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CARMARTHENSHIRE FARMERS' CLUB.

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CARMARTHENSHIRE FARMERS' CLUB. As we stated last week, the usual quarterly meeting of this Society was held on Wednesday, the 4th inst, at the Ivy Bush Hotel, and we now, according to pro- mise, proceed to give a full report of the discussion. The subject was—" The relative value of various kinds of food for farm stock." Mr. W. E. Gwyn said-I wish to inform you in the beginning, that in bringing this subject forward to-day, I have considered it my duty to bring to my aid as much of the experiences of practical and scientific men as I have been able to lay hold of; and I do so with considerable confidence, as I am sure you will agree with me, the Relative value of different kinds of foods" is a subject that it would be almost, indeed quite presumptuous, for one individual to pretend to give you full and proper information, from his own personal experience, as-let him be ever so enth siastic, persevering, and constant in his attention to business- it would take the best part of a long lifetime to arrive at anything like a satisfactory result. I hope, there- fore, I shall not tire you by quoting numerous experi- ments of some of the best practical men of the day, taken from the Royal and other journals, many of which point out very important results, to which I shall call your attention as I proceed. The theoretical views which have been held respecting the action of food are exceedingly simple, and so far as they agree with the evidence of careful observation, are worthy of our confidence. The food of an animal may be subdivided into four classes: Materials for forming bone; do. do. fat; do. do. flesh do. incapable of use, ) or waste. We have, therefore, three demands upon the food which is given to an animal. The materials which are required for producing bone are the most abundant, and it is seldom necessary to take any trouble as to their supply, because from their general presence in all kinds of vegetable produce the animal has a sufficient provision; the other two classes of feeding materials need especial care, for they are present in food in very variable proportions. It is seldom that any food is entirely without the materials required, both for making flesh and fat; but as a rule, we find one variety or the other very much in excess. It is, however, a matter of much importance to observe the distinct character of the food which is employed, and to remember that the service each kind of food has to perform in the body depends upon that character. Thus, we have two classes of food under our observa- tion The first comprises materials required for the production of fat; and there is this important condition to be borne in mind, that the same materials, which are capable of being transformed into fat, are also available for keeping up the heat of the body; the first duty of these materials being to maintain the natural and requisite heat of the body, and the surplus which remains is free for being stored away as fat. The other class of food which we have to notice is that which we use for the formation of flesh. The materials used for this purpose are totally distinct from the former, and neither can discharge the duties of the other. It is almost, or quite impossible for a fat or heat-producing food to form flesh, and in like manner an animal would perish from cold if fed only upon flesh forming matter, supposing it possible to give them such. According to chemical analysis, the following is the composition of different kinds of food:- Heat or fat producing Flesh forming materials in a 100 lbs. do. in a 100 Ibs. lbs. lbs. Rice 75 64 W beat. 68 144 Indian Corn 65 8t Barley 66 13 04 ts 554 134 Peas.)0 234 Beans 4S Mi Li.se d 31 25 Lineed Cake. 131. 284 The estimates made by analysis are not always confirmed in practice by the farmer making use of the food. On the present occasion I purpose examining the evidence of practical men on the subject, and thus draw atten- tion to some important facts. The result of a very extensive trial of the increase of weight gained from the consumption of swedes, is reported by Mr. Morton, in the "Royal Agricultural Society's Journal," Vol. X, showing that sheep gained 1 lb. of flesh for every 150 lbs. of swedes consumed on the land. Mr. Robert Smith reports an experiment in the same journal, of swedes used on a field with a shed to run under, which shows that 100 lbs. of swedes consumed in this way is equal in effect to 150 lbs. used without shelter. Having assigned to swedes a somewhat definite value, according as they may have been consumed, I will now proceed to other experiments in which various kinds of food have been used with them. The following experiments were carried out by Mr. Robert Smith, as reported in the "Royal Agricultural Society's Journal," Vol. VIII:— Lambs were fed daily upon lIb. of oilcake, ilb of peas, and 201b of swedes, for ten weeks, and each increased 26 jibs. Lambs were fed upon 1 jib. of oilcake and peas, and 181bs. of swedes, daily for ten weeks, and each increased 33 jibs. The whole of this food was consumed in a field, which had a shed to shelter the sheep. As shown in experiment No. 2, swedes thus eaten produced lib. of flesh for every lOOlbs. fed. At this rate the swedes consumed in the two above experiments, weigh- ing 2,6501bs. should produce 271bs. flesh. The total increase of weight was 601bs., so that after deducting for the meat formed, we have 33lbs. remaining, as that resulting from the use of STjlbs. of oilcake and 87 jibs, of peas mixed together, showing that from 4lbs to 5Ibs. of mixed cake and peas will produce lib. of flesh. I will now proceed with reported experiments in the use of linseed cake. Those by a Mr. Bruce, in the High- land Agricultural Society's Transactions," are fair ex- amples :—20 hoggets on swedes, gained 661bs.; 20 hog- gets on swedes, with 8801bs. of cake, 253lbs. and another trial by the same gentleman, 1,275lbs. cake produced an increased weight of 2021bs., or 6jlbs. cake to lib. of flesh. From these, and other experiments, I consider that from 51bs. to 71bs. linseed cake may be equal to an increase of lib. of flesh; but this, it must be remembered, will always depend upon the quality of the article consumed,—if adulterated, or of inferior quality, a like result could not be obtained. A long series of experiments upon the value of clover and other hay is mentioned in the Royal Journal," Vol. VIII. The result of trials by a Mr. Moore, upon the farm of the Earl of Radnor, and others, all apparently carefully carried out, shows that from 121bs. to lolbs. of hay, of good quality, will produce lib. of flesh. The nutritive quality of hay of course varies with the herbage of which it is made, harvesting, &c. Experiments are furnished, in which beans were consumed with swedes, irom which it appears that 1,2751bs. beans, consumed by sheep, produced 1531bs. increase of flesh. This shows that 81-lbs. beans made lib. of flesh., and beans and peas mixed made an increase of I lb. of flesh to every 81bs. consumed. Next come trials in which oats are given with swedes, conducted by Mr. Morton; also in the use of barley by a Mr. Childers, the results of which are that 71bs. of oats made lib. of flesh, and 61bs. of barley did the same. And numerous experiments reported show similar or nearly similar quantities. Several highly interesting experiments, by Mr. Bruce, in the Highland Society's Journal," in which linseeds and beans mixed were used, the results of which were most important, and to which I beg especially to call your attention. It has been shown that 8ilbs. of beans were consumed to make lib. of flesh, and 81bs. of mixed peas and beans were required for the same, and 61bs. linseed cake required for the same, and, according to the above trial of Mr. Bruce, 3lbs. linseed and jib. beans, made lib. of flesh fib. linseed and 31-lbs. beans, make lib of flesh; lilb. linseed, 2jlbs. beans, make lib. of flesh j- showing a striking contrast to the result of the use of beans or cake alone, and illustrating a principle of great pecuniary value to all breeders or feeders of stock. It has also already been shown that a mixture of peas and oilcake in equal proportions produced lib. of flesh to every 51bs. of food consumed-another instance of the advantages of a mixture of different kinds of food. It is worthy of notice that it is not simply the fact of foods being mixed that renders them more effective in the production of meat, for we have seen that when beans and peas were mixed, it made no difference in the results from what each kind produced when used alone. But the fact appears to be that when two varieties of food are mixed, the one specially suited for the formation of flesh, and the other more adapted for the development of fat, then they co-operate, and thereby become valuable to the animal system. The foregoing remarks have princi- pally applied to the use of dry foods, for feeding purposes. I now propose drawing your attention to the relative value of green or root crops, and shall again revert to my old friend the Royal Agricultural Journal," whose large and varied experience I cannot do better than quote:—"Two equal lots of lambs were put upon swedes and white turnips in the month of October, by a Mr. Pawlett, for four weeks. Those on white turnips increased each 10-ilbs. those on swedes 411bs. Other lots of lambs were also tried, upon white turnips and swedes, and chaff, in October. Lambs on white turnips and chaff increased 81bs.; those on swedes and chaff 51bs." The higher feeding power of the white turnip is here clearly shown, but it must be remembered that these trials took place in the month of October, when turnips had become fully matured, and the swedes had not arrived at their best condition. The difference between them becomes less evident as the more severe weather comes on, until Christmas, when the swedes are decidedly the superior food. Upon the relative value of mangold wurtzel and swedes, very great diver- sity of opinion appears to exist, and it is a matter of regret that so few satisfactory trials are reported. A Mr. Hillyard reports in the Royal Journal," Vol. IV.: —" Six Hereford bullocks were divided into two equal lots. Three consumed, in addition to other food, If bushels of swedes daily the other lot of three bullocks received an equal quantity of mangolds. When the experiment was ended, the bullocks fed on swedes were 5 stone olbs. heavier than those fed on mangolds. A similar trial is reported by the late Earl Spencer, in which the advantage appears to be slightly in favour of the mangolds, therefore, the inference drawn is, that when mangolds and swedes are both in equally good condition there is no great differ- ence in their feeding value. Swedes are undoubtedly preferable for early winter use, u they ripen the more quickly, and as the spring advances the mangolds gra- dually become best as they become matured, and because of their superior keeping powers. We are rather too apt to overlook the fact, that after the growth of a root is completed, other changes have to take place before it arrives at its best feeding condition. There is a change takes place in our various roots which may be compared to the ripening of fruit, and until this process is com- plete the juices of the plant are more or less acid in their character, and therefore, in the same degree calculated to irritate the stomach, and the common consequence is scour and loss of condition in animals feeding. The same rule holds good with turnips, swedes, and mangolds, ihence, we have seen by experience that white turnips are more productive of flesh in October than swedes, the former being ripe and the latter unripe. It is, therefore, well worthy of our attention to have in succession the varieties of roots required, as upon it in a great measure must depend our success. Among the advantages re- sulting from a knowledge of the relative value of dif- ferent kinds of foods," I may mention that of being able to select food suitable to the requirements of the animal at its several periods of growth. Throughout life a mix- ture of food is very desirable, but it is manifest that during the period of growth^ there will be a greater demand for flesh and muscle-forming matter, whilst in the latter stages, the fat producing food should be in excess. The great object to be persevered in is to keep the animal steadily progressing through each stage of its growth, thereby becoming better adapted for making subsequent progress. The following summary may be taken as an approximate mode of calculating the relative value of the different kinds of food here mentioned :— lbs. lb. Swedes consumed on the field 150 produce I flesh Do. do. with shelter 100 I" Good clover hay 14 1 Beans 8 1 „ Beans and peaa mixed 8 1 „ Oats 7 „ 1 „ Barley 6 „ 1 Linseed Cake. 6 1 Linseed cake and peas mixed 44 1 I will now finish my, I fear, tedious lecture, by a com- parison of the feeding value thus assigned to the above discriptions of food, with their average market prices. We have seen that 150 lbs. of swedes consumed on the land-I will take them so, as if taken off the land the expenses of carting, &c., will have to be incurred-will produce 1 lb. of meat, or mutton, we will say, and if this increase be estimated at 8d per lb., the value of mutton for the the last three or four years, then 150 lbs. of swedes would be worth 8d, which is equal to ten shillings per ton and in pursuing the same mode calculation for the other feeding substances named, the following are the results :—Good clover hay 14 lbs. for 8d is equal to L5 6s 8d per ton; oats, 71bs. for 8d equal to very near 4s per bushel; barley, 6lbs. for 8d equal to 6s per bush. beans, 81bs. for 8d, equal to 5s 4d per bush. cake, 61bs. for 8d, equal to £ ] 2 13s 4d per ton, From the above figures—supposing them to be correct, and they are all fonuded upon practical experience,—it will be seen that a judicious use and mixture of feeding stuffs, is attended with a very fair amount of profit. Mr. Buckley, Penyfai, said-I beg to thank Mr. Gwyn for the valuable information he has afforded on the subject before us, a subject of the first importance to the practical farmer, and particularly in a country of flocks and herds, of dairying, and rearing of cattle, like this. It is not of much interest certainly to the man who is satisfied to feed his stock on straw with an occasional bit of rough hay during the winter, and whose animals are of the most inferior description but to the farmer with good thriving stock and improving land, and who is making a good return, it is of vast importance to know the relative value of the various kinds of food. Such knowledge is at the foundation, not only of the economical feeding and improvement of all kinds of stock, but of the improvement of the land, too, by the production of manure of richer quality and of increased quantity; whereas the manure from straw fed stock is very poor in fertilising elements. But do not think that I am speaking against straw; itt is only against straw alone'as an article of food. Straw possesses most valuable feeding elements, but then they are in too small proportion with its bulk to keep an animal in a thriving state, because its bulk (according to the proportion of nutritive elements it contains) is too great for the stomach of the animal. The woody matter is in too large a proportion, and the consequence is that an animal fed upon it alone becomes pot-bellied from consuming so large a quantity, and poor and stunted from want of sufficient nourishment. Now only substitute for a small proportion of this straw a more concentrated food—say a pound or two of meal and half a dozen swedes per day, and the animal quickly grows and thrives. The extra cost of this per week is only a shilling to sixteen pence (for on the starvation system it must be supported alive), which for the twenty-six winter weeks only amounts to about 26s. to 34s., and the increased value of the animal will probably be more than double that amount, for good well-conditioned stock always command a ready market, and what is perhaps of equal importance, there is the improved quality of the dung. Thus, the economical feeding of stock is largely dependant on the proper adjustment of quality to quantity. But it is also dependant (as we gather from Mr. Gwyn's lecture) on adapting the kind of food to the object in view, whether for store stock of any kind, dairy cattle, or for fattening, or, in other words, what kind of food may be most profitably given to one animal and what to another. As we have heard, in some kinds of food the flesh-forming elements preponderate, and in others the fat-producing. The fat-producing or non-nitrogenous having a large proportion of sugar, starch, gum, or oil, is fcund largely in seeds, such as linseed, rape, locust, beans, &c.. and which, when given to cattle, are quickly converted into fat; and fattening stock should have weak food in large proportion. For dairy stock the nitro- genous or flesh-forming must bear a good proportion, particularly leguminous seeds-such as beans or peas- being rich in casein, although animal life cannot be sustained without the admixture of both the flesh- forming and fat-producing principles. Still, such ad- vantages are doubtless derived from a knowledge of the nature of the food used, economically adjusting its pro- portions and qualities. One man's stock will make greater progress with food at 2s. per week per head than another at 3s., and to starve cattle on straw alone and inadequate food is the worst economy of all. Change of food, too, is known to be of great advantage. That might be noticed in the marked improvement in the produce of the dairy, and otherwise by turning cattle from one pasture to another. I was disappointed last autumn in keeping a lot of young cattle too long on an abundant pasture, without change. Mr. J. L. Philipps, after speaking in high terms of Mr. Gwyn's address, said-Ele hoped it would not be thought captious of him if he said a few words by way of point- ing out what appeared to him defective in the experi- ments quoted by Mr. Gwyn. He (Mr. Philipps) had read in the Agricultural Journals, many detailed accounts of modes of feeding horses, cattle, and sheep, with different kinds of food, and he thought there was something very unsatisfactory to a practical farmer about them. They varied considerably in result, and in general effect, and there seemed, if not a want of care and attention to details and personal superinten- dence, yet a want of some reliable deductions. Take, for example, one experiment mentioned by Mr. Gwyn. It is asserted that lOOlbs. of swedes, with corn, in the feeding of hoggets, under a shed, are equal to 1501bs. with corn in the open field. We are not told whether these sheep were early or late ones, what particular breed they happened to be, whether the swedes were cut, the corn crushed, or given whole, and whether straw, chaff, meadow hay, or clover, or some other dry food, was given along with other food, and in what proportions,—points of considerable importance in their deductions towards a practical conclusion; and they were asked to believe that such experiments served as guides to farmers in the art of feeding with various kinds of food. It was well known that different kinds of animals required different sorts of treatment, and different kinds of food. Oats are not so good for cattle as for sheep, and so on; but Mr. Gwyn was quite right to contend that a variety of food was very essential-given at regular and stated times, and that the animals should be kept clean, quiet, and warm. Cows, whilst giving milk in winter, should be fed with the best of food, given in as liquid a form as possible,—their mash composed of various ingredients well saturated with water. The ox, he thought, should have such food as was best proved to hasten the putting on of fat and flesh, and be of a proper age to do so, for while growing, the feeding properties of various foods are counteracted. Mr. Buckley read a circular just received, addressed to the members of the Royal Agricultural Society, by Mr. Thorley, in which he stated that he had reduced his food to Yll per ton, and that it was a mixture composed of the finest locust beans, Indian corn meal, bean meal, oatmeal, pure English linseed meal, and his condiments. Mr. Buckley said that it might now, since Mr. Thorley had informed them what was in his food, and had reduced it to a moderate price, suit some (who wished to save the trouble of grinding) to use it Some of the ingredients, however, such as Indian corn meal, and barley meal, might be procured under £ 8 per ton, and the dearest article—linseed meal—might come to C17, but the proportion would be small; for there could be no doubt that Mr. Thorley reserved himself a good profit. He (Mr. Buckley), however, had never used any of these patent medicines, although he had been in the habit for many years of feeding the whole of his stock with a very similar mixture, varying it from time to time by the omission of one article and the substitution of another; for he considered that they ought to know just as well as Mr. Thorley-and the other food adver- tisers—what was suitable, and they could buy just as cheap as he could. He could buy Indian corn at about 29s. per quarter of 4801bs., and Barley at about 26s. per quarter of 4001bs., and he considered these now the cheapest food in the market. Mr. Buckley said that he gave his linseed ground. He weaned his calves at three weeks old from half of the sweet milk, and at a month from the whole of it, giving about 21bs. of linseed per day to each in the skim milk. Boiling water being poured upon the linseed meal con- verted it into a jelly, in which state it was mixed with the skim milk. The linseed supplied the fat-producing elements which the milk had been deprived of; and if the 14lbs. of linseed per week, costing about 2s. 4d., spared 61bs. to 81bs. of butter per cow, worth 6s to 9s., it was certainly worth adopting Rico (which had been been named by a gentleman present), he did not think a suitable food for young calves, as it was poor in fat and heat-producing matter. Mr. Norton, after a very few remarks on Mr. Gwyn's able lecture, with which he for the most part agreed, spoke at some length on Thorley's Food. It was resolved, that the principles inculcated by Mr. Gwyn in his opening address, particularly those respecting the properties and efficacy of various and mixed food in the rearing and feeding of cattle and sheep, is highly recommended by the members of this Club. The subject selected for the next meeting is On the breeding and rearing of Colts and management of Horses for draught and agricultural purposes," to be introduced by Mr. H. Norton.

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