The Right Bacteria





The word "bacteria" has had a grudging admission

to the vocabulary of practical farmers, and the reason is easily

stated. The knowledge of bacteria and their work is recent and limited.

They are many in kind, and scientists are only in the midst of their

discoveries. The practical farmer does well to let bacteriologists

monopolize interest in the whole subject except in so far as he can

provide some conditions that have been demonstrated to be profitable.

The work of bacteria must come more and more into consideration by the

farmer because nature uses them to produce a vast amount of the change

that is going on around us.



In consideration of the value of legumes we must take into account the

bacteria which they have associated with them, and through which they

obtain the atmospheric nitrogen. This would be a negligible matter, it

may be, if all legumes made use of the same kind of bacteria. It is

true that the bacteria must have favorable soil conditions, but they

are the same favorable conditions that our plants require. A fact of

importance to the farmer is that the bacteria which thrive on the roots

of some legumes will not serve other legumes. This is a reason for many

failures of alfalfa, crimson clover, the soybean, the cowpea, hairy

vetch, and other legumes new to the region.





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