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Crossing Wheat--how New Varieties Are Started

Crossing Wheat--how New Varieties Are Started image
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Every observing farmer knows tliat it is quite diflleult to keep liis corti pure, nul that it is mixed badly in hla field froin corn in adjoining fields. If I raise a pure yellow Dent corn, and forty rods to windward my neighbor raises a field of white Dent corn, the ears In my iield will be sprinkled with white and whitish kernels, and the deep yellow will be changed on many ears to very light yellow. Wuere two ficlds ara close' together the nearest rowwill be mixed up half and-half. Now tliis is not the case with wheat. A man will reap the kind of wheat he sows every time, and theonly mixing isby the thieshing machine. With corn, the pollen can float on the wind, or be carried by insects directly from the tassel in one field, to the gtigmaric surface at the Bilk, where the ear is formingon the stalk in another field and thus the corn is crossed, and the ear produced is a mixture of the two varieties. Not so with wheat. The fertilización necessary to produce a kernel of wheat, takes place inside the chaff; the male and femaleelementsbeing both contalned within that chaff. Henee a very delicate operatioirby a skillful hand is necessary, and just at the right time, in order to cross two varieties of wheat. Two heads are selected from the two kinds to be crossed. At the right time thechalT containins the prospectivo kernel must be carefully pried open, and, the anthers which contain the pollendust which lias not yet imparted its llfe-givïng power to the would-be kernel, must be out off and taken out. Then a chaff from the other head of wheat must be opened carefully and thepollen-dustfromthe anthers within must be taken out and introduced inside the chaff of the flrst, and to come in contact with the stigmatic surface. The chaff must then be carefully closed up, and if the thing has not been killed In the pperation and perfect fertilization has been accoinpllshed, a kernel will be gradually developed which will be a cross of th; two varieties taken. If only one kernel is thus operated on, when the erop ripens and you take care of it, you will nave one Kernei ot tne new wheat to sow the next year, but f all the kerneis of the head were successfully operateil on, a better start would be secured. Unprincipled men mighttry to humbug farmers with wheat cluimed to be a cross of two varieties, or they mlght claim a big thing on a cross of varieties belonglng to two dlstinct species of wheat, and dub It a hybrid of uncommon promisu, and they might succeed in the liumbugof selling an old wheat undera new name, and I know no way to stop them. Theonly sure way is to deal with men who have a rcputation for square dealine, and who are known to have head enough to do the job successfully which Is required in order to produce a hybrid wheat. Some of the graduates of our universlties, and agricultural colleges, where time liangs heavily on their hands and they are tired of base ball and progressive euchre, might find intercsting 'and instructive occupation, and possibly profitable withal, putting thelrscientific knowledgeto practical use by bringing 'into existence new varieties of usetul seedsand grains by the above mentioned delicate and trulv tifie work. Wm. Strong. Kalamazoo, Sept. 22. A thanksgiying noem bythe late Helen Hunt Jackson (will be .111 interesting fcnture In the November Wiiie Awake.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News