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N. C. Experiment Station.
DIRECTIONS FOR SAMPLING FERTILIZERS.
The Station makes analyses for North Carolina farmers, without charge, provided the samples are taken according to these directions, and the proper form is completely filled up and certified to.
Samples when accepted will be entered upon our register in the order of their coming, and analyzed in turn.
The results of each analysis will be promptly communicated to the person sending the sample.
Fertilizers are sampled by the regular inspector, for official analysis and publication.
The valuation of a high-priced fertilizer requires the amounts or per cent. of its principal fertilizing elements to be known. Chemical analysis of a small sample, so taken as to fairly represent a large lot, will show the composition of the lot.
The subjoined directions, if faithfully followed, will insure a fair sample. Especial care should be observed that the sample neither gains nor loses moisture during the sampling or sending, as may easily happen in the extremes of weather, or even from a short exposure to sun and wind, or from keeping in a poorly closed vessel.
1. Provide a tea cup, some large papers, and for each sample a glass fruit jar, or tin can or box, holding about one quart, that can be tightly closed—all to be clean and dry.
2. Weigh separately at least three (3) average packages (barrels or bags) of the fertilizer, and enter these actual weights in the “ form for sending fertilizer samples.”
3. Open the packages that have been weighed, and mix well together the contents of each, down to one-half its depth, emptying out upon a clean floor, if necessary, and crushing any soft, moist Jumps, in order to facilitate mixture, but leaving hard, dry lumps unbroken, so that the sample shall exhibit the texture and mechanical condition of the fertilizer.
4. Take out five equal cupfuls from different parts of the mixed portions of each package. Pour them (fifteen in all) one over another, upon a paper, intermix again thoroughly but quickly, to avoid loss or gain of moisture, fill a can or jar from this mixture, close tightly, label plainly, and send, charges prepaid, to the
“N. C. AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION,
RALEIGH, N. c."
The following form should be filled up and sent at the same time by mail: (Blanks supplied on application).
N. C. Experiment Station.
FORM FOR SENDING FERTILIZER SAMPLES.
This form must be filled up completely.
188.. The North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, Raleigh, N. C.: SiR :-I send you to-day, marked
contained in a a fair sample drawn according to directions, of the following fertilizer :
Weight branded on each bag or package pounds. Actual weight of one bag or package
pounds. Name of fertilizer Manufactured by
at Purchased of, or received from
FERTILIZERS DURING 1886.
Under this control the trade in fertilizers has continued in a healthy state during the past two years. The following table shows the number and description of fertilizers licensed to be sold in North Carolina during the years 1881 to 1886, inclusive :
Where did these fertilizers come from? In compiling the next table, we have ascertained, as far as possible, where each brand sold in the State in each of the years from 1880 to 1886, inclusive, was manufactured, and have credited it to that State.
It is gratifying to note that North Carolina has at least made a beginning at the business of manufacturing her own manures.
The average composition of the ammoniated superphosphates with potash (so-called complete fertilizers), for each year, was as follows: AMMONIATED SUPERPHOSPHATES, WITH POTASH,
1880. 1882. 1883. 1884. 1885. 1886. Available phosphoric acid,
7.40 8.91 8.59 8.15 9.13 8.69 Ammonia,
2.70 2.60 2.33 2.67 2.65
1.30 1.82 2.18 2.13 34 2.3 Valuation on the 1886 basis,
$21.04 $23.51 $22.53 $22.90 $24.52 $23.44
In calculating the valuations, the same figures have been applied to the average analysis of each year for the purpose of comparing them. These figures prove forcibly that there has been a gradual but steady improvement in the quality of this kind of fertilizer from 1880 to 1886. By the same analyses the average per cent. of available phosphoric acid has increased from 7.40 in 1880 to 9.13 in 1885, and 8.69 in 1886; the average per cent. of potash has increased from 1.30 in 1880 to 2.30 in 1886, while the per cent. of ammonia remains remarkably near one figure for all the years except 1883, when ammoniates were unusually scarce. Thus the valuation of the average fertilizer, using the prices of 1886 for all analyses alike, has, with a few fluctuations, steadily climbed up from $21.04 per ton in 1880, to $24.52 per ton in 1885, and $23.44 in 1886. The most remarkable thing is that during this period, 1880 to 1886, the actual cash prices paid by North Carolina farmers for these fertilizərs has decreased 25 per cent., while the quality or grade has improved 14 per cent. This means that North Carolina farmers could get in 1886 for three millions of dollars what they had to pay four millions for in 1880—yes, and get an article oneseventh better than the 1880 article was.
ANALYSES OF FERTILIZERS FOR 1886.
The relative valuations merely furnish a convenient method of summing up the results of the analyses and of comparing them. They are not intended, of course, to fix the price at which the articles ought to be sold all over the State. Difference in freights to different points renders this impossible. Neither do they represent the agricultural value of the articles. This is a very different thing indeed from the commercial or market value of an article. The actual agricultural value of a manure, applied to a particular soil or crop, depends upon a great number of conditions, the properties of the soil, the cultivation, variations in the weather, &c., as well as the properties of the manure. The agricultural value and the commercial value have no fixed relation in fact ; although in using fertilizers we always hope and
expect that the value to us in the field will exceed their cost enough to give us a profit.
A conference of the State chemists of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, in September, 1885, agreed upon a new plan for estimating these values, which will be uniform for all these States.
The values we give in connection with the analyses of fertilizers in 1886 represent the relative commercial cash values on our seaboard, that is, at Wilmington, Beaufort, Newbern, Washington, Edenton or Elizabeth City. They apply as well to points like Portsmouth (Norfolk) and West Point. To ascertain the cash value for interior points, it will be necessary to add the freight from the port of entry to that point. In case of fertilizers manufactured in the interior of the State, it will be necessary to add to the value which we report, the amount of freight for one ton from Wilmington, Portsmouth or the usual port for that place. For example, to ascertain the commercial cash value of a ton of fertilizer at Raleigh, add to our value at the seaboard the amount of freight for one ton from Wilmington or Portsmouth, as the case may be. At Charlotte, add to the reported value the freight from Charleston, Wilmington or West Point, and so for every other point.
This plan differs materially from the plan previously pursued, and we ask especial attention to this. The plan followed by the Station in 1885, and all previous years, in common with most of the bureaus of the same kind, was to ascertain the average cash value of fertilizers at the chief interior centres of the trade, such as Raleigh and Charlotte, and to base the estimates upon this. This plan, always very unsatisfactory, became entirely impracticable when the competition of different fertilizer-manufacturing centres cut down the prices to the lowest margin of profits. The figures agreed upon by all these States for use during 1866 were:
AT THE SEA BOARD :
"Available" phosphoric acid...... Ammonia.....
72 cents per pound. 16 5