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ALABAMA



Page Fifteen



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An Alabama Corn Field.

to escape their savage neighbors, and after crossing the Alabama River were so
impressed with the desirability of the country for a home, that they pitched their
tents and planted the seed they had brought with them. Whether this be true or
not is immaterial, but since Alabama began getting away from the one crop of
cotton, it has demonstrated that corn is indigenous to the State and the production
has more than doubled in the past decade.

Practically all of the records for big yields of corn are held in the South, and
the yield of 237 bushels on a single acre, secured by a member of a Boys' Corn Club
in Central Alabama, demonstrates the State's possibilities.

In 1909 the State produced 30,695,737 bushels of corn; in 1916, 47,812,000
bushels; in 1917, 77,200,000 bushels; and in 1918, 67,686,000 bushels were pro-
duced. The production more than doubled in nine years.

The price of corn in Alabama is always the price in the North plus the freight
rate and brokerage charges, because the demands of the work stock used in the saw-
mills and other industries are so much greater than the local supply that it is nec-
essary to import large quantities each year from the North.

One feature that appeals to the corn raiser here is that the crop can be planted
any time between March and June and a crop matured. No one thinks of re-plant-
ing corn because of the failure of the seed to germinate on account of cold weather
and corn is never frozen before being gathered.

Tobacco.

Another crop that has become very popular since diversification has become the
practice is that of tobacco.

In 1916 the State produced 60,000 pounds.




Bright Leaf Tobacco on Cut-over Lands.



Page Sixteen



ALABAMA




Part of Alabama's 820,000 Bales of Cotton Growing Between Pecan Trees.

In 1917 the production had increased to 146,000 pounds, and in 1918, 700,000
were reported.

A representative of one of the development agencies, working with the farm-
ers, supervised a large acreage of tobacco and kept careful records during 1918,
and reported an average of 700 pounds per acre, with a gross value of $200.83 per
acre. Every item of cost that entered into the production of this crop amounted
to $72.32, leaving an average of $128.51, which is the net profit per acre.

A great deal of Sumatra and Havana tobacco, used for fillers and wrappers of
cigars is also grown under shade and sells at very high prices because of the duty
on the imported tobacco used for cigars.

Cotton.

Cotton, which at one time was practically the only money crop of Alabama, con-
tinues to run into millions of dollars.

In 1916 the State grew cotton valued at $52,007,000.

In 1917 the value of the crop was $72,505,000.

In 1918 it reached $110,700,000 in value.

The value of the cottonseed for 1918 was $25,155,000.

There is no county in the State that does not produce cotton in great quan-
tities.

While the Northern man who reads this knows nothing of cotton, he will find
that it is not difficult to raise, and will fit very satisfactorily into any rotation that
he might adopt.

A bale of cotton weighs 500 pounds, and the yield runs from a bale to the acre,
down to 125 pounds, depending upon the quality of the land, and the manner in
which it is farmed, with an average of 160 pounds to the acre, and for every pound




Bringing the Cotton to Market.



ALABAMA



Page Seventeen




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Gathering Peanuts.



of lint cotton produced, there is approximately two pounds of seed. Cotton seed
which used to be considered a nuisance, and years ago required legislation to pre-
vent it from being dumped into navigable rivers, sell from $30.00 a ton in normal
times, to $68.00, which is the present price. Cotton has varied in price the past
few years from twelve to thirty cents.

There are few farmers in any section who are not familiar with cottonseed meal
or cake as a stock feed. It has three-fourths as much protein, twice the fat, seven
times as much ash or lime as corn and oats, and is shipped in trainloads to the
dairymen and cattle feeders all over the North and Central West, who pay the South-
ern price plus the freight and brokerage price. Cottonseed is also used extensively as
soap stock and is manufactured into cooking oils.

Peanuts.

One of the developments in Alabama that has seemed almost magical in its
growth is that of peanuts.

In 1909 the State produced 1,573,000 bushels; in 1916, 9,000,000 bushels; in
1917, 13,932,000 bushels were grown; and, in 1918 the crop had grown to 17,480,-
000 bushels.

The entire crop of peanuts produced in the United States in 1918 was 55,597,-
000 bushels, valued at $95,829,000, so that it will be seen that Alabama raised more
than 31 per cent of the entire American peanut crop, and more than any two other
States.

After the peanuts are dug, there are so many left in the ground that the dig-
ger is unable to get out, that an immense number of hogs are fattened each year
in the peanut sections, and several large packing houses have been constructed to
take care of the hogs.




Irish Potatoes in May in Pecan Orchard.



Page Eighteen



ALABAMA




Sweet Potatoes on Alabama High Lands.

Potatoes.

In practically every section of Alabama potatoes do well, and in the southern
part, they come on the market at such an early period of the year, that they com-
mand almost fabulous prices. Several sections are beginning to specialize on them,
and the crop has grown from 1,000,000 bushels in 1909 to 4,800,000 bushels in 1918,
which had a value of $8,688,000.

Potatoes form almost an ideal rotation in the farm scheme. In the Southern-
most counties they are dug and shipped in May, and any other field crop can be ma-
tured on the same acre after the Irish potatoes have been harvested.

Sweet Potatoes.

The growing of sweet potatoes has also developed into an industry of large
proportions, 5,000,000 bushels having been produced in 1909, 13,500,000 bushels
in 1917, and 14,688,000 bushels in 1918.

These sweet potatoes are harvested from June 15th, until December, depend-
ing on the planting time and the section of the State in which grown, and the prices
are very profitable.

Storage houses have been designed that will keep sweet potatoes without rot-
ting even better than Irish potatoes are kept, and the market prices in the late
Winter and early Spring months are always very high and the returns satisfactory.

Sweet potatoes will produce from eighty to three hundred bushels to the acre
depending upon their care and the season at which they are dug.

The early crop sweet potatoes are grown from slips, or plants, raised in hot
beds and forced into early growth by manure and the Alabama sun. When these
plants have developed a good growth of vines, cuttings can be taken from the vines
without too severely injuring the yield of the early crop, and these vines, simply








Sweet Potato Field on Gulf Coast. One of the State's Big Money-Makers.



ALABAMA



Page Nineteen




Augusta Vetch in Early May. After Cutting the Vetch Two Cuttings
of Johnson Grass Hay Will Be Harvested.

stuck into the prepared ground with a forked stick, make the late crop of sweet
potatoes.

After the early crop is taken off in June, July or August in the southernmost
counties a crop of peanuts or any one of several varieties of hay can be raised upon
the same acre.

Both sweet and Irish potatoes are grown in every county in the State.

Sugar Cane.

Sugar cane is one of the numerous crops in which the Southern States have a
monopoly, and last year Alabama produced 8,195,000 gallons of syrup, valued at
$7,898,000.

Sugar cane will run from 150 to 400 gallons of syrup to the acre, and there is
always an excellent demand for it at profitable prices.

There were only two counties reported in the State during 1918 that did not
raise some good, old-fashioned sorghum, and the production was 9,518,000 gallons.

One of the time-honored customs in Alabama has been the grinding of sugar
cane into the toothsome "long sweetening." It was one of the very earliest crops
to be planted in the State, and each year its range of consumption is extending until
now it is marketed over practically all of the United States.

It is one of the numerous crops that work into the farm rotation here desirably,
and not only furnishes a winter's supply of syrup for the family, but very attractive
money returns as well.

Hay.

For many years it has been the custom of the large users of work stock in
Alabama to import their hay from Northern States, because there was not suffi-
cient diversified farming in the State to supply the local demands of the farms, to



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Red Clover in the Tennessee Valley.



Page Twenty



ALABAMA




Black Soil Belt Wheat that Threshed Thirty-four Bushels per Acre..

say nothing of having a surplus left for animals used in the industries, and for this
reason hay commands a price that is abnormally high compared with what it brings
in Northern States.

The hay production, however, is constantly increasing with the modern trend
toward rotation and diversification that is spreading everywhere, and where there
were only 400,000 tons of hay raised in 1916, valued at $5,700,000, in 1917, 1,158,-
000 tons, valued at $18,760,000 were produced, and in 1918, 1,293,000 tons, valued
at $26,248,000 was the State's hay crop.

Wheat.

Alabama is not generally considered as a wheat-producing section, and yet in
1918 there were only nine counties in the State that did not produce some. It is
not planted extensively because there are so many other crops that yield so much
higher returns and require the use of the ground for a shorter period.

The crop for 1918 was 1,366,000 bushels.

Oats.

Oats are growing more and more into popularity each year in the State, and
form one of its finest grazing crops. There are few counties in the State where
it winter-kills, and it is not only threshed, but the practice of cutting it in the dough
stage and utilizing both the grain and stalk for hay is one that is very favorably
considered, as it enables the farmer to have a succulent supply of hay for his work
stock when he begins working them in the Spring.

In 1918 8,125,000 bushels were threshed, valued at $9,204,000.




Part of Alabama's 8,000,000 Bushel Crop of Oats in 1918.



ALABAMA



Page Twenty-one



W.














Velvet Beans — the Great Southern Legume.



Velvet Beans.

The Western States have rightly boasted of the wonderful revolution in farm-
ing brought about by alfalfa. Alabama with equal cause, sings the praises of vel-
vet beans.

While alfalfa is universal, at the present time the South has an absolute mo-
nopoly on velvet beans, and it is doubtful if there is any crop that can give the gen-
eral all-around satisfaction from every standpoint to the farmer that velvet beans
do.

They are usually planted between rows of corn in order that the vines may
have something to climb on and support the immense crops of beans that are made.
They are cultivated at the same time the corn is, and after the ear corn is picked the
usual practice is to open the gates and turn in all the cattle and hogs and let them
graze the entire Winter upon this corn and bean field. They are one of the heaviest
known gatherers of nitrogen, and when cattle feed upon the beans and vines this
nitrogen is put back into the soil with the manure. Tales of wonderful increases
in yields of corn and other crops are told where the velvet b©£ns had been fed or
turned under prior to the planting of the crop. /

They will grow on practically every soil in Alabama, require comparatively lit-
tle care, and when grazed furnish the maximum of feed for cattle and hogs at ab-
solutely no expense for handling.

When the beans are picked and fed it is estimated that two bushels of them will
take the place of a bushel of corn. The hay has a feeding value almost equal to
alfalfa.

Mills are springing up all over the State where these beans are being ground
into feed, and the few samples that have found their way into the North have
created a tremendous demand for velvet bean meal. In grinding, the ear corn,




Digging Irish Potatoes to Be Followed by Corn.



Page Twenty-two



ALABAMA




A Field of Alabama Cowpeas.

stalk, blades, velvet beans, pods and vines together, a concentrate is secured that
is endorsed by everyone having to do with the analyses of the value of feeds.

Where it is desired to turn these velvet bean vines under green because of not
having stock to harvest them, there is no crop that will turn under the same ton-
nage of humus and percentage of nitrogen as the velvet bean, and the increased
yields of all crops raised the following year is very apparent.

Velvet beans will grow in old land or new land, and if given a convenient tree
to climb on will grow up 50 feet in the air. It is this phenomenal growth, induced
by the long growing season, together with high feed value, that makes them such
a valuable aid to the farmer.

Two and Three Crops a Year.

By reason of Alabama's extending so long a distance from north to south, the
growing season necessarily varies in different parts of the State.

In North Alabama, after a crop of oats is harvested in the Spring, there is
ample time to plant cowpeas, soy beans or corn.

In South Alabama many farmers adopt the custom of planting corn in the mid-
dles of their Irish potatoes, so that when the potatoes are dug for the market in
May the digging cultivates the corn for the first time, and the corn can either be
gathered for silage or have velvet beans planted between the rows, which can
be pastured by cattle and hogs until corn planting time the following Spring; or
the corn can be taken off for silage or grain and a light crop of cowpea hay se-
cured.

Peanuts, soy beans or velvet beans can be planted easily and safely after Irish
potatoes. Peanuts, sorghum and millet can be planted after sweet potatoes, and
make a fine crop of hay.



*



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Peanuts in Stack. Alabama Raised 31% of the Nation's Crop in 1918.



ALABAMA



Page Twenty-three




Gathering Some of Alabama's Peaches.

When it comes to estimating the number of vegetable crops that can be taken
off the same ground in the same year, it is simply a question of the amount of en-
ergy that one wishes to put into the work. In Southern Alabama radishes can be
planted in January and shipped in February, and before they are dug another crop
is planted in the same land, and a succession of radishes, beans, peas, cucumbers,
cantaloupes and watermelons can all be raised on the same acre, which, in most in-
stances, is already planted to pecan trees, Satsuma oranges, peaches, plums or
pears.

While it is always a good practice to plant velvet beans in the corn which does
not reduce the corn yield, and because of their extraordinary value as cattle feed
during all of the Winter, if nothing is planted in the corn middles, a crop of Mexi-
can clover (pursley) will voluntarily come up in this cultivated ground, which will
cut from one-half to a ton of hay, and has a food value equal to timothy.

It is not known why this hay voluntarily comes up, but it will come in all
fields that have been cultivated for two or more years, and makes a very desirable
addition to the farm crops, costing as it does, nothing except the cost of cutting and
curing.

Pursley should not be considered a pest that cannot be eradicated, because that
is not the case; and it is very easily and rapidly smothered out by any crop, such
as rye, oats, cowpeas, peanuts or velvet beans that will shade the ground.

HORTICULTURE.

Few States are so richly endowed with horticultural opportunities as Alabama.
This is especially true in the mountains that enter the State at the northeast cor-
ner, extending in a southwesterly direction, where the mildness of climate, abund-
ant rainfall and the fertile soil, which has been enriched for many years with




Strawberries Being Gathered from Between Orchard Trees.



Page Twenty-four



ALABAMA







Alabama Strawberries — a Vast Industry.

leaves from the trees, combine to make conditions as nearly ideal for raising apples
as could be desired.

The elevation is a reasonable assurance against severe damage by heavy frosts
and the purity of the atmosphere produces apples of high color and extraordinary
quality.

Every farm in these hills has some apples planted upon it, and there are a great
many commercial orchards that ship their apples in car lots. Much attention has
been paid in recent years to the proper cultivation, pruning and spraying of the or-
chards and up-to-date methods of grading and packing them for shipment are the
rule and the farmers by reason of their proximity to the great consuming centers
of the country enjoy excellent return from their fruit and this industry is grow-
ing steadily.

In 1909, the crop was 888,000 bushels; in 1917, 1,452,000 bushels, and in 1918,
1,551,000 bushels of apples were produced.

Peaches.

Peaches are grown in every county of the State for home use, and there are
commercial orchards in the hills and also in the central and southern portion of
the State.

The southern part of the State produces the earliest peaches in the United
States, and the price is always high because of the demand.

More and more trees are being set out each year and the production is steadily
increasing. In 1909, 1,416,000 bushels were produced, and in 1917, 1,830,000 and
in 1918, 3,142,000.

Strawberries.

Many of the orchardists interplant their peach orchards with strawberries, and
while waiting for the trees to come into bearing, the yield from the berries usually




Poultry is Highly Profitable in Alabama.



ALABAMA



Page Twenty- five








One of Alabama's Famous Paper Shell Pecan Orchards.

pays for the entire cost of the orchard and leaves a profitable balance each year as
well.

The berry farms range in area from a few acres to one farm of 200 acres
which is probably the largest strawberry plantation owned by one man in the
South. One grower who has kept books against his berry farm each year since
1909 states that the crop averages him, year in and year out, a return of $300 per
acre.

They are shipped in refrigerator cars on very fast schedules, and during the
height of the season, move in solid train loads and the shipping season lasts longer
than in most localities, because the berries ripen early in the Southern part of the
State, and as one section finishes shipping, another, located a little farther north,
comes in with their crops. Because of their earliness, they always command fancy
prices.

Pears.

Another fruit that is growing into favor is the pear. In 1909, there were
100,041 bushels produced and 1918, 150,000, and a variety known as the sand pear
has been developed in the southern counties of the State which is not affected by
the fire-blight like the Keiffer.

Pecans.

Another phase of horticulture that is increasing phenomenally is the growing
of the thin shell varieties, known as the paper shell pecan. These pecans have
been carefully improved, by judicious bud selection until they have attained a
very large size and the shells can be crushed by squeezing two nuts together in the















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Watermelons are Shipped to the Northern Markets Early.



Page Twenty-six



ALABAMA




A Satsuma Orange Grove, One of Alabama's Newest Industries.

hand. The best of these pecans will run from thirty to fifty nuts to the pound, and
they sell from fifty to seventy-five cents wholesale, and the yield from old trees
runs into the hundreds of pounds.

While it takes seven or eight years for a budded pecan tree to come into
bearing, only about a dozen trees are planted to the acre, and the farm is cropped
as though there were no trees on it until such time as they become large enough
to interfere with the crops grown between the trees by reason of shading them.

Satsuma Oranges.

Ordinarily, Alabama is not considered as being one of the orange-producing
sections, but in the last few years this industry has assumed very large proportions
in the Southern counties. The variety planted is the Satsuma, a very early orange
of delicious flavor that is entirely seedless. It is budded on the stock of a decidu-
ous hardy orange, and is able to go through a temperature of 15° below freezing
without being killed.

Over two million trees have so far been planted in the Southern part of the
State, and while only comparatively few of the trees have come into bearing, the
crop is increasing each year, and the Satsumas are selling at highly gratifying
prices.

Cantaloupes and honey dew melons are also raised profitably. Grapes are
grown to some extent for local shipment, and especially choice varieties, like the
Seedless Sultana, Flaming Tokay, White Muskats and Black Spanish have been
tried out and found to grow and mature exceptionally well.

Prunes, kumquats, plums, pomegranates, Japanese persimmons, and, in fact,
practically all fruits that are known to the horticulturist find congenial soils and
climatic conditions for their growth in Alabama.




Truck Farm Equipped with Overhead Irrigation System.



ALABAMA



Page Twenty-seven




There is an Inexhaustible Market for all Poultry Products in Alabama.

Trucking.

Trucking is carried on in all parts of the State by farmers who supply local
markets and have a small surplus for shipping, but in the Southern counties of
the State it has been developed to a point where it ranks as a separate industry. Cu-
cumbers and cabbage are the favorite crops, and many hundreds of cars are shipp-
ed each year. English peas, string beans, cauliflower and radishes are also raised
to a considerable extent.

Watermelons are shipped in solid trainloads, with very gratifying results to
the grower. They ripen early and command fancy prices in the North.

Poultry.

There is no section on earth that can be said to have a monopoly upon the
raising of chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, but Alabama can unquestionably lay
claim to be among those most desirably situated for the economical and profitable
production of poultry.

The mild climate entails comparatively little expense for the construction of
poultry houses, which it is never necessary to heat artificially. The brooders can
also be operated in the Winter time with no other heat than that secured from the
genial rays of the Southern sun, and there is no week in the year when they can-
not be provided some form of green grazing in the open upon which the chickens
can run. There is an abundance of grit and gravel, and no purer water can be
found.

No other section can produce more chicken feed to the acre than Alabama, and
a chicken raiser with a very small acreage can easily and economically raise all
the feed his flock will require.




Tobacco and Curing Barn.



Page Twenty-eight



ALABAMA




One of Alabama's Ante Bellum Homes.

All of the grains grown and sunflowers can be raised for the chicken specialist,
and Jerusalem wheat-corn, a distinctly Southern product, will probably give him
more tonnage of concentrated chicken feed than any possible combination of feeds
he can grow in the North.

The markets of the State and nearby cities furnish a demand for all poul-
try products at constantly increasing prices. To the energetic man or woman Ala-
bama offers an opportunity for the raising of poultry, and those who specialize on
poultry exclusively and raise their own feed and pastures will find the returns ex-
ceedingly profitable.

On the average farm there is enough waste matter to keep a good-sized flock
of chickens ; in fact, in a tier of counties in the east-central part of the State poul-
try and eggs as by-products of cotton and grain farms have gradually increased
until it has developed into an industry that runs into six figures each year.

Varied Soils.

The soils of Alabama are as diversified as the crops it produces. Any one seek-
ing a new location can find within the State exactly what he desires for growing
any special crop he might wish. He can secure land that for many years has been
in large cotton plantations that are being cut up into smaller farms. He can get
limestone lands and heavy black soils upon which clover and alfalfa thrive. He
can get cut-over lands that have never had a crop of any sort raised upon them
and require only intelligent management to make them extremely productive. He
can buy hill lands for a few dollars per acre that will be almost ideal for orchard-


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Online LibraryUnited States Railroad AdministrationAlabama → online text (page 2 of 4)