Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

16 articles on this Page



.FIELD AND FARM. (From The Ag? ictiltural Gazette.") CROPPING. As tch crops, we are great (remarks Professor John Wrightson) on catch crops in Hampshire and Wiltshire, but we do not always, or even often, take them out of seeds. Catch crops come best aftei wheat. Let me relate an experience. I had twc 26-acre fields in seeds last year. The one I let alone until January last, when I ploughed and pressed it and towed oats, now looking very well indeed. The other I broke and attempted roots in 1897, and those roots were a failure owing to drought. The land ran wild and needed cleaning in the winter. It was then sown with oats, which look bad. Now the cost of root cultivation was, let us say, £ 3 per acre, and the riost of cleaning, in consequence of this failure, was, let us say, £ 1 and the crop will be £ 2 worse than that in the other field. That is, there is a loss, as between the two fields, of E6 per acre, or of £156. How much better would it have been to have let those seeds lie! This shows me that it is of greater importance to crop properly than it is to cul- tivate well, or to take pains in details. What you do is, in fact, of greater importance than how you do It. C, When land is in seeds you may break it up for wheat or for oats with a fair prospect of success. Now, what catch crops can you take after seeds in summer ? It is too late for any of the best catch crops, which ought to be sown in autumn. I should prefer wheat, and catch crop after that. I should not take rye after seeds but wheat, and defer my catch cropping until August and September, 1899. Catch cropping should follow corn stubbles and not seeds, although occasionally it is a good plan to break up seeds after haying, and take turnips. It is, however, always risky, and depends upon the season. Here is 50 acres of young seeds, why divide it off into five plots of 10 acres each ? It will be rather expensive. I am sanguine about wheat, and should like to see it all in that cereal, or if that is not acceptable, half in wheat and half in oats. The catch cropping experiment should be deferred. Next, as to catch-crops, we usually commence after harvest with early trifolinm, which should be sown in August. Late trifolium will do up to the middle of September. Next, we drill rye and winter barley in September, and winter oats in the same month. Talcing a 30 acre field in wheat in 1897 it was cropped as follows for 1898: 6 acres winter barley. 6 acres winter barley and early trifolium. 6 acres winter oats and late trifolium. 6 acres vetches and late trifolium. 6 acres vetches alone. The whole of this field is being folded by -,sheep, and the turnips after the winter barley are alreridy in second leaf. Ten acres is a good-sized experimental plot, but it is a small area for extensive sheep farming. What would be the state of any farmer's pocket if he took 50 acres of corn instead of having 40 acres of old seeds and 10 acres in catch-crop in August, 1899? He would probably be the owner of corn worth £400, instead of a 50-acre field worth £100 (?) in produce. But, continues Professor Wrightson, I have come to the conclusion that there is little saving of labour by laying land down in grass. The same fortnightly pays run on, and the same number of horses appear necessary. I once laid some land down and found that neither fewer horses nor men seemed necessary. it takes a great deal of pasture to make any perceptible difference, and in the meantime the crop is lost. If carters know that 100 acres of wheat are to be got in, they will get it in; and if 80 acres only are to be grown, they will make that do. If they know that work is well up, they will be very liable to slack off, but if good carters know that they are behind hand they will move on briskly. It is one of the worst features in employing such a help as steam culti- vation that carters are able to retort that the work is all well up. I should never be afraid of a few extra acres, because when work is before men, they can be urged to get it done. These are aspects of the case little considered by theorists. If on a 600-acre farm you do have seeds down two or three years, do you find the labour bill less or the number of horses necessary decreased by as much as one ? The whole thing goes a trifle more sluegy, and carters are pleased to think they are well up with their work. Consequently fault finding is dis- armed of its chief lever. Light land is better cropped, and does not benefit by rest, but rather the reverse. Two-year seeds will not give a better crop of wheat than one-year seeds, and a few years under grass impoverishes many classes of land. This may not be in accordance with the views of some people, but I am convinced of its soundness. Wireworm affects old seeds. Old seeds also become foul and full of poor grasses, which leave no equivalent for a good clover root after one year's ley. The above considerations affect the labour question. I should recommend rape and kale unsingled, but well horse- hoed, and that will alone save many pounds sterling during summer.



[No title]












[No title]