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nesium deficient plot, one-fourth of which receives magnesium sulfate; one fourth.



ANNUAL REPORT, 1942 7

magnesium sulfate and lime; one-fourth, lime alone; and the other fourth, neither
lime nor magnesium.

The demonstrations have developed to a significant degree — to show what
plants need this element. However, the obvious chlorosis seems not to be the
whole stor}-; for we have found plants regarded as weeds which do not grow at
all where no magnesium is added, and one cultivated plant which does not chlo-
rose but does much better if magnesium is added, and there are plants which
have symptoms of potassium deficiency where no magnesium is added, as in the
case of the apple tree.

Soil Conservation Research Projects. (Karol J. Kucinski and Walter S. Eisen-
menger.)

A Study of the Physical and Chemical Properties of Wind-Blown Soils. Wind
erosion in the Connecticut Valley occurs mostly on onion and vegetable fields
when previously frozen soils thaw, then dry, and are swept ofif by drying, north-
westerly winds. In general, these wind-blown soils are coarser than the soils
least affected. It is important from both the practical and academic viewpoints
to find out just what physical-chemical properties determine the degree of
erodibility of a soil, which of these properties are controllable, and what takes
place in the soil complex when one or more of these properties are changed.

During the past year, in cooperation with the Soil Conservation Service, the
problem of wind erosion has been studied. Soils from wind-eroded and uneroded
areas are being examined by the use of a wind tunnel 32 feet long by 3 feet by
3 feet, especially designed for local conditions. Wind velocities as high as 50
miles an hour can be generated and instruments are used to record the wind
velocities and amounts of erosion. Preliminary trials with the tunnel have given
interesting results, and it is expected that the information finally obtained will
help greatly in understanding why certain soils erode more than others and
possibly in establishing means for their stabilization.

A Survey of Erosion Problems Arising from Changes in Land Use. The growing
of potatoes on a large scale is a relatively new venture on some of the farms in
Massachusetts, especially in the western foothills and plateau. Many acres of
old sod have been plowed under on the sloping hillsides — in some cases, fields
which have not been in open cultivation for the past thirty years. The potato
yields from such fields have been very encouraging and in most cases, therefore,
the operators have not been interested in soil conservation practices. As yet,
only slight sheet erosion is noticed, probably because of the presence of large
amounts of organic matter. Great concern has been felt by some who think that
after a few years of open cultivation, the organic matter originally present in
these new potato fields will decompose and the soil will readily erode, since cover
cropping has not been practiced.

Determinations of carbon and loss on ignition indicate that a large decrease in
the organic matter content of some of these soils has already taken place. There
was an average decrease of 9.5 percent of soil carbon in 194C compared with 1939
and a 21 percent decrease in 1942 compared with 1939. The "loss on ignition"
of this same soil, which is a measure of organic matter, showed an average de-
crease of over 10 percent. It is deemed advisable, therefore, to encourage potato
growers to practice soil conservation methods such as winter cover cropping and
terrace and contour farming of their hillsides.

Sunflowers and their Possibilities. (Karol J. Kucinski and Walter S. Eisen-
menger.) For the past four or five years, sunflowers have been grown in the hope
of finding out whether the crop is adapted to our soil and climate. Results show
that sunflowers can be grown here and produce seed abundantly. Howexer, to



8 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 398

the best of our knowledge, no one in Massachusetts is growing sunflowers in
commercial lots, probably because of the lack of proper mills for processing the
oil. The cost of transportation to mills in the Midwest would not justify ship-
ment even in normal times. Some seed is grown locally and used as a conditioner
of poultry.

Sunflowers will grow in Massachusetts on any land which will produce field
corn and a corn fertilizer seems to do very well. There is an element of risk in-
volved in the growing of the crop which should not be o\erlooked. The plant is
very susceptible to damage from windstorms and there was complete crop failure
after the 1938 hurricane. The "wind-fall" of the sunflower plant is due to a large
extent to infestation with the corn borer. Planting the seed too close will produce
small and thin sunflower plants, too weak to withstand strong windstorms. One
seed per hill every 18 inches in 36-inch rows gave an average crop of over 2 tons
of clean seed per acre. The wholesale price of sunflower seed quoted on the western
coast ranges from seven to eight cents a pound.

Sunflowers are hardy to light frost, and can be planted at the time it is safe to
plant field corn. Harvesting is usually done during the latter part of September.
A growing period of 120 to 140 days, depending on the season, is sufficient for
maturing the seed in Massachusetts. It has been found best to cut the sunflower
heads off the stalk and place them singly on boards to dry for two or three weeks.
This drying facilitates the removal of the seed from the head by striking the head
against some object or rubbing it on a very coarse wire screen.

Black Root-Rot of Tobacco. (C. V. Kightlinger.) The project to improve
tobacco production in Massachusetts by producing strains of Havana Seed which
are satisfactorily resistant to black root-rot and also acceptable in type, quality',
yielding capacity, and habits of growth in general, is being continued. Strains
of tobacco which possess most of these properties have been produced, but they
have not been entirely acceptable to some leaders of the tobacco trade. Attempts
to improve the strains by selection have succeeded in making changes but only
in minor properties. New strains produced by breeding show promise of producing
the desired results.

Results obtained from small plot tests show two of the new strains to yield
well not only in soil free from black root-rot, but under bad black root-rot pro-
moting conditions, as well. They have good general type and produce leaves
which have good shape, smaller veins than many strains, and good body and
quality. These strains mature as early as the common Havana Seed which was
used as one of the parents and bear a close resemblance to that parent in most
respects. They have not yet been tested in commercial production.

Brown Root-Rot of Tobacco (C. V. Kightlinger.) The project to determine the
effects that high and low fertility of the soil may have on the occurrence of brown
root-rot of tobacco is in progress, but work has not yet gone beyond the treat-
ment of soil necessary to produce those diff^erences in fertility.

Soil Treatments for Tobacco Seedbeds. (C. V. Kightlinger.) Experiments were
made again during the fall of 1941 and the spring of 1942, to test the effectiveness
of several difi^erent soil treatments in controlling damping-off diseases, but results
were disappointing because even the control plots showed no evidence of the
disease.

In the control of weeds, there were wide differences between the difi"erent treat-
ments; also, between replications of the same treatment, except in the case of
steaming and the combination treatments with chloro-picrin and calcium cyana-
mid. Steaming was done by the pan method at a steam pressure of about 100
pounds applied for 20 minutes, with the pan kept in place for another 20 minutes.



ANNUAL REPORT, 1942 9

This gave good control of weeds in all replications, whether done in the fall or in
the spring. The combination treatment of chloro-picrin and calcium cyanamid
consisted of 2 cc. of chloro-picrin per square foot and one-half pound of calcium
cyanamid per square yard of soil surface, applied only in the fall. This treat-
ment was not so effective as steaming, but it gave fair control of weeds in most of
the replications.

Onion Breeding. (Hrant M. Yegian.) Tests were made during the season of
1942 on the Hubbard farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts, to compare the yields
of onions obtained from sets planted Tay machine with yields of onions obtained
from sets planted by hand, and to determine the effect that spacing of sets within
the row might have on both the yield and size of bulbs produced.

The sets planted by hand yielded an average of 51 pounds of Number 1 onions
per 50-foot row, compared with 33.5 pounds for machine-planted sets with
supplementary hand work for checking and respacing. With the machine, the
spacing and the yield are not uniform. The number of plants in a 50-foot row
varied from 153 to 218, compared with 238 to 264 plants per row in the hand-
planted sets. The yield obtained from machine-planted sets varied from 29 to
44 pounds compared with 49 to 54.5 pounds from hand-planted sets. Another
important factor affecting the yield and the stand of machine-planted sets is the
fact that sets are not always placed 'n an upright position. There was a loss of
25 percent in yield when sets were placed horizontally in the row by hand, and
80 percent when planted bottoms up in the experimental plot at the College.
These figures will, of course, varj' from year to year depending on weather condi-
tions prevailing soon after the sets are planted. The weather during April and
the early part of May this season was very dry and warm, which may account for
the poor start made by sets planted horizontally or bottoms up. Although the
machine-planted sets did not yield as well as the hand-planted sets, it would seem
that .the use of this machine should be encouraged in the Valley because of the
saving in labor. Even spacing could be secured by carefully sizing the sets into
several grades.

Spacing of sets in the row had a marked influence on the yield and to some
extent on the size of the bulbs. When sets were spaced 2.1 inches, 3.2 inches and
4.2 inches apart in the rows, the average yields of Number 1 onions were 51
pounds, 40.5 pounds, and 32.5 pounds per 50-foot row, respectively; and the
average weight of bulbs was 0.2 pounds, 0.22 pounds, and 0.23 pounds, respec-
tively.

The data covering one year of field experiments on the effect of storage tem-
peratures on the keeping quality of bulbs and on the subsequent seed-stalk de-
velopment of mother bulbs at uniform weight (40-45 grams) warrant the follow-
ing general statement:

1. Bulbs stored at 32'^F. kept best. Bulbs stored at 45° had 15 percent of
sprouting, while those stored at 60° - 70° had 18 percent of sprouting and 5 per-
cent of soft rot.

2. Bulbs stored at 45°F. were the first to send out seed stalks, followed by
those stored at 60° - 70°. The bulbs stored at 32° were 7-10 days later than
those stored at 45°.

3. The storage temperature had a marked effect on the number of seed stalks
produced. When bulbs were stored at 60° - 70°F., 33 percent of the bulbs had
2 seed stalks per bulb; 30 percent, 3 seed stalks; and 25 percent, 4 seed stalks;
when stored at 45°, 53 percent of bulbs had 2 seed stalks per bulb; 32 percent, 3
seed stalks; and 8 percent, 4 seed stalks; and w^hen stored at 32°, 76 percent of the
bulbs had 2 seed stalks per bulb; 17 percent, 3 seed stalks; and 4 percent, 4 seed
.stalks.



10 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 398

Although the amount of seed produced by the several lots of bulbs differed,
it is not certain that the storage temperatures were entirely responsible for these
differences. Further investigation of this phase of the problem is needed.

There was no significant difference in time of maturity between commercialK-
grown onions in the Valley and onions grown from sets selected for early and late
maturity. On account of weather conditions this year, commercially grown onions
matured from 2 to 3 weeks earlier than usual, which may explain the failure to
obtain any advantage from using specially selected sets.

Sets were produced this year from second generation selfed lines for the study
of inheritance of number of seed stalks per plant; from crosses for double and
single bulb characters; and from crosses between white Persian and Ebenezer
variety. F2 seed was secured from the white Persian X Ebenezer cross.

Sterile-species crosses between Allium fistulo sum and A. cepa L. were treated
with calchicine to induce polyploidy. Calchicine in a 2 percent aqueous solution
was lethal to all the early stages of inflorescence when immersed for one hour, and
few of the flowers that were about ready to open on well-developed inflorescence
survived the treatment. Their stigmas were stunted and swollen and no pollen
ripened. One of the hybrids which was not treated with calchicine matured 5
seeds. These seeds were planted as soon as mature, in the greenhouse. Although
all of the seeds germinated, only two seedlings survived. Cytological examina-
tion of the meristematic tissues will be made to determine the chromosome
number of these plants.

The hybrids of the A. fistulas tim X A. cepa cross show the characteristics of
multiplier onion. One of the year-old bulbs separated into 16 parts, each bulblet
having a flower-stalk.

Hybrid Field Corn. (Hrant M. Yegian.) Further trials with early-maturing
hybrid field corn for the higher plateau regions of Worcester County and the
western counties of Massachusetts were conducted at the College Farm. A few
of the promising hybrids will be tested next season in the northern part of the
State.

Nine early-maturing hybrids — Maine A, Wis. 240, Wis. 255, Minn. 402, Minn.
700, Minn. 800, Cornell 34-53, Ohio M15, and Quebec flint— from last year's
trial plots at the College were tested this year for maturity and yield in the
northern part of the State where the growing season is shorter and cooler than it
is here. Maine A was the only one that matured under those conditions.

In order to become familiar with the performance of recently developed out-
of-state hybrids offered for sale in Massachusetts for late grain and silage pur-
poses, yield tests with 27 hybrids were conducted at the College Farm. The
year 1942 was very favorable for corn production. The long ripening season
permitted relatively large, late-maturing hybrids to ripen satisfactorily; but in a
year with a shorter ripening season, the results may be very disappointing.

Available Phosphorus. (A. B. Beaumont.) The distribution of "available"
phosphorus in the soil profile as affected by soil type and management is being
studied. Determinations of soluble phosphorus made to date indicate that past
treatment is a more important factor in determining the amount of phosphorus
extracted by this method than is soil type. Long use of phosphatic fertilizers
has caused an accumulation of acid-soluble phosphorus in the topsoil, the amount
varying with the degree of fertilization. Topsoils which have been heavily ferti-
lized for years, as in truck growing and tobacco culture, have been found to be
relatively heavily charged with phosphorus considered available by the method
of extraction used. Corresponding subsoils have been found to contain little
available phosphorus.



ANNUAL REPORT, 1942 11

Potato Variety Trials. (Ralph Donaldson, Walter S. Eisenmenger, and Karol J.
Kucinski.) Based on fields of marketable size, the ranking of potato varieties
grown in plots at the college during the season of 1942 were Sequoia, Pontiac,
Green Mountain, Hounia, Red Warba, Russet Rural, Chippewa, Earlaine,
S-46592, Katahdin, Sebago, S-46000, and Irish Cobbler.

Ryegrass as a Green Manure Crop. (Hrant M. Yegian.) The use of domestic
ryegrass {Lolinm sp.) as a winter cover crop and green manure is becoming more
or less a general practice on the better-managed vegetable farms. It is one of the
best all-round winter cover crops in this region, where the temperature during
the growing season in the fall is moderately cool. Ryegrass is easily grown, and
on fertile soil makes a complete cover quickly. Its heavy mat of roots retards
severe soil erosion from wind or rapid run-ofif of rain. It may be seeded, in most
cases, as soon as the previous crop is removed. With set 'onions, ryegrass may
be seeded at the rate of 20-25 pounds per acre, in the early part of August, after
the onions have been harvested and moved out of the field, although seeding
even as late as the early part of September has given a satisfactory cover crop at
this station. The yield (0.5-1.5 tons of dry tops) will vary, depending upon the
time of seeding and the amount of available moisture and plant nutrients during
the growing period. It is moderately winter-hardy. From 50 to 60 percent of
the plants will survive the average winter; so unless the ryegrass is completely
turned under in the spring during the plowing operation, volunteer plants may
interfere with the cultivation of the subsequent crop. Experience here has shown
that a very satisfactory seedbed for the set onion crop can be prepared by plow-
ing under the cover crop in early spring.

Influence of Soil Fertility on Productiveness of Pasture Species. (Hrant M.
Yegian.) In 1941 a field plot experiment was started with thirteen species of
grass to determine their relative productivity and ability to winter over and to
recover from cutting. These grass plots were maintained in pure stand at dif-
ferent levels of soil fertility which were secured by the addition of lime (1000
pounds per acre) and 5-8-7 fertilizer in increments of 400 pounds per acre. Data
covering the second year of the experiment warrant the following statement:

All the species continued to respond as well in their second year as in their
first, to increases in soil fertility levels.

The soil fertility requirements of different species vary. There was a pro-
nounced or consistent increase in yield with additional applications of commercial
fertilizer, but the percentage increase in yield was not the same for all the species
at each level of soil fertility. Reed canary grass, colonial bent, orchard grass,
and Kentucky bluegrass produced proportionally more dry tops at the higher
soil fertility levels (800 to 1600 pounds of 5-8-7 fertilizer per acre); while timothy,
fowl bluegrass, red top, and meadow fescue produced proportionally more dry
tops at the lower levels (400 to 800 pounds of 5-8-7 fertilizer per acre); and there
were a few species, including meadow fo.xtail and smooth brome grass, that pro-
duced in direct proportion to the amount of fertilizer added.

The perennial ryegrass was completely winterkilled in its second }-ear. Ken-
tucky bluegrass, reed canary grass, timothy, and smooth brome grass gave a
greater yield in their second year than in the first in the fertilizer plots; meadow
fescue, colonial bent, orchard grass, rough-stalked meadow grass, and meadow
foxtail produced less in their second year; while red top and fowl bluegrass main-
tained their yield at the same level both years.

Experiments at Amherst with Hay and Pasture Seeding Mixtures. (W. G.

Colby.) Additional data were obtained from three series of plots planted with
different hay and pasture seeding mixtures in 1940 and 1941. Details of the



12 MASS. EXPERIMENT STATION BULLETIN 398

plan of the experiment were given in last year's report (Mass. Agr. Expt. Sta.
Bui. 388:14-15, 1942).

Yields of both hay ?nd pasture herbage on plots seeded in 1940 were lower this
year than last year. Plots which produced at the rate of 3 H to 4 tons of dry
matter per acre last year produced 3 to 33/^ tons this year. Reduced yields re-
sulted, notwithstanding the fact that growing conditions so far as the weather
was concerned were much more favorable this past season than they were a year
ago. Total rainfall for the period from March 1 to November 1, 1942, amounted
to 30.55 inches, slightly above normal for this period, whereas the total rainfall
for the same period in 1941 was only 22.02 inches.

These experimental results are consistent with what has been observed in
newly seeded hay and pasture lands in Massachusetts for many years. Unless
weather conditions or other circumstances are extremely unfavorable, yields will
be highest the year following seeding. This Is true for both spring and summer
seedings. Yields can be expected to fall for two to three years following the sec-
ond year of maximum production until a fairly constant production level is
reached, which will approximate one half to two thirds of the maximum figure.
Careful grazing management in pastures and regular topdressing applications of
suitable fertilizers will slow up the rate of decrease, but they will not prevent it.
Managed grazing of the plots in this experiment, together with a topdressing
application of 200 pounds of 40 percent superphosphate and 325 pounds of muri-
ate of potash per acre In the fall of 1941, did not prevent yield levels from falling
in 1942.

Of the three grasses — smooth brome grass, late-maturing types of orchard grass,
and meadow fescue — which produced well in association with Ladino clover in
1941, only meadow fescue failed to compete satisfactorily In 1942. The total
production of these grasses In association with Ladino clover was not only high
but w^as fairly uniformly spread over the season. Smooth brome grass and Ladino
clover for example, yielded 1015 pounds of dry herbage in May, 1600 pounds in
June, 1065 pounds in July, 920 pounds In August, and 770 pounds In October.
These yields may be compared with those from the timothy, alsike, red clover
plots which were 1210, 1160, 770, 770, and 340 pounds for the same harvesting
dates.

Promising results were again obtained from the series In which a crop of hay
was cut followed by grazing. A mixture of smooth brome grass, Ladino clover,
and alfalfa produced 4040 pounds of hay m mid-June, 1065 pounds of grazing In
July, 1015 pounds in August, and 870 pounds in October. The timothy, alsike,
red clover mixture yielded 5180 pounds of hay In late June, no grazing in July,
970 pounds in August, and 680 pounds In October.

Some of the leafy, late-maturing strains of orchard grass performed moderately
well with Ladino clover and also when alfalfa was added, but the commercial
strains of orchard grass were not satisfactory. In the pasture plots they were all
too vigorous in their growth habits and tended to crowd out the legumes even
though grazing was carefully controlled and the plots were clipped after each
grazing period. In the hay plots these strains matured too early for the alfalfa.

Although the common variety of orchard grass has been frequently recommend-
ed to farmers, this grass has never found widespread favor. It has recently been
recommended as a companion grass for Ladino clover. The past two years' re-
sults Indicate that the reluctance on the part of farmers to grow it extensively Is
well founded. Except where soils are fertile and well supplied with moisture
and also where grazing is carefully controlled and the means are available for
clipping following grazing, disappointing results with Ladino clover and orchard
grass are likely. Even under such circumstances no more than three to five pounds
of the grass seed should be sown to the acre.



ANNUAL REPORT, 1942 13

In an effort to eliminate some of the bad features of orchard grass, breeders
have developed a number of new and improved strains. Several of these were
included in the test and it is from some of these strains that promising results
have been obtained. The outstanding one thus far is S37, a strain developed by
the Welsh Plant Breeding Station in Aberystwyth, Wales. Three strains from
this source were tested — S26, S37, and S143 — but S37 gave the best all-round
performance. It is leafy, late-maturing, moderatel}' vigorous and upright in its
growth habit, and a reasonably good seed producer. It looked well in combina-
tion with both Ladino clover and alfalfa and appeared to be adapted for use as
pasture or hay and pasture combined. A satisfactory proportion of legumes to
grasses has been maintained for two years in plots seeded with five pounds of
S37 orchard grass, two pounds of Ladino clover, and ten pounds of alfalfa.

Svalof's early meadow fescue, a short, narrow-leafed type, grew well the first
season with Ladino clover, but was unable to maintain a stand throughout the
second season. Commercial strains were eliminated the first season. The Svalof



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