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. FIELD AND FARM. -

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FIELD AND FARM. LATE ROOT AND GREEN CROPS. Rape and kale are now (remarks Professor John Wrightson in the "Agricultural Gazette") more suitable for sowing than swedes, but white turnips may still be drilled. The variations in practice are considerable. Green-round turnips and other hardy and late varieties capable of standing frosts may yet produce full crops, as they can grow up to February. Kale and rape will be preferred by some, and two drills of swedes with three of kale by others. Good results are sometimes obtained by broad-casting a mixture of lib. of turnip seed with 31b. of rape, when the season is late, and expenses of hoeing are thus saved. Others may co. sider an early sowing of rye better than a late sowing of turnips, as July-sown rye will be ready for folding in the winter, and may be followed with wheat. ROTATION EXPERIMENTS. While doubting the value of the numerous isolated published experiments conducted by State-aided institutions during the last few years, it must be allowed that rotation experiments are likely to throw light on practice. Such experiments can- not be undertaken by private individuals, as they entail much expense and trouble. They stand on a different footing to experiments upon roots, etc., as they are less affected by disturbing influences, and the land being constantly under observation and under controlled management becomes much better fitted to return a coherent answer. The effect of removing roots partially or altogether from the land; the effect of cake- feeding, c-n the following crops; the effect of Z, heavy crops of roots grown with expensive manures, as against light crops of roots grown without manure, and other points, are worthy of deep attention. The whole question of high farming v. moderate farming is brought into prominence by the fact that unexpectedly good crops of oats have been grown after very poor crops of roots which had not received manure. The widely-spread opinion that root crops, although not directly profitable, are wisely grown with a view to the improvement of future crops is not fully borne out bv the rotation experiments of the County Councils of Cumberland, Durham, and Northumberland. Professor Middleton pointed out last year how much better the oat crop could grow on unmanured land than the root crop. This has been again very strikingly illustrated. "The unmanured plot produced only It ton of swedes in 1901, but it produced 32t bushels of oats in 1902. The available phosphoric acid and potash in the soil of this plot is in each case under .01 per cent. From the result it is evident that the swede crop cannot succeed with these low amounts, but that the oat crop can make a very good struggle indeed, as they still produce a respectable crop on this plot." That a crop of oats should be able to extract nourishment from land which could not grow a root crop the previous J»ear is itself striking but none the less so when on other plots which had grown manured root crops the oats in some cases yielded only 37 bushels. It is true that in other cases heavy crops of oats were grown of 66 bushels per acre, but only after heavily-manured roots, half of which were fed on the land with linseed cake and hay. An equivalent for the cake in the form of fish manure, etc, applied directly to the oats, produced a still heavier yield of 69t bushels per acre, showing clearly that it was just as satis- factory to manure the oats directly as to interpose sheep fed on cake as a means of improving the corn crop. If it is true that the oat crop can make a better use of the inherent fertility of the ground, as also of mnnurial dressings applied to it directly, than the root crop, the question arises, Why not grow two oats crops in succession instead of growing a root crop as a preparation for oats? This question might well be discussed with the aid of rotation experiments, in which successive corn crops, each manured directly, might be sub- stituted for root crops followed with corn. We have become so accustomed to regard the root cron as a means of keeping up the fertility of land that we have forgotten the teachings of science. Root crops, removed, are known to be the most exacting, the most exhausting, the most risky, and the most expensive crops grown. It is only by feeding them on the farm or on the field that they have a leg to stand upon. It is, in fact, only through the addition of cake, hay, and corn fed with them that they can increase or even keep up the fertility of land. Supposing we manure a crop directly with superphosphate, kainit, guano, etc., is it not likely that we shall obtain as good a crop as after expensive cultiva- tion and expensive manuring to a crop which is not profitable in itself? Why should not the process be repeated both years with a cereal crop? The object is, of course, profit, and those who find root crops directly profitable will stick to them. It seems, however, time to look closely into the matter, for we live in altered circum- stances, when agricultural chemistry is better understood, and complete artificial manures can be easily obtained. THE WYANDOTTE AS A FARMER'S I FOWL. The domestic fowl is kept primarily ("E. W. R." remarks) that it may produce eggs to a much smaller extent it is kept that it may provide food for the human race, and on those farms where artificial incubation is not prac- tised it is necessary for the hatching and rear- ing of the chicks that are to be drafted into the flock, to supply the places of those weeded out during the year. The number of eggs con- sumed in this country is yearly on the increase, and it is mainly to the farmer that we must look for the supply of the home-produced article. In order that this demand for the fresh egg may be met, fowls must be kept that are noted for their prolificacy. A hen that spends a great part of its time in broodiness is a source of loss rather than of profit, and by keeping fowls of those breeds that become excessively broody, the farmer fails to meet the demand, compels us to go to the foreigner for our supplies, and at the same time engages in an industry t-at yields him little or no profit, and becomes a source of dis- gust rather than of pleasure. It'is not too much to say that twice as many eggs might be pro- duced on our English farms if the farmer would keep more suitable fowls. It is not at all an uncommon thing at this time of the year to find, on visiting a homestead, nearly every nest occupied by a broody hen, and occasionally to find two in possession, with the inevitable result that eggs are broken, and the laying hens steal nests in inaccessible places, and the eggs are lf)ss to the farmer through not being collected. Undoubtedly the general-purpose or utility fowl is best suited to the needs of the farmer. Artificial incubation is rarely practised, and in most districts the farmer's wife gets many orders for dressed poultry, consequently the general-purpose fowl is most profitable, and where there is a good demand for eggs it is questionable whether there is any breed superior to the Wyandotte, combining as it does the capa- city for laying a considerable number of eggs with a moderate degree of broodiness, and es- pecial excellence as a sitter and mother, while as a table fowl it always presents a very re- spectable appearance, on account of its meaty breast, and bears favourable comparison with those varieties usually denominated table fowls, All the varieties, though they differ considerably amongst themselves, possess some claim to be called farmers' fowls, and it is somewhat difficult to say which is the best, though we are inclined to give the preference to the white and the silver, with a decided leaning also towards the partridge variety. The greatest failing in the breed is the smallness of the egg, and if this could be overcome, it would do much to remove a certain prejudice against the breed; the egg laid by the silver and golden varieties is especially de- ficient in size, but that laid by the white, buff, and partridge is somewhat larger, though we have-- noticed a greater tendency to broodiness in the last two varieties. ———

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