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THE FARMERS' CIRCLE. (BY ON): WITHIN IT.) .■■■ ■■ I ■■ I.I The Chester Show of tfie Royal Agricul- tural Society has produced a highly satis- factory financial balance-sheet. At Wednes- day's Council meeting Sir Nigel Kingscote was able to make the gratifying announce- ment that the approximate results would be a surplus of receipts over expenditure! amounting to £ 2,400. At the rent audit of the Berkeley estate, on Monday it was announced that Lord; Fitzhardinge, one of the largest landowners in the West of England, had allowed a reduction of 30 per cent. on the half-year's i rent of his tenantry, owing to the great agricultural depression. Other landlords in Gloucestershire have given abatements of from 20 to in one case 45 per cent. The famous herd of pedigree Welsh cattle, the property of Colonel H. Piatt,, has been sold by auction. It is satisfactory to find that Colonel Platt, having accomp- lished such excellent results in this branch of stock-breeding, intends to turn his atten- tion to the improvement of other classes of Welsh stock, such as mountain ponies, in which endeavour he hopes for equal success. A correspondent writes:—In all directions we hear of fatalities among cattle, horses, and sheep through ea iag acorns, of which this year there is a irost abundant crop. In places wide apart—in Notts and Worcester- shire, in Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, &c., they may be collected with a shovel, and, whilst pigs, turkeys, deer, and pheasants thrive on them, losses have been serious among other stock. One farmer, whose dairy cows have had a large supply, thinks that the abundant rations of cabbage have kept his cows right-medical treatment has not been successful, and post-mortem examinations show the presence of a quan- tity of unbroken, undigested acorns in the stomach, as if the cow or sheep could not get them back to be cudded. THB WEIQHBBTDCK TT80E. It will cheer the hearts of Mr Westley Richards and Mr John D. McJannet to find that the use of the weighbridge has been adopted at one or two important English cattle marts. One notable instance is that of Messrs Alfred Mansell & Co., Shrewsbury. All the animals sold at that firm's sale of store cattle passed over the weighbridge, and their accurate weight registered before their disposal was effected. This exemplary system appeared to commeni itself strongly to both buyers and exposers, and we only hope that it may not be long before the practice becomes universal. As we have frequently remarked before, the custom is almoet exclusively practised in Scotland— at least in the more important marts-and its adoption in England would have equally beneficial results to the farmers. There are, many advantages to be urged in favour of tae system, which a fair trial of it would press home much more forcibly and effec- tively than anything that can be either written or spoken in its favour. We would, therefore, commend that the method be given a fair trial wherever possible. If salesmen are slow to grant the request, farmers have the remedy in their own hands. A little combination and determina- tion of purpose are all that are required to gain their point. The auctioneer may be disinclined to incur the expense of pro- viding the necessary plant, and the butchers and dealers may be expected to offer a most [stubbora resistance to the change. But these are by no means insurmountable difficulties if the exposers agree to face the matter unitedly and boldly. No donbt the erection of a properly equipped and com- petent weighbridge would be a serious burden to the owners of the smaller marts, where the turn-over is not of a very extensive character. In such cases it might be to the advantage of the farmers if they rendered some slight aid by bearing part of the purchase and fitting expenditure. We are very glad to notice that the system has a t last found a real footing on this side of the Border, and we trust the progress may be rapid and lasting. THE SCARCITY OF STOKES. The scarcity of store cattle appears to be felt in other parts besides Scotland. Only a few days ago, a Midland farmer wrote desiring imformation regarding the prices of American cattle and their aptitude to fatten in this country. Those who would like to have them are deprived .of having their wishes realised by the impartial regulations of the Board of Agriculture, which, meantime, provide that no American or Canadian cattle are allowed to leave the port of disembarkation alive. But the question may be asked, why turn across the seas for stores ? If reports are to be trusted, and for ourselves we do not doubt their accuracy, there is a sufficient number of store cattle in England to meet all the un. usually limited requirements of English feeders. This fact is not due to an increase in the cattle population, but arises from the exceptional scarcity of food of all kinds. The requirements of a few counties amount to little more than a fractional part of the needs, so that the surplus in these parts is considerable. Instead of looking abroad, if attention were turned towards such heavily- stricken counties as Sussex, Surrey, and Kent, perhaps the class of animals desired might be procured. As to prices, we should think the English-bred cattle would he equally as cheap as the transatlantic animals, while they would, no doubt, mature more quickly than the imported unacclimatised stores. The one great drawback and hindrance to wholesale give-and-take work between English coun- ties, or between England and Scotland, is the high freightage charged by the railway companies. No matter what class of animals or goods they are asked to carry, provided it is of home production, an extravagant, almost amounting to a prohibitory, rate of charge is demanded. Possibly the railwav companies may seek to excuse themselves by pleading the costliness of their plant, &c. That is all very well, and might carry weight if they consistently followed that principle. But when the consistency ends with the extent of home produce carried, such a plea is unworthy of utterance, far less of creditable hearing. So long as im- ported goods are carried at lower rates than British, so long will the railway companies ail to gain and ret tin the confidence of the British traders, whether in live stock, agri- cultural, or other kiml* of goods; There is some serious discrepancy somewhere when such an unjust state of things ig tolerated, and if Parliament will not come fo the rescue, the constituencies might take the matter seriously in hand. All that we ask is that the British farmer be placed on equal terms with his foreign competitor, and this the country should compel the railway com- panies to ensure.



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