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AGRICULTURE. 1 The Farmers' Prospects. The present state of the agricultural world is, no doubt, uncertain and unsatisfactory; indeed, when we look around us, everything connected with land seems in an anomalous position. Taking the relative situa- tion of the producer and consumer, the former has a prospect of heavy losses in the cattle department, as both cattle and swine are most seriously affected with disease. If the farmer turns to his crops, he finds a probable deficiency in all the kinds of grain, and with regard to wheat especially, not only deficiency in the quantity, but also in the Quality, for the late heavy rains have had unquestionably a very damaging effect; in fact, it may be assumed generally, that the wheat crop will be below an average, especially on light lands, the autumn-sown alone, and only in certain localities, coming up to the ordinary standard—the new samples that have been sent to market being spoken of as inferior in condition. Barley, too, is below an average, and oats are looking very poor and indifferent. In the midst of so much that is discou- raging, the rains, that have done great damage to the grain, have proved of great benefit to the root crop. The turnips and mangold-wurzel are looking well, and promise very good returns, so that for the animals during the winter, should the steps that are being taken to stop the cattle plague prove successful, there will be a good supply of food, which may tend in some degree to mitigate the losses by disease, and the farmer will thus be enabled to secure a higher value for those animals that may be spared. Moreover, the grasa lands everywhere are showing wonderful signs -of recovery from the effect of the early drought, so that- there will be a fair run of herbage. Now as last year the want of food was a source of great loss to the farmer, this year there is a larger amount of food for what may prove to be a short supply of beasts; a balance thus exists in some degree, so that all is not so unfavourable. And even with regard to grain, though the quality may be inferior, there is now a steady rise in price, which to some extent acts as a set-off to the diminished supply from the land. If, on the other hand, we look to the consumer, the plague among the cattle and the fever that has been raging among the pigs have raised the price of meat very considerably, and the prospect of a still further advance of price during the coming winter is by no me&ns improbable; the only hope of any relief would be from a foreign supply of beasts, and there is an endeavour being made to cut this off, by assuming that the disease has been introduced by foreign importa- tions. Fortunately, further investigations would appear to militate against this supposition, and we may, therefore, reasonably conclude that the demand created by the cattle plague here will in time bring an increased number of animals to our markets, so as to soften in some degree the hard lines of the present time. The disease among the pigs is not reported to be spreading; some relief may be expected in this quarter. But when we look to the prospect of the grain market, where a considerable rise has already taken place, the future is not encouraging for the consumer. Our own crops are deficient, and on looking abroad for a supply, the foreign accounts of the harvest are unfortunately'too much like our own to hold out any chance of any great importation. The reports of the crops in France are not favourable, and the prices are high there, which is against any export trade from thence. From Belgium we have the same accounts; from Germany, also, the accounts are by no means promising; and those from the great grain-growing districts on the shores of the Baltic echo the same tale of deficiency. Even from the Black Sea, whence our supplies are usually large, it would seem we need not hope for any considerable increase to our home stock; and looking across the waters of the Mediterranean tothe land which has been hitherto considered a granary for Europe-the Board of Trade returns show against Egypt the word nil-implying, of course, no hope from thence. From the other side of the Atlantic, even if there should be a large growth, the prices are high, which will be against shipments for Europe; besides, the war has spread such desolation over a large sur- face of the country, that it seems more than probable that all that can be got will be required for the country itself. At present, therefore, the chances seem to favour a rise in price of grain, and consequently of bread. But in almost every case some balance of com- pensation is sure to arise; yet it must be admitted, under all the circumstances, that we may hope for the best, but, at the same time, be prepared for any un- favourable contingencies.






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