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Agriculture, "f'E" -,r. THE HARVEST: NOT A CHEERFUL OUTLOOK. The weather during the past week has been pretty much of a repetition of the previous week, and there is little or no variation to report. A good deal of rain has fallen, while thunderstorms have been frequent all over the country, and harvesting operations have been almost at a stand-still. A few oats and a little clover aftermath have been snatched in after short periods of sunshine and between the showers, but beyond this little has been done locally towards securing the corn. In the south the harvest is reported as almost completed, in excellent condition, but as we approach further north the work is more or less behind. One of the chief events of the week has been the rapid increase in the price of wheat, and consequently of bread and flour. In this direction it is worthy of note that during the last two weeks of June wheat was at 27s. per quarter—the lowest price of the year—but since then each week has shewn a rise, and values at Mark Lane have advanced as much as 63. per quarter in one week. Nearly all over the world the yield of wheat is reported as falling short of previous estimates, but in some respects this statement is lightly regarded, and it is anticipated that when wheat is forced on the market through the enhanced prices, as is the present tendency, there will be a reaction, and prices will recede to something near their normal condition. The pastures are beginning to freshen up again after the wet, and roots have vastly improved. We should advise farmers to take every opportunity, however brief, of making all haste to secure their white straw crops for meteoro- logical appearances, and forecastes of pretty reliable authorities, predict a repetition during the month of September of the weather we have just been experiencing, viz., unsettled, especially the latter half, with high barometer and frequent thunderstorms. The cheese markets are still reported firm. CANADIAN PROSPECTS. Agriculturists in Canada are highly gratified with the harvest prospects and the increase in the price of wheat. It was feared in Manitoba that the crop would not be gathered for lack of help, but thanks to the generous policy of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company 4,000 men travelled from Ontario in one week to the Manitoba harvest fields at the exceptionally low rate of £2 18s. for various distances up to 3,000 miles. The Manitoba Government crop bulletin places the total wheat yield for the year at 21,284,274 bushels, or an average of 16 49 bushels per acre. Manitoba's production of all kinds of cereals will be nearly 40,000,000 bushels. A NORTHERN FARMER'S ADVICE. A 'Northumbrian Farmer,' writing to the Field in regard to the suggestion that very good results would be widely realised if small farms, hired or bought, were taken in hand by educated young men possessing a practical knowledge of farming and a stock of sound common sense which recognised the necessity for close personal attention to their work (including occasional personal help), and the sale and purchase by themselves ot everything coming on to or going off the farm, says:— There are openings for many thousands of such men in the country. Land and money are both cheap, so are feeding materials of all kinds, and adjoining towns or cities are con- gested with unprofitable labour which has drifted there for want of country employment. But while all these circumstances are favour- able to the scheme, I would not advise a young friend of mine to try it, but rather discourage him; for, while the law empowers local authorities to increase assessment up to the letting value, regardless of what it was previous to the improvements, it would be sheer folly to make the attempt. A lifetime spent in im- proving my own property justifies this opinion, and also that it is an unwise policy for any Government to discourage the production of food where there is a dense population depen- dent on oversea supplies." THE EVOLUTION OF MILK.' Writing on this subject in the Agricultural Gazette, Professor Sheldon says :—Astonishment may well be expressed at the supine indifference displayed by the lower fifty—may I term them? —of our dairy farmers in the breeding of their dairy cows. By the 'lower fifty' I mean the worst half of them, who will not bestow the necessary thought and outlay on what, we presume, appears to them a process so slow and inconclusive as not to be worth the pains. The haphazard slipshod methods—if they may be called methods, which are mere natural or accidental sequences—employed by a portion of the rank and file of dairyers in the reproduction of their herds year after year can hardly be ascribed to anything but fatalistic carelessness or, to say the least, to stolid indifference. It comes to this, indeed—these men have no ambition, no pride, no wish to improve things around them. Year after year, their whole lives through, they go on breeding—a mere habit with them—ramshackle animals which are of but little service to them or to anybody else, and, so far as outward evidence goes, their eyes are always closed to what progressive men are doing around them. All this is most deplorable, and we may fear that it will prove a huge incubus in the path of those who wish to improve shorthorns as all-round dairy stock. It is not ignorance so much as supine- ness that blocks the road to improvement in most sections of human industry, for if all people were willing—merely willing—to be taught, a single generation of mankind would bring about greater advances than most men ever dream of. And it may be assumed that almost every man has capacity for improve- ment and potentiality of reform in respect to the walk of life which he has chosen for himself, or accidentally tumbled into, and that it is only the desire to improve which is so deplorably conspicuous by its absence. SOME SHEEP SALES. As usual, some big prices were made at the annual sales of Merino sheep at Sydney, though, perhaps, the general average was scarcely so high as that of last year, a fact not to be wondered at considering the severe drought experienced for months past. Mr. J. Gibson's Waterloo, by the noted ram President, which fetched the remarkable price of 1,600 guineas last year, went for 580 guineas, and Royalist, another of President's progeny, bred by Mr. W. H. Gibson, of Tasmania, realised the handsome figure of 1.000 guineas. The grand champion prize ram at this year's show of the New South Wales Sheepbreeders' Association—Mr. S. McCaughey's (Vermont) Aristocrat—did not fetch the reserve (1,000 guineas) that had been put upon him, the highest bid being 750 guineas, when the com- petition ceased. The special stud ram Autocrat, who won the Bourke championship and the second prize at the show, was knocked down at 300 guineas. Several other rams made between 200 guineas and 300 guineas. At the sale of Mr. Bowen-Jones's Shropshire sheep by Messrs. Alfred Mansell and Co., the first fifteen rams averaged £55 each. The ewes made from 85s. downwards, and the sale resulted in an average for 41 rams of £21 7s., and 100 ewes, £4 3s. 4d. SELLING CATTLE BT LIVE WEIGHT. In the final report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture it is remarked:—"We heartily recommend the selling of cattle by live weight, believing that it is greatly to the vendor's advantage that his stock should be sold under that system. We think the Acts of 1887 and 1891 will not produce much benefit until the farmers are brought more fully to recognise their value, and we feel it our duty to urge agriculturists in all parts of the country to adopt and encourage this method of sale."