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Growing Feed Stuffs On The Farm


Economy in raising live stock demands the production of all "roughness"

or roughage materials on the farm. By roughness, or roughage, of course

you understand that bulky food, like hay, grass, clover, stover, etc.,

is meant. It is possible to purchase all roughage materials and yet make

a financial success of growing farm animals, but this certainly is not

the surest way to succeed. Every farm should raise all its feed stuffs.

In deciding what forage and grain crops to grow we should decide:

1. The crops best suited to our soil and climate.

2. The crops best suited to our line of business.

3. The crops that will give us the most protein.

4. The crops that produce the most.

5. The crops that will keep our soil in the best condition.

1. _The crops best suited to our soil and climate._ Farm crops, as every

child of the farm knows, are not equally adapted to all soils and

climates. Cotton cannot be produced where the climate is cool and the

seasons short. Timothy and blue grass are most productive on cool,

limestone soils. Cowpeas demand warm, dry soils. But in spite of

climatic limitations, Nature has been generous in the wide variety of

forage she has given us.

Our aim should be to make the best use of what we have, to improve by

selection and care those kinds best adapted to our soil and climate, and

to secure, by better methods of growing and curing, the greatest yields

at the least possible cost.

2. _The crops best suited to our line of business._ A farmer necessarily

becomes more or less of a specialist; he gathers those kinds of live

stock about him which he likes best and which he finds the most

profitable. He should, on his farm, select for his main crops those that

he can grow with the greatest pleasure and with the greatest profit.

The successful railroad manager determines by practical experience what

distances his engines and crews ought to run in a day, what coal is most

economical for his engines, what schedules best suit the needs of his

road, what trains pay him best. These and a thousand and one other

matters are settled by the special needs of his road.

Ought the man who wants to make his farm pay be less prudent and less

far-sighted? Should not his past failures and his past triumphs decide

his future? If he be a dairy farmer, ought he not by practical tests to

settle for himself not only what crops are most at home on his land but

also what crops in his circumstances yield him the largest returns in

milk and butter? If swine-raising be his business, how long ought he to

guess what crop on his land yields him the greatest amount of hog food?

Should a colt be fed on one kind of forage when the land that produced

that forage would produce twice as much equally good forage of another

kind? All these questions the prudent farmer should answer promptly and

in the light of wise experiments.

3. _The crops that will give us the most protein._ It is the farmer's

business to grow all the grass and forage that his farm animals need. He

ought never to be obliged to purchase a bale of forage. Moreover, he

should grow mainly those crops that are rich in protein materials, for

example, cowpeas, alfalfa, and clover. If such crops are produced on the

farm, there will be little need of buying so much cotton-seed meal,

corn, and bran for feeding purposes.

4. _The crops that produce the most._ We often call a crop a crop

without considering how much it yields. This is a mistake. We ought to

grow, when we have choice of two crops, the one that is the best and the

most productive on the farm. Average corn, for instance, yields on an

acre at least twice the quantity of feeding-material that timothy does.

5. _The crops that will keep our soil in the best condition._ A good

farmer should always be thinking of how to improve his soil. He wants

his land to support him and to maintain his children after he is dead.

Since cowpeas, clover, and alfalfa add atmospheric nitrogen to the soil

and at the same time are the best feeding-materials, it follows that

these crops should hold an important place in every system of

crop-rotation. By proper rotating, by proper terracing, and by proper

drainage, land may be made to retain its fertility for generations.


1. Why are cowpeas, clover, and alfalfa so important to the farmer?

2. What is meant by the protein of a food?

3. Why is it better to feed the farm crops to animals on the farm

rather than to sell these crops?