Prairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 3, January 19, 1884. online

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A Weekly Journal for





[Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents was originally located on
page 40 of the periodical. It has been moved here for ease of use.]


AGRICULTURE - The Corn Root Worm, Page 33; Biographical Sketch of Patrick
Barry, 33; Compiled Correspondence, 33; Illinois Tile-Makers Convention
Report, 34; Farmers Advice, 35; Cisterns on the farm, 35; Field and
Furrow Items, 35.

LIVE STOCK - Iowa Wool-Men, Page 36; Polled Cattle-Breeders, 36; Merino
Sheep-Breeders, 36; Cattle Diseases, 36; The Horse and His Treatment
36-37; Cost of Pork on 1883 Corn, 37.

VETERINARY - Grease, So-Called, Page 37; Foul in the Foot, 37; Founder,
37; Question Answered, 37.

THE DAIRY - Curing Cheese, Page 37; Items, 37.

HORTICULTURE - Southern Ills. Hort. Society, Page 38; Notes on Current
Topics, 38; Pear Blight, 38; Treatment of Tree Wound, 38; The Tomato
Pack of 1883, 38; Sweating Apples, 39; Prunings Items, 39.

FLORICULTURE - Smilax and its Uses, Page 39.

EDITORIAL - Will You? Page 40; Items, 40; The Wealth of the Nation, 40;
Contagious Animal Disease, 40, 41; Iowa State Fair, 41; Still Another
Fat Stock Show, 41; Questions Answered, 41; Letter from Champaign, 41;
Wayside Notes, 41.

POULTRY NOTES - Chicken Chat, Page 42; Business Still Running, 42.

THE APIARY - The Best Hive, Page 42.

SCIENTIFIC - Some Gossip About Darwin, Page 43.

HOUSEHOLD - "Going up Head" (poetry), Page 44; Too Fat to Marry, 44;
Ornaments for Homes, 44.

YOUNG FOLKS - Chat About a Bear, Page 45; A Fairy Story, by Little
Johnnie, 45.

LITERATURE - For Those Who Fail (poetry), Page 46; A Singular
Philosopher, 46.

HUMOROUS - The Donkey's Dream, Page 47; Tom Typo 47; Courtship of a
Vassar Girl, 47; Items, 47.


MARKETS - Page 48.


EDITOR PRAIRIE FARMER - I write you in regard to the corn question. I
would like to know if angle-worms damage corn.

Eight years ago I came to the conclusion that I could raise double the
number of bushels of corn that I was then raising. I then commenced
experimenting on a small scale. I succeeded very well for the first
three or four years. I got so that I could raise over ninety bushels per
acre. In one year I got a few pounds over 100 bushels per acre. Three
years ago my crop began to fail, and has continued to fail up to the
present year, with the same treatment. Last year it was so bad that I
concluded to examine the roots of the corn plants. I found both
angle-worms and grubs in the roots. This year I went into a thorough
examination and found nothing there but angle-worms, with a wonderful
increase. They were right at the end of the stalk where the roots were
thick, but the worms thicker.

The corn at first seems to do very well, but long before the grain gets
ripe the leaves begin to get dry and the stalks commence falling. The
consequence is that over one-half the corn is loose on the cob and the
ears very short. I am entirely headed in the corn line. Is it the
angle-worms? If so, what is the remedy? I plant my corn every year on
the same ground. I allow no weeds to grow in my cornfield. Farmers can
not afford to raise weeds. I remove all weeds and put corn in their

I have plowed my land for the next year's crop of corn and put on twenty
loads of manure to the acre and plowed it under. I have no faith in
planting the ground next year unless I can destroy the worms that I call
angle-worms. I have consulted several of my brother farmers, and they
say that the angle-worms never destroy a crop of corn.

I thought last year that my seed corn was poor and run out, so I went to
Chicago and got Sibley's "Pride of the North," but that was no better.

If you will kindly inform me how to remedy this looseness of the kernel
I will agree to show you how 100 bushels of corn can be raised on one
acre every good corn year.


* * * * *

We sent this communication to Professor Forbes, State Entomologist and
received the following reply:

EDITOR PRAIRIE FARMER - There can be hardly a shadow of a doubt that the
injury which your correspondent so graphically describes is due to the
corn root-worm (Diabrotica longicornis), a full account of which will be
found in my report for 1882, published last November.

The clue to his whole difficulty lies in the sentence, "I plant my corn
every year on the same ground." As the beetles from which the root-worms
descend lay their eggs in corn fields in autumn, and as these eggs do
not hatch until after corn planting in the following spring, a simple
change of crops for a single year, inevitably starves the entire
generation to death in the ground.

I inclose a slip, giving a brief account of this most grievous pest; but
the article in my last report already referred to will be found more

NORMAL, ILL., January 3.

P.S. - You will probably remember that I published a paper on this insect
in THE PRAIRIE FARMER for December 30, 1882.

* * * * *

The following is the description referred to:

_From the "Crop Report" for 1882._

"The corn-root worm, in the form in which it affects the roots of corn,
is a slender white grub, not thicker than a pin, from one fourth to
three-eighths of an inch in length, with a small brown head, and six
very short legs. It commences its attack in May or June, usually at some
distance from the stalk, towards which it eats its way beneath the
epidermis, killing the root as fast as it proceeds. Late in July or
early in August it transforms in the ground near the base of the hill,
changing into a white pupa, about fifteen-hundredths of an inch long and
two-thirds that width, looking somewhat like an adult beetle, but with
the wings and wing-covers rudimentary, and with the legs closely drawn
up against the body. A few days later it emerges as a perfect insect,
about one-fifth of an inch in length, varying in color from pale
greenish-brown to bright grass-green, and usually without spots or
markings of any kind. The beetle climbs up the stalk, living on fallen
pollen and upon the silk at the tip of the ear until the latter dies,
when a few of the beetles creep down between the husks, and feed upon
the corn itself, while others resort for food to the pollen of such
weeds in the field as are at that time in blossom. In September and
October the eggs are laid in the ground upon or about the roots of the
corn, and most of the beetles soon after disappear from the field. They
may ordinarily be found upon the late blooming plants, feeding as usual
upon the pollen of the flowers, and also to some extent upon molds and
other fungi, and upon decaying vegetation. There can be no further doubt
that the insect is single-brooded, that it hibernates in the egg as a
rule, and that this does not hatch until after the ground has been
plowed and planted to corn in the spring probably in May or June.

"Although the adult beetles, when numerous, do some harm by eating the
silk before the kernels are fertilized by the pollen, and also destroy
occasionally a few kernels in the tip of the ear, yet the principal
injury is done by the larva in its attack upon the roots. The extent of
this injury depends not only upon the number of the worms, but also upon
the soil and weather and the general condition of the crop, being worst
on high land and in dry weather. Under specially unfavorable
circumstances the loss due to the insect may amount to from one-fourth
to one-half or even three-fourths of the crop; but when the conditions
are generally favorable, it rarely amounts to more than ten or twenty
per cent, and frequently even to less. Although the roots penetrated by
the larvæ die and decay, thrifty corn will throw out new ones to replace
those lost. The hold of the stalk upon the ground is often so weakened
that a slight wind is sufficient to prostrate the corn. Under these
circumstances it will often throw out new roots from the joints above
the ground, thus rallying to a certain extent against serious injury.

"As the result of numerous observations and comparisons, it is clearly
to be seen that little or no mischief is done except in fields that have
been in corn during the year or two preceding, and a frequent change of
crops is therefore a complete preventive. Beyond this, the life history
of the insect gives us little hope of fighting it effectually except at
too great expense, as the eggs and worms are scattered and hidden in the
ground, and the perfect beetle is widely dispersed throughout the

* * * * *

California has about eighty thousand tons of wheat to ship to Europe.
Besides this a large amount is already stowed in ships.

* * * * *


[Illustration: Patrick Barry]

Our portrait this week is of Patrick Barry, Esq., the noted nurseryman
and horticulturist of Rochester, N. Y. Mr. Barry was born near Belfast,
Ireland, in 1816. His father was a small farmer, but he gave the boy a
good education, and at eighteen he was appointed to teach in one of the
national schools. At the age of twenty he resigned this position, and
came to America, where he began clerking in the Linnæan nurseries, at
Flushing, L. I. During his stay of four years here he mastered the
principles of the nursery business. In 1840 he moved to Rochester, and
forming a partnership with Mr. Ellwanger, started the famous Mount Hope
Nurseries. They began on a tract of but seven acres. In 1852 he issued
the "Fruit Garden," which is to this day a standard work among
horticulturists. Previous to this he had written largely for the
agricultural and horticultural press. In 1852 he also began editing the
Horticulturist, then owned by Mr. James Vick. Mr. Barry's second great
work, and the one involving most time and labor was the Catalogue of the
American Pomological Society.

Mr. Barry has long been President of the Western New York Horticultural
Society. He is also a member of the Board of Control of the New York
Experiment Station. He has served several terms in the city council of
Rochester and in the Board of Supervisors of the country. Mr. Barry is
an active business man and besides his great labor in conducting the
nursery affairs, he discharges the duties of President of many corporate
enterprises in which he has large financial interests. Mr. Barry was
happily married in 1847, and the amiable sharer of his hardships and his
successes is still living.


HANCOCK CO., Dec. 31. - Weather very disagreeable; snow six inches deep,
and from rain and sleet and thaw and freeze, has formed a hard crust, so
as to make bad traveling - in the roads icy and slippery. To-day cloudy,
damp and cool. A few days ago the mercury reached 8 degrees below zero,
the lowest of the season. It is very hard on stock, and many of the
cattle are without shelter, as usual. Accept New Year greetings for all

* * * * *

MILLS CO., MO., Jan. 8. - Since the first of January we have had hard
winter weather. An old weather prophet says we are to have just such
weather for forty days. I sincerely hope not. On Friday night, January
4th and 5th, all the thermometers commonly used by farmers went clear
down out of sight. As they only mark about 30 degrees below zero it was
uncertain how cold it really was. Unsheltered stock suffered terribly. A
few farmers were caught without wood, and suffered from the storm in
securing a supply. We have had five days of snow so that there is a
heavy coat all over. A. J. L.

* * * * *

ST. LOUIS, MO., January 13. - Advices from Mobile say the late cold snap
caused immense damage in that section. The loss to the orange groves is
estimated at nearly a $1,000,000, and the value of vegetables killed in
Mobile county alone will reach the same sum. Great damage was also done
to orange groves in Florida, but many orange growers profited by the
Signal Service warning and built fires in their groves, and thus saved
their trees. News from the Michigan peach belt is that the fruits are

* * * * *

Strawberries are sold in New York city at fifteen cents each.

* * * * *



Farmers, Write for Your Paper.

Illinois Tile-Makers.

The Illinois State Tile-Makers' Convention at Springfield, last week,
was more largely attended than in any previous year since the
association was formed. Nearly one hundred joined the association.

The convention was welcomed to the city by Governor Hamilton in an
appropriate address in which he expressed his deep sympathy with and
interest in all the manufacturing enterprises that are giving employment
to the people and adding wealth to the State. He announced himself as in
favor of protection and encouragement to the manufacturing interests. He
thought the tile men were greatly adding to the wealth and
productiveness of Illinois, and that they were also indirectly improving
the health of the people.

The President's address was brief but full of information and good
sense. He pointed out at length the improvements in tile kilns, and in
various appliances, which have been made in recent years, and declared
that valuable as these all are, they can not make up for the lack of
skill and experience. He believed the increased interest in terra cotta,
and in useful ornamental and out tiling points to the great source of
supply as the timber of the country decreases in quantity. The
drain-tile manufacture was simply the beginning of an era of skillful
clay working, which would not only add greatly to the fertility of the
soil, but to the means of the beauty and endurance in numerous forms of
building. Of the statistics of the business, he said the latest
information is that there are in the State 600 factories, built at an
average cost of $3,000 each, employing about 5,400 men seven months each
year, who receive about $250,000 and their board. The total annual
capacity of these factories he estimates at 56,100 miles annually. He
estimates the amount invested in the industry, including the value of
tile already laid, at $5,000,000, and the increased value of land
drained at $10,000,000.

The Secretary's report gave the general condition of the society. In
1879 it was composed of forty-five members; in 1880, of thirty-five; in
1881, of twenty-eight; in 1882, fifty-three; in 1883, of eighty-three,
and in 1884, of eighty-six. The first meetings of the association were
necessarily crude, the programme having been prepared after the
association met. Now, however, they were in working harness, and met
with a regularly prepared programme. The proceedings of the meetings and
a summary of the papers read and discussed, are now published in the
report of the State Board of Agriculture.

The treasurer, John McCabe, Esq., of Rushville, made his report of which
the following is the summary:

Amount on hand at last report $29 35
Received from members last year 82 00
- - - -
$111 35
Paid out last year 87 50
- - - -
Balance in the treasury $ 23 85

These reports were followed by an essay by Mr. C. G. Elliott, which is
of so much merit that we give it in full deferring a further report of
proceedings until next week.


To speak of our successes rather than our mistakes, is far more
agreeable to ourselves and also to others. We all take pride in giving
our experience in any work when we have been successful, but our errors
and mistakes we often carefully hide from public gaze. The transactions
of our industrial conventions are largely made up of the successful
parts of the experiences of members. Our tile manufacturers fail to
speak of their losses in correcting mistakes the number of kilns they
have rebuilt, the number of tile they weekly commit to the waste pile,
the percentage of good and poor tile in each kiln, and many other things
that your humble servant will probably never suspect until he attempts
to manufacture tile.

A similar statement may be made with reference to drainage mistakes. How
many dry weather drains do we hear mentioned in our conventions, or see
described in our newspapers. By such drains, I mean those which in
favorable seasons so operate as to permit the land to produce a heavy
crop - one worth publishing - while in wet years, merely a total loss
results. Cases of such drainage can be numbered by the score. How many
miles of drain tile have been taken up and relaid during the past year
because of some mistake in plan, size of tile, or execution of the work?
Much might be said of drainage mistakes in a general way, but it is
proposed in this paper to treat the subject in a specific and practical
manner. It may be encouraging to remember that it is only by comparing
success with mistakes that we make progress in any valuable science or
art. Great skill and success rest upon a foundation of corrected


We might more properly call this the cause of many mistakes. "Knowledge
is power," says the old adage, and we might add that knowledge in
drainage is success. This knowledge may be obtained in three ways:
First, from reliable books; second, by inquiring of others who have had
experience; third, by our own experience. The first is of prime
importance to the beginner, for in books are found statements of the
general principles and philosophy of drainage, together with the best
methods and practice known. The second is often unreliable, for the
reason that the error of one is often copied by another and becomes wide
spread before it is detected. The third, though valuable is costly, and
discouraging to the learner. Gleanings from all of these sources will,
perhaps, give the most complete satisfaction.

Tile drainage began to be practiced in my own neighborhood about seven
years ago. Those who were about to begin knew nothing about drainage,
except from hearsay knowledge that had crept into the community. Not a
single book upon the subject was consulted or even inquired for. Even
now they are as rare in farmers libraries as the classic poets. Farmer
A. wished to drain and consulted farmer B., who had put in some tile the
year before. Did he think it paid? Yes. What kind of tile did he use and
how was the work done? So A. planned and did his work in accordance with
information obtained from B. Neighbor C. followed A., and so the work
spread. It is now found that mistakes were made in the beginning which
were handed from one to the other, until now, no alternative remains but
to remove the whole work, and no little trouble and expense. This case
is but one out of many which might be stated illustrating the lack of
information at the beginning of drainage work. My observation upon this
point has been that those have availed themselves of information given
in books and papers upon drainage matters made fewer mistakes and did
better work than those who relied upon the general wave of progress to
push them along in the footsteps of their nearest neighbor. The theory,
as well as the art, of drainage should be studied, and all knowledge
adapted to the peculiarities of each case.


A mistake often made by the novice is, that at first, drains are located
without reference to the future drainage of other parts of the farm.
Drains are put in as experiments, very much as we would plant a new
variety of fruit or grain, expecting that probably the chances are
against their success. Subsequently, when plans for more extended
drainage are made, the drains already in operation were found to poorly
serve the desired purpose.

In order to guard against this mistake, have faith in drainage. Put it
down on the whitest page of your memorandum, and with your best pen and
ink, that drainage will pay, and the fewer mistakes made about it the
better it will pay. Put it down that the time will come when you will
drain all of your wet land, and make your plans accordingly. Many times
have I heard this objection to locating a drain so as to benefit a
certain field, "O no; I'll never drain that field. It's all right as it
is. If I can only get this wet over here dry I shall be satisfied." In
two years this same farmer was planning how he could drain the rejected
field, and regretting that he had not made provision for it from the
beginning. I have in mind several miles of tile that will be taken up
during the coming season and relaid with reference to the drainage of
all land having a natural slope in that direction.


Many of the drains first put in are at the head of the water shed
instead of at the lower part or outlet. They discharge improperly and
fail to fit into a more thorough system, where plans for better drainage
are laid out.

To avoid this error, begin at the outlet and work with reference to
ultimately draining the whole section naturally sloping toward this
outlet. If a surface ditch is necessary, make it. If tile can be used,
lay them, even if only a fraction of the entire work is done each year.
Drain laterally toward the main as it is carried upward. The outlay at
first, rod for rod, will be greater, but the final cost will be less,
and yearly profits greater.

I have in mind several cases of unsatisfactory drainage growing out of a
desire to avoid difficulty and expense in making a sufficient outlet.
Among them may be named the following: Putting a drain across one side
of a pond because sufficient depth can not be had to admit of its being
run through the center. Placing drains each side of a slough, parallel
to its center line, leaving the center undrained. Draining cultivated
fields and allowing the water to discharge upon land occupying a lower
level. All of these are make-shifts for the purpose of avoiding the
expense of a good outlet.

There is in this connection a difficulty which can not be overlooked,
one which is beyond the control of the individual farmer, and that is,
when the drainage section is owned by two or more parties. The
adjustment of such cases has occupied the attention of our legislators,
and some progress has been made in framing laws to meet the case, yet
many difficulties remain unprovided for. If all parties agree to accept
such awards and assessments as a commission may make, then the matter of
drainage outlets can be satisfactorily adjusted, but if any party is
disposed to resist, the desired drainage can be practically defeated. I
may, at present, be justified in saying that where only a few neighbors
are concerned, it is a mistake to attempt to use the law at all. Arrange
the matter by mutual agreement or by leaving it to disinterested men to


No mistake has become apparent sooner than this. The following
observations will account for this, and also aid in correcting it. The
whole area of land which naturally discharges toward the drain is not
always taken into account. It is generally thought that land lying at
some distance from the drain, though sloping toward it, does not affect
the capacity required for the drain, whereas in times of heavy rains,
when drains are taxed to their utmost, water flows from those more
distant parts over the surface to the ground acted upon by the tile
drain. We must then provide for the drainage not only of land contiguous
to the drains but for an additional amount of water coming from
adjoining slopes.

Another popular error is that the diameter of the tile is the measure of
its capacity, whereas the grade upon which it is laid is as important as
the size of the tile. The extreme porosity of many of our soils, and the
lack of thorough lateral drainage is another thing by reason of which
main drains become over-taxed, simply because drainage water is not held

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