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,-. )FIELD AND FARM

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) FIELD AND FARM {From The Agricultural Gazette.") Steam cultivation is not yet (observes Proftwsof John Wrightson) general, although 40 years have elapsed since it first appeared amongst us. It was heralded as great revolutionary invention, and was considered to mark an era in agricultural progress. At the close of the century, steam cultivation remains an adjunct to horse cultivation rather than its IIUC: cessor. We may well ask why? Probably'the answer is to be found in the greater economy of horse tillages, although this theory attacks the very Citadel of steam. Horses cheaper than steam I So they seem to be in this particular case, for the verdict has evi- dently been given in favour of retaining the older power. When farmer* are* valuing their tillages they naturally put them at a rather high figure. Valuers put them nigh. In estimates of costs of crop culti- vation they are put high, and, compared wtyh such estimates, steam cultivation can be shown to be cheaper. But beneath the surface is the fact that horae tillages do not really cost so much as they are estimated at, while steam cultivation is liable to cost a good deal more than might appear from figures. Haif-a-orewa a day for -each-horse, and another 'half-crown for the man, comes; to 7s. 6d. a day It also comes to 10s. an acre for ploughing. This would not lie regarded as an unfair estimate, and ploughinglandis generally considered tooest from 7s. 6d. to 10s. per acre. Referring to Bayldon (as' edited by Norton in 1864), I find that" two horses ploughing upon light turnip soil is charged at 8s. per acre, upon land of medium quality 9s. and upon strong clay land 10s. per acre; if an additional horse is required, 2s. 6d, to 3s. per acre is added." Simi- larly, if two more horses are required, 5s. to 6s. ■would be added, bringing the total for horse plough- ling up to as much as 15s. or 16s. per acre. It even been asserted that ploughing certain stiff soils costs as much as 20s, per acre. With such Estimates as to the cost of horseiplougbing there appears to be iroom foreteam, butit has as yet failed tooust the horses. It may be remarked that 2s. 6d. per day charged for a horse means JE35 per annum, supposing the animal to work 272-days in a year, which 1he ordi- narily will exceed..J ■ i As A farm horse, with all his risb and liabilities. j cannotbe shown to cost the farmer £25 per anniim, there must be something weak about 2B. 6d. per day as a charge. It is some time since I discussed the knotty question as to the cost of keeping a farm horse, but I well remember my opponents were obliged to have recourse to £1 per quarter for oats, and to-supply them at an extremely liberal rate foi 52 weeks in each year in .order to eupport their side of the argument. I cannot get more than 2s. per bushel for 401b. oats, and I certainly should not give two bushels a week all the year round. I shall not trot out the calculation; again, bat if anyone is curious, let him chge oats at 2s.per bushel, and hayat2s.6d.percwt. Lethimalso credit the horses with a small sum for the value of their manure. Let him add costs for depreciation: ,shoeing, harness, brushes, combs, and buckets, wear and tear of buildings, veterinary attendance, risks, but not paid labour. This last item appears in hie pay sheet, but the horse is a slave, and works for hit maintenance without wages. Let anyone do this. It will be an amusing and useful exercise. Let him divide the year into-spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and feed his horses according to his fancy, but, nevertheless, ocoBOcucaHv, and I will make him a small bet that the sum total comes out below £25 per annum, or Is. 8d. per day, in a year of 300 work- ing days. He will be-entitled to add the wages of the attendant as a separate item on the ploughing, or whatever work the horse is employed upon. It is the low, absolute, or real cost of horselabouT which puts it on a par with steam cultivation. There are other aspects of horse labour which • ought not to be forgotten. The horse istmore avail- Able, and is therefore handier. He is anore versa- tile. He often does much good by trampling the ground and making it firm and, probably, on light land, Use treading of the horses is as valuable as, ttye 'treading of sheep. A horse may become old, but never second-hand or antiquated in his construction. Horses as a form of capital are more easily recon- verted into money than can a steam plough. If a man sells 10 horses at £30, and buys a steam ploughing apparatus for JE300, how much will the said apparatus be worth if put up to auction in two years: ? vWIHTJBR -AND LIV. STOCK. The coming of frost and snow some fortnight 'before Christmas this year may wall have reminded • us of the probability of a much greater demand on ifodder being made upon us than has been the case in .either of the two immediately preceding winters. We were so lightly treated (" T. C. G." remarks) during 'these two winters that we have, in several respects,: acted as if such treatment would be repeated. We IAII of us know that the hay crop of last summer was considerably below an average weight per acre, and we may learn 'from the preliminary state- ment of our Agricultural Returns, just issued, that our average of dover and rotation grasses mown for hay has tbi8 year been seven per cent. less than in 1898, And our average of meadow ihay four per cent. less. This reduction in ttye' land from which the season's hay crop to be gathered seemed reasonable last spring to many farmers, bemuse of the reserve of fodder in their hands." And lit may at once be granted that this reserve will •enableUs to meet the demandS of any winter of average severity, Happily the hay of last harvest, though considerably less than. an average in bulk, is i of. excellentquality, as is the-straw of the year, wi&k& we cair hardly estimate to be an average in bulk*. the vety general failure pf^fae turnip crop in many dis- >tricts must also be noted when considering the gross contribution to our winter supplies made by jail the hasvestsiof the yeipr. •< r. y A r. Thsre is still anotherjpoint which cannot .fail to have influence upon the .consumption of fodder during the winter, the first £ rip of which we are now feeling- This point is more a subject for congatula- tion than for anxiety. The number of the mouths to •consume, our stores of fodder is .greater than it was in either of the last two pointers, in both' of which the consumption was very Jight bacause of the mild- ness of the weather. Concurrently with an increase of 2*6 per cent. in cattle we have an increase of 1*8 per cent. in sheep. So fad? then as regards what the season has done in the matter .of mouths to fill and food wherewith to fill them, we have, more consumers -and a less supply. In connection with the increase in our cattle it is matter for congratula- tion to note that, notwithstanding the fact that cattle other than dairy cattle eiww a decrease, there is a considerable .increase both ion milking cows and in cattle under itwo years. We who are.dairy farmers know wall that herds used for ^bhe production of milk Are to a ^reot extent breeding herdalao. The de- mand for calves bred from cows having the double capacity of (producing beef and milk is likely to io- crease, if it be the truth that the American continent is unlikely to increase its export-of beef. Moreover, the growing demand in our home trade for young and ■comparatively ..mall carcases is all in favour of that quick return which of necessity uses up more speedily our head of cattle than fcbeoldpractifce &f making bigger-carcases from older animals. It is probable that both in South America and in North America the present practice of making into beef •only animals of three yws old and oyer #ill be^n- ttinued..And it is "impossible to deny -that the American carcase, although large, possesses a greater proportion of lea.a meat than isfound in our h^me- fed carcates of equal size. Werhave already imde considerable progress in feeding on the early maturity principle; and now by far the greater proportion of our home-fed beef .ef Brit quality is supplied by animals under three years of age. It is-in every wav deeirable that we should continue to extend the prac- tice of early feeding lor the reason that we have less competition in that line from abroad. At A matter of fact both dairy farmers and graziers employ in their busineessuch a large amount of food not produced in great Britain, that a much larger herd of stock is kept than would be otherwise pos- sible with our limited amount of fodder. It does not pay either the grazier or the dairy farmer to winter his stock badly. And so it turns out that, whilst both the maker of beef and the maker of milk are pushing on their business by a liberal use of bought foods, they are at the same time economising their consumption of hay and straw. But the mere fact of our pace be quickened carries with it this double lesson. Fitfst, that those, who have hay and straw for sale should not force them on the market.at an unreasonably low price; and, secondly, that those farmers who consume the hay And straw which they produce should not waste them. The best way to get full value for them is to use in conjunction with them those richer foods which are to be found on the market. That British farmers draw- itomease sup- plies of such foods from abroad, has been shown by the figures Ten by Mr. Crawford at the late meeting of the Statistical Society. It is sometimes held up as A reproach that we grow only two million acres of wheat. Mr. Crawford estimates that we consume, mainly by the live stock on our farms, the imported produce of six million acres. These figures seem to me all to tell in favour of economy in use of our home-grown fodder and against its waste.

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