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I FIELD AJN1) FARM.

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FIELD AJN1) FARM. (From" The Agricultural Gazette.") WHEAT. The plant is less vigorous than last year, and straw will be both shorter and thinner on the ground. The yield, according to straw, may, however (remarks Professor John Wrightson, in his seasonable notes), easily be better, as the blooming or flowering season is very favourable. A g )od rain during shooting is always beneficial, especially if quiet, and accompanied with genial warmth, and not too clear nights. Seldom have wheat ears appeared brighter and better formed. If the setting is as good as the conditions appear to warrant us in expecting, the yield from the machine may be very good. SPRING CORN I find patchy, full of charlock, and in general inferior to last year. Some of the oats would be as well cut with the charlock, and converted into fodder before harvest. So far as feed in concerned there would be little loss, as oat hay is a good fodder, and the land, being early cleared, could be sown with mustard or even late turnips. ROOT CROPS. The prospects for all root crops is excellent, so far as I can judge, owing to timely rains. Last year, and in fact, for some years past, we enjoyed a better season for corn than for roots; but this year we must hope that the general result will be assisted by good root crops and better grazing on pastures. The price of sheep will probably advance if we have more rain. The later grass crops will also benefit. At the pre- sent moment an overcast sky and the rich notes of thrushes and blackbirds singing gaily outside the window seem to indicate a further fall, and, as the clover hay is almost all well secured we may hope for the fulfilment of these anticipations. Summer rain ts often disappointing. It threatens to fall and clears away it rains, and just as we are beginning to rejoice it stops suddenly, and droughty conditions again prevail. LAST YEAR'S WHEAT CROP. Having now completed threshing, I can report a good all-round crop, averaging 40 bushels all round. The poorer land, owing to close folding, produced as much as the richer land. It all yielded from one or two sacks more than it was valued at before harvest, and this is some consolation against the extremely bad prices. THE CONDITION OF AGRICULTURE. The Morning Post has published particulars of an interview which its representative had with Sir J. B. Lawes. Besides his connection since 1843 with the famous Rothamsted experiments, Sir John Lawes has had 65 years' experience of practical agriculture, so that for the better part of a lifetime he may be said to have actually combined "practice with science." The chief result of the interview is to show that with the almost unique knowledge of the farm- ing industry which he possesses, Sir John Lawes is able to controvert decidedly those persons who are now asserting that farming has at length reached such a pass as to be threatened with extinction. Nor does he rely upon any new and universal panacea for imparting new life into the industry, and restor- ing it to the position it once occupied. A return to protection he regards as undesirable as well as impossible, and he is sure that the remedy does not lie in what is called higher cultivation." In many instances," he says, agriculturists have farmed quite as high as they dare, and some of them are finding it out. It must be obvious, I think, to anyone that increased crops cannot meet the root of the evil-lower prices." The pro- blem of the labourer and his relation to the land Sir J. B. Lawes regards as one of the most serious in the whole agricultural situation, and he believes that the provision of allotments has done very little to keep the labourers in the rural districts. The older men, of course, appreciate them, but to the younger ones, especially those of them who have been smart at school, a pastoral life presents no attractions. Sir John himself has let off freely, yet the migration town wards goes on unchecked. He confesses he knows of no remedy. Sir John admits that some good may be achieved by co-operation among farmers, partiu'arly in the matter of the collection of their produce and its transit to the consuming centres. Milk, cheese, eggs, poultry, vegetables, and so forth, might be made to yield a better return under the application of co-operative principles. But on the whole the only means of alleviating the pre- sent condition of things lies in a policy of greater alertness, and of increased adaptability to special con- ditions and circumstances. RUSSIAN FOWLS. There is (observes Mona") a breed of fowls known as the Black Russians, which are bred to some extent in the United States of America. Very seldom, however, have any like them been seen in England, though there is no doubt that fowls of a somewhat similar character are to be met with in the east of Europe. It has been stated that those found across the Atlantic have been simply manufactured, and the name Russian given to them for want of a better. This may or may not be so, but if it is the producer has come remarkably near the real Russian. In other quarters the origin of the breed is attributed to the Cossacks of Central or Southern Russia. In plumage they are of a glossy green black, very thickly feathered, especially about the head and neck. The comb is double or rose, fitting close to the head, and small wattles nearly hidden by the beard. The breast and body are full and deep, the skin yellow, and the legs dark lead colour, shading to yellow. These Russian fowls endure rigorous winter weather, and the hens are stated to be the best winter layers of all domestic poultry, as well as good mothers. They are of medium size, weighing from six to eight pound, and excellent table fowls, with a Ole very pleasing carriage. SILKIES. The peculiarity of the silky fowl is that the feathers do not web, and have a loose, soft, silky appearance, more like hair than feathers. They are gentle, and especially suitable for ladies' pets, make admirable mothers, and are content with modest quarters in respect to size of run. They partake largely of the Cochin character in shape of body, and that variety is to some extent liable to silky feathering. Silkies should be quite white, with a nice globular crest, have five claws, feathers on the legs, but no sign of vulture hocks, and a short tail. The combs are small, round, and knobby, and black or purple in colour, with turquoise blue ear-lobes. They are good layers, and the flesh is of excellent eating, but being of a deep violet colour the birds have a dirty appearance on the table when cooked, and consequently they cannot be sold as table fowls. But for a natural prejudice against flesh of this colour they would be regarded as good for the table. SULTANS. Another variety of fowls often seen at shows is the Sultan, which comes from Turkey, and is there known under a name of which the English cognomen is the literal translation. It is nearly 40 years since specimens were first brought to this country, and though never very numerous, they are always to be found. They are abont the size of the Polish fowl, and evidently of the same family, but are perfectly white in plumage, and have far more profuse feather- ing. Their crest is large, and the beard flowing. Unlike the Polish the legs are feathered, and they have very heavy vulture hocks. In fact, there is no other fowl so extensively furnished as is the Sultan, and good specimens are handsome indeed. They are capital layers and very docile, do not sit, but require well kept grass, or the foot-feather becomes bad, which soon spoils their appearance. YOKOHAMA FOWLS. This is the name given in this country to various fong-tailed Japanese fowls which have been im- ported during recent years, but they are sometimes known as Phoenix. The proper names by which they are known in their own country are Shinowara- tao and Shirifuzi. The great peculiarity is in the long tails, which trail far behind them, and when ex- hibited they require double cages. It has been stated that in Japan these tails only moult once in three years, and that they have been known to grow to the length of 17ft. The birds are kept in cages high and narrow, and sit on a perch covered with straw rope, without room to turn round or get down. The food and water are placed at either side of the perch, and they are carefully lifted down three times daily for a little exercise. It is only by this treatment that the tails can be obtained to the length named. They are very handsome, and, of course, in this country can only be kept by the few. SOIL TEMPERATURE. At a recent meeting of the Royal Meteorological Society, at the Iastitution of Civil Engineers, West- minster, Mr. H. Mellish, F.R.Met.Soc., read a paper on I; Soil Temperature," in which he discussed the observations from the thermometers at various depths in the- noil -which feave been made at the stations o the Koyal Meteorological Society. It appears that in nearly all cases the annual temperature of the soil at a depth of 1ft. is slightly higher than that of the air. In winter time the air and the soil at lft. have about the same temperature, the soil being often a little warmer till about the end of January, after which, for the next two months, the air has a small advantage; but in the summer mouths the soil at lft. is generally warmer than the air, the difference exceeding 3deg. at several stations. Mr. Mellish shows that on the mean for the year the light soils are Ideg. warmer than the air, while the strong ones are only 0'2deg. warmer and he is of opinion that near the surface we may expect to find wider extremes of temperature in light soils than in strong ones, but that the heavier soils are better conductors of heat, and that conse- quently the extremes are propagated to greater depths in heavy soils than in light, ones.

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