« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
MISCELLANEOUS NOTICES AND INFORMATION.
Judging from all the returns that have reached the Patent Office, the farmers of Ohio produce not only more wheat in the aggregate than those of any other State, but more bushels per acre, on an average. Mr. J. F. Willis, of Fayette county, says that “wheat has been very good for three years; average, 20 bushels per acre. It is most commonly sown on corn grounds, and Timothy seed is also sown at the same time, to be followed by clover sown in March or April.'
Fayette county produced 1,570,114 bushels of corn in 1851; which Mr. W. estimates at 25 cents a bushel, and the yield per acre at 45 bushels.
Mr. Wm. R. Van Arsdale of Monroe county, Missouri, writing under date of January 3, 1852, says: “ The past season was unfavorable. There was too much rain from March till June, and more from early June till late in August. During the months of October and November there was a great quantify of rain again, which was very injurious to young wheat sown in September. Corn was also badly injured; the wet preventing the ears from drying."
Corn was so much damaged in extensive districts that it was difficult to obtain good seed for planting in the spring of 1852.
Mr. Van A. has favored the office with somewhat extended observations of a meteorological character, which a want of room excludes from this report.
Mr. Renel McArthur, of Wayne, Erie county, Pa., informs us that he has some “conclusive testimony on the subject of wheat turning to chess, which is given in the following words: "Some years ago a neighbor of mine had a field of wheat in which there were small patches where wheat and chess grew on the same stalk and on the same head. The stems that bore chess came about midway out of the head of wheat, and grew from two to three inches in length, and hung full of chess. This strange fact has established the doctrine in this place, that wheat will turn to chess."
We have seen precisely such heads of wheat and chess as our correspondent describes, but instead of the wheat and chess having but a single stem, the latter was separated from the stem on which it grew, and its fine thread-like tendril was inserted into the head of wheat, not by the hand of man, but by the wind whipping the heads of chess and wheat together until by accident some part of the chess heads become entangled by their filaments round the rachis of wheat, and appear to grow there. The botanical difference between these two grasses is quite as marked, and incapable of such a monstrosity as our correspondent supposes, as would be the growth of heads of wheat on ears of corn, or ears of maize on wheat heads. Chess makes good hay, and its seed grows as well as oats or herdsgrass.
Mr. Smith, of Waldo county, Maine, says that farmers sow two bushels
of seed wheat per acre, and harvest twelve, which sells at a dollar and twenty-five cents per bushel. Hay is worth from $15 to $30 a ton, according to the season of the year and the scarcity of the article. Mr. Smith makes one valuable suggestion, which is that colts should never be made to stand upon a bare floor until they have got their growth, or are old enough to be shod. Ninety-nine horses in one hundred that are lame in their fore feet become so by standing on a naked plank floor when colts.” He remarks, “ The practice of keeping manure under cover is believed to be far the best, and lime is used by most farmers.”
Mr. Samuel Fithian, of Cumberland county, New Jersey, prepares land for wheat by ploughing in a crop of clover, and sowing 200 pounds of
guano per acre, by which practice about 20 bushels of wheat are usually harvested per acre.
Corn is one of their most profitable crops. Potatoes are extensively cultivated, but from some “cause unexplained, crops have decreased one half in three or four years. Five hundred and sixty pounds of corn (10 bushels) make 100 pounds of pork.
Mr. John H. Tarr, of Mount Vernon, Knox county, Ohio, says thatthe average crops of wheat there range from 20 to 25 bushels per acre, although as high as 40 or 50 have been raised. He recommends summer fallowing and ploughing eight inches deep. Soil mostly sandy loam. That region has suffered both from Hessian flies and weevils; and Mr. T. knows no remedy. Potatoes have been nearly exempt from the rot, and where the ground is properly tilled yield from 250 to 300 bushels
Mr. J. A. Carpenter, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, says that wheat is less cultivated there now than a few years ago, and that “ Canada chut wheat” is the most popular variety. Instead of ploughing over the whole farm, a considerable part of it is seeded and kept in meadows and pas. turage.
Mr. Charles G. Goodrich, of Franklin county, Maine, regards the rearing of horses in that State as not particularly profitable. He estimates the expense of a colt, when three years old, at $60, which is nearly the average value of the animal at that age. A firstrate horse, at from six to ten years old, is worth from $150 to $200. The Messenger breed stands highest in the public estimation. Clover hay does not injure horses if properly cured; if allowed to become musty, it affects the lungs of the horse, and may bring on organic disease.
COTTON-CATERPILLAR, RUST, AND ROT. The Hon. E. Ford, of Spring Cottage, Mississippi, says:
“After a respite of two years, planters are again assailed by the cottoncaterpillar, and also by rust and rot; but the damage to the present crops, (1852,) is not serious, as the infection was late in the season. I apprehend more injury next year, from my knowledge of the nature and history of the worm and rot, of which I can decide more conclusively at the close of this season, by comparing my experiments, observations, and notes of this year with those of an earlier date. The results of my researches I will send for your next Report.
The rust of this season is, I think, attributable to the peculiarity of
the season-irregular and partial showers of rain and cold east winds. I have observed it this season upon oats, rice, rye, corn, cotton and some shrubs; whereas it usually appears here only on wheat and cotton.
“ The rot is of four kinds, or it may be traced to four different causes in cotton. First, the boll is injured by an insect, (what it is I have not yet discovered,) but the puncture is to the core of the boll, and looks as though it was done with a pin or needle; is done at night, by which the boll is poisoned, and rots in 24 to 48 hours in damp weather. Another kind of rot is produced by long-continued rains, and is called the wet rot.' A third kind is caused by the boll worm that eats into the boll. The most disastrous damage results from the piercing of the boll by the unknown insect first referred to, which daring a rainy season assumes the form of an epidemic and destroys the whole crop, as was the case in the
The malady continued gradually to abate till 1824. The latter description of rot and caterpillar both made their appearance here on cotton in 1818. The worm disappeared in 1819, and reappeared in 1832. The former description of rot (fomenting I call it) appeared in 1818; continued to 1824; then disappeared, and reappeared in 1852. It has not done much damage this season, as it was late before it occurred.
“I see many correspondents of newspapers in different parts of the country state that the rot is caused by the boll worm. It may be so in other districts, but the rot here is of the kind I have named, although a careless observer would not notice the difference.”
ROTATION OF CROPS, AND PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS.
Mr. John Young, of Richland county, Ohio, thus describes his system of rotation of crops: “My system of rotation of crops is to plough down as heavy a crop of clover and sow wheat; then plant corn; then sow oats, and with them four quarts of clover seed, mixed with two of Timothy. The field is in pasture or meadow till the third year, when a crop of clover is again turned in by the plough, to be followed by wheat. By this practice my land now produces much better than it did twenty years ago. The best preventive of the Hessian fly and yellow midge is to sow early; late seeding makes the plants feeble and increases the injury of insects.
Mr. Young sows turnip seed among corn at the last ploughing, and obtains a remunerating crop. The white flat turnip is the variety preferred for culture with corn. He properly remarks that the best fertilizer for meadows is to flood them where it is practicable. Irrigation by small streams and catches is worthy of far more attention than it receives. The meadows of Mr. Y. yield from two to three tons of hay per acre. Well-rotted barnyard manure and plaster are used as a top-dressing for meadows, and Timothy makes the most salable hay. Clover properly cured is regarded as more nutritious for farm stock. By crossing a French Merino ram with large native ewes, Mr. Young has obtained half bloods of good size, and valuable for mutton; while the fleeces are greatly improved in quality and increased in weight and value. He rears pigs in a way that gives a pound of meat for every day they live-killing them when from 300 to 400 days old.
PRACTICAL VALUE OF THE ANALYSIS OF SOILS.
BY PROF. JAMES C. BOOTH.
[Read before the Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, January 6, 1853.]
Having followed the path pursued by many chemists in Europe and America in analyzing soils, with a view to their bearing on the improvement of agriculture, I have become more and more convinced that chemistry has not yet advanced to such perfection that those analyses can have any immediate practical value. Having already dissuaded planters and farmers from having analyses executed under the expectation of an immediate benefit to be derived therefrom, and having freely expressed my views on the subject to members of the agricultural society of this city, I deem it advisable to present a concise expression of those views, and my reasons for holding them, in order to prevent any misunderstanding as to their nature and scope.
As chemistry advanced in analytical accuracy and extent of application to physiology, so the examination of minute constituents in the soil has progressed, and their importance to agriculture urgently insisted on. But since the field has widened before us, we find that our first physio'logical conclusions were replaced by others, and these again by some still better grounded; from which we may fairly infer that, although the science is progressing, it is still as an art of inferior practical value. The plain farmer, or even the enlightened agriculturist, cannot determine, with rigid accuracy, the exact amount of the constituents of a soil, and then proceed by weight and measure to apply the manures requisite to render that soil productive, because of the extreme difficulties attendant upon accurate analysis, and of our ignorance what precise individual constituent or constituents are requisite to impart fertility. If this cannot be done, the analysis of soils for immediate practical benefit is a manifest injury to the advance of the science of vegetable physiology, as well as its application to agriculture, because the necessary ill success attendant upon the application of changing theory will prejudice the mind of the practical man still further against the real value of theory, and eventually retard thereby the progress of true scientific agriculture. For this reason, in particular, I propose to give my views why the analysis of soils is, at the present time, of no immediate value to the farmer.
1. There is no little difficulty experienced by the chemist in obtaining a fair average of a soil in any single locality, in order to subject it to analysis, because the uppermost part of a soil differs from that subjacent to it by the intermixture of parts of plants and rootlers, and by the influence of greater culture and of atmospheric agents. A very large majority of plain farm. ers would find a difficulty in doing that which would demand considerable care and skill on the part of the chemist or more enlightened agriculturist. It would be much more difficult to obtain an average sample of the soil of a whole field, because to the above difficulties is often added that of a variation of soil in proximate localities.
Doubtless multiplied analyses of specimens from the same field might give us tolerably correct information in regard to the chemical composition of the soil, and these multiplied by the number of fields in a farm,
might enable us to form a fair opinion on the chemical character of the farm. But the difficulties of such analyses, and their cost, are serious objections, if there were no others, to their practical value to the farmer.
2. Of what value are detached analyses of soils a hundred miles apart, compared with a thorough local investigation of the same soil under very different circumstances of culture? With his usual shrewdness, Berzelius led the way in such an investigation by analyzing elaborately a naturally fertile soil, taken from beneath the action of the plough, and the same soil from above the former, where it had been subjected to years of tillage. The differences were tolerably well marked; but, since he did not present us with several analyses of each, we cannot certainly know whether culture alone had the effect indicated by his two single analyses. In a subject so little known, and fraught with difficulty, such elaborate analyses, multiplied a thousand-fold in different localities and under different circumstances, would establish theory on a firmer basis, and then allow of immediate practical benefit; but not till then. The cost of analyses is a serious objection to their practical benefit. If it were only required to determine the amounts of silica, alumina, oxide of iron, organic matter, and perhaps lime included, the analysis might be performed at a moderate cost, and the constitution of a whole farm determined; but the first three of these are precisely those which constitute the groundwork or base of the soil, not the more solvent or diluent of the potential constituents. These last are determined with difficulty, and at consid erable cost of time; and since their accurate determination is ncessary, the difficulty and expense of analysis increase in a greater ratio. Having stated that numerous accurate analyses would be necessary to ascertain the chemical constitution of a field or farm, it is evident that expense alone is an impassable bar at present to the wide-spread application of the analysis of soils.
3. The difficulty and uncertainty attendant upon the analysis of soils that has any pretensions to accuracy are such as to render it valueless. Those constituents believed to be of greatest value exist in exceedingly minute quantities in soils, and in an ordinary analysis they are liable to be either left out or grossly exaggerated; in either of which cases, the analysis is useless, because it tells an untruth, and forms an unsound or rather wholly unreliable basis for calculation. Let us examine more narrowly how far what may be called a tolerably correct analysis may be relied on. Alkali, lime, phosphoric, sulphuric and muriatic acids, ammonia, and organic matter, are generally regarded as the fertilizing constituents. Of these, sulphuric acid and lime (including magnesia) may be determined with sufficient accuracy, especially lime, which is often present to the extent of several per cent. The exact determination
. of chlorine (or muriatic acid) is often impeded from the accompanying organic matier and the volatility of chlorides during evaporation. I would regard inferences drawn from the data of sulphuric and muriatic acids as wsafe in sound farming practice. The precise amount of ammouia is ascertained with difficulty, and the amount given in analyses must be looked upon with some distrust, unless the quantity is unusually luge, sufficient to overbalance the errors of analysis. We can ascertain with considerable nicety the amount of organic matter; but of what avail is that knowledge? Are the remaining half decomposed rootlets and organized portions those which give fertility to a soil? or is it that very