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AGRICULTURAL NOTES.

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AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I BY A PRACTICAL FARMER. I PIG FOODS COMPARED. The fact that particular food materials are in constant and general use does not imply that they are being employed to the greatest advantage, and we cannot have too many demonstrations intended to show to what extent it is profitable to use any foodstuffs. The Irish Department of Agriculture has re- cently carried out some instructive experi- ments in the feeding of pigs at a number of centres in different counties to test the rela- tive values of such materials in everyday use, as potatoes, barley meal, and maize meal. In one set of experiments the value of potatoes was compared with an equivalent in maize meal and pollard, one pound of meals being reckoned equal to four pounds of potatoes, so that instead of a daily allow- ance of 81b. of potatoes each pig receiv- ing no tubers had its daily share of meal increased by two pounds. The result was I' a slight advantage in favour of the meals, the cost of producing one hundred- weight live weight being on the average 27s. 3d. without potatoes, and 29s. Id. with potatoes. Opinion upon the quality of the pork was also slightly against potatoes. The potatoes were charged at the rate of JS2 per ton, so that, according to these investigations, this price may be regarded as the highest price at which potatoes can be fed to pigs with ad- vantage, unless the other foods are corre- spondingly dear-maize more than £7 10s. and pollard more than £ 7 per ton. On the, other hand, when the market gives less than 40s. for potatoes, they are to be recommended as a food for pigs. On the basis of this and other experiments the Department estimate the value of potatoes as a food for pigs at one-fourth the price of meal. » BARLEY OR MAIZE. I In other experiments barley meal and maiae meal were compared. The meals were the only food of the kind in the ration, and about the same quantity of each was given along with potatoes, swedes, separated milk, and, in one instance, linseed cake and table refuse. In a period Off 100 days the average difference between the two lots of pigs was only three pounds per head live weight, which was in favour of the maize-fed pigs. The barley meal was charged at X7 per ton against JE7 10s. per ton for maize meal, and the cost of producing one hundredweight live weisziit increase was 25s. 6d. and 25s. 10d. for the barley and maize respectively. The former also gave slightly the better quality pork, but the difference was not sufficiently pronounced to affect the selling price. The result of these experiments indicates, therefore, that maize is worth about 10s. per ton more than barley meal as a food for pigs, a difference that must not be overlooked in selecting foods that are to yield the greatest possible profit. It is interesting to notice that swedes proved to be, a poor substitute for potatoes, the pigs making slow progress, scarcely gaining a pound per head per day. • # ♦ THE COST OF SWINE FEVER. I The most serious cost to the farming indus- try involved by the continued prevalence of ewine fever is the great inconvenience caused by the hampering restrictions. The result of that is that pig breeding in some dis- tricts has gone quite out of favour, and breed- ing sows were rarely scarcer. It may be that this represents a loss of revenue to British agriculture a little short of a million pounds, though some people say it is even more. But swine fever also causes a direct expen- diture by the State of a vast sum of money which is badly needed for the development of the industry. A statement has been issued by Mr. Runciman, President of the Board of Agriculture, showing the cost incurred in the execution of the Diseases of Animals Acts in respect of swine feyer in Great Britain. In the financial year 1913-14 the number of re- ports received was 15,281, and the number of outbreaks confirmed 2.901. Compensation came to £ 82.932, and the cost of administra- tion to £ r' n33. The receipts from salvage were £ 27,7, S8 that the net loss was £ 120,178. This sum—only one year's expenditure- would be sufficient to erect and equip in full working order six bacon factories, each capable of dealing with 500 pigs per week. Or it could be spent in providing pedigree boars in pig-breeding districts. Instead of any such productive use, it is spent on a disease which it fails to check. It would be a far-sighted policy to make a tremendous effort to stamp out the disease, even if it cost twice or three times as much. Seeing that numerous pig-keepers are able to boast their complete freedom from it, there must be some means of controlling it, and the duty of the authorities is to spare no efforts to find out and adopt those means. THE APPLICATION OF LIME. I A question addressed to me by a reader as to the best form in which to apply lime may be answered by a reference to the valuable experiments, extending over eight years, which were carried out by the Agricultural Department of the Lancashire County Coun- cil. They showed that ground limestone is more effective and is also cheaper for appli- cation to meadows than quicklime in lumps to be slaked and spread or ground lime. There was a money loss of 14s. 2d. per acre from the use of ground lime in the eight years, while the gain from the lump lime was only 4s. 2d. per acre, whereas the limestone gave a. profit of 27s. 7d. None of the sums is great when spread over eight years, but the total difference on a large acreage would be worth considering. • • • VARIATION IN COWS. I There is a great variation of the quantity of milk yield, not only among certain cows, but also with the same cow from year to year. To get reliable data, a large number of re- cords have been made in the United States to overcome the varying influence and find a fair average. Out of a total of 239 of care- fully-compiled records it was found that nine- tenths of the cows made their best records during the first ten weeks of lactation, and that over one-half made their best records during the first month. '1'1", first week is calculated beginning four d after calving, thus making the end of tho first week eleven days after calving. It wad shown by the experiments made that the greatest number of cows made their best milk flow the third week, while the best butter pro- duction was made in the second week. From the results obtained in this test, it may be taken that the second and third weeks of a cow's lactation are the best, and there is not ) much difference between the two. A cow, it I was concluded, reaches her highest produc- tion of butter-fat at an earlier period than I she does her greatest milk flow. PRESERVATIVES IN CREAM. I Some confusion exists in the dairy trade owing to the fact that no regulations have been made defining the amount of preservative which may legally be added to cream before it is sold. Five years ago Dr. J. M. Hammill, one of the medical inspectors of the Local Government Board, made a report in which lus recommended that 17l iymin. to thp nnnnd 01 uoracje acia mignt witnout injury to neaJta be added to cream during the cooler months of the year, and 28 grains to the pound during the months from May to October. Representations have recently been made to the effect that an alteration of the regulations is desirable, and an expert committee has jusi been appointed to consider the matter. It is to be hoped that their ree< •nn:?nca- tions will be made without undue delay and quickly be given effect. Tlic use of scrupu- lously clean vessels and also of milk coolers is the only satisfactory way of giving milk products a maximum length of life. For the period 1909-12, inclusive, legal pro- ceedings in respect of cream containing added preservative resulted in convictions in seventy-four cases. Of the seventy-four samples of cream in question twenty-one eou- t-nite.1 less than -25 per cent, of boric acid, thirty-nine samples contained between aI,t per cent., and fourteen between '5 alio "075 per cent.

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REVIEW OF THE CORN TRADE.

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