme or thyrsus 15 to 30
centimeters long, pendent, bearing 5 to 30 flowers, usually
about 12; rachis like the stem, but more pubescent; flowers
borne singly or in twos or threes on short lateral branchlets.
Bracts lanceolate-subulate, very pubescent, early fugacious.
S AREA / Wn/cN ONE W OR /0PF VAR/P/7S "F;"'I
/ /\ lykrrBA4'S WI//L /WA7t/bP
A. E. .1- AREA / Wy/CH VELVEBSEAVNS ARE
* Mr T'w7rfwNTArT hE rPESFvNT 7A/1A
7 ARA /A/ WI//C/ MaST- OF" 7// /S/7 CVGP OF
,ELVE44T BEANS WA.~5 P~tDUCT/ -D.
A RA /& W/'/CA/ YELE7 -T BEANS. A FC 7 GC//VN A~aSTr
Fig. 1.-Where velvet beans are and can be grown. (Courtesy, U. S. D. A.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 7
Calyx pubescent within and without with short, white ap-
pressed hairs, 2-lipped, the upper lip broadly triangular, the
lower lip 3-cleft, the lobes triangular-subulate, the middle one
longest; stinging hairs absent. Corolla dark purple, 3 to 4
centimeters long; standard less than half the length of the
keel, darker than the rest of the flower; wings slightly shorter
than the keel, rather broad, oblanceolate-oblong, obtuse; keel
straight to near the tip, where it curves sharply upward, the
tip firm and acute; anthers of two sorts alternately long and
short, the latter on much broader filaments; ovary linear, pubes-
cent; style filiform, pubescent nearly to the tip; stigma small.
Pods when mature 5 to 6 centimeters long, turgid, densely
covered with a soft, nearly black, velvety pubescence without
stinging hairs; valves with 1 or 2 or sometimes 3 obscure longi-
tudional ridges. Seeds 3 to 5 in each pod, subglobose, marbled
and speckled with brown or black, and sometimes both, on ash-
gray ground color (though pure gray and, it is said, pure black
occur rarely), 1 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter. Hilum white,
oblong-crateriform, less than one-half the length of the seed."
The velvet bean must necessarily be classed as a tropical and
semi-tropical plant. For the production of the maximum vine
growth and seed production it requires a long growing season.
The early maturing kinds may mature in 120 days and the later
maturing varieties require as much as 170 or 180 days. How-
ever, the late maturing varieties continue growth in the fall
until killed by frost.
All varieties of the velvet bean can be grown in all parts of
Florida, southern parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The early maturing varieties
may be grown as far north as North Carolina, Tennessee,
Arkansas and Oklahoma. The growth of vines and seed pro-
duced in these northern localities may or may not be entirely
satisfactory, this will depend very largely on climatic condi-
tions. If good growing conditions continue late in the fall, it
will mean that the crop will have a much better chance to
mature a good crop of seed. An early frost, of course, would
stop all growth.
VELVET BEAN VARIETIES
A large number of varieties of velvet beans have been grown
in Florida during the past fifteen or twenty years. Some of
these varieties have been introduced from foreign countries by
the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington,
D. C. Others have been the result of breeding work carried on
. ~,~8BaLeEP:~u?,r~D~~UIlli;~- t
*~'~ 7";'~~~::6't;~.yr~ tl
" ~r ~*,. s M
: ~;;idi~XI*pl~LI~.Fr~ r
'' ~5~:" I M
;gi i: .:- 1
Fig. 2.-Pod and seeds of Florida velvet bean, natural size. (Courtesy Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 9
by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and the United
States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
The following is a brief description of some of the more im-
portant varieties as they are described in the Florida Agricul-
tural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 152.
Fig. 3.-Pod and seeds of Chinese velvet bean, natural size. (Courtesy
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.)
FLORIDA VELVET BEAN
The Florida velvet bean, Stizolobium deeringianum (Bort),
makes a rank growth of vines and leaves and requires about
175 to 190 days to mature. When the vines have opportunity
to climb they may attain a length of 30 or 40 feet. The leaves
are large and smooth, but sparsely pubescent. The flowers are
purple and are borne on long pendant racemes.
The seed pods (Fig. 2) are black in color and contain 3 to 5
seeds. The mature pods are from 2 to 3 inches in length. The
Fig. 4.-Pod and seeds of Georgia or Early Speckled velvet bean, natural size. (Courtesy Florida Agricultural Experiment
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 11
seed are nearly round in shape. They are speckled with brown
or black, sometimes both, on an ash-gray ground color. Fre-
quently white or gray seeds appear and sometimes black seeds
CHINESE VELVET BEAN
The Chinese velvet bean, Stizolobium niveum var. (?), was
introduced from Tehwa, China. One seed of this bean was sent
to the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station by Prof. C. V.
Piper under S. P. I. 26185, and planted in 1910.
The Chinese differs from the Florida velvet bean in many
respects. The seed pods and the covering of the pods resemble
the Lyon velvet bean more than those of any other variety.
The blackish hulls or pods are covered with a fine, appressed
down or whitish hairs. This downy covering of whitish hairs
gives an ashy gray appearance to the ripe pods. The seed pods
of the Chinese velvet bean (Fig. 3) are about 4 inches in length.
The Chinese velvet bean makes a ranker growth of vines and
leaves than any other variety of velvet beans described in this
bulletin. It matures about two or three weeks earlier than the
Florida velvet bean, but not quite as early as the Osceola. The
seeds of this variety are larger than those of any other variety
of velvet beans. They are flat in shape, and are of whitish
gray color. The flower color is white.
GEORGIA OR EARLY SPECKLED VELVET BEAN
The Georgia or Early Speckled velvet bean is one of the
earliest maturing varieties of velvet beans. From the best in-
formation available, this variety is a sport from the old Florida
velvet bean. It was first found in Georgia, hence the name.
Just who discovered this variety is difficult to state.
The Georgia or Early Speckled velvet bean is exactly like
the Florida velvet except that it does not produce as rank a
growth of vines and leaves. The Georgia matures in about 120
days, or in the same length of time as the Wakulla and Yoko-
hama velvet beans.
It is impossible to distinguish between the flowers, pods and
seed of the Georgia or Early Speckled velvet bean (Fig. 4)
and those of the Florida.
OSCEOLA VELVET BEAN
The Osceola velvet bean is a hybrid produced by crossing the
Florida and the Lyon velvet beans. This cross was first made
in 1908 by R. Y. Winters. He pollenated Florida velvet bean
flowers with pollen from the Lyon velvet bean.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
It matures earlier than either of its parents, the period re-
quired being from 140 to 150 days. The Osceola makes more
of a vine and leaf growth than does the Wakulla, but not as
much as the Florida and Chinese.
The mature pods of the Osceola (Fig. 5) are much longer
than those of the Wakulla, or any of the other varieties of
velvet beans, being from 4.5 to 5 inches long. Some pods may
Fig. 5.-Pod and seeds of Osceola velvet bean, natural size.
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.)
even exceed this length. As a rule the pods contain from five
to seven seeds. The pods are covered with a soft brownish-
black velvet or wool of flat and twisted hairs, very similar to
that found on the Florida velvet beans.
The seeds of the Osceola are larger than those of the Florida
velvet, and are slightly flat in shape. In color they are about
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
the same as those of the Florida velvet. Flower color of this
variety is white. 4
The chief advantage of this bean is that it matures earlier
than the Florida velvet, hence is seldom attacked by cater-
There are many uses to which this important legume can be
put. It was first, and occasionally still is, used for growing on
trellises and screens for covering unsightly places. For this
purpose it is one of the best annual vines for Florida, as it
makes a quick, rank growth.
It may also be grown as a soil improving crop as discussed
in detail in Bulletin No. 18, New Series, Florida State Depart-
ment of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Florida. Send for a copy,
if interested. They will be sent free as long as the supply lasts.
The velvet bean is one of the best, if not the best, legumes
for Florida. Being a legume, its value as a forage crop is par-
ticularly important. Any legume makes a better quality of
feed than a non-legume. The velvet bean is not used as a green
grazing crop, but is used almost entirely as a winter grazing
crop for cattle and hogs. The velvet bean matures its crop of
seed during October and November. The crop is usually grazed
by cattle and hogs during December and January, or until the
fields are completely grazed.
The results obtained by grazing velvet bean fields with beef
cattle have been quite satisfactory. Animals grazed have made
satisfactory gains in weight and at the same time produced a
good quality of beef. Many dairymen report good results in
milk production when the cows are allowed to graze on velvet
In many experiments the velvet beans have been harvested.
After harvesting the beans are fed in the pods just as they
come from the field. In other cases they are ground, pods and
beans together, and fed as velvet bean feed meal. In a few
cases the beans are shelled and then ground and fed as velvet
bean meal. In some instances the beans in the pod are soaked
in water for from ten to twenty-four hours before feeding.
Feeding the beans dry in the pods has, in a great many in-
stances, given satisfactory results. Whenever velvet beans are
to be used in a mixed feed, such as a dairy feed, it is necessary
that they be ground.
Fig. 6.-Chinese velvet beans growing on treliises. (Courtesy Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.)
4 __Atk 4-
a-: -. .1Vt
c.- ~. ~ ,f4.tl% Wr~. -.,-
-I -- r
* f. '" ^
* ; .* .* .
Fig. 7.-Velvet beans, one of Florida's best crops. Grown in all parts of the State and on any well-drained soil.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The results of an experiment conducted by the Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Station and reported in Station Bulletin
No. 96 should be of interest to those who want detailed informa-
tion on growing velvet beans as a feed for beef production. In
a steer feeding experiment lasting 84 days the following results
TABLE I.-RATIONS PER THOUSAND POUNDS LIVE WEIGHT.*
Lot III Lot IV
Corn ........- ....-....- ......... 10.50 6.00 8.00
Cottonseed meal ........................ 3.75 5.00 ........ 6.50
Crab-grass hay ......................... 13.50 ........ .....
Sorghum silage ...... .......... ........ 20.00
Cottonseed hulls ..................... ....... 14.00 10.00 25.00
Velvet beans in pod ............... ........ ........ 12.00
Nutritive ratio .............. 1:6 1:6 1:6.5 1:4.8
* Florida Experiment Station Bulletin No. 96, p. 32.
TABLE II.-WEIGHTS AND GAINS.*
(Four steers in each lot.)
Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV
Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds
Weight at beginning of test 2,920 2,891 2,818 2,869
Weight at end of test.............. 3,788 3,782 3,800 3,490
Total gain ............................... 868 891 982 621
Average gain per head .......... 217 223.25 245.5 155.25
Average daily gain per head 2.583 2.681 2.922 1.848
Average daily gain per 100
Ibs. live weight .............. 3.538 3.712 4.147 2.576
Pounds feed for one pound
of gain ........................... 10.21 15.883 9.604 13.103
Florida Experiment Station Bulletin No. 96.
These tables show that the steers fed corn and velvet beans
made the best gains and that it required less feed to make one
pound of gain than with any of the other combinations of feed
tried in this experiment.
The gains produced are considered very good.
The Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station has conducted
feeding experiments with velvet beans in comparison with cot-
tonseed meal for beef production. In one test reported 40 steers
averaging 584 pounds were used. These were divided into two
lots of 20 steers in each lot. The feeding test extended over a
period of 97 days.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 17
Steers in Lot I were fed cottonseed meal and corn silage.
Steers in Lot II were fed velvet beans in the pod and corn
The steers fed cottonseed meal and corn silage made an aver-
age daily gain of 1.6 pounds per head. While the steers fed
velvet beans in the pod and corn silage made an average daily
gain of 1.5 pounds per head.
The difference in the cost of producing one hundred pounds
of gain in weight was $0.97 in favor of the velvet bean ration.
In another feeding experiment conducted by the Alabama
Agricultural Experiment Station, steers were fed velvet beans
in the pod and corn silage in comparison with cottonseed meal
and corn silage. Fifteen steers were used in each lot and the
feeding experiment extended over a period of 119 days. The
velvet bean and corn silage ration produced an average daily
gain per head of 1.6 pounds and the cottonseed meal and corn
silage ration produced an average daily gain of 1.55 pounds per
These two experiments conducted by the Alabama Agricul-
tural Experiment Station show quite clearly the value of the
velvet bean as a feed for beef production.
VELVET BEANS FOR MILK PRODUCTION
A large amount of velvet beans has been used for feeding
dairy cows. In a great many cases, velvet beans are fed in
combination with other feeds. This no doubt is the best way
to use them. There is no one feed when fed alone that will give
ideal results for milk production.
From bulletin No. 143, Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion, we get the following data regarding the value of velvet
beans when used in a dairy ration for milk production. The
feeds compared were cottonseed meal, peanut meal, and velvet
bean meal. The feeds used were wheat bran, sorghum silage,
and the concentrate feeds that were being compared. The feeds
were mixed in the following proportions:
W heat bran .................. ....................... ................ 9 pounds
Sorghum silage ......................................... ............... 12 pounds
Cottonseed m eal ................................... .................... 3 pounds
Four pounds of peanut meal were substituted for the 3
pounds of cottonseed meal and 6 pounds of velvet bean meal
were substituted for the 3 pounds of cottonseed meal. These
amounts were fed so that each lot of cows would receive an
equal amount of protein in each ration.
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Summing up the results of the test which covered a period
of 68 days from early in November to January:
On the average:
180 pounds of cottonseed meal with 540 pounds of bran
and 720 pounds of silage produced 867.3 pounds of milk.
240 pounds of peanut meal with 540 pounds of bran and
720 pounds of silage produced 918.4 pounds of milk.
360 pounds of velvet bean meal with 540 pounds bran and
720 pounds silage produced 939.5 pounds of milk.
This experiment makes a very good showing for velvet beans
as a milk producer.
The Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin
No. 197 reports the results of two feeding experiments with
dairy cows in which velvet bean feed was compared with wheat
bran for milk production.
In summing up the results the authors of this bulletin state:
"In the first experiment an increase in milk yield of 2.7 per
cent was secured, and in the second experiment an increase of
9 per cent, both in favor of the velvet bean ration.
"In both experiments the velvet bean ration yielded 8,685.3
pounds of milk, an average increase of 5 per cent in favor of
the velvet bean ration."
COMPOSITION OF VELVET BEAN HAY
The composition of velvet bean hay, like all other hays, de-
pends on the stage of maturity when cut for hay. The fol-
lowing table taken from Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion Bulletin 60 shows the percentage composition of hay cut
at different stages of growth:
TABLE III.-VELVET BEAN HAY CUT AT DIFFERENT STAGES
Nitrogen Dry Matter
Laboratory Crude Free in Original
No. Protein Fats Fiber Ash Extract Material
1111 15.20 1.33 40.17 6.63 36.67 27.1
1112 14.34 2.12 36.26 5.90 41.38 30.6
1113 14.79 1.25 40.32 7.21 36.43 25.2
1114 15.62 1.82 32.21 6.16 44.19 29.9
1115 15.51 2.11 31.23 6.55 44.60 27.8
1116 13.24 2.31 31.72 6.38 46.35 30.2
1117 13.65 3.07 31.17 6.18 45.93 28.0
1118 14.22 3.42 28.41 6.89 47.06 31.6
* Florida Experiment Station
Bulletin No. 60, p. 463.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
TABLE IV.-ANALYSIS OF CORN AND VELVET BEAN SILAGE AS
COMPARED WITH SILAGE MADE FROM WELL MATURED CORN*
Constituents (per cent)
Kind of Silage
Corn and velvet beans' 1 73.7 1.0 3.5 5.5 15.6 0.7
Corn (well matured)2 .... 121 73.7 1.7 2.1 6.3 15.4 0.8
AS A SOIL IMPROVING CROP
For Southern conditions there is hardly any question but
what the velvet bean should be placed at the head of the list
of soil improving crops that may be grown in Florida. It
makes no difference as to whether it is for the purpose of im-
proving soils that are naturally deficient in plant food and
humus or for the purpose of restoring fertility to soils that have
been exhausted by continuous cultivation to such crops as cot-
ton and corn.
Another important point in favor of the velvet bean as a
soil improving crop is the fact that they cover and shade the
surface soil during almost the entire summer season.
Their greatest value is perhaps the enormous amount of
humus or vegetable matter that they will add to the soil in
The following table taken from Florida Agricultural Experi-
ment Station Bulletin No. 60 will give some idea of the yield
and value of the velvet bean as a soil improving crop.
THE VALUE OF VELVET BEANS AS A SOIL IMPROVER IN
W eight of green material from an acre ...................... ......... ... 21,132
W eight of dried material from an acre ....................... .......... .. 5,953
W eight of dried roots from an acre .................-......... ........ 690
Weight of nitrogen in vines from an acre ..-............................. 131.5
Weight of nitrogen in roots from an acre .-................. .....-.. 9.7
Total nitrogen in crop from an acre ............................-- 141.2
Most of the nodules had already decomposed, and the nitro-
gen from these was not included.
Bulletin 95 from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion gives some interesting information as to the increase in
yield of oats, both grain and straw, following a crop of velvet
beans, cowpeas and crab-grass and millet stubble.
* Farmers' Bulletin 962, U. S. D. A.
20 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
YIELD OF OATS GROWN AFTER VELVET BEANS, COWPEAS,
CRAB-GRASS AND MILLET
Yield per Acre
Average after velvet tean vines and stubble ................ 33.6 1,439
Average after cowpea vines and stubble ....-..............-- .. 31.6 1,738
Average after crab-grass and millet stubble .. -.....- 8.4 296
TABLE V.-EFFECT OF A CROP OF VELVET BEANS ON THE
SUBSEQUENT YIELD OF CORN AT THE ALABAMA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION IN 1901.*
Crop Acid Due to
in Phosphate Velvet
Crop and treatment in previous year 1901 Applied Corn Beans
Corn .................-- .......... -- ------ -- -. ...... Corn 100 13.5 .....
Velvet beans (stubble plowed under) Corn 100 17.9 4.4
Velvet beans (vines plowed under)...... Corn 100 25.9 12.4
Velvet beans (vines plowed under)...... Corn .... 21.5 8.0
Farmers' Bulletin 962, U. S. D. A.
TABLE VI.-EFFECT OF A CROP OF VELVET BEANS ON THE
SUBSEQUENT YIELD OF SEED COTTON AT THE ALABAMA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION IN 1899.*
Yield per Acre, Pounds
Crop Due to
in Seed Velvet
Crop treatment in previous years. 1899 Cotton Beans
Cotton ........... ------------------------ Cotton 918 ---
Velvet beans (cut for hay) ........... Cotton 1,126 208
Velvet beans (vines plowed under) Cotton 1,578 660
Farmers' Bulletin 962, U. S. D. A.
Like all other farm crops, the selection of good seed is an
important part in the production of the crop. A maximum
crop cannot be produced unless a good stand of plants is
secured. It is impossible to secure a good stand of plants un-
less good seed is planted.
The preparation of the seedbed for velvet beans is similar to
the preparation for any field crop such as corn or cotton. Plow
the land thoroughly, then smooth and level with a tooth har-
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 21
row. After the surface soil has been prepared as suggested
above, lay off the rows and plant the seed at once.
WHEN TO PLANT
No exact date can be given for planting velvet beans. This
will depend on the location in the State, variety grown, etc. In
South Florida they may be planted any time from the last of
February to April. In Central Florida, plantings may be made
from March to May; and in North Florida any time from
March 15 to May 15.
Nothing is gained by planting too early in the season. The
velvet bean is a plant that likes warm weather, and it will not
make much growth until the ground has become thoroughly
warm. Early planting, provided conditions are favorable, will
generally produce a larger vine growth and yield of seed. It
will not be found advisable to plant later than May 15.
NO FERTILIZER NEEDED
It has not been found necessary to fertilize velvet beans in
order to produce good crops. An application of fertilizer may
sometimes increase the yield, but as a rule the increased yields
will not be sufficient to pay for the fertilizer applied.
The following table shows the result of a fertilizer experi-
ment conducted by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion some years ago and reported in their Bulletin No. 102,
TABLE VII.-FERTILIZER TEST OF VELVET BEANS.
Amounts of Fertilizer Yield of Shelled Beans
Per Acre Per Acre
Dried Acid Muriate
Plot Blood Phosphate of Potash Pounds Bushels
Pounds Pounds Pounds
1 ...... ....-...... 1,275 21.3
2 50 ...... ...... 1,161 19.4
3 ...--. ..... 40 1,311 21.9
4 ...... 180 ...... 1,278. 21.3
5 50 ...... 40 1,278' 21.3
6 50 180 ...... 1,236 20.6
7 ...... 180 40 1,275 21.3
8 50 180 40 1,150 19.2
9 75 270 60 1,254 20.9
10 100 360 80 1,569 26.2
The difference in yield between Plot 1 that received no
fertilizer and Plots 8, 9 and 10 which received liberal applica-
tions of complete fertilizer does not show a large enough in-
crease in yield of seed per acre to warrant advocating the use
of fertilizer for this crop.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fig. 8.-Velvet beans are rank growers and good climbers. Note bean pods
in foreground. (Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 23
HOW TO PLANT
Planting in rows so that the crop can be cultivated will give
best results. Preferably the rows should be from four to six
feet apart, and the seed eighteen inches apart in the row.
Planting in four-foot rows will require about one peck of seed
to plant an acre. It is advisable to plant corn or sorghum
between the rows of beans to get larger yields of beans. That
is, plant the velvet beans in rows six feet apart and then plant
either corn or sorghum between each row of velvet beans.
The seed may be planted from two to three inches deep. If
the surface soil is dry, it may be found advisable to plant
Planting may be done with a corn drill. However, it may be
necessary to change the drill plates or size of the holes in the
drill so as to drop the seed at the proper distance.
Like most farm crops, the velvet bean requires cultivation.
Whether the crop should be cultivated two or three, or more,
times will be largely a matter for each grower to determine for
himself. Cultivate often enough to destroy all weed growth
and keep the ground in condition to induce the best possible
growth until the vines begin to cover the spaces between the
The time of harvesting will depend largely on the variety
of beans grown. As a rule, very few velvet beans are harvested
until after the vines have been killed by frost. However, the
early maturing varieties may be ready to harvest sooner.- At
the present time the large majority of the velvet beans are
grown for winter grazing. It is not advisable to begin grazing
the crop until the entire crop is mature and the vines have been
killed by frost.
The early maturing varieties should be grazed soon after the
majority of the pods are mature. Most of the early maturing
varieties have the bad habit of the pods splitting open and
scattering the seed on the ground when thoroughly ripe.
The yield of hay per acre from velvet beans varies just as
much as other hay crops. The yields that may be expected
will vary from one half ton to two tons or more an acre.
The yields of beans in pods will vary in much the same pro-
portion as the yield of hay. The yield of seed in the pod may
Fig. 9.-Velvet beans and corn supply a large amount of good late fall and early winter grazing. (Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 25
be anywhere from 1,000 pounds to 4,000 pounds an acre. In
other words, this would mean a yield of 10 to 40 bushels of
shelled beans an acre.
One hundred pounds of velvet beans in the pod will, on the
average, shell out 60 pounds, or one bushel of clean seed. An
average yield of 20 to 25 bushels of beans an acre can be ex-
As a rule, a larger yield of seed per acre will be obtained if
corn or sorghum is planted between the rows of beans.
The velvet bean is one crop that has but few insect enemies.
A caterpillar known as the velvet bean caterpillar (Anticarsia
gemmotilis) is the only insect that is likely to cause any injury.
The injury caused by this insect is first noticed about the time
the plants begin to bloom. The caterpillars eat small holes in
the leaves. In case of a very heavy infestation of caterpillars,
all of the leaves may be devoured, leaving only the bare stems
of the plant.
The following account is taken from Bulletin 54 of the
'Bureau of Entomology, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, pp. 77 and
"The caterpillar of this species is long and slender, cylindri-
cal, the last pair of legs projecting backward and spreading.
The body sparsely coated with rather stiff black hairs which
arise from small white button-like tubercles. The head is large,
a little wider and higher than the body, rounded, and with a
slight notch in the middle. The head is orange yellow or
greenish yellow with a few small blackish dots. The general
color of the body varies from dull green to olive brown, which
becomes yellow in inflated specimens. It has a number of fine
white lines, one dorsal, two lateral-separated by a blackish
shade-and a distinct yellow and white pair along the stigmata
or breathing holes, with a little dark edging below. It has
eight pairs of legs. The mature larva measures about one and
one-half inches in length, and one-sixth inch in width.
"The moth is also ornamental in spite of its somewhat somber
colors-dull brownish gray with darker brown shades. The
body is stout and narrowed to the apex. The expanse of the
fore-wings is about one and one-half inches.
"Blackbirds and rice birds eat them, but the insects are often
too nimble for the more clumsy birds, and many escape. When,
however, the birds are in large flocks, as frequently happens,
they must undoubtedly be of service. The 'green sparrow'
is said to be the most active as well as successful enemy of the
larvae. These birds, however, do not occur in great numbers,
C. i~ .*
~~;(,L ~ ~.t:s:j*-' . '~*t
*_ .r AI,
Fig. 10.-Peanuts, one of the best crops for Florida farmers to grow.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 27
but one of them often gets under a vine and picks off larva
after larva. The larvae are found on the under sides of the
Calcium arsenate applied as a dust has been found effective
in destroying these caterpillars. Apply at the rate of one to
three pounds of calcium arsenate per acre. Mix the calcium
arsenate with hydrated lime in the proportion of one pound
of calcium arsenate to three pounds of hydrated lime. See that
the lime and calcium arsenate are evenly mixed. The mixture
can be easily and cheaply applied. There are a number of dust
guns on the market that will be found suitable. Another
rather crude method is to place the mixture in a bran sack or
other loose woven material. Attach two sacks of this kind to
the end of a board. Balance the board on a mule's back. The
board should be of the proper length to correspond with the
width of the rows. Have a boy ride the mule up and down the
rows of velvet beans. The continual motion of the mule will
dust sufficient calcium arsenate upon the foliage to poison the
caterpillars. If the motion of the mule fails to dust sufficient
calcium arsenate upon the foliage, have the boy hit the board
gently with his hand.
There need be no fear of loss of life among livestock grazing
on velvet beans that have been dusted with calcium arsenate.
The amount of calcium arsenate used is too small to injure
cattle, and the rains soon wash it off the foliage and it dis-
appears in the soil.
The peanut acreage in Florida each year is around 200,000
to 215,000 acres. About two-thirds of the acreage is used as
a grazing crop for hogs and the remainder is harvested and
sold as a cash crop.
If there were no peanuts grown in Florida there would be
but few hogs raised in the State. In other words the hog crop
of Florida depends very largely on the peanut crop.
The peanut is an easy crop to grow and is well suited to the
soils of a large part of the State. Peanuts may be grown in
every section. However, at the present time they are not grown
on a commercial scale in all counties. That portion of the State
generally spoken of as North Florida grows more acres than
any other section.
The value of this crop as a hog feed has been recognized for
.I. + I ri -
. R I
Fig. 11 -A good crop of cowpeas planted July 28 and harvested October 4. This crop yielded 2 tons of hay per acre. (Cour-
tesy Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.)
LEGUME FEED CROPF'S IN FLORIDA
many years. There is hardly any question but that 100 pounds
of peanuts will produce more pounds of pork than will any
There are a great number of varieties but there are two
varieties which are grown more generally in Florida. These
are the Florida Runner and the Spanish.
The reader who wishes detailed information on growing pea-
nuts should write to the State Department of Agriculture,
Tallahassee, Florida, for a copy of Bulletin No. 9, New Series,
"Growing Peanuts in Florida."
There is no crop grown in Florida that is as easy to grow as
the cowpea. This is a short season crop, maturing for hay in
60 to 80 days, depending on the variety grown and climatic
A great many varieties of cowpeas are grown. For Florida
conditions, it is not necessary to grow any great number of
varieties. The two best varieties to grow in Florida are the
Brabham and the Iron. These are the two best varieties be-
cause they are both more or less resistant to root-knot.
TIME TO PLANT
Cowpeas can be planted almost any time from March to July.
The time of planting will depend very largely on the location
in the State and the purpose for which they are to be used.
If they are to be grown for soil improving purposes, plant
early in the spring. As soon as they have made a good growth
and are beginning to put on seed pods, plow them under and
plant a second crop, or mow the crop, leaving a rather high
stubble so the plants will make a second growth.
If cowpeas are grown as a hay crop, plant from June 20 to
July 10. Planting at this time, the crop will mature and be
ready to cut for hay at the close of the rainy season. Since
cowpeas are difficult to cure as hay, it is important that every
effort be made to have the crop mature when the weather is
most favorable for hay making.
HOW TO PLANT
There is quite a difference of opinion as to the best method
of planting. Some prefer to sow the seed broadcast while others
are just as sure that the best way is to plant in rows. Planting
in rows has some advantages. In the first place, less seed
will be required to plant an acre. When planted in rows, the
30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
crop can be given some cultivation, which in most cases will
increase the yield of hay per acre. When sown broadcast
more seed will be required to plant an acre and there will be
no chance to cultivate the crop.
The following, taken from the Annual Report of the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station for 1911, gives some interest-
ing data regarding the comparative yield of hay from cowpeas
sown broadcast and when planted in rows.
-."- ..- ..jB .. ^.
Fig. 12.-Cowpea hay in South Florida.
TABLE VIII.-YIELD OF COWPEAS.
Pounds of Hay Per Acre
Planted in Rows
Name and Number of Variety Sown Broadcast and Cultivated
Brabham (home grown seed) ................. 2,350 2,520
New Era 27547 ..-..-....-.......... ........ .....- ... 1,530 1,050
Red Ripper 27546 ............. ~..... ..--.. 1,600 1,312
Unknown 27545 .............................- ...... .. 1,050 2,056
Iron 27544 .................-- ..... ................ 1,700 2,012
W hippoorwill 27543 .................................... 1,250 1,837
Groit 26497 ............... ....- ............... 1,050 962
Peerless 26495 ...-......... ............... ...... ... 1,650 2,231
Brabham 26407 .............-----...-........... 1,750 1,837
Average --..-.. .....- ...................... 1,547.7
WHEN TO HARVEST
Cowpeas should be harvested for hay just about the time
the seedpods are well formed and before the seed pods begin
to turn yellow. If the crop is allowed to stand in the field
Fig. 13.-Cowpeas grow well and produce good yields in Florida.
r , .- .. ... -. .. .... ..i,
''\1 ~ i
C< ,... r
.. r '' ,
".," t 'WLL ,,.,, *... '. .
a" -. .*' 4..^ "
" ,.. .\ "''* -"1 '
;J. -. -_
': .; .", -- ",- -"'
.,- .. . .If t * ie
, .. ,. .^ .. ..*', *. ,.
."- .-- 1.-
Fig. 14.-One method of stacking cowpea hay.that is used by some farmers in Florida. (Courtesy Florida Agricultural Ex-
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
until the seed pods begin to mature, the plants when cut for
hay will shed a large number of the leaves; hence a large part
of the hay will be made up of bare stems. The leaves are the
best part of the plant as far as hay is concerned. Every effort
should be made to harvest the crop at the proper stage of ma-
turity so as to produce the best quality of hay.
Another good indication as to when the crop has reached the
proper stage of maturity for making hay is when the lower
leaves begin to turn brown and fall off.
HOW TO HARVEST
Cowpeas can be cut with a mowing machine the same as other
hay crops. A time for harvesting should be selected when the
weather is most favorable for curing and when the crop has
matured sufficiently to produce the best quality of hay.
After the crop has been cut, let it lie in the swath until
the leaves and stems have thoroughly wilted, then rake into
windows and let it cure for 24 to 48 hours, if weather is
favorable. When the hay has completed curing in the window,
put it in large cocks, three to four feet in diameter and four
to six feet high. In a week or ten days, with favorable weather,
the hay should be ready to go into the stack or mow.
When grown in combination with corn, the corn and cowpeas
can be best harvested by grazing with hogs. A combination
of corn and cowpeas is an excellent feed for growing or fatten-
ing hogs for market. Hogs should be turned in to graze about
the time the first seed pods begin to show signs of ripening.
In planting corn and cowpeas together to be grazed by hogs,
it is important to select a variety of corn that will mature at the
same time as the cowpeas or arrange the planting date of the
cowpeas so that they will mature at the same time as the corn.
SOY BEAN CULTURE AND VARIETIES*
History of the Soy Bean
"The soy bean, also called the soja bean, the soya bean, and
in North Carolina the stock pea, is a valuable annual legumi-
nous plant, native of southeastern Asia. The wild form of the
plant, a slender, twining vine with small pods and very small,
dull black seeds, is known to occur in China, Manchuria, and
Chosen (Korea). The culture and uses of the soy bean are
recorded in ancient Chinese literature and undoubtedly date
from a period long before the time of written documents. The
Farmers' Bulletin No. 1520, U. S. D. A.
Fig. 15.-Corn, cowpeas and beggarweed ready for the hogs.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 35
soy bean has been a crop of prime importance in China and
Japan since ancient times and in extent of uses is the most
valuable legume now grown in those countries.
Previous to 1908 the trade in soy beans was largely confined
to Oriental countries,, particularly China, Manchuria and Japan.
Since that time the value of the soy bean and its products
has gradually been realized in other countries, and during the
last decade they have attained considerable importance in the
world's commerce. At the present time the soy bean is culti-
vated principally in China, Manchuria, Japan, Chosen (Korea),
and the United States, but it is also of more or less importance
in northern India, Indo China, and the Malayan Islands. Soy
beans are grown also in Italy, France, southern Russia; Hun-
gary, Hawaii, Egypt, South Africa, and in a few countries
of South America, but the acreage in these countries is very
The soy bean was introduced into the United States as early
as 1804 and for several decades was regarded more as a botani-
cal curiosity than as a plant of economic importance. Since
1890 nearly all of the state agricultural experiment stations have
experimented with soy beans, and many bulletins have been pub-
lished dealing wholly or partly with the crop. Previous to the
numerous introductions by the United States Department of
Agriculture beginning in 1898 there were not more than eight
varieties of soy beans grown in the United States. With the
introduction from Asiatic countries of varieties suited to the
wide range of soil and climatic conditions in the United States,
the soy bean has assumed great importance in recent years and
offers far-reaching possibilities to the future agriculture of this
The soy bean has been used mainly for forage purposes in the
United States, but as a forage crop alone it would not likely
become one of the major field crops. The acreage in soy beans
has increased very rapidly during the last decade. Previous
to 1917 considerably less than 500,000 acres were grown. In
1924 there were more than 2,500,000 acres, of which 1,000,000
were grown for hay, 932,000 for pasture and silage, and 613,000
for the production of seed. More than 10,000,000 bushels of
soy bean seed and about 1,360,000 tons of soy bean hay were
produced in 1924. Although the increase in acreage has been
general over the eastern part of the United States, the most
marked increases have occurred in the Corn Belt and adjoining
States and a few of the Southern States. In 1924 the five
leading States for total acreage were Illinois (747,000 acres),
Missouri (400,000), North Carolina (255,000), Indiana (210,-
000), and Tennessee (167,000); and for seed production, North
Carolina, (2,560,000 bushels), Illinois (1,548,000), Missouri
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
... i ,f
'Y :j, .
*L / -j '
/I I L4
.', ^^ "^
Fig. 16.-Nodules on the roots of a soy bean plant. (Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 37
(1,379,000), Ohio (728,000), and Indiana (650,000). The
acreage will undoubtedly continue to increase with improved
methods and machinery for handling the crop and with greater
utilization of the soy bean and its by-products for industrial
The large yield of seed, the excellent quality of forage, the
ease of growing and harvesting the crop, its freedom from
insect enemies and plant diseases, and the possibilities of the
seed for the production of oil and oil meal and as human food,
and the many ways in which the soy bean may be used, all
tend to give the crop a high potential value.
'The climatic adaptations of the soy bean are about the same
as for corn. It is especially well adapted to the northern half
of the Cotton Belt and the southern part of the Corn Belt,
where the larger and later varieties, which give yields that
make their extensive cultivation profitable, can be grown. In
the Northern States, however, early varieties introduced, from
northern Manchuria mature fair yields of seed, and later varie-
ties can be grown successfully for hay, pasture or silage. In
the southern-most part of the Gulf States soy beans seldom
develop seed normally, although an excellent growth of forage is
produced. Similar conditions prevail in Arizona, New Mexico,
and parts of California, where extremely hot weather prevails
during the period when the seed is forming.
After the soy bean is well started it withstands short periods
of drought, and a wet season neither seriously retards growth
nor decreases the yield. The soy bean plant seems to adapt
itself not only to soils but to seasons as well. The period of
germination is the most critical stage, when excess moisture or
prolonged drought are likely to be injurous. The soy bean
is less susceptible to frost than are cowpeas, field beans, or corn,
light frost having but little effect on the plants when young or
when nearly mature.
Although the soy bean will succeed on nearly all types of soil,
the best results are obtained on mellow, fertile loams or sandy
loams. In general, the soil requirements are about the same as
those of corn, but the soy bean will make a more satisfactory
growth than corn on soils low in fertility, provided inoculation is
present. The crop will not make nearly such good growth on
poor soils as cowpeas. On the heavier clays and on the lighter
sandy soils the cowpea also succeeds better than the soy. bean.
The soy bean will do better than clover or alfalfa' on soils of
'' 4k : 1A 4
Fig. 17-Otootan soy beans and early corn. Soy beans may be planted in the row with the corn or between the rows of corn.
(Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
low fertility or on acid soils, but for the best results acid soils
must be limed and poor soils must be supplied with those
mineral elements in which they are deficient. With inocula-
lation and moderate applications of fertilizers the soy bean
gives good results on the sandy soils of the Coastal Plain area.
The soy bean does not necessarily require a well-drained
soil, but it will not succeed where water stands on the surface
for any considerable length of time. The crop grows on well
drained swamp lands, provided acidity, when present, is cor-
rected by the use of lime. Excellent yields of seed and forage are
procured on some muck soils, and the crop is of considerable im-
portance in regions where such soils occur.
In the selection of a variety several factors should be con-
sidered, the most important of which are adaptation to local
climatic and soil conditions and to the purpose for which the
crop is grown. The number of soy bean varieties is very large,
and as many new ones are being introduced by growers and
seedsmen; the most desirable character both for forage and for
seed production need to be considered. Although yields of
forage or of seed is the most important single consideration,
other factors, such as maturity, habit of growth, coarseness,
ability to retain leaves, color and size of seed, shattering, and
disease resistance, are important. In those, sections where the
crop is likely to become of value for the production of oil and
oil meal, the percentage of oil and the color of the seed should
be considered in addition to seed production. Manufacturers
of oil and oil meal prefer the yellow-seeded varieties not only be-
cause of the higher oil percentage but also because the meal
or flour is of better appearance.
In order to realize to the fullest extent the possibilities of
the soy bean and to develop it agriculturally, it is important
to utilize the very best varieties. At the present time about 45
varieties are handled by domestic growers and seedsmen. Un-
fortunately there is much confusion in the names of the
varieties, the same variety frequently being known under sev-
eral different names. As new varieties are easily obtained
through selection, crossing and introduction, it is desirable
to limit varieties in trade to the very best. In many States
where the soy bean is becoming an important crop, the seed
of the best varieties are certified by crop improvement asso-
The planting of imported seed is not to be recommended. In
general such seed consists of a mixture of varieties, most of
which are inferior to those grown in this country. The United
Fig. 18.-A good crop of soy beans 70 days after planting. The crop is not yet mature.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
States Department of Agriculture and several State Experi-
ment Stations have given considerable attention to the intro-
duction, improvement, and adaptation of pure strains, and it
is believed that in the planting of imported seed an unnecessary
risk is taken. During the last 20 years more than 2,000 lots
of seed for testing with a view to their introduction into this
country have been received by the department from China,
Manchuria, Japan, Chosen (Korea), Siberia, and India. Among
these are many that have now become established on the market.
Some of the recent introductions have proven to be so valuable
in field trials that they are deemed important acquisitions, and
seed will be distributed widely to further their culture.
VARIETIES IN FLORIDA
In Farmers' Bulletin 1520 there is given a description of 101
varieties of soy beans. It would not be wise or practical to
recommend such a long list of varieties for any one State. A
large number of varieties have been tested at the Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Station. In addition to varieties tested
and results obtained by the Experiment Station, farmers in
nearly all parts of the State have, during the past ten or fifteen
years, tested out numbers of varieties so that today it is not
such a difficult matter to suggest a list of varieties adapted
to conditions in this State. It is not meant that the list of
varieties given are the only ones that ,will grow as it is
quite possible that there are varieties now on the market that
have not been tested out under Florida conditions.
The following description of varieties is taken from Farmers'
"Biloxi.-Introduced under S. P. I. No. 23211 from Tangsi,
China, in 1908. Plants stout, erect, bushy, maturing in about
165 days; pubescence tawny; flowers purple; 85 to 90 days to
flower; pods 2 to 3 seeded; seeds dark brown with brown hilum,
about 1,895 to the pound; germ yellow; oil 20.1 per cent.
"Laredo.-Introduced under S. P. I. No. 40658 from Yang-
pingkwan, China, in 1914. In China this variety is said to
be adapted to drier lands than other varieties. Plants slender,
erect, inclined to lodge on fertile soils, maturing in about 140
days; pubescence tawny; flowers both purple and white, 70
to 75 days to flower; pods 2 to 3 seeded; seeds black with black
hilum, about 7,775 to the pound; germ yellow; oil 14.0 per cent.
The Laredo is highly resistant to wilt and nematodes.
"Mammoth Yellow.-Nothing definite is known regarding the
origin of this variety. The Mammoth Yellow is the standard
commercial variety. Plants stout, erect, maturing in about 145
days; pubescence gray; flowers white, 85 to 90 days to flower;
r. ''~ I -
Fig. 19.-Soy beans and corn make a good combination as a feed and forage crop. (Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 43
pods 2 to 3 seeded; seeds straw yellow with tawny hilum, about
2,150 to the pound; germ yellow; oil 18.6 per cent.
Otootan.-Introduced from the Hawaiian Islands in 1911 by
C. K. McClelland, Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station. It
is said to have come originally from Formosa. Plants slender,
erect, bushy, but lodging under favorable conditions, maturing
in about 175 days; pubescence tawny; flowers purple, 90 to 95
days to flower; pods 2 to 3 seeded; seeds black with black
hilum, about 6,150 to the pound; germ yellow; oil 17.7 per
HOW AND WHEN TO PLANT
Soy beans may be sown broadcast or planted in rows. When
planted in rows and given some cultivation, a much larger
yield will be produced. If they are grown for hog feed, they
should be planted in alternate rows with corn. In planting with
corn, a variety of corn should be selected that will mature at
the same time as the soy beans. Or the corn and beans can
be planted at different times so that they will be ready to feed
at the same time.
If planting for a hay crop, it would be well to plant in rows
two and a half to three feet apart using about three pecks of
seed to the acre. It is important to use a liberal amount of
seed so as to make sure of a good stand. It is impossible to
produce the maximum yield unless a good stand is obtained.
Planting can be done any time from early in March to May
15. The early plantings will produce the best yield.
Of the four varieties described as desirable for Florida con-
ditions, two of the varieties, Biloxi and Otootan, may be planted
early, that is, in South and Central Florida plant early in
March. The other two varieties, Laredo and Mammoth Yellow,
will produce, as a rule, much better yields if planted a month
Plant any time in April or up to May 15 for best yields. For
North and West Florida plant ten days to two weeks later than
for Central and South Florida.
SOY BEAN HAY*
"Most factors relating to the production of soy beans have
received considerable study and investigation. Perhaps the
most perplexing problem for the soy bean grower and the one
that has received the least attention experimentally, is that of
curing and saving the crop after it has been grown. In the
making of good soy bean hay, the grower is concerned with
the time of cutting the crop or the age of the plants when har-
Bulletin No. 277, Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station.
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
vested; the type and variety of beans grown; the weather con-
ditions at harvest time, the time of the day at which the
cutting or mowing is done, and the composition of the crop.
"Rather extended notes have been made on the soy bean
crops grown at the Maryland Experiment Station during the
last ten years with reference to each of these factors.
TIME OF CUTTING
"The factors which determine the time to cut a crop of soy
beans for hay are the age of the plant, the development and the
maturity of the pods, and the maturity of the leaves. With
varieties like Virginia and Wilson, when planted at the usual
planting date (May 10 to June 1), the crop is ready to harvest
at about ninety-five to one hundred and five days. At about
ninety-five days after emerging, the plants seem to have ac-
cumulated their maximum amount of dry matter. There is
then a period of ten to fifteen days in which they seem to re-
main almost stationary, so far as growth and additional yield
is concerned. It is at some point during this period that the
cutting for hay should be done. With late maturing varieties
like Mammoth Yellow, the blooming does not begin until the
plants are sixty-five to seventy days old. These varieties are
usually ready to be cut for hay at about one hundred and fifteen
to one hundred and twenty-five days after germination.
"The practice in the past has been for the grower to determine
the time for cutting for hay almost entirely by the maturity
and development of the seed pods. Wilson and Virginia
varieties will have developed nearly full size pods within
seventy to seventy-five days after the plants emerge from the
ground. The first blossoms with these varieties usually appear
when the plants are about fifty-five days old. By the time the
plants of these varieties are ninety-five days old, the beans
within the pods will be nearly maximum size, although the first
pods will not be ripe. Late maturing varieties, such as Mam-
moth Yellow, Patuxent and Hollybrook, will have developed
their pods to the same stage of maturity in about one hundred
and fifteen days. To get the maximum yield from these vari-
eties, it is necessary to cut them for hay about twenty to
twenty-five days later than the best date for cutting varieties
like Virginia and Wilson.
"If the harvesting of soy beans for hay is delayed too long,
there is considerable loss on account of the mature leaves
dropping from the plants. With the medium early varieties
like Virginia and Wilson, the loss of leaves begins when the
plants are about one hundred to one hundred and five days
old. Soy bean leaves contain a higher percentage of protein
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
than any other portion of the plant except the seed. It is,
therefore, important that as few as possible of the leaves be
lost in the hay crop.
"The weather conditions which are prevalent when soy bean
hay is being made is a very important factor in determining
the quality of the hay as well as determining the ease with.
which the curing may be accomplished. In good weather, soy
bean hay may be made in about the same way as good alfalfa
hay is cured, but if the crop is cut and there follows immedi-
ately a period of rainy and cloudy weather, special care must
be given to the handling of the crop. Soy beans which are
planted not later than May 20 may be harvested about August
25. The weather conditions during August and early Septem-
ber are usually more favorable for hay making than they are
during the latter part of September and in October.
THE TIME OF DAY TO CUT
"Soy beans, like other vegetation, varies in the amount of
water within the stems and leaves during each twenty-four
hour period. The plants contain their maximum amount of
water in the early morning, and their smallest amount during
mid-day, if the weather is clear. Curing of hay is largely a
matter of reducing the water content of the plants. It is, there-
fore, a matter of wisdom and economy in both time and labor
to cut the crop during mid-day and in clear weather. It is
doubtful whether the cutting should ever begin before 10:30
or 11:00 o'clock in the morning, and it should be discontinued
about 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Soy beans that are cut
for hay in this way should be sufficiently wilted to permit their
being put into windows by the following afternoon. If the
weather continues favorable, all of the curing may be done in
the window. Where a side delivery rake is used, it would
be best to turn them over once or twice during this curing. If
the beans are placed in cocks, it is best to build the high type
rather than the broad, flat type. This permits better aeration
and more rapid curing.
Fig. 20.-Beggarweed, one of the good legume crops that may be grown in all parts of Florida.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 47
TABLE IX.-RELATIVE PERCENTAGE OF MOISTURE IN SOY
BEAN PLANTS HARVESTED AT DIFFERENT HOURS
OF THE DAY.
7.00 9.00 11.00 1.00 3.00 5.00
Weather Conditions. A.M. A.M. A.M. P.M. P.M. P.M.
Maximum moisture -------- 81.88 79.28 76.01 78.07 77.16 78.74
Minimum moisture ......-------- 79.58 76.43 69.95 71.12 74.54 75.13
Average moisture .............-- 80.87 77.91 73.81 73.79 75.44 76.56
Partly cloudy days-
Average moisture .--...... 79.44 80.26 77.29 78.92 76.37 77.43
Average moisture .-............ 81.32 79.23 79.67 79.62 81.43 79.96
"In rainy weather, it is best to get the soy beans into large
but narrow cocks as soon as possible after wilting has taken
place. Cocks of this type will greatly reduce the amount of
beans that will be spoiled by inclement weather. It will also
prevent in a great measure the loss of the leaves of the plants."
"Beggarweed is an important forage plant from central Flor-
ida northward to southern Georgia and Alabama, and occa-
sionally farther north. It is an annual which makes its growth
late in the season at the time that crab-grass is growing most
rapidly, the two usually being found together. The plant is
erect and grows to a height of 5 to 7 feet on good soil. When
cut at the right time and properly cured, it makes a superior
hay, but it must be handled carefully. If allowed to become
too old before it is cut, many of the lower leaves are lost
and the stems become woody. After cutting it should be wind-
rowed as soon as wilted, to prevent the leaves from dropping.
To make good hay, it should be cut when not more than 3 to 4
feet high, usually in July, and a second cutting can be made a
few weeks later. Although not sufficiently bulky for use in
filling a silo, a little of it mixed other other material adds
greatly to the value of the silage, as it gives a marked June
flavor to butter even when used in midwinter. Its greatest
value, however, is as a grazing plant in late summer and early
winter, it being even more fattening than alfalfa or cowpeas.
"Florida beggarweed usually makes a scattering and uneven
volunteer growth on land which has not been plowed during
the year, though when occasional strips are left standing at
the second cutting and the field is then harrowed crosswise to
scatter the seeds, a good crop is grown the second season after
Farmers' Bulletin 1125, U. S. D. A.
Fig. 21.-Cowpeas and beggarweed growing together. Two of Florida's valuable legumes. (Courtesy Florida Agricultural
Fig. 22.-Beggarweed. Note the height, higher than a man.
50 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
plowing. The better practice is to reseed the ground after oats,
melon, or some other early crop has been removed, using 20 to
30 pounds of the rough seed per acre.
"In regions where it is grown most commonly, beggarweed is
seldom seen as a volunteer crop on newly cleared lands, but is
more or less abundant, growing with crab-grass and Mexican
clover in nearly all old fields, especially in corn and cotton,
where it springs up after the crops are laid by, and furnishes
a large amount of good grazing after the crops have been
gathered. Some cotton growers object to it in their fields as
the immature seeds are .somewhat rough, and when the stalks
are switched about by the wind the seed cotton is often pulled
from the bolls.
"Beggarweed is easily killed by a single cultivation in late
summer and soon disappears from fields which are not plowed.
Although it is a crop of secondary importance and is seldom
used alone, it is a welcome addition to any hay crop, and when
so abundant as to afford good grazing it will fatten horses,
mules, and cattle more rapidly than most other plants."
TABLE X.-BEGGARWEED YIELD OF HAY.*
April 21 July 1 1st cutting 5,948 1,080
April 21 July 29 2nd cutting 6,210 1,350
April 21 Aug. 31 3rd cutting 5,940 1,188
April 21 Sept. 28 4th cutting 5,049 1,012
Total for season ................-.. -- .............. 23,147 4,630
Crotalaria is one of the new legume crops for Florida. This
crop is better known as a soil improving crop than as a feed
Crotalaria has been growing in Florida for the last ten or
twelve years. However, it attracted little or no attention until
some five or six years ago. Since that time it has become estab-
lished in nearly all parts of the State.
Crotalaria is an annual legume that makes an erect growth
three to six feet in height. When the stand is thin the plants
branch freely, but when planted thick the plants make an
upright growth with few branches but a large lot of leaves.
There is a large number of species, fifteen or twenty, to choose
from. However, there are two species, Crotalaria spectablis,
S. C. Bulletin 123, page 7.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 51
formerly called C. sericea, and Crotalaria striata, that have
done exceptionally well in Florida. In fact, these two have
produced a much better growth and yield than any of the
PREPARATION OF SEEDBED
The preparation of the seedbed is the same as for other crops.
HOW TO PLANT
Crotalaria may be planted in rows or sown broadcast. At.
the present time the larger part of the crop in the State is
sown broadcast. When planted in rows make the rows two or
three feet apart and drill the seed in the row. When sown
broadcast use a sufficient amount of seed to get a good stand.
Ten to twenty pounds of good seed per acre should be enough
to insure a good stand.
WHEN TO PLANT
The crop may be planted any time from March to the middle
of June. When the crop is allowed to mature and ripen seed
in the fall, there will be sufficient seed shattered to reseed and
give a good crop the following spring.
Crotalaria produces a good yield on most of our Florida soil.
It seems particularly well adopted to sandy soils. Of course
on the better type soils it produces much better yields. The
yield is influenced to some extent by the planting dates.
It is not at all uncommon to get yields of five to eight tons of
green material from an acre. There are on record yields of
eighteen and twenty tons of green material per acre. Convert-
ing these green weights into hay the yield might be one to
five tons of hay per acre.
Heretofore Crotalaria has been advocated only as a soil im-
proving crop. For this purpose it is one of the best in Florida.
However, as the crop is being grown more generally over the
State and it has been given more careful study by Experiment
Station workers, it seems possible that in the very near future
Crotalaria may become one of our good forage crops.
From year to year more new species are being found and
tried out to determine their adaptability to Florida conditions.
In the past there has been the supposition that Crotalaria
4 r IV
Fig. 23.-Crotalaria. This field produced a yield of more than 50,000 pounds of green material per acre. This is equal to
10 or 12 tons of hay per acre.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 53
carried some poisonous principle hence it was dangerous to use
it as a forage or hay crop.
During the past five years a few people in the State have tried
it as a hay. It has been fed to horses, mules and cattle without
any bad effects.
During the year a feeding test with Crotalaria meal and
alfalfa meal was conducted. This is, we believe, the first time
that Crotalaria meal has been used as a feed for milk pro-
The feeding test was started March 16, 1927. Six cows were
selected from the herd for this test and were divided into two
lots. The reversal method of feeding was used, the feeding
being divided into 28-day periods.
The first period started March 16, 1927, the second, April
13, 1927, and the third period May 11; 1927.
In this test Crotalaria meal was compared with alfalfa meal
for milk production. The feed mixture used was as follows:
Crotalaria or alfalfa meal .............. 125 pounds
Corn meal .......................... 75 pounds
Ground oats .......................... 50 pounds
Cottonseed meal ...................... 50 pounds
Peanut meal ......................... 25 pounds
Each cow was fed 12 pounds of one of the above mixtures
The following are the analyses of the Crotalaria meal and the
alfalfa meal used in the following test:
Crotalaria Meal Alfalfa Meal
Moisture ............ .........- .... .- .....- 11.77 percent 11.77 percent
Ash .....~....... ~~-.....-.... .......... ... 3.21 percent 9.23 percent
Fat -................. ....- -. ........ ..- .. 1.36 percent 2.16 percent
Protein ....:.......... .... .... .. ............- 8.58 percent 12.56 percent
Carbohydrates -...................... .............. 27.08 percent 30.43 percent
Fiber ......- ................................ - 48.00 percent 33.85 percent
The above analyses show that alfalfa meal is richer in food
elements than is Crotalaria meal. However, the Crotalaria meal
used in this test was not made from the best quality of hay.
The Crotalaria plants were too mature when cut to make a
good quality of hay. There should be but little difference in the
analysis of Crotalaria meal and alfalfa meal when both are made
from the same quality of hay.
*Annual Report, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, 1927, pp.
' __ ... s .- .. . -. ,- .o
F ig. .2 4 .- .i g e o n p e a s. A r a n k r o w e r "d h y-e .ld;r. o g e e n m a t e-r
Fig. 24.-Pigeon peas. A rank grower and heavy ylelder of green material.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
TABLE XII.-MILK PRODUCTION RECORD OF COWS IN CROTA-
LARIA-ALFALFA MEAL TEST.
First Period-March 16 to April 12, 1927
Lot I, Fed Alfalfa Meal
Cow No. 171 ....---.............. 418.7
Cow No. 225 ..................... 367.4
Cow No. 229 ....--..-............ 529.4
Total for period ........1,315.5
Lot II, Fed Crotalaria Meal
Cow No. 141 ..................... 411.4
Cow No. 151 ......------......... 400.0
Cow No. 155 -..........-....... 448.1
Total for period ........1,259.5
Second Period-April 13 to May 10, 1927
Lot I, Fed Crotalaria Meal
Cow No. 171 .....--............... 388.7
Cow No. 225 .---.......--........ 288.0
Cow No. 229 ....---...--......... 454.6
Total for period ........1,131.3
Lot II, Fed Alfalfa Meal
Cow No. 141 ..---.................. 363.6
Cow No. 151 ..........-.......... 453.9
Cow No. 155 ...-......-.......... 393.0
Total for period ........1,210.5
Third Period-May 11 to June 7, 1927
Lot I, Fed Alfalfa Meal Lot II, Fed Crotalaria Meal
Lbs. Milk Lbs. Milk
Cow No. 171 .................... 335.5 Cow No. 141 --.. ---...... ......... 294.8
Cow No. 225 .......-- ........-.--. 314.0 Cow No. 151 ...................... 399.7
Cow No. 229 .---................-- 401.8 Cow No. 155 ................. 331.4
Total for period ........1,051.3 Total for period ........1,025.9
Total milk produced by feeding alfalfa meal ..................- 3,577.3 pounds
Total milk produced by feeding Crotalaria meal -......... 3,416.7 pounds
Difference in favor of alfalfa meal ......- --..................--.... 160.6 pounds
The piegon pea is a crop that is not yet well known in Florida.
It is quite probable that within a very few years it will become
one of the well known crops in Florida.
A goodly number of our now well known crops in Florida
were once new and untried. Furthermore we will continue to
have new crops introduced and tried out. Some of course will
fail while others will be grown successfully and become im-
portant crops in the future. The mere fact that a crop is
not well known in the State today is no sign that it may not
become a crop of importance. The piegon pea is one of those
crops that is not well known because it has been grown only
in a few experimental plots. In other countries it is a crop
56 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
of considerable importance since it makes a good forage crop
for livestock and the seeds are used for human food.
There may be some question as to whether it is a native of
Asia or Africa. Almost from the beginning of history the
pigeon pea has been an important human food in some of the
There is a large number of different varieties of this plant
now growing in some of the tropical islands. It has been
growing in Hawaii for the past ten years where it has become
an important forage crop.
In Florida it no doubt will be an annual. In the tropics one
planting continues to grow for several years. It is said to with-
stand drought to a remarkable degree.
The following table taken from Hawaii Experiment Station
Bulletin No. 46 gives the composition of pigeon pea products.
TABLE XIII.-AVERAGE COMPOSITION OF PIGEON PEA
(Based on all available analyses made in Hawaii to February 15, 1920)
Character of Material. *
na a a .Ma a
________________g_ __ __ Og Q, zu Z
Fresh green forage' .........1 70.00 2.64 7.11 10.72| 7.88 1.131 1.65
Whole plant as hay and |
ground into meal ...--...... 11.19 3.53 14.8 28.87 39.89 2.371 1.72
Seed and pod meal .......... 11.45 3.85 17.65 30.73 34.53 2.82 1.49
Seed meal .........-....-............... 12.26 3.55 22.34 6.44 53.94 3.57 1.46
Thrashed pod meal ............ 13.30 2.66 8.75 35.441 39.22 1.401 1.03
Bulletin No. 46, Hawaii Experiment Station, 1921.
SUpper third of plant with seed in pod.
2 By-product in seed production.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 57
TABLE XIV.-YIELDS OF FOUR LEGUMINOUS CROPS IN TONS
OF AIR-DRY MATERIAL PER ACRE AT GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.*
Crop 1924 1925 1926 Average
Beggarweed ..... ................ 0.79 0.92 0.15 0.62
Velvet Beans .....-- .. 0.98 0.82 0.76 0.85
Cowpeas .............- ............. 1.48 1.30 0.52 1.10
Crotalaria ............ ........ 2.59 1.90 4.18 2.89
TABLE XV.-YIELDS OF FOUR LEGUMINOUS CROPS IN TONS OF
AIR-DRY MATERIAL PER ACRE AT LAKE ALFRED, FLORIDA.*
Crop 1925 1926 Average
Beggarweed ...... ......... ... ........... 2.29 1.78 2.03
Beggarweed ~------------_----- ---?-------------------- 2 91.8.0
Velvet Beans ............ ...... ......--... 1.27 1.53 1.40
Cowpeas ............. -.~.. --.. ---..... ...---- 1.27 1.01 1.14
Crotalaria ................-. ..... ..-.... .... .... 4.63 2.76 3.69
TABLE XVI.-PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL NITROGEN (DRY BASIS)
IN CROPS GROWN AT GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.*
Beggarweed .....-....-.... -----.. -........ ....-.. 1.64 1.07
Velvet Be 'i- ? 51 1.48
Cowpehs -* .- 1.65
Crotalaria ....-.... ....... ..- ... ........ ..-- .. 2.78 0.92
WHEN TO PLANT
Just when is the best time for planting has not been deter-
mined as yet. However, with the present knowledge of the
crop, it is believed that early spring planting would give the
best results. By planting early in the spring it would give
an opportunity for making two cuttings of hay during the
growing season. Plant any time from March 15 to April 15 if
two cuttings of hay are wanted. Planting might be made as
late as June and make one good crop.
HOW TO PLANT
Plant in rows three to four feet apart and drill the seed in
the row so as to have the plants eight to ten inches apart in
It may require ten or fifteen pounds of seed to plant an
acre when planted in rows. When sown broadcast 40 to 60
pounds of seed per acre should be sown.
Stokes, W. E., Agronomist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion, "Journal of the American Society of Agronomy," Vol. 19, No. 10,
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 59
Harvest the crop for hay when in bloom. When the first cut-
ting is made in the summer leave a rather high stubble. The
stubble will put out new growth and in a short time a second
cutting will be ready to harvest. Cure and handle the same
as any other hay crop.
The yield that may be expected may vary from one to five
tons of hay per acre.
HOW TO USE
Pigeon peas may be used as a soiling crop, for all classes
of livestock including poultry and rabbits, as hay or as a soil
improving crop. If the crop is allowed to ripen seed, the seed
will be found valuable as a poultry feed.
Kudzu is a large-leafed, woody, leguminous vine, native to
Japan, which grows with remarkable rapidity. It succeeds
better on clay subsoil than on sandy soils. Where the summers
are warm and moist it grows with great luxuriance. Kudzu
is a most excellent vine for arbors and porches, for which
purpose it is grown in most of the southern cities, climbing to a
height of 60 feet or more. It succeeds well, however, as far
north as Nova Scotia. The leaves resemble in a general way
those of the common bean, but they are larger and angular
lobed, besides being tougher in texture; the stems and leaf
stalks are somewhat hairy. As far north as Washington, the
vine will bloom, but only occasionally and then late in the
fall. The blossoms are dull purple-red and hang in clusters.
The pods are thin, very hairy, and rarely mature in the latitude
of Washington. Kudzu is usually propagated by layers or
roots. The vines are very long, and take root at any joint which
rests on the ground. It can be grown from seed, but the young
seedlings are very weak and tender, so roots are preferred. The
roots are usually planted about 8 by 8 feet in cornfields, and if
the corn is kept well cultivated, no attention need be given the
kudzu during its first season. Planting should be done very
early, January or February being the best months, as it begins
its new growth very early in the spring, after which the trans-
planting is seldom satisfactory. During the second season no
other crops can be grown on the land, and the kudzu should
have the ground well covered with vines and roots. Under
favorable circumstances a moderate cutting of hay may be
Farmers' Bulletin 1125. U. S. D. A.
si _ 1~
Fig. 26.-Kudzu. One of Florida's legume hay and forage crops. (Courtesy Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 61
made, or it may be grazed lightly just before frost is expected.
It is not until the third season that a full crop can be secured,
but after that, heavy, abundant crops may be expected.
Though the vines are long and tough, they are not especially
difficult to handle. In mowing, a scythe blade or something
similar should be fastened vertically to the outer end of the
cutter bar so that the swaths will be separated. Raking is
usually done with a fork, pulling the vines into small piles
which can be handled easily in loading a wagon. When made
into hay, the vines retain the leaves much better than most
other legumes, and the hay is injured very little by rain which
may fall upon it when nearly or quite dry. The hay is'usually
rather dark in color, but is eaten greedily by all kinds of stock,
being especially valuable for colts and calves. When grown
on a rich soil, at least three cuttings of 2 to 3 tons each may
be expected, and total yields of 10 tons are often claimed.
Kudzu is used more largely for grazing than for hay, most
graziers preferring to have two fields which are grazed alter-
nately, although the Georgia Experiment Station has made a
series of tests which indicate that continuous moderate grazing
gives the best results. It is not desirable for grazing dairy
cows, as it often affects the milk unpleasantly. Some graziers
prefer to let it grow through the summer and make a dense
mass of vines and foliage, 2 to 4 feet deep, and then graze it
during the dry weather of September and October when other
pasturage is getting dry and scarce.
The principal objection to the plant is that it requires a
long time to make full growth and that, being a perennial, it
can not be used in a rotation. There are many places on rough
and waste land, however, on which it can be grown to ad-
vantage, and it is easily killed by plowing in May or June.
The mung bean is not a new crop. It has been grown in a
number of the Southern States for many years. However, it
may not always have been called the mung bean.
The native home of the mung bean is Southern Asia. It is
also well known in South Africa as well as in parts of China,
India and the Malayan Islands.
In foreign countries the seed is an important food for humans.
In the United States it has seldom been used for this purpose.
The mature seed is a valuable poultry feed which may be fed by
itself or used in a mixture.
Some years ago in some of the Southern States this bean was
known as the chickasaw pea, or the Newman bean.
Fig. 27.-Mung beans in a pecan grove. Two rows on right were not fertilized. Those on the left were fertilized at the rate
of 200 pounds to the acre with a 4-8.6 formula.
11.1 e~~ P
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 63
The mung bean is an upright grower, with a small stem and
many leaves. On good land it grows to a height of two and a
half to three and a half feet.
Planting and cultivation is very similar to that for cowpeas
or soy beans. Plant about the same time that you would plant
cowpeas. Make the rows two or three feet apart and drill the
seed in the row. It is not as vigorous a grower as the cowpea,
hence it cannot compete with grass and weeds to the same ex-
tent as cowpeas can. For this reason it has been found best to
plant it in rows so that the crop can be cultivated until the
plants have made a good growth. When grown for hay, it
should be harvested before the seed pods begin to turn brown
and show signs of ripening.
The mung bean has not become popular in Florida and is only
grown to a limited extent. This is due largely to the fact that
it has not been able to compete successfully with other crops
grown for hay and forage, and then too, it is attacked by root
AUSTRIAN WINTER PEAS
The Austrian winter pea is a comparatively new crop for
Florida farmers. It may have been grown in a small way by a
comparatively few farmers in past years, but it has only been
in the last four or five years that a goodly number of farmers
have been growing it as a field crop. It is now grown -in arth
and west Florida as a winter cover crop for soil improving pur-
poses and also as a winter grazing crop for all classes of live-
The Austrian winter pea is one of the few winter legumes that
can be grown successfully here in Florida. It grows best during
the winter season because it is one of those plants that likes
cool weather. In fact, it will not grow in Florida during the
For best results the seed should be sown in October or early
in November. The seed may be sown broadcast at the rate of 30
to 35 pounds to the acre. It may follow a corn, cotton, peanuts,
or any other crop that is harvested in early fall. The soil needs
no special preparation except that it should be thoroughly
inoculated with the proper bacteria. The proper inoculation of
the soil is the important link for successfully growing this crop.
One of the best methods of inoculation is by the use of soil
taken from a field that has grown a good crop of Austrian
peas within the last two years. Soil taken from a well inocu-
lated field should be scattered over the new field, to be planted
to Austrian winter peas, at the rate of 400 to 600 pounds to the
Fig. 28.-Knee.deep in Austrian winter peas. Photo taken January, 1929.
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 65
acre. This transfer of soil should be made at the time of sowing
the seed. Scatter the inoculated soil evenly over the surface
of the soil and cover the soil and seed at the time with a disk
harrow, or, if you wish, a plow may be used. If a plow is used,
plow very shallow, not over three or four inches deep. When it
is not possible to get such a large quantity of soil, another
method that will give good results may be used: For each 30
pounds of seed, take 2 to 3 quarts of soil that has come from a
field that grew a good crop of Austrian peas the previous winter.
Make a mixture of two parts syrup and one part water. Add
enough of this mixture to the seed so as to thoroughly moisten
all the seed then add the inoculated soil to the moistened seed
and thoroughly mix so that each seed gets a coating of the'soil.
It is also advisable to purchase some of the commercial cultures
for inoculating the seed and soil. Sow the seed as soon as
treated and cover immediately with disk harrow or plow.
Remember that the three main points in the production of a
good crop are thorough inoculation, a liberal amount of seed
sown per acre, and a liberal application of super-phosphate. A
maximum crop cannot be obtained when a limited amount of
seed is sown.
In Florida most of our legume crops do not require an ap-
plication of commercial fertilizer. Nevertheless, most of the
legumes respond to an application of super-phosphate.
If the Austrian peas follow a crop of corn or cotton that
had a liberal application of fertilizer, then apply only super-
phosphate at the rate of 300 or 400 pounds to the acre.
Hairy vetch is also known by several other names, sand
vetch, Siberian vetch, Russian vetch, and winter vetch. It
is an annual and grows best in Florida during winter and early
It is found growing wild in Russia, Germany, and Hungary.
In these countries it often occurs as a weed in cultivated fields.
It was introduced into the United States first about 1847. This
early importation apparently did not succeed. Another im-
portation was made about 40 years ago by the United States
Department of Agriculture. Since that time vetch has been
grown in various parts of the United States until today, it is
found growing in many of the States.
'' kTI~rw l t
Fig. 29.-Vetch two and a half to three feet high in a pecan grove. Photo taken May 21. (Courtesy Agronomy Dept., Florida
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA 67
-During the past few years a goodly number of farmers in
Florida have been growing vetch. The yields produced in most
cases have been satisfactory. In fact, some of the yields have
been surprisingly large. Of course the yield will vary depend-
ing very largely on the character and type of soil on which the
vetch is grown. On the better types of soil and under favorable
climatic conditions, it is possible to obtain the best yields.
Since hairy vetch is a legume, it is hardly necessary to say
much about its food value. Hay made from vetch, cut at a
proper time and well cured, compares favorably with hay made
from any other legume. It is probable that best results will
be secured in Florida by grazing it during late winter and early
spring, February to April.
Bulletin No. 321, Georgia State College of Agricuture, gives
some interesting data on the yield of vetch and Austrian winter
peas in comparison with other forage crops as given in the
TABLE XVII.-YIELD OF WINTER FORAGE AND COVER CROPS.
Weight in Pounds per Average
Acre of Hay Air-cured
Name of Crop 1925 1926 Hay
Crimson Clover ............................ 4,033 4,400 .4,200
Hairy Vetch .................... ..............4,200 3,550 3,875
Austrian Winter Pea ....-...:.........-...... 4,200 4,000 4,100
Tifton Bur Clover .......................... 3,400 3,850 3,625
Yellow Annual Melilotus ................... 2,700 2,i00 2,400
Abruzzi Rye ............- ....-.......... ........ 4,900 6,000 5,450
Georgia Red.Wheat ....................... 4,700 6,200 5,450
Fulghum Oats -............................... 4,100 4,700 4,400
Tenn. 'Winter Barley ......-............- 4,000 5,650 4,825
Italian Rye Grass ................ ............ 1,850 2,950 2,400
Hop Clover (T. dubium) ......-.....--. 1,600 800 1,200
Of the crops mentioned in the above table, Austrian winter
peas and vetch have given the best yields in Florida.
Hairy vetch may be planted any time from early in October
to November 15. Plantings in North Florida may be made
earlier in the fall than in South Florida.
Hairy vetch seed should be sown broadcast at the rate of
20 to 30 pounds of seed to the acre, after which the seed should
be covered with a disk harrow or turn plow.
The yield of vetch is not as much as for some of the summer
legumes, but the yield is sufficient to warrant growing if the
right type of soil is selected.
~33c~; ~ I~;Sd- ilk
Fi.3 fedo vthi W s lrdata ad ildo ,05 p ud f re atra er ar. Pht ae
Mac 3.(CutsyArooyDet, lrdaEpeie tSato)
LEGUME FEED CROPS IN FLORIDA
The yield of green material may vary from three to five tons
per acre, while under favorable conditions a yield of eight to
ten tons of green material per acre may be expected. Yields as
high, as twelve tons of green material per acre have been re-
ported several times in Florida.
INOCULATION AND FERTILIZATION
Inoculation is just as important for hairy vetch as it is for
Austrian winter peas. The same commercial material for inocu-
lation is suitable for either crop. Soil from a field that has
grown any of the following crops can be used to inoculate the
seed: Canada field pea, common vetch, garden pea, narrow-leaf
vetch, purple vetch and sweet pea.
Hairy vetch requires the same fertilization as Austrian winter
UTILIZING THE CROP
It is probable that best results will be secured by grazing the
crop. It can be cut for hay, but it is more economical to allow
the livestock to graze and harvest the crop rather than to go
to the expense of cutting and curing for hay. Another point in
favor of pasturing the crop is that it is available for pasturing
at a'time of year when other pasture crops are not available.
It is not advisable to begin grazing the crop until it has
made a good growth and the plants are covering the ground in
If grazed too early or too close, many of the plants may be
destroyed. In this way the stand will be reduced, hence the
maximum amount of grazing will not be available.
The growing of alfalfa has been tried in nearly every county
in Florida during the past twenty years. Some good crops
have been produced but no one to date has been able to maintain
a stand so as to produce good crops year after year.
It is still a debatable question as to the advisability of sowing
the seed each year in the hopes of securing some winter grazing
and perhaps one crop of hay.
The experience of the majority of those who have grown
alfalfa has been about as follows: Sow the seed in the fall,
during November or early in December In eight to ten weeks
some grazing may be obtained. If not grazed a cutting of hay
may be made the latter part of March or during April. In
only a very few instances has a second cutting been made.
70 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DISEASES AND INSECTS
The Florida State Department of Agriculture carries on no
research work. The reader is therefore referred to the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station, Gainesville, Florida, for in-
formation of this nature.