Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page

FIELD AND FARM.

News
Cite
Share

FIELD AND FARM. (From the Agricuttural Gazette.") SIMPLICITY OF CORN CULTIVATION. The cultivation for wheat and other corn crops (rw.urks Prof. John Wrightson) is simple and inex- pensive in itself, which is probably the cause of so much foreign competition. The true art of cultiva- tion is shown in producing maximum effects from minimum expenditure, which at first sight may appear impossible. In the highly artificial condi- tions of our agriculture one crop greatly depends upon another, and it is well known that one good crop begets another, just as a failure is known to be often perpetrated in a second year's bad result. A failure of clover entails a reduced wheat yield, and a failure of roots is often followed by a partial failure in the succeeding corn crop. That a good crop of clover is often followed by a good crop of wheat is accounted for on scientific grounds, for clover root is the best manure for wheat. Similarly, the longer the sheep are folded on an acre of land the more probability there is of a good crop of oats, if not of barley. The more of recently formed organic matter a soil con- tains, the better will a succeeding crop thrive, and hence the close relationship between a previous and a growing crop. A maximum crop of wheat may, therefore, reward a grower without further direct expenditure. It is not always sound teaching that heavy crops are obtained by proportionately heavy expences, although such would be the case if the crops were increased by direct manuring. It is the indirect effect which produces the crop, and this is the principle upon which high farming should be conducted. Take the case of a strong clover plant. It is grown at comparatively small expense, and its success may be partly dependent upon the season. It may, how- ever, be due to a good crop of roots fed upon the land by sheep receiving cake and corn. The root crop in such a case pays its expenses through the sheep, which is not at all impossible. Sheep have been paying fairly well, and it may easily happen that the farmer is well satisfied with the result. Next follows a good crop of barley or of oats sown down with seeds, and we will suppose for the sake of illustration that the clover takes well, and establishes a good root. If the clover is mown, and the aftermath is folded with sheep and well manured with dung, there are the ele- ments of success in the next crop, which I take to be wheat. It is possible that a full, or what might be called a maximum, crop of wheat may be grown without extra expenditure. The coat of farmyard manure only represents fair management, and yet by reason of the previous cropping and the blessing of a good season a full crop of wheat is obtained. This is as it ought to be. On the other hand, and with the same expenditure, we might see a failure in roots followed by a meagre crop of spring corn and a poor crop of clover, followed by a shabby crop of wheat, the whole being due in the first instance to a bad root crop. It does not, therefore, follow that big crops are the result of heavy expendi- ture neither does it follow that bad crops are always the resuh of bad farming. Our results depend upon circumstances over which we have not full control. As to high farming, the true principle is bound up in stock; and if this is denied by anyone, it will not be so by farmers of light soils, who find their success depending chiefly upon close folding with sheep. The sound principal is that the sheep must pay their own way, and if this be granted, the residual fertility from their presence is obtained free of expense. It is also sound that land kept up in good heart by sheep is better able to stand drought, or untoward seasons. The principle that diminish- ing returns will largely increase the aggregate profits of agriculture is not very easy to understand, and Professor Somerville must have been misquoted, or only partially quoted, when he is reported to have so expressed himself. Diminishing returns need not mean diminishing expenses. Increased returns ought to be the result of judicious expenditure, and if sheep are used to illustrate this position they should at once pay for their food, and leave the land better for their manure. The case of cattle feeding is less clear, for it entails labour in carting off roots and carting on manure and land so treated is more dependent upon outlay. Land which will carry sheep all the year round is, in the present state of arable farming, most desir- able and there is good reason for believing that a much larger proportion of arable land will carry sheep in winter than is popularly imagined. I have recently heard of strong clay land benefiting from sheep folding in winter to a degree that seemed scarcely possible. SOME FEEDING POINTS. In handling live stock there is (observes S.B.H.") no point of greater importance than a knowledge of how to feed, nor is there any on which the capacities of owners are more widely at variance. Some feed with brains and others with the scoop shovel, and there are all grades of feeding ability between these two extremes. Feeding is the point in environment most largely influential in improvement, and is also one on which profit very largely depends. As to the quality of feed employed, it should be the best of its kind. Smutted, rusted, or otherwise diseased grains, mouldy hay or forage, spoiled meals, rank, sour swills, &c., may seem to cause no specific harm at the time, but they always detract from that perfect thrift and healthfulness of the digestive organs which enables an animal to do its best. The feed being good of its kind, the right kind should be used, having in view the purpose for which it is fed. Feed stuffs are broadly divided into those which make fat and those which make muscle or growth. Animals do not change or even compound the foods they consume into needed forms; they merely appropriate or as- similate the elements which the plants on which they feed have appropriated. For example, there can be no bone-making unless the food contains a sufficient quantity of the mineral elements of which the bone is composed; muscle and growth cannot be made unless the food contains the substances which enter into the making of muscle and growth. It is, there- fore, necessary that the kind of food chosen shall be appropriate to the purpose in view. If young, grow- ing animals are fed there must be enough nitrogenous matter to make muscle and growth and enough mineral matter to make frame, and if the foods at hand do not contain them they should be added in the form of nitrogenous by-products, ashes, &c. Even a moulting hen needs a different food frem that given at other seasons, or she cannot make feathers. Pigs lose scale, become fine in bone, and turn to fat if fed on fattening food during the time when they ought to be growing, Milk cows can only produce profitable quantities of milk when they are fed on milk-producing foods. Large losses in the pig crop result from improper feeding during the period of gestation and just before and after farrowing time. It is an old maxim that You Cannot get an oat out of a thistle-diet," and the maxim applies to all kinds of feeding. You cannot have fat, or muscle, or bone, or scale, or milk, or any specific thing desired without feeding appropriate food, because the animal does not create anything, but only assimilates what there is in the food. Quantity is important in feeding. Toproduce results of any desirable kind, feeding should be liberal. So much is required for the maintenance of the animal, and it is only the quantity that is digested and as- similated after this food of maintenance is secured, which produces the owner's share in the proceeds from the feeding. At the same time this idea should ke handled with judgment. A sow that is heavily fed just before and after farrowing will be pretty sure to loose her pigs. Cows thus fed are very likely to have garget. There are no feeding principles that it is not constantly necessary to modify by the use of the feeder's judgment. A great many little ailments, not arising to the dignity of a disease, but neverthe- less interfering seriously with thrift, are due he over- feeding, which is liberal feeding carried to excess. A good rule is to give the animal all it will eat up clean, but even this must be modified by judgment, too. Where animals have been run down, they must be brought up gradually; and in getting animals on full feed they must not be given all they will eat, but must be brought to full feed by steps. Food left over is a hint to reduce the ration. If much is left over it is a further hint that something is wrong, and the animal needs looking after. With food of good quality, of the right kind for the purpose, and sufficient but no more than sufficient in quantity, another important point is variety. The feeder himself does not like to sit down to the table day after day to the same dish. He might not object to beans for fifty or sixty meala in succession, bur, he would not like them as a steady diet. The animal is in just the same condition. It needs variety or food will pall upon it. The food must be properly pre- pared in view of the digestion of the animal. It is hardly worth while to feed millet seed, for instance, without grinding, for the digestion of no animal will reduce it. A yearling lamb gets along very nicely on whole grain, but the aged, broken-toothed ewe will not fatten unless the grain be ground. Steers with hogs to follow may not waste a great deal of whole corn, but when cattle are fed on whole corn under other circumstances the waste is large. To the farrowing sow, both before and after, thin gruels do the sow and litter good, while corn is detrimental to both the sow and pigs. There are other points connected with palatability and succulence, &c., which special circum- stances render of greater or less importance. Wherever animals are to be pushed, palatability counts for a great deal, because it stimulates appetite and increases the consumption of food, which, however, must not be pushed beyond the point of capacity to digest. Finally, aside from the general rules of feeding, every animal has an individuality of its own. So far as possible this should be studied. It cannot be studied in the case of a hundred steers in the feed lot, but it can be studied in the case of a herd of dairy cows.

GARDENING GOSSIP.

[No title]

A CLOSE SHAVE.

MILITARY TITLES.

IS THE ARMY GOING TO THE DOGS

[No title]

THE LORD RUSSELL MEMORIAL.

UNLUCKY THIRTEEN.

MODEL TRUANT BOYS.

PROMOTED FROM THE RANKS.

[No title]

-I!;¡SoIr........-...-J""'I:'f-<'''¡;;1_''''''-:'''_'''I.…

BRITISH CENTRAL AFRICA.

[No title]