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they are a wonderful aid in maintaining clean culture. With
the aid of the furrow opener and the high arch surface culti-
vator, our cornfields are as clean at husking time as they
were formerly after the first plowing. The use of the furrow
opener gives us a chance to cover all the weeds in the hill



PLANTING 37

with the first plowing. By plowing with high arch cultivators
after the corn is from three to seven feet high, all weeds
are killed after the ground is shaded.

Where furrow openers are used, the depth of the furrow
is regulated by the lever which raises or lowers the runners,
but in order to vary the depth of planting it is necessary to
raise or lower the discs on the planter shoes. In our own
practice we set the discs to throw out a furrow of sufficient
depth to remove all weed sprouts and dry dirt from the
furrow. To accomplish this requires a furrow of from two
to four inches deep, depending on the dryness of the seed
bed. Those who have used furrow openers know that, being
a perfect gauge, their use insures a uniform depth of
planting.

Although the corn is planted from three to five inches
below the surface of the field, it is not covered by much
more than an inch of dirt. It is, however, all moist soil,
since the dry dirt has all been thrown out by the discs.

Some plant in a very deep furrow, but we do not recom-
mend this, since the sub-surface is often too cold for quick
germination. After a hard rain, water may stand in the
furrows if they are very deep.

There are some soils and conditions where the use of the
furrow openers would not prove practical. On low, wet land
where the water level is near the surface, the furrows might
stand full of water too long after heavy rains. The use of
furrow openers has not proved a success on very hilly land,
since the rainfall will gather in the furrows and wash out
the seed.

While we have mentioned these objections to the use of
furrow openers, the reader should bear in mind the fact
lhat the first plowing fills up the furrow and leaves the ground
level.

NOTE: More will be said about furrow openers in the next chapter.



38 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE

LISTING

The process of "Listing" is peculiarly "Western, practiced
on the big cornfields of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, and other
corn-growing states west of the Mississippi. In the western
part of the Corn Belt, where there is generally a deficiency
in rainfall, listing is undoubtedly the best method of plant-
ing corn.

From what listing we have seen we must say that we
prefer the check rower planter with furrow openers attached
for the more humid parts of the Corn Belt, since we believe
the seed bed can be better prepared than is possible with
listing.

In the April 1st issue (1913) of the Twentieth Century
Farmer, there appeared an article by M. A. Coverdell,
entitled "Listing, Best Method of Planting Corn." This
article is so clear in explaining the process and after culture
that it is inserted here in its entirety :

"By listing the land once, letting it stand a week or two, then split-
ting the ridges and listing again, practically the same porosity of soil will
have been established as with stirring and planting by planter, while
the crop of weeds that springs up between the two operations will
be easier to keep free of these pests through the whole season.

"Lister ridges will dry off and permit of cultivation much quicker
than will the flat surface of land planted to corn with a planter. At the
same time, the drilled corn in listing, being deposited at a greater depth
from the surface than that planted with a planter, it will have a greater
supply of available moisture at hand, and thus will resist a drouth better
than the shallower planted corn.

"Listed corn is much easier to tend than even check-row corn. A
good harrowing should be given just as soon after drilling as possible
before the plants are through the ground if convenient. This enables
us to do the job quicker than after the corn is up and has to be
watched to prevent covering, and destroys all weed growth, leaving the
corn a fair chance to grow, with no weeds to smother it back or sap the
moisture from the soil.

"We follow the harrow with a land roller, which crowds con-
siderable fine dirt into the furrow, crushes the clods and leaves the
soil in fine condition for future cultivation. While we have secured



PLANTING 39

good results at this first cultivating with common fenders, better re-
sults will be realized if a box about three feet long is allowed to drag
between the cultivator shovels for keeping the clods off the corn plants.
We use a V-shaped box, which allows the fine, moist dirt to roll in
behind it and down against the corn, covering the weeds and nourish-
ing the plant as only such mellow soil can.

' ' One more cultivation ought to level the furrows and rid the
rows of all weeds, leaving the third plowing to hill the corn up slightly.
Avoid cultivating too close to the stalks, rather allowing the shovels to
run a short distance away and throw the soil against the corn. Where
one leaves the ridges too sharp at laying-by, it promotes root growth
too far up on the stalks; this ridge washes away a little later, and
the tender lower portions of the stalk thus exposed to the heat of the
sun, usually so extreme at this season, are literally scorched. This is
sure to cut down the yield of the corn. We give the corn a gently
sloping hilling-up at laying by, and continue to promote the dust mulch
by working between the rows with the five-shovel cultivator, sometimes
practicing this even after the corn is in tassel.

' ' As here shown, it requires considerably less labor to produce corn
where the land is listed than if planted by the corn planter, since it
can be put in the ground quicker and easier, cultivated with less work
and greater ease, and will actually yield more, one year with another.
Other advantages that add materially to the excellence of listing are:
The roots of the corn are so deeply set in the soil that they brace
and hold the stalks in an upright position, thus avoiding the damage
often resulting from planted corn being blown down by the wind;,
also making a field of listed corn more agreeable to husk in. Then,
this same deep-root system leaves less of the stalk above the soil, and
so lowers the relative height of the ear from the ground, thus leaving
it where it can' be easily and quickly reached at husking time. This
advantage can be appreciated only after husking the high, unhandy
ears in a field that was planted by planter.

"M. A. COVERDELL."

DISTANCE APART OF PLANTING

The distance between the rows of corn varies from as
close as three feet, in the North, to as far apart as six feet
in the South. The closeness of the rows in the North is due :
first, to the fact that the earlier varieties planted do not grow
more than half as tall as do the later maturing varieties grown
in the South; secondly, to the fact that it is more difficult
to obtain a stand in the extreme northern edge of the Corn
Belt, which makes it necessary to plant closer in order to



40

make up for the greater number of missing hills. In the
Southeast, where there is as much as six feet between the rows
of corn, it will generally be found that cowpeas are grown
between the corn rows. This makes three feet between the
row of corn and the adjacent row of peas. It is advisable,
in most cases, to have the corn rows at least three feet six
inches apart in order to have plenty of room to cultivate.
This is especially true where heavy draft horses and riding
cultivators are used.

Most of the cornfields in the Corn Belt proper are planted
in rows varying from three feet four inches to three feet
eight inches in width, and in nearly all cases a three-foot
six-inch check wire is used. The majority of Iowa farmers
plant three feet six inches both ways. In Central Illinois
a large part of the corn is planted three feet six inches in
the row with the rows three feet eight inches apart.

NUMBER OF STALKS PER HILL

There is considerable difference of opinion in regard to
the proper number of stalks to the hill. That this difference
of opinion should exist is only natural since the proper number
of stalks to secure the largest yield is determined by several
conditions. The number of stalks for the largest yield will
depend on the distance between the rows, the latitude, the
variety grown and the richness of the land. One general rule
is that where corn is grown for the grain, each plant should
have sufficient space to permit its fullest development. This
is especially true where the corn is being grown for seed.

The Illinois Experiment Station has carried on extensive
experiments to determine what influence the number of kernels
per hill has upon the yield. The results are shown in the
following tables :



PLANTING



41



TABLE 1. SUMMARY OF AVERAGE YIELD FROM ALL FIELDS IN NORTH-
ERN ILLINOIS; MYRTLE, SYCAMORE AND DEKALB

Figures indicate actual yields, bushels per acre



TWO KERNELS PER HILL



Distance
between hills,
inches


Number
of stalks
per acre


Myrtle
1904
average


Sycamore
1905
average


DeKalb
1906
average


DeKalb
1907
average


General
average
1904,1905,
1906,1907


44x44


6480


38.5


37.1


51.6


49.0


44.1


44x39.6


7200


43.6


42.3


52.6


49.8


47.1


39.6x39.6
36x44


8000


44.4


44.1


55.1


51.1


48.7


33x44
36x39.6


8800


47.3


43.2


60.9


52.1


50.9


36x36
33x39.6


9680


45.8


47.1


71.6


52.1


54.2


33x36


10560


46.3


45.8


67.4


57.5


54.3


33x33


11520


48.1


37.2


67.0


55.8


52.0



THREE KERNELS PER HILL



44x44


9720


41.4


43.0


64.5


67.3


54.1


44x39.6


10800


43.3


41.3


70.3


67.8


55.7


39.6x39.6
36x44


12000


45.2


42.1


66.8


72.5


56.7


33x44
36x39.6


13200


45.0


44.7


70.0


71.1


57.7


36x36
33x39.6


14520


43.7


46.1


75.0


70.8


58.9


33x3i6


15840


45.2


44.3


79.2


71.0


59.9


33x33


17280


43.3


49.5


73.6


77.6


61.0



42



PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



TABLE 2. SUMMARY OF AVERAGE YIELDS FROM ALL FIELDS IN CENTRAL
ILLINOIS; URBANA, SIBLEY AND MATTOON

Figures indicate actual yields, bushels per acre



TWO KERNELS PER HILL



Distance
between hills,
inches.


Number
of stalks
per acre.


Urbana
average of
4 years.


Sibley
average of
4 years.


Mattoon
1904,
1905.


Gen. average
for three
fields.


44x44


6480


50.2


45.5


46.9


47.7


44x39.6


7200


51.7


47.9


51.0


50.0


39.6x39.6
36x44


8000


53.8


48.9


54.3


51.9


33x44
36x39.6


8800


54.8


49.7


55.0


52.8


36x36
33x39.6


9680


58.5


49.6


56.4


54.5


33x3,6


10560


59.6


48.9


57.8


55.0


33x33


11520


54.9


49.9


60.4


54.0



THREE KERNELS PER HILL



44x44


9720


54.1


47.9


53.9


51.6


44x39.6


10800


54.1


47.7


55.7


51.9


39.6x39.6
36x44


12000


53.8


49.0


56.0


52.3


33x44
36x39.6


13200


51.8


48.5


56.6


51.4


36x36
33x39.6


14520


48.6


46.7


54.8


49.1


33x3,6


15840


49.8


45.5


55.1


49.1


33x33


17280


*7.0


42.6


55.0


46.8



PLANTING



43



TABLE 3. AVERAGE YIELDS FROM DISTANCE PLOTS IN NORTHERN ILLI-
NOIS ON LAND PRODUCING OVER FIFTY BUSHELS PER ACRE,
COMPARED WITH THOSE FROM LAND PRODUCING LESS THAN
FIFTY BUSHELS



Distance
between hills,
inches.


Number
of stalks
per acre.


More than
50 bushels
per acre.


Less than
50 bushels
per acre.



TWO KERNELS PER HILL



44x44


6480


52.8


40.3


44x39.6


7200


54.5


41.7


39.6x39.6
36x44


8000


55.7


41.5


33x44
36x39.6


8800


57.3


41.7


36x36
33x39.6


9680


60.8


43.0


33x3.6


10560


62.0


41.7


33x33


11520


62.3


40.3



THREE KERNELS PER HILL



44x44


9720


64.2


39.9


44x39.6


10800


69.4


42.2


39.6x39.6
36x44


12000


69.4


42.9


33x44
36x39.6


13200


67.7


43.9


36x36
33x39.6


14520


68.4


42.2


33x3,6


15840


70.1


42.6


33x33


17280


70.1


43.3



44



PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE



TABLE 4. AVERAGE YIELDS FROM DISTANCE PLOTS IN CENTRAL ILLI-
NOIS ON LAND PRODUCING OVER FIFTY BUSHELS PER ACRE,
COMPARED WITH THOSE FROM LAND PRODUCING LESS THAN
FIFTY BUSHELS



Distance
between hills,
inches


Number
of stalks
per acre.


Average yield
Urbana, S'ibley,
Mattoon fields.






More than 50 bu.
per acre.


Less than 50 bu.
per acre.



TWO KERNELS PER HILL



44x44


6480


56.7


42.8


44x39.6


7200


57.5


43.4


39.6x39.6
36x44


8000


58.1


43.5


33x44
36x39.6


8800


59.3


44.3


36x36
33x39.6


9680


62.4


44.2


33x36


10560


64.8


43.1


33x33


11520


63.7


41.2



THREE KERNELS PER HILL



44x44


9720


61.7


39.7


44x39.6


10800


63.6


41.5


39.6x39.6
36x44


12000


64.1


42.2


33x44
36x39.6


13200


62.3


41.0


36x36
33x39.6


14520


61.9


41.6


33x36


15840


62.0


41.1


33x33


17280


63.8


39.0



NOTE: The above tables are taken from Bulletin No. 126, Illinois Ex-
periment Station. This bulletin is by Albert N. Hume. O. D. Center and
Leonard Hegnauer.



PLANTING



45



The conclusions drawn from these tables show that in all
cases but one the rows should be farther apart each way
where three kernels are planted per hill and closer together
where just two kernels are planted per hill.

The first two tables take into consideration all kinds of
soils, while the last two make a comparison between strong
land and thin land. They show that the rows should be




ROLLING AND HARROWING CORN JUST AS IT IS COMING

THROUGH THE GROUND
The corn is protected from the harrow teeth by being planted in a furrow

closer on strong land than on thin land, or, keeping the rows
the same distance, more kernels can be planted per hill on
the stronger land than on thin land.

All of the tables indicate that in Northern Illinois rows
may be planted closer and thicker than in Central Illinois.



46 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE

This, as we have stated before, is due to the smaller, more
early maturing varieties grown in Northern Illinois.

For a. number of years we have planted in rows three feet
six inches apart each way. Of late years we have planted
mostly two and three kernels alternately to the hill. In a
few instances we have planted three kernels for the earlier
varieties. While our primary object in planting only two
and three kernels in the hill is to secure the largest number
of bushels of fine seed ears, we do not think we have lost
anything in total yield. "We have grown as much as ninety
bushels per acre on strong ground when planting two and
three kernels to the hill.




(Courtesy O; F. Orndoff.)

DISC FUREOW OPENER

The importance of planting the proper number of ker-
nels to the hill is apparent to every thinking farmer. Since
the number is determined by many varying conditions, it
will pay every farmer to make experiments along this line
on his own farm. By planting in alternate plots two kernels,
two and three kernels, and three kernels per hill, every
farmer can determine for himself, in the course of two or



PLANTING 47

three years, just what is the proper amount of corn to plant
per acre on his own particular farm.

REPLANTING CORN

We doubt that it pays to replant corn when the stand
is as good as seventy per cent. Before replanting corn, sev-
eral things should be taken into consideration. The remain-
ing hills, provided clean culture is maintained, will yield
correspondingly better because they have more room for
fuller development than had the stand been perfect. This
partly makes up for the loss sustained by the missing hills.
If only the missing hills are replanted they will be shaded
by the taller surrounding stalks, which causes the replanted
hills to yield little or nothing.

If the stand is so poor the field must be replanted, it is
best to single or double disc and replant the whole field
with the planter. This plan kills all weeds and usually
results in a perfect stand. Never replant corn between the
rows of the first planting. This careless method generally
results in weedy corn. Before discing up the first planting,
determine whether or not a replanted field will have a chance
to reach maturity with a normal season. When it is necessary
to replant, it is a good plan to plant an early maturing
variety if possible.

Like all other corn growers, we have found it necessary
at times to replant some fields. In some cases, however, we
have replanted and in the fall after making a comparison
with a few rows left as a check, we found that the first
planting yielded more bushels per acre of sound corn than
the last planting. Mistakes like this incur a double loss:
First, there is a loss in yield, and secondly, there is loss in
time consumed, which is often the greater loss of the two.



CHAPTER IV
CULTIVATION

We are still old-fashioned enough to believe that the chief
object in cultivating corn is to destroy and prevent the growth
of weeds. A good crop of weeds and a good crop of corn
are never grown on the same land. Weeds not only feed on
the food the corn should have, but they will pump off the
needed moisture in time of drouth and interfere with the
economical handling of the crop at harvest.

Next to destroying weeds, the object of cultivation should
be to conserve the moisture by stirring the soil at frequent
intervals in order to secure a mulch.

Besides killing weeds and conserving moisture the culti-
vator should aerate, warm, and loosen the soil to allow the
roots to extend into the ground. There are a number of good
methods of cultivating corn. Any culture that keeps the
fields clean of weeds and at the same time does it without
pruning the corn roots may be considered a good method,
although perhaps not so economical and efficient as some
others.

HARROWING AND ROLLING

Harrowing corn kills millions of weeds when they are
most easily killed, before they are up. It prevents the for-
mation of a crust and, most important of all, it goes over a
larger area in a short space of time. If a hard rain comes
before the corn is up we harrow all that we have planted
as soon as conditions will permit us to get on the field. We
do this harrowing whether we are through planting or not.

48



CULTIVATION 49

The harrows are the heavy type spike harrows and are
run with the teeth straight down. We drive the same way
the corn is planted. As stated in the previous chapter, fur-
row openers are used on the planter runners. By using this
attachment all the corn plants are in a furrow which protects
them from the harrow teeth.

If the field is cloddy, as is sometimes the case in dry sea-
sons, the harrow is preceded by the roller. This pulverizes
the clods and prevents the harrow from dragging them into
the furrow. The first planted fields are often harrowed twice




(Courtesy John Deere Plow Co.)

COMBINATION BIDING AND WALKING
CULTIVATOE

before we have finished planting the last. (See illustrations.)
Unless furrow openers have been used we do not advocate
harrowing corn after it is up. In some cases the weeder
might be an improvement over the harrow in cultivating
young corn.

DEPTH OP CULTIVATION

There is more or less difference of opinion on this partic-
ular point. The objections to surface cultivation, when it



50 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE

extends over the entire cultivating season, are that it has a
tendency to pack the soil, and is not as effective as deep
culture in destroying weeds. The objection to deep culture,
when it extends over the entire season, is that it cuts the
corn roots, thereby decreasing the yield. Both of these
objections are undoubtedly well made. "We have tried sur-
face cultivation (with gopher blades) throughout the three
or four cultivations, and have compared it with deeper cul-
ture over a like period. "With the deeper culture the corn
was cleaner and the seed bed was not so packed. Notwith-
standing this, some roots were cut by the deeper cultivating
which made the surface cultivated fields show about the
same yield.

We are thoroughly convinced that any method of culti-
vation that destroys a portion of the corn roots is disastrous
to the corn plant and reduces the yield in proportion to the
amount of roots destroyed. Deep culture that prunes the
roots after the corn is three feet high may decrease the yield
from three to twenty bushels per acre, depending on the
amount of rainfall following. If a heavy rainfall comes
just after the cutting of the roots, the injury will be slight,
but if the pruning process is followed by several weeks of
hot, dry weather the injury will be severe. In our efforts
to maintain clean culture without pruning the roots, we use
shovel plows during the first three cultivations and finish
with a fourth plowing, using a high arch surface cultivator.
This plan, of course, is varied somewhat, depending on the
season and the foulness of the field.

FIRST CULTIVATION

We start plowing the first field as soon as we finish plant-
ing. If the corn is four or five inches high, six-shovel riding
cultivators are used; but if it is smaller than this we prefer



CULTIVATION 51

walking shovel plows. Fenders are used for the first plowing
and the shovels are run from three to four inches deep. Since
the corn is planted in furrows, the dirt always meets around
the hills and covers all the small weeds. All the shovels are
pointed straight ahead and the field is left level after the
first plowing. If the ground has been packed by a beating
rain, the harrow precedes the plow the first time over.

By using furrow openers and harrowing the corn once




FIRST CULTIVATION

The corn in this picture is about four inches tall and is being
plowed with six-shovel riding cultivator

or twice while it is small, it can readily be seen that the corn
will not need to be plowed as small as is sometimes necessary
when it is not harrowed. Before trying out the furrow open-
ers we imagined that the first plowing would be more difficult
than where the hill was on the level of the field ; but we found
to our satisfaction that it was much easier to do a good job
since it is not necessary to plow so close to the hill in order



52 PRACTICAL CORN CULTURE

to make the dirt meet. The use of the furrow openers helps
the corn to withstand a drouth since the root zone is devel-
oped deeper in the soil. (See frontispiece.)

SECOND CULTIVATION

The field is cross cultivated just as soon as we can get
to it, and that is seldom soon enough. The cultivating is
done with shovel plows, plowing from three to four inches
deep if the corn is small and we are sure that we are not cut-
ting any corn roots. If the corn is ten inches tall, we do
not plow more than three inches deep unless the field is foul.
It is not necessary to plow as close to the hill the second
time over in order to make the dirt meet since the hill is
on a level and not on a small ridge as would be the case
had furrow openers not been used.

THIED CULTIVATION'

If rains have formed a crust on the ground, the third
plowing is started just as soon as the last acre has been
crossed. We do not like the corn to be more than eighteen
inches high when it is plowed the third time. Unless we
have a very wet season there are very few weeds to kill when
we start on the third cultivation. Since the dirt should meet
it is sometimes necessary to turn the shovels slightly inward
but we try to throw up as small a ridge as possible. The
shovels are run as shallow as is practicable. This plowing
is easy and fast teams often average as much as nine acres
in one day.

For the third cultivation the corn is plowed the same
way it is planted. Our method of plowing corn the first
three times is perhaps the most common method used in the
Corn Belt, excepting that we seldom stop between the second
and third plowings. If the first crop of clover is ready to



CULTIVATION 53

be cut before we get over the corn the third time, it will have
to wait or rot down and enrich the land. We have never felt
that we could afford the price of weedy corn to take care
of hay that is worth at least eight dollars per ton to let lay
as a fertilizer. We generally have time to put up enough
hay for our own use after the third plowing and before
wheat harvest sets in.



We start plowing the fourth time when the corn is be-


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