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REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR

OF THE

AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION.

The year 1886 was one of great development in the work of our Experiment Station. An Experiment Farm and a Weather Station were added to its agencies during the year.

By the establishment of the Experiment Farm this Agricultural Experiment Station was made the complete institution contemplated by the law organizing it. According to The Code, this institution was to have two arms or agencies—first it is to be a bureau to control fertilizers; and, secondly, it is to be an Agricultural Experiment Station of the broadest type. It is worth while to quote this section as a whole:

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SEC. 2196. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT AND FERTIL-.

IZER CONTROL STATION ; DUTIES OF THE CHEMIST.

“ The Department of Agriculture shall establish an Agricultural Experiment and Fertilizer Control Station, and shall employ an analyst, skilled in agricultural chemistry. It shall be the duty of said chemist to anlyze such fertilizers and products as may be required by the Department of Agriculture, and to aid so far as practicable in suppressing fraud in the sale of commercial fertilizers. He shall also, under the direction of said Department, carry on experiments on the nutrition and growth of plants, with a view to ascertain what fertilizers are best suited to the various crops of this State ; and whether other crops may not be advantageously grown on its soils, and shall carry on such other investigations as the said Department may direct. He shall make regular reports to the said Department of all analyses and experiments made, which shall be furnished, when deemed useful, to such newspapers as will publish the same. His salary shall be paid out of the funds of the Department of Agriculture.”

In respect to the law establishing it, this is the broadest institution of this kind in the country.

In each biennial report to the Board since 1880 the Director has quoted this law, and has urged the immediate establishment of the Experiment Farm in order to put it into effect.

It is plain that this agency or bureau, which was to be established, was to have two general purposes. It was to be a place where scientific experiments, having a direct, practical bearing upon agriculture, were to be made. This purpose is more fully elaborated in the sentence : “He shall also, under the direction of said Department, carry on experiments on the nutrition and growth of plants,” &c.

The other purpose of the Station, the control of the trade in fertilizers, is further defined by the words, “It shall be the duty of the said Chemist to analyze such fertilizers and products as may be required by the Department of Agriculiure, and to aid as far as practicable in suppressing fraud in the sale of commercial fertilizers."

The second purpose has been accomplished from the beginning of the Station's existence. The first one, the Department considered itself unprepared to accomplish until the past year. For this purpose, land, buildings and a more extensive equipment were required than the Board of Agriculture thought they had the means to provide before. Other matters, some of them required by law, and some suggested by the needs of the hour, such as the exhibitions at the great international expositions; premiums for our home agricultural fairs; the examination and surveys of deposits of useful minerals, as of coal and phosphates ; the propagation and the introduction of new species of fish ; publishing great numbers of books and maps illustrative of the State, etc., absorbed all the available funds of the Department.

So it was that the first purpose of the Station had to remain unaccomplished for eight years. But now, this purpose, necessarily slow of accomplishment even when started, bids fair to be attained before the first ten years of the existence of the Station are fully spent.

Mr. Milton Whitney was appointed Superintendent, and the work of preparing the farm commenced on April the first.

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The Experiment Farm is located north west of Raleigh one and a half miles, adjoining the State Fair Grounds. The State Agricultural Society gave the use of about twenty-five acres of land, and the Board of Agriculture purchased ten acres additional.

The soil is in many respects well adapted to the purposes of experiment. During the year 1886 a modest start has been made. The experimental ground has been carefully examined, laid off and drained, and roads and walks made. The most necessary buildings have been erected on the land which the Board owns. The year has been chiefly taken up with this work of preparation. By the aid of the Penitentiary authorities we were able to obtain a force of convicts for a short time, and the preliminary work of grading and grubbing was done rapidly and effectually. The Board of Agriculture has expressed its gratitude to the Penitentiary Board for this very valuable assistance.

This is to be a strictly scientific station, not a “model farmı.” No more land will be cultivated than is necessary for obtaining accurate results, and not a dollar will be spent for mere ornament or show. It is to be simply a field laboratory. The station will have thus a chemical laboratory indoors, at the Agricultural Department Building, and a laboratory in the plant house and in the field at the Experiment Farm. In the chemical laboratory analyses of fertilizers, soils, marls, composts, feeding-stuffs, etc., will be made as heretofore. In the field and plant house laboratory experiments will be made, in the language of The Code, “on the nutrition and growth of plants, with a view to ascertain what fertilizers are best suited to the various crops of the State," on “new agricultural industries adapted to the various climates and soils of this Statė,” on “the subject of drainage and irrigation," on “the diseases of cattle and other domestic animals,” “relating to the ravages of insects, and the methods of their abatement," and "such other investigations as the said department may direct.” (See The Code, Sections 2189 and 2195).

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A somewhat detailed account of the improvements upon the Farm are given in a later part of this report.

The Experiment Farm will, by the next spring, be reasonably well equipped, and ready for real work. North Carolina farmers will rejoice at this step of progress, and it is to be hoped that the station, in its complete form, will receive their renewed support and encouragement.

THE WEATHER SERVICE.

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Among the earliest plans proposed for work at the Experiment Farm was a series of observations upon soil temperatures at different depths, in connection with the usual observations of air temperatures, rain-fall, etc. A few months' study of this subject increased our interest in it, and established our purpose to prosecute the observations for a series of years. .

This suggested to us the desirability of having a man who could devote his time to this and similar work, and application to the Chief Signal Officer was accordingly made by the Board of Agriculture, by resolution at its July meeting, asking for the establishment of a weather station at the Farm.

General W. B. Hazen, the Chief Signal Officer, gave a proinpt and favorable reply to the petition of the Board and promised them the assistance of an experienced weather observer, the equipment of one full signal station, with a sufficient supply of blanks, forms, &c., upon condition that we would undertake the work of distributing weather warnings throughout the State, in addition to that of an observing station. After studying the plans of a State Weather Service, as these organizations are called, we decided to undertake this work.

It was in this way tliat the State Weather Service became connected with this Experiment Station.

Mr. W. O. Bailey, an experienced observer of the U. S. Signal Corps, was stationed here, and the weather station started operations at the Experiment Farm on the first of December. The meteorological work conducted at the Farm before that date included studies of the air and soil temperatures, the moisture in the soil and a record of sunshine. To this has now been added the regular work of a full signal station. Full details of the work of this weather service will be given further on.

COMMERCIAL FERTILIZERS.

The work at the laboratory has gone on uninterruptedly during the past year and has taken the usual range, with the exception of some soils and farm products analyzed for the Experiment Farm.

The analyses of commercial fertilizers, of marls, phosphates, composts, and materials for using in them, has occupied the larger part of the time of the Station's analytical force. The number of brands of fertilizers licensed to be sold in the State during 1886 was 90.

Of these fertilizers we made 223 analyses on official and farmers' samples. These fertilizers were entered as having been manufactured in the following States: Massachusetts 1, Connecticut 1, New York 3, New Jersey 3, Delaware 4, Maryland 35, Pennsylvania 1, Virginia 21, North Carolina 10, South Carolina 11-total 90.

It is gratifying to note that North Carolina has at least made a beginning at the business of manufacturing her own fertilizers.

GENERAL WORK.

The following list shows the details of general analytical work done during the year :

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