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SPORTS AND PASTIMES.I

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WORIC AND WORKERS. I

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CORN TRADE REVIEW. I -'-PEVFENII.I

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CURKKNT PRICES OF BRTTfSH…

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I AGRICULTURAL NOTES.

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I AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I BY A PRACTICAL FARMER, I GUERNSEY CATTLE. The English Guernsey Cattle Society has just published some of the results of its milk record scheme. The daily weight of the yield of milk of each animal entered must be kept by the owner on approved forms, and this is checked at intervals of two months through- out the year by the society's supervisor, who also makes butter-fat tests of each animal's milk. A record is thus obtained of the indi- vidual yield of both milk and butter-fat during the lactation period, which must not exceed fifty-two weeks in duration. Each animal whose record is accepted must be safely in calf within five months from the commencement of the record. The records just completed show that the breed is proving itself, when well cared for and tended, to be capable d producing, in addition to butter of first-class quality and colour, yearly yields of m.ilk which will com- pare favourably with any breed of dairy cattle in the country. A feature very charac- teristic of the Guernsey is her capacity for maintaining a' comparatively moderate flow of milk for a prolonged period, a point very quickly realised by dairy farmers and others in the United States, where the Guernsey is in great demand both for pure bred herds and also for what are known 011 the other side as grade Guernseys—i.e., the produce of cross- bred herds upon which pure Guernsey bulls have been used. It was soon found that cows yielding a moderate 4 gallons at calving and maintaining it for a considerable period, and probably yielding from 21 to 3 gallons at the end of the lactation period, would easily exceed in the course of a year the yield of animals coming into the dairy with probably 5 or 6 gallons, but quickly dropping to two or there- abouts and not unusually dry at six or seven months from calving. As a first cross for dairy purposes the Guernsey is excellent, throwing neat, com- pact stock, the milk of which shows appreci- able increase of butter-fat upon that of the average cross-bred cow, a point well worth ) consideration, particularly at the present time of year, when there is all too often trouble in keeping the milk from many herds up to stan- dard quality. it it « I FOOD VALUE OF POTATO TOPS. I Potato' haulm in this country is most com- monly ploughed under or burnt when badly diseased, but healthy tops are sometimes used to cover the tubers in clamps. Their use as a fodder has received practically no attention f,o( l .( I er lias r,ee, ve d p-, -z- whatever in Britain, though some authorities have gone out of their way to condemn its use for this purpose on account o-f the presence to a small extent of solanin, a poisonous prin- ciple. In Germany, however, where the potato j" a crop of enormous importance, a good deal of attention has been given to the forage value of the haulm, and opinion is growing in favour of using it when dry and free from berries, cattle, sheep, and pigs eating it without ill effects. This has lately been confirmed by investiga- tions carried out at the Royal Agricultural High School in Berlin, and it is further con- cluded that potato tops are equal in value both as regards chemical composition and digestibility to good meadow hay; if anything, they are declared to be slightly superior to the latter in their proportion of digestible protein. The results of a feeding experiment with dairy cows showed that the yield of milk and the proportion of fat and dry matter were at least as high as when good meadow hay was fed. If well harvested and made into hay or arti- ficially dried the tops were founds to be quite unobjectionable for feeding purposes from a hygienic point of view. When properly pre- pared they were also found to form good silage, which was willingly eaten. In order to prevent any unnecessary dis- turbance of the tubers it is advised that the tops should ba cut just before the potatoes a.re harvested in the normal course. Care should be taken not to include any roots, as the adhering soil may lead to disturbances in the health of the animals. LOSS DURING TRANSIT. A complaint which farmers often .have to make who b-uy town ipanure, and have it sent them by rail, is that a loss in weight is ob- served when the manure is received, although the seller guarantees that the proper weight was despatched. This loss in weight must, therefore, have occurred in course of transit; and some instructive experiments have been carried out at the instigation of the Board of Agriculture to ascertain what loss may be expected to occur. The conclusions arrived at are that if the manure is not sett more than a fifty miles' journey, occupying about two days, the loss would be about 5"4 per cent., supposing that the manure were in such condition that the maximum heat occurred during the journey. By the time it had been loaded into carts the manure would show a further loss in weight of between 2 and 3 per cent., making in all about 8 per cent. as the maximum. But if the condition of the manure was such that the maximum heat did not occur during the two days' journey, and the loading was carefully done, a loss of 5 per cent. is all that need be expected. Buyers of manure from a distance can, therefore, regard a loss of this percentage as inevitable; but anything from about 8 per cent. upwards is a matter calling for inquiry and explanation on the part of the sellers. The experience of the Woburn experimental fruit farm, Ridgmont, is that the loss of manure received there in 1911 averaged 4-7 per cent., and fr2 per cent. for 1912. it it H BACON FACTORIES. I I iuuen interest has been aroused in the past few years in the possibilities of co-operative bacon factories owned and managed by the farmers who supply the pigs, and it is easy to see that the idea, if fully realised, secures for the pig-raiser the largest possible return on his animals by avoiding middlemen's profits. So far, however, the movement has not had much practical result, and hitherto I the factories that have been opened are meet- ing with a hard struggle. It may be helpful, therefore, if I mention some of the principal points which the Agri- cultural Organisation Society advises should be taken into account in the establishment of a bacon factory. A supply of not less than about 500 pigs a week is essential, it being a matter of practical experience that the ex- penses attached to the working of a factory with a smaller number of pigs are much heavier per pig. A pig that is large in the I back, with light shoulders and heavy flank, is f needed to provide the requisite quality. A capital of from £ 15,030 to £ 20,000 is needed for the erection and thorough equipment of a factory capable of dealing with 500 pigs weekly. This is a large sum to be raised by farmers, who already have so many demands for capital. The difficulty of finding a good manager may not prove to be a small one. The manager must be thoroughly conversant with all branches of the pig industry and bacon trade, and should also be thoroughly informed as to the most remunerative methods if iviiii tliq b\nrndt1(,t.s of the nio nn tviiicn a large proportion 01 tiie profits is ':tsual!y dependent. Obviously, such a venture makes an extra- ordinarily heavy demand upon a district, and that is why ,i¡..ln\" ingestions for factories have never got past the stage of discussing how to make a start. Yet there is a way by which large liumb'ers of factories might be brought into successful working order in the course of time. This is by the development of co-operative.societies for the sale of members' pigs. If a society is well maiuiged. and thus is able to make good prices for its members, it gradually builds up such a large connection that ultimately a bacon factory becomes only a question of capital, which can be raised a good deal more easily by an old-established society with a large membership than by a new one. The Eastern Counties Farmers' Co-operative Association. Limited, has for some years performed very good work in buy- ing live pigs from its members, and probably the erection of a factory in Suffolk is only a matter of time.

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