Page images
PDF
EPUB

of profit, on his veal calves; but how unpardonably, in this section, has this part of our interest been neglected by our farmers, for the saving of a few cents in the outset, in keeping such ugly specimens of the race to herd with their cows! If none of the pure bloods are best adapted to this particular, let us try for the best cross with our native stock; and then let our society, in their annual exhibitions, regard and encourage such a cross, if it prove to be adapted to the purpose intended, and not otherwise. If our farmers are disposed to think and experiment in this matter like our English cousins, we can breed as correctly as they; for it is as true in this department of Nature's laws as in any other, that whatsoever we sow, that shall we also reap.

ELIAS GROUT, for the Committee.

HAMPDEN.

From the Report of the Committee. The committee to whom was referred this class of animals report that sixteen entries were made, only eleven of which, of one year old and upwards, came under their notice. This very important, and what ought to be every where a prominent, department of agricultural interest is, in the opinion of the committee, too much neglected by the farmers of Hampden, especially in the production of pure, high-bred animals. It is a well-known fact among growers of fine stock, particularly in England, that, to obtain the best, the sire should be a pure, thorough-bred animal, as calves from one of an opposite character almost invariably show the defects of an imperfect pedigree. Another fact, equally well established, though it may appear strange to some, is, that calves frequently possess the distinctive traits of character which obtained in the animal that first impregnated the heifer. These, and many equally important facts, render it of the first necessity to obtain thorough-bred animals for the improvement of stock, either for dairy purposes, or for the rearing of that noble animal, the ox, so indispensable for farm service. Owing to the exceeding high

prices which dairy products and cattle for slaughter now command, the importance of producing stock that shall be free from all mixture claims our immediate and earnest attention. The committee are gratified in the assurance that some of our enterprising stock growers are already on the right track, and they hope ere long to find many more emulating the example.

The show of bulls on the present occasion was, with some exceptions, rather inferior to that of last year. Of the ani. mals present with their credentials, and subject to the committee's examination, there were only three. A beautiful twoyear-old Devon bull, sired by Norfolk, of the Massachusetts Society's stock, was exhibited by D. Brainard Merrick, of Wilbraham, and bids fair to improve his race. Another of the same breed, and one that has contributed to the interest of former exhibitions, was shown by H. M. Sessions, of South Wilbraham. The greatest attraction in this class of animals, and one which bore away the palm, was a magnificent Durham bull, (see ante, page 253,) four years old, from the celebrated stock of Mr. Vaille, of Troy, N. Y., and exhibited by Paoli Lathrop, of South Hadley, and owned by him and George M. Atwater, of Springfield. This bull, being descended directly from an imported pedigree, shows us at a glance the vast superiority of English stock as compared with our own, and should stimulate us to immediate effort, in order to obviate, at the earliest possible moment, the necessity of importing John Bull's bulls. The thanks of the society are due to Mr. Lathrop for his trouble in exhibiting this animal; and under its provisions for encouraging the introduction of imported stock, we think him entitled to the first premium on Durham bulls. A very fine red bull of the Ayrshire breed, three years old, and of maminoth proportions, was shown by Royal Rindge, of Wilbraham. Another, deserving of commendation as a mixed breed, was exhibited by William Pynchon, of Springfield; also another by Daniel Prince, of West Springfield; nor should we omit to mention the city bull, which has headed the list in two preceding exhibitions, and therefore could not be justly entitled to further award.

H. E. MOSELEY, Chairman.

NORFOLK.

From the Report of the Committee. The committee are happy to report that there was, in the present exhibition, a marked increase over that of any former year in the number, as well as improvement in the character, of this class of animals. By a rule of the society, only such ani. mals as are of pure blood are allowed to be competitors for a premium. Of the wisdom and justice of such a rule there are undoubtedly different opinions. This rule was not adopted, however, without consideration; and an adherence to it, at least for the present, seems to be justified by the character of the stock exhibited to-day. Our pens were never before filled so largely with fine specimens of the Ayrshire, Devon, Durham, and Jersey breeds. Of the Devons and the Jerseys, in particular, there were several animals which attracted the notice and commanded the admiration of every visitor.

An impulse has now been given to the improvement of stock in this county which it is of the greatest importance to encourage. Whether this can be done most effectually by introducing extensively the best foreign breeds, or by causing a more careful and judicious selection from our native breeds,—though not a matter of doubt with the majority of the committee,-is questioned by many intelligent farmers. Certainly there are instances enough in proof of the benefit of judicious crossing of the native and foreign breeds to authorize continued endeavors on the part of the society to enlarge their number, by awarding premiums only to the best bulls of strictly pure blood. Where such crossing is practised, as well as where only animals of pure blood are kept, improvement is observed at once, both in the character of the dairy and of the calves fattened for slaughter; and this improvement is sufficient to show the absurdity, on the score of profit, of the common mode of selecting and rearing stock. Whether it may not be expedient to encourage, at a future day, the crossing of different breeds upon a more extended scale, by offering premiums for the best grade bulls, is a point worthy of discussion. To many there seems to be no good reason why a race may not be propagated, by careful selection from our native breeds, or by judicious crossings, which shall be better adapted to our climate, soil, and keeping than is any purely foreign breed; no good reason why, if England has her Devons, Durhams, and Herefords, and Scotland her Ayrshires, and Ireland her Kerries, and Jersey her Alderneys, which are worth importation at enormous cost, America may not have a breed of peculiar form, size, beauty, and excellence, adapted to her peculiar climate and soil-home-bred, and therefore better fitted for home-keeping. We hope that profitable suggestions upon this whole subject may hereafter be given to the society by some one whose experience and study shall lend authority to his words.

Meanwhile we would encourage the REARING of the best classes of stock upon the farms of Norfolk county, confident that such stock may be kept here more easily and with better results than any which is purchased elsewhere.* At the same time we would insist that the utmost care and attention should be bestowed on the selection and rearing of all stock. We sometimes hear it said that a bull is a bull, and that any chance offspring is as good for the farmer's stock as that of the best selected breed, whether of pure or mixed blood. Such a be- lief, and the practical conclusions drawn from it, must forever

prevent the improvement of the dairy and the comfort and profit of farming.

Mr. Coleman remarks, in his European Agriculture, that the "South Devons," which he distinguishes by very marked difference from the beautiful “ North Devons," "are animals indentical with the great mass of cattle to be found in New England." “In respect to them, as far as I could learn, no particular pains have been taken to improve their breed, and to see what could be made of them, as in the case of the short-horns, the Herefords, and the North Devons." May not this remark be made, with equal fitness and force, respecting the mass of the cattle now in New England? And in the beauty and excellence of the fine North Devons, Durhams, Ayrshires, and Jerseys exhib

• Animals are wont to thrive better at home than from home. The most celebrated foreign breeders are said to "do much better in their own locality than when removed."

ited to-day, have we not sufficient encouragement to attempt the improvement of our native breeds in a rational way?

CHARLES C. SEWALL, Chairman.

MILCH COWS.

ESSEX.

From the Report of the Committee. The committee were pleased to find so many competitors for these premiums; but they were sorry to find so few of them giving full and particular statements in regard to the produce and feed of the cows. It is desirable that claimants for these premiums should furnish the society, with a full and accurate account, not only of the food given, but the particular manner of feeding. We are aware that the rule requiring statements of the produce of particular cows has given those who keep but one or two cows a better chance for obtaining the premiums than those which keep a large number; for it is not only more convenient for those which have but one cow to keep an account of the produce, but a cow that is kept alone will produce more than she will when she goes in a large flock. Why it is so, we are not wise enough to say. However social the cow may be in her disposition, she proves that she is no socialist, for she produces more when alone than when in a community.

The committee were pleased to find in the pens a lot of Jer. sey cows, exhibited by George H. French, of Andover. Whatever difference of opinion there may be in regard to the different breeds of cattle, we trust every member of the society and every friend to the advancement of agriculture will feel grateful to Mr. French and other liberal individuals, who are disposed to bring among us the best cattle of the most approved breeds of other countries. It gives, in some good degree, to each one of us an opportunity to compare the merits of the

« PreviousContinue »