PRESS BULLETIN 171
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
PREPARING FOR THE HAY CROP.
BY C. K. MCQUARRIE.
The amount of money sent out of Florida yearly for hay amounts to hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars. Most of this will be kept at home when our
farmers realize how easy it is to make their land produce an abundant crop of
hay. The proper methods, however, must be employed. Right now, with the
advent of the rainy season, is a good time to begin the preparation for the
With but few exceptions, all the land in the State is capable of producing
luxuriant crops of crabgrass and beggarweed, and in the northern and western
sections, Mexican clover in addition. The crabgrass and Mexican clover grow
as volunteer crops on all cultivated lands, and the beggarweed will reseed itself
for many years in succession after having been once sown.
Where a spring crop has been produced (such as Irish potatoes, early corn,
beans, cucumbers, or melons), there will be no difficulty in getting a good crop
of hay, if the land is well prepared for the purpose. Such preparation should
include the plowing and thorough pulverization of the soil by the best tools at
command. Either a turning or a disk plow may be used for the purpose, fol-
lowed by a smoothing harrow or weeder, taking care to leave the land in as
smooth and level condition as possible, in order that the mower may do good
work at haying time.
COWPEA, SORGHUM AND MILLET HAY.
When the natural grasses do not prevail to the extent necessary for a good
stand, eowpeas can be sown any time up to the middle of July, with an assur-
ance of getting a good crop of the highest grade of hay. On the Experiment
Station farm, lands treated as above suggested, and sown to cowpeas at the
rate of a bushel and a half to the acre, have yielded more than two tons of
June 2i, 19 11
hay per acre. It will be best to sow only a variety of cowpea that is immune
to root-knot, such as the Iron or the Brabham.
A mixture of cowpeas and sorghum makes an excellent hay for work stock,
and may be especially recommended for this purpose. About forty pounds of
sorghum seed per acre may be used, in addition to the amount of cowpeas
already mentioned. Two tons of first-class hay may reasonably be expected
from this combination.
Another good mixture is sorghum and German millet. About thirty pounds
of millet seed per acre is added to the amount of sorghum already recommen-
ded. This will give a hay equal to the best, and the yield should not be less
than a couple of tons per acre on good land. It is not advisable, however, to
sow millet seed on poor land. On land that has been liberally fertilized for the
preceding crop, a good yield of hay can be depended on without more fertil-
izer. Where no spring crop has been grown, and where we sow cowpeas, or
sorghum, or German millet, about four hundred pounds per acre of acid phos-
phate should be broadcasted and worked into the soil at the time of prepara-
tion. About the latter part of August, two hundred pounds of nitrate of soda -i
per acre in addition applied before a rain will give good results with the sor-
ghum and millet. .
The application of the same amount of nitrate of soda at the same period
on land that has grown a spring crop will often be found to be an advantage
with sorghum and millet. Should the crop at any time show a yellow unthrifty
condition, even in spots, nitrate of soda applied as above will correct it and
assist in getting a good yield..
State papers please copy.