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FIELD AND FARM.

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FIELD AND FARM. (From" The Agricultural Gaeette.") COST OF TILLAGES AT DIFFERENT SEASONS. The actual value of work done in winter may uceed (remarks Professor Jelin Wrightson) in some cases that of the same work done in summer. Take, as an example, winter ploughing as oompared with Bummer ploughing. It is however, quite possible that a work of greater value can be done with less expenditure at one time of year than another. If I can cart out dung and plough my land at a time of less pressure I may reap a double advantage, first in performing the work at the best possible time, and secondly, in doing so at a time more con- venient, and therefore loss costly to myself. If I may value my horse labour at a premium durmg the months of high pressure, so I almost must allow some discount on the same work performed during periods of low pressure. If, therefore, I find that the cost of maintaining a farm horse averages 2s. or 2s. 6d. per day throughout the year, surely I may be allowed, simply for convenience, to value their labour in one instance somewhat above, and in the other somewhat below the average figure. As this idea has been stated to be unsound, I beg to call attention of certain critics to the following considerations: First they do not hesitate to take out a large number of days of comparative or total idleness, and charge their horses on those days at nothing, and yet the cost of keeping the horses during those days is not nil. If I assume a, larger number of working days and vary my value of horse labour from Is. 6d. to 3s. a day, it is not opposed to their system of valuing, but appears to bt only a reasonable development of it. It is a ques- tion of cost, not of value. Does it appear more reasonable to assume a dead level throughout the year, or to put a high charge against horses en- gaged in farm work during the busy periods, and a lower one agaicst the slack times ? As an example, why should it be thought unreasonable to charge horses from March 1 to October 31 at a cer- tain figure, because they are at a premium, and from November 1 to February 28 at a lower figure because their time is at a discount? It is impossible to apportion precisely, because the lost time during the slack period is much greater than during the busy summer period on account of short days and bad weather. If, however, horses are charged 3s. a day during summer they may well be charged Is. 6d during winter. The pri ncipal reason why the above consideration should weigh with those who compute the cost of tillages ia that the actual cost of carting dung, roots, straw, &c., is liable to be overstated if horse labour is valued at the same price in winter as in su mmer. It has less to do with the value of the work done than with the prime cost of doing it, for, as above stated, we are ertitled to the benefit if we can perform work of high value at a low cost. In other words, if our horses earn the greater part of their waqes, (cost) during a certain period of the year, we are entitled to any profit over and above the actual cost of their maintenance during the remainder of the period. If this principle is sound, it is practically expressed by charging for horse labour on a higher scale during the busy half of the year, and at a lower scale during the winter. It is, however, only suggested as a means of valuing horse labour for private use, and not for purposes of valuation as between outgoing and incoming tenants THE RISE IN WHEAT AND ITS INFLUENCE ON BRITISH FARMING. The economical influence of dearer bread is already being felt (remarks T. C. S.") both by producers and consumers in Great Britain. As regards con- Burners, the increase of outlay by a household in the purchase of what is called the staff of life, is not so serious a matter as it was in the days when our food supply was limited to a comparatively small number of articles. Our policy of buying in the cheapest market has attracted from the whole world a choice of foods such as was unknown in the days of our fathers. The extent of this choice of foods very considerably lessens the necessary expenditure of every family. If the rise in value in all other articles weie as great as it is in bread, the economical effect would be very serious. As with the exception of bread and potatoes <?hes.pness is still the rule in all kinds of commodities in daily use, our wage earners are at present comfortably off. In the event of a rise in value of other food products corresponding to the rise existent in breadstuffs, the position of our wage- earners will be very closely touched. It may be that the time has come when, as some thinkers have foi years past asserted, the demand for breadstuffs has overtaken the supply. Indeed, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that a famine of bread all over Europe would now be felt in an extreme degree if i were not that America has had a larger surplus than usual from her last harvest. But let us, for present considerations, look at the subject from the point of view presented to the British farmer. It is impossible not to recognise Effect generally felt over the whole of Great Britain of the fall in value of wheat during the present generation. The sad fact has been brought home to all of us, and specially to those actively interested in the warking cf the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Fund, that the production of wheat has been the Cause of ruin to most of the present claimants on that fund. But there would have been by far a wider spread of ruin if tÙAteachílJs Of ecoriqmy had not been quickly apprehended by the zriajority of our farmers. It is quite true that the non-agricultural public do not even now give sufficient I credit to the adaptability of farmers in every district of Great Britain to the changing circumstances of their time. The writer can call to mind the period when the whole course of the farming year had for its central object the production of wheat. Indeed, there are still to be heard faint echoes of a system of land tenure regulated by corn rents. The change in farm practice has been so silent and so gradual that little notice has been taken of it by the outside public, and little credit has been given to those who have brought about the change. ci It is just because of this change, which in so many words has put live stock and the produce of live stock in the place of corn growing, that the situation is complicated. If wheat were king, as in the days of our fathers, the return of our farmers to wheat grow- ing as the central object round which their whole practice revolved might appear possible. But we may rest assured that the same men who have raised the quality of our cattle, sheep, and horses to such a degree of excellence that Great Britain is called the stud farm of the world will not hastily depose King Cattle and restore King Wheat. Meanwhile we know that if the rise in wheat pe permanent, there will also be a permanent rise along the whole range of corn and cattle foods. So far, wheat is still king of the market of all kinds of grain. How far-reaching in its effect on the breeding and feeding of horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs the rise in wheat will be is at present a matter of absolute uncertainty. All we can say is that, if a higher value be permanently settled in wheat, a higher value will prevail in oilcakes and aH feeding stuffs. This being so, the expenses of production, "so far as regards all descriptions of live stock and dairy produce, will be increased. If the, increase of these expenses were confined to ourselves, British owners of live sto6k would feel the effect of i Qiiit increase greatly. But the whole world as well a* Great Britain will feel the increase. We know well that a long run of cheap maize in America brings to our shores large supplies of beef, perk, and dairy products and it follows that an increase in the valne of cattle foods very soon decreases the output of cattle products in those countries which are our strongest competitors in those products. It may very well be that the rise in wheat Will give a much-needed revival of enterprise in the wheat- growing districts of Great Britain, but there is reason to be found even ih a permanent rise of wheat for the producers of live stock to turn their attention from their present business to that of growing corn.

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