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William Thomas Ainsworth.

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years spring rains have delayed planting until later. I plant with a
two-row corn planter, using commercial fertilizer at the rate of one
hundred pounds to the acre. Cultivation should begin as soon as
possible after the corn is up, and I like to harrow before the corn is
up, but if it rains after it is planted it is generally up before the
ground is dry enough to justify getting on with the harrow. As soon
as the corn is up I go over it with the harrow once and sometimes
twice. When the corn is about three inches high I commence cultivat-
ing with a two-horse cultivator. I plow deep the first and second times
over; setting the cultivator so that it will not throw much dirt to the
corn. The later cultivations are shallow. I always follow the cultivator
with a one-horse harrow which runs between the rows, here we use the
shovels since the disc leaves too uneven a surface. I always try to
leave the surface level after each cultivation. I cultivate from four to
six times, or as often as the weather will permit. T. B. LYONS.

Buckley, Illinois, April 9th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: In answer to your letter of the 8th inst., I will give
you my method of preparing ground for corn. For several years past
I have been sowing from forty to eighty acres with clover in oats. I
let the clover stand until the second year to enable it to make the
necessary root growth from which a large part of the benefit to the
soil is obtained. If there is not much seed in the second crop of clover,
I plow it under to enrich the land. I prefer fall plowing of clover
sod in preference to waiting until after oats sowing is over. In the
spring I go over the fall plowed ground with a disc, cutting full depth.



CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 153



This loosens and mellows the soil besides letting in warmth. It will
also start the first crop of weeds to growing. About the tenth of
May I go over the ground again with the disc and kill all these
sprouted weeds. I now give the field one or two good harrowings and
plant. The corn is always harrowed again before it is up. In pre-
paring stalk ground I prefer to plow it in the fall, but one seldom
gets this chance. By all means leave the stalks to be plowed under.
Why? Because anything that will decay in the soil makes humus and
humus is what we need to keep our soil loose and mellow. My method
of getting rid of the stalks is to go over the ground both ways
with a disc. This cuts the stalks up and also makes a mulch of loose
soil to have on the underside of your furrow slice. Disc your soil
again after the plow before the clods have time to dry and you will
have no clods, since the furrow slice has been completely pulvemed.
For spring plowing I think four inches is deep enough, but for fall
plowing seven or eight inches is better.

Our soil is level, black loam and comparatively heavy. My aim
is to have a carload of cattle to sell every year and thus with their
help I improve instead of impoverishing the soil.

Yours truly, CHARLES HOLZ.

Rushville, Illinois, April 10th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: Replying to your request for our methods of corn
growing, I must suggest that what I can say will be of little interest
and small value. I devote my best thought to apple growing.

Where corn follows corn, we cut the stalks up fine with a sharp
disc and thoroughly harrow down the land, then plow about six to
eight inches deep. We then harrow the land, furrow off three and
one-half feet wide with large shovel plows, and drill eighteen to
twenty inches apart in row.

Our lands are both black, loam bottom and loose formation upland.
I never plant two successive crops of corn on upland, and very rarely
on bottom-land. I use similar methods in preparing the ground on all
these soils.

We never plow stalk land in fall as the crop is not removed in time.

I believe stalks should never be burned as they do not interfere
with cultivation, when properly cut up, and on upland they help to
prevent the land from washing and also return some fertility to the



154 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



soil. If the corn is infested with insects or with fungous disease, I
burn the stalks.

We harrow down after plowing and if the land becomes hard
we disc and harrow before planting. This method eliminates clods.
If we use barnyard manure we spread late in the winter or early in
the spring and plow it under.

I strongly advise the rotation of crops as the best method of re-
turning the fertility and destroying insects and diseases.

Cultivation: I generally harrow when the corn is up three or four
days if the ground is in proper condition. I believe corn should be
cultivated as small as possible and frequently. The first cultivation
generally is shallow to avoid throwing much dirt on the small corn.
For biggest yields, corn should be plowed every five to eight days. I
run inside shovels shallow when laying by, but turn outside ones in,
thereby throwing dirt strongly to corn. Either class of cultivation is
equally good if properly used. Have had better results laying corn
by with ten-inch diamond plow, but it leaves the land rough. I disc
clover land before plowing and believe all lands should be disced before
plowing. We have obtained good results when we cut corn by sowing
thickly in wheat or rye and pasture during the winter with horses,
cows and pigs, then in the spring disc and plow. Have grown fine
crops on small lots treated thus. I sometimes turn hogs in a field in
August and believe fertility can be longer maintained by this method
than by any other. B. F. STUAET.

The growing of apples is Mr. Stuart's specialty.

Eddyville, Iowa, April 10th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: In answer to your letter of recent date I will give you
my methods of growing corn. These methods, I believe, are the best
for southern Iowa.

Our soil is a light, black loam, underlaid with a porous yellow
clay subsoil. Being a warm, well drained soil, it is adapted to the
growing of varieties as late in maturing as one hundred and ten days.

We prefer plowing stalk ground in the spring, in order to get the
benefit of the stalk pasture, although we consider fall plowing is
better, since the ground works up better, which, of course, means
better yields. In the spring we get in the fields as soon as it is fit.
The ground is disced before plowing. This forms a dust mulch, and



CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 155



when the furrow slice is turned over, capillarity, which was destroyed
when the furrow was turned, is quickly re-established, since the dirt
on the sub-surface is pulverized and not cloddy. As soon as the ground
is plowed it is harrowed. This forms a dust mulch, and prevents the
moisture in the ground from escaping. We harrow the plowed ground
after each rain, as soon as it will do to get in the fields. By doing
this the moisture is conserved, and no crust is allowed to form up
to planting time.

Our spring plowing is from six to eight inches deep. We plow
ten inches deep in the fall, and aim to turn all our new ground at this
season of the year. Freezing and thawing during the winter months,
followed by early spring discing, puts this deep plowing in ideal shape.

We are cranks on conserving moisture and our efforts along these
lines bring us big returns in the fall when we husk our corn. Gentle-
men, the farmer can not take too much time in the preparation of the
seed bed for corn. Of all the grain crops grown, corn is the one that
responds the quickest to thorough preparation before putting the seed
in the ground. We believe that a forty-acre field, properly prepared,
will grow as many bushels as eight acres plowed only three or four
inches deep, and left to dry out until planting time. Practice thorough
cultivation and plant pure bred seed corn, and you will be well paid for
your time and money spent.

As soon as the seed bed is as good as we can make it, we start
planting. We check three feet six inches each way, and plant from
one to one and one-half inches deep. The field is harrowed as soon as
planted in order to kill the small weeds and sprouted weed seeds. We
do not feel justified in harrowing after the corn is up, since the harrow
teeth break off and cover too many hills. Since we only plant two
kernels to the hill, it is necessary that they should all grow.

We start cultivating rather deep when the corn is from four to six
inches high, and make every effort to kill all the weeds at this plow-
ing. The second cultivation is not so deep, since by this time the
corn-root system has extended in all directions.

When we ' ' lay the corn by " we throw up a small ridge, but are
very careful not to cut many roots. During the first three cultiva-
tions we use four-shovel plows. For a fourth cultivation we use an
old mower wheel and run it between the rows. This conserves the
moisture, and helps in getting a larger yield.

We think the shovel cultivators are the best all-around cultivators
you can get. At the same time surface cultivators are coming into



156 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



use more each year, and on level ground they do fine work, but I
believe I can do as good a job with a four or six-shovel cultivator.
In my opinion the shovel plow stirs the ground better than the surface
cultivator.

We lay our corn by when it is about waist high.

Every Corn Belt farmer should practice thorough preparation of
the seed bed, should give his corn careful and frequent cultivatings,
and above all else, plant strong, vigorous, pure bred seed.
Yours very truly,

HENRY J. LANGSTEAAT & SONS.

Growers of Reid's Yellow Dent and Johnson County White corn,
and Swedish Select and Silvermine oats.



Delaplaine, Ark., April 12th, 1913.
Mr. W. T. Ainsworth, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sir: The nature of our soil is a deep sandy loam and is very
level. I always plow my stalk ground in the spring, although fall
plowing might be better. The plowing is done from six to eight
inches in depth and the stalks are cut and turned under. I work my
ground down as soon as it is plowed and harrow at frequent intervals
until time to plant.

The common method of planting in this country is with a single-row
drill, but of late years I have planted by hand and checked the rows.
I harrow the corn after it is about three inches high and cultivate four
or five times. It is laid by when six or seven feet tall.

Our corn makes from forty to eighty bushels per acre, depending
on the season and the care the crop has received. I shall be very
glad to receive your corn book. Yours truly,

G. W. CLAYTON.



Hughesville, Mo., April llth, 1913.
Messrs. W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: I am writing you to answer your questions in regard
to my method of preparing the seed bed and cultivating the corn crop.

Although I have a black, heavy rolling soil, I would rather have
the stalks plowed under in the fall or winter, if it is possible to get
the plow in the field. If the plowing is done in the spring, it should



CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 157



be as deep as six or eight inches and started as soon as the frost is
out of the ground, provided the ground is dry enough.

I consider it a bad mistake to burn stalks. They^ should be cut with
a disc harrow and plowed under to root and help hold the moisture.

If the ground is well disced before plowing in the early spring it
should not be harrowed or worked down before time to plant.

' PLANTING AND CULTIVATION

If the ground has been plowed in the fall or early spring and has
settled or run together into a hard compact mass, it should be double
disced. By this I mean the disc should be lapped half each time.
This method does away with the furrow or ridge and leaves the ground
level. I finish up by using a smoothing harrow. I precede the planter
with the furrowing machine.

This machine consists of two fourteen-inch single shovel plows,
set the same distance apart as the width of my two-row planter runners.
The planter follows and runs in the middle and bottom of the furrows.
By using this machine my corn is planted in furrows. I run the disc,
smoothing harrow, and furrowing machine all the same way, so that
one implement does not have to finish its work before the other is
started.

The planter should not start until the furrow has dried enough so
that the fresh dirt in the bottom of the furrow will not stick to the
runners or planter wheels, but will have a dust mulch over the corn
rows. I use good seed and get a good stand, unless the fields are
flooded with heavy rains before the corn gets well sprouted.

As soon as the corn is up enough to insure a good stand, I start a
light smoothing harrow, and if the weather is favorable I harrow two
or three times before starting to cultivate. If the season is wet I do
not use the harrow, but start cultivating as soon as the corn is up well
enough to see each hill down the row. I start with a six-shovel cul-
tivator and plow as deep as the shovels will reach, which is about four
inches.

I plow my corn as many times as I can before it gets big enough
to bend under the cultivator arch. The last plowing should not cut
many roots; at the same time it should be deep enough to make the
shovels throw the dirt well up around the butts of the stalks.

S. E. HAEVEY.



158 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



Jacob, Illinois, July 30th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: The soil on our farm is level and light. I plow the
stalk ground in the fall. I think that is the best time for the land
and gives the biggest crop. The stalks are cut and turned under
when corn follows corn. I believe it is better for the land and adds
nitrogen to the soil. In working the ground down after plowing, I
use the drag and harrow. The early plowed fields are harrowed down
when first plowed.

In planting the corn I check in hills with two or three grains to a
hill, and harrow before it comes up; also harrow after it come up.
When the corn is about four inches tall, I bar it and after a few days
go over it again, throwing the dirt back. I cultivate about four inches
the first time over and plow shallow enough to get the dirt when I
lay by. My cultivators are discs. These I consider the best. I cul-
tivate about four times. The corn is about sixty inches high when it
is layed by. Eespectfully yours,

JOHN W. CUPP.

Green Valley, Illinois, April 20th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: I am writing this letter to answer your questions in
regard to preparing the seed bed for corn. I have sandy loam, clay
and heavy black loam. These three kinds of soils all require different
handling.

Since the stalks contain a large amount of humus and some
nitrogen, I cut them and turn them under on all the light soil. On
the heavy soil I burn them, since they grow so rank that they would
bother during the later cultivating. This heavy soil does not need the
humus in the stalks so badly, although they would undoubtedly help
the ground.

A good plan is to cut the stalks and break the ground deep in
the fall, but since I am a stock farmer and need the stalk fields, I do
most of my plowing in the spring.

I plow from five to seven inches deep, depending on the nature of
the soil. In working the seed bed I depend mostly on the harrow,
although I find, at times, it is an advantage to use the disc harrow
and the Bailey and Nichols clod crusher. This is different from
others, as it acts as a harrow and packs and breaks up the clods.



CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 159



Unless the season is very wet, I harrow down the early plowed fields,
and do not allow them to stand until time to plant the corn.

CORN CULTIVATION

I use a check-rower planter and plant three feet four inches each
way, and two grains in a hill. I do not harrow corn before it comes
up, unless I think it will get weedy. I harrow the corn after it is up
and a good size. I let the corn get a good height before plowing the
first time. This enables me to plow close to it, and the first plowing is
what counts. I plow rather deep the first time over, but when 1
lay it by I plow as shallow as I can and kill the weeds.

I use six-shovel riding cultivators, and twelve shovels on the two-row
cultivators. I prefer the two-row cultivators, if I have large fields with
no point rows. My sons all use two-row cultivators, and do as good
a job with them as they could with the single row. Those who have
never used a two-row cultivator will perhaps doubt the statement
until they have tried them for themselves. I cultivate as many times
as I can; three or more. I lay my corn by as tall as I can without
breaking it down.

Hoping I have answered your questions, I remain
Respectfully yours,

W. L. WOODEOW.

Mr. Woodrow is a breeder of full-blooded Percheron horses.

Bolivar, Missouri, April 24th, 1913.
Messrs. W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: Our soil is not the most fertile soil in the world,
but at the same time good management and a careful rotation of
crops will bring good yields.

I usually grow corn on ground that was in wheat the year previous.
I plow the wheat stubble deep, (six to ten inches), in. the fall and
winter when the weather is cool. I then leave the ground until plant-
ing time. In preparing my ground for planting I double disc with a
sharp disc and harrow the ground at least twice with a spike-tooth
harrow. I never drag my fields, since a big rain will cause the weeds
to grow too quickly. I use a John Deere planter, and drop alternately
two and three grains to the hill. I apply one hundred and twenty-
five pounds of bone and potash fertilizer with a fertiliser attachment
on the planter.



160 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



The corn is harrowed once or twice before it comes up. I plow
my corn at least four times with four and six-shovel plows. The last
cultivating is given the corn when it begins to tassel. About silking
time I plow between the rows with a five shovel, one-horse cultivator.
When it is necessary to plow in the spring, where corn follows corn, I
prefer to plow as early as possible, since early plowing is not affected
so much by a dry spell in July and August. I never, under any cir-
cumstances, burn any stalks. This is a ruinous practice with us, and
I believe will do more harm than good in any country.

Yours truly, JOHN L. NOVAK.

Mr. Novak is a breeder of Poland China Hogs.

Senath, Missouri, April 25th, 1913.
Mr. W. T. Ainsworth, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sir: In reply to your letter of the 8th, I will say that
I just haven't had time to spare to write you in regard to my method
of preparing the seed bed and growing corn.

To begin with, the soil here is a light level soil. We plow our stalk
ground mostly in the spring, as we sow peas in the cornfield at laying
by time. I think it best for the land and also for the following crop
to plow in the fall, but because of the fact that I depend on stalk
fields for pasture until winter or early spring, it is impossible for me
to plow in the fall. I plow my land from seven to eight inches deep
and I think that is deep enough for this land. I cut my stalks and
plow them under because that and the cowpeas are all that we have
to keep our land up. The first thing I do in the spring is to cut the
stalks and disc the rows down; then I turn and cross disc again before
plowing. If I plant at once I run a three-horse section harrow and
plant, but if the ground is not planted at once I don't harrow, since
the winds will blow it so bad. If the ground is allowed to lay for
some time before planting, I double disc to kill the weeds and harrow
with a drag harrow before planting. I plant with a two-row drill,
three and one-half feet apart, and set to drill the two rows from
twenty to thirty inches apart, owing to the richness of the soil. 1
used to plant thick, and later thin out every other stalk, but I have
quit this because I can't do all the work myself, and if one plants
too thick he generally does not thin enough. Of late years I have
planted for a stand, and I usually get plenty of corn, in fact, if you
get your land in good condition for the seed, there's no likelihood of



CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 161



getting a bad stand. I think the majority of us, in southeast Missouri,
get in too big a rush and don't get the land in proper shape for
planting and plant before the ground gets warm. I think, as a rule,
the last of April and first of May is early enough to plant corn.
If I can possibly get the time I run the harrow over the land before
the corn comes up, and as soon as it gets high enough so that I can
plow with the cultivator and fenders on, I begin plowing the first time.
The first time over I plow about five inches deep and try to get
shallower every time till I lay it by. The last cultivation is with a
disc run very shallow. I do most of my cultivating with small shovels
and I really think they are best. I begin, as I said before, as soon
as the corn will permit and cultivate every week until it is too tall
to plow. I average plowing from six to eight times with the cultivator
and generally lay by when the corn is four to five feet high. I don't
use any special implement, since I don't go over the corn after laying
it by, because I sow peas and soy beans in the cornfield. These
nitrogen crops pay in more ways than one. First, the land gets the
benefit of the roots, and second, it helps to keep up moisture. It
also keeps the weeds down and the pasture is worth just about as
much as the corn crop.

Now some would think that we ought to sow more of our land
down, but the most of this land is too sandy to grow clover or similar
legumes. For this reason we cannot practice a rotation of crops like
is done further north. I remain

Yours truly, E. B. WALLACE.

Mr. Wallace makes a specialty of the growing of pure bred O. I. C.
swine.

Hartville, Missouri, May 2nd, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: In regard to corn growing I will write you to the
best of my knowledge.

In preparing my seed bed for corn I turn with a breaking plow, then
drag and follow with a disc harrow, then drag again. Before starting
to plant I plow out furrows, three feet eight inches apart, with a cul-

NOTE: The writers of this book have three hundred and sixty acres
of land in northeast Arkansas. Our farms are about fifteen miles from Mr.
Wallace's and the soil is very similar to his. Mr. Wallace tells a big truth
when he states that cowpeas or soy beans should be planted between the rows
of corn. We furnish soy bean seed to our tenants on these farms to encourage
them in the growing of this legume.



162 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



tivator. In these furrows I plant the corn. I sometimes cultivate the
corn before it conies up with disc cultivator by throwing the dirt from
the corn, then let it come up and get three or four blades on it,
then follow with a shovel cultivator. I cultivate two or three times,
then for the last plowing I use disc cultivators, set to throw the dirt
to the corn. After this last plowing I leave the field until time to
harvest the crop.

Our soil is heavy and level. I plow the stalk ground in the spring.
The ground should be plowed five to seven inches deep, owing to the
soil, and the stalks should be turned under because it adds humus to
the ground. I use drags and disc harrows to work the ground down
after plowing. I let the early plowed fields stand until I am ready
to plant before harrowing down. Sometimes I harrow before the corn
comes up. In dry weather I harrow and roll after the corn comes up
and the first time it is cultivated I plow from four to six inches deep.
When I lay by I plow from two to three inches deep.

Yours respectfully, MAEK MITCHELL.

Xenia, Ohio, April 14th, 1913.

Messrs. W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: Our ground is a rather heavy clay soil, with spots of
black ground scattered around over every field on the farm. It is
level, and not being underlaid with sand or gravel, most of it needs
tile. We have considerable tile laid, but there are several places where
more would be of benefit.

While we have never tried plowing for corn in the fall, I believe
a heavy sod that is not rolling enough to wash, would do better than
if plowed in the spring. One of our neighbors tried this, and was
very successful. Where the ground is exposed in this way throughout
the winter, some of the fertility may escape, but I do not believe there


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Online LibraryWilliam Thomas AinsworthPractical corn culture, written especially for the corn belt farmers → online text (page 10 of 11)