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AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I BY A PRACTICAL FARMER. SHEEP-SHEARING BY MACHINE. Sheep-shearing by hand is work that callt- for exceptional skill and care to be done weli and quickly; and while a really clever hand- shearer can turn out sheep to perfection, there is no doubt that machine-shearing if best with operators of moderate experience and ability, especially where large numbers of sheep have to be dealt with. With small flockls hand-shearing i8 likely to be practised for many years to come; but the shearing- machine is rapidly winning favour on all the larger sheep farms, especially now that thE use of portable oil-engines is becoming common. The engine, even if of low power, ean be em- ployed to drive a number of machines, and thus save the need of a second man or boy for each machine. It is this fact that two hands are required which has prevented many sheep farmers from .abandoning the old method, even though labour is actually saved in the long run. Several makes of machines are now on the market, and these have been tested as thoroughly as any machine needs to be before it is adopted in ordinary practice. To say that a machine secures a greater quantity of wool may be true where the comparison is made with second or third-rate hand-shear- ing but it cannot be denied that the best hand-shearing is all too rare, and slovenly work is seen in most markets. The question of wounds and bruises is one that has to be taken into consideration when comparing the hand and machine processes. Some shearers are able to shear all day long and hardly leave a mark upon the sheep, while others inflict a great amount of damage which not iufre- quently results in the loss of some valuable animals. Some makers of shearing-machines are willing to allow a free trial, and flock- roasters who have hitherto had no experience of machine-shearing would be well advised at least to make the experiment. 9 4D0 I MILK UNDER SEAL. Continued reference in the Press and on public platforms to the question of pure milk is undoubtedly making sections of the con- suming public nervous about the sources of their supplies. There is probably a consider- able number of people who are willing to pay a higher price than usual for milk which they can feel sure has been drawn and handled under strictly hygienic conditions. It is likely to prove a good deal more satisfactory if these people's requirements are met by pri- vate effort than if hampering State regula- tions Are brought into operation, and are en- forced with all the unpleasantness of officialism. As the outcome of three years' careful pre- paration, a set of rules regarding the selling of milk have been issued by the Pure Food and Health Society of Great Britain which are well worthy at least of consideration. They deal in great detail with the whole question of milk supply, various sections being concerned with the conditions under which it is produced and stored at the farm, with its treatment in the town dairies, and with its supply to customers. Farmers and dairymen who agree to these rules will be permitted to use the society's pure milk seal, though this is not to be taken as a guarantee of purity, but merely as an indication tnat the precautions indicated have been carried out. The farmer who desires to sell milk under this seal has to agree to periodical examina- tion of his cows by a veterinary surgeon and by tuberculin tests. All milk is to be strained at the farm, and provision is to be made for cooling it immediately after milking. De- tailed rules deal with the drainage and general cleanliness of cow-sheds, the isola- tion of sick and newly-bought animals, the water aupply, and the manner of milking. The milkers are to be under periodical medi- cal inspection, and have to give an undertak- ing to report any form of sickness at their houses. Any addition to or abstraction from milk, whether colouring or any substance or liquid, is to be absolutely prohibited, and various milkings are not to be mixed. All pasteurised, sterilised, or separated milk must be so labelled. • • • t FISH MEAL. I Several experiments and trials have shown that when it is of good quality fish meal may be profitably used in compounding rations for farm stock, especially pigs. But it is im- portant to bear in mind that- it may have been prepared from inferior material and contain excessive quantities of salt or other adulterant, and then may actually prove to have a harmful effect on the health of the animals consuming it. The analysis of* a large number of samples of fish meal shows that its composition varies very widely. In one no less than 45 per cent. of the whole sample consisted of ash, and in another as much as 6 per cent. of sand was found. A farmer persuaded to pay a good price for these sub- stances would have no -:ause for satisfaction with himself. Great care is therefore desirable in buying fish meal, not only because of its composi- tion, but also because of the methods adopted in its preparation. The proportion of salt in the meal should be guaranteed not to exceed 8 per cent.; more than that may cause illness, and is certainly of no value to the animals. Fish meal is specially suitable for feeding in combination with roots and potatoes, which are poor in those constituents in which fish meal is rich, but it does not appear to be de- sirable that the meal should contain more than 4 per cent. of fat. Some investigations have been made abroad with the object of ascertaining what quantity of the meal may most profitably be fed to the different classes of farm stock. The fol- lowing proportions are recommended as a daily allowance on condition that the quality of the meal is good: For every 1,0001b. live weight cattle may have 21b.; and for every 1001b. live weight sheep may have l-101b. to 1-51 b.; while pigs may be allowed from a Jib. to lIb. per head, according to live weight. PROTECTING HONEST CHEESE-MAKERS. Since it was proved years ago that cheese- making need not be confined to particular localities a great change has come over the industry, and now the position is that hun- dreds of times more Cheddar cheese is made out of the Cheddar valley than in it, and a standard of quality in this as in other pro- duce tends to disappear. Hence the public is frequently deceived by inferior cheese, which thus sometimes competes on equal terms with the best qualities. An official inquiry has recently been made on the question whether the application to cheese of certain descriptions, including I Cheddar, Cheshire, Cotherstone, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Stilton, and Wens- leydale, implies that the cheese is made from the whole milk. The opinions of a number of cheese-makers, dealers, and dairy experts were ascertained, and the evidence obtained appeared to the Board of Agriculture to jus- tify the conclusion that cheese described as Stilton and Wensleydale should invariably be made of whole milk, or milk with cream added, and that Cheddar, Cheshire, Cotherstone, Derbyshire, Lancashire, and Leicestershire cheeses should be made from whole milk, except in cases which it is alleged way ari«M towuvl* tbe oII!n.à af +)- 11> wnicn tne miiK is too ricii ana pan or tne cream is removed in order that the cheese way have the proper consistency. In some cases it is admitted by makers of some of the above cheeses that they take a. little cream from the milk for personal use. But this practire, which i« probably illegal, and clearly contrary to the interests of the s makers of such cheeses, is not recognised :i9 part of the process of manufacture, and does not affect the meaning of the descriptions in question. In view of the results of this inquiry the Board have decided that if any case is brought under their notice ;n whicli the terms Stilton or Wensleydale are applied to cheeses not made from whole milk. or milk to which cream has been added, or ji1 which the terms Cheddar, Cheshire, Cothcrstone, Derby- shire, Lancashire, and Leicestershire are ap- plied to cheeses which huve been skimmed in a greater degree than is necessary for the purpose of giving the cheese its proper con- sistency, they will take steps to institute pro4 ceedings under the Merchandise Marks Acta.

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