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------------5 - '.AGRICULTURE.…


5 AGRICULTURE. # tfARVEST operations have proceeded feut slowly in Essex during fcbo past week, owing to continuous showers, which drove the labourers occasionally from the fields. A considerable breadth of wheat has, how- ever, been cut. Harvest operations have become general about Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The eeopa are a average. About Alford the cropa are pretty good, oat they have been sadly knocked about by rain and wind. Near Caistor the harvest will not be general tor another week. The crops are very much laid. On Mie bouthwolda the harvest has been greatly retarded by recent adverse weather. Harvest operations have become general in the neighbourhood of Stamford, a large number of Irish harvestmen having visited the I the crops are generally good. Harvest opera- tions, although not yet general, have commenced in several places in the neighbourhood of Boston. The crops are much laid. About Whittlesey the wheats have ripened rapidly of late, but have suffered much from recent rains; the harvest has become general both on the high and the low lands. APPLICATION OF MACHINERY TO FARM LABOUR. As a recent meeting of the Logie and Lecroft p ariners' Club, Mr. Finlayson read a paper on this subject, from which we extract the following as pub. lished in the Farmer THRESHING MACHINE.—In regard to the threshing machines, whether plain beater, spike or botting drum, revolving or clank shaker, or whatever plan, small pinions and bevel wheels should be avoided as much as possible. Pitch chains are a very easy method of driving the rollers and shakers, but the first and most important thing to be looked at is a good large horseshed. First give the horses a good .lever power, and the rest becomes easy. Make the lior56s strong, ana you gain the additional advantage of & large outer wheel and pinion, large spur wheel and pinion, large second power and drum pinion, and you thus make four horses do the work of six with everything the other way. It may be laid down as a general ruie that small piniona are ill to r an<* ,aJ great drawback to threshing machines; bat the only way to remedy this evil in many cases, and keep up the required speed, is to begin at the beginning and give the horses a good leverage. Not a few of our mill sheds are just as they were when the flail was first hung over the couples as a thing of no use, and was succeeded by the threshing mills, and it is no wonder they should be a little antiquated. Some of them in the district, where thara is a good deal of threshing to do, are not 23 feet within walls, whereas there should be no shed less than 33 feet. I have had a long trial of both, and the large one, in my experience, has all the advantages I e ascribe to it. FAXNSBS^—There is room for improvement, too, I apprehend, in the way and manner of cleaning our grain. The prevailing principle of the old fanners is long blades, about three feet, some of them more. The invention of fanners was, no doubt, a great affair, however light we may think of it now—a great im- provement on the old plan of cleaning the grain be. tween two barn doors, or going up to the top of a hill, to catch the passing breeze, and perhaps catch the passing shower instead. But we could not expect these men, geniuses though they must have been, to jump to the beat construction of fanners just at once, and I find, as anyone else may find by standing behind them, that in these long. bladed fanners every blade has its own blast. There is a lull and a puff as every blade comes round, and they are of necessity heavy to drive. The most modern fanners, again, which we sea taking prizes at shows, are not so long in the blades-somewhere about two feat, and not very heavy to drive; but in their haste to attain perfection, as I suppose, in cleaning the grain, they have filled the whole inside with riddles, so that the wind has next to no chance at all in doing its duty, as it has no way of a:ti:g upon the grain but through and among these ndales, which is far from right. Grain, you are aware, can only be disoriminately cleaned when it is falling, not when it is striking against or resting on anything; and hence the absurdity of blocking up the whole interior of fanners with riddles. Riddles I would have, and riddles I wonder we have not had in all our mills, and hand fanners, long ago. But then they should be so placed as not to interfere on any account with the winnowing of the grain. There should only be a slight part of the blast allowed to play upon them, and afoot or more clear below for the wind to act on the grain as it falls from the riddles. I find that wire riddles are apt to get clogged up with corn coats banging about them, and that pierced iron or zinc is preferable. But to approach perfection in the winnowing of our grain, I would recommend that our fanners be short in the blades and double-blasted— that is, that they should have two pairs of blades or fans, the one going sut when the other is coming in, or working half-stroke to' eaeb other, to prevent that lulling and puffing that is in all fanners, and to make a regular and constant blow. These riddles, when properly applied, may be said to add nothing to the weight of driving, and such a form of fanners would give plenty of room below for the wind to act on the grain: when it is resting on anything, as is too often dona, is like striking a man when he is down; it gives him no chance of his life. The strong man is weak then, and so is the strong grain. It is aa expensive affair riddling grain by hand, and not everyone of our men can do it. But there is no use for it when it cat. be done otherwise. For I hold that we are much more able to riddle our grain by machinery than the miller is to sift his meal-and how perfectly he does ib. though the one is a much nicer operation than the other! PLOUGHS AND GRUBBERs.-We ought to leave nothing to manual labour that can be done by ma- ohinery. I am only speaking in reference to our own district, for many may be, and many are, I know, far in advance of us in this point. Whatever icon can be introduced into our farm implements, it should take tha piace of wood; iron can be used with advantage in harrows on the great proportion of land. On some light soils, perhaps, and hilly farms, they ca.n scarcely be made light enoaga to stand the obstacles they have to meet with. The old Scotch wooden plough is still in use in some parts of the district, but wooden ploughs, iu whatever form, are never thrifty. The Sootch Rational" can be made in its native" form, and as light and strong in iron as in wood. It would then neither cling with summer's drought nor swell and rot with winter's wet-would last generations in place of a few seasons. But two sets of ploughs are expensive and unnecessary, as one improved iron plough, with a plain broad level sock and a straight coulter, will do winter ploughing equally as well, if not better, than the other, and be as easily drawn. Very short, onvex, sharp-turned, hollow-breasted mould-boards are better for scooping loose land than ploughing it; while a medium length and twist will do fair work on all soils, and prove more generally useful. Wheels, when rightly attached, make a plough very easy to guide. And though a good man at a ploughing match may make better work without them, a very inferior ploughman will, with a day or two's practice, make superior work with them; and it would be a great saving of our ploughmen's bones were wheels more used than they are. What we call grub harrows, when well made, have been found exceedingly useful in tearing up and loosening land that has to be often rolled on the breaking down; and when land is foul, for taking weeds to the surface. The grubber was thought at one time to take the place of the plough, but now it will have enough to do to keep its own place. A turn of the grubber may sometimes be better than a ploughing; betterforkeepinginthemoist, or the sake of a braird in dry weather. But there is danger in going too far, as nothing but the plough can turn the soil over thoroughly to the influences of the atmosphere, which influences, although we have them for nothing, are often more enriching to the soil than tha best aud most costly manures we can apply.

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