Proc. 3rd Annual Meeting Georgia Breeders' Assoc. pp. 153-154 (Jan 18, 1912)
Sparks Prolific Corn
Thos. H. Little, Sparta

Sparks corn was originated by John E. Sparks, in Washington county, over twenty-five years ago. It is a cross on what is known as the Watkins and the Sheep Tooth. The Sheep Tooth is known in Hancock county as the Binion corn, and originally came from Washington county. It is a splendid two-eared variety of a small deep grain. It is a very hard, flinty corn which is very necessary in middle and south Georgia on account of the weevil, as the weevil will often ruin a soft corn before it is ever gathered. The Watkins corn is a prolific corn, most stalks bearing two to three ears, small cob, wide smooth grain. Combining these two corns has made almost an ideal corn for our soil and climate. After combining the two corns, Mr. Sparks has selected the best type of corn from the best type of stalk for over twenty-five years, and I have selected it for three years. I selected the corn from a good type of stalk which has from two to three ears and the ears being of good shape, well filled at end, and being near the same size. If a stalk has three ears on it, two small and one good ear, I do not even take the good ear. I pay particular attention to the kind of stalk. If the stalk is very large, although it may bring two, three or four ears, I do not take it. This corn is a flinty corn and resists the weevil. I sold some to a gentleman in Florida, saw him just before Christmas, and he told me that he made a fine crop and it withstood the weevil better than any corn he had ever planted. It has a very thin shuck and small light cob; the stalk is not extra large and very light, thus the same number of stalks on an acre requires less moisture and plant food than a large coarse stalk, and will give the ear a better chance. Eighty pounds of this corn in the shuck will shell out sixty-two pounds of shelled corn; in other words, 8000 pounds of corn in the shuck will make about 110 bushels of shelled corn instead of 100 bushels. I have tested this several times and not in a single instance did I fail.

This corn has been bred in our hot climate, and it stands a drought well, and will often wait for a rain ten days when it is ready to shoot. A good many corns will go on and shoot anyway and fall to make corn under the same circumstances. It seems well adapted to ordinary land, as well as good or rich land. I plant the corn in four-foot rows and eighteen inches in drill, one and two stalks to the hill. In fair land, five-foot rows, two feet in the drill; in thin land, six-foot rows, three feet in the drill. I use all the stable manure I can make on the thin part of my field, put on after breaking (that is, if breaking is done in the fall) and harrow it in on rich land. I use three to four hundred pounds of kainit, three to four pounds acid phosphate, and 100 pounds nitrate of soda. On medium land, I use 250 pounds of kainit, 250 pounds phosphate and 75 pounds nitrate of soda. On thin land, about 200 pounds kainit, 200 pounds of phosphate and 65 pounds of nitrate of soda. I put all kainit and phosphate down when I plant and nitrate when corn begins to bunch.

Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to talk about farming, especially food crops, as I do not believe any farmer can make money year after year who does not raise all food for man and beast that is necessary, and some for sale. I made up my mind several years ago that I was going to make my farm one of this kind, and I am glad to say I have done so. I plant about ten acres of cotton to the plow, but I raise enough of other things to sell to run my farm, using only a part of the cotton to pay the fertilizer bill. I tell you, gentlemen, that is the only way we can afford to plant cotton.

I believe in having all the vegetable matter in our land we can, and taking as little off as possible. Now I am not talking about the dairy man, but the farmer should prepare to raise lots of hay, so the corn stalk and fodder would go back to the land. Our lands need it. Also have peas with the corn, especially on all thin land.

Thank you for your kind attention.