The Ottawa Herald from Ottawa, Kansas on January 28, 1963 · Page 12
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The Ottawa Herald from Ottawa, Kansas · Page 12

Ottawa, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, January 28, 1963
Page 12
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Keeps That Soil Where It Belongs AT HOME IN A LOVELY HOME - Mr. and Mrs. Tom McMillen, winners of 1902 Conservation Award presented by Kansas Bankers Association, are pictured in their attractively- decorated living room of their home, Wellsville RFD 2. (Herald Photo) Tom McMillen, a 1962 Soil Conservation winner, started a soil conservation program on his 550- acre farm in 1947 and still is continuing to develop terraces. Looking back over the years since 1947, he has noticed a marked improvement in crop yields. The terraces have held the ground in place and put an end to gullies, he said. Naturally the conservation program has taken lots of work, but he has done most of it by himself with very little being done by contractor. According to Soil Conservation Service records, 80 per cent of McMillen's farm that needed terracing has been developed. The other 20 per cent will be worked in the future under McMillen's plan to continue the program. At present there are seven acres of waterways on the farm. This acreage will increase with new terracing. McMillen has about 400 acres under cultivation. His chief crops are wheat, soybeans and corn Most of his corn is marketed through livestock. McMillen said he usually buys yearling steers and feeds them for marketing. He also has some sheep. Mr. and Mrs. McMillen live on RFD 2, Wellsville, in the LeLoup community. McMillen has lived in the area all his life. He was born on a farm adjoining his present property. Mrs. McMillen, the former Eula Ruth Jackson, is from Paola. / The McMillens live in a 2-story white house high on a hill over* looking a good share of their farm and the surrounding area. From the yard the couple can see Wellsville, Baldwin and Ottawa. The McMillens have three children and six grandchildren. One daughter, Mrs. Don Gorton, 508 Willow Lane, has two children, Barry, 4, and Debby, 3. Another daughter is Mrs. Sam Davidson, RFD 2, Wellsville. The Davidsons have two children, Cindy, 3, and Julia, 10 months. A son Capt. Jimmie Lamb, Santa Clara, Calif., also has two youngsters, Sheri, 4, and Kevin The McMillens enjoy fishing, and traveling "and just about anything," they said. The couple attends the Wells- Ought To Give Some Land Back To Grass By HOWARD WILKINS Extension Agronomist Kansas State University Many areas in eastern Kansas are not suited to cultivated agriculture, nor even to tame pastures. . Their original cover was native bluestem prairie, although a few limited areas may have supported woody vegetation^ Such areas are not being restored to the kind of cover they originally carried — the only kind that is truly permanent. That is reseeding in its truest sense because it is an effort to restore once and for all the kind of cover best adapted to such situations. This is not to say that native grasses are not adapted to the better places — they are — but so are other crops, and these other crops often are more profitable than native grass. Native grass, on the other hand, may be the only vegetation fully adapted to certain severe situations. Some areas may, in fact, be so steep or so rocky or otherwise difficult that we can't even seed native grasses. Obviously, they should have been left in native cover from the outset, and this cover should have been managed for its maintenance. If it has been destroyed or damaged, however, there may be nothing we can do in the way of resseding, although protection accompanied by weed and brush control measures may eventually bring about some degree of restoration. Such restoration can improve its ability to control runoff and erosion, its value for wildlife habitat and for recreation, and eventually its value for grazing. Let's look at the lands we can reseed. They may no longer offer hope of profit in the production of cultivated crops, and may be termed "marginal" in that frame of reference, but restora- ion of the native grass cover will turn them once again into range. They then no longer will be marginal but may actually be good range sites, better than many existing ranges. Restoration to range cover serves also to check erosion, because no vebetation reduces erosion quite so well as good native cover. It also can help serve better the purposes of wildlife and recreation for which there is a rapidly - growing need and which may eventually bring far greater profits to the land holder than those from pasturing alone. The essentials for successful establishment of native grasses are relatively simple, but they are exacting and require care. The most important considerations are: 1. Good seed. 2. Good seedbed. ,3. Proper method of planting. 4. Proper time of planting. Let us consider these one by one. Good seed first of all is seed of the species that made up the original cover, in this case, the bluestems and their associates, chiefly Indiangrass and switch- grass. Many other grasses occurred there too and may be included in the mixture. They are not necessary, however. Not only must one plant the proper species, but these must be of locally adapted types. If the seed comes from local native grasslands, this requirement will be fulfilled. If it is harvested from ranges elsewhere, be sure that it does not come from more than 100 miles or so to the north or 250 miles from the south. Northern strains don't have a long enough growing season and southern ones have too long a one. They may fail to mature before frost. If improved strains grown in seed fields are used, be sure to get adapted ones. Many are now obtainable through regular market channels. Good seed must fulfill two more requirements. It must be free of weed seeds, especially certain noxious ones, and must contain enough actual filled seed to make planting worth while. Native grasses may be high in chaff, hulls, bits of stem, and other inert matter and low in actual seed. If you get seed that has germination and purity tests this information will appear on the label. Either refuse to buy material that is too low in actual seed, or if you buy it, pay Ises and plant more to compensate for the low seed percentage. You need to plant enough material to place at least 15 good seeds on each square foot of soil surface; 20 would be better. Good seedbed — The native grasses do best when sown in a prepared suitable mulch attached on a firm, stable, moist soil surface. To get such a mulch, establish a thick stand of some sorghum in June or early July by close drilling at a heavy rate. Late planting allows you to kill a crop or two of weed seedlings before drilling the sorghum. The soil will be warm by that time, thus encouraging quick germination, prompt emergence, and rapid seedling sorghum growth. That keeps down summer and fall weeds. Any that start are killed by competition of the rapidly growing sorghum. You may have to fertilize the sorghum at planting time to insure rapid growth. If the sorghum threatens to mature seed, mow it, leaving a stubble at least a foot high. Just cutting off the heads would be better. In any event, you want to avoid volunteer seedlings the next year. Proper method of planting — The native grass is drilled directly into this sorghum stubble the next spring. It is important not to work the land in any Like any business, a farm must conserve its resources if it is to pay. We have confidence in the wisdom of our county's farmers. Many of them have already begun a program of soil and water conservation on their land. Attend the SOIL CONSERVATION MEETING, Wednesday, Jan. 30th Memorial Auditorium See Us for All Your. . MANN-BELL DRUG CO. 501 N. Main Dial CH 2-3924 way, before drilling the grass but to seed directly into the stubble. To work it in any way will encourage rapid drying and stir up a new crop of weed seeds. Use a grass drill. Your soil conservation district is likely to have one designed especially for this purpose, or will at least be able to direct you to one. It will be equipped with forced - feed accurate metering of chaffy seed. The hard, free-running, seed, if this is separate, will be placed in drill boxes designed for it. The grass drill will a 1 s o be equipped with flat, double disc coulters for its furrow openers, and these will have depth flanges to prevent deep seeding, but they will cut through the stubble and into the soil surface with a mini- mum of disturbance. They will leave the soil and the mulch ready as it was before planting. The seed will be dropped between the coulters and into the furrow they make. This furrow will be closed and the soil will be pressed firmly down onto the seed by spring - loaded press wheels that follow closely behind the coulters. Don't use drag chains to close the furrow. They tear up the mulch, cover the seed lightly if at all, and let the surface dry out more rapidly. Insist on press wheels. After all, the whole operation has cost plenty in time, effort, and money and you don't want to reduce your chances of getting a good stand at this late stage. Time of planting — Experi- planting. ments by the Kansas State Unr versity Agronomy Department have shown that March and April plantings consistently give the best stands. Departure from those seeding dates will cause reduction. Don't plant later than early May or earlier than December. Planting native grasses can be as successful as planting any other crop. They need a little extra consideration, but if you follow the rules laid down here, your chances of success are very good, indeed. Remember, omit just one of these essential steps or fail to complete it, however, and the others can't save the vffle Baptist Church and belongs to a number of organizations. Tom's recommendation for soil conservation is simple: "It keeps the soil in place. The farm doesn't wash away. It's worthwhile." THE OTTAWA HERALD Monday, Jan. 28, 1981 How Productive Is A Road Ditch? Valuable topsoil has been deposited where it cannot be reclaimed. Erosion from an unprotected field has filled this road ditch with the best part of a farm. A well planned conservation program, including waterway and terraces, would have prevented this. The cost of repairing this road would have paid for the waterways and terraces. The dividends received from conservation farming greatly exceed the cost. We Salute the 17th Annual Soil Conservation Meeting Wednesday, January 30, Memorial Auditorium. CRITES APPLIANCE CENTER 419 S. Mate CH 2-3700 Concrete Thinking ... Soil Conservation and Farm Improvement Complement Each Other! MODERNIZE Your Farm With CONCRETE. • Sidewalks • Silos * Feeding Floors • Driveways • Floors • Concrete Waterways I ES • • • o "Concrete thinking" farmer knows. that CEMENT products make SOLID farming! There's no waste, no muss, no delay with our service. We deliver directly to your site! OUR CONCRETE meets both State and Federal Specifications and is HEATED for cold weather construction. Ph. CH 2-1045 for a FREE Estimate on Your Farm! READY-MIXED ^AiVI^DBTE Com P an y WWPI WI\C I E Incorporated PENNY'S Ottawa, K

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