Daily capital journal. (Salem, Or.) 1903-1919, October 10, 1914, Home and Farm Magazine Section, Page 12, Image 26

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Science and Practice of Agriculture
The following is the first of
a serins of articles on "The
Scicnco and Practice of Agri-
culture, and How to Harmon
bra Them," by 0. I Smith,
agriculturist of the O.-W. B.
1 & N,, ono of the best known
1 farming authoritica in tho $
Northwest. "
THE SCIKNCR of agriculture Is only
organized common sense, The prao
tico of agriculture is a juinblo of
tnothods basod upon tradition, super
stition, moro or loss absurd theories
dnd varying degroos of business sense
combined with a limited monsure of ex
act knowledge. To harmonlzo these
Contradictory and ofton apparently an
tygonistic factors, is & rather difficult
tusk,' requiring time, tact, pationce and
accurate knowledge. By accurate
Imowlodgo I do not mean just what can
ko loaruod from books, lectures, labora
tory practico Or even field studies. I
Iiavo known men full to running ovor
with all tlioso and yet unable to har
monlzo any of thorn with actual farm
One reason why tho task of harmon
izing tho scionce and practico of agri
culture is so difficult is found in the
avorago conception of tho tonn
"scionce." I ean romombor whon the
Inrm was to my mind alwayB associ-
Mod with unpronouncnble Latin words,
bad smolling drugs and Bulphnr fumes.
But whon I found bo good a story
tollor as Charlos Dickens claimed that
to sow tho samo seed, in the snmo soil,
nndor tho same conditions will surely
yield tlio snmo fruit according to its
kind, I began to realm that scionce
was only tho knowlodgo that ocrtain
Cannes would produco curtain results.
The possuHslon of this Itnowlcdgo would
enable mo to eoinblno caiiBcs or factors
fend surround thorn with conditions that
would produco a desired result. When
I had learned this much , about
"scinneo" tho term lost Its terror and
became unly a naino for a group of
evory-dny things.
Like Produces Like.
Prom this point of vlow it was com.
jinrativcly oasy to harmonize tho prac
tice of agriculture with tho eeionce of
agriculture, To illustrate, it Is rocog
jilzcd as a scientific fact that tindor
borninl conditions "like produces like.'
It Is also a fact that pcrfoet riant
growth can bo secured only when thero
are present In the Boil a groat variety
of Inorganic element such as potash,
phosphorous, nitrogen, calcium, silica,
iron, sulphur, mngnosla, etc. That tho
different plants use different propor
tions of these elements, potatoes, tor
Instance, require a larger proportion of
potash than corn or wheat, but loss of
phosphorous and other element.
What Science Bays.
Clover roots and leaves make ideal
homo for minute soil bacteria tlmt
help to dissolve anil make avallublo the
various elomonti used by tho plants.
Furthermore tho scientist will say that
Where tho oll Is too compact, heavy or
old, the plowing under of a crop like
cloviir will loosen and warm it, There
fore toll tho scientist that you have a
heavy clay loam soil and wish to grow
on it a prize crop of potatoes, and from
his organized facts he will sayt "Urow
a crop of red clover, plow under the
erood crop, lenve tho ground rough
ovor winter, work fine in the spring
and plant ns toon as danger of frost
is past, planting smooth, sou ml, even
sited tubers, for 'llko produoos llko.' "
Now let ns see hew we can harmon
ize this with practical Jim Kolly of
Marysburg had won the prize of a
riding cultivator for the best bushel of
potatoes exhibited at la 'County Fair.
I wanted to know how lis did It, and
drove 111 miles out to his farm, which
was In a hard wood district where the
soil wns a rather heavy clay loam,
What Practice Bays.
After complimenting Jim on the
prize,"! asked him to tell mo how he
did it.
"Oh," snld ho, "tlmt'e easy; just
plant them In the old of the moon
la May."
"Hut low did you prepare the
landj what did yon grow on it the
year before; when did yon plow it;
how doep!"
"Sure, tho only way to grow good
potatoes on this kind of land is clover
sod plowod in the fail and plowod as
doop as the team ean pull the plow."
"Do anything to it in the spring!"
"Harrow it three or four times to
fine it, firm it, warm it up and kill
the weeds. Keep at it until the moon
is right."
- "What kind of flood do yon plant!"
"Ah now, don't yon know, any man
that's got sense, will plant the kind
ho wants to raise! "
Here yon sea the practical man and
the scientist have both reached the
same conclusions, although they started
in different directions. Ihoy saw
thinirs from a different point of vlow.
To harmonize the science and practice
of agriculture it is nocossary to get
Jim Kelly and tho Bciontist out on
Kelly's field in the old of the moon
in May.
Scientist on Milk.
The sciontist after collecting facts
regarding the "Building Up of
Dairy Herd." sayai "Milk giving is
a forainine function. Tiarge mils: pro
duction la due to the abnormal de
velopment of the matornai instinct.
Pottinir. liberal fooding, frequent han
dling, kind treatment, all aia in tne
development of the milk producing
Thon along comes the practical man
with the assurance that the best cow
they ever had on the farm was
"Bessie," a pot calf that mother and
the girls raised.
Continuing tho same tople, the Bcion
tist snys "The profitable dairy cow
is an artificial animal built by a
combination of factors, all tonding to
tho oxtra development of the milk
producing orgtuiB and characteristics,
Tho order runs somothing liko thisi
First Selection,
Second Care, which includes sheltor,
feed, wator and method of treatment.
Third Testing, sorting and woeding
Fourth Breeding.
Fifth Focdlng, handling and de
velopment of hoifor calvos.
Carolosnnofls, negligonco or Ignorance
on tho part of tho dairyman in regard
to any of these factors will oliminate
or seriously impair the results.
As any capacity above the normal
Is artificially built up, by the above
factors, it follows logically that neg
lect of any of the above will tond
toward deterioration or return to the
natural condition.
Ignorance Means Lose.
Whon a practical man buys one of
Ao highly developed, largo producing,
'.'"Hfielal cows, ami, Ignoring tho
'T5Sc" of dairying, turn her out
in V Hods pasture to find her own
feed, ejirprlsed that oach year
she glvv. milk. Hot helfor calvos
are not as Rood a the mother, and
bv the third eenerutlon they are
comparatively worthless for dairy pur
poses, and tho owner declaroi that "All
this talk about pure bred stock la non
sense," Ho ha tried it and "there
i nothing to It" Yol his experience
haa further demonstrated that the
scientist was right His conclusions
were based on a collodion of facts,
which Is the real "Science of Agricul
Again tho scientist saysi "A liberal
supply of liumns In the soil, deep tin
aire aud cultivation will conservo mots
tare, regulate temperature, stimulate
nlnnt arowth, Increase the availabl
ulant food and check against bad
weather, drouth or hot winds.
Tanner BlUftlnsa,
Fanner Shirtless Ignore the science,
The weather conditions are all fnvor-
able and he secures a normal crop. 11
boast of his "prnetlesl experience
and continues his unscienliflo prnctlees
until an'unfavornlile season, Then th
scientist has a full crop and Shiftless
Maine hla "luck."
The weakness of mnch of the o
called "Agricultural Science" is due to
the fact that an experiment has been
tried for the purpose of demonstrat
inn some theory, and a summary
conclusion compiled, based on the
sliiyle experiment. The practice of
agriculture has always to do with
variable conditions, and those condi
tions nro often of a character so Im
portant as to require radical changes
in any set of rulos or methods of prac
tice! It has, therefore, become a rule
among those students of "Scientific
Agriculture" who are striving to Har
monize science and practice, to rojeet
as really scientific, any conclusions
based on a single experiment, or any
summary of conclusions that does not
harmonize with conditions that are nor
mal to the average farm of tho dis
trict Whon this point of vlow is main
tainod, it is far less difficult to har
monise tho Beionee with practice.
Science dependable Today.
Itoeognteed agricultural science is to
day a radically different proposition
from the so-called agricultural Bcionco
of 25 years ago. What was then
termed agricultural scienee waa made
np largely of single demonstrable facts,
while today agricultural Beionee is a
collodion of demonstrated facts con
sidered in their relationship to each
other and also to Buch variable influ
ences as temperature, rainfall, wind and
I can best illustrate this by my own
experience as an institute locturer. At
that tiAie I had no knowledge of, and
very crude idea concerning "scionce,"
but I did have a large measurue of
practical oxperienco, and some pretty
Btrong opinions bnsod on observation.
My talks consisted almost ontlrely of
storios of what Jonos, Smith or Brown
had done with cortaia things under
certain conditions. No one at that
timo realized that such a collection of
facts was the best kind of agricultural
science, or the very essence of the
science of agriculture, already harmon
ized with practice.
One evonlng whon tho subject of fer
tilizers was boing discussed, some one
In tho nudionco askod the spoakar
What is tho value of a ton of stable
manurol" The profeiisor was a roeog
nlnod authority, a man of national
omitation. a leader in the now move-
out for scientific agriculture, ana ne
answered promptly: "Th only ele
ments laoking in yonr soil, or that yon
will ovor find lacking, are nitrogen,
nolanh and phosphorous, Therefore
your stable manure la worth Just as
much aa It would cost yon v purenwm
that amount of nitrogen, potash and
phosphorous that a ton of stable
manure contains. Approximately i.ou
worth of nitrogen, potash and phos
phorous, and this practically measuros
,1.- -.-1.., ,4 BI..K1A mnniiM "
VnO VU1UW U JTUMI pm.wiv .............
I did not at that time know any
thing about nitrogen, potash and phos
phorous! but I-did know a lot about
stable manure and It action whon
ombined with the soil, and th offoat
that it had on plant growth, I had
observed numerous exporlmonta made
by farmors of my acquaintance with
soenllcd commercial fertilizer, and
without thinking where I wa going
to land, I promptly told th proroe
sor that he was mlstakon. That a ton
of stablo manure was worth mor than
twice as much aa a chemical analysis
indicated. Whether because of tome
other valuablo element than those
found by the chemist I did not know,
but I did know that it would produce
muck more marked result In plant
growth and show lis offoct on th soil
for a much longer period than wouia
a sack jull or commercial loriuiwr
contnlnlng as much nitrogen, potnsh
and Phosphorous aa th chemist aald
would bo found In a ton or manure.
Then he askod m why, and I had
to confess that I didn't know; but
still Insisted that It would do It Then
he came hack with the question
"Would It Improve yonr oll to add
to It any element of which It already
had a sufficient quantity!" I had to
admit that I didn't think It would
"Hut," said he, "If the soil la lack
ing In any particular element llko
nitrogen, potah and phosphorous, then
hea you add cither manure or any
other compound, It I worth to yoor
land just the market value of those
elements which It contain and no
moro. ' '
Bclenct Based on Fact.
Thirty years ngo that wn agri
cultural scionce, and that was the
dogmatio way of teaching it The
practical men couldn't give any rcs
sons that would logically contradict the
scientific conclusions, so he rojoeted
the science, clinging to his tradition,
and continued to practice certain
methods without being able to explain
why. It took ten years for the scien
tist to roach the conclusion based on
experiment, observation and colloetod
facts, that physical condition was quite
as important a factor as enemicai
Then came the bacteriologist who dis
covered that live soil was productive
and dead soil non-productive, regard
less of the composition. That live SOU
contained innumorablo quantities of
microscopic organisms that through
their life and death made available for
the use of the plants tho various ele
ments which the plants usod. Still fur
ther investigation demonstrated tho
fact that a proper proportion of air,
wator, heat and light wore just a
nocossary for perfoet plant growth a
any other eloment
Bacteria In Soil.
Next, tho scientist explained a fact
long well known, bnt apparently loBt
sight of, that bactoria wore found only
in organio matter. Thoy vindicated by
their collection of facts tho thoory of
the fact that nothing eonld live bnt
something else must die. Bo aftor 24
years I could answer the Professor and
toll him that the value ol staDie
mannro was in it physical effoct upon
tho soil composition rather than it
chemical compound. That It furnished
a home for those minute bacteria that
mado available thoso inorganio ele
ments) that it regulated to a marked
degree the soil tompcrature, increased
its capacity to absorb and hold mois
ture and eould therefore carry a much
larger amount of oxygon without whleb.
the littlo baetorla would have to quit
And then I romomhoreS what 40
year ago a practical Gorman garden
er, whon showing me a row of rut,
bagas, said. At one end (hey would
average about ten pound apleee and
at the opposite end of the row about
two ounces apiece. I asked him why,
and he soldi "Oh, thl ground np ner
where the big ono are I alive. Thai
over thore whore the little ono art i
doad." I askod him what would put
now life into the soil and he a
sworedi "Plenty ef stable malnre,"
Impractical Science,
Down In Georgia, on of the old
school scientists applied ten dollar
worth per acre of nitrogon, potash and
phosphorous and doublod hi yield of
cotton on a piece of worn-ont landi
but the next year it took twelv dol
lar' worth to accomplish th same re
sult, , II kept Increasing th doan
of medicine until th modiolus cost
as much aa the mwket'' taint of
crop. v V
The old darky who drove the rnnlo
to eultlvnte the cotton had seven eera
of th same kind of land,' bnt na
money to buy modiclne, so he Jtnrt
grow woods nntil they wore a foot
hlirh. and then plowed tWi under.
Then he lowed som os'cut off th
heads and plowed. -indor tu straw.
Then ho sowene eowpea and ha.
vested fa'-1" Hold th hay to th
bas Ijf -er ton to food th inula
iX, ivate th cotton that waa
For eonvenlone th mule w
stabled on hi (even acres, and he
kept the manure,
The fourth yonr hi thrn acre of
upland cotton that hadn't had any
medicine, produeod mor than any thro
acres of the scientist's that had had
forty five dollar' worth of modlelna,
While hi other fonr aero predneod
oats, corn, sweet potato and pea hay
equal In vain to any fonr acres of th)
doctored cotton. Then Bam, th pree-
tlcal, nnd Professor Jones, the soiontist,
got together In th cotton field, ub
mltted their facts and formulated
new agricultural science that wa li
perfect harmony with practice,
In conclusion, the tru science of
agriculture Is easily harmonized when
the scientist and practical man get to
gether In th field, lay aside tho tradi
tion of th College and the fnrm and
from their collected facts, formulate a
method that Is In entire harmony with
seientiflt method and Intelligent prae-tic,