The American Farm Book: A Practical Treatise on Every Staple Product of the United States (1849)

Richard Lamb Allen

Wheat and Rye: Converting Winter to Spring, and vice versa

p. 128
The only division necessary for our present purpose, is of the winter wheat (Triticum hybernum), and spring or summer wheat (T. aestivum). The former requires the action of frost to bring it to full maturity, and is sown in autumn. Germination before exposure to frost, does not, however, seem absolutely essential to its success, as fine crops have been raised from seed sown early in the spring, after having been saturated with water and frozen for some weeks. It has also been successfully raised, when sowed early in the season, while the frost yet occupied the ground.

Spring and winter wheat may be changed from one to the other, by sowing at the proper time through successive seasons, without material injury to their character. The latter grain is by far the most productive; the straw is stouter; the head more erect and full; the grain plumper and heavier, and the price it bears in market, from eight to fifteen per cent. higher than that of spring wheat. This difference depends rather on the appearance of the flour and its greater whiteness, than on any intrinsic deficiency in its substantial qualities.

p, 139
Excellent spring grain has been produced, by early sowing from choice winter wheat, which has retained most of the characteristics of the original, under its new summer culture.

p. 140
There is but one species of rye; but to this cultivation has given two leading varieties, the spring and winter. Like wheat, they are easily transformed into each other, by sowing the winter continually through successive generations, to change it into spring rye, and the opposite course will ensure its re-conversion into winter grain. The last should be sown from the 20th of August to the 20th of September, the earliest requiring less seed, as it has a longer time to tiller and fill up the ground.

The same information about changing wheat and rye from winter to spring forms, and vice versa, was reported by Allen in A Brief Compend of American Agriculture (1847).

Also see the report of Abbot's experiment in the winter of 1836-37 and of Culley's experiences in the 18th century.