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AGHICULTUBI. ?

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AGHICULTUBI. ? I THE value of the wheat imported in the first five 11 months of this year was compnted at X2,358,393, as 1 compared with £3,983,B77 in the corresponding period 1 of 1864, andR4,561,548 in the corresponding period of 1 1863. It appears probable, however, frem the slight ] advance in prices, that this year's figures will now revive, as there will be a greater inducement to im- ] port. While we are on this subject it may be interest- ing to recapitulate the payments made for wheat in 1 the ten years ending 1864 :-1855, £ 9,679,578; 1856, 1 £ 12,716.369; 1857, £ 9,563,099; 1858, < £ 9,050.467; 1859, 1 £ 8,713,532; 1860, £ 16,554,083; 1861, £ 19,051,464; ] 1862, £ 23,203,800; 1863, £12,015,006; and 1864, .810,674.654. A REFUGE FOR CATS.—Amongst the curious old in- stitutions still extant in Florence, is a house of refuge for cats. It is a cloister situated on the side of the church of San Lorenzo. When you wish to get rid of one of those interesting quadrupeds, instead of killing it you send it to that establishment. On the other hand, when you want a feline companion, you have only to go there to find a complete assortment of tabbies, tortoiseshells, blacks, whites, greys, and every other colour usual to the race of cats. There will be seen old cats, middle-aged Cilts, and cats just budding into youth: Angoras as well as the common species; in short, every variety of the species is plentiful in that unique institution. LOCKERBIE LAMB FAIR.-This extensive market for the sale of lambs exclusively was held last week on the Qubytewoollen- hill, near Lockerbie, The show of stock was made up of Cheviot lambs, half-breds, crosses, and a few blackfaced. Altogether there would be about 25,000 head against 28,000 last year. The condition of the stock was excellent, but its ap- pearance was considerably detracted from by the severe weather experienced. The attendance of buyers was large from the border and inland counties of England, but it was generally believed that the Stewartry and Wigtownshire sent the largest numbers. Prices for all kinds were extremely high indeed they have no precedent in Lockerbie. The great price of 42s. was paid for 100 half-breds from Wintersheugh, being 3s. 6d. above the price which the lot from the same farm fetched last year. All the other good lots real ised a similar advance, or nearly so, and, in fact, in several instances 4s. of an increase was obtained. One very fine lot of Cheviot wether lambs from Tinwald's-park sold at 26s. each. Though these high prices were going the dealers declared the market to be in a measure an unprofitable one for them and one or two, indeed, assured us that they were barely making their own money out of some of the lots. Half-bred lambs would be up from 2s. 6d. to 4s. each; Cheviots from Is, 6d. to 2s. 6d.; crosses. 2a. 6d. to 33, 6d.; and blackfaoed lambs from Is. to 2s. Half-breds sold at from 29s. to 42e.; Cheviot wether lambs from 17s. to 26s.; ewe lambs from 22s. 6d. down to 18s.; and crosses from 19s. to 23s. 6d. In the after- moon. a fair clearance had been effected, and any lots remaining unsold did not arise from the want of customers, but because of the high prices asked. The Harvest and the Food Supply. The public mind is now turned anxiously and in- quiringly into the present condition of the country as to what may be termed its agricultural affairs. The aspect is not very assuring in some respects; our flocks and herds are suffering from the attacks of ter- rible diseases, our pigs are being more than decimated, and, naturally enough, the consumer begins to feel in that state that he must either forego his usual quan- tity of animal food or submit to pay a price which may curtail expenditure in other directions. More- over, the prospects of the harvest do not seem alto- gether so favourable as to warrant the hope of a heavy store in our granaries, and wheat has already felt the effects in a slight but steady rise. The advices from the Continent are not without a ten- dency in the same direction. In France there has been a rise in the price of wheat, for the reports of the harvest there are not altogether satisfactory. Germany and the other, continental States are not by any means assured of having a surplus stock for exportation. From America there does not seem any probability of any supply for other than home purposes, where it is so much wanted; for the South has been so devastated by the war that the land has not yet received any attention for cultivation, consequently prices have risen in New York—a cir- cumstance which cannot fail to exercise a very mate- rial influence on the home markets. The horizon thus seems lowering, and it is of no use to disguise the fact that, taking into consideration at the present time the prospect of our food supply during the winter months, matters do not look very encouraging. It will be of no use to dwell upon matters at present looking discouraging, for if we are in a state of de- gression now, there may be a change, and our resources .arejabundant. Besides, commercially speaking, the coun- try is so far prosperous, and we may consequently rest and be thankful. In the meanwhile, the meetings of the agricultural societies are numerous, and the accounts .given prove that there is no depression in the value of land; on the contrary, prices have risen of late, and on a comparison of the present with the past, there is a great improvement in the value of property generally -even in Scotland. The Duke of Argyle is stated to have said that land which, a century ago, brought only £5,000 a year was now worth < £ 70,000 a year, and in the neighbourhood of our large towns land is sold at prices almost fabulous; and this of course reacts upon more remote districts. To those whose herds may be spared from this disease there will, of course, be increased profits on the sale of stock, and it does not seem unlikely that there may be a remedy found which will prevent the wholesale destruction of every infected animal. Mr. Major, in a letter to the daily press, states that he has a remedy speedy and efficacious. The early symptoms would appear to be tolerably clear, so that there need be no difficulty in reporting at once to any successful -antidote. At all events, it seems certain that, while admitting the terrible character of the disorder, a panic has been created w,hÍlJh has led to much hasty and rash action, as is usually the case; but when the first agitation which has attended the outbreak has somewhat subsided, we shall, perhaps, find that the evil has been greatly exaggerated. As regards our grain crops we may naturally expect a rise, but, with the granaries of the world open to us, we need not fear any very great advance of price, which, at the present rate of the meat market, would indeed be a serious evil.

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