William Thomas Ainsworth.

Practical corn culture, written especially for the corn belt farmers online

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fully convinced that fall plowing should be at least six inches deep.

Since the stalks add humus I prefer to cut them and turn them
under. If the tenant farmer is not equipped with implements for cut-
ting the stalks he had better burn them, where corn follows corn, since
they will be in the way of cultivation.

If the ground is packed we use the disc, if freshly plowed the
spike-tooth harrow in preparing the seed bed. We usually harrow
ground just after plowing. I consider all work on the seed bed time
well spent.


We plant with a check-rower planter three feet four inches each
way. When three to four inches high the corn is cultivated about
three inches deep.

The small shovels are used for the first two plowings and for the
later cultivating the surface cultivator. The last plowing is not over
two inches deep. We cultivate from three to four times, depending
on the season. The corn is plowed until it is so tall it breaks badly.
If the season is dry we drag between the rows with a planter wheel,
single harrow or one-horse cultivator.

Eespectfully yours,


P. S. We are experimenting with alfalfa in a small way.

Weldon, Illinois, April 28th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen : Our soil, a deep, retentive loam, is heavy and level. All
stalks are of necessity plowed in the spring.

I do not believe in burning stalks. The soil needs all the humus
that can be put back on it. Turning stalks under helps to keep the
ground loose.

In working plowed ground down, we use the spike tooth harrow
and disc. All ground plowed the day before is harrowed down the
next morning.

The corn is planted with a check rower planter and is checked
three feet six inches one way and three feet four inches the other.

The corn is always harrowed before it comes up and after if it is
necessary to kill the weeds.

I start cultivating the corn when it is about four inches tall.
Surface cultivators are used altogether, and they are run just deep
enough to cut off and cover all weeds. We cultivate from three to
four times and lay by when the corn is from three to four feet tall.

In preparing the seed bed I use an iron corrugated roller to ad-
vantage if there are many clods. I consider the corrugated roller one
of the best implements on the farm.

Very respectfully yours,



TJnionville, Mo., April 20th, 1913.
Messrs. W. T. Ainsworth Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: I am of the opinion that, but few farmers realize the
importance of the properly prepared seed bed, and a good many who
do realize it, do not put it into practice. Many of us make noble
resolutions in December but fail to carry them out in May. I have
seen many farmers plow sod in the spring, disc and harrow once,
and plant twice, (the first planting did not come up), with the natural
result that the corn-pens were slim in the fall.

I know of a farmer who did not work sod ground this last year,
until time to plant. His reasons were, that the season had been wet
the year before and the plowed ground was better if left alone. But
this season was dry, with the results that this field on sod made only
ten bushels per acre. It is always safe to work sod ground down,
and the drier the season is, the more work will be needed, and the
better the work will pay. Sod should be disced from two to four times,
depending on its toughness. I disced one field four times this year,
and there is no doubt but that it paid me. I use the disc and harrow
in preference to the drag. If the ground is not too wet, I harrow the
corn after it is planted. It pays to buy good seed corn of a reliable
breeder. PEAEL FIFE.

Mr. Fife is a breeder of pure bred O. I. C. SWINE.

Atoka, Oklahoma, April 22nd, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: I am somewhat surprised and pleased to see that
Illinois farmers ask advice from an Oklahoma farmer in regard to
growing corn. The methods I follow would not be well suited to
Illinois conditions, but they are practiced by the most enterprising
farmers in all sections when there is a deficiency of rainfall.

As soon as the corn is gathered the stalks are cut and the ground
listed up with a fourteen-inch lister and subsoiled with a long, shallow
plow. After plowing, the ground should be let alone until spring.

When I am ready to plant in the spring I relist, subsoil and plant.

For the first cultivation I use four long calf-tongue plows and
plow good and deep. The next plowing I use shovel plows. I lay by
with a disc cultivator when the corn is about waist high.

Yours truly, DUTCH JONES.



Luray, Mo., April 19, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: Yours of recent date received in regard to corn raising.
I have a light rolling soil which I plow in the spring if it is stalk
ground. I think spring plowing will produce a bigger crop than fall
plowing, since the ground does not run together badly. Since this is
a shallow soil I generally plow about four inches deep. I never burn
stalks when corn follows corn, but drag them down and plow them
under, since they prevent the soil from washing on rolling land and
help to keep up the fertility. I use split log drags and tooth harrows
for working the ground down after plowing. I plow all the ground
that I plant to corn before planting any, usually drag or harrow the
ground twice before planting, and then harrow after planting before
it comes up. I never harrow corn after it is up. The corn is usually
three or four inches tall when I cultivate it the first time. I use
six-shovel cultivators and I consider them the best, all things considered.
I cultivate three times and the corn is usually from two to three feet
tall when I lay it by. Yours truly,


Kentland, Indiana, April 12th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: The soil in this community is a black loam, with just
a little sand. It is nearly level, and well drained.

I generally plow my oats stubble in the fall. I try to plow be-
tween seven and eight inches, and not lay the furrows too flat, as this
ground has a tendency to run together. I like early plowing as it is
generally dry and plows up lumpy, so that when the time comes to
prepare it for corn, it is mellow, and works up fine.

In the spring as soon as the oats are sowed I take the spreader
and top dress all the spots that I know to be thin. As soon as the
manure is spread, I start my solid-wheel disc, generally crosswise, the
way it was plowed. Just as soon as I get it disced once, I change
to the spader and go the long way, and follow with the harrow. This
puts the ground in fine shape, if we have an average season, but I
found it necessary to disc my ground four times last year, and I am
sure it paid. I generally follow about a day being the harrow with my
corn planter. This gives the top of the ground time to dry off, and
you don't have to use scrapers on your planter. I aim to plant two


grains to the hill, and three by six each way. As soon as I finish
planting, I harrow the field crosswise, and as soon as the corn begins
to come up, I harrow it the other way. I do not wait for the corn
to get a given height, but put in my eight-shovel eagle claw cultivator
and walk, as I don't believe a man can do as good a job riding. I
believe if you do not get up to the corn the first and second times
and get the weeds out of the hills, you will have weeds in the fall.
In this section of the Corn Belt, the use of all surface plows, from the
first, I think is a mistake, since the rains beat the ground down, and
it requires the shovel plow to loosen it. The small cultivator gives
you plenty of mulch so that when you use your gophers you can do a
good job. I use Tower Surface Plows the last three times. I always
run them deep enough, so that there will be' loose dirt falling over
the shovels at all times. If you don't do this you are bound to have
weeds between the rows. The last plowing the corn ought to be about
four feet high and I run my shovels just deep enough to get the dirt
up to the corn, and I figure on getting it layed by about the 4th of

E. F. D. No. 1, Kentland, Indiana.

Wheatland, Indiana, April 14th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: I will give you my experience as a farmer on corn


Soil: My soil is what is known as white oak ri^ge soil, a mixture
between clay and loam, which will produce most any kind of grain
and hay. It is somewhat rolling, which forms a natural drainage.

I think the best time to plow stalk ground is in the spring, because
freezing and thawing injure fall plowed soils in our locality. We
always strive to build up our soil in every way possible for the production
of a bountiful harvest. I have always had better success growing crops
on spring plowed stalk ground than on fall plowed.

I plow six or seven inches deep for corn, and would prefer twelve
inches if I had the power to do the work. By plowing deep, you have
a deep soil which is necessary for a good corp of corn. The old
adage, "Plow deep while sluggards sleep and you will have corn to
sell and to keep," is certainly true.


Fanner friends, don't burn your cornstalks or your straw, both
are very valuable. Take your disc harrow and cut your stalks and see
how nicely they will plow under, by using a jointer on your plow.
We always plow the cornstalks under, because they are of great benefit
to the soil, by making it loose and porous, so the air can penetrate
and restore the plant food properties.

The implements used in preparing the seed bed depends largely on
the weather conditions. If the ground has become packed, use a disc
harrow, then, if dry and cloddy, a drag or roller should be used,
followed by a section harrow. Sometimes two or three harrowings are
necessary, and if weather conditions indicate dry weather, I run a light
drag before the planter, if not I plant after the harrow. I never
prefer working down early plowed ground, because it becomes more
or less compact and requires more work to make a good seed bed.

I plant my corn with a "Black Hawk" corn planter (the drill
type), using furrowing shovels or eveners to regulate the depth of the
corn, and by using good seed corn I am almost sure of a good stand
of corn.

If it comes a heavy rain immediately after planting, I use a section
harrow before the corn comes up; this breaks the crust, and thus
prevents the tender corn from crooking and losing most of its vitality.
After the corn has all come up in good shape, and the weather is dry,
I start the roller, which pulverizes all remaining clods, then a section
harrow is used, which leaves the ground in a very fine condition.

If possible I like for my corn to be three or four inches high for
the first cultivation, at which time I cultivate about four inches deep and
as close as possible. This stirs the soil well around the corn-roots and
starts it to growing. I use a six-shovel cultivator for all the cultiva-
tions excepting the last, for which time I prefer the disc cultivator. I
consider this implement the best for the last cultivation.

I set the disc next to the corn very shallow and far enough apart
to plow all of the middle. By cultivating about two inches deep, this
method will make a nice, loose mulch of soil for the corn-roots to get their
nourishment from.

I cultivate as many times as the corn will permit the use of a
cultivator, then if the weather is dry I use a one-horse harrow to keep
up the action of the moisture.

If the farmers of this country would be more careful in selecting
their seed corn the yield would be much better.



Arthur, Illinois, April 15th, 1913.
Mr. W. T. Ainsworth, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sir: The farm I am farming is gently rolling, and the soil
is a brown silt loam. I have obtained the best results by plowing sods
in the fall, but when corn follows corn I have found, from experience,
that the biggest crops can be raised from spring plowing.

I am firmly convinced that the burning of stalks is a bad practice,
since it robs the land of nitrogen and humus. Before plowing, I
double disc all the stalkfields, with a Janesville spading disc. I plow
from six to seven inches deep, and the early plowed ground is allowed
to stand until after heavy rains, before any further work is done to it.
For the later plowed ground, I use a rotary harrow on the plow. This
pulverizes the soil and levels it up as it is plowed. Each day's plowing
is again harrowed down in the evening, when it is allowed to stand
until nearly planting time.

After the corn is planted, it is rolled and harrowed and left until
the plants are about four inches tall, when it is cultivated about four
inches deep with a shovel plow. For the next two or three plowings
I use a surface cultivator and get over my corn as many times as I
possibly can. I lay my corn by when it is from three to four feet
tall. In closing I want to say that I consider the spading disc one of
the best implements on the farm. LEWIS D. YUTZY.

Mr. Yutzy is a stock raiser, as well as a farmer.

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

Gentlemen: The nature of my soil is a black loam with clay sub-
soil, nothing better for the growing of corn. I do not like fall plowing
for stalk ground, since the winter and spring rains pack it so badly
that it requires more work to get it in shape in the spring than it does
when the plowing is allowed to go until spring. I believe that spring
plowing of stalk ground will bring larger yields than will fall plowing.

I break the stalks down, rake them up and burn them. I next run
a good sharp disc diagonally across the field and harrow. This leaves
the ground level, makes the plowing easier and leaves the field in much
better shape than where the discing is not done before plowing.

I harrow each evening what I plow during the day. When I get
ready to plant I harrow the field once or twice, according to the shape


the ground is in. I run the disc directly ahead of the planter. With
an average season this method gives me a good seed bed.

I plant three feet eight inches by three feet six inches, and drop
three grains to the hill. The corn is planted deep enough to place it
in moist ground. I harrow as soon as the corn is planted and again
after it is about through the ground. I seldom harrow corn after it is
all up, since a number of hills are broken off and otherwise injured.
I use a surface cultivator altogether and use the drags or floats the
first time over. I cultivate from four to five times, depending on the
condition of the soil. I consider the surface cultivator the best. It
holds the moisture better and if it is properly set it will move every
inch of the surface soil. I plow my corn until it is so tall that I
cannot get through the field without injuring it.

Yours for success, C. C. PAUL.

Mr. Paul is a grower of pure bred Chester White Hogs.

Pimento, Indiana, April llth, 1913.
Mr. W. T. Ainsworth, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sir: Our land is a heavy, cold clay and very level. We
always plow the stalks under in the spring, since it makes the ground
looser, adds fertility and makes the crop more easily tended. The
ground is broken six to seven inches deep. Our method of working the
ground depends entirely on the season. On dry, cloddy ground we use
a wood drag, on nice loose soil, a harrow, and on sod, a disc harrow.

We get our ground level and smooth before planting, and plant
from two to two and one-half inches deep. If the weather is dry, we
harrow before the corn comes up. If it is wet we leave the field alone
until we can plow the corn, which is done as soon as it is possible to
plow and not cover the hills. We cultivate from two to three inches
deep straight through the season. We use disc cultivators altogether,
and consider them the best in our soil. We cultivate three to four
times, and stay with it until the corn is too tall to plow with cultivators.


Girard, Pa., April 28th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: In. answer to yours of recent date, as to culture of corn
will say that for corn I prefer a one-year-old clover sod which has been
manured the previous winter and plowed as early as possible after oats


seeding. The ground should be plowed to a depth of about six inches,
rolling down every evening what has been plowed that day and follow-
ing up with a spring-tooth harrow or disc pulverizer. The field should
be gone over with these implements until a perfect seed bed is obtained.
I use a light roller immediately before planting and follow with a
two-horse planter with an open wheel planting about twelve inches for
silo and sixteen inches for husking.

The third day after planting I use a smoothing harrow with teeth
set slanting and go over the field again about the sixth or seventh day
after the corn has the second leaf. Next I use a flat-tooth round point
weeder, going over the field about twice or until the corn is large enough
to use a two-horse cultivator with shields to keep dirt from rolling on
the corn. I follow the first plowing with the weeder, running cross-
ways, after which I cultivate about three times more during season with
the shields removed from the cultivator. The first cultivation may be
about three inches deep, after that from one and a half to two inches
is deep enough. I also use from two to three hundred pounds of
fertilizer analyzing about 1 8 4. We harvest with a corn binder
previous to silo filling, leaving it lay as the machine drops it for two
days. If it is husked it is set up in shocks a second or third day
after it is cut. In our latitude we like to plant between the twentieth
of May and the first of June, if corn is put into the silo.

Yours truly, JOHN A. BAUSCH.

Mr. Bausch makes a speciality of selling butter, eggs and pork
direct to the consumer.

Greenfork, Indiana, April 15th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Dear Sirs: In this community most of the land is a white and red
clay, except where the ravines course along, but there is a good deal
of black ground, too. The land lays practically level, although nearer
the river it is a little rolling.

I do not plow my stalk ground at all in the fall and do not want
much for spring plowing if it can be helped. With the exception of
new land we follow mostly a rotation of corn, wheat and clover. I like
to plow my ground five to six inches deep. If I had the machinery
I would always cut the cornstalks and plow them under, because I
believe it would loosen and enrich the land; as it is I find it necessary


to burn them. I use the spring-tooth harrow on sod ground for the
first harrowing, then follow with spike-tooth harrow until I get the
ground in condition to plant corn.

The corn is planted two to three inches deep. I like the idea of
harrowing the corn before it comes up, but I could never get accustomed
to harrowing after it has once come up. The harrow teeth drag out
too many hills of corn.

I don't think it practical to plow very deep for the first cultiva-
tion. By the way, I do not think much of deep cultivation at any
time. I like the shovel cultivator the best of any I have ever tried.

I always plow my corn at least three times and a fourth cultiva-
tion is very good if one has the time. Most of the corn in this com-
munity is fed to hogs with the result that the land is getting more
fertile each year.

I shall be very glad to get your book on corn culture.
Yours truly, .


Oblong, Illinois, April 15th, 1913.
W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: As I have received a request to give my experience
in growing corn, I will endeavor to answer as best I can.

Soil: The soil I am farming at the present time is of the heavy
kind, such as is most of the land in this section that was timbered
with water oak hickory and white oak.

I am located in St. Marie Township, Jasper County, east of St.
Marie, near the east line. This land is level and not the best for wet

I do all my plowing in the spring, since fall plowing will pack too
much and the weeds would start before time to plant. Spring plowing
is always best for my kind of soil, since it should be dry and not
have too much rain after plowing. I plow my ground about four to
six inches deep and aim to leave some of the top soil undisturbed.
Following corn I always use a stalk cutter and cut the stalks so that
they do not interfere with cultivation. Plowing stalks under helps keep
the ground loose below and gives it air. To work ground down I use
whatever is required to get it in shape and do good work. On ground
that is rough and uneven I use a drag to level, followed always with
a harrow, since otherwise it will get weedy before the corn is big


enough to cultivate. I always work ground just before planting, so
that it will be clean and let the corn get ahead of the weeds. I gen-
erally plant corn twenty inches apart in the row, and the rows are
forty-two inches apart. I drill corn because we plow in lands that con-
tain from eight to ten rows. I harrow corn "before it comes up : in
case the planting was done in rough and cloddy ground, I harrow corn
after it is up, unless it is big enough to cultivate before I can use
the harrow. I want corn to be about three or three and one-half inches
high before I cultivate the first time, as I want to plow close and deep
and cover all little weeds and put just a little dirt around the corn
I plow about three inches deep and set fenders as high as possible, to
allow some of the dirt to drop around the corn plants.

When laying corn by I plow deep enough to turn over and clean
the row, but I stay away from the corn and take the middle alt out.
I use shovel and disc plows. I always use shovels for first plowing.
The disc leaves too much ground undisturbed and the weeds grow
more quickly in the row than where plowed with shovels. I consider
shovels and discs best for this soil, since surface cultivation leaves the
ground too hard after a heavy rain. I try to cultivate my corn three
or four times and do if I am not delayed by rain or other work. In
laying corn by I have no set height or time, but plow when the ground
is in good mellow condition. I often plow my corn the last time
when it is three and four feet high. If I am delayed by some cause
or other I have laid corn by, with good results, when it was tasseling

St. Croix, Indiana, April 28th, 1913.
Messrs. W. T. Ainsworth & Sons, Mason City, Illinois.

Gentlemen: My farm is located in Southern Indiana in the north-
eastern part of Perry County. Our land is a light clay loam soil and
inclined to be rolling while some is level; too level. I never follow
corn with corn, nor can anyone here and make farming pay.

I bought my farm about twenty-five years ago. At the time I bought
it, it was considered a run-down farm and would not grow ten bushels
of corn per acre. Today I have no trouble in growing fifty to sixty
bushels per acre. I have brought this farm to its present state of
fertility by a rotation consisting of corn one year followed by wheat,
oats or cowpeas, then with clover and pasture.

In this locality we plow early in the spring if the weather will


permit, which is very seldom. It is not advisable to plow our hilly
ground in the fall, since it would wash too badly during the winter and
early spring. I think corn land should be plowed from six to nine
inches deep, since it holds the moisture better than shallow plowed
land. I usually cut the corn up and feed the fodder, but if I have
any stalks left I cut them up and turn them under.

My corn ground is usually a sod clover or pasture land. After
breaking I drag, then disc, drag again and harrow. The early plowed
fields are not usually worked down until nearly planting time, but the.
late plowed fields should be worked down as soon as they are plowed
to keep the ground from becoming cloddy and to retain the moisture.

I like to plant corn between the first and tenth of May, but of late

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Online LibraryWilliam Thomas AinsworthPractical corn culture, written especially for the corn belt farmers → online text (page 9 of 11)