VOLUME 33 NUMBER 1 .
Florida Forage Crops
FLORIDA QUARTERLY BULLETIN OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
W. A. McRAE
Commissioner of Agriculture
hteret J nuary 31, 1903, at Tallahassee, Florida, as second-class matter
under Act of Congress of June, 1900. "Acceptance for mailing at special
rate of postage provided for in Section 1103, Act of October 8, 1917,
authorized September 11, 1918."
T tf T 4J. *PPLMARD., PRNTER, TALLAHAf*SR E, FLORA
1l11 n il III I III 1111M l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l lkl lll l l l l l
Next in importance to the divine profusion of water,
light, and air, those three great physical facts which render
existence possible, may be reconed the universal beneficence
of grass. Grass is the most widely distributed of all vege-
table beings, and is at once the type of our life and the
emblem of our mortality. Lying in the sunshine among
the buttercups and dandelions of May, scarcely higher in
intelligence than the minute tenants of that mimic wilder-
ness, our earliest recollections are of grass; and when the
fitful fever is ended, and the foolish wrangle of the market
and forum is closed, grass heals over the scar which our
descent into the bosom of the earth has made, and the car-
pet of the infant becomes the blanket of the dead.
As he reflected upon the brevity of human life, grass has
been the favorite symbol of the moralist, the chosen theme
of philosopher. "All flesh is grass," said the prophet;
"My days are as the grass,"' sighed the troubled patriarch;
and the pensive Nebuchadnezzar, in his penitential mood,
exceeded even these, and, as the sacred historian informs
us, did eat grass like an ox.
Grass is the forgiveness of Nature-her constant bene-
diction. Fields trampled with battle, saturated with blood,
torn with the ruts of cannon, grow green again with grass,
and carnage is forgotten. Streets abandoned by traffic
become like rural lanes, and are obliterated. Forests decay,
harvests perish, flowers vanish, but grass is immmortal.
Beleaguered by the sullen hosts of winter, it withdraws
into the impregnable fortress of its subterranean vitality,
and emerges upon the first solicitation of spring. Sown by
winds, by wandering birds, propagated by the subtle horti-
culture of the elements which are its ministers and ser-
vants, it softens the rude outline of the world. Its tenac-
ious fibres hold the earth in its place, and present its
soluble components from washing into the wasting sea. It
invades the solitude of deserts, climbs the inaccessible
slopes and forbidding pinnacles of mountains, modifies
climates, and determines the history, character, and destiny
of nations. Unobtrusive and patient, it has immortal vigor
and aggression. Banished from the thoroughfare and the
field, it abides its time to return, and when vigilance is
relaxed, or the dynasty has perished, it silently resumes
the throne from which it has been expelled, but with it
never abdicates. It bears no blazonry of bloom to charm
the senses with fragrance or splendor, but its homely hue
is more enchanting than the lily or the rose. It yields no
fruit in earth or air, and yet should its harvests fail for
a single year, famine would depopulate the world.
Extract-JOHN J. INGALLS.
GRASS IS KING WHEN GROWN FOR FEED
BY G. A. CARDWELL,
Agricultural and Industrial Agent, Atlantic Coast
Alhmed, the Bedouin, loved his horse. The beautiful
bay mare, by her fleetness of foot and soundness of wind,
had many times carried him to safety when beset by tribal
foes. Ahmed watched her every move; he anticipated
her every whim; he studied her every need. After brow-
sing near the desert spring, feeding upon the succulent
green plant with the triple leaf, the mare, Zaden, was
fleeter of foot and seemed possessed of all the stamina of
all her ancestors. Quickly appreciating the food upon
which his beloved mare thrived so well, Ahmed, called it
"'Alflfafa," meaning, "the best forage." Alfalfa is an
old, old crop. Originating in Asia, it was passed on to
the Greeks and Romans. The seed was first introduced
into the United States as early as 1703. Having been
brought here from Lucerne Switzerland, it was first called
Lucerne. It is a dual-purpose plant. Rich in digestible
protein, it was a high feeding value as a farage, gathering
nitrogen from the air, its deep-growing, hollow roots draw
lime, potash and other minerals from the lower soils, en-
riching the field.
This is only one of the many, and I use it as an illus-
tration on account of the pretty legend associated with it.
Soy beans, velvet beans, cow peas and the different varie-
ties of clovers all grow here when properly cultivated and
cared for. Bermuda and Lespedeza are grown for hay
and have a high feeding value.
All of this preamble has a direct relation to the live-
stock business. When green fields are possible nearly the
whole year round, live stock and dairying can be profit-
ably carried on. Green fields make good herds.
The Hon. J. J. Ingalls, late Senator from Kansas,
said, "Forests decay, harvest perish, flowers vanish, but
grass is immortal. It yields no fruit in earth or in air,
and yet, should its harvest fail for a single year, famine
would depopulate the earth."
It must not be understood that any farmer can make
money here with livestock, even under the favorable situ-
ation we have, without making and maintaining "lush"
pastures, and giving his stock humane care and attention.
Where green food can be grown so bountifully, all kinds
of live stock raising is economically possible.
The demand for dairy products, for beef, pork, mutton,
butter, eggs and cheese is far in excess of the supply. This
makes another phase of opportunity. The enormous de-
mand, coupled with the climatic advantages, makes a mag-
nificent combination. These are the phases of the situation
-supply and demand and the ease with which green food
is possible throughout the year.
It is merely the length of the growing season that makes
Mr. W. E. Brown, Farm Manager State Farm, Raiford
Writes Under Date of November 14, 1922, In Which
"We have 40 acres of Merker grass at the dairy planted
on ordinary flat woods soil with only a shovel full of
manure to the hill when planted last November. That
furnished grazing for our dairy cattle this spring when
it was so dry that all other grass was making no growth
to speak of.
"At the farm we have 15 acres of Marker grass planted
in November 1921 that was cut for ensilage last August
and we are now cutting it again.
"When the wonderful possibilities of this grass is known
I feel sure it will solve the forage problem for not only
Florida, but for as far north as it can be grown. We
have not tried hogs on it, but cattle and horses eat it
It makes a better growth on poor soil than anything we
have here and on good soil it is truly a wonder. It starts
up after cold weather quickly and furnishes good grazing
in the spring. It stays green later in the fall than any
of our native grasses. By alternate pasturing no farmer
or dairyman need run short of pasture from early spring
until heavy frosts of winter. It makes splendid ensilage,
every scrap of it consumed by cattle.
"Merker grass and velvet bean pasture would make a
splendid combination for fattening beef in the fall. This
grass is worthy of at least a trial on every farm in the
state and for soils similar to the soil here, i. e. flat woods.
I know what I say when I recommend it and urge the
planting of it".
Merker Grass, State Farm, Raiford
Reproduction of Farmers' Bulletin No. 1130, U. S. D. A.
Carpet Grass, also known as Louisiana grass and by the
French inhabitants of the state as petit gazon, is the most
valuable grass known for permanent pastures on the sandy
soils of the southern Coastal Plain region of the United
States. Although long since introduced into the country,
its high value has been unappreciated. The reasons for
this are not clear, but may be ascribed partly at least to
the fact that until very recent years improved pastures
in the South were not properly appreciated. Furthermore,
carpet grass has been confused with several more or less
similar grasses, and in the belief that it was a native grass
has been left like the others to shift for itself.
Extensive observations on carpet grass and the data
derived from careful farmers who had learned from ex-
perience the value of this grass lead to the conclusion that
under conditions suitable for its growth it is at least equal
to Bermuda grass in carrying capacity and feeding value
and will thrive on soils where Bermuda grass can be made
to succeed only by the use of fertilizers.
It is estimated that at least one-third of the Coastal
Plain area of the Southern States will grow excellent car-
pet grass. Furthermore, by the use of this grass most of
this area can be developed into admirable permanent pas-
tures without removing the stumps from the land. Land
thus improved will support many times the live stock that
now exist on the native ranges.
The natural grasses of the Coastal Plain do not furnish
good pasturage. They are mainly broom sedge (various
species of Andropogon) and wire-grass (a name indiscrimi-
nately applied to several wiry, slender-leafed, tough grasses
the most widespread of which is Aristida gracilis. These
grasses are burned off nearly every winter when dry.
From early spring to midsummer the young growth furn-
ishes very good pasturage, from midsummer till frost, the
animals gain slowly if at all, but from frost until the fol-
lowing spring they become greatly emaciated. Much of
this very poor natural pasturage can be replaced cheaply
by excellent high grade pastures with carpet grass as a
basis. For this purpose carpet grass is of outstanding
Probably carpet grass has not invaded the open ranges
of the Coastal Plain to a greater extent mainly because
of light grazing and annual fires. Light grazing permits
a large growth of tall native grasses which by shading pre-
vent any vigorous growth of carpet grass, and, when
burned, make so strong a fire that all carpet grass plants
Carpet grass is a perennial pale-green grass, spreading
by creeping stems which root at every joint, thus forming
a close, compact turf. The stems and sheaths are com-
pressed and thus two edged, and this character taken with
the blunt leaf tips will distinguish carpet grass from most
others. The seed stems are very slender, two or three
jointed, and 12 to 24 inches high. very often two flower-
ing branches arise from the sheath of each stem leaf. Each
stem bears two or three, rarely four or five, slender spikes
of flowers, which later form very small seeds. Flowering
stems are produced almost continuously from early spring
until frost in the fall.
Young plants begin their growth in a more or less cir-
cular small patch and quickly send out runners in all
directions. IUnder favorable conditions, when without
competition from other plants, a single plant in a single
season will spread so as to form a circle 2 or 3 feet in di-
ameter and produce abundant flowering stems.
Carpet grass never becomes troublesome as a weed, and
when its eradication is desirable it is very easily destroyed
by plowing it under.
Carpet grass was probably first recorded from Jamaica
by Sloane in 1696. Previous to 1830 it is recorded from
Peru, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, San Domingo, and Porto Rico.
More recent collections show it to be native throughout the
West Indies and from Mexico southward to Argentina and
Chile. In the United States its present distribution is
in the southern states. The oldest specimen from the
United States is apparently one collected by Drummond
at New Orleans 1832. An earlier record by Rafinesque is
clearly based on misidentification, as his grass was 6 feet
tall. The next older specimen was not collected until 1869.
It was not found by Elliot around Charleston, S. C., in
1821, nor by Michaux in North Carolina in 1803. A care-
ful study of carpet grass and its behavior indicates clearly
that it is not a native in the United States. The plant is
never found remote from civilized habitations even in
favorable places where annual fires can not be the explan-
ation for its absence. Furthermore, like other introduced
plants, such as Bermuda grass and Lespedeza (Japan
clover), its ability to spread aggressively is a phenomenon
rarely found in a native grass.
Carpet grass also occurs in Java, Sierra Leone, and Sing-
apore. It seems safe to say that carpet grass was intro-
duced in the United States at New Orleans about 1830 and
by 1880 was widespread in the Southern States, occurring
at that date in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida.
Previous to 1890 carpet grass was known as Louisiana
grass, but since then the name carpet grass has became
general. Among the Creoles the name petit gazon is in
frequent use. Unfortunately, the name carpet grass is
also applied, especially in Florida, to any broad-leafed
grass, such as various native species of Paspalum, but the
true carpet grass can readily be distinguished by the blunt
leaf tips and compressed stems.
SOILS AND MOISTURE RELATIONS
Carpet grass will thrive on any type of soil if the mois-
ture conditions be favorable, but, like other plants, it grows
better on rich than on poor soils. It is remarkable, how-
ever, for its ability to grow on poor sandy soils, thriving
under such conditions far better than does Bermuda grass.
Even on many alluvial soils, as in the lower Mississippi
Valley, carpet grass will gradually crowd out Bermuda
grass. The latter, however, will grow under more drought
conditions than will carpet grass. Where the ground-water
level is only a few inches from the surface carpet grass
grows luxuriantly, but it is equally good on well drained
*This carpet grass was first named by Swartz in 1788 from Jamaica as
Milium compressum; from South America in 1791 by Lamarck as Papsalum
tristachyon; from Porto Rico by Poiret in 1804 as Papsalum platycaule;
and from Tropical America by Flugge in 1810. These three plants are
indistinguishable. In the older literature it appears commonly as Pausa-
lum compressum (Swartz) Nees. The name now used by most botanists is
Axonopus compressus (Swartz) Schlechtendahl, but some authorities use
Anastrophus compressus (Swartz) Beauvois. All of these refer to one and
the same grass.
hilly lands with clay subsoil that prevents their becoming
too dry. The ideal condition for carpet grass is a water
table only 1 or 2 feet below the surface. Large areas of
such lands make up the so-called flatwoods. Carpet grass
is not injured by ordinary floods, but quickly renews grow-
th when the water subsides. Thorough compaction of the
soil seems very important for carpet grass, and it is rarely
found growing where the soil is loose.
Carpet grass seems entirely indifferent to lime, growing
equally as well on "acid" soils as it does along the borders
of shell roads. Actual field tests have shown no notice-
able result from the use of lime.
Carpet grass is of tropical origin. Its northern limits
indicate that it can rarely survive a winter temperature
lower than about 100 F. It certainly will not withstand
conditions so far north as does Bermuda grass, probably
because all of its stems are above ground, and Bermuda
grass possesses underground stems that are protected. On
the other hand, the leaves of carpet grass are not injured
by frosts that completely kill leaves of Bermuda grass, and
furthermore carpet grass greens up in mild winter weather
much more than does Bermuda grass. For these reasons
carpet grass may be grazed considerably later in the fall
and earlier in the spring.
ESTABLISHING CARPET-GRASS PASTURES
On cultivated land, carpet grass succeeds best on a well-
firmed seed bed. The seed may be sown at any time from
early spring till after midsummer when the moisture con-
ditions are favorable. To secure a full stand of the grass
promptly, seed should be sown at the rate of 10 pounds per
acre. A method of seeding that has often been used is
to cut the grass with mature seed and scatter the hay over
the land where it was desired to establish carpet-grass
pasture. Many writers have advocated planting the grass
vegetatively as Bermuda grass is propagated, but the ex-
pense of this method has discouraged its employment.
It is frequently desirable to establish carpet-grass pas-
ture in open forests or on cut over land, without going to
the expense of clearing. To do this all the standing trees
should be deadened by girdling. The land to be seeded
should be burned over in winter in order to remove all the
tall straw of broom sedge, wire-grass, and other bunch
grasses. Plowing or discing is not nessary, and the avail-
able evidence does not indicate that it is desirable. As
soon as the native grasses begin to grow, animals should
be put on the area in sufficient numbers to keep the grass
eaten short. Carpet grass at the rate of 5 pounds per acre
may then be sown at any time after the weather becomes
warm, but preferably when there is ample moisture. Under
close grazing most of the native bunch grasses will occupy
the land. It is not advisable to seed carpet grass indis-
criminately on cut-over land. To get good carpet grass
pasture on such lands the rate of grazing must be under
control, so that it will be heavy enough to destroy the
broom sedge and wire-grass while the carpet grass is get-
ting established. Practically all bunch grasses may be
destroyed by continuous heavy grazing, but creeping
grasses are not materially injured by such treatment. The
trampling incidental to heavy grazing aeems to be an im-
portant element in securing good carpet-grass pasture. If
lespedeza (Japan clover) is not already on the land it
should be sown, as it succeeds well if mixed with carpet
grass. The general plan of converting broom-sedge and
wire-grass lands to carpet-grass pastures may thus be sum-
(1) All brush should be cut and all trees not valuable
for timber deadened by girding.
(2) Burn over the area as cleanly as possible when
conditions are favorable. Disking or plowing is not neces-
sary and apparently not desirable. In lieu of burning,
close mowing may be used, but this is more expensive.
(3) Limit the area, preferably by fencing, to the acre-
age that can be kept heavily grazed.
(4) Seed to carpet grass at the rate of 5 to 10 pounds
per acre any time after spring weather has begun and
moisture conditions are favorable. If not already present,
lespedeza should be seeded at the rate of 5 pounds per acre.
(5) Drain by open ditches all areas where water is like-
ly to stand for a considerable time.
(6) Heavy grazing will destroy all bunch grasses in
one or at most two seasons, and solid carpet-grass sod will
cover the land.
(7) On "flatwoods" and other soils well suited to car-
pet grass, gallberry* and bayberry** often occupy much
land. These shrubs may be eradicated by cutting with
a brush hook or other device two or three times. Gall-
berry and bayberry are both so bitter that animals refuse
to eat them.
Two native weeds in particular, namely bitterweed
(Helenium tenuifolium) and fennel or Yankee weed
(Eupatorium capillifolium), are very likely to invade
carpet-grass pastures. These weeds should be mowed at
least once a season, before they have formed seeds. This
is sometimes difficult to accomplish on stump land, and
therefore the removal of stumps as promptly as possible
is desirable. Goats will keep down fennel to a considerable
extent. After two or three seasons further mowing will
Good carpet-grass pasture on the evidence available
seems little, if any, inferior in value to bluegrass pasture.
The experience of careful farmers indicates that the best
carpet-grass pasture will furnish grazing for one cow to
the acre for about five months each season and for one cow
to two acres for three or four months longer.
Close grazing is very essential to maintain the grass in
good condition. The trampling by the stock keeps the
soil compacted, favoring the spread of carpet grass, and
close grazing keeps down the taller growing plants which
would injure it by shading.
If a field of carpet grass be left ungrazed after October
1 it will grow quite tall. In the protection thus afforded
green leaves will appear through much of the winter and
furnish winter pasture. The cattle in eating the green
leaves consume incidentally many of the dry leaves which
otherwise they would avoid. Such a field must never be
burned over, as fire is very destructive to carpet grass.
*Ilex glabra. **Myrica sp.
OTHER GRASSES TO GROW IN MIXTURE WITH
Carpet grass and Bermuda grass rarely grow together
for any length of time. As a rule Bermuda grass prevails
on clay soils, while carpet grass dominates on sandy soils.
On soils that will grow both grasses it is often economy to
seed the two in mixture, but eventually one or the other
will occupy the land almost exclusively. Dallis grass
(Paspalum dilatatum) usually grows well in carpet grass
soil, and it is a good plan to sow seed of this, especially on
the better soils, after the carpet grass is well established.
Plowing furrows 10 feet apart and sowing the rather ex-
pensive Dallis grass seed in the furrows is a good plan.
North of Florida lespedeza, if not already present,
should always be added to carpet grass. It succeeds admir-
ably and adds a desirable constituent to the field.*
Carolina clover (a native species), yellow hop clover,
and rabbitfoot clover (the last two introduced) are de-
sirable legumes. The first comes naturally and the other
two if introduced spread year by year. Commercial seed
of these clovers is not on the market.
Bur clover perhaps black medic are exceedingly desir-
able legumes to establish in carpet-grass pasture, where
the former often succeeds splendidly and results in a 12-
months pasture. Success with bur clover is nearly always
conditional on securing abundant inoculation.** Black
medic on some soil types may be expected to succeed at
least as well as bur clover. Augusta vetch is another ex-
ceedingly desirable winter legume for carpet grass pas-
tures. All of the above legumes seed themselves naturally.
White clover is also a very desirable constituent in car-
pet grass pastures, particularly on moist or rich soils. It
will make much feed in the cool season, but becomes
dormant or semi-dormant in summer.
Italian rye-grass sown on carpet grass about October 1
under favorable moisture conditions will make much winter
grazing. With this grass, however, it is necessary to seed
it every season.
Carpet grass pasture supplemented by the plants men-
tioned will make an ideal pasture that can be grazed
nearly, if not quite, the entire 12 months.
*McNair, A. D., and Mercier, W. B. Lespedeza, or Japan clover. U. S.
Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bul. 441. 1011.
*Piper. C. V., and McKee, Roland. Bur clover. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farm-
ers' Bul. 693. 1915.
On low or moist soils, particularly near the northern
limits of carpet grass, the first seeding of a pasture either
on plowed or unplowed land may we!l be to redtop. The
advantages are that the seed is much cheaper and the 1-
year-old pasture is an excellent foundation on which to
sow carpet-grass seed. Redtop seed in the are: referred
to must be sown in the fall or early winter. Pure redtop
pastures may be expected to persist two or three years.
For permanent pastures the addition of carpet grass is
Carpet seed is in much larger demand than supply at
present. Unfortunately there has never been sufficient
seed on the market to allow any extensive sowing of the
grass. There is no apparent reason why ample seed to
supply all needs should not be harvested. Lack of knowl-
edge on the part of those who have the grass in abundance
as to the market demand for the seed seems largely respon-
sible for the deficient supply. Those who have open areas
of carpet grass of sufficient to justify harvesting the seed
never have to sow it. On the other hand, in the localities
where the seed is most needed the grass does not exist ex-
cept in small areas.
Perhaps the most promising location for developing the
carpet grass seed industry is on the alluvial lands of the
lower Mississippi Valley. In that region cotton growing
has been curtailed to some extent because of the boll weevil,
and cattle raising has been substituted. Many of these
old cotton fields are now thickly set with carpet grass and
an abundant seed crop goes to waste every year.
Carpet grass will form a seed crop in spite of pasturing.
The stock graze the basal leaves, while the seed stalks are
rarely eaten. Perhaps a larger crop of seed may result if
all stock is kept off the field for a few weeks while it is
going to seed. This a point on which therere ae no data
and which needs investigation. Meantime the crop of seed
which is produced in addition to the pasturing will pay
good returns if harvested. An ample supply of carpet
grass seed is at present a great need in southern agricul-
Carpet grass begins to mature seed in June, but contin-
ues to bloom throughout the summer. The main crop of
seed and the only one that will usually pay to harvest is
ripe early in September. There is a period of a month
or six weeks in the fall when seed may be gathered, but
there is considerable loss from shattering if the crop is
gathered when it first becomes ripe.
HARVESTING THE SEED
Carpet grass seed shatters easily when ripe. The seeds
are small and light, being about the size of timothy seed,
and not so heavy. The grass should be cut with a mower
and handled as little as possible in order to avoid loss from
shattering. The straw should be allowed to become
thoroughly dry before attempting to separate the seed.
Much seed can be obtained by beating it out of the straw
with a flail on a tight floor or on a large canvas. Where
there is a considerable area to be harvested a thrashing
machine is desirable. Almost any kind of a thrasher will
do this work if equipped with proper screens. An ordi-
nary grain thrashing outfit will answer, but it will require
more work to clean the seed from the chaff. The chief
danger in thrashing will be from too heavy blast of air,
which will blow the seeds out with the straw. The air
intakes of the fan should be reduced to the minimum or the
fan cut out entirely. Another source of loss is shaking the
separating apparatus of the thrashing machine too rapid-
ly. If this action is very violent the seeds, being light in
weight, may not fall through the screens, but pass out with
CLEANING THE SEED
Good screening will clean carpet grass seed very satis-
f ctorily. A sieve with a mesh one-twentieth of an inch
in size will let the carpet grass seed through and take out
the large weed seeds and coarse material. One with a
mesh of one thirty-eighth of an inch will hold the carpet
grass seed and separate the finer material. Hand sieves
are sometimes used, but the process is slow and laborious.
If much seed is to be cleaned a fanning mill is needed.
Manufacturers will gladly advise as to the best combin-
ation of screens for cleaning carpet grass seed with their
particular machine if a sample of seed is sent to them. In
fanning, the air blasts must be light in order to avoid loss
Carpet grass seed well cleaned weighs about 18 pounds
to the bushel.
NAPIER GRASS RIVALS ALFALFA AS STOCK
FEED; ANALYSIS MADE
Its Development and Adaptability to West Florida
and South Alabama Soil Paves Way For
Extensive Stock Raising.
(BY W. CHIPLEY JONES)
in Pensacola Journal
Within the past decade, there has been imported into
West Florida and South Alabama, from the veldts of
South Africa, a grass, so adaptable to the soils of West
Florida and South Alabama as to appear really indigen-
ous to these soils, so marvelously productive and so rich in
stock feed value, that when its culture has been established
in every neighborhood in West Florida and along the bor-
der lands of South Alabama, this entire section will have
nothing whatever to fear in competition, as a stock raising
country, with any other section in the entire U. S. A.
I refer to the Napier grass, which was first introduced
into West Florida by the Florida Experiment Station at
Gainesville and which is being developed upon a very ex-
tensive scale by Napier Farms and Milling Company, in
the vicinity of Florala, Alabama.
NAPIER FARMS AND MILLING COMPANY'S FARM
I was privileged, a few weeks ago to visit the plantation
of Napier Farms and Milling Company, eight miles north-
east of Florala, where 80 acres of this wonderful grass
was growing with marvelous luxuriance. And when I was
told by M. R. Cartwright, president of the company that
the yield from four cuttings per year from his fields of
grass would amount to 80 tons per acre, or of cured grass,
Napier Grass, Loring Brown, Orlando.
20 tons per acre, I was absolutely prepared to accept the
statement as true.
From this year's crop, however, Mr. Cartwright will
cure but a small amount of Napier grass, the greater por-
tion of the crop having been reserved for seeding 600 acres
additional land which his company was clearing for its
culture when I was at Florala and for seed which the farms
company is selling to farmers throughout South Alabama
and West Florida this fall.
EXHAUSTIVE EXPERIMENTS MADE
Exhaustive experiments have been made with the Napier
grass by the experiment stations of both Florida and Ala-
bama, since it was first imported into the country from
South Africa, with the result that it has been proven that
Napier thrives and produces satisfactorily upon any
reasonable fertile soil. However, it is essentially a southern
product of the soil and will grow successfully in a climate
more severe than the climate which obtains in Florida and
as far north as the first tier of counties of South Alabama.
MOST SERIOUS RIVAL OF ALFALFA
Napier grass is the most serious rival as a stock feed
product which alfalfa has; indeed, in all of the most es-
sential constituents of a balanced stock feed, Napier
grass is,to all intents and purposes, the equal of alfalfa, as
witness the following analysis of the state chemist at
Napier Grass Alfalfa
W ater ........................ 9.35 8.6
A sh .......................... 9.92 8.6
.Protein .......................11.32 14.9
Carbohydrates .................41.06 37.3
F at ........................... 2 .15 2.5
Fiber ........................ 26.20 28.3
The three items of fat, protein and carbohydrates
(starch and sugar) are taken to indicate the food value.
A few comparsions of Naphier grass with other well known
feeds in respect to these items are given below:
Protein Fat hydrates
Corn (Grain) .........10.50 5.40 69.60
Natal Grass .......... 7.40 1.80 39.20
Para Grass ........... 8.00 1.60 45.70
Rhodes Grass ......... 7.70 1.30 36.80
Kudzu Vine ..........15.90 1.60 33.00
Cow Pea Hay .........13.00 4.20 45.90
Velvet Bean Hay .....14.70 1.70 41.00
Japanese Cane ........ 2.50 1.50 62.60
Napier Grass .........11.32 2.15 41.06
(Cured grass was used for analysis).
YIELD VERY HEAVY
Napier Grass will produce a tonnage from five to ten
times greater than any other known forage crop today and
has been pronounced by experienced cattle and dairy men,
as well as by many noted agricultural writers to be the
solution of the world's feed problem.
Napier grass can be utilized for (1) pasture, for (2)
ensilage, for (3) hay or for (4) meal.
As a pasture grass, Napier grass has no equal in the
Southern climate and can be particularly recommended
for winter pasture. It can be pastured throughout the
year if desired, but cattle should not be turned into it until
it is well rooted and has begun to stool out to a consider-
able extent. If cut for ensilage or hay, after the first cut-
ting has been taken off in November, it will not only not
injure this grass, but will actually help it to pasture it
from then on until March, when the cattle should be taken
off if it is proposed to utilize it that season for other than
pasture purposes. One acre of this grass will easily pas-
ture and feed ten head of cattle the year around. Hogs
thrive on it, eating the leaves and stalks but not bothering
the roots. After being well rooted this grass will, in good
growing weather, grow from two to four inches per day.
For ensilage purposes, Napier grass, owing to its high
feed values and enormous tonnage production cannot be
excelled anywhere. There is absolutely no other feed crop
grown that can equal it in these respects and it is one of
the best milk producers grown today.
The same good qualities mentioned above make Napier
grass as fine a hay crop as can be grown. When cutting
for hay this grass should be cut when about six feet high
and at this height it can be harvested about five times a
year. Having 18 per cent less moisture than green corn,
Napier grass is easily and quickly cured. In this form
Napier grass is relished by all kinds of stock and eaten
When ground into meal, Napier grass is equal in feed
values to alfalfa meal which, at present time supplies the
base of almost all of the mixed feeds on the market. For
this purpose, it should be cut twice yearly, the first cutting
being made in July and the second the latter part of Oct-
ober or first of November.
WHAT NAPIER GRASS MEANS
The value of Napier grass to the southern farmer the
West Florida and South Alabama horticulturist; the West
Florida and South Alabama satsuma orange grower, can-
not be overestimated.
It means first of all, a cheap, highgrade feed for his
It will enable him to keep more and better cattle and
thus build up his land with nature's own fertilizer, which
is so greatly superior to any commercial fertilizer that no
comparison is possible.
NAPIER GRASS DECLARED TO BE THE SOLUTION
OF THE WORLD'S FEED PROBLEM
(Milton Gazette, September 29, 1922.)
The growth of Napier grass this season on the farms of
the Napier Farms & Milling Company, eight miles east of
Florala, is exceeding all expectations.
On July 18 last during a visit to the farms by Mr. J. A.
Winslow, Agricultural Agent of the Central of Georgia
Railway, an average hill of this grass was cut at his request,
This hill, which was planted from one joint on March 24,
1922, was found to be ten feet in height, contained 389
stalks and weighed 43 pounds. As there are 1820 hills to
the acre, this shows a yield of 29 tons to the acre from
one cutting. A second cutting from these same hills can
be made the latter part of November which will be equally
as heavy if not heavier. Mr. Winslow, also, inspected two
hills which he had cut and marked on a former visit on
June 16th last and found that these had increased from
seven stalks to twenty nine and had grown 51 inches in
The Napier Farms & Milling Company now have about
eighty acres of this grass in cultivation and are stumping
and clearing five hundred additional acres, all of which
will be planted to Napier grass this coming fall and next
spring, so that by April 1923 this company will have
nearly six hundred acres of this grass in cultivation. A
grinding mill with a capacity of one hundred tons per
day will be erected on the property early in 1923 and an
office, commissary and several tenant houses will be built
this coming winter.
The Napier farms were acquired by the present company
from Mr. Henry Hughes and comprise six hundred acres.
In addition to their present holdings, the company has an
option on 560 acres of adjoining land. This land will be
added to the present farm and planted to Napier grass in
the fall of 1923 and by the spring of 1924 the company
will have at least 1,000 acres of this grass in cultivation.
In appearance Napier grass much resembles Japanese cane
but grows much faster and is much more tender. It is a
perennial and when properly worked and fertilized will
continue to produce for years. It is not a pest or obnox-
ious plant and can easily be destroyed by plowing when
desired. It is drought resisting and no insect attacks it.
The average yield of this wonderful plant may safely be
stated at from forty to sixty tons of green feed per acre
per year, counting on two cuttings to the year. It will
grow successfully on most any kind of soil but, of course,
the better the soil the better the yield. In curing for hay
and grinding into meal it loses about 50 per cent of its
weight so that we may say that one acre will produce from
20 to 30 tons of Napier hay or meal per year.
W ater ....................... 8.6 9.35
A sh ......................... 8.6 9.92
Protein ...................... 14.9 11.32
Carbohydrates ................ 14.9 41.06
Fat .......................... 2.5 2.15
Fiber ........................ 28.3 26.20
Napier grass has been pronounced by experienced cattle
and dairy men, as well as by noted agricultural writers,
to be the solution of the world's feed problem and as a
milk producer and dairy feed is the equal of any known
feed today. Its tonnage production exceeds five to ten
times that of any known forage plant grown in America,
and the evidence of its merit is reflected through the award
of ten first prizes at five of the largest Southern fairs
where it was displayed in competition with all varieties of
forage and grass products.
Napier grass is a native of South Africa and was first
introduced into the United States by the U. S. Department
of Agriculture in 1913. It is grown extensively in Florida
and in Southern Alabama and has been successfully raised
as far north as South Carolina.
NEW GRASSES AND LEGUMES FOR FLORIDA
More than a hundred new grasses and legumes from
every corner of the world have just been planted on the
grounds of the Florida Experiment Station, the purpose
of which is to try to find new hay, forage and pasture
plants suited to conditions in this state.
Florida stockmen have been looking for grasses and
legumes for grazing purposes which will stand conditions
peculiar to this state and which can hold their own among
the native, wiry or tough grasses. The nature of Florida
soils and climate is such that many plants that are success-
ful in other states do not do well here. W. E. Stokes,
grass and forage crops specialist, believes that among the
large number of these new plants will be found several
well adapted to conditions here.
These grasses and legumes were planted late in Sep-
tember and early in October and will be under the constant
observation of Professor Stokes for the next year or two.
BY J. J. LOGAN
My experience with this forage plant extends over a
period of three years and includes curing it as a hay, silage
and to a limited extent, pasturage.
Cut when it is three or four feet high it makes excellent
hay, much relished by both cattle and horses.
It makes good silage at any age. Have put it up alone
and also by mixing with peavine and corn; it has been
good both ways.
.It can be killed by too close pasturage, especially in the
fall, but I have pastured two small lots this fall and have
done it no harm so far as I can see. Cattle are very fond
of it and if too many are placed on it, they keep it nipped
so close it doesn't get a chance to put out sprouts and they
soon kill it.
Of all the various forage crops I have tried, this is the
only one that has made a good yield 100 per cent of the
time through different kinds of seasons, and it is easy to
grow and by far the cheapest forage per tons that I have
seen in Florida, or anywhere else. Fifty or sixty tons to
the acre annually is not at all impossible on good land
here where we can get three or four cuttings per annum.
It appears to analize well up among the very best for-
age and hay crops. It seems to be not much below alfalfa
in feeding value and certainly no alfalfa will produce
anything like the tonnage per acre.
Florida would quickly become one of the very great
cattle producing states if we were rid of the cattle tick,
and Napier grass would play no small part in producing it.
The Florida Legislature, however, has up to now shown
its disposition to dilly dally and delay the tick eradication,
thereby postponing the time when Florida can take her
rightful place among states as a beef and dairy producing
Every human being in the state could not be other than
benefitted by stopping the many millions of their earinigs
going out of the state every year for beef and dairy pro-
ducts and produce them here and keep those millions here.
This is not, (as the Legislature seems to think), a matter
to be left to the cattle and dairy people to settle. It is a
matter which concerns the whole of our citizenship. Every
mother and father are interested both in the price and
quality of milk consumed by their children and the price-
and quality of beef consumed by themselves. It goes right
into their pockets and takes their money out to feed cattle-
Like the drummers overcoat, it is in the expense account
whether we see it or not.
"BREAD AN BUTTER FARMER" TELLS OF
BY CHAS. F. LEACH,
Manager, Cherokee Farms, Monticello,
Jefferson County, Florida.
In Farm and Live Stock Record.
In compliance with your kind request for special article
on beggarweed as a soil improving crop and for hay; I
submit the following which must be short, as we are now
in the midst of our seed harvest and also receiving reports
from all over the North on the success of the beggarweed,
peanut and velvet bean seed we distributed free in the
North last spring and the Kudzu roots we shipped to every
state in the Union.
Beggarweed has been greatly neglected here in its native
country and it was unknown and unheard of north of the
cotton belt until I began distributing the seed in small
*quantities three years ago. Even in the South it was never
grown and only known by hearsay fifty miles north of
the Florida line except a few acres in North Carolina and
here and there some small patches in other parts of the
South and on the experiment farm of the United States
Department of Agriculture in Virginia.
Nevertheless, knowing its climate requirements and also
knowing the climate of most northern states I sent it North
with entire confidence in its success and value there. That
my confidence was not misplaced is shown by the following
extracts from a letter just received from one of the great-
est forage crop experts in the United States, Proffessor
H. D. Hughes. He says:
"I think my last report to you was that the beggarweed
was not making anything like the growth that I hoped it
would but it was only a few days after that when it began
to "show off" and it now stands head high. I don't believe
that there is anything in our fields which has attracted
more interest. I am completely sold on the matter of the
acid soil legumes and have been hammering it home at
every opportunity; particularly to agricultural editors,
seedsmen, and county agents and to our Iowa farmers and
they are all pretty much alive to the fact that the intro-
duction of these acid soil legumes will be worth a great
deal. We are anxious to get a large quantity of beggar-
weed seed this fall that we may extend our seedings of this
crop considerably another year in different parts of the
state. The beggarweed has certainly made a great growth
this year*** and this will mean a great deal to the farmers
in the southern half of Iowa; where we have soil deficient
"The early velvet beans are growing right beside the
beggarweed and have made a remarkable growth. There
is no comparison between the growth that these velvet
beans have made and the growth secured from other
varieties in previous years. Some of the bunches of beans
have reached full growth already. The peanuts have also
made very good growth of tops but the nuts are still im-
mature but will, I believe, cure up satisfactorily. All these
acid soil legumes will be of the greatest value to us and we
want more seed for larger plantings."
MANY FAVORABLE REPORTS
I get quite as favorable reports as this, from many north-
ern as well as southern states. Beggarweed and Kudzu
especially have made a great impression. From Ohio,
Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and as
far away as Oregon come glowing reports of beggarweed;
and Kudzu is now growing in nearly every state in the
UInion, yet in Florida, where beggarweed is native and
formerly was grown on every plantation in the northern
part of the state, it is now so scarce that it is impossible to
find enough seed to fill the demand.
This is due entirely to the fact that all plantation owners
live in the towns and depend on the rents paid in cash or
kind by tenants. With the advent of the boll weevil, and
failure of cotton, the tenants have been forced to strip and
sell the beggarweed seed and leave none for reseeding.
This seed has mostly gone to the grove owners and truck
growers in Central and South Florida who have been
planting beggarweed seed every spring or summer and
Beggarweed on Cherokee Farms.
plowing the crops under for soil improvement and I now
have many requests for the hulled and scarified seed from
Central and South Florida for this purpose.
But in my opinion there is a better way of planting
beggarweed seed and that is to plant the unhulled seed in
the fall; sowing it right on top of the ground before plow-
ing under. Then by plowing the ground again about the
first of May or, in the far South, even earlier the seed will
be returned to the top of the ground, if the plowing is
about an inch deeper in the spring than when the seed is
If it is not desirable to plow in the groves the seed can
be sown on top of the ground and the ordinary cultivation
of the groves, with discs and harrows will distribute and
cover the seeds and the hulls will rot off this winter and
the plants start to grow when the nights get warm next
spring. This is nature's method of reseeding, which man
may find profitable to follow.
Anywhere South of Tampa, and possibly North, beggar-
weed can be grown in the winter but where there is danger
of heavy frost it will be better not to seed before January
and for this winter crop the hulled and scarified seed
should be used, as the unhulled seed must lie in the ground
several months to rot the hulls and soften the seeds.
Be sure to get fresh seed of reliable growers or you will
get disappointed, last year's seed will not germinate.
In the southern half of the Florida peninsula and, I
believe anywhere that oranges can be grown, it is possible
to grow two crops of beggarweed a year and still give the
groves all the cultivation necessary. Even one good crop a
year, plowed under, will furnish the necessary nitrogen
on most soils and so reduce the cost of this most expen-
sive ingredient of all fertilizers. But the greatest benefit
is probably in the great quantity of humus that beggar-
weed adds to our sandy soils for humus cannot be bought
in the sack and without humus no fertilizer is fully effec-
tive and seldom returns its costs in the increase of the
Beware of cheap seed, for the great demand has tempted
unscrupulous growers to sell sweet clover seed and the seed
of the dwarf beggarweed that grows in Virginia and Tenn-
essee-only an expert can tell the difference. One seeding
of good fresh seed is all that should ever be necessary for
it makes a great quantity of seed and will soon fill the
ground so full of seed that the beggarweed will volunteer
every time the soil is stirred up or turned over, but to
keep up the seed supply in the soil beggarweed should be
allowed to go to seed every third year or strips of it left
every hundred feet or so, every year, to reseed the land,
when the balance of the crop is plowed under.
After plowing under a few crops of beggarweed it may
be found that there is too much nitrogen in the soil and
then the beggarweed should be cut for hay. It makes
splendid hay when cut just as the blossom buds appear and
it has a higher feeding value than the best Alfalfa. All
kinds of livestock and poultry eat it greedily and thrive
VALUABLE FOR POULTRY
Poultry raisers will find beggarweed the most valuable
green feed they can grow and after it goes to seed the hens
will live on the seeds; refusing corn or the best scratch
feeds as long as the beggarweed seed lasts.
Moreover this is one crop that hens will gather for them-
selves and they will pick up and scratch up every seed; so
that where used for this purpose it will be necessary to
plant it every year. It certainly does make the hens lay
and we never buy any chicken feed on Cherokee Farms
but we do furnish our hens all the shelled corn they will
clean up once a day and that is not very much; for when
the beggarweed seed are all gone our hens have the run
of our Kudzu fields the leaves of which they eat in large
quantities and clean up all the bugs and grasshoppers.
When you can raise strong, healthy chickens and never
feed them anything but a little corn that you raise your-
self there is a large profit in poultry. When you buy all
their feed it takes a hen artist to make any money on chick-
ens. The value of hen pastures has long been recognized
but never fully developed. Our eggs, as near as we can
figure, never cost us over three cents per dozen.
Without any question our hens do not lay anything near
the maximum number of eggs. We don't know how many
eggs they lay and we don't bother to find out. When you
can produce eggs with no labor except gathering the eggs
and at a cost for feed of less than three cents a dozen why
worry. Of course we spot the loafer or boarder hens as
nearly as possible and these nonlayers go into the pot.
They are always fat and toothsome. We also cull out the
pullets that don't look like they would make good layers
and sell them with the cockrels and fryers, but whether a
hen lays 100 or 200 eggs a year is not of great consequence
Like everything else on Cherokee Farms, chickens are
raised for profit and we find the surest road to profit lies
in reducing the cost of production.
Beggarweed is on of our best crops to reduce costs of
production for as it costs almost nothing itself after the
first seeding it repays many hundred fold that small cost
in soil improvement alone and the several months feed
our chickens get in gathering the seed is just velvet.
I know it will sound like treason to the chicken expert
for me to say that we use no incubators and no brooders,
no trap nests or patent drinking fountains. We use no
remedies for sorehead or chicken pox. for our chickens
never have that disease or any other. We have lost five
hens in four years most of them died of what the niggers
call the squates, whatever that is. I think that the snakes
have got about twenty-five little chicks and that is our
heaviest loss. I have never seen any snake remedies rec.
ommended by chicken experts.
We never use any of the lice-killing remedies and only
once has it been necessary to grease a brood of young chicks
to kill chiggers. When-mites get bad in the chicken house
in the summer the chickens roost in the pecan and fig trees.
They seem to like to roost-in the trees as long as the leaves
last and it don't hurt the tree any. Our methods may be
all wrong but we. make a mighty good profit on our hens
and after all there is a lot to be said in favor of farming
for profit. Probably our methods would not suit people
who run exclusive chicken farms; neither would a farmer
who runs an exclusive dairy farm find our cow feeding
system, of buying no feed but only using what we raise
ourselves, successffil at all times.
Kudzu on Cherokee Farms.
_ _~_~ ~~
~-: J -;
USES NO FERTILIZERS
Moreover, we never buy any fertilizer except acid phos-
phate maybe that wouldn't work on all the truck and fruit
farms in Florida. But we make a profit on all our crops,
largely because we have found the crops to suit our soil
and don't try to remake our soil with lime and fertilizer
to raise crops that don't pay after the soil has been remade.
We find that by raising beggarweed, peanuts, velvet
beans and Kudzu-all acid soil legumes-we can pack our
soil full of humus and nitrogen and our clay subsoil con-
tains plenty of potash; therefore phosphorus is all we lack
and we don't need an awful lot of that, for beggarweed,
Kudzu and velvet beans need no fertilizer of any kind and
it is waste of time and money to use any on those crops.
Peanuts will make a larger crop and a greater profit if two
hundred pounds of acid phosphate is used in the drill. The
man who said that lime increases the yield of Spanish or
North Carolina runner peanuts is just an old fuddyduddie
that don't know what he is talking about.
CHARLES F. LEACH, B. B. F.
(B. B. F. Stands for Bread and Butter Farmer.)
October 6, 1922.
BY LEE LATROBE BATEMAN,
In Florida Grower.
Distinctly the Cowpea is the utility crop of Florida.
Adaptable to all sections of the State, and once sown, re-
quiring no further cultivation or attention until harvest
time, it is perforce one of the cheapest and easiest to raise
of all forage crops. It is a soil improver of the first order,
and there is no better crop with which to commence oper-
ations on new land; it aids materially in sweetening virgin
soil. As a hay crop it is invaluable, especially for hot
weather. In addition to hay it can be utilized as a soiling
crop, for silage or for pasturage, while its seed, being high-
ly nutritious, is excellent as food both for man and beast.
Our northern readers will at once grasp the utility of the
Cowpea when I state that "what clover is to the North
and West, so is the Cowpea in these Southern latitudes,"
and then some.
Although called a pea, the Cowpea is really related to
the bean, the word cowpea being purely an Americanism.
It is allied to the genus Phaseolus, which is the old Latin
name for Bean, and it is now classified under the genus
Vigna, a name given in the seventeenth century to this
variety of Phaseolus, and the American Cowpea is now
generally known by the botanical name of V. Catjang or
V. Sinensis. Of this there are inumberable varieties under
cultivation with all kinds of local and other names, and
any attempt to classify them by their best known names
would only lead to hopeless confusion.
The best attempts ever made to classify a considerable
number of varieties was that by Starnes set out in Bulletin
No. 26, of the Georgia Experiment Station. He distin-
guished the varieties by their most important character-
istics. These constituted their habit of growth, whether
trailing, recumbent or erect; the form of pea-that is,
rounded or flattened-the time of maturity, early, medium
or late; color and size of pods, which vary greatly, and the
color and size of the pea.
All varieties are not, however, suitable to Florida. For
this State there are three best varieties, the Whip-poor-will,
the Unknown or Wonderful, and the Iron.
The Whip-poor-will is a medium early variety of a bushy
or erect habit of growth. It has a large pod, with a medium
sized pea of brown specgled color on a gray ground. It
makes a vigorous growth and notwithstanding its erect
habit of growth, produces a large amount of vine, with a
consequent heavy yield or hay. It has the advantage of
being readily handled by ordinary hay-making machinery.
It is suitable either for grain or hay production or for
both, and it is the standard for soil improvement.
The Unknown or Wonderful is the largest growing and
most vigorous of the cowpeas,, but is late in maturing,
which may render it difficult sometimes to secure seed in
the northern part of the State. Its habit of growth is
nearly as erect as that of the Whip-poor-will, and conse-
quently is equally easy for handling as a grain or hay crop.
The pea is of a pale buff color of medium size in a large
pod. It is among the most prolific producers of forage.
The Iron is a new variety, rapidly coming into prom-
inence. This is due to its characteristic of being the only
variety exempt from cowpea wilt, and from attacks of ne-
matode worms, in other words, root-knot. Both these dis-
eases are spreading with consequent increase in the distri-
bution and popularity of the Iron Cowpea. In addition
to this power of disease-resistance it is very vigorous and
prolific, and has the advantage of holding its leaves better
when dry than either of the other varieties. Its habit of
growth may be classed as a moderate runner-that is, not
so erect and bushy as either the Whip-poor-will or the
Wonderful. It is not as early as the Whip-poor-will. In
fact, is a late variety, but considerably earlier than the
Unknown. It is nearly the same color as the Unknown,
butmuch smaller, both in pea and pod. The seed is hard
and retains its vitality for a long period; it has been known
to lay on the ground through the winter and germinate
the next spring.
The feeding value of Cowpea hay has long been recog-
nized. Horses and mules, when fed on it, stand hot wea-
ther better than when fed on a grass hay. For the pro-
duction of milk and butter, the Tennessee Agricultural
Experiment Station reports that "one and a quarter
pounds of chopped pea-hay is equivalent to a pound of
wheatbran and three pounds as equal to a pound of cotton-
Compare this with prevailing prices and it will be read-
ily seen that Cowpea hay is the most economical, basing
the calculation on a yield of 21/2 tons per acre of Cowpea
The composition of Cowpea seed indicates it to be a rich-
er feed than wheatbran. Excellent results have been ob-
tained by feeding cowpeas to pigs for fattening. it also
makes a good poultry feed, whether fed in whole or broken
pieces. The fowls will keep in good condition, producing
a good supply of eggs, even during the winter months.
Pasturing Cowpeas is not good practice in farming, but
is frequently resorted to on account of the small expense
entailed. Cowpeas are specially suitable for grazing hogs.
In planting Cowpeas great care should be taken to have
fresh seed of good quality. Unless fresh seed is obtained
it is exceedingly likely to be very low in vitality, for with
the exception of the Iron variety, the germinating power
of Cowpea seed fails when more than one year old. Sow
in May or June, either in drills or broadcast. The latter
method is to be preferred, for, although it increases the
quantity of seed required, labor is reduced and a larger
yield of hay is secured. After sowing, harrow the seed in
shallow, and no further cultivation is necessary. Use six
pecks of seed to the acre.
The proper time to cut Cowpeas for hay is most of the
pods are full grown, and a considerable number of them
ripe. An ordinary mower (or scythe, if the area planted
is small) will do the cutting. Mowing should be com-
menced in the morning, as soon as the dew is off, and can
be continued all day, though some advocate cutting only
up to noon. If rain should fall shortly after the mowing
do not hurry the handling of the crop, but, when fairly
dried out turn it over with a tedder or fork; cure the hay
in cocks before stacking or housing in the barn.
The following is a good rule to follow: "Peas are ready
for stacking or putting into the barn when it is not possible
to wring moisture out of the stems by twisting a handful
with considerable force."
Since the article appeared on the Kudzu vine in the
issue of the Florida Grower of November 22nd last so
many requests have been made for further information
thereon, I feel it incumbent upon me to add some more to
what I then wrote.
It is impossible sometimes to properly cover every point
in an article limited to a certain space, but in this adit-
ional information I will endeavor to reply to the innumer-
able inquiries that have come in.
Mr. C. E. Peas, of Chipley, Fla., who first introduced
Kudzu vine to America as a forage plant, knows more per-
haps than any one else of the adaptability of Kudzu to
Florida's climate, and of the various uses to which it can
be put, and his writings on the matter are the main sources
from which I draw for further reply to the many queries
that have come to us.
The best time for planting Kudzu is "two to three weeks
in advance of corn planting time." This is a safe guide
in any section of the State, but the earlier it can be plant-
ed, as soon as all danger from frost is over, the better. In
South Florida it can be planted as early as December; in
Central Florida during January and Febuary, according
to local conditions, and in North and Western Florida up
to the end of March. In from 40 to 60 days it will be
ready for pasture, and could be cut for hay a month later.
It comes again quickly after cutting, and in from two to
three weeks the ground is again completely covered by the
For planting, Mr. Pleas prefers old ground, or if on new
ground this should be at least in its second year. It is
best if possible to proceed Kudzu with a crop of velvet
bean's, the year previous. Mr. Pleas also plants closer
than what I recommended in my article which was eight
feet apart each way. He sets his plants five feet apart
each way, requiring 1,742 plants per acre. This makes a
thicker stand, with a corresponding increase in the yield
The only safe way of propagating Kudzu is by means
of self-rooted plants. After many experiments covering
a number of years all other methods of propagation have
been discarded. Seed germinates very poorly, if at all,
and even then must be grown in beds for a year before
being transplanted, and also the resulting plants have
but one root, a tap-root, which cannot be taken out whole.
Self-rooted plants have many branches, which is obviously
better than only one piece. Cuttings were discarded
promptly as not one per cent would live and those that did
survive never made vigorous plants, and moreover had the
same fault as seedlings in that they were not "inoculated."
"Self-rooted plants are all inoculated, in fact it would be
impossible to find one that does not carry the bacteria with
it when handled in the usual manner. Thus soil inocula-
tion is unnecessary."
No fertilizer is required, nor does Kudzu require lime,
as is the case with Alfalfa and some other legumems. In
fact experiments have proven that not only is fertilizing
unnecessary but it is unprofitable. The poorest soil will
produce without any fertilizer as much as six tons of dry
hay in season when the plants are matured and on ordi-
nary medium soil the yield is often as high as ten tons.
Very naturally in poor soils the young plants do not start
off as readily as would be the case on richer ground, but
there would be little difference between the two growths
at the end of a second season.
Now with regard to hay making. Kudzu is far easier
to cut and handle than either Velvet Bean or Cowpeas.
Unlike these two crops Kudzu is "well anchored to the
ground every few inches so that the vines do not drag
ahead of the mower blade." There is no more trouble in
cutting and handling Kudzzu for hay as there would be in
a heavy crop of red clover or any other crop that makes a
As to Kudzu's adaptability for cutting or pasturing at
any time during the season, Mr. Pleas points out "that
hay taken May 1st analyzed 17.60 per cent protein; that
taken on July 30th (a third cutting) analyzed 14.80 per
cent protein, while that which had stood all the season
without cutting or pasturing, analyzed 16.59 per cent
protein, and an exceptionally well cured sample analyzed
as high as 19.82 per cent protein and about 35 per cent
In Japan, its native habitat, Kudzu is grown on rough
rocky land or steep hill-sides impossible for cultivation.
and in this country it could be raised on lands too poor for
otherwise profitable cultivation.
If the raising of Kudzu is taken up seriously (as it
should be) by the farmers of Florida, it is going to aid
materially in the building up of one of the greatest in-
dustries in store for this State, that of high-grade beef
cattle raising and of dairy farming. Poor pine lands,
apparently at present available for nothing, can be brought
in to use and made profitable in more cases than one,
especially as hay fields and pasture lands. Kudzu furn-
ishes more forage and at less expense than Florida's own
pet, the Velvet Bean, and is moreover adaptable to an in-
finitely greater variety of soils.
With Kudzu as a main crop coupled with the many other
forage crops which can be grown in this State, year in and
year out and Florida's other climatic advantages, it cannot
be but a few short years now within which northern
stock raisers and farmers will swarm to this, the fairest
State in the Union. It behooves therefore those who are
here now to "get busy" and, by anticipating the future
and what is certain to come about, get in "right now" on
the ground floor.
Cassava is considered as a very desirable forage crop,
especially in connection with the fattening of pigs, and
as a ration to balance its extreme fattening properties
peanuts is suggested. The reason given is that they can be
harvested or are ready to be pastured about the same time,
and if hogs, when fed to Cassava, have also the run of a
field of peanuts they will secure so much nitrogeneous food
that they may be safely given all the Cassava they will eat.
Peanuts, as a crop, besides being a special feed for hogs,
is a great soil renovator, and is therefore of double utility,
and value to the farmer in Florida. As such the peanut,
like other leguminous plants, is rich in nitrogen, and con-
tains, in addition, a considerable amount of phosphoric
acid and potash. The kernels are as rich in these con-
stituents as the kernels of cotton seed and the vines are
nearly as valuable as those of cowpeas for a fertilizer.
Treating the peanut purely as a forage crop and not
taking into account its market value as a confection, there
is not a single part of the plant that cannot in some form
or another be utilized as feed. The kernels, the vines with
leaves as green fodder, the vines cured as hay, the roots,
the hulls ground as peanut meal, are all found constituents
of more than ordinary value.
Peanut kernels average 29 per cent. of protein, 49 of
fat, and 14 of carbohydrates, thus ranking in the same
class as such concentrated foods like soja beans, cotton
seed, etc. The vines are shown to be superior to timothy
hay as a feeding stuff, and but slightly inferior to clover
hay. As our friends from the north have a habit of com-
paring most hay crops in Florida with timothy, the fol-
lowing authentic analysis of comparison taken from Bulle-
tin Vol. 4, No. 2, of the Tennessee Experiment Station,
may be of interest:
3 a, 5 a _a a a
-C- dr C,5,4' CC-
Peanut hay..... 7.831 11.751 1.841 46.95 22.111 17.04
Timothy ....... I 13.501 7.171 1.971 52.941 33.411 4.51
Clover hay ..... I 14.301 12.841 2.111 48.311 29.271 7.47
When some of the nuts are cured and fed with the hay
the feeding value is greatly increased.
The hulls have considerable value as a feed, being richer
in fat, protein and carbohydrates than cotton hulls. The
ground hulls are used to a considerable extent as a coarse
fodder in many European countries.
Peanut meal ranks with cotton-seed meal, linseed meal,
etc., as a concentrated feeding stuff, and is far more exten-
sively used in foreign countries than in this. It contains
about 52 per cent of protein, 8 of fat, and 27 per cent of
But as a food for hogs it is one of the greatest and best
of forage crops. If grown for that purpose, which so far
as Florida is concerned, is the right one, there is no more
trouble once the crop is planted. This therefore renders
it a very cheap one to raise. When the crop is ready, just
turn the hogs in and they will do the harvesting for you.
There are many varieties of the peanut amongst which
are the Virginia, North Carolina or African, two varie-
ties in Tennessee, the white and the red, the Georgia red
nut, and the Spanish variety. This latter is the best for
Florida, especially for the purpose under consideration. It
has a relatively small upright vine, and the pea-pods are
formed near the tap-root, hence this variety can be planted
much closer than any of the others and a. heavier crop pro-
duced to the acre.
Peanuts do well on almost any soil in Florida, provided
it is not too low or wet. A sandy loam, neither too dry
nor too sandy, but light and porous, is the best, but any
soil, provided it can be put into a friable condition and
kept so by cultivation, will produce peanuts, provided it
contains a sufficient quantity of lime, and herein lays
the secret of successful peanut culture.
It is not necessary that the soil on which peanuts are to
be grown should be naturally calcareous, but if it is not
so it must be limed. Lime is necessary to the peanut, both
for the proper fruiting of the plant and to aid in its me-
chanical effect on the soil. Any kind of lime may be used,
provided it is finely commuted by burning before applica-
tion. Ground limestone or marl will answer the purpose
as well. The quantity of lime or marl to use at one appli-
cation depends very much on the nature of the soil, and the
amount of humus it contains. Generally 30 bushels of lime
to the acre, or of marl from 10 to 150 bushels, are safe
applications. Less than this amount would be sufficient if
the soil is thin with little vegetable mold. Land will bear
large quantities of marl with perfect safety if kept well
stocked with some vegetable matter to subdue its caustic
effects, but most of the soils in Florida are deficient in
humus, and the planter should commence cautiously, using
small quantities of lime. Besides this addition of lime on
soils where it is not naturally found, the peanut needs a
dressing of phosphoric acid and potash. The latter is best
supplied in the form of kainit, and the former by fine
ground phosphoric slag. If the soil is heavy, instead of
the slag a dressing of superphosphate may be used.
Peanuts should never be planted on the same. land- in
succession, and only in rotation with some other crops. A
good rotation is cowpeas, peanuts, sweet potatoes, or pea-
nuts, winter rye or oats, beggarweed. The advantage of
this latter is an increasing forage crop for the farmer, the
land is covered almost the whole year with a growing crop,
and the rotation of a cereal with a leguminous crop.
About June is the right time for planting generally in
Florida, except in the southern portion of the State, when
May is preferable. About twenty pounds of shelled pea-
nuts are required to plant an acre. Plant in rows slightly
ridged up two feet six inches apart, dropping the seed
(two at a time) about eight inches apart and two inches
deep and cover lightly. Good seed is of paramount
If the land has been thoroughly prepared before plant-
ing and it is porous, in good tilth and free from weeds,
very little cultivation is needed, just sufficient to keep
down weed growth and to keep the soil from packing.
Keep the soil loose and open so that there may be no resist-
ance to the podbearing "spikes" in penetrating the
Once more let us return to our pigs. Pork production
in Florida is not receiving anything like the attention it
deserves, more than 50 per cent of the consumption in the
State being imported from the north. With the facilities
for raising suitable forage at all seasons of the year, Flor-
ida farmers should certainly produce pork more cheaply
and of a better quality than the cost of production else-
where, plus the freight.
"To make the largest profits from hogs they should be
put on the market at the youngest possible age. Many of
the Florida. hogs are from one yesr to a year and a half
old before they are ready for market. The Florida market
demands a hog that will weigh from 125 to 160 pounds."-
Bulletin 113, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
With peanuts and Cassava as ground crops animals of
such weight could be produced in from five to seven
THE VELVET BEAN
C. V. PIPER, Astrostologist in Charge, and W. J. MORSE,
Agronomist, Office of Forage-Crop Investigations,
Bureau of Plant Industry.
U. S. Department of Agriculture
Farmer's Bulletin No. 1276
This is not a complete copy of the Bulletin.
Velvet Beans have become a most important factor in
developing the live-stock industry in the South and as a
rotation crop which helps the succeeding crops. The
Velvet Bean is a summer-growing annual legume which
produces a large quantity of seed, and because the feeding
value of the leaves and seed is not seriously injured by
exposure in the field during winter, the crop is of great
value for grazing from late fall until early spring. The
beans have high feeding value and so are of importance
as a concentrated feed. Silage made by mixing the Velvet
Bean with corn is a much better feed than silage made
from corn alone. For fertilizing crop the Velvet Bean is
of greater value than the Cowpea, as it makes a much heav-
ier growth and is less expensive.
The Velvet Bean first came into notice as a forage and
fertilizing crop about 1890, at which time its cultivation
was confined, on account of its lateness almost wholly to
Florida. With the introduction and development of
earlier ripening varieties its culture has now been extended
northward to Virginia and Tennessee.
The Velvet Bean is the most vigorous-growing annual
legume cultivated in the United States, the vines often
reaching a length of more than 50 feet. The leaves and
tripoliolate. The membranous leaflets, which are shorter
than the petiole, are from 3 to 10 inches long and about
two-thirds as broad, the terminal one being rhomboid-ovate
and the lateral ones obliquely so. The flowers of the dif-
ferent varieties, which vary in color from white to dark
purple, are 1 to 11/ inches long and are borne singly or
in twos or threes in long pendent clusters.
Velvet-bean pods are of two distinct types, one being cov-
ered with a dense, black, velvety pubescence, as in the
Florida and Alabama varieties, while in the other type
the pubescence consists mostly of short white or grayish
hairs, as in the Lyon and Chinese varieties. In all kinds
the pods are covered with more or less numerous short
bristles which cause a slight irritation of the skin. Much
of this pubescence falls off soon after maturity. The pods
of some varieties are only 2 to 3 inches long, while those of
others may reach a length of 5 or 6 inches. The seeds
vary from nearly white to marbled brown, and black.
Varieties which commonly produce marbled seeds may pro-
duce occasionally an entirely white or an entirely colored
Velvet Beans have numerous rather fleshy surface roots,
which are often 20 to 30 feet long and abundantly supplied
with nodules varying from one-fourth to 1/ inches in
diameter. The plants are rarely attacked by root-knot
and are immune to wilt.
While the Florida Velvet Bean has been grown for more
than 40 years as an ornamental vine for porches and trell-
ises, its value as a soil-improving crop or as a forage crop
was not recognized until rather recently. As early as
1890 this plant was used to some extent for green manure
in citrus orchards in Florida. From that time until the
present the acreage has increased rapidly, and the crop
now occupies an important place in southern farming
The Florida Velvet Bean was the only one grown for
forage in the United States until about 1906, but during
recent years the Department of Agriculture has introduced
about 20 other species, including the Chinese, Lyon, and
Yokohoma varieties, which have become more or less ex-
According to present information the first early-matur-
ing variety of Velvet Beans was discovered in August,
1906, on a farm operated by Clyde Chapman, at Sumner
Ga. At this time several mature plants were found in a
field planted to corn and Florida Velvet Beans. The seeds
of these plants were saved and planted in corn the follow-
ing year. The plants produced were similar in every
respect to those found the previous year. In 1908 seed
of this variety was distributed to some of Mr. Chapman's
neighbors, but only a small quantity of it was sent out of
his immediate neighborhood prior to 1912.
An early-maturing variety which resembled in every
respect the one discovered by Mr. Chapman was found in
August, 1908, in a field planted to corn and Florida Velvet
Beans on a farm operated by R. W. Miller, at Broxton, Ga.
The early-maturing plants found by Mr. Chapman and
Mr. Miller have been named the Georgia Velvet Bean.
Another early-maturing Velvet Bean was discovered in
1911 by II. L. Blount, at Flomaton, Ala. This variety,
now known as the Alabama was found in a field planted to
corn and Florida Velvet Beans. It is a more vigorous and
later variety than the Georgia, but it matures considerably
earlier than the original variety. The Georgia Velvet
Bean was also called Hundred-Day Speckled, Ninety-Day
Speckled, and Early Speckled, but the same names were
later transferred to the Alabamam variety.
It is very probable that early-maturing Velvet Beans
were also found by other people and that they were present
but unobserved in other fields. There is no doubt that the
Georgia, Alabama, and many early-ripening varieties are
simply early-ripening kinds of the Florida Velvet Bean.
There are now many varieties of the Velvet Bean grown
in the United States. These differ from each other prin-
cipally in growth of vine; color of flowers; size, shape, and
pubescence of the pods; size, shape, and color of the seeds;
and in length of time required to mature. While these
varieties vary greatly in many ways, the common name
Velvet Bean is applied to all.
THE FLORIDA VELVET BEAN
The Florida Velvet Bean makes a very rank growth of
vine and requires a season of eight or nine months with-
out frost to mature. The purple flowers are borne in clus-
ters usually 3 to 8 inches long, and the pods, which are 2
to 3 inches in length, are nearly straight, blunt at each end,
and covered with a black velvety pubescence. The seeds
are nearly spherical about three-eighths of an inch in dia-
meter, and usually grayish, marbled with brown. White
seeds are produced occasionally, and a white-seeded
variety has been isolated, but this variety has shown no
special superiority over the one with mottled seeds.
THE GEORGIA VELVET BEAN
The Georgia Velvet Bean is a very early sport of the
Florida Velvet Bean. It makes a much less vigorous
growth and yields somewhat less seed to the acre than the
original Florida variety, but otherwise it is practically the
same. The plant matures in 110 to 130 days and is adap-
ted to all parts of the Cotton Belt.
This variety was much grown for a few years, but
proved inferior to the somewhat later Alabama.
THE ALABAMA VELVET BEAN
The Alabama Velvet Bean is very similar to the Georgia
variety, except that it makes a more vigorous growth and
matures about six weeks later. It is best adapted to the
country south of Central Georgia, Central Alabama, and
The Alabama is now the principal variety cultivated,
having replaced the Georgia almost entirely, but often un-
der the names Early Speckled or Hundred-Day Speckled.
THE OSCEOLA VELVET BEAN
The Osceola Velvet Bean is a hybrid between the Florida
and the Lyon varieties developed at the Florida Agricul-
tural Experiment Station. The white or rarely purple
flowers of this vigorous-growing plant are borne in rather
short racemes. The pods are 4 to 5 inches in length, flat,
ridged lengthwise, covered with a black velvety pubescence,
and bear from four to six, usually five, seeds. The seeds
are slightly larger than those of the Lyon or Yokohama
varieties and usually are marbled with brown, although
ocassionally white seeds are produced. The pods are near-
ly free from stinging hairs. This plant matures in 150 to
160 days and is therefore earlier than the Florida and
later than the Alabama and Yokohama sorts. It is adap-
ted to the country south of a line running through the
center of the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
This midseason-maturing variety yields heavily, but the
pods are more woody than those of the Alabama.
THE LYON VELVET BEAN
The Lyon Velvet Bean was introduced in 1907, the first
specimens being obtained from Pampanga province, Luzon,
Philippine Islands. This plant makes a vigorous growth
of vine and requires a long season to mature seldom ripen-
ing more than 10 days earlier than the Florida bean. The
white flowers are borne in pendent racemes which often
reach a length of 2 to 3 feet. The woody pods are 5 to 6
inches long, compressed, ridged lengthwise, and covered
with a fine grayish pubescence. They have a tendency to
split open and shatter the seeds when still in the field. The
ash-colored seeds are similar in size and shape to seeds of
the Lima bean.
THE CHINESE VELVET BEAN
The Chinese Velvet Bean was introduced from Tehwa,
China, in 1909. In nearly all respects this variety is like
Lyon, but does not make as vigorous a growth. It ripens
about six weeks earlier than either the Lyon or the Florida
variety. For this reason is will mature much farther
north. It usually ripens before frost south of Central
Georgia, Central Alabamam, and Central Missippi.
THE YOKOHAMA VELVET BEAN
The Yokohama Velvet Bean was obtained from Yoko-
hama, Japan, in 1909. This plant produces a smaller vine
growth than any of the other species and is not a heavy
yielder. It is an early-maturing species, .reuqiring 110 to
120 days to ripen. It will ripen before frost in the Atlan-
tic Coast States south of Washington, D. C. The purple
flowers are borne in short racemes. The pods are 4 to 6
inches long, flat, quite pointed at each end, and covered
with a rather long gray pubescence. The seeds are ash
colored, oblong, compressed, and about two-thirds of an
This species has several undesirable characteristics.
Many of the pods form so close to the ground that they
become water-soaked with each heavy rain, causing many
to decay; also the pods split readily and shatter the seed
in hot, dry weather.
THE BUSH OR BUNCH VELVET BEAN
This is a nontwining variety of velvet bean, a sport of
the Florida, which first developed as a single plant on the
farm of Roan Beasley at Kite, Ga. The seeds were saved
and the. sport was found to breed true to type. An indi-
vidual plant is about 3 feet high, branched near the base,
most of the branches short, but an occasional one 5 to 7
feet long. These long branches show no tendency to twine.
The pod clusters are formed in a dense mass near the base.
The variety matures at about the same time as the Ala-
bama, but the yield is less.
The bunch variety has become very popular as a green-
manure crop in orchards. It is also grown quite largely
in corn, as the plants do not vine and weight down the
corn as do the twining sorts. The main objections to this
variety are that the pods can not be gathered as rapidly
as those of the twining varieties, and they lie so close to the
ground that they become water-soaked in wet weather,
causing many of them to decay.
Many hybrid Velvet Beans have been developed by the
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and by the Office
of Forage-Crop Investigations of the Bureau of Plant
Industry. Some of these were named and distributed, but
none have been grown to any considerable extene with the
exception of the Osceola, which became rather popular.
All of the species except the Florida have rather woody
pods and shatter very readily, characters which are not
considered desirable. These same traits appear in most
of the hybrids and have prevented their becoming popular.
The Florida Velvet Bean seldom matures more than a
few pods if grown north of the extreme southern portions
of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, but with the intro-
duction or development of early-maturing types the area
to which this crop is adapted has been gradually extended
northward until it now comprises nearly the entire Cotton
Belt. Most of the varieties, and especially the Alabama
and Yokohama, will make considerable growth as far north
as the Ohio River, but when the Velvet Bean is planted
north of the southern boundary of Tennessee in the Pied-
mont section and north of southeastern Virginia in the
Coastal Plain area it should be planted primarily as a
green-manure crop, for only in years with favorable grow-
ing seasons and late fall frosts will many pods mature.
As the Florida variety has been grown for a long time in
the southern portion of the Gulf States as a grazing and
green-manure crop, it was only natural that the farmers
in sections where it failed to mature fully should be the
first to take advantage of newly introduced and early-
maturing varieties which promised to give better results.
There are other reasons which contributed to the rapidly
increased acreage of Velvet Beans in the Gulf States, the
most important of which was the serious damage done by
the cotton-boll weevil in recent years, making it necessary
to change the methods of farming.
EXTENT OF CULTURE
The extent of culture of Velvet Beans and the rapidity
with which it increased are well known in Table 1. Until
the early varieties were obtained, the crop was grown main-
ly in Florida and probably never exceeded 700,000 acres
in any one year. The whole story of the Velvet Bean is
one of the most striking romances of American agriculture.
TABLE 1.-Area and Production of Velvet Beans, 1919 to 1921, Inelusive.
State 1919 1920 1921
North Carolina 55,000 44,000 (0,000 51,000 74.000 55,500
South Carolina 90,000 45,000 130,000 75,000 250,000 125,000
:.r, ... ..... 750,000 153,965 750,000 155,0533 780.000 436,000
...i. ...... 2.50,000 1(i0,000 240,000 184,000 252 no 150n.1000
Alabama .... 750,000 485,000 750,000 676,000 ...,' I. '.000
Mississipi ... 189,000 150,000 290,000 203,000 30(.000 120,000
Louisiana .... 125,000 178,848 173,000 179,820 254,000 182,250
Texas ....... 4,000 ....... 4,000 ....... 4.000 .......
Arkansas .... 4,000 . 5,000 ...... 6.0000 ......
Total .... 2,217,000 1.216,81312,422,00011.523,873 2,758.00012.153.750
These figures were compiled by the Bureau of Markets and Crop Esti-
mates, United States Department of Agriculture, and represent tentative
estimates submitted in Deceember, 1921.
Velvet Beans are especially adapted to the well-drained
portions of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain areas.
The soils of this area are in general sandy in texture, and
the quantity of fertilizers used per acre is greater than in
other part of the United States. In this section, where
the greatest acreage is to be found, the Velvet Bean will
make a profitable growth on newly cleared land and also
on soil that has been under cultivation for a long time. In
many places it is used extensively on cut-over pineland
and on sandy soils as a green-manure crop, as it has been
found that it will produce more vegetable matter under
such conditions than any other annual legume grown at
the present time.
Velvet Beans also make a good growth on the clay soils
in the northern portion of the Cotton Belt, but on the
poorer soils in this area it is questionable whether they
will do better than Cowpeas. Velvet Beans will not suc-
ceed on cold, wet soils and should never be planted before
the soil has become warm.
Even though Velvet Beans make a fair growth on poor
soils, some farmers in some sections make a small appli-
cation of fertilizer at the time of seeding. Where it is
used, the mixture and quantity are about the same as for
Velvet Beans, through the nodules on their roots,, are
able to obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere, and most of
this nitrogen is returned to the land when only the pods
are picked or when the crop is pastured and the roots and
uneaten portions of the plants decay.
At the Agricultural Experiment Station at McNeill,
Miss., Phosphatic fertilizers are necessary to obtain good
yields, and 100 to 200 pounds per acre are recommended
on the basis of experimental results. Cottonseed meal at
the rate of 200 pounds per acre gave an added yield of
280 pounds of beans per acre as compared with the use of
200 pounds per acre of acid phosphate alone. The further
addition of 200 pounds of kainit gave no increased yield.
At the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station no in-
creased yield was obtained from fertilizers applied singly
or in various mixtures.
Apparently all of the Velvet-bean area is provided
with organisms that form nodules on Velvet Bean roots.
No lack of root nodules seems to occur when Velvet Beans
are planted on land for the first time, but instancts have
been noted where growths of the vines has been materially
increased by inoculation.
Experiments conducted by the Office of Soil-Bacteri-
ology Investagations of the Bureau of Plant Industry
prove that the same strain of organism that inoculates
Lima beans, Cowpeas, and Lespedeza (or Japan Clover)
also inoculates Velvet Beans. As Lespedeza grows abund-
antly over most of the South and as Cowpeas have been
planted widely for many years in all velvet bean regions,
it is easy to understand why the Velvet Bean has succeeded
so well without artificial inoculation. The large acreage
of Velvet Beans planted during recent years has served
also to increase its inoculating organisms.
TIME OF PLANTING
Velvet Beans will not germinate well in cold or wet soil,
and the young plants are very susceptible to injury by
frost. On this account they should not be planted until
all danger of frost is past, or about cotton-planting time.
However, when late-maturing varieties are used it is neces-
sary to plant the seed as soon as the soil is in good con-
edition, so that the plants will have as much time as possible
to mature before frost. With early-maturing varieties the
date of planting may extend over a period of six weeks
or two months in the southern portion of the Gulf States.
When early varieties are used in the northern part of the
Cotton Belt it is necessary to plant the seed early, or at
corn-planting time. In the Coastal Plain section of the
Gulf States the early planting of early-maturing varieties
has been found undersirable by some farmers, as the
beans mature so early that the pods will split and shatter
the seed to a certain extent, and the foliage will shed be-
fore the corn is gathered or the animals can be turned into
the field. When the crop is to be pastured, many farmers
prefer to have the beans frosted before all of the pods are
matured rather than to have them mature too early. As
most of the beans are grown with corn, it is better in many
cases to grow varieties which can be planted with the corn
and which will mature at the desired time.
Growers of Velvet Beans do not agree as to the best time
to plant the beans in the corn. In some sections it is the
common practice to plant the corn and beans at the same
time, while in other sections the beans are planted some
weeks later than the corn. The method of planting the
two crops, the variety of beans used, and the labor avail-
able should determine this matter. When late-maturing
varieties are to be grown, it is necessary to plant them at
the same time as the corn, but when early-maturing varie-
ties are used, and especially in the southern portion of
the Cotton Belt, it is best to plant the corn some time be-
fore the beans. Where sufficient labor is available, the
beans may be planted at a later date by hand in the rows
of corn. On richer soils the method of planting two rows
of corn and one row of beans is used extensively, and when
an early variety of Velvet Bean is used in this way it may
be planted later with no extra expense. However, on the
poorer soils, where Velvet Beans should be planted in every
row of corn, it is a saving of labor to use a planter which
will place both kinds of seeds in the same row and at the
same operation. The length of the growing season for an
average year can be approximately determined from the
frost lines, and this, together with the time required for
the different types to mature, should give an idea as to
the best time of planting.
The length of time required for the ripening of any
variety will vary greatly according to the time of planting.
Velvet Beans grow well only when the weather is warm,
and they make little progress when the soil and air are
cold or even moderately cool. The warmer the weather
when the seed is planted the more rapid will be the growth
of the plants.
Velvet Beans contain high percentages of protein and car,
bohydrates, thus making them a source of these valuable
constituents needed for growing stock and milk production.
The feeding experiments thus far conducted indicate
that Velvet Beans and Velvet-Bean meal are excellent feed
as part of the ration for beef cattle and dairy cows. The
Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station finds that as
a partial ration Velvet-Bean meal is a good feed for work
horses, brood mares, and mules. For swine the reports
of results of feeding this meal are conflicting, many of
them being unfavorable. In most cases, however, Velvet-
bean pasturage is very economical as a part feed for pigs
and hogs. There are some indications that these beans
cause abortion in brood sows, and while the evidence is not
conclusive it is well to be cautious in such cases.
FEED FOR BEEF CATTLE
The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station found
Velvet Beans in the pod a very satisfactory feed for steers
as part of the ration. The daily gains were higher and
the cost of the gains much less than with any other rations
compared with them, including one composed of corn,
cottonseed meal, and hay.
In a later experiment 220 head of cattle were pastured
on Velvet Beans for 28 days and then fed a ration con-
sisting of sorghum silage, Velvet Beans in the pods, and
cottonseed meal. The results were considered highly satis-
At the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
Cottonseed meal was compared with Velvet Beans in the
pod, each being fed with corn silage. In the two feeding
tests it was found that from 2.05 to 2.46 pounds of Velvet
Beans epualed 1 pound of high-grade Cottonseed meal,
measured both by gains and by quality of meat.
In a later trial 3.07 pounds of dry beans in the pods,
2.7 pounds of beans in the pods soaksd in water, and 2.16
pounds of pods and beans ground into meal were each
equal in feeding value to 1 pound of cottonseed meal.
In several tests carried on by the Animal Husbandry
Division of the United States Department of Agriculture
both dry and soaked Velvet Beans have given satisfactory
FEED FOR DAIRY COWS
At the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station 816
pounds of Velvet Beans in the pods fed with wheat bran
and Japanese cane silage produced 348.7 gallons of milk
at a cost of 13.3 cents per gallon, while 576 pounds of
cottonseed meal fed with wheat bran and more silage pro-
duced 352.5 gallons of milk at a cost of 16.5 cents per
gallon. On this basis Velvet Beans in the pod are worth
$2.37 when cottonseed meal is worth $2.40 per 100 pounds.
In another test it was found that 267.75 pounds of Velvevt
Beans in the pods fed with bran and silage produced 934.6
pounds of milk, while 94.5 pounds of cottonseed meal fed
with bran and less silage produced 937.1 pounds of milk.
From still later experiments it was concluded that when
fed with bran and silage 2 pounds of velvet-bean meal
were equal to 1 pound of cottonseed meal.
According to Prof. M. P. Jarnagin, the Georgia Agri-
cultural Experiment Station found that 2,035 pounds of
velvet-bean meal were equal to 2,000 pounds of cottonseed
meal for milk production, and that 51/2 pounds of Velvet
Beans produced 1 pound of milk as against 5 pounds of
cottonseed meal to produce the same quantity.
At the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, dur-
ing an experiment of 56 days, 4 cows consumed 1,370.9
pounds of Velvet Beans, 913.9 pounds of corn, and 6,720
pounds of silage and produced 3,252.4 pounds of milk at
a cost of $1.47 per 100 pounds; while 4 other cows con-
sumed 678 pounds of cottonseed meal, 894 pounds of corn,
and 6,700 pounds of silage and produced 3,418.1 pounds
of milk at a cost of $1,33 per 100 pounds.
At the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station equal
quantities of cottonseed meal and velvet-bean meal fed in
no greater amount than 10 pounds a day proved good feed
for dairy cattle. Of the velvet-bean meal 9 pounds were
hardly equal in value to 6 pounds of the cottonseed meal.
The Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station
made two experiments with groups of 6 and 4 cows, in
which the ration consisted of hay and a grain ration of 20
per cent cottonseed meal, 40 per cent corn-fed meal, and
40 per cent velvet-bean feed or wheat bran. The results
showed that the cows while receiving the velvet-bean ration
produced 2.7 and 9 per cent with an average of 5 per cent
more milk than while on the wheat-bran ration. It was
concluded that the velvet-bean feed is somewhat superior
to wheat bran for dairy purposes and that it may consti-
tute as high as 40 per cent of a dairy ration, together with
quantity of corn or hominy meal or ground oats and some
20 per cent of cottonseed or linseed meal or other high-
grade protein concentrate.
FEED FOR SWINE
At the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, corn
and cracked velvet beans in various proportions were com-
pared with corn alone as feed for pigs. In all cases the
pigs made more rapid and cheaper gains on the corn and
velvet-bean mixture than on corn alone.
In another test at this station shelled corn and soaked
velvet-bean feed were fed to three hogs, gradually increas-
ing the proportion of velvet-bean feed one-fourth to two-
thirds by weight. The hogs made very satisfactory gains,
and it was found that the feed produced a hard pork.
At the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station
a ration composed by weight of 20 parts velvet-bean feed,
20 parts of high-grade peanut meal, 50 parts of corn meal,
and 10 parts of corn meal, and 10 parts of alfalfa meal
gave as satisfactory results as one composed of 80 parts
corn meal and 10 parts each of digester tankage and alfalfa
meal. The addition of 10 per cent of ground alfalfa to the
grain ration for growing pigs, in order to supply the neces-
sary vitamins, did not seem to exert any marked effect in
At the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station var-
ious feeding experiments with swine have been conducted.
In one test 5 pigs, averaging 62 pounds weight, were pas-
tured on Velvet Beans for 72 days, receiving in addition
a half ration of corn 4 parts and tankage 1 part. They
gained 1.23 pounds a day, each requiring two-fifths of an
acre of velvet beans and 170 pounds of corn and tankage
to gain 100 pounds.
In another test pigs fed on corn meal alone gained 100
pounds at a cost of $8.64, while those fed on equal parts
of corn meal and ground velvet beans gained 100 pounds
at a cost of $9.37.
In a third test it" was concluded that velvet-bean pasture
reduced by one-third the costs of gains in comparison with
corn 10 parts and dried blood 1 part.
In a test made by the Uuited States Department of Agri-
culture at the Experiment Farm at Beltsville, Md., in 1918,
pigs fed soaked whole velvet beans and shelled corn made
an axerage daily gain of 0.586 pound. Pigs fed soaked
ground velvet beans alone made an average daily gain of
0.417 pound, and pigs fed soaked ground velvet beans,
shelled corn, and fish meal made an average gain of 1.15
With corn costing $1.92 a bushel, fish meal $100 a ton,
and velvet beans $36 a ton, the feed cost per pound of gain
was 18.3,23, and 14.3 cents, respectively. Observations
during the test indicated that hogs did not like the taste
of the beans.
At the Kentucky, Michigan, and Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Stations the results from the use of velvet,
bean meal as a part ration did not compare favorably with
the other rations tested.
FEED FOR HORSES
The Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station re-
ports that velvet-bean meal mixed with corn or other grain
is a satisfactory feed for horses.
In feeding tests at the massachussetts Agricultural Ex-
periment Station it wah found that velvet-bean feed, if
sufficiently dry to prevent decomposition, may comprise
some 20 per cent of the grain ration, mixed together with
30 per cent of oats, 40 per cent of cracked corn, and 10 per
cent of wheat bran.
The only insect which causes serious injury to the Velvet
Beau is the larva of the Velvet-bean caterpillar, which
feeds on the leaves. The moth of this caterpillar does not
winter in Northern or Central Florida, but flies northward
each summer from the southern end of the peninsula, or
perhaps from cuba. This insect seldom appears farther
north than Southern Georgia. At times the damage is
very severe, and often all of the plants in large fields are
entirely defoliated. The moths usually make their first
appearance in July in Southern Florida, during August in
Central Florida, and during the last part of August or
first part of September in the northern part of that State
and in Southern Georgia.
As little damage is done for the first 10 days or two
weeks after the appearance of the moth, this insect should
give no trouble when the early-maturing varieties of Velvet
Beans are planted, as they will usually mature by the mid-
dle of. September in Northern Florida and Southern Geor-
The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station has been
successful in combating this pests by dusting the vines
with arsenate of lead or zinc arsenite 10 or 12 days after
the first appearance of the moth. For this purpose 3
pounds of powered orsenate of lead or zinc arsenate mixed
with 12 pounds of air-slaked lime is sufficient for an acre.
When this quantity is used there is no danger from poison-
ing the stock when pastured in the field, especially after
one or two rains.
According to the Bureau of Entomology this insect is
generally distributed throughout tropical America and has
also been recorded as appearance in Mexico, Costa Rica,
Panama, and Cuba.