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Ithaca, N. Y.-The soil on which these experiments were conducted is reported as being a sandy loam of good depth and fertility which was well limed and fertilized in 1904. Two samples of beets were sent, one from fresh land and one from the plat on which beets had been growing for four years. It is regretted that no new soil analyses
. were made, but the analysis of this soil made in 1902 is inserted in the table as a general indication of its character.
Geneva, N. Y.-The soil used was a clay loam, quite uniform throughout, and very much like that on which beets were grown in 1902, the plats being separated only by farm road. The data determined in 1902 are accordingly used in the table of soil analyses. This field has been used for farm crops in rotation ever since it came into the possession of the station and for the past five years the crops have been as follows: 1889, oats; 1890, wheat seeded to clover and timothy; 1891 and 1892, meadow; 1893, corn.
Statesville, N. C.- The beet plat was situated on a ridge, the soil being a rather dry clay loam, comparatively fresh. Corn was grown on the land in 1903, a crop of about 40 bushels to the acre being obtained.
Blacksburg, Va.--For several years the beets have been grown on various portions of the garden, a different plat being used each year. The plat selected in 1904 was grown last year in garden crops for an early harvest and then was planted to late Indian corn. The land was covered with manure in the fall of 1902 and had been so treated for several years previous, but no such application has been made since that date. The soil is a fairly rich loam, such as occurs on the bench land of this section just above the streams. The uplands here are not rich, but the rock is nearly always lime. This particular soil is drift, but it is not what is called bottom or muck lands.
Madison, Wis.—The soil is a clay loam, with a heavy clay subsoil, and has a decided tendency to bake after rains. A part of the field
sugar beets in 1902 and in rape or pease in 1903. This field has been in cultivation for at least 30 years, and has been brought to a high state of fertility by the application of barnyard manure for the past 12 years or more.
DESCRIPTIVE NOTES ON IRRIGATED SOILS.
Pomona, Cal.-While the particular location of the plat for the work of 1904 was different from that selected in 1902 yet the soil characteristics were essentially the same with the exception that the subsoil was far less leachy, it having been found to be impossible
in the former location to supply the amount of moisture necessary to produce a reasonable tonnage. As to its general physical character the soil would be classed as sandy and its general chemical character, as determined at the California Station, is given in the report for 1902." The analyses made at the Bureau of Chemistry of the samples sent in 1904 are given in the general table below.
Fort Collins, Colo.—This plat in 1904 was planted in beets for the second year without fertilizer and was sampled very near the same spot as in the preceding year. The plat was in grain in 1902 and in beets in 1901.
COMMENT ON ANALYSES OF SOILS.
The analytical data representing the composition of the soil are obtained by two methods of solution: (1) By using concentrated hydrochloric acid, in which practically all of the soil constituents soluble in acid are obtained; and (2) by using dilute hydrochloric acid, which solution represents the amounts of potassium and phosphoric acid which may be regarded as immediately available for the growth of the crop.
. The following table shows the results of analyses of the soils used in the cooperative experiments in 1904:
Chemical analysis of sugar-beet soils, 1904.
Statesville, N. (... Soil 3132. .do.
Subsoil. 248986 Ithaca, N. Y
Soil.....1 24499 h .do.
Sul soil. 3123.
Lafayette, Ind. Soil.. 3121. .do.
Lexington, Ky Soil. 21180 ..do..
Washington, D. (. Soil. 3133
Blacksburg, Va.... Soil.. 3134.
Agricultural Col- Soil.
lege, Mich. 3138 .do..
Subsoil. 1751 (S.& F) b Geneva, N. Y
Per ct. Per ct. Per ct. Per ct. Per ct. Per ct. 'Per it. 0.078 0.29 0.06 Trace. 0.04 0.0001 0.0098 .063
.33 .02 Trace. .04 .0001 .0080 17 .21 .35 0.15
18 00107 .0114 06 .66 2.00 .84
09 224 .62 .33
.11 0018 .0086 161 .80
.0013 238 .50 .54
11 .0002 .0124 0.30 .50
.04 .00015 .0056 . 169
27 .05 .00015 .0038
Soil. 1755 (S.& F) ..do.
Madison, Wis. Soil. 3130.
82 1.27 .51
3121. 3122 3135 3136
1.62 1.99 1.02 1. 46
.0002 .11 .00005
. 10 .11
0.0098 .0001 .0129 .(089
at. S. Dept. Igr., Bureau of Chemistry Bul. No. 78, p. 36.
e Analysis for 1903 samples.
Considering the nonirrigated soils in respect of the content of nitrogen, the richest are those from Lexington, Ky., and Lafayette, Ind., while the soils from Ithaca, Blacksburg, Agricultural College, Geneva, and Madison form a group having a moderate amount of nitrogen and differing only slightly from each other in this respect. The soils at the other stations are not so well provided with nitrogen, having only about half as much as the soils of the stations in the first group. In every case there is less nitrogen in the subsoil than in the soil, as is to be expected.
In regard to the potassium soluble in strong hydrochloric acid, it is seen that the soil having the largest quantity is from Indiana and the soil having the smallest quantity is from Ithaca. In several cases the subsoil is found to contain more potassium than the soil, and this is notably true in the case of Ithaca, Lafayette, Blacksburg, and Geneva. In regard to the phosphoric acid soluble in the strong acid, the largest quantity is found in the sample from Lexington, and the smallest (always excluding that from Statesville, N. C.), from the Michigan Station. In regard to the lime, the largest quantity is found in the soil from Wisconsin and the smallest quantity in the sample from Blacksburg, Va. In one instance there is more lime in the subsoil than in the soil, in the case of Ithaca, where the same relation is observed in the case of potassium.
It is to be noticed that there is found a much larger proportion of lime in the irrigated soils than is usually found in the nonirrigated areas, with the exception of the lime in the subsoil at Ithaca. All the soils and subsoils of the irrigated stations show large quantities of carbonate of lime. This is especially true of the soil from Fort Collins, which approaches in texture the chalky soils of parts of England. The large amount of lime in the Fort Collins soil shows that there must have been originally large quantities of lime present, for Fort Collins is not situated in a very dry climate, the data showing that it received almost as much rain as some of the nonirrigated stations during the growing season.
In the following table is given a comparison of the yields at the various stations and the average amounts of plant foods in the soils and subsoils. Attention may again be called to the fact that it is not possible to correlate these factors with scientific exactness, such a comparison only being possible for purposes of making conclusive deductions when the soils are subjected to the same environment, as was the case in the pot experiments conducted during a series of years by this Bureau.
The data, however, show in a general way what has been observed before, that the quality of the soil has but little to do with the sugar content of the beet. It is true that if the soil be so very poor that the beet is very much stunted in its growth, reaching a weight of only 2 or 3 ounces at maturity, the poverty of the soil would act in this way to increase the percentage of sugar in the beet, but this is only incidental since any unfavorable condition would act in the same way, as, for instance, a deficient rainfall or imperfect cultivation. It is quite certain that a very rich soil, in the presence of an environment otherwise favorable to a large growth, would have the opposite effect, for the overgrown beet is prone to have an excess of cellular tissue, to become pithy, and be less sweet. In this case, also, the effect is largely fortuitous, for it is evident that in any condition of overfertility the beets may be grown so close together as to prevent large size, and thus their percentage of sugar may be largely conserved.
It is undoubtedly true that the use of certain fertilizers in definite proportions may tend to increase the percentage of sugar. This is particularly true of potash and phosphoric acid. On the contrary, an abundant supply of nitrogenous fertilizer may tend to depress the content of sugar. In the latter case the effect is probably due to a tendency to increase the growth, while in the former case it may be partly due to securing a proper ripening of the beet, and thus avoiding overgrowth, and partly to actual saccharigenic influences of the fertilizers themselves. Whatever the physiological action may be, it is evident that neither soil nor fertilizer is the dominant or even an important factor affecting the percentage of sugar in the beet.
During the course of the five-year investigation no attempt has been made to study specifically the effect of fertilizers upon the sugar content of the beet, but incidentally it has been borne in mind. Such special studies have, however, been made by others and a brief outline of the results obtained is appended. The conclusion drawn by
* MM. Hébert and Charabot is entirely in harmony with the deductions made in the incidental study of the subject during this investigation.
In a somewhat elaborate study entitled “The influence of the nature of the environment upon the organic composition of the plant,” by these investigators, appearing in the Bulletin de la Société Chimique de Paris « the following conclusions are drawn from the summary of the analytical results obtained:
1. Vegetable assimilation, at least up to a certain limit, remains almost invariable in proportion to the growth; the relative organic composition at the end and at the beginning of the vegetation is found to be almost the same, with a reservation in regard to nitrogen.
2. The assimilation in the plants belonging to the several groups is similar from the organic point of view as it is from the mineral standpoint; the fertilizers or the salts added did not modify sensibly the relative composition of the plant. The substances added act in an absolute (nonrelative) manner, whether it be in diminishing the vegetable production if they are harmful, or in increasing it if they are helpful.
This conclusion is very important as regards the use of fertilizers which are thus seen to act only on the production of vegetable matter without modifying sensibly its composition.
An abstract of the results obtained by K. Andrlík is as follows: In experiments with phosphoric acid alone Mr. Andrlík found that with small additions a small increase in sugar content was secured. Large applications of phosphoric acid, no matter in what form, whether as superphosphate, basic slag, or mineral phosphate, also acted favorably, both in increasing the yield and the sugar content of the beet. These larger amounts, however, did not increase either the quantity or the quality of the beet proportionately to the amounts added.
Moderate quantities of nitrogen in the form of Chile salt peter had a diminishing effect upon the sugar content of the beet, and it was found that the quantity of soda in the roots was twice as great as where no Chile saltpeter had been employed. The conclusion was therefore reached that Chile salt peter when used alone, even in moderately small quantities, exerts an unfavorable influence upon the sugar content of the beet. Moderate quantities of chlorid of potassium or sulphate of potassium produced favorable results upon the sugar content of the beet but did not increase the tonnage per acre. Larger quantities of potash fertilizers, however, did increase the yield as well as the sugar content in a marked degree. The influence of the sulphate of potassium was somewhat more marked than that of the chlorid. The combination of Chile salt peter and superphosphate acted favorably upon the beets in producing a larger tonnage but did not change the sugar content. Where very large quantities of this mixed fertilizer were used the ash content of the beet was markedly increased so as to interfere with its proper manufacture, but the sugar content was not diminished. Potash and phosphoric acid combined in moderate quantities increase both the yield per acre and the sugar content and to a much greater extent than when used singly.
The combination of three fertilizing elements, viz, chlorid of potash, superphosphate, and Chile saltpeter, had a very marked effect not only in increasing the crop, but especially in increasing the sugar content. The combination of these three plant foods in moderate
a Third series, volume 29–30, No. 24, December 20, 1903, p. 1239.