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Agricultural and analytical data on beets grown at Blacksburg, Va., and forwarded to
The data for the station at Blacksburg are interesting, because of the high altitude of the experimental field. This high plateau, by reason of its altitude, tends to correct the unfavorable features of an environment so far south for the growth of beets. The yield was satisfactory, although the beets were below the normal in size, the average weight before topping being 11.8, and after topping 9.8 ounces. The content of sugar was satisfactory, namely, 13.8 per cent, and the purity above the standard, being 81.2. The temperature data show in a striking manner the effect of the altitude. The mean temperature for May to July was 65.4° F.; August to October, 61.9°; for the six months, 63.6°; and for the three growing months, 68.9o. The precipitation was abundant during the greater part of the growing season. Although May was somewhat dry, June shows an excessive rainfall, while July and August had an excessive rainfall as far as the needs of growth were concerned, and September and October were dry, thus favoring early maturity. The cloudy days far exceeded the clear ones; and it will be noticed that at no time did the temperature reach 70°, although July had a temperature of 69.4°. The conditions, in so far as temperature and precipitation were concerned, were very favorable to the production of a crop not only of fair size, but also of excellent quality.
THE WISCONSIN STATION.
Mr. F. W. Woll, of the Wisconsin Station, furnished, as usual, a very complete report of the sugar-beet work conducted at Madison, extracts from which report are given as follows:
About two-fifths of an acre of land was set apart for sugar-beet work in the spring of 1904, on a part of the same field on which sugar beets were grown last year. The field was plowed on April 24, dragged twice on April 29 and on April 30, and a fine seed bed was prepared by disking and harrowing on May 20. The beets were planted on the same day in drills 18 inches apart, and were thinned on June 15 to approximately 8 inches apart in the row. The beets were kept free from weeds during the growing period by wheel hand cultivator and hoe, the field being laid by on July 22.
The growth of the beets was very satisfactory during the early part of the season, when both the moisture and temperature conditions were favorable. Abundant moisture was also supplied during the months of August and September, but a short intermediate period of hot sultry weather occurred in the early part of August, which affected the beets injuriously, causing the leaves to droop and the lower ones to turn yellow, as if some fungous disease had attacked the plants. During the latter part of the growing period many new leaves appeared and the plants seemed to take on new life. This condition, in all probability, accounts for the relatively low sugar content and the low purity of the beets during the early fall months, as shown by the results of the chemical analyses made during September and October.
The sampling of the beets was begun on September 20 and was continued weekly until October 25, when the crop was harvested. The sugar contents of the samples dug from September 20 to October 17 were as follows: 12.77 per cent, 12.64 per cent, 12.33 per cent, 13.48 per cent, and 13.32 per cent. The estimated yields per acre ranged from 20.5 to 30.4 tons.
The data obtained at harvesting time gave the following averages: Estimated yield per acre, 25.7 tons; sugar in the beet, 14.6 per cent; and purity coefficient, 87.1.
While the plan of growing sugar beets on the same land for several years in succession is not to be recommended, the results obtained show that under favorable climatic conditions and on land in a high state of fertility strong and healthy beets may be grown for a limited time without a change of crops in the successive seasons. During the past three years the yields obtained on the University farm have exceeded 25 tons to the acre, and the yields of sugar have exceeded 3 tons to the acre.
The following data obtained at the Bureau of Chemistry do not run quite as high as those obtained at the station, but still represent a very satisfactory crop: Agricultural and analytical data on beets groun at Madison, Wis., and forwarded to Washington,
The agricultural data show a fine yield per acre, namely, 19.9 tons, and the beets are of a satisfactory size, the average weight after topping being 14.4 ounces. The sugar content is not quite so high as would be expected under the circumstances, but the purity is very satisfactory, 82.2. The mean temperature from May to July was 64.2° F., from August to October 59.7°, for the three growing months 67.30, and for the six months 62o. The warmest month was July, with a temperature of 69.4°, while August was only slightly warmer than June. The precipitation was overabundant during May and September, and it is more than probable that this excessive rainfall in September maintained the beets in vigorous growth, and to this cause the rather low content of sugar may be attributed. These data show in a striking manner how the distribution of the rainfall may serve to influence the sugar content even though the conditions of temperature tend to produce a high percentage of sugar. The number of clear days was slightly larger than that of the cloudy days at this station, notwithstanding the amount of rainfall.
EXPERIMENTS CONDUCTED IN IRRIGATED SECTIONS.
THE CALIFORNIA STATION.
The peculiar conditions existing at the California Station, together with the distance of the station from Washington, made it impracticable to conduct the experiment along the lines followed in regard to eastern locations, and therefore no analyses were made at Washington (except of the soils), and the report of Mr. G. W. Shaw, in charge of the cooperative work at the station, is submitted in full: As in former years the beet plat on the Pomona substation tract comprised one-tenth of
The ground was plowed, graded, and irrigated on February 24, 1904, after a comparatively dry season, as will be seen by reference to the climatic data. After plowing, the plat was thoroughly barrowed and worked to a good seed bed according to instructions. The seed was sown on March 2, in drills 18 inches apart, and a good stand was showing on March 10. The beets were thinned on April 15 leaving the plants 8 inches apart in the row.
Irrigation began on May 14, the water being applied as follows:
Irrigation was discontinued after July 12, as the beets appeared to be mature, but on September 13, about 5,000 gallons were used to soften the ground, which had become quite hard and dry. This amount, however, should not be counted as a part of the irrigation which influenced the crop, as the beets were plowed out on September 15, and pulled and weighed on September 19. The natural precipitation during the preceding fall and spring (that is, from September 27, 1903, to February, 1904, inclusive) amounted to 2.51 inches, and during the growing season (March to September), 6.74 inches, a total rainfall of 9.25 inches, which with the 1.78 inches of water received by irrigation gives a sum total of 11.03 inches, of which amount 8.52 inches were received after planting.
While the fall was dry and rather unfavorable the spring rains were well distributed and the season would be considered fair for the locality. Nearly all the moisture of the season was applied after planting, whereas the reverse was the case in 1902. The effect is quite noticeable, double the crop being secured this season. The meteorological data are as follows:
Meteorological data for Pomona, Cal., 1904.
Each irrigation was followed by a thorough cultivation as soon as the ground was in condition to be worked. The agricultural data are as follows:
Agricultural data regarding beets grown at Pomona, Cal., 1904. Date of harvest
September 29 Date of analysis ..
.October 5 Relation of tops to beets at harvest..
- per cent.. 17.00 Weight of 6 topped beets at harvest.
..ounces.. 97.75 Weight of 6 topped beets when analyzed.
.do.. 92.00 Loss from drying.
5. 75 Loss from drying.
per cent.. 6. 90 Average weight of beets as analyzed.
..ounces.. 15. 17 Estimated yield per acre.
...tons.. 10. 50 As it is evident from these figures that the beets lose almost 7 per cent of their weight by drying in the time which elapses before they reach the laboratory, the results of the analyses as determined and as calculated to the original weight of the samples are given.
Analytical data determined at the Berkeley (Cal.) Station, 1904.
The sugar content is lower by about 1 per cent than that of 1902 and the purity is nearly 8 points lower. This may bave been due to the rains occurring on August 19, at which time 0.19 inch fell, but it hardly seems possible that the beets would not have fully recovered from this during the thirty days of hot weather that followed. The purity is very low as compared with that of the beets generally received from the same locality.
31050—Bull. 96-05- 4