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Blades of Green
Description: A Union Pacific sponsored film about soil conservation
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Clip #: TFA-339A
Length: 16:29
Color: Color
Sound: Sound
Library: TFA Network
Decade: 1950s
Region: North America
Country: United States
Subject: Conservation
Original: 16mm
American bison once roamed the land by the millions (:23), yet due to increased population moving west the grass growing areas had shrank. This created a need for livestock to find food from man made irrigated pastures (:42). While hogs may have been good foragers (:52), dairy animals needed improved grazing fields (1:02). A diagram for production per acre and Total Digestible Nutrients (1:23) shows that these lands will produce 5,292 lbs of TDN’s and this will create 6,688 lbs of milk during grazing season. Hay will be cut and fed to livestock during winter and the same land provides pasture for grazing (1:49). Much of this land is reclaimed from marginal land or irregular hillside (2:00), and we see farmers terracing land to prevent wash away of soil and loss of moisture (2:06). The terrace will be seeded with appropriate grasses and become part of the productive land. Grass is necessary along highway embankments to prevent soil from washing into the road with rain (2:22). Western grasslands contribute largely to the total requirements of the country (2:44). We see mature grass seed in Grand Rock Valley, Oregon nearly ready for harvest (2:58) and the method of rouging is used to eliminate off-types of plants and weed free grasses. The highest yield is in the first two years, and in successive years may decline (3:14). The seed should be harvested while in the hard dough stage; when heads are about to shatter (3:30). Binding (3:38) is a good method used and after bundles will be placed in loose sacks to be cured (3:51). Marianne Bluegrass is inspected by farmers (4:06). A mix of legumes and grass creates the most productive and nutrient rich pastures (4:19) and examples are Ladino clover and orchard grass (4:23) as well as tall fescue and alfalfa (4:31). A machine that is able to fertilize and pack the soil is shown (4:51) and we are told the soil must be moist and firm. It is more economically sound to use grass for feeding livestock than any other feed (5:46) and is profitable for hilly land as it saves soil and produces food (6:00). The plant’s roots run deep (6:17) and a diagram showing how much is produced per acre based on the top layer (3,460 lbs), crown (1,515 lbs), first 8 inches (5,420 lbs) and next 8 inches (570 lbs) is depicted (6:21). There are various methods for applying fertilizers and a chart showing the amount of production produced from fertilized versus unfertilized land is shown (7:31). The yield from pastures will depend upon a desirable mixture of grass and legume, methods establishment, supply of reasonable amounts of water, application of plant food, and pasture grazing management (8:34). Chemical sprays are also used (about once a year) to hinder growth of weeds (8:59) and the removal and covering of useless vegetation is equally as important (9:47). Other methods like chemicals, brush fires and rotters are utilized and in winter half the land will be left ungrazed to prevent moisture run off and soil erosion (11:01). New varieties and strains of turf grass have been developed and experimented with to prove worth in local conditions (11:37) one being the Merion Bluegrass; requiring less mowing due to low grow rates (11:49). These grasses will be used by home owners, public leaders, private and wholesale sellers (12:02) and they will consider adaptability, beauty and texture (12:25). We are left with the reminder that grass is not simply the blades of green upon playgrounds, baseball fields (14:00), in front of upscale business fronts and under our feet in parks (14:18) it is immortal, aggressive and a beautiful part of our world (15:15).

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