Experiment Station for men and business. 1913

Material Information

Experiment Station for men and business. 1913
Series Title:
Writings and Speeches 1891-1920
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Articles, Speeches and Other Writings
47. Experiment Station for men and business. 1913


Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture -- Florida -- Experimentation.
Agriculture -- Study and teaching -- Florida.
University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station.
Rolfs, Peter Henry


A talk, "Experiment Station," given by P. H. Rolfs describing the work of the University of Florida's Agricultural Experiment Station.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida Archives
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier:

UFDC Membership

Peter Henry Rolfs
University Archives


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The Zlorida Experiment Station, which is a department of the

university of Florida, occupies a very important place in the agricul.

tural devel pment of the State. Its laboratories and offices are

housed in one of the nine large buildings on the campus. It was oo-

cupied by the staff in 1911. This staff is composed of nineteen per-

sqno., each one of whom is a specialist In his own line. me popularity

of the institution is attested by the fact that there are more calls

for lectures froia the staff than from anyone else in the institution.

But these men are hired especially for investigational work and con-

seqiently must refuse many of the importunities. The acconmpreing

view shows the cormmodious building, designed and built for th Exper-

iment Station world: and pronounced by a competent authority to "be the

best adapted building for Experiment Station needs in the United States.


The horticultural grounds adjoin the Experiment Station labora-

tories and offices. Before their occupation by the Experiment Station,

in 1906, they were old fields intersected by stripe of woodland. The

accompanying view taken on the horticultural grounds shows a tract of

land that was covered withlhanmoock In 1906. In these grounds all the

new varieties of plants, whether fruit, forage, food crops or others,

are first tested. The number annually tested runs into the hundreds.

Among the important plants that were first tested out here are the

lyon bean, Chinese velvet bean, Yokohama bean, Rhodes grass, and a

considerable number of others not quite so popular as yet. These

grounds are open to visitors at all times and hundreds of persons take

advantage of the opportunity.

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Florida Is located in a semi-tropical climate, and while this

climate has long been recognized the attempts formerly made at the in,-
troduotion of foreign crops have been from regions to the northward

of us mainly from other portions of United States. The Experiment
Station has been conducting an active campaign for a considerable num-

ber of years to determine what forage crops can be grown most success-

fully and profitably In the State. As a generalization of the work
done there it has been discovered that the tropical forage plants are

more nearly adapted to our needs than those from the temperate zone.

Ja&n.aa. ane. The accompanying illustration shows the Japanese
Cane which at one time was condemned unstintingly by Florida farmers.

At that time, however, it was being used entirely as a syrup and sugar

producing plant. The Experiment Station too]-k up work with this plant,

not with the view of making a syrup and sugar producing LcreSp of it

but with the view of using it as a forage crop. As a result of the

dissemination of facts gained by the investigation, more tons of Jap-
anese came are now being grovn for forage than any one o'her crop.

The accompanying illustration shows a plot of Japanese cane growing
forage at the rate of 27 tons per acre on land that under the best fer-

tilization would yield only 15 to 18 bushels of corn per acre. Japan-
ese cane is the king of forage crops for Plorida. It produces the

largest amount of green food and matures at the time of year that the

forage is most needed, that is the winter season. During this time

cattle may be turned into the forage and graze it off the field, or it

may be cut and shocked, as corn is shocked in the north and the cattle

fed from the shocks. Still another method is to use this Japanese
cane for silage. Japanese cane silage together with the proper amount

of velvet bean .or other protein containing forage, will produce the

largest amount of mill and beef at the minimum cost.
yelvet y al The velvet bean is another crop that can be

planted for winter forage. It attains its maturity about the middle
of November and stock may then be turned upon it ani allowed to graze

until sometime in March if need be. This is the most valuable of our
winter forage crops, in that it produces a large axiount of protein the
costly element in all foods. In addition to producing a largo amount
of the most valuable feed, the velvet bean has the faculty of extract-

ing nitrogen from the atmosphere and building it up in its own tissue,

and leaving a large portion of it in the soil. 'hen other plants

are grown on this same field they will be able to mal:e use of tha nitro-

gen as plant focd. In recent y'ars there has been such a dcaand for

the seed that the price has gone so high that the average farmer cannot
afford to feed the seed. This is due to the fact that farmers in other

southern states where the velvet bean seed does not mature, have become

acquainted with the fact that the velvet bean is a nitrogen fixing plant.
;Darf Esseg xLe, The mild winter climate of Florida enables

the haryr vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, Dwarf Essex Rape and

other plants, to pass the winter unharmed. Dwarf Essex Rape has been

used for many years in Europe as a forage for sheep and cattle. In
Florida its usefulness was shown by the Experiment Station, Wut now1-

hundreds of acres are grown in the State. By sowing the seed in Octo-

ber the crop will be ready for grazing off about the first of January.

As high as 24 tons of Rape per acre has been cut by the Experiment
Station. It is an excellent feed for cattle and hogs, being an excel-

lent mill producer as well as flesh buildgr

From the earliest ltses Florida has been regarded as one of the
cattle producing states. Like Texas and other cattle range states,
her native stock has degenerated. This is almost entirely due to the
fact that no attention was given to breeding or feeding the animals.
Recently the Experiment Station has proven that the best of the cattle
have innhereft in them the quality of producing large stock if only

proper food be given them during the winter time. For a while it was
contended that the thoroughbreds would. not live in the State. This,
however, has been thoroughly disproven. The accompanying illustra-

tion is a photograph of the thoroughbred shorthorn herd owned by the
Experiment Station. No extra food was given those cattle. The prop-

er forage, however, was raised and the cattle a lowed to graze the
forage in the fields.
Since the introduction by the Station of m-any forage plants,
and since it has been proven that more pounds of forage per year can
be grown in Florida than in the dairying states of the North the ques-

tion of milk production has been taken up. It has been found, by talc-
ing only average good milk cows, that a gallon of mi1k can be produced

for 7'- % when considered in teams of the amount of forage consumed.
During the most favorable season of the year milk can be produced even
cheaper than this in the State. By using the beet mill: producing

animals and growing the most nutritious forage, milk can be produced
as cheaply in Florida as anywhere else in the United States,


The various breeds of thoroughbred hogs, especially lose

used for pork production, are found to do extrem-ly well. An abundance

of succulent food can be produced for them. The trade of the State

calls for animals that dress from 75 to 125 pounds. Tie accompanying

illustration shows a drove of Berkshire hogs at 180 days old, and the

average weight of the herd of seventeen hogs was 127 pounds. It was

formerly thought that hogs could only be grown in those regions where

corn could be produced In large quantities but since the demand for

lean porT has increased so greatly It is found that pork can be ypo-

duced much more cheaply by using less corn and growing green forage.

Experiments have shown that only from one to two bushels of corn are

needed per head to supplement the forage that can be produced, and

will make the best of marketable hogs for Florida. The cost of pro-

dusing pork in the State will vary with the cost of proGtcing the

crops upon which they are fed. Of these various crops we have a great

abundance, sorghum, dwarf Essex rape, sugar cane, sweet potatoes,

peanuts, and others. Under the most favorable conditions porl can

be produced at V/ or 5/ a pound.


A large amount of time is being given to the investigation

of citrus insects, diseases and fertilization. All of this requires

expert attention and demands the finest class of training. The Florida

Experiment Station has been foremost in publishing the results of work

attained in this line.

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