Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/550

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ence, is of similar moment. Without the past operation of these two forces to ameliorate our present condition, the situation must have been much more serious.

Any discussion of the relation of any science to agriculture must center around these two institutions — the agricultural college and ex- periment station. The introduction into farming of improved business methods may be aided by these institutions, but their chief work has been, and will be, the interpretation of science to agriculture. Better business methods are being employed as the more scientific practises add to the attractiveness and certainty of the farmer's occupation.

A survey of the past is strongly suggestive of the idea that the greatest service of biology to agriculture has yet to be performed.

How Other Sciences have Influenced Agriculture

The indebtedness of agriculture to chemistry can hardly be esti- mated. It is only through the work of the chemist that we have accu- mulated our information regarding the elements of fertility and the needs of the various crops and their relation to each other and to dif- ferent soils. No farmer reads the statement of analysis upon the fer- tilizer sack without thereby receiving immediate aid in the chemistry of his farming, and the greatest aid was given through the information that enabled him to make an intelligent choice of the fertilizer to be used.

To the bacteriologist we owe our understanding of the nature and successful cultivation of leguminous plants. The science of dairying, the handling of milk and manufacturing of milk products, is alike indebted to chemistry and bacteriology.

The physiologist has joined the chemist to qualify the farmer to convert his crops into animal products with the greatest economy, and new suggestive results of laborious investigation are constantly being added.

In biology, we find that horticulture is largely based upon botany. In fact, at the time the land-grant colleges were established, if we ex- cept perhaps the chemist, the botanists were the only scientists prepared to teach anything of direct value to agriculture. The knowledge of the origin and relation of varieties and their distribution and adaptability has enabled horticulture to become the most truly scientific of all branches of agriculture.

The service rendered in the study of weeds and devising methods of controlling them has been an important one in making for the fullest and best use of the resources in the soil. Botanists and horticulturists have also introduced many foreign plants of great value in the garden and in the field. As an example of this, we have the alfalfa plant, more recent importations of which seem likely to bring into use some western sections until now regarded as practically waste.