Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/409

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
405
THE ROTATION OF CROPS

PSM V73 D409 First year harvest of corn.png

First Year. Corn. Whenever possible part of the crop is grown to furnish corn and the storer (stalks and leaves) are fed to steers and young cattle. The present high price of grain is forcing the farmers to grow more concentrated feeds on their farms.

town of Kells, in Ireland, owns 1,700 acres, which was farmed by the community. About 130 acres were broken up at a time, and were cropped for four years with wheat, beans and fallowed and then seeded to grass and another 130 acres were plowed. Stock was grazed on the untitled land, each citizen having the right to put a certain number of stock on the common. The town of Lauder, in Berwickshire, Scotland, had a similar custom-These examples illustrate some of the methods in use when the Pilgrim Fathers sailed for America, and the rotation of wheat, beans and then a fallow remained the most common in Britain until 150 years ago.

Xenophon speaks of a two years' cropping of wheat and fallow, and Roman writers remarked on the value of growing a leguminous crop before sowing wheat, a fact which remained almost unused until 150 years ago and unexplainable until the close of the last century. Now it is a maxim that at least one leguminous crop shall be grown in a rotation, because such crops have the power of gathering nitrogen from the air in the soil, and their roots and stubble when plowed under enrich the soil in humus to a greater extent than most other crops.

In the early days of this country and in newly-occupied places it was customary to grow one crop, either wheat, corn, tobacco or cotton, as circumstances required, for a number of years upon the same land, until the yield from the crop was reduced to such a point that it became unprofitable. More land was then taken and treated in a similar