8o FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.
Seed: Growing Meadow Fescue for seed is quite a profitable business. The cost of labour is small, as heavy crops can be taken from the same field for at least three years. Besides the value of the seed secured, there is an additional income from the second growth, as it can be pastured without injuring the seed crop the following year, provided the pasturing is not too close or continued too late in the fall. The crop should be cut when the panicles begin to turn brown and the whole field looks like ripening grain. The seed easily shatters out if cut too late, and this tendency makes it necessary to handle the crop very carefully after cutting. What has been said about curing and threshing Orchard Grass seed applies also to Meadow Fescue.
Quality of seed: Good commercial seed is of a rather dull greyish brown colour. It keeps its vitality for only a comparatively short time; it is not advisable to use seed more than three years old. When sown for seed, ten to fifteen pounds should be used to the acre. The weight per bushel varies from twelve to twenty-six pounds.
Diseases: Meadow Fescue is sometimes affected by rust. This does not usually appear until the crop is cut for seed, when it may damage the aftermath to such an extent as to spoil not only the pasture but the next year's seed crop, by weakening the plants and preventing them from coming through the winter in good condition.
As stated above, Tall Fescue is closely related to Meadow Fescue and cannot be distinguished from it by any fixed botanical characteristics. It is generally a little taller and somewhat coarser in texture. The second growth is heavier, thus making it a good pasture grass. Investigations in the United States indicate that it is more resistant to rust than is Meadow Fescue. But these advantages are offset by its unevenness in maturing, some seeds of a panicle being ripe while others are still soft. It must be cut early to avoid waste, but a great percentage of the seed thus obtained is not ripe and the general quality is rather poor.
It is ill work fighting against heaven. Certainly not by dint of sowing and planting what he himself desires will he meet the needs of life more fully than by planting and sowing what the earth herself rejoices to bear and nourish on her bosom.—Xenophon, The Economist, 434—355 B.C.