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the present season, with the average aid of 60 co laborers, to realize from 800 acres of land in the Santa Clara valley, of, Potatoes
120.000 bushels. Onions
6,000 Table beets
20 tons. Solid-headed cabbage
1,200 dozen. Onion seeds
800 pounds. Beet seed
200 Cabbage seed
100 And thus, at a cost of about $50,000, producing a crop worth, at present prices, some $200,000.
THE MINERAL MANURE THEORY.
ANALYTICAL LABORATORY, YALE COLLEGE,
New Haven, Connecticut, October 24, 1851. Eps. CULTIVATOR.–The subject which I have placed at the head of this letter is not one which can be fully discussed in a single page of your journal; and yet it is one of so much importance, that I desire to make a few explanations and statements regarding the shape which it has now assumed among scientific men. When I mention the “mineral manure theory," I speak of that view of manures which ascribes all, or nearly all, of their efficacy to their mineral constituents. The principal supporter, and, indeed, the originator, of the theory, is Professor Liebig. This distinguished chemist, distinguished no less by his clear and lucid style than by his high scientific reputation, was for a time
a devoted to the “ammonia theory,” excluding those mineral manures to which he now attaches so much importance. A few years since, however, he saw cause to change his ground, and has since held that, if we furnish mineral manures in abundance, plants will, without doubt, always obtain their ammonia, or rather nitrogen, from the atmosphere of the soil.
In pursuance of this idea, he went so far as to compound, after a careful study of ash analyses, specific mineral manures for wheat, rye, oats, turnips, &c., which were to take effect upon all soils in a proper physical condition. The failure of these specific manures, which were patented in England, was, as many of your readers doubtless are aware, very decisive. I had supposed the subject rather at rest, but find that, in the last edition of Professor Liebig's “ Letters on Chemistry,” pubto draw off all vegetable matter. In this, as might have been expected, 320 perfect plants were produced. One mineral substance after another was added, until at last it was found that, with a certain series of them, the plant flourished better than with any others. It, however, was still far from luxuriant, or from yielding a fair amount of grain. It was not until some manures containing nitrogen had also been added that entirely healthy, fertile, and strong plants were obtained. These experiments appear to have been very carefully conducted, and furnish important confirmation to those of Messrs. Lawes and Gilbert.
There are other questions involved in these experiments, which for want of space cannot be discussed here. The main point is, I think, fully established. The farmer may supply special deficiencies by special mineral manures, and should aim to keep up the supply of min. eral substances in the soil; but he cannot render it fertile, and continue it so, with them alone; he must also supply nitrogen in some form, and will find it in a great majority of cases the most important and efficacious of all fertilizers. In despite of theoretical views to the contrary, he will find that, in practice, he can best afford to give a high price for those manures-that, especially, rich in ammonia or some other compound of nitrogen. Yours, very truly,
JOHN P. NORTON,
EXPERIMENTS WITH PERUVIAN GUANO AND BARN
NEW YORK, November 12, 1851, DEAR SIR: I send you, herewith, a number of the “ New England Farmer,” (March 1, 1851,) containing an account of some experiments with Peruvian guano and barn compost, to which I beg leave to invite your attention. These experiments were made by my father, Josiah Keene, at his farm in Rhode Island. Much care was bestowed on them; and their design was to furnish data to estimate the relative value of these fertilizers. I think the positive information they furnish much exceeds that of the great body of agricultural papers. I have not seen any experiments on guano of so much positive value.
S. S. KEENE, M. D. Hon. THOMAS EwBANK.
[From the New England Farmer.)
Mr. Cole: Having several years ago experimented with guano, (of such quality as could then be procured,) with results unfavorable to the article as a fertilizer, it was with little faith, and that founded principally upon the great reputation of Peruvian guano, that we undertook she following experiments :
The guano employed on this occasion was obtained directly from Peter Harmony Nephews, of New York, Peruvian government agent for the sale of it. We were thus satisfied of its genuineness. The ex. periments were conducted with care, and their results much surprised
One part Peruvian guano and three parts of dry loam constituted the guano compost mentioned below.
On the 1st of September, 1949, upon land in good tilth, we sowed rye broadcast, (intended for soiling in the spring) at the rate of three bushels to the acre. The 1st of April following, its appearance was unpromising and sickly, insomuch that we feared it might prove a failure.
April 8, 1850.—We applied to a portion of the field guano compost, at the rate of three hundred and twenty pounds of guano (ralue seven dollars) to the acre. The ground was moist, the snow having just disappeared. In a few days the beneficial effects of the guano were mani. fest, those portions of the field to which it had been applied becoming greenest, tallest, and thickest; which characteristic they maintained to the end of the season.
May 28.-We cut green one square rod of guanoed rye, and another square rod of unguanoed, lying side by side, and weighed them carefully. Weight of guanoed square rod
105 pounds. De. unguanoed do
60 Return for guano applied, per rod
45 a gain of more than two-thirds.
July 23.-We reaped at maturity one square rod of guanoed rye, and the same of unguanoed, side by side, and weighed the bundles. Weight of guanoed bundles
44 pounds. Do.
Gain for guano
9 In September we threshed these bundles and weighed the grain. Weight of guanoed grain
16 pounds. Do. unguanoed do.
Gain in grains, per rod
6 A gain of six pounds of grain in one rod is equal to sixteen bushels to the acre, calculating fifty-eight pounds to the bushel. Valuing rye at eighty cents a bushel, these sixteen bushels are worth twelve dollars and eighty cents. Valuing rye straw at seven dollars a ton, the three pounds per rod, (see difference between six and nine in the two tables above,) or four hundred and eighty pounds per acre, are worth $1 50.
Thus we have-
$12 80 Do four hundred and eighty pounds of straw
Return for seven dollars' worth of guano
This was made on grass. The land had not been ploughed for many years, nor manured for three years, but was moderately fertile.
April 1, 1850.-We applied the guano compost to a portion of this grass, at the rate of three hundred and twenty pounds of guano (value seven dollars) to the acre. Alongside, at the same time, we topdressed another portion with barn compost, (cow droppings and dry peat, equal parts, well composted in the barn,) in the proportion of sixteen loads to the acre, valued at $1 50 per load, or twenty-four dollars for the sixteen loads. The grass on the guanoed portion soon surpassed that on the top-dressed portion in verdure, became tallest and thickest, and remained so until mowed.
July 14.-We mowed a square rod of each of these portions, side by side, and on the 16th weighed the products. They were only two thirds dry, owing to wet weather. Weight of guanoed rod
62 pounds. Do. top-dressed
Gain by guano in one rod
20 Nearly fifty per cent. greater yield per acre with seven dollars' worth of guano than with twenty-four dollars' worth of barn compost. The aftermath was also greenest and thickest on the guanoed portion.
This was also made on grass. Land rather light and dry. It had been stocked to grass four years, and had not been manured for three years.
April 11, 1850.—We applied guano compost (three hundred and twenty pounds, or seven dollars' worth of guano, to the acre) during a light fall of snow.
July 16.-Mowed two square rods, side by side, (one had been guanoed—to the other nothing had been applied,) and weighed them green. Weight of guanoed rod
60 pounds. Do. unguanoed
Gain by guano per rod
28 Nearly one hundred per cent. gain. Aftermath green and thick.
Fourth experiment. This was also on grass. A border of low meadow, which had been valueless, was ploughed in 1848, and sowed down to grass the 1st of Sep. tember, 1849. Before sowing down, gravel had been scattered upon the surface, and barn compost, at the rate of thirty loads to the acre, had been spread and harrowed in.
April 12, 1850.-Applied guano compost (three hundred and twenty pounds of guano to the acre) to a portion of this border.
July 22.-. Mowed two square rods, side by side, and weighed green grass moist with dew.
Weight of guanoed rod
· 115 pounds. Do. unguanoed
62 Gain by guano, per rod
53 Nearly one hundred per cent. The straw was fine on the guanoed portion, and the aftermath much the heaviest, some of the herds' grass coming to maturity the second time.
June 6, 1850.-We ploughed under the whole field barn compost, at the rate of thirty loads to the acre, and harrowed deep.
June 8.-Furrowed deep for planting corn in drills. "Into a portion of the furrows we dropped barn compost, at the rate of six loads to the acre (value nine dollars); we then dropped southern corn, at the rate of two and a half bushels to the acre, and covered. Into another portion of the furrows we strewed guano compost, (three hundred and twenty pounds of guano per acre,) covered it lightly with earth, then dropped southern corn, at the same rate as above, and covered. June 16.-The guanoed rows were well up-the manured rows
— scarcely visible. During the whole season the guanoed rows kept the lead and excelled the manured rows in verdure, height, and size of stalks.
Two heavy gales of wind in July prostrated the whole field. The guanoed portions were the most injured ; and about the middle of August, before the stalks had attained their full size, we were obliged to cut them. We weighed (green) a square rod of each of the rows, side by side. Weight of square rod of guanoed rows
450 pounds. Weight of manured
Gain for guano per rod
Several other similar experiments were made, some of which showed even more surprisingly the effects of guano; but these are the only ones sufficiently complete to publish. They all confirm the great reputation of Peruvian guano. The value of this substance, compared with other fertilizers, cannot at present be determined; but it may be considered the cheapest in use.
President Fillmore, in his late message to Congress, draws the attention of that body to the Peruvian guano trade, as a subject of im. portance to American agriculture.
The annual consumption in the United States is fifteen thousand tons: the demand principally for the middle States. Many worn-out plantations in that section have been made productive by Peruvian guano.
Were this agent to be more extensively employed in New England, it no doubt would yield abundant returns, for it is peculiarly qualified wo fertilize her cold and exhausted soil. If Peruvian guano has failed in some hands, it has arisen probably from want of knowledge or care in the use of it. It is also notorious that spurious and worthless