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A Southern Legume
Affecting Physical Condition
Close Grazing
Fertilizing Value
Harvesting With Livestock
The Cowpea For Hay

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Acquaintance With Terms
Adaptation To Eastern Needs
All The Nitrogen From Clover
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Amount Of Application
Amount Of Manure
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An Excess Of Nitrogen

The Cowpea For Hay

The hay is one of our most palatable
feeding-stuffs. Livestock may reject it the first time it is put into
the manger, but a taste for it is quickly acquired, and soon it is
eaten greedily. The high content of protein makes it exceptionally
valuable for young animals and milk cows, and the manure contains a
high percentage of nitrogen. The difficulty in making the hay is a
drawback, but this is over-rated. While rain discolors the vines and
makes them unattractive in appearance, the hay remains more palatable
and nutritious than good timothy, if the leaves are not lost in curing.
When the first pods turn yellow, the crop should be harvested. The
vines can be left in the swath until the top leaves begin to burn and
then be put into windrows with a sulky hay-rake. The windrows should be
small, the rake merely serving to invert half the vines upon the other
half, bringing new surface to the sun. After another day of curing, the
windrows should be broken up into bunches no larger than can be pitched
upon the wagon by a workman, thus saving the trouble of disentangling
the vines. If rain comes, the bunches should be inverted the following
day. In dry, hot weather the curing proceeds rapidly, while in cooler
latitudes or cloudy weather the curing may require a week. The chief
point is to prevent undue exposure of the leaves to the sun, and this
is accomplished by the turning. The hay will mold in the mow if not
thoroughly well cured, unless placed in a large body in a deep, close
mow that excludes the air. Some farmers use the latter method
successfully, but the experimenter with the cowpea usually will fail,
and should prefer thorough field curing, at the risk of some damage
from rain and sun. The leaves are the most nutritious part of the
plant, excepting the seed.

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