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DRILL AND BROADCAST SOWING OF WHEAT,
A question of no little importance in wheat-culture, is the comparative advantage of drill and broadcast sowing. In reply to a question on this point, embodied in the circular issued by the Secretary, various answers, as shown by the Report, were received. As comprising further evidence on this subject, the following article from the Bi-Monthly Report of the Department of Agriculture for September and October, 1864, is here inserted. It embraces, as will be seen, statements from various parts of the country:
Perry County.—" The damage to drilled wheat is one-tenth less this year than it commonly is. The damage to that sown broadcast is two-tenths greater than it has commonly been. The damage to broadcast sown by freezing out is commonly two or three times as great as it is to the drilled.5'
Winnebago County.—" The portions of winter wheat remaining under the fences look as well as an average. The crop as a whole is almost a total failure, probably less than one-tenth of what was reasonably anticipated last fall. There appears to be no difference between broadcast sowing and drilling; it is all killed alike."
Bond County.—" Of wheat there will be about two-thirds of a crop. Drilled is far superior to the broadcast."
Ogle County.—" Winter wheat is a failure, except where the heavy snow-drifts lay most of the time. Experience shows* conclusively that the drill is the only mode of successfully growing winter wheat in this county."
DeKalb County.—" Winter wheat lately doing well; broadcast injured most, and drilled least."
Menard County.—"Last wiuterfully demonstrated the superiority of drilled oyer broadcast sowing in Illinois soil for winter wheat."
St. Glair County.—"In relation to the advantage of planting wheat with drills, it is considered so important by our farmers in this county that you scarcely see a field of wheat sown broadcast. Last winter was so severe upon the broadcast that I do not believe a single farmer will attempt to sow wheat broadcast this fall."
McDonough County.—"As to the relative merits of sowing wheat broadcast or by drill, all I can say is that drilling has gone ont of vogue very nearly in the last three years. We used to drill a good deal of our wheat, but of late drills are seldom seen, by which I infer that drilling has not been regarded with much favor."
Jersey County.—" It is only when stumps or corn-stubs are in the way that broadcast sowing is resorted to. Some of our best farmers harrow after the drill, some roll before and after, bui the surest way is to have the ground rough enough to mellow down with the frost. I have tried all ways. One year I sowed half a bushel per acre, and harrowed after the drill, and reaped forty bushels per acre. Last year I rolled some after the drill, mashing all the ridges down; it made the poorest wheat I had. The ground alongside, not rolled after, but before the drill, made double the wheat. The theory amongst our farmers is to make the ground solid, leave the drill-ridges to stand, and sow from the 15th to 25th of September."
"As to broadcast and drill sowing for wheat which you speak of, the former is by far the most successful; but to do neither is the most profitable in central Illinois, where twelve bushels of wheat are above the average yield per acre."
Bipley County.—"The wheat was very much winter-killed, but the warm wet weather has revived it very much; and as regards the difference in drilled wheat and that sown broadcast as to winter-killing, there has not been much drilled'in this county, but it shows the superiority of drilling."
Allen County.—" In regard to the difference in wiflter wheat drilled in or sown broadcast, it is largely in favor of the drilling where the ground is properly prepared. It should be thoroughly pulverized, either by harrowing or rolling, or both if necessary. "When the ground is rough and cloddy, it is the experience of our farmers that wheat does better sown broadcast. Few of our farmers in this vicinity realize the great advantages to be derived from the thorough preparation of the soil before planting. To the majority of them under-draining, subsoiling, rolling, and a regular system of cropping and manuring, are subjects that receive no attention in preparing for seeding, and the result is always too plainly manifested in short and inferior crops at harvest."
Parke County.—" There is more difference this season than ever before between wheat sown with the drill and broadcast. The drilled is decidedly the best; it will yield one-third more to the acre than the broadcasts
Howard County.—" Our wheat crops are better than ever known since our county has been settled. Drilled wheat is the best, and in the coming year there will be little, if any, sown broadcast."
Huntington County.—"In my report for April and May I felt authorized to say, in reference to wheat sown by drill and broadcast, that that sown by the drill was not apparently injured, while that sown by the other method was seriously. Since that time quite an improvement was made in the appearance of that sown broadcast, and, had we not suffered so severely from drought, our crop would have been above an average. One of our most careful and judicious farmers states that while his drilled wheat seemed to stand the winter better than that sown broadcast, still at harvest this last was the best in every particular. His broadcast did not suffer much from freezing. So, too, some others of our observing farmers hold the opinion that if as much care be taken in the preparation of the soil for broadcast sowing as must be done for the drill, there would be no advantage in drilling; perhaps the advantage would be the other way."
Whitney County.—" We suppose wheat much better drilled than sown broadcast, and I am inclined to the opinion that it is best to have it drilled north and south, as our winds mostly come from the wTest It saves the sno w from being blown away from the roots of the wheat, and the whole field will not sweep as clean of snow as where the drilling is east and west."
Henry County.—" Harvesting of the wheat crop has still further shown the advantages of drill over broadcast sowing. I think the difference may be estimated at the Jo west at one-tenth in favor of drilling. Early-sowed wheat is much the best, say one to two-tenths"
Marion County.—"Although on the subject of drilled and broadcast sown winter wheat, I have made considerable inquiry, I have hesitated to make a positive statement. I found on one farm near town that 10 acres were sown broadcast by one person, and 12 acres were drilled in by another, and there was no appreciable difference in the character of the soil—that is, there was about the same proportion of black and clay soil. Now upon the 12 acres of drilled wheat there is three times as much standing in good condition as upon the 10 acres. Going about half a mile further east I found a field of, say 30 acres of wheat, which had been drilled in, but which was such an utter failure that oats have been drilled in upon the field this spring. This field was of a cold, wet, clay soil, perhaps as unfavorable for wheat as could be selected. Another farmer stated that after a crop of flax he had suffered a field to lie in fallow last summer, and in the fall ploughed a part of it; finding it very mellow, he put in his wheat by drill, both that which he had ploughed and that which he had not. This spring it is in excellent condition, all parts being about the same. He had sown the same field in wheat several times before, and on a certain portion of it (perhaps somewhat wet) he had never be