Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Ecology, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Jan., 1924), pp. 26-50. Copyright 1924 Ecological Society of America. Used by permission.


Numerous studies have been made on the winter killing of cereals, but few data are available on their actual growth rates during fall, winter, and early spring. No attempt has been made to correlate growth with environmental conditions, at least in the great wheat belt of the Mississippi Valley and Great Plains. During the fall of 1921 a study of the development of winter wheat both above and below ground was begun. A strain of Turkey Red winter wheat recently developed at the Kansas Agricultural College and known as Kanred was grown.

A plat of one tenth acre of fertile silt-loam soil was secured in the city of Lincoln. It was conveniently located near the University of Nebraska where living plants could be easily transferred for careful study to the laboratories of the department of botany. The field had been formed by breaking the native sod four years previously, and four crops had been grown. The 1921 crop was corn which had been cut during the latter part of August. The soil, which was in excellent tilth, was plowed to a depth of about four inches on September 20 and repeatedly harrowed until a good seed bed was obtained. The wheat was immediately drilled at a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches, the rate being 75 pounds per acre. Immediately before plowing, all stubble and weeds were removed in order to prevent them from interfering later with root excavations.