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To test the efficiency of single sampling, as practiced this year in representing the average of the plat, as well as for the purpose of noting the variation in the sugar content between contiguous beets, 30 consecutive single beets were taken from the same row and sent to the laboratory, numbered according to their positions in the row, and the sugar in the beet was determined. The results are as follows:
These results are interesting from several points of view. In the first place the average of the analyses indicates the reliability of the original method of sampling as fairly representing the entire plat. Secondly, a great variation in individual samples is shown, suggesting the great care which is essential for securing a small number of beets to fairly represent the entire tract. It is evident that with careless work it would be possible to secure widely differing results as the 30 beets analyzed varied in sugar content from 11.4 to 17.7 per cent. Also, there is clearly shown the absolute necessity, in this climate at least, of calculating to the original weight where samples are kept for a few days before analysis.
The meteorological data from the Pomona Station show an average temperature of 67.7° F., including the months from March to September, which period represents the season in this locality. In this connection it must be taken into consideration that the principal growth of the beets occurs during the early part of the season. March, April, and May are comparable with May, June, and July for the nonirrigated regions. It is evident that it is the first three months
. of the growing season in which the temperature produces its principal effects. In this time the real character of the beet is formed and its habit of storing sugar fixed. It will be seen, therefore, that the mean temperature of March, April, and May, 61.30° F., was quite favorable to the development of a beet of the character given, namely, of 13.3 per cent of sugar. Further, it is noticed that irrigation was withdrawn in July, after which time the beet simply approached the condition of maturity. Thus, while June, July,
August, and September were very warm, it is probable that little if any growth took place after July.
The yield per acre is very fair and the sugar content good, but the purity is somewhat low, not reaching the minimum of 80, which is considered the lowest purity compatible with the economic production of sugar from the beet.
The individual analyses of 30 beets are of interest to show the wide variation which may occur in the content of sugar in beets grown in juxtaposition. These variations are often explained by the corresponding variation in the size of the beets, the small beets, if healthy, containing a larger percentage of sugar. The rapidity with which beets dry out in arid climates, such as that of California, is also illustrated by this statement.
THE COLORADO STATION.
The season of 1904 is reported as having been very favorable to the beet crop in northern Colorado. The sugar factory in the district of the experiment station reported an average tonnage of slightly less than 15 tons per acre from 6,400 acres. A number of large fields reported over 25 tons per acre.
The experimental plat at Fort Collins (Field F, plat 6) was weeded and thinned on May 31, and irrigated three times—on July 4, July 15, and August 2, respectively. The plat was harvested on October 22 and gave a yield of 16.86 tons of clean beets per acre, the tare being 8 per cent.
The agricultural and analytical data reported by Mr. A. H. Danielson, of the Colorado Station, are given in the following table. Of interest in connection with these data are the climatic conditions as shown in the table of meteorological data, a part of which was observed at Cheyenne, Wyo., 40 miles northeast of Fort Collins, being the nearest point at which sunshine observations were made. Agricultural and analytical data determined at Fort Collins, Colo., on beets grown at that
Beets in 50 feet of
Date of sampling.
Estimated yield per
Sugar in Sugar in
September 28 a
Per cent. Per cent.
a Determination made at Washington, D. C., on this date.
b Average of 12 samples.
a Observations for Cheyenne, Wyo., 40 miles northeast of Fort Collins.
b For 15 days only.
Mr. Danielson makes the following remarks on the irrigation practiced and its effect:
The amount of water applied at each irrigation has not been measured, but I judge that it would not exceed four-tenths of a foot per acre in the earlier irrigations, decreasing to about two-tenths of a foot per acre in depth in the later irrigations. The beets are always cultivated as soon as the ground is dry enough after each irrigation until the plants become too large to admit the passage of implements between the rows. It is usual also to use a shovel plow in the latter part of the season, making furrows at the same time.
I have repeatedly noticed a peculiar fact in connection with the irrigation of beets in this section, which has been corroborated by several expert sugar-beet men and may be stated briefly as follows: If beets under irrigation are kept supplied with water so that they do not become too dry at any time, and especially if water is applied toward the end of the season when the beet is maturing, it will mature earlier with a larger percentage of sugar and a larger tonnage than if the crop has suffered for water, especially during the latter part of the season; that is, sugar beets from which water has been withheld will continue green and growing until very late in the season; the beet will not mature well, and is often caught by the frost; nor will the sugar content be very high.
The agricultural data show that the beets from the Colorado Station were of good size, reaching an average of 16.8 ounces aster topping
The yield was good, namely, 15.8 tons per acre, and the content of sugar in the beet extremely high (16.1 per cent). The purity also was above the average, being represented by the coefficient 87.3. The meteorological data show the mean temperature from May to July to be 59.7° F., from August to October, 58.4°, from June to August, 64.2°, and for the entire season, 59.1° The temperature in Colorado may be compared directly with the temperature data for the nonirrigated regions, as its growing season, unlike that of California, is coincident with that of nonirrigated stations. The low temperature, according to the general relation which has already been established, was highly favorable to the development of a beet rich in sugar. Even the warmest month, August, had a
temperature of only 67.1°. The rainfall was sufficient for the growth of the plant for the first three months, but was unevenly distributed. May had a precipitation of 5.37 inches, while the precipitation for June and July was less than 2 inches. August, September, and October were quite dry, and without irrigation the growth of the plants would have been prematurely checked. The data show that this section of Colorado is capable of producing not only a yield satisfactory to the farmer but also a crop which is exceedingly rich in sugar, with a high purity. Beets of this character, with proper treatment at the factory, should yield nearly 300 pounds of sugar
The following table is a comparison of the results obtained on the experimental plat No. 6, which had received no fertilization for two years, and those obtained on the adjoining plats which had been fertilized in 1903, as indicated, no part of the field (F) having received any fertilizer in 1904:
In commenting on the fertilizer experiments, Mr. Danielson writes as follows:
Our fertilizer experiments with sugar beets are still being continued and the results are not ready for publication; but I can summarize briefly the practical results of the work. Nitrogen in any form on our soils seems to be the most effective in increasing the tonnage. In commercial fertilizers the nitrogen from nitrates has been the most effective, raising the tonnage on nitrogen-poor ground from 10 tons to as much as 17 tons per acre, and from 20 to 24 and 25 tons per acre. Stable manure will also have practically the same effect with the additional benefit derived from the humus added to our humus-poor soils.
An excess of nitrogen on the sugar beets in my experiments has lowered the sugar content from one-half to one and one-half per cent, and the purity from 1 to 5 points. We found that a little available phosphorus in the form of acid rock, bone meal, or acid bone meal will tend to prevent this lowering of the sugar content and purity, and also seems to be very beneficial in giving hardiness to the young beet early in the season. Interesting facts have been observed in regard to the other elements of plant food experimented with, but these are the most practical points.
DESCRIPTIVE NOTES ON UNIRRIGATED SOILS.
Washington, D. C.—The beet plat on the Potomac flats at Washington was located very near that of 1902, the data being used as determined for that year. This soil, as previously stated, is an artificial deposit of material dredged from the bottom of the Potomac River.
Lafayette, Ind. Soil samples were removed on April 29 from six places on the experimental plat, the surface soil to a depth of 9 inches and the subsoil 12 inches, i. e., from 9 to 21 inches. The history of this plat is as follows:
1881–1884.Connecticut experiment on potatoes.
1895.--Kafir corn, fertilized with 92 pounds of bone, containing 34 per cent of phosphoric acid; 92 pounds of sodium nitrate, containing 16 per cent of nitrogen, and 46 pounds of muriate of potash, containing 50 per cent of potash.
1896.-Kafir corn, fertilized with 17 pounds of dissolved boneblack, containing 16 per cent of phosphoric acid; 61 pounds of sodium nitrate, containing 16 per cent of nitrogen, and 75 pounds of muriate of potash, containing 50 per cent of potash—(K,0).
Lexington, Ky.—The sugar beets having been grown on the same plat of loamy bluegrass soil as in the four previous years, the soil analyses were not repeated, but the data obtained in 1903 are inserted in the table for comparison.
Agricultural College, Mich.—The soils were sampled on October 28, air dried, and forwarded on November 15, with the following history of the plat from which they were taken, no fertilizer having been applied since 1890:
1890.- Wheat, yield 15 bushels per acre.