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EPITOME OF If VVS. I

I FilfiLD AND FARM.

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FilfiLD AND FARM. FALLOWING LAND. Under this term (remarks Prof. John Wright- lIOn, in the "Agricultural Gazette") is included not only bare-iaiiows, but root crop cultivation, There are several descriptions of fallows. There is, for example, the old naked summer fallow still largely used in the management of strong clay lanct. There is the winter fallow, followed by root crops, practised upon.all the lighter and ilndqjr soils, and continually encroaching upon the bare- allow area. There is the catch-crop and root-fallow used in Wilts and other chalk counties in which the land has no rest, and seems all the better for its uninterrupted activity. Lastly, there is the half or bastard- fallow, in which an early crop of vetches or other fodder crop is followed by what is known -68 a rag-fallow tor wheat. All of these sys- tems have their advocates. From time to time all land requires cleaning, and this necessarily entails freedom from a crop. The most com- plete system of all is the old bare-fallow, in :which the land is thoroughly cleaned during the entire spring and summer. Root cultivation is advocated because it lessens the expenses by the value of the roots, but it is less complete for .cleaning purposes. Catch-cropping followed by roots is usually accompanied by a good deal of couch and weedy growth, which under this system cannot be completely eradicated. As to which system is the best it is not easy to say, but there is no reason why all of them should alot be practised on the same farm. RESTING LAND. The old idea that land requires rest must be considered as entirely exploded. That ex- hausted land will recover its fertility if it is left idle is no doubt true enough, but this method of recuperating land is entirely incon- sistent with modern ideas. If an exhausted field falls out of cultivation for a series of years, it will slowly recover, and in time may acquire the character of virgin soil. Even a single year's rest and fallow will do much to recu- perate soils, but it must be remembered that rest in the case of land does not mean at all the same thing as rest to an animal. Rest to a soil is simply a period of accumulation of available plant food, and manuring will always effect the same object. No better example can be given than that of root crops. They are in them- selves very exhausting, but being fed upon the land they enable it to produce crops. Manure will always enable land to produce crops with- out any period of rest, as. has been proved at Rothamsted, Woburn, and Sawbridgeworth. Gardens seldom are allowed to rest, but they continue productive if well manured. If climatic conditions are suitable, a succession of crops may be taken if only manure is added and a proper rotation is observed. Rest in the sense of inactivity is therefore unnecessary for land, and the principal thing is to supply it with proper manures. Land, no doubt, rests from its labours in winter, although this is not any ad- vantage but the reverse. It is during winter that the nitrates are washed out of idle land; and the best preservative of fertility is to pro- vide a covering of growing herbage during winter, quite inconsistent with rest. Fallowing is more for cleaning than resting land, and, if the land is clean, may well be abolished alto- gether. With our present knowledge of agri- cultural chemistry, and ample sources of ferti- lising matter, there is no reason why land should ever be allowed to lie idle. Root crops, viewed as fallowing crops allow of cleaning and manuring in an especial degree. They not only require a fine tilth and clean land, but they cannot thrive unless liberally treated. Finally, they are consumed on the farm, and therefore restore all that they have taken out of the land. They are also a principal agent for maintaining live stock in the winter. It would, however, be a mistake to consider that they are essential for either purpose, because land can be manured without them, and stock are frequently overdone with them. Fallowing land seems, therefore, to be necessary for clean- ing it more than for any other purpose, for, provided it is clean, it may just as well be under crop. CLEANING LAND. I Autumn (points out Prof. John Wrightson, in his "Agricultural Gazette" current notes) is an excellent season for cleaning land. The pro- cess is continued until the weather breaks, and is resumed in the spring. The phrase spring- cleaning has fewer terrors for the farmer than for the householder. It is associated with out- door life in bright weather. The spring clean- ing of land has, however, certain disadvantages, among which may be mentioned delay in sowing the crop, and drying the land to the detriment of seed germination. As much cleaning as possible should be accomplished in autumn, so as to preserve moisture in the soil and a sur- face rendered fine by winter's frost. If the land has been winter dunged and ploughed, and can be dressed and drilled at the best period for sowing, the success of the crop is well nigh secured but if repeatedly ploughed in spring, the land is rendered too dry for the germination of seed, and sometimes too cloddy for the suc- cessful development of the young plants. In root cultivation a fine and moist tilth are so essential at many farmers drill roots in com- paratively foul land rather than lose their season and their tilth by extra working. Some farmers look upon perfect cleanliness of the land as of firsrt importance, and had rather sacrifice the prospects of their root crops than drill them in foul land. In other words, they prefer a clean fallow to a foul root crop, and there is much to be said for this view. If land goes into roots foul, it will remain so through- out the entire rotation. Much has been written apon the evil, of over-tillage in spring for roots, and the perfection of cultivation is to clean and dung the land in autumn, and winter plough it, leaving only a light scarifying and narrowing to be done before drilling the seed. FEEDING OF FARM HORSES. I Horses do not ("Acris" observes) require a highly nitrogenous or flesh-forming diet, except ■when in really hard work. Oats therefore form the staple diet, and need only be crushed for very young or very old horses. It is purely loss 11 m°ney deny a working horse its regular allowance of corn. Besides loss of condition, which means less work done, the animal ie far which means less work done, the animal is far -more liable to take chills aind contract disease generally when living only on hay and chaff, fcrood clover and rye-grass hay is undoubtedly tne best, and may at any rate be giyen in the mid-day and a good rack up of meadow mid-day chope and a good rack up of meadow hay at night. An important point to remember m horse-feeding is that they should be fed little ¡ amd often. That always seems to me the weak point ol the "one-yoke" system of working horses as employed in many parts of the By this system they work from 6 a.m. till 2 p.m., I with not a mouthful of food between those hours. Horses are best watered before fed from a pail, and not from trough or horse pond: when heated, they should be allowed a few mouthfuls only. At this season of the year the change to green food should be made gradu- i ally, and rye, although rather washy, is much enjoyoo, but rye and tares are far preferable. I Trifolium is an excellent green food later on in the summer. Horses undoubtedly pay for a bushel of oats n.pr week a head in the ,summer, although it is surprising how well they do on green food Alone. At this time of the year norses begin to get tired of their dry food; therefore the food should be of a more sloppy nature, bran being employed and mangel pro- vided. In-foal mares should be well cared for and carefully fed overfeeding during the time I of gestation is a more fruitful cause for the slipping of foals than under-feeding. Mares which are shortly due to foal should be fed only I an hay, and oare should be taken to see that the boweleare in a norm 31 state. -=

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