Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/240

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

surface. The cover was weighted with twelve inches of sand. On July 11th, and again on the 17th, the cover was taken off, and the silo was filled with "meadow-grass," to make up for the loss in settling. The temperature observed at these dates was 140° at a depth of six feet. In another silo, filled with clover and "rye-grass" and "meadow-grass," between June 30th and July 11th, when the cover was put on and weighted, the recorded temperatures were (July 7th) 149° and (July 14th) 158°. The first-mentioned silo was opened October 25th, and the ensilage is described as "of a brown color, and of a sweet, luscious odor, free from acidity, very much resembling that of ordinary hay," and it was at once eaten by cattle, sheep, and horses, with apparent relish.

Mr. James Chaffee, of Wassaic, New York, informed me that from unavoidable delays in filling his silo with fodder-corn, in 1882, the ensilage became so "hot," before it was covered and weighted, that he feared it would be entirely spoiled; but, when it was opened in the fall, the fodder was perfectly preserved, of a brown color, and sweet, delicious odor, without the slightest indication of acidity. His cows ate it with such a decided relish that he had no hesitation in saying it was the best ensilage he had ever made. Last year he followed the usual method of rapid filling and thorough packing, and his ensilage, when opened, was very sour, and in quality decidedly inferior to that made in 1882. Other cases of a similar import might be given to show that a temperature sufficiently high to kill the bacteria and prevent fermentation can readily be obtained in the process of filling the silo, and that the ensilage under such conditions is of much better quality than when the temperature is kept within the range that is favorable for the development of the acid ferments.

Experiments are now needed to determine the exact temperatures required for destroying the organisms that cause fermentation, under the different conditions presented at the time of filling the silo, and the special methods of practice that may be desirable in the treatment of different crops. This field of experimental investigation is of the greatest practical interest, and we may safely predict that the thermometer will soon be found as indispensable in securing the best results in the ensilage of green fodder as it is now in the various processes of the dairy.



IT should be regarded as a prominent purpose, in any scientific description of the earth, to point out how geographical influences have impressed their mark on organic and inorganic nature and in the field of human civilization. Alexander von Humboldt set an admi-