AGRICULTURE: Shape of Things

Farming is a business that changes slowly — except in wartime. This year's seed catalogs, agriculture college bulletins and reports of new research tell an exciting story of improved plants that promise higher yields of foodstuffs and fodder, of forgotten crops returning to favor, of drug plants formerly imported, now vital crops in the U.S.

There are new kinds of soybeans with a higher oil content than the old. An improved alfalfa resists wilt. Two brand-new types of red clover can yield a ton more of hay an acre than the old, once-popular ordinary variety that fell into disfavor because...

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