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I AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I

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I AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I BY A PRACTICAL FARMER. I CO-OPERATIVE FACTORIES. Another co-operative bacon factory has to admit a loss on last year's working, though, as I have previously pointed out, this need not give rise to fears about the future of the movement. If it is given a fair trial, I think there can be no doubt that any well-equipped bacon factory should ultimately find a very profitable market for its members, and, in ad- dition. show a balance for division amongst them. The 'factory I am referring to is the Herts and Beds Farmers' Co-operative Bacon Factory at Hitchin, which recently held its first annual meeting. The annual report and balance-sheet, which were adopted, showed that the factory had had to face a tieries of adverse circumstances, euch as the Dublin dock strike, the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and severe compe- tition from Denmark (whose bacon could be purchased wholesale in England at &. per cwt. less than the factory had to pay for pigs). Notwithstanding this, the trading loss had only been 11,331, though the high rate adopted for depreciation of buildings, plant, Ac., had brought the net adverse balance up to £2,331 16s. Id. The low price of Dani-sh bacon is a formid- able factor to compete against. But many things point to increasing demand in other countries for Danish produce, which will tend to put up its price, while, on the other hand, pigs cannot continue to make the high prices they have been mkking. it will be in- teresting to see what the financial experi- ences of the factory are this year. ⦠USE OF SOCIETIES' RESERVE FUNDS. I With reference to recent remarks of mine ON this subject, I notice that Professor Long, at the annual meeting of the British Dairy Farmers' Association, spoke along somewhat similar lines in commenting on a, paragraph in the Report which regretted that the indi- vidual membership is not greater. He said he thought the reason was that the council did not take the right kind of steps to increase it. There is, he pointed out, a large sum of money at the bank, and he suggested that it might be put to very useful purposes of benefit to the industry such as The establishment of a milking herd-book or record of yields of cows giving over 1,000 gallons or so of milk in a year. To ascertain the most economical system of feeding a herd, i.e.. chiefly on the crops on the farm. This involves the question as to which crops produce the greatest weight of feeding matter per acre. Substantial prize for the best dairy farm to embrace the stock, the dairy, the crops, the arrangement, and the results. Prize for the best yield of milk by a herd of not less or more than a given number of cows. Prize for the best-equipped retail dairy- man's premises. For the best system of controlling the temperature of the butter and cheese dairy. MAIZE AS A CATCH CROP. A very useful pamphlet on Catch Crops, issued gratis by the Chilian Nitrate Commit- tee, suggests that much more of this crop might with advantage be grown. It is a quick grower and yields a large bulk of green food which is well liked 'by cattle. It can either be fed to them indoors or carted to them in the fields, or even made into ensilage. It does best on a deep loam, but will do anywhere provided the soil is warm enough .for it. As this crop will not grow in a cold soil it should not be drilled until a-b-out the beginning of June, and can therefore be taken after vetches or rye. About three bushels are sown per acre, in rows 12in. to 18in. apart. The soil should be well manured, as it is a quick grower and shallow rooter. Rooks are very fond of the seed. A dressing of farm- yard manure should be put on the land and ploughed in, while nitrate of soda at the rate of one to one and a-half hundredweight per acre should be put on when the plant is nicely through the ground, and a second similar amount a month later. If there is no farm- yard manure to spare three to four hundred- weight of superphosphate and three to four hundredweight of kainit should be worked into the soil before drilling the seed, followed by the two top-dressings of nitrate as before. With liberal treatment a crop drilled the first week in June should give thirty or forty tons per acre of good green fodder about the end of September. ⢠⢠⢠SOYA BEAN "MILK." j A new synthetic milk, prepared by an in. genious German chemist, has attracted some notice in this country during the past few weeks. A friend who has had an opportunity of tasting it tells me that he does not think anyone would be deceived by its taste, though its appearance is certainly much like that of the true lacteal fluid. Years ago the idea of an artificial imitation of butter was ridiculed, but now margarine is made which dairy farmers themselves cannot distinguish from choice butter, except, of course, after making special tests. So the possibility of synthetic milk being made and sold which resembles true milk so closely as to deceive the ordi- nary customers is by no means remote. It is as well, therefore, that the dairying industry should be prepared for this new invasion. The President of the Board of Agriculture was recently asked in the House of Commons whether he was aware that it was proposed to sell as milk a liquid prepared from soya bean, having the appearance and to some ex- tent the flavour of cow's milk, but not pos- sessing its nutritive or other qualities; and whether the Board or the Local Government Board would not exercise any powers they had to prevent the sale of such a product under the misleading denomination of milk. Mr. Runciman admitted that he was aware of the product referred to, but was not pre- pared to express any opinion as to its nutri- tive qualities. If, however, an article which was not milk was sold under that name, it would be the duty of local authorities to insti- tute prosecutions under the Food and Drugs Act for selling an article which was not of the nature, substance, and quality of the article demanded. SIZE OF HOLDINGS. I Figures collected last year show that the total number of agricultural holdings over one acre in England and Wales was 435,677, being a reduction of 209 as compared with the previous year. Rather more than half the agricultural area of the country is farmed. in holdings of over 150 acres, and about one- fourth in holdings of over 300 acres. But the occupiers of holdings above 150 acres are few in comparison with the total number of per- sons who occupy agricultural land, being only 52,000. Nearly one-third of the agricul- tural area is farmed in holdings of from 50 to 150 acres, the number of occupiers of these holdings being 91,000. Among these are many who might "be described as small- holders, in the sense that they are occupiers who cultivate their holdings mainly by the labour of themselves and their families, and employ little outside labour in the regular work of the farm. This would especially apply to the 50 or 100 acre class, in which falls the smallholding of grass land charac- teristic of Cumberland, Westmorland, Devon, and some of the Welsh counties. An interestiorf eroun »s that Of 90 f., 6A acres, wnerem it may oe assumeo would fall the bulk of the typical smallholdings on which mixed farming is practisedâi.e., tlioso which contain a. proportion of both arable and pasture. They number 78.000, and form 18 per cent. of the total, and represent nearly 10 per cent. of the land under cultivation. Below the 20 acres level the holdings are probably more heterogeneous. Many of the smaller plots, no doubt, consist of accommo- dation land held by persons mainly employed in other avocations than farming, or of pad docks, &c., held in conjunction with resi- dences, and representing land occupied for pleasure and recreation rather than for farm- ing as a business. The number of these hold- ingsâi.e., from 1 to 20 acresâis verv large, being nearly one-half of the total, although the area which they represent is only 6 per cent. of the whole. No doubt, however, many [)f them may -be assumed to be small holdings which are mainly arable, and are devoted largely to vegetables, fruit, or some form of more or less intensive cultivation.

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REVIEW OF THE CORN TRADE.

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I MAKKETS.I