would be enough to offset the advantage to be gained by the conserva-
tion of moisture, especially if the season was dry. Then, too, the sod
has a chance to rot and is ready for the corn as soon as it begins to
grow. We try to get our sod plowed as early in the spring as pos-
sible, and I think we shall experiment some with fall plowing, since that
is the only way to find out anything.
We prefer to have the ground plowed seven or eight inches deep
and not worked when it is too wet. We do not aim to follow corn
with corn, but when it can't be very well helped, we burn the stalks
CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 163
as we have no cutter. The stalk ground is always plowed last, for the
reason that it does not get tough like sod, and usually does not get dry
so early in the season.
We use a common spike-tooth harrow and drag made of four-by-four 'a
set on edge. These are started just as soon as the ground has been
plowed. If it is pretty well beaten down by rain, a spring-tooth harrow
is about the best thing to loosen it with; then follow with the spike-
tooth to level the ground. I never put any work on early plowed ground
until I am ready to plant, and then I keep the planter as close behind
the harrow as possible.
We find that a good clover sod with hogs fed on it, and manure
scattered over it will come as near raising one hundred bushels of
corn to the acre in any kind of weather as anything we have ever tried.
W. H. MORGAN.
Stanberry, Missouri, May 2nd, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.
Dear Sirs: The soil in the northwest part of Gentry County is a
light, black loam and is somewhat rolling.
In regard to the time of year to plow I will say that I prefer fall
plowing when it can be done. In the first place it is done at a slack
time of the year and can be put in good shape for planting in the
spring with very little work. Again, it holds the moisture better than
spring plowed ground. If I plow in the spring I like to double disc
the ground. This will answer for a stalk cutter and at the same time
pulverize the soil on top which makes it much easier to plow and makes
a good loose bed for the corn. I use a disc frequently and consider
it one of the most useful pieces of machinery on the farm as it can
be used for so many different purposes.
A great many people rake up the corn stalks and burn them. I do
not think this should ever be done. Corn stalks should always be
plowed under and all other manure that can be obtained. The stalks
when plowed under will help to keep the ground loose.
After giving the ground a good double discing with a good sharp
disc I go to it with a gang plow. A harrow should always follow
the plow. The ground should not lay long, especially if very dry,
as it will not pulverize readily when allowed to get too dry after plow-
ing. The harrow also levels the ground making a loose bed on top
to hold the moisture. When ground is plowed early it should be har-
164 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE
rowed and disced just before planting, in that way will kill all weeds
that have started and this gives the corn an even start with the weeds.
I use a check-rower planter fitted with furrow openers. These
throw out a furrow in which the corn is planted. The use of the
furrow openers insures an even depth of planting, kills all weed
sprouts in the row and makes it possible to harrow the corn twice after
it is up without doing it any injury.
As soon as the corn is tall enough to plow I start plowing and try
to plow after every rain if possible to prevent the loss of moisture.
I use six and eight-shovel cultivators in preference to the four shovels.
I generally plow my corn about four times. I believe that a one-
horse harrow plow run between the rows after it is too large to straddle
would increase the yield from three to ten bushels.
Very truly yours,
S. W. McPHEBSON.
Minier, Illinois, April 12th, 1913.
Mr. W. T. Ainsworth, Mason City, Illinois.
Dear Sir: A few lines in regard to the preparation of the seed
bed for corn.
Our soil is black and heavy, practically level, although rolling
enough for good drainage. Our stalk ground is practically all plowed
in the spring, once in a while we plow some in the fall, if circum-
stances allow it. We would prefer fall plowing, and think it by far
the best, on an average, for either land or yield.
We prefer deep plowing, especially in the fall; seven or eight inches
on old ground, once in a while, is not too deep. Five inches in sod
is deep enough.
We have discarded altogether the raking and V.irmng of stalks.
We always double disc them with a good sharp di^-c.
After plowing we aim to make a dust mulch as much as possible
by discing, spading and harrowing, also a roller or en sher is very good.
In order to get this mulch we begin harrowing rigat after the plow,
which we find gives the best results. After we have a good seed bed,
the planter follows and is checked three by six inches, or three by
four inches, except what we put up for ensilage, which is drilled thick,
so as to make good ensilage, as the lighter the stalk the better ensilage.
After the corn is planted three or four days, or later, it is har-
rowed. Corn may be harrowed after it is up, provided the ground is
CORN LETTERS FROM THIRTY FARMERS 165
in good shape, which will leave the field in nice clean shape when
the cultivator is started. The cultivator is started when the corn is
three or four inches tall, and plowed four inches deep, on an average,
for the first time. The last time over we spread the gangs, and do not
plow so deep for fear of pulling up thousands of little roots, whieh
would injure the corn.
We have never used discs or surface cultivators. Six-shovel plows
are all we use; however, we think the surface plows and discs are good.
My corn is plowed three times at least, and five times would be
better. The corn is layed by when about two and one-half to four
feet tall. Yours truly, C. C. S.
Prop, of Fair View Farm, Minier, Illinois.
Piper City, Illinois, April 11, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.
Gentlemen: In answer to your letter I will say that my soil is a
dark sandy loam and very level. My rotation is corn, oats and clover.
I try to have an equal amount in corn and oats.
I plow my ground in the fall about seven inches deep and let it
stand until spring. Before planting I usually disc twice and drag.
I plant deep then drag again. I also run the drag over the field before
the corn comes up.
If I break stalk ground I disc before and after plowing.
The first cultivation I give the corn is with a six-shovel plow. This
cultivation is about four inches deep. I lay the corn by with a surface
cultivator and plow deep enough to have considerable loose dirt run
over the blades.
Hoping this will be satisfactory, I remain,
JAMES T. SULLIVAN.
Delavan, Illinois, April 15th, 1913.
Messrs. W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.
Gentlemen: Our land lies in Logan and Tazewell counties, Illinois,
and ranges from a heavy black loam to a rather light sandy loam.
On all the farms I insist, wherever possible, that the corn stalks shall
be cut and plowed under, not for immediate results, but for what
I am sure will be permanent benefits.
The corn cultivation is usually begun as soon as the corn rows
can be followed: I prefer quite deep cultivation the first time over,
growing shallower and further from the row as the corn roots spread.
We use nearly altogether the shovel cultivators, but I am quite certain
the surface cultivators for the third and (if any) succeeding cultiva-
tions, would be better than shovels.
Owing to the pressure of other work ve rarely cultivate more than
three times, as the corn gets too big for later plowings.
I am firmly convinced that we could increase the yield five to ten
bushels per acre by breaking the crust between rows after the coin
is too big to cultivate otherwise.
Yours truly, W. .
W.T. AIN SWORTH
MASON CITY, ILLINOIS
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA
PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE. WRITTEN ESPECIAL