Page images
PDF

SOILING CATTLE.

ON

SOILING CATTLE*.

Sir,

It is with the greatest deference that I beg the favour of your''submitting to the Board of Agriculture, the result of an experiment, made on soiling work-horses and milch-cows, from the month of June to the end of September, in claim of the premium No. 7.

The quantity of ground appropriated to this purpose was twenty-four acres, viz. eighteen of clover and rys-grass, and six of lucerne. I had a pasture also of two acres and a half for turning the cattle into during the night.

The first crop of lucerne was cut previous to the commencement of the experiment, though applied with other food to the feeding of milch cows. Its produce averaged six tons per acre. It is planted in three foot stitches of the third year's growth. The only top-dressings given to it had been coal-ashes and street-rakings, with a small proportion of lime.

The experiment, which I shall have the honour of submitting for the consideration of your Honourable Board, commenced on the first day of June; the stock to be soiled consisted of eighty work-horses;

* Communications to the Board of Agriculture.

M ten ten milch and twenty calving cows; to these last only one stone each of clover was allowed, and the remainder of their food was grass cut from hedges, head-lands, and plantations. Ten stones of clover per day were likewise appropriated to the feeding of pigs, so that the aggregate daily consumption of clover amounted to three hundred and ninety stones, being somewhat more than the produce of a rood of the first crop of clover and rye-grass.

The result of various and repeated trials proved that the weight of the green food, eaten in the twenty-four hours by work-horses, having an allowance of from eight to ten pounds of oats per day, was nearly four stones; but after the few first weeks of soiling, three stones and an half were found sufficient. Milch-cows required on an average four stones'weight of clover and rye-grass, the latter being most predominant. It is likewise most probable that they got some little addition to this quantity on being first turned out into the pasture. The quantity of clover consumed by both horses and cattle depends a great deal upon its age; it is very wasteful, and bad economy to cut it too young. A mixture of rye-grass with clover makes a much less quantity serve, and in a climate so subject to rain as the North of England, the risk is less in making it into hay. Much as the clover crops of Essex are a fair object of envy, they are not one for our imitation. Had the crop been entirely clover, I am, from an experiment of Mr. W. Swinburn, (on whose accuracy I can depend) inclined to 'believe a greater weight of food would have been required.

Mr.

Mr. Swinburn tried about the first or second of June, what weight of clover a milch-cow would consume, and found she ate sixteen stone in the twentyfour hours.

The spot where the clover grew was flooded by the drainage from the'house .and offices, and was extremely luxuriant and succulent; it weighed 13| tons per acre, four times the weight of any crop in the neighbourhood at that time; indeed there was none in the parish fit to cut till the 20th. The clover was So forced that I do not suppose double the number.of tons required in a general way to make a ton of hay would have been sufficient* The cow drank no water; the consumption of water by a milch-cow is about eight stone, and very little variation was perceived in their consumption. To suppose this would give a result morally correct would be absurd j but if truth be sought for, it will come pretty near it. If for the purposes of deceiving one's self or others, no doubt this method may suit the purposei In recommending the practice; I take for granted it is the intention of the party to come as near the truth as possible. The object proposed is to know how to proportion the stock to the food, that has not suffered by the want of that precaution. A considerable deduction for unforeseen losses would (by every practicable farmer) be made in such crops.

The clover and rye-grass yielded nine tons per. acre at the first cutting. The method taken to ascertain the weight of the different crops was as follows. Ten sguare yards (nearly the forty-eighth part of an acre)

M 2 • 'were

« PreviousContinue »