In a series of trials at the Ontario Experiment Station the Siberian proved to be the best of one hundred varieties, and on Canadian farms yielded an average of eighty or more bushels per acre. The yield of oats per acre is higher in Canada than in the United States, one hundred bushels or more per acre being not uncommon.
The Sixty-Day oat is rapidly coming into favor in some regions because of its earliness. It matures six to twelve days earlier than the ordinary varie ties. The straw is short and the kernel slender. Its early-maturing qualities make it valuable in sections where the oats are subject to rust, as it matures before the severe attacks of rust come on. Its short straw also prevents lodging to a large extent. The variety known as Kherson is practi cally identical with Sixty-Day.
New varieties in the United States are largely introductions from European countries. To this also is due the larger share of the improvement in the crop, though many fine varieties have been established by careful breeding and selection.
Oats for the South are discussed for this occasion by H. N. Starnes : "At the North there is a wide varietal range from which to choose, although throughout the south Atlantic and Gulf states the list of available profitable varieties shrinks to a lean half-dozen, or less. This does not mean that all of the northern standard varieties (with the exception of the few above referred to) cannot be grown at the South. In many localities, where climate, soil and special environment chance to be favorable they (or most of them) may be readily grown, some of them very successfully. Yet it may be safely asserted that but two varieties are so vastly superior to all others that they are now grown to the practical exclusion of the others. These varieties are Texas Red Rust-Proof, with its offspring Appler planted almost entirely in the fall, and the Burt for spring planting.
"The two former are vigorous, robust and pro ductive with a heavy head. The Burt is of value only because it will always grow tall enough to be cradled or reaped even on thin, poor land. Its head, however, is very light. Yet even Burt, in common with all other spring oats, must eventually—and probably very soon—be abandoned, since the adop tion at the South of the 'open furrow' method of seeding will render spring planting no longer neces sary, and Appler will thus remain practically the only representation of the oat at the South." Culture.
Seed.—In general, the variety is not so impor tant as the care and selection of the seed after the variety is established. Any variety suitable to the locality can be made to yield well with careful selection and grading of seed. Whatever the
variety, it is important that the seed be of the highest grade. High-grade seed consists of plump, heavy grain, free from weed seeds and other foul materials and resistant to fungous diseases.
The seed should be run through a good fanning mill to remove weed seeds and dirt, then through the mill again, so set that all light oats will be blown over. At the Ohio Experiment Station it was found that when the light oats were blown out in this way and sown, they yielded 3.68 bushels of grain and 111 pounds of straw less per acre than did the heavy grains secured at the same separation. The heavy grains also yielded 1.54 bushels more per acre than grain sown just as it came from the threshing machine.
Zavitz, of the Ontario Agricultural College, conducted an eleven-year ex periment to determine the effect of a constant selection and sowing of heavy-weight, plump grains in con trast to light-weight grain. He found that at the end of the eleven years the yield from the former was seventy seven bushels, and from the latter fifty-eight bushels per acre. Professor Zavitz expressed his belief that the yield of oats could easily be increased 15 per cent by careful breeding and selection of the seed. The oat crop of the United States in 1905, in round numbers, was 950,000,000 bushels. An increase of 15 per cent would be 142,500,000 bushels. The average price for oats in 1905 was about twenty seven cents. This would mean an addi tion of $33,475,000 to the wealth of the farmers of the United States.
The seed should be treated for the prevention of smut. In many fields the loss from smut amounts to 40 per cent or more of the crop. The treatment of the seed for smut is more important than farmers as a rule are willing to believe. In the year 1902, by close inspection of many fields in the state and with the colperation of graduates of the College of Agriculture, it was found that 17 per cent of the crop in Wisconsin was destroyed by smut. The yield of oats in Wisconsin that year was 95,000,000 bushels, which may be considered as only 80 per cent of a full crop. [See below under Diseases.] The seed should be tested as to its vitality or germinating power. A sim ple form of seed-tester is shown in Fig. 210 and described on page 141. Another tester is shown in Fig. 391. If the tester is placed where it will be exposed to ordinary room temperature, or 70° to 80° Fahr., a good germination of oats should be obtained in three days. Using one hundred seeds to begin with, the number that germinate will represent the percentage of germination, which should be 97 per cent.