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AGRICULTURAL NOTES. Farmers' prospects are better atthe end of June than they were in the middleof the month, and they show a marked improvement upon the state of affairs that existed when the month began. A fort- night ago it was contended that the rains of the second week of June would be merely evanescent in their effects unless speedily followed by other downpours. But these supplemental rains have fallen, and the welcome result is that the country is no longer languishing under the privations in- cidental to drought. The moisture hes been irregularly distributed, some districts having had a sufficiency, whilst others could do with more, and in yet a third group the clouds have only put in an appearance and then sailed away to discharge their contents elsewhere. This lack of uniformity in the precipitation of moisture will no doubt be reflected as the season advances in conflicting reports of the condition of the crops. Wheat and the early-sown barleys continue to give satisfaction to growers, and oats are much improved where sufficient rain has fallen. The drought terminated too late to save field peas, which are practically a failure over considerable areas. Root crops are at present very irregular in character, and much of the mangel plant has apparently been lost. Weeds are growing profusely, and there is abundant work for the hoes. The fickle rains have not interfered seriously with the securing of the hay crop, for the showers have hardly been of the drenching type, and the ground being warm the hay, especially where the cut is light, has not been long in drying. The section of the country which appears to have suffered most from the drought is the area south of the Thames, where misfortunes have fallen thickly during the last few years. The outlook is better in the Midlands, and still more so in the northern counties, particularly towards the western sea-board, while in the north-east of Scotland not only is there an abundant hay crop and plenty of pasturage, but the promise of oats and roots is most encouraging. Despite many local exceptions, then, it may be said that the month which has just closed brought with it an all-round improvement in the agricultural outlook, and in view of the fact that the autumn ram sales and sheep fairs will be- gin in about three weeks' time flockmasters are en- couraged to take a far more hopeful view of the situation than a brief month ago would have been warrantable. The outbreaks of swine fever in Great Britain in the week ended June 20 numbeied 116, and they occurred in 27 counties of England, three of Wales, and one of Scotland. The number of animals slaughtered as diseased or as having been exposed to infection was 2,110. PEDIGREE CATTLE. Though, as we have said, there is little hope of improved prices for stock, this must not be supposed to refer to pedigree animals it only includes the ordinary stock raised for consumption at home. There is, however, a slightly improved prospect for breeding animals, and what has taken place during the present week at the Royal Show at Leicester, and also amongst the herds and flocks of the country during the past few months, proves that those who go in for raising breeding cattle have fairly good times in store for them. We have pointed out before in these columns that the principal demand for pedigree stock comes from South America. Purchasers from this part of the world are still among us, and are most anxious to secure stock of the best character. The Invest instance has been the purchase of the shorthorn bull Celt, belonging to the Prince of Wales, which took first prize in its class at the Royal Show, and for which 1.000 guineas was given by Senor Carlos Casares. Many other animals have been sold also for South America, and a few for other parts of the world, all at excellent prices, the sales being more than have been for many years past. The principal demand amongst horned stock is for shorthorn cattle, and breeders are beginning to be sanguine of good times for their best stock, although they never expect to see a period corresponding to those booming days when three to four figures for bulls were quite plentiful. DEMAND FOR SHEEP. Another satisfactory feature in the breeding stock trade is the demand for sheep. This is mostly found in Lincolns, which are great favourites in the Argentine, not only for breeding pure, but also for crossing with the merinos. Several sales have been reported at over three figures for a ram. A very encouraging feature in connection with breeding is that although foreigners have latterly been visiting the Lincoln and other flocks of this country, and have been buying up very largely at good prices, tha raisers of first-class sheep have been able to put large numbers of high-class breeding in the show yards of the country. This is extremely satisfactory, as it denotes an improvement in the business of breeding, and shows that it is possible to keep up the strength and reputation of our herds even when there is a strong demand. It also suggests another reflection—that the flocks generally of our country might well be expanded if farmers would give special attention to that part of their business. Of- course, it is not possible that they could obtain the extraordinary prices which noted flocks are able to command, but they could at least produce meat of the highest quality from animals which are selected for their early maturity. FOREIGN PURCHASERS. In these days when there are so few things which show a profit. it is very pleasing to find that the foreigner is still waiting with money in his pocket to buy at remunerative prices produce which the British farmer can raise, and in which no one can compete successfully against him. Pro- bably the Argentine will become a still more formid- able opponent in the beef and mutton trade, but it pcarcely be anticipated that their increased 0: <1, British farmer as much as it will other foreign importers. Still it does not do to shut one's eyes to the fact that all this preparation for the breeding of better animals in South America really does mean the setting up of more serious opposition both to English and foreign raisers of cattle and sheep. Our own best breeders are at present getting the benefit and we must run the risk of the consequence which may or may not follow. HAY MAKING. Amongst the new implements that are shown in the Royal Show yard, at Leicester, is an improved swath turner. This machine effectually turns over two swaths of grass at one time, exposing what was the under part of the swath to the sun and air, thus facilitating the drying of the corps. There have been swath turners made before, but not brought to the perfection to which this one has attained, and for which Mr. T. N. Jarmain, of Tetsworth, Oxfordshire, has been awarded a silver medal. By this arrangement the work of turning the swaths can be got on with very rapidly, and with a great saving of labour. One advantage which the machine has is that it is exceedingly light, and may be worked by a cob or a good stiff pony. Those who have any important breadth of hay will find a machine of this character one of the most valuable on the farm, as everyone knows that it is highly important to make the best of sunny weather, and to dry off the grass as quickly as possible. The difference in the time occupied in turning the swath in several large fields by machines and by hand would probably mean just the difference between securing a crop without a drop of rain and in the best condition, and having to leave it to be spoiled and perhaps partially rotted under rains which might subsequently come. PRECAUTION AGAINST DISEASE. Much fuss has been made about the proposal to make permanent the existing practice of slaughter- ing all foreign cattle at English ports of debarka- tion. Other countries are not so very ready to take cattle without either quarantine or slaughter, and why should we ? Let us for a moment look at what the Argentine do, or propose to do. There is no country in the world which is purchasing one- hundredth part of English pedigree cattle and sheep as is South America, and where the animals are wanted for breeding purposes. Anxious as they are to obtain them, they are still more anxious to keep out disease. There is a proposal on foot under which the sheep breeders of Great Britain will have to make a sworne affidavit with respect to the health of an animal, that it has not been in contact with any diseased animal, and that disease has not even been on the farm for three months. This is one of a set of proposals which are being made by Argentine importers for two purposes, one to pr3- vent the importation of disease, and the introduc- tion of true pedigree stock. English sheepbreeders are willing to meet these requirements, and in return the South American authorities will admit animals into the Argentine register upon the pro- duction of the certificate of the society to which the breed belongs. The Argentine breeders mean to have no more ill-bred animals; but to take only properly certificated and recorded specimens, un- questionable as to descent, and which are totally free from disease.





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