Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page

THE NEWS BUDGET. --

THE DROUGHT AND THE FLAX CROP.

News
Cite
Share

THE DROUGHT AND THE FLAX CROP. Until the change which took place within the last few days, the weather of the past six or eight weeks has been remarkable for the absence of those heavy August rains which, in other seasons, were wont to visit this part of Ulster. Many of the older farmers state that since 1822 there has not been an August so dry and parching as the month just closed. Not only have they totally missed the "Lammas floods" of former years, but the quantity of moisture that fell was not sufficient to give vegetation to the grass lands, and hence the pasturage in every part of the country appears so brown that the term" Green Isle cannot for the time being be fairly applied to this part of the United Kingdom. We have heard of several cases where stockowners have been obliged to cart water for their cattle from a long distance, and in other instances the animals have been driven two miles each day to be watered. The rains which have lately fallen have done immense good, not only to grazing farms, but to the late turnip crop, and at the same time they have not, in any degree worth notice, interfered with the harvest. To a great number of flaxgrowers the brisk showers will have been highly valuable. Some fears of bad effects have been expressed in instances where the crop had been pulled, and suffered to lie spread out in the fields under the parching sun for several days; the rains will do much to bring such flax into a better con- dition, and to counteract the influence which the over-drying must have had on it in the first in- stance. Scarcity of water in the tanks intended for steeping purposes is felt to an extent never before remembered. We have heard of so much as two guineas being paid for the use of a tank, and of farmers drawing their flax five miles to it. This, of course, will be a considerable item in the cost of pre- paring the crop for market; but in a season so re- I markable as the present, no amount of forethought could in all cases have saved that extra. expense. One result, however, will be produced by the autumn drought, and that is, it will show more than ever the necessity of flax-growers making arrangements early in the season for the preservation of water on their farms. There is no portion of the ait of fiax-!?rowix' more important than the steeping process. It is not unusual for the French and Belgian farmers to sit up at night for the purpose of watching the progress of the operation, and to guard against the error of per- mitting the flax to rema.in even a few hours too loig in the water. As a proof of the importance of skilful management in this portion of the preparatory process, we ma.y state the following1 fact :-Some years ago a farmer ha,d a six-acre field in flax, ono half of which came in" about a week earlier the a the other. The produce was duly steeped, dried, scutched, and sold off. During the time the last po.- tion of the crop was in steep, some portion of a moui. tain stream was permitted, by the carelessness of a servant, to run into the tank, the result of which was to give the fibre, when scutched, a hard, bristly appearance, and to deteriorate its value 2s. a stone. We trust that in course of next season extra attention will be paid to this subject. It is gratifying, however, to learn that, on the whole, no serious loss ha.s yet occurred in consequence of the unusually dry weather of the past six weeks.—Belfast Northern Whig.

KING CHRISTIAN OF DENMARK…

,Money Market.

The Corn Trade.

Cactle Market.