Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/413

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PSM V73 D413 Livestock as a necessity of a self sustaining farm.png

Livestock is a Necessity on a Self-sustaining Farm. Frequently the four-course rotation used on the Cornell University Farm could be profitably made into a five-course, by retaining the grass for two years, making hay the first year and pasturing it the second.

Thus the one school improved the animals, hut paid less attention to the foods, while the other made the ration the primary consideration. Lancaster County, Pa., has made history both for its productivity and its rotation of crops. The two are inseparably connected. Corn, oats, wheat and clover and timothy are grown in the above mentioned order, and the farmers of this vicinity, realizing the value of manure, have purchased western live stock and corn and with the roughage grown have fattened the stock and made money. The object of a rotation should be to convert sunshine into dollars, in such a manner that the soil used shall be as productive at the end thereof, if not more so, than it was at the beginning.

Wheat or corn growing employs a minimum amount of help for short definite portions of the year. Mixed farming, where live stock is kept, requires the retention of help throughout the year, and in this way it is of social importance, a floating population being a serious menace to a nation.

Where the one crop, as wheat, is grown, there is much more trouble in maintaining the soil in good physical texture. When clover is grown, the stubble and roots plowed under increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, which upon decaying forms humus. Humus aids in developing bacterial activities in the soil, the importance of which is now recognized, although feebly understood. The strong taproots of such plants as clover or alfalfa upon decaying leave air