More on the Calhoun Experimental Station

This one was written three years earlier than the previous article. It goes into a very detailed description of what the station was doing.

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) February 17, 1890, Page 7


An Institution of Incalculable Value
to the Farmers of Louisiana.

The Station at Calhoun – Its History,
Workings and Results.

Its Connecting Agencies – The North
Louisiana Agricultural Society
and Agricultural College.

Its Efficient Management – The Offi-
cers in Charge.

            The North Louisiana Experiment Station is located upon the tertiary hills of north Louisiana.

            On the 6th day of April, 1888, there was turned over to the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College a tract of land containing 330 acres, in Ouachita parish, fourteen miles west of Monroe, lying immediately on the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad and near the village of Calhoun.  When purchased the tract was without fences or houses of any kind.  A portion of the land was cleared and had been considerable worn by constant cultivation, it is said, of seventy-five years.  Another portion had been cleared, but was now covered with a growth of short-leaf pines, averaging one foot in diameter.  A third and larger portion was covered with the original timber – oak, hickory and pine.  Notwithstanding this late day of the year, Dr. Stubbs immediately began operations toward crop experiments.  Plank and wire fences, inclosing over 100 acres of land, were soon built, and fifty acres of the “old fields” were brought under cultivation, thirty of which were planted in general field crops and twenty devoted to experiments.


was divided into 15 plots.  Plots 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8 were devoted to cotton; plots 2, 4, 7, 9 and 15 to corn; plot 10 to forage crops; plot 11 to sorghums; plot 12 to sundry crops; plot 13 to cow peas, and plot 14 to watermelons.  Space cannot her be given to such results.  Suffice it here to give the object of experiments with whatever pertinent information may have been gathered.  The object of plot 1 was to test the value of different fertilizers.  Forty experiments of this nature were conducted, and equal parts of cotton seed meal and acid phosphate and one of German kainit was found to give the best results, yielding 2000 pounds seed cotton per acre.  It was conclusively shown by these experiments that this soil needs first, and badly, nitrogen; and second, phosphoric acid; and quantities varying from 200 to 500 pounds per acre seems well adapted.  The object of plot 5 was to determine best distance in width of rows for cotton on this soil.


with 150 pounds of mixture consisting of 2 parts of cotton seed meal, 2 of acid phosphate and q of German kainit applied broadcast.  The rows varied in width from 2 ½ to 6 feet.  The results of the experiments suggested rows from 2 ½ feet to 4 feet, one stalk every “hoe chop.” on these lands.

            Plot 6, tested distance required by cotton in the drill to obtain best results.  Cotton was chopped, leaving one stalk from every 8 to 48 inches.  The results showed in favor of 8 to 20 inches. 

            Plot 7, tested cotton varieties; 31 varieties of cotton were planted and the yield of lint per acre favored the Peterkin variety, with Hawkin’s, Petit Gulf, Crawford’s peerless, Dickson’s, King’s improved and Wilbourne’s pet, oats, Jones & Jower’s improved following closely behind.

            The corn experiments were of three kinds:  first, manurial requirements; second, distances in rows and third, varieties.  Plot 2, manurial requirements favored cotton seed meal and green cotton seed.  Plot 7, to test distance in width of rows, showed 5 feet the best distance.  Plot 9 was devoted to fourten [sic] varieties of corn.


and the yield per acre in shelled corn was in favor of Chamberlain’s prolific, with McQuade, Alabama, Calhoun and Southern prolific following closely behind.  Throughout north Louisiana it is the custom to “pull the fodder” from the stalks.  Plot 14, tested the loss, if say, in grain yield by stripping the fodder, at the same time a maximum yield was sought.  The results of experiments duplicated showed a loss in the first instance of 520 pounds, and in the second 668 pounds, caused by “fodder pulling,” amounts equaling about 7 and 9 bushels per acre, or 15 and 20 per cent of corn made.  The maximum yield in this plot was 53 bushels of shelled corn, fertilized, against 3 bushels of shucks and nubbins, unfertilized.  It was noted above that 2200 pounds of seed cotton fertilized, against 300 pounds unfertilized were gathered.  These two facts alone show the advantage and increase of fertilized over unfertilized crops.  It give, too, an idea of the poverty of the soil, at the same time showing the susceptibility of the lands to fertilizers.

            Plot 10 was devoted to


Teosinte, pearl millet, Kaffir corn, Mille maize, rural branching sorghum and large African millet were planted, and all succeeded well and proved themselves admirably adapted to their purpose.

            It is worthy of note here to state that the rural branching sorghum produced 13.65 tons of cured fodder per acre and 16.30 bushels of seed, Millo maize 13.04 tons cured hay and 55.30 bushels seed and large African millet 13.82 tons of cured fodder and 107.12 bushels seed.  This fodder and grain producing quality renders them indeed valuable to the farmer, while teosinte and pearl millet are valuable soiling plants.

            Plot 11 was devoted to sorghums for the double purpose of testing their capacity for sugar-making and for forage purposes.  In both they proved not inferior.  Following are the varieties with their per cent glucose and sucrose, as shown by chemical analysis made the latter part of September, 1888:

            Early amber, 11.4 per cent sucrose, 1.37 per cent glucose; early orange, 11.8 per cent sucrose, 2.56 per cent glucose; new orange, 10.5 per cent sucrose, 2.20 per cent sucrose, Link’s hybrid. 12.3 per cent sucrose, 1.56 per cent glucose; white India, – per cent sucrose, 0.87 per cent glucose; golden rod, 10.6 per cent sucrose, 1.36 per cent glucose.

            Plot 14 was devoted to sundry crops, such as Brazilian flour corn, buckwheat, Chapman’s honey plant, Spanish peanut, Virginia peanut, and Georgia red peanut.  The Spanish peanut is an excellent variety, early, fine bearer and sound peas.  The others were found faulty.  Buckwheat is a rapid grower, giving three crops annually, is a good hay and its fruit excellent for bees.  The other sundries are


to justify comment.

            Plot 13 and the last was devoted to cow peas.  The varieties planted were:  Pea of the backwoods, the unknown pea, the couch, dwarf whippoorwill, clay, lady, white prolific, Indian, King’s red ripper and soja bean.  Aside from the experiment field, over fifty acres of wooded land was cleared for the purpose of general crops.  Cross fences dividing the lands into tillage and pasture were built,.  A garden of nearly an acre in size was paled in, large gullies filled up, and unsightly inequalities removed.  During the summer of 1888 contracts were let for necessary buildings and as the result of those contracts the station is now equipped with an eight-room, two-story dwelling, a two-story, 40×60 corrugated iron barn, twelve neatly-built inclosed stalls, a wagon and buggy shed with toolhouse attached, a laboratory and outhouses for laborers.

            During the fall of ’88 four pastures, well sodded with Bermuda grass, were built for stock and supplied in November with one pair of Holstein cattle, of the celebrated Aggie family, and one pair of Jerseys of the famous St. Lambert strain.  Two other breeds, perhaps the Ayrshires and Guernseys, will be added.  In April of the present year the station received one pair each of the Berkshire, Essex, red Durocs, white Chesters and Yorkshire breeds of hogs.  Also one pair each of the Cotswold, Merino, Southdown and Shropshiredown breeds of sheep.  With each breed of the latter one pair of common ewes has been placed for the purposes of grading.  It is the object of the station, at no distant day, to introduce one breed or more of improved horses.  For as this portion of Louisiana is


it is the desire of the station to determine which kinds are best adapted to this section, and further, to give practical lessons in the principles underlying stock feeding and stock raising.

            In a lot specially dedicated to the purpose, sixteen neat web wire yards 30×60 feet, with neat and substantial houses, have been erected for different kinds of poultry.  A trio each of longshans, black minorcas, wyandottes, brown leghorns, barred and white Plymouth Rock, buff and partridge cochins, hondons, light brahmas and silver spangled Hamburgs breeds of chickens have already been supplied and one pair of Pekin ducks.  A careful daily record of the eggs laid by each breed is kept, together with such other characteristics as are worthy of note, all of which will be published in bulletin form.  Later this supply of poultry will be increased by addition of other varieties, including not only chickens, but also turkeys and chickens.

            The station is also testing different varieties of fruits.  Early in the winter of the present year two trees each of the following were carefully planted:  Ten varieties of figs, 1 of filberts, 4 of almonds, 6 of quinces, 15 of apricots, 8 of nectarines, 8 of chestnuts, 10 of Japanese persimmons, 16 of plums, 34 pears, 32 of peaches, 40 of apples, 56 of grapes and 26 of strawberries.

            Some six acres of the main experiment field have been


grasses and clovers.

    In October of the past year experiments in wheat, oats, barley and rye were planted, and small plots of red clover, alsike clover, white clover, Bokhara clover, crimson clover and Lucerne, were sown and increased in the spring, with birdsfoot clover and mellilotus.  Good stans of clovers failed to come up; however, they bid fair to do well, especially the red, white and crimson clovers.  Of grasses there were planted Texas blue grass, Para grass, red top grass, tall meadow oat grass, soft brown grass, tall fescue grass, Italian rye grass, Kentucky blue grass, orchard grass, timothy grass, rescue grass, Randall grass, velvet grass and English rye grass.  All the grasses have done wonderfully well.  And especially popular are the Texas and Kentucky blue grasses and the Italian rye.  These same experiments in grasses and clover will be continued until the best are decided upon.

    During this fall most of the plots will be increased to one-half acre, and the quality of grasses, etc., will be tested on a more extended and practical scale.

    From the wheat, oats and barley experiments the station gathered respectively 17 ½, 65 ½ and 58 ½ bushels per acre.  And these results came from lands recently growing in pine saplings, very poor and denuded of surface soil, the fertilizer being green cotton seed.



to this people, the station experimented in the following varieties of garden vegetables the present year:  12 varieties of garden peas, 11 varieties of cabbage, 12 of onions, 6 of radishes, 5 of lettuce, 8 of beets, 12 of tomatoes, 3 of sugar corn and 17 of beans.  There were also conducted experiments of three kinds in Irish potatoes, first, varieties, second physiological experiments, third, fertilizer tests.  The object of the first was to test the varieties, which test favored Boston peerless, rural blush and beauty of Hebron.  The object of the physiological experiments was to test the size of potato best to plant, using large and medium whole potatoes, and then to test cuttings, using cuttings with several eyes and then with oneeye.  Evidence here was emphatically in favor of the large and medium potato.  Even in the growth the inferiority of cuttings was noticeable.  The last object was to test the value of different fertilizers; 26 experiments were conducted.  The best yield was 275 1/3 bushels per acre, fertilized with crushed cotton seed, acid phosphate and German kainit, against 63 1-10 bushels unfertilized.

    Full and complete reports have already been made in bulletin form of vegetables and potatoes.  The information is considered valuable and the station will gladly furnish any address with bulletins.

    The main experiment field was this year drafted into twenty plots.  The plots in corn and cotton will be continued as they are, with the same fertilizer, for five years, so as to determine accurately the increase in produce and building up soil in that time.  The forage, sundry grass, grain and clover crops are continued on a more extended scale, and what has been said, will now apply.

    Experiments in


one of upland rice, and two of sweet potatoes, Jersey sweet and yam, have been conducted, the two latter with marked success.  The plots devoted to watermelons, fourteen varieties, and muskmelons, seven varieties, were highly successful, as many visitors to the farm can testify, the soil proving itself eminently adapted to melon culture.

    The plots devoted to varieties in corn and cotton have been increased in the one instance to twenty-six, and in the other to thirty-seven.

    The following plots will serve to show what will be the objects sought with corn and cotton in the next five years.  Plots A B and C will be devoted to rotation of crops, using corn, cotton, peas and oats for the rotating crops.  Plot A was sown in oats, they were removed and peas sown and they to be turned under, when corn, now occupying plot C will be planted next spring, while plot B, now cotton, will receive oats this fall, and plot C cotton in the spring.  This will be the order for five years.  Meanwhile one-half of each plot will be fertilized, while the other remains unfertilized.  The object here is to determine how much these lands can be “built up” by a series of rotating crops, with and without fertilizers.

    Plot 2 of cotton and plot 9 of corn are duplicates of each other, and are devoted especially to nitrogenous manures.  Nitrogen in its various forms (animal, vegetable and mineral) and invariable quantities and proportions are here used.  The object is to determine the best form, the

best proportions with other fertilizers to use for both corn and cotton, making all of equal cots.

    Plot 1 of cotton and plot 10 of corn are again duplicates, and are devoted especially to phosphates and potash manures.  The same information is sought here of these manures as is sought of the nitrogen plots of corn and cotton.

    Plot 6 of cotton and plot 11 of corn are also duplicates.  The object here is to test the value of applications of manures made at planting, second working and “laying by” with corn and cotton.  The results thus far indicate that with cotton it is the best to apply all the fertilizer at time of planting.  With corn the reverse is conclusively true.  In every instance two applications gave a better yield than one, and three better than two.  The difference was well marked even in growth.

    Plot 4 is devoted to


    The object here is to determine the best depth to apply manure for cotton.  The fertilizer was applied very deep, medium deep, shallow and “top dressed.”  Results favor the fertilizer applied very deep.  Plot 5 is devoted to cotton distances.  The object here is to determine the best distance to grow cotton in the drill.  At the same time the value of “topping” cotton is tried.  The cotton was left one stalk every 8 inches and two stalks every 8 inches, etc., on up to 24 inches.  Results thus far indicate one stalk 8 inches to be the best distance.  But this is not conclusive, as the crop is not all harvested.

    Results favor a larger yield too to the “topped” cotton.  But whether the increase will pay for the extra labor of topping is yet a question.

    It is regretted that results of harvesting cannot now be given.  Bulletin reports, however, will soon be issued in full, when they may be gotten on application.

    The cotton experiments have yielded well, nearly all going a bale and over to the acre, and some as high as a bale and a half, against 300 pounds seed cotton, unfertilized, per acre, while the corn goes from 30 to 40 bushels per acre, against 6 and 8 bushels unfertilized.

    Plots 7 and 8 are devoted to sugar cane and sorghum.  Of the former there are 30 varieties growing and 107 of the latter.  Sugar cane is now analyzing 12.5 to 13.5 per cent sucrose and 2 to 4 [?] per cent glucose, while some of the sorghums have done equally as well.

From the above report it may be seen the station is instructing in the raising of grasses, grains, clovers, fruits and vegetables, as well as in the raising of the staple crops – corn, cotton, peas, etc. – thus introducing a much needed diversified farming.  In brief, the North Louisiana Experiment Station is the pioneer in this portion of the state in diversified, intensive, economic and scientific farming, and in improved stock and poultry raising.  That the people appreciate the location and the efforts of the station is testified by the large gatherings at the farm on the meeting days of the North Louisiana Agricultural Society, which society is


There has recently been built, by the station, a large and commodious hall, with a capacity of 1000 seats, for the use of this society.  Its doors, however, will be opened to all meetings of an agricultural nature.  Already the good results of this society, working in conjunction with the station, have been recognized throughout the state.  And doubtless the two, working in conjunction, are destined to promote agriculture to a higher and more profitable standard.  The people of north Louisiana are proud of this, their first national recognition, and on every hand grateful people are acknowledging their appreciation of the station’s location by the Louisiana State University, and are doing yeomen’s service towards bettering their condition.


assistant director, chemist and botanist of the North Louisiana Experiment Station, is a native of Union parish, his ancestors having been the pioneers of that portion of Louisiana, and the name of Lee has always been closely identified with the interests of that parish.

    Major Lee was raised upon his father’s farm in the vicinity of Farmersville, and was thoroughly instructed in the practical details of farm life, which experience, added to the scientific training he afterwards received at the Louisiana State University, eminently fitted him for the position he now so ably fills.

    Major Lee attended the high school in Farmersville prior to his entrance into the university, which took place in February, 1884.  He graduated in 1888, taking the degree of B.S.  During the last term of his collegiate career he was appointed assistant commandant of cadets, an acknowledgment of appreciation and confidence reposed, in him by the faculty.  About that time he was complimented by a military commission on Governor McEnery’s staff, enjoying the celebrity of being the youngest staff officer in the state.  Our contemporary, the Weekly Louisiana Review, recently paid the following tribute to the subject of our sketch:

    “Major Jordan Gray Lee is of that most admirable type of manhood, a self-made man – a distinguished graduate of the Louisiana State University and A. and M. College, a young gentleman of the highest instincts, who has, by application, his acquirements and sterling worth, gained the esteem of those who have watched his career, with deep interest, to such a degree that soon after his graduation he was complimented with a supervisory position at the North Louisiana Agricultural Station.”

    Major Lee is in his 26th year, and though so young, has attained a position that might be coveted by those of mature years.  His high sense of duty, his practical and classical education, his scientific training and natural talent give


in the literary and scientific world.  The subject of our sketch was recently married to Miss Addie McGrath of Baton Rouge, La.  The union elicited many flattering comments from the state press, of which Miss McGrath was a member.

    This experimental station enjoys one feature distinct from that of any other experiment station, to-wit, the benefits which accrue from a monthly discussion of important agricultural subjects which is under the auspices of the North Louisiana Agricultural Society, which was the outgrowth of the station.  The society was organized in the spring of 1888, two months after the foundation was laid for the station, and now has a membership of 500 farmers who are citizens of the different parishes of north Louisiana.

    These monthly meetings have proven a great exposition and intellectual treat to those who were seeking the very best experience of successful men.  The subjects are selected and speakers assigned a month in advance of the discussion.  At one meeting this year 3500 people were present, and seldom less than 1000 are visitors on these occasions.  With the new hall just completed, with seating capacity for over 1000 people, no character of weather can interfere or discommode the people in these public gatherings.  No greater schoolhouse or grander teacher is to be had in the south than these meetings at this experiment station.  Many of Louisiana’s prominent and public men have assisted in these meetings, among whom were Governor Nicholls, Supreme Court Justice McEnery, Commissioner of Agriculture Bird, General J.L. Brent, Hon. John Dymond, Henry McCall, Colonel F.P. Stubbs, Hon. H.P. Wells, Hon. W.H. Jack, Colonel Nicholson of State University, and many others who are well posted on and greatly interested in agricultural development.  The next meeting will be held Oct. 31.  The officers of the society are John M. White of Lincoln parish and L.C. Drew, editor of the Experimental Farmer, at the station.  The president is an important factor in this work and is a devoted Louisianian.


was born in Clark county, Ala., in the year 1840, and emigrated from there with his father in 1847 to Union county, Ark., and lived there nine months, and thence to Union parish (now Lincoln parish), La., and here in his boyhood, among the ruffians occupying the hills of north Louisiana in those days, received his education (completed in the finishing of McGuffie’s Second Reader), spending the week days between ploy handles and Sundays in recreation visiting the orchards and mill ponds.  He married at the age of 19, and is now the father of seven sons and each has a sister.  All are living save one, and he is in heaven.  In October, 1861, he volunteered his service into the Confederate States, Company E of the Nineteenth Louisiana Regiment, and was sworn in at Camp Moore under Colonel Hodge of Shreveport, La., in January following at New Orleans, and then joined Ruggles’ Brigade, and early in the spring joined General Albert Sidney Johnston at Corinth, Miss., and hear this place, at the great battle of Shiloh, he first saw the fruits of war.  He served in the campaigns of Generals Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Johnston and Hood, was in sixteen different battles and surrendered at Meridian, Miss., April, 1865, receiving his parole signed by General R.L. Gibson.

    Now, after an absence of nearly four years, he returned home empty handed, and from that time till now has


earnestly contending with the world for a living with a dark gloom in the future, until the bright star of hope appeared – the experiment farm, located at Calhoun, La., with Prof. Wm. C. Stubbs at its head, who has taught the farmer how to make two blades of grass grow where only one formerly grew.  Mr. White, as a citizen, is fairly well to do and is highly respected by a large circle of friends.  With only one exception he has presided at ever monthly meeting of the agricultural society of which he is president.

    The North Louisiana Agricultural and


a chartered educational institution established at Calhoun, in August, 1889, by Profs. C.C. Harris and r.A. Williams, will greatly aid and hasten the dissemination of the valuable scientific truths of an advanced and progressive agriculture – the purpose for which this station was founded.

    The laudable object of the founders of this school is “To aid in the grand work of promoting the welfare of the people of Louisiana by the increased development of her agricultural wealth and to assist in elevating the plane of agriculture to its true place among the important sciences.”

    The curriculum of the college in its literary department is practical, broad and scholarly.

    The agricultural department is arranged for a course of four years’ instruction, embracing zoology, botany, physiology, physics, chemistry, general agriculture, truck farming, fruit culture, cattle feeding and improved farm implements.

    The policy of this department is stated in the commencement catalogue as follows:  “All students in the agricultural department will visit the farm at regular intervals under charge of their professor, and will be required to thoroughly understand the history and purposes of all experiments.  The farm will thus become their recitation room and its thousands of growing crops will be so many object lessons in agriculture.”

    The faculty for the session of 1889 – 90 is:  C.C. Harris, president; R.A. Williams, commandant; Mrs. F.R. Haile and Miss M.E. Morton.

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