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FIELD AND FARM. j

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FIELD AND FARM. j (From" The Agricultural Gazette. ") THE CLOVER HAY C.'jrtP -->. The fate of the clover hay crop (says Prof. John Wrightson), is sealed. It will be light and benty for the moat part. Thus the earliest crop of the season has been sacrificed to north-easterly winds and cold nights. The promise at one time was considerable, but as week after week has passed without cessation ef harsh sifting winds, the prospect has dwindled until it has arrived at about zero. GRASS CROPS, Scarcely less satisfactory are bay prospects generally. So far as the situation can be judged from the railway, there has been as yet scarcely any growth. On cold land the grass has not properly started, and on early land it is parched and already showing signs of giving out. Meanwhile, a dry and searching wind has robbed the land of its moisture, and the herbage of its sap, the result being in many places net enough grass to hide a mouse. SPRING CORN CROPS. It is early to predicate as to corn, but at present the prospects are bad. Late sown, in the first place, it qllickJy germinated and put in an appearance. In favoured situations it maintains itself, and may yet do well, but over wide areas the plant is thin and weak, and is suffering from wireworm. WHEAT. Whatever faults are attributed to wheat as a far- mer's crop, it is one which generally shows to advan- tage in a harsh spring like the present. It establishes itself in the autumn and winter, and pushes its roots below the zone which is immediately affected by short periods of drought. Wheat in fact likes a dry May, and it has had it this year in perfection. I should say wheat on the whole looks fairly well, and shows no sign of sickness. It is a good colour and carries a broad blade. It cannot spread as it would have done in a genial season, but, on the whole, it looks a great deal better than either oats or barley. FODDER CROPS. I Writing from a fodder crop centre, I find trifolium very good, and in fact heavy. Lambs are now en* joying themselves in this useful crop, which is inter- mixed with vetches, the foliage being at least a yard high and very dense. This crop, like wheat, estab- lished its position in the long and not too severe winter, it grew very rapidly in the middle of April when we had a hot wave, and it is now standing in most usefully. HARROWING YOUNG ROOT CROPS. I There is no better plan than harrowing as a par- tial substitute for hand-hoeing. After horse-hoeing between the drills, let the harrow be put on across the rows, and the effect is excellent in producing I tilth, stimulating growth, and taking out surplus plants. Rape and kale may be cultivated without singling or band-hoeing, unless they are badly affected with charlock. P At ention has been drawn in this column to the advantage of growing as large a breadth of rape and kale as possible, in order to save hoeing. This is not entirely a matter of choice; for it may well be argued that hoeing pays. It is likely to be a matter of necea- sity, owing to the growing scarcity of strappers. As to harrowing mangel-wurzel, the only point to be observed is that the plants are tender when young, and not often too thick on the ground. The harrow is not a discriminating agent, and may pro- duce some ugly gaps. No doubt the harrow may be employed with advantage when the plants are strong and numerous, but mangel of all crops must be care- fully singled, and it is only harrowing before thin- ning which is recommended. THE PRACTICE OF MILKING. I Ever since the advent of modern times, when people have become more and more particular about the sources and treatment of their everyday foods, cleanliness has been particularly advocated with re- prd to that very gard to that very susceptible and easily-tainted pro- duct, milk. The teaching of bacteriology, and especially the subject of bacteriology in its relation to dairy products, has shown that from the very time of drawing milk from the udder it is subject to bacterial contamination from a very large number of sources. In the first place, it has been shown that, although bacteria do not actually exist inside a healthy udder, (they are present inuthe canals of the teats leading from the milk cisterns, so that milk cannot be drawn absolutely sterile unless pre- cautions be taken in cleaning out the small canals previous to milking. Now, although milk must naturally become con- taminated with some bacteria that exist in the teats, the contamination received is not generally of an abnoxious character, the organisms being chiefly those of lactic acid, which produce souring, by which milk would in the ordinary course of events deterior- ate whether inoculated from this sourse or not, these organisms existing almost everywhere. The obnoxious micro-organisms which get into milk during the milking are chiefly derived from the dirt and filth on the udder and flanks of the cow. Such matter as bairs, excoriations and bits of cow dung have a very baneful influence upon milk, and for this reason cleanliness cannot be too particularly adhered to. Time after time it has been advocated that cows' addars should be washed before each milking, and of course this is a most effectual means of getting clean milk, but for our part it is too purely theoretical for practice. We do know of instances where it is most religiously practised, and we cannot but admire the determination to do the best that can be which is displayed, though we have noticed that were any par- ticular cows to lie down after the udder washing had taken place in a host of filth, it did not receive a second washing. Now, a small amount of contami- nated milk, if mixed with the bulk, very readily spreads the taint, and we wonder if in this case would the milk be any the superior in the end. It is not our intention to pull down this washing of the udder by setting forth the arguments against it, as we have said it is an admirable practice for those who have the pluck to attempt it. Dirt, and particularly loose dirt, must always be cleaned off the udder, which should be brushed, if not washed, which will eliminate a large amount of the extraneous matter likely to appear in the milk. Coming to the actual practice of milking, it is gena- rally considered that the correct method is to take a fore and hind quarter on opposite sides as being most convenient to the milker, and less likely to cause inconvenience and pain to the cow. dThere are, however, advocates of milking out of the two fore quarters first and then the hind ones, this idea being based upon the grounds that both hind quarters gave a heavier yield of milk than the others, which is, doubtless, mostly the case. In our opinion, however, it is a mistake to place so much importance on a matter that a good milker knows how to meet half-way. A milker should avoid habitually drawing the teats through two fingers or the finger and thumb, instead of taking a full grasp. This is generally known as "streak milking," and is the common method of milking adopted, more particularly in some of the mountainous districts of Wales. Un- doubtedly, this is the best way of extracting the milk m stripping cows, as more milk is obtained, and the milk is drawn cleaner away from the udder. Cows that are milked altogether by this method appear as hard milked to those unaccustomed to it and having to milk some of the cows. It also has the effect of very often causing soreness of the teats, especially if there are any sort of skin affections pre- sent. As a relief to the hands it proves of great assistance. k It is highly advisable to thoroughly strip a cow when milking, and it should be done at once, and not left to a better milker, who has this work assigned to him, coming along after indeed, the whole pro-cess of milking cannot be done too quickly, and the thorough stripping of a cow is most essential, for two reasons. 1. The strippings are the richest in butter-fat, for whereas the first milk drawn contains only some 1 to 2 per cent. fat, the strippings contain 8 to 10 per cent. 2. Stripping encourages secretion of milk. The milking organs of heifers just come newly into the herd require educating up to the work they have to perform, and nothing develops an organ like giving it a large amount of work to perform, and this cannot be done better than by extracting every drop of milk. As to the difficulty commonly met with of cows holding back their milk, if this is to be dealt with, animals must be treated kindly, and not allowed to be excited more than possible, as it is often due to some reflex action on the nerve system that causes holding up the milk. Coaxing must be adopted to encourage the cow to allow the flow to continue; this, after allowing the Saif to go t" Iwr for a ahart time.

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