Front Cover
 Forage crops
 The silo

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 78
Title: Forage crops ; The silo
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027698/00001
 Material Information
Title: Forage crops ; The silo
Series Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 78
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Conner, C. M.
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station,
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027698
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 283
        Page 284
    Forage crops
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
    The silo
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
Full Text







The Bulletins of this Station will be sent free to any address in Florida upon appli-
cation to the Director of the Experiment Station, Lake City, Fla.

St. Augustine, Fla.:

MARCH, 1905


GEo. W. WILSON, President. .............. .. Jacksonville
C. A. CARSON, Vice-President. ................... Kissimmee
F. L. STRINGER, Secretary .. ........... ........ Brooksville
F. E. HARRIS ... ... ......... .................. Ocala
E. D. BEGGS.. ........... ................. .... Pensacola
J. R. PARROTT. ........................ ... Jacksonville
F. M SIMONTON .................. ....... ...... Tampa


ANDREW SLEDD, A. M., Ph. D.. ...... ............ Director
*CHAS. M. CONNER, B. S. ... .Vice-Director and Agriculturist
EDWARD R. FLINT, B. S., Ph. D., M. D. .......... .Chemist
E. H. SELLARDS, M. A., Ph. D.... ...... .Entomologist
F. M. ROLFS, M. S ..... ...... .. Botanist and Horticulturist
CHAS. F. DAWSON, M. D., D. V. S. ........... Veterinarian
A. W. BLAIR, A. M.......... ...... Assistant Chemist
R. A. LICHTENTHAELER, M. S... ......... Assistant Chemist
F. C. REIMER, B. S. ................. .Assistant Horticulturist
S. A. ROBERT, B. S... ...... Assistant in Field Experiments
W. P. JERNIGAN ......... .... Auditor and Bookkeeper
H. T. PERKINS ....... .......... .Stenographer and Librarian
JOHN F. MITCHELL ... .. ......... Foreman Station Farm
F. M. STEARNS ...... ... Gardener, Horticultural Department
*Superintendent Farmers' Institutes,


The awakened interest in live stock and dairying has given
rise to numerous inquiries (coming to this office) regarding for-
age crops. As no publications are available on this subject, it is
thought best to give such information as has been collected. The
investigations are to be continued, and a subsequent and more
complete report made later. These reports will of necessity be
brief on account of the short time these crops have been under
\While this plant is best adapted to the Central West on ac-
count of its drouth-resisting properties, it has long been a favorite
in the South as a forage crop. There are two kinds of sorghum.
The saccharine and non-saccharine. Both are drouth-resistant.
but the latter is used more for its seed than for forage. The
non-saccharines are known as chicken corn, Jerusalem corn,
milo maize, etc. They are not used very extensively in this State.
The common sorghum is used in the North and west for making
syrup, and also as a forage crop. In this State it is used prin-
cipally as a forage crop. The sugar cane supplies better syrup.
There are several varieties of the common sorghum grown
for forage, and are given in order for their maturity:
Early Amber,
Early Orange,
Link's Hybrid,
the first maturing in about ninety days, and the latter in about
1'? or 130 days. The early amber is best suited for our purposes.
Planting can be done any time from early spring up to Au-
gust 1st, but it is better to plant early and cut the second time

Bul/lein No. 78

for late feeding. Only one variety need be used, if planted at dif-
ferent times, to insure a succession of crops.
When possible, it is well to have a crop of cow peas or velvet
beans precede this crop. Plow the ground thoroughly and as
deeply as the subsoil will allow, run a cutaway harrow over the
ground and throw up light beds. Open the beds and apply the
This plant is known as a gross feeder, and requires a consid-
erable amount of potash, as well as nitrogen and phosphoric acid.
Use from 600 to 1,200 pounds of fertilizer containing Ammonia
4 per cent, Potash 8 per cent, Phosphoric Acid 6 per cent. Use
cotton-seed meal as a source of ammonia. Apply in row and work
in with a plow. Throw up low beds and brush down with a light
drag or weeder. Let stand about ten days before planting.
Plant with a drill at the rate of 13 to 14 quarts of seed per acre.
It is better that the seed be put in with a drill as the rows are
close and straight and can be cleaned with a plow, thus avoiding
hoeing. Leave the plants thick in the row; an average of about
two stalks per inch. If the ground is rich and well manured they
can be left thicker. If very poor, leave one stalk every three or
four inches.
Cultivate as soon as possible in order to keep down weeds
and grass. The weeder can be used as soon as plants are three
inches high.
As soon as the plants get four or five feet high you can be-
gin feeding. Cut and haul out to stock. As soon as a large
enough area is cut over, throw the dirt from the rows and apply
about 300 pounds of cotton-seed meal per acre, and throw the
dirt back again. This will make the second crop grow better.
If a large number of dairy cows are to be fed, it pays to run
the sorghum through a cutting box, but if only a few, it can be
thrown on a grassy place and they will eat it up clean.
If the cattle and hogs are both to be fed, it will be found

Pigs Feeding on Sorghum


F ,I


1 4 0,

Forage COps The Silo

advantageous to feed together. The cattle will eat the tender
parts and the hogs will chew up the tough parts of the stalks.
During the past summer, the work stock (horses and mules)
were fed for six months on sorghum. Young pigs made a fairly
good growth on sorghum alone from June 30th to September 21st.
When fed alone, sorghum contains rather too much water
for most stock. The feeding value increases up to the period of
ripening, reaching its maximum when the seed are ripe. The fol-
lowing is the analysis of the ripe stalk:

20.6 per cent. 0.6 per cent. 12.2 per cent. 0.4 per cent.

This plant is used for silage in most dairy sections. It makes
rather sour silage, but if put in the silo when rather ripe, it is rel-
ished by stock.
Sorghum stands the spring drouth better than any other
crop, yet it responds to irrigation, as is evidenced by the following
Yield of green sorghum on high, dry sandy soil averages
two plots 19,605 pounds per acre, cut September 12th.
Yield of green sorghum, irrigated three times during the dry
season in the spring:
First cutting. June 22d ............3.7,740 pounds.
Second cutting. August 4th.........1.600 pounds.

Total.........................51,340 pounds.
The crop can be cut and put in shocks, where it will dry out,
then can be stored in a barn and fed during the winter.
Numerous newspaper reports are given regarding the pois-
onous effect of second growth sorghum. These come mostly from
the West and Northwest. Very few cases have been reported
from the South. The Nebraska station reports the presence of
prussic acid in second growth sorghum during a severe drouth.
In Florida the second crop would come during the rainy season,
hence there would be little danger of poison. We have never had
a case at this station.

Ri/ll/c/in Alo. 7S

This plant resembles the rutabaga when growing, except
that it does not have a fleshy root. It is becoming quite popular
in some sections of the State. The mistake has been made of
planting it in the spring. Like the cabbage, it does best in the
winter. It should be planted in September or October. There
are several varieties, but the Dwarf Essex is the most commonly
It makes excellent feed for hogs or sheep. To get the best
results the stock should be turned in and allowed to graze it
down. Cattle or horses mash it down, and are most likely to
It contains a large amount of water, and should be supple-
mented with corn or something concentrated, if the animals are
to be fattened rapidly.
When milch cows are fed on this there is danger of tainting
the milk, unless fed just after milking.
It can be grown in the fall and winter when other crops are
out of the way.
The following is the composition of rape:

14 per cent. 1.5 per cent. 8.1 per cent. 0.2 per cent.

It is practically the same composition as cabbage.
The ground should be well prepared, and rows laid off two
and one-half feet apart. Apply fertilizer at the rate of 400 to 600
pounds per sack, containing ammonia 4 per cent, phosphoric acid
i per cent, and potash 8 per cent. Work in well, and plant with
a drill at the rate of 4 to 6 pounds of seed per acre (seed costs
10 cents per pound.)
Rape gave a yield of 27,200 pounds on rather light sandy
soil, well manured. This crop followed the sorghum mentioned
above on the irrigated land, and this makes a total yield of 78,540
pounds, or a little over thirty-nine tons of green feed per acre, in
less than twelve months.

Forage Crobs The Silo

It requires one or two workings with a light plow to keep
the grass and weeds down.
As soon as it gets six or eight inches high, hogs or sheep
or young calves may be turned in on it to graze. If you should
cut the crop for feeding, cut above the ground and the stems will
sprout and produce another crop.


Bulletin No. 78

This plant is a native of South America. It has some merit
as a forage crop, but is not so good as sorghum. If allowed to
mature, it has too much woody fibre. It matured seed at the sta-
tion last year, but the season was very favorable. The seed is
rather expensive, and must be purchased each year, while sor-
ghum seed can be raised on the farm.
This plant gave a yield, on fairly rich ground, of 20,000
pounds of green stuff per acre. It was cut October 26th. If it
had been cut several times during the summer, the yield would
have been much greater. At the Louisiana station a yield of
fifty tons per acre was obtained.
It is a gross feeder, and requires about the same fertilizer
as given for sorghum.
Plant in rows five feet apart and three feet in the row. Plant
three or four seed per hill.

Forage Crops The Silo 293

Rye is used principally as a winter pasture crop. Sown in
November, it will make an excellent pasture all winter. Care
should be taken to get Florida grown seed, as seed from the North
does not do well. Use five or six pecks of seed per acre. Prepare
the ground well by breaking, and smooth down the ground with
some kind of drag. If fertilizers are to be used, use stable ma-
nure, if it can be had. If not, use a fertilizer containing
3 per cent Ammonia,
6 per cent Potash,
6 per cent Phosphoric acid.
Use from 300 to 600 pounds per acre, according to soil. If
grown for seed, do not use so much ammonia.

R YE planted in drills

Bulletin No. 78

If the crop is to be cut and fed, it should be planted in rows
two feet apart and very thickly, using, say, a handful of seed to
two steps. Use plenty of fertilizer and cover lightly. This can
be cut two or three times. Commence using as soon as high
enough to cut.

Panicum Molle.
This giant grass is well suited to this State as a pasture
grass, and also as a hay grass. Like its relative, the crab grass,
it takes root at every joint, if touching the ground, but if thick
enough on the ground, will stand well up, as shown in the cut
herewith. If allowed to stand too long the lower stems become
hard and woody. It should be pastured or cut frequently for
hay. It grows rapidly, making a growth of 4 or 5 feet feet in
60 or 70 days.
This grass has been tried at various places in the State, and
pronounced a failure, on account of the way it was handled.
It does not mature seed here in sufficient quantities to war-
rant an attempt to propagate it in this way.
The best way to secure a stand is to obtain enough of the
grass to put out one piece to every square foot of ground. This
can be done by laying one piece (8 or 10 inches long) one foot
apart on the right-hand side of the furrow as the ground is be-
ing plowed. So place the pieces that the end will project two or
three inches after the next furrow has been turned. The best
time to do this is just before the rainy season begins.
Low, moist soil is the best, but it will do well on rather sandy
It is very similar to crab grass in its requirements, and re-
sponds to fertilizer and moisture in about the same way.
Under favorable conditions the para grass will grow stems
18 to 20 feet long.
No feeding test has as yet been made, but will be taken up
as soon as a sufficient quantity of hay can be secured.

PARA GRASS, set out June 20th


Growth of 11(wa 6 off,, aftfii faixlrf (kfOober 251h,


Some doubt has been expressed by feeders of this State as to
the success of the silo in this warm climate. There are a number
in use in the State, and all very successfully. Some have advo-
cated that they should be built below the ground. This is not
necessary. The silo at the station is a stave silo, and all above
the ground. It keeps perfectly.
The silo is not essential to successful stock feeding in Flor-
ida, but it will tide the feeder over the dry seasons, be he engaged
in dairying or the raising of beef cattle. During the season of hay
making it is usually rainy, and the hay cannot be saved with
ease. In filling the silo the rain does not interfere, as we fre-
quently wet the silage as it goes in.
Putting green feed up in the silo does not increase its feed-
ing value. The silo simply enables you to save your feed regard-
less of the rain, and keeps the feed in a palatable form. A larger
amount of feed can be grown per acre where silage crops are
grown, as compared with hay grown on the same land.
The following crops are suggested for filling the silo:
Corn with cowpeas. planted at the same time so the vines
will run up the stalks, and can be cut with the corn. This mix-
ture makes excellent feed.
Sorghum with cowpeas. Sorghum should be ripe when cut.
Cowpeas alone may be used, but they are very difficult to run
through the cutter.
Velvet beans do not make good silage, unless mixed with
corn or sorghum.
A field planted for silage should be as near the silo as pos-
sible so there would be as little hauling as possible.

There are a number of kinds of silos, and are built either
round or rectangular. The round is perhaps the best. They
are sometimes built of brick and cement, but more commonly
of wood. When built of wood they are built by standing 2x4

Bulletin No. 78

pieces around a circle of the desired size, and binding them to-
gether by nailing one-half inch boards on the inside. The boards
bend easily and act as hoops. These boards are covered with
heavy building paper and ceiling nailed on so that the wall is air-


tight. The walls may also be made air-tight with plastering, first
nailing on something to hold the plastering.
Perhaps the cheapest form of silo is the stave silo. The
staves should be long enough to reach the top without splicing.
Cypress timber is the best to use. Hard pine will do, but it is

Fol-aqge' Cro/PS The Silo

not as easy to make air-tight. The staves should be dressed on
the inside, and should be sized so that they will fit up and the
silo will be the same size at the top as the bottom. This is essen-
tial, as the silage will settle for some time after the silo is filled,
and if the silo is not the same size it will let air in between the
walls of the silo and silage.
The staves may be from 4 to 6 inches wide, but should be
2 inches thick. It is best to have them cut 6 inches wide and sized
to 5 inches. The edges should not be beveled for a silo 10 feet
in diameter or larger.
Flat or round hoops may be used. Use two lugs, one on each
side, and the staves will draw together better. Place the hoops
rather close together at the bottom and increase space as height
increases. The cut shown herewith illustrates how the hoops
may be placed.
The doors should be 18x24 inches, and cut on bevel so that
vwhen placed in position from the inside the pressure of the silage
will tend to make the cracks air-tight. Have about three doors.
Do not place one above the other, as the silo will keep its shape
better. Place first door 5 feet from bottom, the next 10 feet,
and the third 15 or 16 feet. A door mav be made in the roof for
The foundation should be made of brick or stone. As a silo
should be made as high as possible, some prefer to dig 3 or 4 feet
in the ground, thus increasing its capacity. This cannot be done
unless the drainage is good, as water will spoil the silage if al-
lowed to stand on it. The wall should be at least one foot thick,
and level on top.
Should the rats bother by digging under, the bottom may be
The roof can be made by ripping a 12 or 14-inch plank diag-
onally, the sharp points going to the center. Any desired pitch
can be given. It is not necessary that the roof be tight. In fact,
it will do good to have the top wet occasionally, as it will hasten

Bulletin No. 78

decomposition and seal over the top. The silo at the station was
icft open for three weeks after filling. It rained almost every
day during that time, and the rain did not seem to do any harm,
as it was only about 12 inches down to the good silage, which is
rather unusual.
The size will depend upon the number of animals to be fed,
and the length of the feeding period. In Florida it is necessary
to feed off at least 2 or 3 inches each day. If exposed to the air
for 24 hours it will mould and the stock will not eat it, hence
the silo should be built as tall as possible (say 25 or 30 feet), and
increase the size to suit the herd. It is estimated that a thousand-
pound cow will consume about 40 pounds per day, about 1 cubic
foot. If 20 cows are to be fed 6 months, they will require 144,000
pounds, or 72 tons.
Allow a margin of 10 or 15 per cent, as it is almost impos-
sible to fill the silo full, as it settles rapidly, and there is always
some loss on top and around the edges near the top.
The following table shows the capacity of round silos:

Depth Inside Diameter in Feet.
12 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons. Tons. iTons. Tons. Tons.
20 45 70 80 90 101 113 12,5 138 151 167 180
21 47 74 84 95 106 118 132 145 159 173 190
22 49 77 88 99 111 124 138 152 166 182 198
23 52 81 92 104 117 130 144 159 174 190 207
24 54 84 96 108 122 135 150 166 179 199 216
25 56 88 100 113 127 141 157 173 189 207 225
26 59 92 104 118 132 147 163 180 197 215 235
27 61 95 108 122 137 153 169 187 205 224 244
28 63 98 112 126 142 158 175 193 212 232 252
29 65 101 116 131 147 164 182 200 220 240 262
30 67 105 120 136 152 170 188 207 127 249 271

The size of the cutter will usually depend upon the amount
of work to be done. Don't get a cutter too small. Less trouble
will be had with one that is too large than with one that is too

Forage- Crops The Silo 301

The carrier should not be over 30 feet long, as a long carrier
gives a great deal of trouble. The silage should be delivered as
near the center of the silo as possible, and moved toward the wall
with a pitchfork. Keep it higher next to the wall than the center.
One man should be kept busy tramping the silage next to the wall
all the time it is being put in; the middle will take care of itself.
Fill just as fast as possible, but no harm will be done if a
stop of a day or two is made. After the silo has been filled it will
settle, and may be refilled.
Any green material may be used for filling the last foot, as
it will rot and be thrown away Weeds or grass, or, in fact, any-
thing may be used that will decay and prevent the air from getting
down to the good silage. If you have nothing else, pull the ears
from the corn and use the stalks. The ears may be fed to hogs
or other stock. Tramp well, and wet thoroughly. Do not disturb
the top until you are ready to open the silo. Any one walking
over the surface after it has commenced to rot will do much harm.
If the material being put into the silo becomes too dry, on
account of hot winds or any other cause, water may be put on the
silage as it goes up the carrier, at the rate of one-half barrel to
the wagon load. If water can be pressed out with the hand, there
is too much water being used.
The following is the composition of silage from various
Digested Nutrient,
S in 100 Pound..

= -
Name of Feet].

a a

C orn ........ ........ ........ ............... ......... ..... .. 20.9 0.9 11. .7
Clover ........ ............................... ... 2 .0 2.0 1 .3 0.1
Sorghunm ....................................... 23.9 14.9 0.2
Alfalfa ............ ..................... ..... 27.5 3.0 8.5 1.9
Cow Peavine......................................... ...... 20.7 1.5 6 0.
Soja Bean ............................ ................... 25. 2.7 8.7 1.:3

22 Fertilizers ...................... pp 48
24 Annual Report ................. 32
25 Leeches and Leeching......... 17
26 Big Head........................ 19
27 Pineapple........................ 14
28 Liver Fluke-Southern Cattle
Fever...................... 15
30 The Culture of Tobacco........ 28
33 Orange Groves.................. 33
34 Insect Enemies.................. 96
36 Insects Injurious to Grain...... 31
37 Pineapple.......................... 15
38 Tobacco in Florida............. 63
39 Strawberries...................... 48
40 The Fall Army Worm.......... 8
41 The San Jose Scale ........... 30
42 Some Strawberry Insect....... 55
43 A Chemical Study of Some
Typical Florida Soils......... "128
51 Some Common Florida Scales.. 24
52 Baking Powders................. 15
55 Feeding With Florida Feed
Stuffs........................... 95
56 The Cottony Cushion Scale..... "124

53 Some Citrus Troubles........... pp. 35
57 Top-working of Pecans......... 48
58 Pomelos............................ 43
59 Cauliflower........................ 20
60 Velvet Beans..................... 24
61 Two Peach Scales ............ 32
62 Peen-to Peach Group........... 22
63 Packing Citrus Fruits........... Folio
64 Texas Fever and Salt Sick..... pp. 31
65 The Kumquats.................. 14
66 The Mandarin Orange Group.. 32
67 The White Fly................... 94
68 Pineapple Culture. I. Soils... 35
70 Pineapple Culture. II. Va-"
rieties......................... 32
71 Japanese Persimmons......... 48
72 Feeding Horses and Mules on
Home-Grown Feed-Stuffs.... 16
73 The Honey Peach Group....... 20
74 Anthracnose of the Pomelo... 20
75 Potato Diseases.................. 16
76 Insecticides and Fungicides... 44
77 Equine Glanders and Its Erad-
ication.......................... 39


1 Directions for Preparation of Bor-
deaux Mixture.
2 Lime and Its Relation to Agriculture.
3 Seed Testing.
4 The White Fly.
6 Nursery Inspection (part ).
7 Nursery Inspection (part II).
8 Care of Irish Potatoes Harvested in
the Spring and Held for Fall Plant-
9 Sore Head.
10 Plants Affected by Root Knot.
11 Vinegar.
12 Seed Beds and Their Management.
13 Treatment for San Jose Scale.
14 Beef from Velvet Beans and Cassava.
15 and 16 Some Poultry Pests.
17 Preservatives in Canned Goods.
18 Cantaloupe Blight.
19 Cut Worms.
20 Hog Cholera and Swine Plague.
22 Nitrogen as a Fertilizer.
23 Protection Against Drought.
24 Orange Mites.
25 Roup.
26 Lumpy Jaw.

27 Cover Crops.
28 Moon Blindness.
29 Food Adulteration.
30 Dehorning Cattle.
31 Coffee.
32 Foot and Mouth Disease.
33 Red Soldier Bug or Cotton Stainer.
34 Ox Warbles.
35 Butter.
36 Hook Worms in Cattle.
37 Velvet Bean.
38 Practical Results of Texas Fever Inoc-
39 Lung Worms in Swine.
40 and 41 Glanders.
42 Food Adulterations-Spices and Con-
43 How to Feed a Horse.
44 Tree Planting.
45 The Sugar Cane Borer.
46 Selecting Seed Corn.
47 The Rabid Dog.
48 Adulterated Drugs and Chemicals.
49 Saw Palmetto Ashes.
50 Insect Pests to Live Stock.

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