Reconnoissance soil survey of South Texas Page: 45 of 115
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RECONNOISSANCE SOIL SURVEY OF SOUTH TEXAS. 43
small amount of water obtained from them is usually brackish.
East of Closner there is a large area which can be irrigated by water
from the Rio Grande provided the supply is sufficient. In the
vicinity of Mercedes a considerable acreage is being cleared and
placed under the ditch, as are also a few fields in the vicinity of
Mission, McAllen, and Donna. As yet, however, few crops have
been taken from the fields on this type, but the indications are that
it will prove a very desirable soil, especially for the earlier truck and
fruits. It seems probable that grapes would prove more successful
on this soil than on any other in this section, unless it be the Brennan
loam. It is the best type under irrigation for watermelons, as this
crop requires a sandy soil for its best development. Alfalfa should
also prove successful. The sandy nature of the soil enables it to
maintain a mulch and to take water readily, prevents baking, makes
it easy to cultivate, and causes it to warm up very quickly, thus
making it especially suited to crops requiring a sandy soil or which
it is desired to place upon the market at the earliest possible moment.
Only a comparatively small percentage of this type can ever be
placed under irrigation, and if it is ever developed agriculturally it
must be along the line of dry farming. At Charco Charcado and
various other ranches throughout the type a small acreage has been
cleared and for several years used for this purpose. Where thorough
cultivation has been employed the efforts seem to have been attended
with some success, especially in the more eastern parts of the type.
In the wetter seasons good crops will doubtless be secured, but the
irregular character of the rainfall and the periods of deficient mois!ture
give great uncertainty to attempts at agriculture without irriation.
For this reason the greater part of the type not susceptible
lf irrigation had best be left in pasture.
Descrition.--The Brennan loam consists of 6 to 12 inches of a
ray to light grayish-brown loam, sometimes approaching a heavy
sine sandy loam on the one hand and a silt loam on the other. The
fighter textured areas occur near the contact with the Brennan fine
sandy loam, while the more silty portions are found where it has
been developed away from the sandy soils and more closely associated
with those of heavier texture, as in the vicinity of San Juan.
Very little organic matter is present and this, together with the very
high lime content, often gives the surface the white, floury appearlnce
characteristic of the Laredo silt loam. This soil bakes slightly,
~ut under irrigation breaks up into a loose friable loam which is
easily cultivated a comparatively small amount of work yielding an
deal mellow seed bed. The soil, however, is much in need of organic
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Coffey, George Nelson. Reconnoissance soil survey of South Texas, book, June 16, 1910; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth19753/m1/45/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.