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FIELD AND FARM. 1

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FIELD AND FARM. 1 (From the "Agricultural Gazette.") I ROOT-CROP SOWING. I The season (remarks Professor John Wrightson) is now at its height. Mangel is well above ground, and recent rains will soon bring it up to the hoe. Rape and early-sown swedes are showing in drill, but cannot yet be touched except by the horse-hoe. Until quite recently these crops could not make much progress, and of all others seemed most in want of a refreshing shower. As previously explained in this column, our own system of root cultivation is simple, and consists of following the sheep folds, and putting in mangel, swedes, rape, or turnips, according to the requirements of the farm. lis is far different with the cultivators of clay land, who must have experienced a difficult time of late. This class of ground is readily caked together after heavy rain, and refuses to break into the fine tilth required for turnip husbandry. Stiff clay soils are really scarcely fit for arable culture in these days, and are better under grass. What is to be done with clay lands in a dry season ? What is to be done with them in a wet season ? It is a heartless spectacle to see them lying under the blazing sun in a condition which appears hope- less so far as root cultivation is concerned. The summer fallow is their natural destination, with wheat to follow on the earliest sign of the approach of aatumn. Hopeless as this may appear in the present time, it is preferable to the awful risk of growing roots. There seems little chance of any alternative ex- cept grass. The successful farmer of clay land must be a skilful cultivator. He must till in au- tumn and early winter, and be careful not to bury his fine surface. Late ploughing in spring is fatal to his prospects of root growing. One day's ploughing in autumn, with a coat of dung ploughed in at the same operation, seems to be the right system, followed with the use of the cultivator. I remember a first-rate Scotch farmer who always worked his land on this principle, and as it was clean he was able, as he told me, never to touch it again until the previous day to sowing his root crop. He was a very successful grower, and seldom had a gappy piece. This was on deep red land, which, it must be allowed, was not of the soapy character of some of our midland county clays. Beans seem to be the natural crop for clay soils, but no crop has gone so much out of cultiva- tion. It is not always easy to meet with a sample of good old beans, and yet the price for "English" has not suffered so much as wheat, being still about 40s. a qr. for heavy lots. After all, it is the successful tillage of the ground which makes the farmer. How to crop and how to till land is always the crux, and before the intri- cacies of tillage all questions of fertilisers sink into secondary importance. POULTRY KEEPING IN DORSETSHIRE. In all branches of industrialism, it is very inte- resting (observes Mr. Edward Brown) to not1 ce what is being done in other parts of the country, and an account of recent visits paid to the county named above will probably be interesting to your readers, and it maybe afford encouragement under more favourable conditions. It is a very striking fact when visiting different parts of the land to see how great are the variations in prices obtained for poultry produce within the limits of even so small a country as England. I have recently been making inquiries as to prices in other countries, and I find that at certain seasons of the year eggs are cheaper in some of the rural districts of Eng- land than they are abroad. In these days, carriage is not so serious an item as is commonly supposed, especially where large quantities are forwarded at one time. I do not, however, propose to discuss the question of railway rates, as that is quite another matter. So far as Dorsetshire is concerned, it may be taken as a typical southern county and representa- tive of the district lying between London and Land's End. During the spring and summer eggs are very low in price, in many places getting down to twenty-two and twenty-four a shilling, which, of course, is a very low figure for this class of pro- duce, and one which does not afford adequate returns to the producer, although of course, the expenses are not so great as they would be in some other parts of the country. Dorsetshire is a county of mixed farming, and over the greater part of it pasture lands prevail. There are many portions of the county where corn growing at one time was more general than is the case to-day, but the thin and light soils do not afford conditions suitable for corn growing in these days. The position of the county, of course, gives it considerable heat during the summer months, and in such a season as last year there was a great want of grass, and these conditions are very similar to what are found in France during the warmer months of the year. In some parts of the county large farms are met with, but there are also a very great number of small holdings, and in connection with these poultry are kept to a considerable extent. Readers have only to consult the map to see that there are no great markets very near, and in Dorsetshire the towns are small, whilst the county does not contain any large manufactories. Hence, the produce must chiefly go elsewhere. This is always a fact that has to be kept in view when dealing with the con- ditions of any county. On the coast-line there is a pretty good demand for both eggs and poultry during the summer months, in consequence of the number of visitors who go there, and at that period of the year the prices increase considerably. The class of poultry kept in the county is dc- cidedly mixed, and what are known as barndoor fowls prevail, though there has undoubtedly been considerable advance in this respect of late year-j, and pure breeds have been introduced. The methods adopted have been modified as in other parts of the country, though perhaps hardly to the extent met with further north. Still, we find poultry scattered about the fields, either in port- able or other kinds of houses. This system, how- ever, has not been developed to the extent which may be looked for ultimately. One disadvantage which is met with in some districts, especi- ally upon the Downs, is that the amount of shelter is not so great as could be desired, especially during the summer months. There is no question that woods are of very great benefit in that they afford shelter from the intensity of the sun, and more and more this will be realised. It is a very common im- pression, and yet an erroneous one, that fowls do best where there is plenty of sunshine. Whilst the southern counties are advantageous undoubtedly during the winter, in that they usually have more sun than in the manufacturing districts, during the warmer months of the year the benefit of shelter in this way is very great indeed. I have previously mentioned the question of what we may term the summering and wintering of our poultry, and this requires to be pressed forward even to a greater extent than has ever been the case before. The chief weakness in production in the south- ern counties is that the bulk of the eggs are pro- duced during the spring and summer, and the supplies in the winter are comparatively small. Under the conditions we have already mentioned there is no reason why this should be so, because they are undoubtedly favourable to winter egg production, but the question has not been taken ap to the same extent as is necessary in order to ensure regularity of supply. We cannot press home too strongly the point that the equalisation of productiveness between one season and another will go far to overcome low prices. As we have pointed cut previously on several occasions, every egg produced in winter means one less when they are plentiful. It is a striking fact that even in such counties as Dorsetshire good prices can be obtained for eggs from October to February, and in some districts the demand is greater than the supply at that season of the At certain periods of gestation the udder becomes sore and very sensitive to the touch, consequently the cow when being milked by the prevailing methods becomes restless and may kick, when at all other times she is gentle. A cow's udder and teats do not attain uch ungainly changes from their natural shape except by injudicious handling in drawing the milk. To grasp the teat like a vice and pull downward, as you would a pump handle, at every motion, will soon distort the udder and cause the teats to acquire a gourd-handled and enlarged shape. Stripping the milk" from the udder comes nearer the calf's method of drawing the milk than any Ouher. This is done by pulling the teat between the thumb and front finger, and should be employed iWall times when the udder 18 painfully full or sore at periods above mentioned.

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