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has been a great increase in the production of these articles within the last ten years, both in the quantity raised per acre and in the amount of land cultivated.
The variety of wheat most cultivated in our locality at present is the Mediterranean. Formerly, the white smooth-head was considered to yield more to the acre than any other; but upon the introduction of the Mediterranean, it was almost entirely abandoned. This species will produce from 15 to 25 bushels per acre; average, 20 bushels, should the season not prove unfavorable. Placing the average, therefore, at 20 bushels to the acre, which may be safely relied on in an ordinary season—the ground having been judiciously prepared and seeded—the cost of production, valuing the land at $55 per acre, I estimate as follows: Interest of $55 at six per cent.
$3 30 Ploughing twice
2 00 Harrowing thoroughly
40 One and a half bushel of seed, at $1 25 per bushel
1 87 Harvesting
75 Threshing and cleaning
1 25 Drilling in
50 Cost of manure, with expense of inanuring
6 00 16 071
The average product having been placed at 20 bushels per acre, I make the the cost of raising one bushel to be a fraction over 80 cents.
This is a pretty correct calculation. We generally finish seeding before the 1st of November, and harvest about the 1st of the following July. You will perceive, in my estimate of the cost of production, that the quantity of seed used to the acre is one and a half bushel. If the wheat is drilled in, this quantity is sufficient; but where the grain is sown broadcast a little more is required, as many of the seeds cannot be covered, and must be left exposed upon the surface either to perish or to be picked up by the fowls of the air.
The rotation of crops is different among different farmers, and even the same farmer frequently adopts different systems—sometimes preferring a crop of oats after corn. The oats having been harvested, the ground is prepared for wheat, which latter is succeded by grass, (generally by timothy and clover combined, which having been cut two years in succession in its turn, the sward is again broken up for corn. At other times, after the corn has been sufficiently “tended," grass is sown, which, when sufficiently advanced for the purpose, is turned under, as a green manure for a wheat crop. Many turn under grass of two years' standing, and sow with wheat. This plan of "green manuring,” as it is styled, from numerous experiments performed in this courty, appears to succeed admirably. Good wheat will sell readily in our cominunity at $1 12} to $1 25 per bushel, at almost any season of the year.
Corn.—The average product of this staple may be stated at 45 bushels per acre-many farms yielding from 60 to 90 bushels to the acre. The cost of production is as follows: Interest of $55 at six per cent.
$3 30 Ploughing once
1 25 Harrowing
25 Preparing and planting
1 75 Manure and its application
4 17 Husking and threshing
Cost of production, per bushel, 29 cents. In making the estimate I allow $4 17 for manuring, as that is one-third the cost of ten loads of marl applied to the grass which preceded the corn. The value of the fodder will more than meet any deficiencies I may have made in the calculation. Upon the whole, I think that 28 cents per bushel as the cost of production may be considered a safe estimate. Price of corn in 1850, 65 cents per bushel.
Oats.—In regard to this crop I have but a word to say. The average yield is about 25 bushels per acre; quantity of seed used, two bushels.
Hay.-Clover and timothy combined form our best hay. These grasses are sown in the quantities of four quarts of clover and two of timothy seed to the
After a good dressing with our best and most valuable fertilizer, marl, we may depend upon cutting at least two tons of first-rate hay per acre; and, in numerous instances, an acre will yield a burden of two and a half, three, and sometimes even four tons. This crop depends almost entirely upon having sufficient moisture in the soil and a good coating of marl. The effects of the marl will show to the very inch for several years after its application. In spcaking of manures I shall say a few words on this most valuable fertilizer.
The cost of growing hay per ton is very nearly as follows: Interest of $55 at six per cent
$3 30 Ten loads of marl, at $1 25 per load, $12 50; one-third of which is 4 17 Cost of seed and seeding
1 00 Cutting and making
Cost of growing, per ton, $5 231. The cost of making the first crop of hay is $12 50, two-thirds of which I allow for the two crops of grass, and the remaining third for the crop of corn following. This is about a fair division of the cost of marl used. Its effects will continue for years.
Sheep and Wool.—Is wool-growing profitable? The following calculation will show for itself. The cost of rearing 100 sheep is about $87 50 per an
$62 50 Summer pasturing, per head, 25 cents
Whole cost of 100 sheep per annum
Average quantity of wool produced per head, two and a half pounds,
making 250 pounds; value per pound at 31 cents Seventy-five lambs, at $1 50 per head Value of manure manufactured
$77 50 112 50 25 00
Deducting the cost of rearing
215 00 87 50
We have clear profit
Root Crops are very little cultivated by our farmers, except a suisicient qualtity for their own consumption. The average yield per acre of turnips is probabiy somewhere between 300 and 400 bushels.
Irish Potatoes.—Average yield per acre, 150 bushels. The disease so much complained of around us seldom affects this crop in our locality to any great extent. The reason why, I am unable to account for. May not this disease depend upon some principle existing in the atmosphere deleterious to the proper respiration or nutrition of the plant? I merely make the suggestion. The cost of production is about 18 cents per bushel. The mercers are considered by many to be the most profitable variety. However, different opinions exist in regard to this.
Manures.--I desire to say a few words concerning guano and marl. These two materials may be denominated, emphatically, the "farmer's gold dust." Either of them is decidedly a very powerful fertilizer, and it is almost impossible to make a preference between them. Guano, I think, is rather more powerful, and of course superior in its primary effects; but its impression is not near as permanent as that of marl. However, we possess at present the advantages of obtaining both, and consequently can apply each in accordance with our opinion as to the most judicious manner. Their right application to crops is of the utmost importance. Guano we generally apply for a wheat crop; it is, however, equally as profitable upon corn. But to wheat it appears to be admirably adapted, producing the most luxuriant straw, well filled with the largest and plumpest grains. After the ground has been duly prepared, the guano is sown broadcast, in the quantity of about 300 pounds to the acre, previous to seeding. Marl is best adapted to grass. Applied in the quantity of about 250 bushels (or ten loads) to the acre, it will produce a most luxuriant burden. It is evident, from the long use of this fertilizer, that it cannot be surpassed by any other manure. It should be applied during the winter season, evenly spread over the young grass, in the quantity above mentioned. Its fertilizing principle evidently consists of potash, as will be seen from the following analysis of a specimen taken from a pit near Woodstown. The specimen consists of green sand, clay, and a trace of carbonate of lime. Thus: One hundred parts affordGreen sand
11.72 Carbonate of lime, (a trace.)
100.00 From a number of analyses of green sand, selected from different localities throughout the State, it would seem that the mineral is not quite uniform in its composition, but exhibits slight variations in the proportions of its principal constituents. The constituents of the green sand, of the specimen above referred to, are as follow: Compositions, one hundred partsSilica
6.30 Protoxide of iron
99.47 For further information in regard to this fertilizer, I would refer the reader to the “ Final Report on the Geology of New Jersey, by Henry D. Rogers;" (page 200.) Your most humble servant,
M. JOHNSON, M. D. Hon. Thomas EwBANK, Commissioner of Palents.
WHEELING, Ohio COUNTY, VA., D cenler, 1850. Sir: I received a Circular from the Patent Office some time since, and, being desirous at all times of communicating whatever information I may possess, whether new or practical, upon any subject connected with the cul
tivation of the soil, or rearing live stock, shall endeavor to answer, in a discursive manner, some of the interrogatories in relation to Sheep husbandry.
The leading question under the head of sheep and wool—"Is wool-growing profitable?"--can only refer to this description of stock when well managed, receiving the light but necessary attentions during the grass seasons usually bestowed upon them by flock masters, and the preparation of ample supplies of food for their consumption during the winter months.
Sheep, like all other domestic animals, remunerate their owners just in proportion to the care that is bestowed upon them, and the judicious application of the food they consume, and its adaptation to their necessities. In endeavoring to obtain as large a supply of wool as is practicable, regard should be had to good condition. High feeding on grain should at the same time be avoided, as it renders the wool harsh, and the yield is not in proportion to the cost.
The merinos or Saxon sheep are generally kept in this section of country, and are preferred to the coarse-woolled sheep. They bear confinement in large flocks better than any other breed. They also produce as much wool in proportion to what they eat. Their food is the same; nor are they more dainty in their appetites than the native stock. Their mutton, when fat, is excellent, being tender, juicy, and of fine flavor, when well cooked. This race of sheep, consequently, from the known value and extensive consumption and high price of their wool, together with the good qualities of their mutton, highly recommend themselves to all classes of farmers. They are also peculiarly fitted for the improvement of lands injured by cultivation in the southern States; and, from experiments recently made in the interior of Virginia, it is no longer to be questioned that they will thrive and be profitable in such situations.
The mountain or rolling lands of the southern States will doubtless in a short time yield a handsome revenue in wool, as a shepherd with his dog could keep a large flock of sheep during the growing season at comparatively
Such has been the custom with the wool-growers of this vicinity for many years, the sheep being brought home for the winter.
The prepossessing appearance of sheep farms is much owing to their destroying the weeds and bushes, and to the beautiful sward produced by the minute and equal distribution of their manure over its surface.
Sheep will fertilize, more readily than any other stock, the hill tops, from their habits of seeking the highest land to lie on at night.
There are, however, some other points worthy of mention in connexion with this subject. Merino or Saxon sheep are more readily confined in fields than the native stock, and require much less outlay in fencing than is necessary upon farms where horses or cattle are kept. This, where timber is scarce upon cultivated farms, is a very important consideration.
In this section there are immense quantities of manure made by feeding the sheep during the winter season under barns or other shelters, which are well littered with straw, both for the cleanliness and health of the sheep and for increasing the amount of manure. It is left under shelter until the following summer or fall, when it is hauled out upon the grass-lands designed for cora the next season, or spread and ploughed under for wheat when necessary, or to top-dress meadows. This manure is of course very strong from the little exposure to which it has been subjected, and, being dry, is easily hauled out.
The winter feed of sheep in this region, embracing Ohio and Brooke counties, in Virginia, and in the adjoining counties of Ohio and Pennsylvania, where hundreds of thousands of sheep are kept, consists of hay, sheaf oats, corn, and corn-fodder, and what grass may remain upon the fields after the proper grazing season is over.
These sheep certainly pay, or other stock would soon be substituted in their stead, as I know of no people who better understand their true interests than those mentioned.
Cattle do well here, and they could soon be introduced more extensively, as this is a fine region for grass ; spear grass and white clover being indigenous to it. Timothy and red clover also grow to great perfection.
It is generally believed that a steer costs as much during the year as ten sheep. The sheep produce wool worth from ten to twelve dollars and a half. The profit on cattle is not so great; if it is, I have not found it out. This is the annual yield of the sheep in wool, independent of the increase, which, in a flock of one-half breeding ewes, would be fully 50 cents per head more.
It appears, then, that 100 sheep, 50 of which are breeding ewes, will produce from $100 to $125 for the wool, and 50 cents per head for the increase, (it being about from 75 to 90 in large, and should be greater in small flocks,) or near that sum, valuing the lambs at one dollar per head. This is not, however, a fair estimate of the best flocks that furnish bucks and choice ewes for the improvement of other flocks. The annual sales of stock in such instances will very considerably increase the above estimates.
There being no sheep kept here the entire year on hay, I am unable to state how much wool a ton of hay will produce. It is usual to feed from seven to ten tons of hay per hundred, with some grain. The amount of seed varies with the severity of the winter.
The Saxon sheep spoken of are not the delicate animals some writers of the present day would have us believe, but are as hardy as any stock of sheep which have as yet been introduced here, and are remarkable for the quality of their wool, and the good property, so essential, of producing animals equal, if not superior to themselves. Some samples of wool taken from my Saxon sheep, just before shearing this summer, were handed to Mr. P. A. Browne by Messrs Houston & Robinson, of Philadelphia. The samples grade as below: Unwashed wool. Grown bucks, No. 1
1,250 (inch.) No. 2
1,875 Young bucks, No. 1
1,850 No. 2
2,186 No. 3
2,136 Ewes, No. 1
1,875 No. 2
2,186 No. 3
2,186 Washed wool. Ewes, Nos. 1 and 2
2,186 No. 3
1,875 The wool-growing interest will be much benefited by Mr. Browne's various examinations,* as they can more readily tell the relative value of their sheep, and where to procure good crosses.
The preceding remarks upon the subject of sheep and wool you can use as you think proper. Yours, respectfully,
H. W. CHAPLINE. Hon. Thomas EWBANK,
Commissioner of Patents.
LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, December 16, 1850. Sır: In answer to your communication, I would say that I never wrote a piece for the press in my life, and you will please take the substance of my communication, which I will endeavor to make intelligible.
* See Plough, Loom, and Anvil for March and May, 1850.