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Report of the Committee. E. F. Ensign, Ralph Taylor, and J. R. Lawton, a committee appointed by the Housatonic Agricultural Society, in 1851, to view and report upon the greatest improvement made upon wet, swampy, and unproductive lands, by bringing the same into a state of cultivation and productiveness with the least expense,” report:
That five pieces of “wet and swampy” land were entered for premium in 1851, and were viewed by your committee in the fall of that year, and have been reviewed this year. We premise by saying that none of the applicants have strictly complied with the regulations of the society in keeping and producing to the committee “a correct account of the expense of reclaiming, a description of the manner of improving,” &c. Your committee believe the intention of the society to be, that an account should be opened with each lot of land to be improved, and that all expenses incurred, and the value of all products received, during the three years' experiment, should be accurately kept and exhibited to the committee, to enable them to judge and report to the society the value of the im. provement. Lands may cost, in the improvement, more than their value after the labor is performed. The object of the society in offering premiums is, not to encourage a mere tasteful expenditure of money to beautify the farm, but the far higher one of making two spires of grass grow where but one or none grew before—of removing the unsightly blotches from our glorious landscapes—of encouraging industry and enterprise-and of proving to our young farmers that “virgin lands," which have not been worn out by unskilful cultivation, may be found without seeking the prairies of the west. In our opinion, there are many acres on nearly every farm in Berkshire, now valueless by being drowned and covered with bogs, which might, with reasonable expense, be made more productive than the most cherished acres now in cultivation. To enable any committee to judge with entire satisfaction, and to recommend the best mode of reclaiming lands, such an account as they
have spoken of should be exhibited; and they request all who shall hereafter ask premiums to be careful to read the act upon the “regulations” of the society.
E. F. ENSIGN, Chairman.
Report of the Committee. The committee of the Norfolk County Agricultural Society, upon improving meadow and swamp lands, respectfully report:
That B. F. Dudley, of Milton, has requested their attention to a lot of land upon his farm in that town which he has reclaimed, and for his results desires a premium. Mr. Dudley requested the chairman to visit the land, which he accordingly did on the 29th of June last, whilst the crop of grass was on the land, after it was cut. It appeared of fine quality and in great abundance; and if Mr. Dudley can succeed in more thoroughly effecting his drainage through the adjoining piece not belonging to him, there is reason to believe that his improvement may be rewarded with permanent returns hereafter quite as great as those of the present year. His statement is subjoined. In view of the success of Mr. Dudley, and of the pains he has been at, as well as of the fact that this is the first application that has been made for two years in the county for a premium on this account, your committee recommend that the premium of fifteen dollars be awarded.
C. F. ADAMS, Chairman.
Statement of B. F. Dudley. The lot of land to which this statement refers contains one and one-fourth acres and twenty-four rods. It is situated in the midst of the most valuable part of the farm, at the base of a steep hill. It was completely saturated with water oozing from numerous springs. ,
The subsoil was clay, covered with a soil which appeared to
be composed of nearly equal parts of carth and vegetable matter, averaging about one foot in depth.
The natural products of this land were brake, meadow cabbage, moss, &c. It was free from stumps, bushes, and stones.
In September, 1852, it was ploughed nearly a foot deep, in some places reaching the subsoil. Owing to a press of work, the drains were not made until after the first ploughing. A margin drain was cut along the base of the hill of sufficient depth to cut off the springs; also a centre drain three feet wide and eighteen inches deep. Two cross drains were opened from the margin to the centre.
The centre drain was left open; the margin and cross drains were covered. About one-third of an acre of this land, lying on the side of the centre drain, opposite the hill, was so situated that a margin ditch could not be cut; and it was, therefore, laid down in beds.
The meadow received no further attention until June, 1853, when it was cross ploughed, and the remains of the turf piled and burned. In August the large quantity of ashes remaining on the ground was spread, the land manured, harrowed, and on some portions of it the cultivator was used.
About the 15th of August it was sown with herds grass, red top, and English turnip, bushed and rolled.
The crop of turnips was gathered the first of November. June 28, 1854, I commenced cutting the grass. That which was mown first remained in the field until the 3d of July, pro.tected from the dew at night by hay covers.
The remainder was in the field five days; and, the weather being fine, the hay was thoroughly made.
September 1st the second crop was cut, and on the 8th it was put into the barn.
The following is a statement of the expenses and value of the crops :
Three and one-half cords pig manure, and
Value of the crops :307 bushels of turnips, at 20 cents, . . 4 tons and 1,862 pounds of first crop of
hay, at $21 per ton, . . . . 1 ton and 1,140 pounds of hay, at $19 per
ton, . . . . . . . .
- 194 69 . . 135 12
[From the Transactions of the Essex Society.] It may not be improper in this connection to state the result of an experiment in underdraining, entered for premium, but too late to be examined by the committee. It being the first of the kind ever presented to the society, it is submitted by the secretary as a valuable and interesting paper.
Statement of Ephraim Brown. The following is an account of an experiment in underdraining completed by me two years ago this fall; the accompanying diagram is a representation of the land and the drains, which, after two years' trial, have proved entirely successful.