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AGRICULTURE. -+-

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AGRICULTURE. -+- As an illustration of one of the effects of the late drought, which has ruined the turnip crop and burned up the pastures in England, we heard the other day, says the Ayrshire Advertiser, of a Scotch dealer who, in driving a flock of cattle to the English market, had to pay X6 10s. for water for them for a single night. A CONTEMPORARY, speaking of the profits to be de- rived from exporting valuable stock to the colonies, says:—A number of rams, bulls, and stallions were sent off a few days ago to the Cape of Good Hope in the mail steamer which would make enormous profits. A ram worth X3 or £ 6 in this country, and the freight for which, by the steamer, is about as much, will fetch fifty or sixty guineas at the Cape. TALKING of large farming, one of the speakers at the recent meeting of the Wigton Agricultural Society said he had lately been on a visit to Mr. Alderman Mechi, and he met there a farmer indeed—a Mr. Campbell, who farms 3,400 acres of his own; he had 11,000 sheep and 1,200 head of cattle; he lately sold his wool for .£10,000, bought it back for < £ 11,000, and sold it again for £ 12,000. That gentle mm told him that he bought £ 10,000 worth of oil-cake at a time had. spent < £ 28,000 in draining, and had covered up twenty six million of tiles. That was something like farming. I Varieties of Potatoes. Carrying out our avowed intention, says the Field, we now proceed to give the results as to produce. merits, and general capabilities of ten varieties of potatoes grown by us in our little experimental gar- den. We took the first decade as our limit, as we justly thought that ten varieties were sufficient to judge of in one season. It is no joke having for dinner on ten different days ten different sorts of potatoes, and keeping a mental catalogue of each day's flavour, colour, produce, and general qualities. Hap- pily, we hit upon a plan:—We keep a bit of paper and pencil at our elbow, and through the meal dot^down' our ideas as they are dictated by the potato, catching the fleeting visions as they rise. Well, then, to begin at the beginning We take first, Daintree's Earliest; we place these as first and A 1. We were pleased to receive the gentlemanly testimony of Mr. Francis Francis to the merits of these unequalled potatoes, because it fully bore out all that we had formerly said about them, and also what we have now to say. This has been a trying season, yet Daintree's have come out strong, full-sized, plenty at the root (fifteen to twenty eating potatoes at one root is not amiss), and their table merits are indisputable. When they were stopped being taken into the kitchen, we received through the culinary chef a very anxious inquiry as to the reason why, and a most earnest hope that they might have them again; but we were obliged to harden our heart and say, "No, most decidedly not." Last year we were weak enough to yield to this sort of pressure, and they nearly left us without seed for the present year. Once burnt, twice shy." 2. Oldbury Kidneys.—Early and good, but spare croppers. They don't do when the demand is great, and the quantity of ground of the smallest. 3. Ashleafs.-The old ash tops;" not so early as Oldburys, but better croppers, and, we think, better on the table. 4. Crystal Palace Kidneys.—A local name for the best second early kidney grown. We believe they are what is grown in the south of England as Haigh's kidney. A friend of ours decidedly says that they are Lapstones, but we have had Lapstones out of York- shire (the county where the Lapstone kidney was raised), but they are quite different. Tha Lapstone, though a good potato, is but second to our variety. They have the name of Crystal Palace kidney, because they were brought into our neighbourhood by a gen- tleman who bought them as prize potatoes at the Crystal Palace. We should be delighted to change a peck of ours for a peck of Haigh's with any of our readers who may be potato enthusiasts, and who grow that variety. The Crystal Palace kidney is a heavy, very heavy cropper, ready to dig in July, and when boiled (they will be a ball of flour in ten minutes) are the best and purest-flavoured potato wa ever tasted. They have but one fault, they are delicate, soon cat jh the disease; but our practice is to plant them, sprouted, the second week in April, then, in a favour- able season, they will be ready to dig in July, before the rains come, and if we have a suspicion of wet coming and they are not quite ripe, we up with them and house immediately. 5. Bagley's Seedlings.-A variety raised by the great market gardener, George Bagley. They are all that can be desired for a market potato-strong in consti- tution, heavy cropper, growing very evenly (by which we mean not many little ones at the roots), and a very good table potato. 6. Shaws.-A potato heavy as a cropper, but a little too close in texture in the eating to those who have been indulging in Daintrees and Crystal Palace kidneys; besides, that inestimable potato for a general crop, 7. Dalmahoys, comes into use at the same time, or thereabouts, and does away with the need of Shaws entirely; but as an old and most useful friend, we generally contrive to find it a corner somewhere. The I' Dalmahoy is all that can be desired in a potato for the main crop; it is a Scotch seedling, an improved- variety of the old and universally-esteemed potato, the Prince Regent. It will grow to immense size- I has done this year, when potatoes generally are small; is round, not too deep in the eye, white in colour, and I a perfect flour-ball when boiled. The same praise may also be given to 8. Lincolnshire Pink-eyed Regents. These are a fine variety, but coarser in texture than Dalmahoys. For those who want weight. rather than extreme quality, they will do better-than Dalmahoys for our- selves, we prefer the former to the latter. 9. Flukes, which as a winter supply are unequalled, and particularly as a late supply, Froixt May til] new potatoes come in they are super-excellent. They are a moderate crop this year-very even, clean, but not heavy; what there are, however, are good. 10. Handsworth Early Round. — This potato we have left to the last, because we can say no good of it. It is early;" but it is also delicate-not a heavy cropper; and if it were not a new potato, it would not get eaten at all. It is a pretty potato, with clear skin, and not many eyes, but the sooner it is dis- carded for more improved varieties, the better it will be for the grower and consumer too. In. the matter of disease, we have but one or two roots affected, and we are getting on fast with taking up—indeed, have nearly finished. On the whole, the crop is moderate, but then it will be healthy and there- fore good; and another thing, the increase of Bant- ingites, who abjure potatoes, will leave more for those whom potatoes do not hurt. We should be glad if our readers would compare notes. The Crops of 1864. Mr. Turner, a land agent, living at Richmond, York- shire, has written a letter to the Times, in which he asserts that he has travelled through the greater por- tion of the Northern and Midland counties, and com- pared notes with many agriculturists. He expresses his gratification at the productive nature of most of the crops, but says:- There is considerable difficulty in conveying a cor- rect idea about this crop, owing to that of last year proving an unusually great one, and of the natural tendency of the mind to compare this year's crop with that of what we must regard as the crop of an excep- tional year. "After careful examination (he continues), I am satis- fied that we have this year, in bulk, a full average crop of wheat; but I do not think, according to all the samples I have seen, and from all the other evidence I have obtained, that wheat this year will weigh so much by 21b. per bushel as it did last year. A casual observer might say that it is a trifling difference, but when is is remembered that the 21b. per bushel consti- tutes one thirty-second part of the whole crop, its serious importance will at once be admitted. "Wheat, however, in all the southern counties, and, indeed, as far north as York, has all been secured in excellent condition. I do not mean in condition to keep, but it is sufficiently dry to be at once brought into use, and most of it has been got in without a damaged grain. The samples I have procured, where the weight is really known, are mostly 631b. per bushel; the highest weight of all my samples is 661b. per bushel; this last is an uncommonly bold sample of red wheat from Norfolk. "A good deal of wheat in the northern counties has been carried during the last few days and, owing to the frequent showers we have had lately, its condition is much inferior to that of the southern counties. There is no fear of it keeping well, but much of it will not be fit to grind until it has had the benefit of October's winds. Barley.—This crop varies a great deal, but over the whole kingdom I think it is unquestionably above an average crop. Owing to excessive drought and other circumstances, a greater proportion than usual will, I believe, be found unfit for malting purposes. For reasons I shall afterwards give, I do not think this will prove any loss to the farmer. Oats are an irregular crop; on the whole under an average in bulk, but their condition is unusually good. I have before me some fine samples. I have one, grown in Yorkshire, plump, thin in the skin, and as white as rice; and in all districts where heavy crops of oats are grown the sample will be found unusually free from inferior grains. "Beans.—This crop is a very unequal one; in some places it was good and well podded, in others not half a crop; in not a few fields they have been ploughed down. I have before me a beautiful sample I got in Cheshire, but the crop was a miserable one. On the whole the bean crop is clearly under an average one. Peas I think an average crop, and they have been got into the stackyard in unusually good condition. Turnips.—I am deeply grieved to have to report very unfavourably on the crop of this important root; but there can, I think, be no doubt that, over the kingdom, the crop is not half so heavy as might reasonably have been expected. In many counties they have not a quarter of a crop and it is lamenta- ble to see acres upon acres of bare fallow where fine swedes ought to have been growing. The swedes of the northern counties, though much inferior in weight to what was hoped for, are far superior to those grown in the south. In a very regular crop which I examined yesterday I measured one which was fully eighteen inches in circumference, and in another good field I walked over to-day I found one measuring fully twenty-one inches round it. Grass.—With few exceptions, chiefly in Westmore- land and Cumberland, with some dales in Yorkshire, grass-land has been completely burnt up. Pastures have long ago lost their ordinary green colour, and have resembled a close-cut oat stubble. Most farmers have found it absolutely necessary to give their stock cake or corn; and, with such addition, it is wonderful to see how well animals have kept their condition. "After-grass, or fog, as it is called in Yorkshire, is absolutely worthless. Hay was a moderate crop, and in consequenco of the scarcity of grass is held at extravagant prices. It will thus be seen that, owing to the total want of after-grass and of grass in our pastures, our present means of making fat are much curtailed; and when the great failure in the turnip crop is taken into con- sideration, it seems clear that our ordinary mode of fat- tening stock during next winter will have to be consider- ably modified. A liberal supply of cake, or bruised barley, or oats, or inferior wheat, must be given to stock, along with a very limited quantity of roots. The rough barley will come in well for this purpose, and reduce the outlay for cake; and, with beef and mutton at the high prices they are sure to bring, barley used in this manner will probably make as much money as that sent to the maltster."

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