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I AGRICULTURAL NOTES. I BY A PRACTICAL FARMER. I SMALL HOLDINGS. Up to the end of last year the Small Hold- ings Act had been the means of providing small holdings for 17,035 applicants in the six years since it came into operation, and it is of interest to learn that at the present time the unsatisfied demand from applicants who have been approved as suitable by County Councils is less than it has been at any time since the Act was passed. There has been much discussion as to whether these holdings would pay, and if the punctual payment of rents is any guide we may take it that the majority of them are being worked at a profit. Inquiries h:n? shown that, with a few exceptions, the rents charged for the small holdings have beea paid punctually. Many of the Councils have a very considerable area of land umler their management, and it is not unnatural that there should be some arrears, especially in view of the fact that it is customary with agricultural tenancies to allow one or two months' grace, and not re- quire payments on the actual dates when rents are due. Official information shows, in- deed, that the position as regards arrears of rent from the statutory -small holdings com- pares very favourably with the position on most large estates. Judging by the number of tenancies determined by notices to quit, which represents a proportion of less than 1 per cent., unsatisfactory tenants are very few indeed. I A NEW TILLING MACHINE. The introduction of machinery has effected such remarkable changes in agriculture in the past few years that we have good reason to suppose that further great developments are in store in the near future. Those who ha'e had an opportunity of seeing it in trials have been astonished by the work performed by a new soil tilling machine of Swiss invention. The machine, which is driven by a petrol motor, and weighs about two tons, has four rows of tines or teeth on a cylinder, which revolves at the rate of 150 revolutions per minute, and can cultivate to a depth of from 2in. to 12in. at a cost of 12s. to 18s. per ac-re. It is claimed to be equally able to deal with hard and soft land of all kinds, and trials which have been carried out on hard, stony land in Kent showed that it was reduced to a condition of fineness that could only have been otherwise obtained by spade work. As the tines follow the wheels the compressed earth is broken up and left loose, so that there is no possibility of anything like a plough pan. The machine works in widths of 3ft., 5ft., or 7ft., and is capable of dealing with from seven to fifteen acres in a day, while it can be made to draw a seed drill so that the land may be, if desirable, tilled and sown in a single operation. It is to be hoped that demonstrations of this machine will be arranged for in all parts of the country, so that it may be subjected to every variety of practical test, and if found to satisfy them may be brought into exten- sive use as quickly as possible. The demand for labour-saving devices was never keener, and when they can do better work than is done at present their employment needs no advocacy. I SELLING BY LIVE WEIGHT. I This is a question that has been discussed for a good many years past, without much being done to give it practical effect in more than a few districts; but farmers have not overlooked the remarkable way in which opinion divided itself when the Board of Agriculture for Scotland held a conference recently on the question of compulsorily weighing store cattle and fat cattle in markets and auction marts. Speaking gener- ally, farmers showed themselves to be in favour of the proposal, while auctioneers and salesmen were against it. Their chief reasons, of course, were those of practical difficulties, but some of them were indiscreet enough not to confine their arguments within these limits, and suggested that the use of the weighbridge reflects upon the sound judg- ment of those who have stock to sell. This seems to suggest that they are confident of having advantages over farmers, and think it best not to let them slip. The selling of cattle by weight has really everything to recommend it, and this applies nearly, if not quite, as much to stores as to fat stock. It is a more scientific way of arriving at a proper basis of value than any rule-of-thumb method. To be good at weight guessing or judging, whichever you call it, requires years of practice and experience, and even then mistakes are bound to arise, and we may be sure that dealers take good care to allow a sufficient margin to cover any they may make. It is only by the use of the weighbridge that accurate records can be kept of the progress of animals during fat- tening, and the extensive provision of weigh- bridges throughout the country would do much to encourage a stricter watch over the economics of feeding. < < A GREAT CHARITY. The report presented at the recent annual meeting of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution showed that there are now on the books of the Institution 281 male pensioners, costing £ 6,242 208 married pensioners (104 couples), costing £ 4,095; 665 female pen- sioners, costing £ 12.994. At the meeting there were added 20 males, 18 married couples, and 60 females, at an increased annual charge of £ 2,440. These, vjith the pro- posed admission '-of the whole of the octo- genarian candidates at a further charge of L500 per annum, would increase the total liability of the Institution under the head. of annuitants to £ 26,271. This year again, therefore, half the number of applicants on the list would be relieved either by pensions or by grants. In order that the Council may be enabled to maintain this high standard, still greater efforts will have to be made to augment the income of the Institution, especi- ally in the direction of annual subscriptions. Many of those who have benefited by the good work „of this Institution have in their time been farmers in a big way, and it must be a compensation now to some to remember that in those days they were subscribers. CHESHIRE CHEESE POOR IN FAT. Hitherto the law has been very vague about the quality of cheese, and has permitted much to be sold which was undoubtedly inferior. This is robbing the long-suffering consumer, of course, but it is also robbing, or unfairly | competing with, the honest cheesemaker, who would not dream of extracting any of the cream from the milk before its conversion into a cheese intended to be soid as "full cream. t A contractor was recently summoned for supplying cheese which was not Cheshire sheese, as it was deficient in milk fat to the extent of 29 per cent. The prosecution alleged the cheese could not possibly be Cheshire cheese. The Board of Agriculture had not lize4 any standard for cheese, but preferred that each county should fix its standard to protect its producers. (It might have been added that the Board has recently decided that Cheshire cheese is Dvt honestly escribed if not made of whole milk.) Interesting evidence was given by Mr. Wil- l-ila lieurv Hohson Af Gnnalpv Furm. iiiacnt'iniitii, wno statea tnat lie had tor twenty-five years made Cheshire cheese, and had probably won more prizes than any man in the world for cheese. Cheshire cheese was cheese made from whole milk. Cheese con- taining only 17 per cent of butter fat (as alleged in this case) he v-tuld call half-meal cheese, or skimmed-muk cheese. He added that cheese made in Cheshire from Cheshire milk would not be Cheshire cheese if only 17 cent. of fat was contained. He agreed there could be various qualities of Cheshire cheese, but he did not think it could be Cheshire cheese if 17 per cent, cheese was made from whole milk. The Bench, in fining the defendant £1 and costs, .stated that from the evidence they were of the opinion that Cheshire cheese must be made from practically whole milk, and it could not be produced from practically whole milk with a leas percentage of fat than 24 per cent. This judgment will no doubt be followed in the case of other kinds of cheese.