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I assume, and in so doing I believe I rather under than over-rate green crops in stating the comparative «cale of feeding with hay, as seven to one.
The expense attending the making and getting of hay is, in many parts of the kingdom, very great, and liable to much disappointment, both as to quantity and quality. In the north of England greater comparative losses are sustained, from the effect of climate, in saving our hay than even our grain. There are many chances in favour of green crops, from their being sown at different seasons, and,, in case of failure, the being able either to change or to renew them.
The advantages of feeding with green crops are, the saving of rent, and the profits of a great stock upon a small quantity of land. Some deduction from this may be stated for the additional buildings which would be required for stall feeding and soiling; but this would be trifling, and bear no proportion to the returns it might fairly be expected to make, and the rents which would be consequently given in consideration of these conveniencies.
Potatoes and carrots, &c. will exceed seven times the comparative feeding of hay; and both these crops have the further advantage of being conveyed by water carriage, with comparatively little risk, from districts where rents are from 15s. to 2O>v. per acre, to places where five or six pounds are paid, and labour proportionably high.
What encouragement does this hold out for the improvement of lands distant from populous towns, that have the advantages of water-carriage!
Summer soiling, in comparison with grazing, witl equal, if not exceed, the proportion of seven to one, besides the almost incalculable advantage.of preserving the manure, and having the stock in better condition, and less liable to accidents,
I cannot omit stating the great profit of carrots. I have found, by the experience of the last two years, that where eight pounds of oat feeding was allowed tq draft horses, four pounds might be taken away and supplied by an equal weight of carrots, and the health, spirit, and ability of the horses to do their work be perfectly as good as with the whole quantity of oats. With the drill husbandry and pi'oper attention, very good crops of carrots may be obtained upon soils not generally supposed applicable to their growth. Under proper management, an acre of carrots will produce, in favourable seasons, 2000 stone, which, at 6d. per stone, would amount to 50/. besides the tops.
A saving of sixty acres of land in a farm of six hundred, in the feeding of cattle alone, opens a wide field for speculation. The retrenchment of a tenth, with a gain to the public of the means, if applied to. the growth of corn, of supporting in bread one hundred and eighty persons, cannot fail of calling forth serious reflections, and challenging attention to the important advantages which might be drawn from the general adoption of this system.
Jan. 1 806.—In the experiments of the preceding year, I had many difficulties to combat; great prejudice prevailed against the plan, and I was myself unacquainted Acquainted with every thing relative to the dairy. By the pains and attention bestowed upon it, I trust I have gained such a knowledge of the subject, as to give the present trial a fairer prospect of success.
In the last year, I was obliged to dispose of most of my heifers, having no preparation made to continue the keeping of them in summer, nor distant pastures where they might be grazed at a small expense, not exceeding forty or fifty shillings a head from May till October. From the experiments on soiling of the present year, I am convinced, I can keep horses and cattle in the house upon land worth 3/. per acre, cheaper than 1 can pasture them on ground worth lOs. and with considerably less risks. There is a risk in heifers how they may milk, and they never give so much as after the second or third calf. Being now enabled to keep such of the heifers as promise to milk well, a great risk is avoided, and the profits upon the same number of milch cows will be greatly increased without any additional expense. The average loss allowtd for, would pay for the summer's grass. There is also a further advantage of having the stock more exactly in milk at the period required.
In all extensive corn farms, there is not only a larga quantity of chaff, but much refuse corn seldom used, except for poultry: these mixed and steamed, make admirable feeding for cows, greasy promote their milking, and can scarcely be considered of other cost beyond the preparation. When I had no refuse corn, I made use of a small quantity of bran. I tried many experiments to dissolve oil-cake by boiling, but I
could could not succeed. I am now about erecting a mill to grind it, in order to dissolve and mix it with trie chaff. I hare no doubt of being able, by this means, to make a great saving ; I expect half what I now give will answer every purpose. The period fixed for the delivery of this report will prevent my being able to ascertain this, or to state the ultimate result of the produce of my green crop. Since the beginning of November, I have received from ten to eleven guineas per week for milk, and I expect it will continue to produce that, or more, for two months to come. Should the Board at any future period require further information, I shall be happy to afford it.
On the first of October, I recommenced my dairy; the preparation for it, of green food, were as follows:
Eight acres of cabbages,
Ten acres of red turnips,
Two acres of Swedish,
One acre of kohlrabi,
Twelve of cole-seed.
1 he cabbages were delayed planting (from the extreme dryness of the season) till the beginning of May, which was a full month later than my usual time. They have proved the lightest crop I ever had, which confirms my predilection for early planting. They stood till the last week in January. The stripping them of decayed leaves requires a great deal of labour. The drum-head cabbage was what I planted; a hardier kind would answer better for standing the winter. I should be much inclined to try some of the
Scotch Scotch coles, which, by proper care, might, I suppose, be increased to a large size, and would stand late. The turnips proved a very admirable crop. Agreeably to my former intention, I made several trials of ascertaining the weight of an acre of drilled turnips: I weighed various plots of ten yards square, in different parts of the field, and found their several weights (differing very little) to give about 108 stone each, which is 32 tons and upwards per acre. There are many crops in the neighbourhood equally weighty, though none, perhaps, quite so clean. They succeeded wheat, and had about twenty carts per acre of ashes and street-rakings. They were sown in stitches, three feet asunder; the whole was worked from July till the end of September, with the double mouldboard plough and potatoe-harrow, alternately taking the soil from the turnips, and returning it to them. The stitches were, besides, twice hand-weeded and thinned. This mode of cultivation is attended with considerable expense, but I conceive it to be amply repaid both in the present and future crops.
Thirty-two tons per acre, at a farthing per stone, brings them to 5/. 6s. 6d. The estimate of 101. an acre is moderate, as the turnips cost at that rate under a halfpenny per stone, which is but a fourth of the price of straw. In Durham and Northumberland, from 5l. to 10/. per acre are the common prices. In Cumberland, from 5l. to eight. The expense of pulling and carting is doubtless heavy; but, in strong lands, and where much wet falls, I conceive it impossible to attempt eating them off the ground with