Deservedly forgotten byways in agriculture

I’ve been reading in Frank B. Morrison’s Feeds and Feeding (21st ed. Ithaca NY: Morrison Publishing 1950), a book my father used in college. It’s quite pre-industrial ag in outlook: chickens are presumed to be pastured, hay balers are a new thing, etc, so it fits in well with Black Water Farm practices. But every once in awhile I encounter a shocker. Like this:

In a patented method, called the A. I. V. method, a mixture of hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid is added to the forage as a preservative. A larger amount of acid is used than in the phosphoric-acid method, so as to diminish the bacterial fermentations somewhat. In comparisons in this country of the A.I.V. method with other methods of ensiling hay crops, it has been found that it has no special advantage and is inferior to other methods under our conditions, because of the destructive action of the sulfuric and hydrochloric acids on clothing, the silo-filling machinery, and the silo wall…..In feeding A.I.V. silage. ground limestone or some other form of calcium carbonate should be added to neutralize the mineral acid used as a preservative.

Gee, ya think? A.I.V. stands for A. I. Virtanen, the Finn who got the bright idea of adding battery acid to cattle feed.


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