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 Table of Contents

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 102
Title: Velvet bean
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027695/00001
 Material Information
Title: Velvet bean
Series Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 102
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Scott, John M.
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date: 1910
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Bibliographic ID: UF00027695
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 43
    Table of Contents
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
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        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
Full Text



Agricultural Experiment Station




Fig. 8.-Foraging on velvet beans in January.

The bulletins of this Station will be sent free to any address in Florida
upon application to the Director of the Experiment Station, Gainesville, Fla.
Pepper Pub. & Ptg. Co., Gainesville, Fla.

APRIL, 1910

History .....------ --- ------------ ------------------- 45
Planting .. ..---.........------------------- --------- 46
Time of Planting ------------ ---- --- -- ------- -- 46
Seed .-..... --.........---- -- -- ------ ---------- 46
SeedSelection_______.---- .-.. ----- ---. ----- --. 47
Preparation of Seed-bed -. ..--..----- --- 47
Method of Planting.. -- ... .. .---. - 47
Cultivation-- ...- -- ------------- -.--.-------.. ---- 49
Fertilizer .---------___.- ------ -..-. -----.---.-- 49
Harvesting .-----.-------------.--------- ---------- 50
Uses ..------..........--------------. .......------- --- ----- 50
As a Soil Renovator ---- -------------- -- 50
As Forage ----------- -------- .-------------------- 52
As~~~~------------ ---.--.---- ---------.--- ---- ---- ------.53
AsFeed......... 53
For Pork Production --------------------------------- 53
For Beef Production ---------------__ --- 54
For Milk Production __ ... .. 56
Objections to Velvet Beans as Feed --------------------------- 57
Insect Enemies .----------------------------- ------------- 57
Remedy -------- -------------------------------- 58


1. An acre of velvet bean vines, when plowed under, will add as much
ammonia to the soil as will an application of 1900 pounds of cottonseed meal.
2. The velvet bean is an important protein feed for the production of
meat and dairy products, and furnishes excellent winter foraging for cattle and
3. The velvet bean is a highly nitrogenous feed; hence care and judg-
ment must be exercised in feeding it, or results may prove unsatisfactory.
4. A yield of twenty to thirty bushels of shelled beans per acre is not
too much to expect, while a much larger yield of beans may be secured
when planted with corn or sorghum.
5. Three pounds of velvet beans in the pod will be found equal for
milk production to one pound of cottonseed meal, analyzing 7.5 per cent.




From the information available, it appears that the velvet bean has been
grown in Florida for more than thirty years. However, it received little at-
tention prior to 1895. Up to that date it was used mainly as a covering for
trellises, and to screen unsightly places. Since its first trial in 1896, it has
been grown each year at the Experiment Station. During the past ten or
twelve years it has also been grown on a commercial scale by a goodly num-
ber of farmers. Many of these farmers are now growing the velvet bean on a
large area for the feeding of cattle, hogs, and other live stock.
The first mention made of velvet beans by the Commissioner of Agricul-
ture was in the statistics for 1901. He estimated that the area grown that
year was 10,829 acres. His statistics for 1907-8 gave the area in velvet beans
as 22,939 acres. This shows the rapid increase in area of this valuable crop.
The following is a botanical description of the plant by Katherine
Stephens Bort, taken from Bulletin 141 of the Bureau of Plant Industry.
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 subulate, pubescent, about 1 centimeter long; stipels
similar but smaller; petiolules about 5 millimeters long, stout, very pubescent. Leaflets
rhomboid-ovate, the lateral ones oblique, membranaceous, acuminate-cuspidate, 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. Calyx pubescent within and without with short, white, appressed 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, pubescent; style filiform, pubescent nearly to the tip; stigma
small. Pods when mature 5 to 6 centimeters long, turgid, densely covered with a

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

soft, nearly black, velvety pubescence without stinging hairs; valves with 1 or 2
or sometimes 3 obscure longitudinal 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 may properly be classed as a tropical plant, and requires
a long season to produce its maximum growth of vine and production of seed.
The plant will grow as far north as the central part of Missouri, but at that
latitude it will not produce seed. It will not yield a profitable crop of seed
more than 200 miles north of the Gulf Coast. Its culture is thus limited to
the southern portion of the Gulf States.
The time of planting depends largely upon the purpose for which the
crop is grown. If planted for a cover crop to be plowed under the following
fall and winter, or for a winter pasture for live stock, or for a crop of seed, the
velvet bean should be planted early in spring, and not later than May 1, for
north-central Florida. If the crop is to be used for hay, planting may be
done any time from May 20 to July 1. Planted at this late date, the vines
do not make such a vigorous growth, nor is there such a heavy crop of seed
produced. With the smaller growth of vines little difficulty will be experi-
enced in cutting and curing the crop for hay. It is not advisable to plant too
early in the season, for the beans do not grow well until the soil is thoroughly
warm. It frequently happens that too early planting results in a poor stand.
This is generally due to the days and nights being cool, in which case the
young plants make a slow unsatisfactory growth and are more likely to be at-
tacked by disease. A stunted or diseased plant never produces so satisfac-
tory a growth as does a plant that has not been checked when young. As a
rule it will perhaps be found best to delay planting until March 15 for south,
March 25 for south-central, April 1 for north-central, and April 10 for north
and west Florida.
Velvet beans planted at the Experiment Station during the latter part of
June, 1909, produced only a light crop of seed; while those planted from the
middle of April to May 1 gave a good crop of beans. We find that velvet
beans planted in the latter part of April will produce three to four times as
.many beans as those planted later than June 20.
To secure the largest yield of beans it will be found necessary to plant
only good sound seed. In this way a better stand will be secured, for the
young plants will be stronger and more able to withstand unfavorable condi-
Some farmers plant the beans in the pod. Before planting, the beans
are soaked over night in water to soften the pods anc,Aasten germination.

Bulletin 102

This method is one that should not be encouraged, for the following reasons:
(1) When planting pods and all, no method of seed selection can be prac-
ticed. (2) It requires more seed. This is a point worth considering, for
oftentimes seed is not plentiful and is expensive. (3) When the beans are
planted in the pod it is not possible to plant by machinery, and so the cost of
planting is considerably increased. (4) It will not be possible to get so good
a germination, and an uneven stand means an unsatisfactory yield.
It is possible to increase the yield of velvet beans by seed selection the
same as with any other farm crop. The past year an acre plot was taken on
which velvet beans were planted. One-half of this plot was planted with seed
just as it came from the huller. The other half was planted with seed that
had been selected; that is, all the small, shriveled, and faulty beans were re-
jected, and only the large, well-developed ones were planted. The selected
seed produced 33.79 bushels of shelled beans, while the unselected seed
produced only 28.37 bushels per acre; a difference of 5.42 bushels in favor
of the selected seed. This increase in yield is equal to an increased gross
income of about $10 per acre from the crop.
The preparation of the seed-bed is too often neglected by the busy
farmer. One method of preparing the seed-bed that is commonly practiced
and one which should be discouraged, is that of plowing two, or possibly
four, small furrows, just enough to cover the beans, and leaving the middles
to be plowed later or not at all. This is an expensive method of preparing
the seed-bed; for, as a rule, not more than half a crop is obtained. Such a
method cannot be called good farming. Velvet beans are an easy crop to
raise, but they are too valuable a crop to be handled in a slipshod way. It
has been demonstrated more than once that thorough preparation of the seed-
bed before planting will reduce the after cultivation of the crop by one-half.
(This applies not only to velvet beans but to all farm crops.) Plow the
ground in December or January thoroughly to a depth of six inches. Harrow
each day's plowing in the evening, and use the harrow every ten days there-
after, until the beans have been planted. This harrowing will tend to con-
serve the soil moisture. Farmers who practice this method of soil preparation
experience little difficulty in conserving sufficient soil moisture to insure good
The beans may be broadcasted or planted in rows. The best results,
however, will be obtained if the beans are planted in rows four feet apart; or,
which is still better, in rows six or eight feet apart with a row of corn between.
If planted in rows four feet apart and from ten to fifteen inches in the drill,
one bushel of good seed will plant four acres. When the velvet beans are

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Fig. 9.-Marking rows for planter to follow.

Fig. 10.-A corn planter may be used.

planted alone, they make such a dense growth that they smother one another,
and so do not produce the maximum yield of seed. This difficulty can be
overcome, to a large extent, by planting alternate rows with corn or sorghum.
During the season of 1907 a comparison of yields was made between velvet
beans grown alone, and those planted in alternate rows with corn. The yield

Bulletin 102

of beans when planted alone in rows four feet apart, was 2258 pounds of beans
in the pod, or 22.5 bushels of shelled beans per acre. The yield when
planted in alternate rows with corn, the rows of beans being eight feet apart
with a row of corn between, was 2035 pounds of beans in the pod, or 20.3
bushels of shelled beans per acre. This shows only a difference of 2.2
bushels of shelled beans per acre. No account was kept of the yield of corn
secured from this acre, but it was perhaps five to ten bushels.


When the velvet beans are planted in rows, the land admits of cultivation
until the plants have attained a considerable growth and have begun to form
long vines. This cultivation keeps the soil in good condition by admitting
more heat and air, which stimulate growth. It also keeps down objection-
able weeds. After the velvet beans have made a good growth, they cover the
ground so completely that all weeds and grass are crowded out. For this
reason they are an excellent cover crop for land that is badly infested with

All of our experiments so far indicate that the velvet bean is a crop that
does not require the application of any fertilizer. An increased yield may
sometimes be obtained, but it costs more than it is worth. The following
table shows the results of a fertilizer test conducted during the season of 1907.

Plot Dried Acid Muriate
Blood Phosphate of Potash Pounds Bushels
Pounds Pounds Pounds

1 .-- ----------------------------- 1275 21.3
2 50 --------------. .1161 19.4
3 --------- -------- 40 1311 21.9
4 --_ ------ 180 ---------- 1278 21.3
5 50 ------- 40 1278 21.3
6 50 180 1236 20.6
7 .---------- 180 40 1275 21.3
8 50 180 40 1150 19.2
9 75 270 60 1254 20.9
10 100 360 80 1569 26.2

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Plot 10, which received most fertilizer, showed an increased yield, but
the value of the increase in yield was not sufficient to pay for the additional
The time of harvesting this crop may be left to the pleasure of the farm-
er. The beans may be left in the field all winter, and the loss from decay
will be small. Hence if grown for winter pasture they may be pastured any
time from December to March. If the crop is grown for seed, it would be
advisable to harvest as early in December or January as possible, so that the
seed may be hulled and put on the market before spring planting begins.
However it is not advisable to harvest until the vines have been killed by a
frost. If grown as a soil renovator, and not intended for winter pasture, they
should be plowed under in December if possible, so as to give the leaves and
vines a longer time to decay and rot before spring planting begins. If the
crop is to be used for hay, cutting should be done when the young pods are
well formed.

There are few other crops that can be put to so many uses and give such
satisfactory results. This plant was first used and is still used for growing on
trellises and screens for covering unsightly places. For this purpose it is ex-
cellent, as it makes a quick rank growth. It is also grown as a cover crop.
Here again it is excellent. However, like every crop, it has its peculiar draw-
backs. In citrus groves it is objectionable from its method of growth. The
vines grow so rampantly that if not kept under control they will in a short time
completely cover the citrus trees, the result of which is that they cut off the
light and starve the trees, by shading them. Then too, the vines are much
in the way when gathering the fruit. It is when used as a cover crop on bare
land, that the best results are obtained. The shelled beans have been used
by some as human food, but this use is limited. The most important uses
for the velvet bean are as a soil renovator, and as feed for the production of
meat and dairy products.
A soil renovator may be defined as a crop that will renew or improve a
soil that ceases to be productive, and will even increase the productive powers
of some virgin soils. Soils that have been cropped continuously for a number
of years by one crop become unproductive, or cease to produce their maxi-
mum yields. Virgin soils may not always produce satisfactory yields of cer-
tain crops, for new soils may sometimes be raw and unproductive. For the
purpose of assisting in correcting these unfavorable conditions, the velvet
bean has been found of great use.
Plants belonging to the order of legume-bearers, or pod-bearers, such as
cowpeas, beggarweed, and velvet beans, may be considered as soil improvers.

Bulletin 102

This is because the plants belonging to this order are capable of abstracting
nitrogen from the atmosphere. The nitrogen thus obtained from the air is
deposited in the root-tubercles of the plants in such a form that it is quickly
available to the growing plant. Some of it remains in the soil to be used by
the succeeding crop. The presence of the ammonia in the roots of these
plants is made known by the nodules which are found on the roots. These
nodules vary in size from a mere speck to the size of a pecan. It is in these
nodules that the ammonia is stored. When the growing plant matures, the
nodules decompose and the unused part of the ammonia is left in the soil to
be taken up by the succeeding crop. All of the ammonia taken up by the
roots is not stored in these nodules, for it is distributed to all parts of the
plant. In fact the greater part is found in the vines, leaves, and seeds. The
amount of nitrogen left in the soil by the roots only is worth considering. If
on the other hand, velvet beans are grown, and the entire crop, when ma-
tured, plowed under as a fertilizer, the amount of ammonia added to the soil
is equal to an application of about 1900 pounds per acre of cottonseed meal,
analyzing 7.5 per cent. ammonia. Much the same is true of other legumi-
nous plants. However, the amount of ammonia that may be left in the soil
by any leguminous plant depends largely upon the amount of growth the
crop makes. The larger the growth of vines, the more ammonia and humus
are added to the soil. There is quite a long list of leguminous plants which
are found in Florida. Out of this number there are perhaps only three that
are employed to any large extent as soil improvers. These are of importance
in the order named: Velvet beans, cowpeas, and beggarweed. The advan-
tages of velvet beans over cowpeas are: (1) Velvet beans are not attacked
by the nematode which causes root-knot; (2) velvet beans generally make a
heavier growth of vines, and so add more ammonia and humus to the soil;
(3) when velvet beans are killed by frost the vines and leaves go down on the
ground together, and the mass of vines tends to hold the leaves in place
until they are plowed under. With the cowpeas, only the leaves fall when
killed by frost; the vines remain in an upright position, and the wind tends
to scatter the leaves. It is not uncommon, where cowpeas have been grown
as a soil improver, to see large areas of the field blown bare. The yield that
may be secured from beggarweed is considerably below the yield of velvet
beans or cowpeas. However, ton for ton, these three crops are about equal
as a source of ammonia and humus. One advantage beggarweed has over
cowpeas, is that it is not attacked by the nematode which causes root-knot.
(From Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 60) Pounds
Weight of green material from an acre.-..______... _.---- -......--..--...21132
Weight of dried material from an acre.. -------------....-------------. ... 5953
Weight 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 nitrogen from these was
not included.

)_11______ ~_1____111~ ___ _I__ _______~___~ I_~________ 1_

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Bulletin 95 of the Alabama Experiment Station gives some valuable in-
formation as to the use of the velvet bean as a soil improver. The following
table is taken from that bulletin.
Yield per acre
Grain Straw
Bushels Pounds
Average after velvet-bean vines and stubble..........----------------- 33.6 1439
Average after cowpea vines and stubble_.. ------------------- 31.6 1738
Average after crabgrass and millet stubble..--...-..----------- 8.4 296
This table shows the average results of plots on one of which only the stubble
and on the other the vines were plowed under as a fertilizer.
The above table shows conclusively the value of the velvet bean as a
source of ammonia for fertilizing. Ammonia is the most expensive fertilizing
element we have to buy, and if we can produce it on the farm by growing
these leguminous plants it will cost only half as much as it would if bought.in
the form of cottonseed meal or dried blood. Aside from the ammonia ob-
tained by growing velvet beans, there is another very important fact that must
be considered, that is, the large amount of humus that can be added to our
soils by growing velvet beans and plowing under the dried vines. Humus is
usually formed from decayed vegetable matter; such as decayed corn or cotton
stalks, roots of all kinds, grass, weeds, and vines of all kinds. When these
plants decay and become a part of the soil, the light yellow or gray sandy soil
is changed to a dark or even black color. The more decayed organic material
(humus) in the soil, the darker the color.
The humus in the soil does not add fertility to the soil, apart from the
plant-food in the vegetable substances from which it is formed; but it aids
plants in obtaining more fertility from the soil. As we increase the percent-
age of humus in the soil we at the same time increase the water- and fertilizer-
holding capacity of the soil. All plant-food must be in solution before it can
be taken up and used by the plant. Hence humus increases the plant-food-
holding capacity of the soil. Humus furnishes food for the growth and devel-
opment of useful micro-organisms. These micro-organisms assist in changing
the unavailable forms of plant-food into available forms. Humus also im-
proves the mechanical condition of the soil. Hard tenacious soils are made
loose and mellow by the addition of humus. The greatest lack of our soils,
other than that of plant-food, is humus. Many of our soils are sandy, with
little or no humus. Those soils generally are the most productive which con-
tain a large percentage of humus.
Perhaps the velvet bean is the best legume for Florida. It without
doubt provides the best and cheapest protein that we can secure from any
winter forage crop that we can grow. Although the velvet bean does not fur-

Bulletin 102

nish a green pasture at any season of the year, yet it supplies good protein
foraging from December or January until grass comes in the spring.
The yield per acre varies according to conditions, but from one ton to
one ton and a half of beans in the pod is not too much to expect. One hun-
dred pounds of beans in the pod will shell out sixty pounds of beans (one

Fig. 11.-A field in October.

It is usually estimated that one acre to one acre and a half of velvet beans
will be enough to fatten one animal. Cattle do not eat more than fifty per
cent. of the leaves and vines and none of the roots; therefore, there is a large
amount of fertility left in the soil for the succeeding crop.


Up to the present time there have been but few feeding experiments
conducted in which velvet beans have been used. However, all experi-
ments indicate that the velvet bean is a valuable meat and milk pro-
ducer. More than that, it is among the cheapest, if not the very cheapest,
of the protein feeds that the Florida farmer can produce on the farm.
The farmer can always, under ordinary conditions, produce feed on the
farm cheaper than he can purchase it on the market. It is also generally true
that the farmer can secure a larger profit from his crops by feeding them to
live stock on the farm and selling the meat and dairy products, than by selling
the crops direct.
The writer has no definite information of any feeding experiment having
been conducted with velvet beans for pork production. However, numerous

54 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

farmers throughout the State have used them extensively for this purpose. The
almost unanimous opinion of these men is that velvet beans are a good pork
producer so far as increase in weight is concerned. The fat produced, however,
has a dark, dirty appearance, with a disagreeable odor and taste. This diffi-
culty may perhaps be overcome by using the velvet beans in combination with
other feeds, such as corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, or Japanese cane. It is well
known that peanuts, when fed alone to hogs, produce a soft, undesirable qual-
ity of fat. But when fed in combination with corn and other feeds this trouble is
to a large extent overcome. Hence it would be reasonable to expect similar
results with velvet beans when fed in combination with other feeds.
Sixteen head of steers were used in the experiment. These steers were
bred and raised by S. H. Gaitskill, of McIntosh, Fla., and were from native:
Florida cows, sired by a well-bred Shorthorn bull. The steers were divided
into four lots of four steers each, as nearly equal in weight and quality as possi-
ble. Each lot was weighed at the beginning, and every thirty days until the
end of the experiment. The weighing were all done in the morning, after
feeding hay and grain, but before watering. The weights given are averages
of three weighing on three consecutive days. The weights were all taken on
a pair of wagon scales, which were located near the feed-lots. A chute con-
nected the yard with the scales. The feeding-yard for each lot of steers was
:75 by 100 feet.
The crab-grass hay, velvet beans, and sorghum silage used in this feed-
ing test were grown on the Station farm, and for the experiment were estimated
at $4.00, $6.00, and $3.00 per ton, respectively-which is about the actual
cost of production. The corn, cottonseed meal, and cottonseed hulls were
purchased on the market, and when delivered at the railroad station cost:
corn, $1.58; cottonseed meal, $1.50; and cottonseed hulls, $0.73 per hundred.

Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV*
Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds

Corn ---......--------------- 10.5 6.0 8.0 .....-----
Cottonseed meal.----..------ 3.75 5.0 ------- 65
Crab-grass hay ------------ 13.5 .........-- ------------ ----------
Sorghum silage ----.---------. .....- ... 20.0 .---------- ...-----
Cottonseed hulls ---------- -------------_ 14 0 10.0 25.0
Velvet beans in pod ..---------.... _.. ........... 12.0

Nutritive ratio -.------ 1:6 1:6 1:6.5 1:4.8

*On February 16 the feed of this lot was changed to one pound of meal to three
pounds of hulls. This was, done because the steers did not eat their feed well, and ap-
peared to have too much roughage for the amount of concentrate they were getting.

Bulletin 102 55


Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV
Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds

Corn ----------.. .....----. 3314 1880 2528 ..
Cottonseed meal __---------- 1179 1576.5 ----.------ _1963
Crab-grass hay ------------- 4370 ------.------ .-------
Sorghum silage .--.....-----. ..----.. 6288 ------------ -------
Cottonseed hulls ---..--..--.. -.......... 44(8 3144 6174
Velvet beans in pod --------------------.......... ....--- 3760 ........-
Total..---..--. ...---. 8863 14152.5 9432 8137
Average daily roughage
per head ---.----. 13.00 31.83 13.83 18.37


January 15-Beginning._----
February 14-Thirty days..---
March 15-Sixty days .__.._-
April 8-Eighty-four days ...
Pounds gained in first 30 days
Pounds gained in second 30 days
Pounds gained in last 24 days.-

Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV
Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds
2920 2891 2818 2869
3218 3128 3106 3010
3481 3427 3415 3166
3788 3782 3800 3490


Lot I

Weight at beginning of test 2920
Weight at end of test -------- .3788
Total gains --------------- 868
Average gain per head __---_ 217
Average daily gain per head__ 2.58
Average daily gain per 1000
lbs. live weight ..----. 3.54
Pounds feed for one pound of
gain....--...-- ...-- .. 10.2
Cost of one pound of gain. -.. $.0907

Lot II



245 5



Lot IV



Table XXIV shows the weights and gains per lot and per head, the
average daily gain, the pounds of food required to make one pound of gain,
and the cost of one pound of gain. A glance at this table shows
that the steers in Lot III not only made the best gains, but the cost per pound

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

of gain was considerably less than for the other lots of steers. It will be
noticed that the cost of one pound of gain decreases when the average daily
gain increases. The amount of feed consumed does not wholly determine the
average daily gain or the cost per pound of gain. But the nutritive ratio of
the rations fed, as is seen in the case of Lot IV, to a large extent controls the
average daily gain, and the cost per pound of gain. The nearer a balanced
ration is fed (nutritive ratio 1:6 or 1:7), the larger average daily gain may be
expected, and the cheaper will be the gain per pound. It will be seen that
the steers in Lot IV, on cottonseed meal and cottonseed hulls, made only an
average daily gain of 1.85 pounds.
During the winter of 1908-9 a test of feeds for milk production was con-
ducted at this Station. The feeds tested were, velvet beans in the pod, wheat
bran, and sorghum silage, compared with cottonseed meal (7.5 per cent.
ammonia), wheat bran, and sorghum silage. This test indicates that 2.83
pounds of velvet beans in the pod are equal to one pound of cottonseed meal,
analyzing 7.5 per cent. ammonia. One ton of cottonseed meal costs on the
market five times what it costs the farmer to raise one ton of velvet beans in
the pod. The results of this test show that in feeding value, for milk produc-
tion, 2000 pounds of cottonseed meal are equal to 5660 pounds of velvet
beans in the pod.
But 2000 pounds cottonseed meal cost- ----._ .. $30.00
5660 velvet beans in pod can be grown by the farmer for_ 16.98

A savingin favor of velvet beans of_---------_. -$13.02
The cost of planting and cultivating velvet beans is estimated at $6.00
per acre, the yield being taken as 2000 pounds per acre. This is a liberal
allowance for the cost of producing an acre, and the estimated yield is what
would be considered only a fair crop. The following table gives the results of
the milk test in detail.
Lot I First Period-January 20 to February 9, 1909 Lot II
Pounds Pounds
Velvet beans in pod--..... 267.75 Cottonseed meal.-------- 94.5
Wheat bran_--------_. 630 Wheat bran ---------_ 630
Sorghum silage..------._ 2142 Sorghum silage -------_ 1543.5
Milk produced ------1069.3 Milk produced .----- 879.2
Lot I Second Period-February 17 to March 9, 1909 Lot II
Pounds Pounds
Cottonseed meal--------- 94.5 Velvet beans in pod------ 267.75
Wheat bran------------ 630 Wheat bran__--------- 630
Sorghum silage----- ---1543.5 Sorghum silage -------- 2142
Milk produced ----. 1077.3 Milk produced ------ 858.3

Bulletin 102

Lot I Third Period-March 17 to April 6, 1909 Lot II
Pounds Pounds
Velvet beans in pod .----- 267.75 Cottonseed meal------ 94.5
Wheat bran_--- -- 630 Wheat bran__---- 630
Sorghum silage -------- -2142 Sorghum silage --_- 1543.5
Milk produced------- 952.5 Milk produced ------- 714.7
Lbs. of Milk
On the average 267.75 pounds of velvet beans in pod, fed with bran
and silage, produced_ ----- _-- ------ ------ 934.6
And 94.5 pounds of cottonseed meal, fed with bran and less silage, pro-
duced ____- --------937.1

Pounds Pounds
Velvet beans in pod ------- 4.25 Cottonseed meal------ 1.5
Wheat bran-- .. .-.. _---- 10 Wheat bran --------------10
Sorghum silage ----------- 34 Sorghum silage ------- 24.5


There have been some reports from stockmen in the State to the effect
that velvet beans sometimes cause abortion among both cattle and hogs, and
also blind staggers in horses. When we consider the large number of animals
fed entirely or partially on velvet beans, the percentage of these adverse re-
ports is small.
The velvet bean is a highly nitrogenous feed, and like other such feeds,
care and judgment must be used in its feeding. Any highly nitrogenous
feed, whether velvet beans, cottonseed meal, oil-meal, or peanuts, when fed
alone or in large amounts is likely to cause various intestinal troubles. It
may even go further than that and cause abortion among all classes of live
stock. However, these troubles may be avoided by feeding velvet beans in
moderate amounts and in combination with other feeds.
It will be found that the velvet-bean hay when fed exclusively to horses
is likely to cause kidney trouble. This however can be overcome by feeding
a smaller quantity of velvet-bean hay together with some crabgrass hay.
Equal parts of each will give good results.


The velvet bean has but few insect enemies. The only one causing
serious injury is the caterpillar of Anticarsia gemmatilis. This caterpillar does
not usually attack the growing crop until about the time the velvet beans are
beginning to bloom. The first appearance of the insect is marked by the
small holes eaten in the leaves. As the larvae increase in size and number
they continue to devour the leaves until there is nothing left of the plants but
the bare stems.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

The following account is taken from Bulletin 54 of the Bureau of Ento-
mology, U. S. Dep. of Agr., pp. 77 and 78.
The caterpillar of this species is long and slender, cylindrical, the last pair of legs
projecting backward and spreading. The body is sparsely coated with rather stiff black
hairs which arise from small white button-like tubercles. The head is large, a lit-
tle 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 brown-
ish 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" was said
to be the most active as well as successful enemy of the larvae. These birds, however,
do not occur in great numbers, but one of them would get in under a vine and pick off
larva after larva. The larvae remain on the under sides of the leaves.

Paris green applied as a dust spray has been found effective in destroying
these caterpillars. Apply at the rate of one to three pounds of Paris green
per acre. Mix the Paris green with air-slaked lime in the proportion of one
pound of Paris green to three pounds of air-slaked lime. See that the lime
and Paris green are evenly mixed. The mixture can be easily and cheaply
applied. It is placed in a sack made of any loosely woven material. A bran
sack will be found good. Attach two sacks of this kind to the ends of a board.
Balance the board on a mule's back. Have a boy ride the mule up and
down the rows of velvet beans. The continued motion of the mule will dust
sufficient Paris green upon the foliage'to poison the caterpillars. If the motion
of the mule fails to dust sufficient Paris green upon the foliage, have the boy
hit the board gently with his hand. The length of the board will depend upon
the width of the rows of velvet beans. The board should extend far enough
on each side of the mule to cover one row. If the rows are four feet apart
the board should be about six feet long.
There need be no fear of loss of life among live stock pasturing velvet
beans that have been sprayed with Paris green. The amount of Paris green
used is too small to injure cattle, and the rains soon wash it off the foliage and
it disappears in the soil.

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