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Mr. HADw EN, on behalf of the Examining Committee of the Agricultural College, submitted the following report: —
ON THE MASSACHUSETTS AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE.
The committee, in conformity with the duties expected of them, have visited the State Agricultural College several times during the year. On each occasion they were fully impressed that all departments were doing well, and were being pursued, as far as would seem possible, upon sound principles, indicative of ultimate success. If the leading object of the college and farm is to teach the student principles of practical agriculture (in which the larger portion of farmers are comparatively ignorant), with a view to perfect him for a calling vitally fundamental to the prosperity of the State; principles and practice in agriculture, whereby arduous labor will be lessened, and a higher cultivation increased, where the farm and the home, when placed under intelligent management, will develop the comforts, embellishments, and profits at once so important to induce the educated mind to pursue the calling, — then we will say the State has acted wisely and well. It must also be demonstrated to the farmer of the age, that his sons, if otherwise calculated for farmers, have greater chance for success in agricultural pursuits, by receiving a liberal as well as a practical education. That science is absolutely indispensable to aid successful and profitable agriculture is already demonstrated, to a considerable extent, and still is receiving commendable efforts and attention in a variety of experiments. It would seem, therefore, that one important point should be prominently kept in view; and that is the profits of the farm, either immediate or prospective: in other words, legitimate farming-operations should receive the greater, and experimental farming, less attention of the college farmer. We are well aware that a farm under the supervision of a board of trustees (with more or less red tape) cannot be carried on with the same degree of success as by a competent individual. The opinions of farmers even are exceedingly diverse and contradictory in agriculture: while they will agree in general principles, they will differ in specialties. Thus your committee, while they are not able to fully indorse all the operations of the farm, do not feel at liberty to criticise, but rather, in a kindly spirit, to suggest. The farm ought to be an example of high and successful agriculture. If learning and intelligence can promote agriculture, here is pre-eminently the place for practical demonstration. On our several visits we were fully impressed, that most departments of the farm were improving, and that the general management is indicative of ultimate success. The productive capacity, of the farm is rapidly increasing, the acres yielding larger annual returns; unproductive lands are being renovated, and brought into profit; rough places being made smooth; the preliminary labors, with view of improvement and profit, are nearly completed; and the whole outlook of the lands is more pleasing to the eye in all aspects. With the extensive area of the farm, it would seem that the dairy would become one of the leading interests of the farm, and one combining both instruction and profit. The best results can only be obtained by the keeping of stock bred and especially adapted for dairy products. It may be commendable to try experiments with different breeds of cattle ; but it would certainly seem that the keeping of many bulls would be conducive to a dry dairy, as well as an unnecessary expense, as no one believes that pure bred stock of the highest excellence and merit can be bred where several breeds are kept on one farm. The college farmer may have an opportunity to learn the hidden forces of brain impression in breeding animals where many breeds are herded together, and the trustees remain forever in ignorance. The old Romans had a proverb, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” It was exceedingly gratifying to note the fine new dairy room, a valuable adjunct to the dairy department; being a generous and much needed gift by a liberal and public-spirited gentleman of the trustees. Every thing within seemed clean and sweet; and the butter and cream had the texture and shade and color of gilt-edge, and, we were informed, finds an appreciative and ready market. The farm-crops appeared to be above those of the average farmer. A wide area is devoted to grass, which looked well
Considerable ground is devoted to hoed crops, with satisfactory results. A wider area is being devoted to the cultivation of those commonly termed small fruits; i.e., the strawberry, raspberry, and grape. We were glad to notice that experiments were in course of trial, intending to demonstrate what is the best plant-food for each of the different kinds: if successful they will add important knowledge, which is much needed, in their successful cultivation. We also notice the raising from seed of forest and ornamental trees is receiving attention in the arborical department: its importance is justly conceded as a branch of knowledge and industry very important for the future thrift and welfare of farming-interests, and one well worthy of encouragement. A former committee recommended the growing of seed of vegetables raised in market and farm gardens. There is, perhaps, no branch of agricultural industry requiring more skill, and no field where skilled labor will be better repaid. Pure bred seed is of as great importance as are pure bred animals; and, at the present time, no product is more difficult to obtain than pure seed of good and reliable strain; and it would seem to your committee that high bred seed is especially one of the products the college farm can raise, and disseminate for the advantage of all. The conservatories and plant-houses, with the gardens connected, were well stocked with plants. Here are grown for sale many vegetable and flowering plants, which find ready market in neighboring towns. The facilities for supply thus far have not equalled the demand. A new planthouse has been erected the past year, from means furnished by one of the trustees, who seems ever ready to generously respond to the needs of the institution. We will leave the report of the college proper to the faculty; but, as far as we are able to form an opinion from observation, we are satisfied that the Agricultural College will instruct and turn out men that can use both head and hands, – men that are pre-eminently fitted for the business relations of life, whereby agriculture will become exalted and stimulated by men trained to close and exact observation in the varied departments of rural and farming pursuits. But, while we say this in praise of the work done, we wish to say, that, in our judgment, young men who are to be practical farmers should know thoroughly the common things around them. The students of the Agricultural College should be able to name and give a full account of all the grasses and other useful plants likely to be found on any farm. The common weeds even are worthy of the farmer's study, that he may protect himself against them. The young men in the college should know how to make property, and should have the will to protect it. Care of ground and buildings is a good preparation for successful business and good citizenship. O. B. HADWEN, Chairman of Committee.
The report was read, and laid over.
The following essay, having been submitted to the Boston Society of Natural History, from which it received the first Walker prize, was offered to the Board for publication, as the best method of reaching those for whom it was designed.
A COMPLETE LIFE—HISTORY OF THE ARMY-WORM (Leucania Unipuncta) AND ITS PARASITES.
BY PROF. C. V. RILEY.
Having, during the past year, ascertained certain hitherto unknown facts in the life-history of the army-worm, the author submits the following memoir on the subject, proposed for the Walker Prize for 1877, premising only that it is largely condensed from his other writings.
All accounts of this insect, previous to the year 1861, are characterized by inaccuracy and confusion. During that year, however, by the contemporaneous observations and experiments of several well-known entomologists and agricul
tural writers, – prominent among whom were Benjamin D. Walsh and Cyrus Thomas of Illinois, J. Kirkpatrick and J. H. Klippart of Ohio, and Dr. Asa Fitch of New York, - the principal facts in its natural history were made known to the world, and the parent-moth identified. The remaining obscure points in its history — viz., the number of annual broods, the state in which it hibernates, and the mode, time, and place of oviposition — were first fully elucidated by the writer in 1876. Leucania unipuncta, the progenitor of the army-worm, is a light, reddish-brown or fawn-colored moth, principally characterized by, and receiving its name from, a small but distinct white discal spot on the primaries, which have also a dusky oblique line running inwardly from their tips. This moth was first described by the English entomologist Haworth, in the year 1810, in his “Lepidoptera Britannica ’’ (p. 174), as Noctua unipuncta. Subsequently the French entomologist Guenée, overlooking Haworth's description, and regarding it as a new species, named it Leucania extranea. Haworth's name takes precedence. It is considered a common species in European collections, and Guenée mentions it as occurring in Brazil. A variety without the white spot is found in Java and in India; and still another — lacking the white spot, and having a dark border on the hind-wings—occurs in Australia. Specimens undistinguishable from ours have also been collected in the latter country and in New Zealand. The sexes, at first glance, are not easily distinguished. There are no colorational differences; nor does the abdomen of the one sex differ materially in size and form from that of the other. Yet a careful examination with an ordinary lens will enable one to separate them with sufficient certainty by the smoother antennae and more pointed abdomen of the female, compared with the more hairy or ciliate antennae and the blunter abdomen of the male. In both sexes the tip of the abdomen is covered with a brush of long hairs; and, the moment these are brushed away, the sex is at once easily ascertained. If the tip of the abdomen of the male be denuded, by means of a little friction with a stiff camel's-hair