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affecting it: 1st. The kind of animal, cows more readily assimilating the nutriment of cut straw than horses. 2d. The amount and character of woody fibre contained in the food. 3d. The amount of flesh-forming substances. 4th. The bulk of the food. 5th The form in which it is presented to the animal; whether cut, or not cut, cooked or raw, &c.
EXPERIMENTS WITH FERTILIZERS.
The subjoined statement of experiments made by Mr. Levi Bartlett, of Warner, New Hampshire, with superphosphate of lime and other concentrated manures, gives an idea of the effeet of these fertilizers upon the granite soil of New Hampshire.
Within the past few years large numbers of the farmers in that section of the country have made free use of the superphosphate of lime for manurial purposes, and generally with paying results, so much so that its use is annually increasing. The reasons why a few hundred pounds per acre, applied to the land planted with corn, potatoes, turnips, beans, and clover, usually exhibit such favorable results, is supposed to be owing to the restoration, to long cultivated fields, of those phosphates so necessary in the production of cultivated crops, but which have been, year after year, abstracted from them. Each crop grown and removed from the land carries with it certain well-known mineral plant food. In the usual routine of farming pursued in the region referred to, but small portions of these mineral ingredients of crops ever find their way back to the soil whence they were derived; and sooner or later the crops diminish in product from lack of appropriate food. Potash, lime, magnesia, phosphoric acid, and sulphuric acid are absolutely necessary for the life of agricultural plants, as is demonstrated by all the experiments hitherto made for studying their influence. These, with a few other minerals, constitute the ash of plants. Were it possible for a plant to grow, flower, and bear seed, without the co-operation of mineral matters, it would be utterly valueless to man or animals, because these minerals are as absolutely necessary in the food of man and animals as they are in the soils. A deficiency of them in either case leads to a stunted growth, enervation, and premature death. Phosphoric acid and lime are indispensable in the formation of the bones of animals, and no other combination of lime and acid can be substituted. Potash, soda, sulphur, iron, &c., enter into the composition of animals in very small proportion when contrasted with the amount of phosphate of lime required to build up their bony skeletons. Professor Liebig says: “In an ox of 550 pounds' weight there are 183 pounds of bones, containing nearly 120 pounds of phosphate of lime; in the flesh, hide, and other parts of the animal, 15 pounds of phosphate." Professor Johnston says: “For every cow it maintains, a dairy farm will annually lose of earthy phosphates as much as is contained in 56 pounds of bone-dust."
A large portion of the farms in New England have been under cultivation from one hundred to two hundred years, and the phosphates required in the formation of the bones of all tho animals, bipeds and quadrupeds, raised upon these farms, have come directly from their soils. By the agency of the various food-crops grown upon them during this long period, a deficiency of phosphates exists in the soil of thousands of these farms. This is so manifest that the most skeptical admit it.
The only feasible method of restoring the needed phosphates is by the application of ground bone, or what is better, the soluble superphosphate of lime. The above citation from Professor Liebs shows the enormous
excess of phosphate of lime in animal structures over all other of the inorganic constituents entering into their composition. Something analogous bolds good in the inorganic constituents of certain cultivated crops, especially the cereals. The mean results of thirty-two analyses, by Professors Way and Ogston, show that “wheat contains some lime, but only very little, much less than is generally supposed, not more than one ounce in a bushel of grain (and a little more in the straw,) whiļe it contains rather more soda than lime, about five times as much magnesia, nearly nine times as much potash, and more than thirteen times as much phosphoric acid.” This acid is found in the ash of plants in combination with lime, potash, soda, &c.
These prefatory remarks are made with especial reference to the beneficial action of a good superphosphate of lime on the long-cropped soils of New England. Such applications are not needed on the fertile soils of the West, which have been under cultivation but a few years. But the time will come, sooner or later, when many of these produc. tive lands will feel the want of the phosphảtes which have been so lavishly drawn from them year after year in their wheat and corn crops, with no adequate returns of manure of any kind.
Some may ask, “Can the fertility of annually cropped soils be kept up by the application of superphosphates and other concentrated manures?" Perhaps it may, but the safer way for the farmer is, to use these commercial manures in conjunction with the farm-yard and other manurial resources of the farm. This is the course pursued by many of the most successful cotton growers of Georgia, some of whom annually expend thousands of dollars in the purchase of guano and other commercial manures. A similar course is pursued by the wheat and root growing farmers of England.
Carefully conducted experiments, by Mr. Lawes, of England, on manuring grass lands, with a great variety of manures, animal, vegetable, and mineral, indicate that, practically speaking, stable or farm-yard manure is a much more perfect and economical restorer of the constituents removed in the hay crop than are the so-called artificial manures. But experience shows that, even when farm-yard manure is used, activity of growth is frequently increased if direct phosphatic manures be also employed. Phosphoric acid may be advantageously and economically applied either in the form of Peruvian guano, which at the same time supplies a large quantity of ammonia or ammonia-yielding matter, and a little potash also, or a superphosphate of lime. Mr. Lawes says: “There can be no progressive agriculture without farm stock; consequently, without stock, no manures.”
Mr. Bartlett's report of experiments is as follows:
“Having the past season experimented with several different brands of superphosphates and other concentrated manures, I herewith report the results. Wishing to test the worth of various manures on different crops on my farm, about the 20th of May I turned over, with a good plow, ninety rods of green-sward, a fair quality of corn-land, a part of which was planted with a small variety of eight-rowed corn. The rows across the land contained twenty-two hills each-hills three by three feet apart. The first two rows had a small spoonful of Duncan & McKellar's Glasgow Company fertilizer applied to each hill-yield, 38 pounds; two rows Cumberland, Portland, Maine, 36 pounds; two rows Rhodes & Co.'s ammoniated, 40 pounds; Rhodes' standard, 374 pounds; two rows of Andrew Coe's, 34 pounds; two rows Coxsackie, New York, 33 pounds; two rows mineral superphosphate, 39 pounds. All of the above-named were superphosphates, equal quantities of each applied in the hill, and
slightly covered with soil before dropping the corn. Two rows of ashes and fine bone-dust, wetted with water six weeks previously, yielded 30 pounds; two rows, fine lien-dung, 36 pounds; two rows Peruvian guano, 30 pounds; two rows, hen-manure and dry ashes, 36 pounds; two rows, fish-pomace or guano, 27 pounds; two rows, sulphate of ammonia, (put too much in the hills—some of the seed failed to come up,) yield, 24 pounds; two rows, one-third of each having Cuban guano, Alta Vela guano, and Baker's Island guano, yield, 34 pounds; two rows, seed soaked in the - French liquid fertilizer for 24 hours previous to planting, yield, 26 pounds; two rows, without manure, 25 pounds. The corn was husked in the field October 20, each two TOWS weighed soon as husked, and noted down as above. Soft corn there was none; the smallest nubbins were thoroughly ripened. I do not think the above is a perfectly fair record of the intrinsic value of the different manures, for the cut-worms destroyed many plants in some of the rows, and a heavy shower, attended with wind, about the time the corn was fairly in the milk, prostrated a portion of it, thereby much lessening the yield.
“Some of our farmers, who experimented with different brands of superphosphates on corn, on different and better corn-soils, realized different and much more favorable results; and so pleased are they with these results that they will purchase largely of superphosphates for their corn and other farm-crops the coming season.
“The remainder of the ninety rods of land was planted with the Orono potato-planted 26th of May; rows twenty-two hills long. The four south rows received a spoonful of Andrew Coe's superphosphate to each hill; fifth row, no manure; then four rows, Portland superphosphate; next row, no manure; every fifth row without manure ; four rows, hen manure; four rows, fish. guano; four rows, Coxsackie phosphate; and so on, till the field was planted. The four rows without manure through the field averaged two bushels, each set of four rows not varying over half a peck; the manured rows. averaged three bushels, varying with the different manures to each four rows from two and a half to a little over three bushels-the fish guano giving the largest yield and fairest tubers.
"Another plat of sixty rods, green-sward, soil sandy loam, was planted with Orono potatoes 26th of May. The following kinds of manures were used, a spoonful in the hill, viz: Duncan & McKellar's phosphated guano, Rhodes's ammoniated, and his standard superphosphate, Peruvian guano, fish pomace, hen manure, Portland superphosphate, asbes, and fine bone-dust-four rows of each, and four rows without manure; the remainder of the patch nearly a repetition of the foregoing. The result may be summed up in a few words. The yield of the manured rows varied somewhat, but the increase, as a whole, where the manures were used, was fully fifty per cent. over the unmanured, The Peruvian guano gave the largest yield, but the tubers were much more prongy and misshapen, Potatoes at harvest-time were worth about 75 cents per bushel; at that price, I think, the commercial manures used paid well. The whole season was a very wet one; perhaps in a very dry season the result might have been different. I planted some twenty rods with the same kind of potatoes on highly manured land, in corn the previous year; the potatoes were very large, misshapen, prongy tubers, badly diseased, and of poor quality for table use.
“On corn, where a fair dressing of manure was applied, phosphate sown broadcast and applied in the hill, increased the crop, and very much hastened its ripening. On white beans, it doubled the yield, and hastened the ripening at least ten days."
EFFECTS OF GUANO BURIED AT DIFFERENT DEPTHS. Recent experiments made by the Agricultural Society of Prague show the effects of guano buried in the soil at different depths. The amount applied was 290 kilograms per hectare. This is 259 pounds per acre.
Edwin Reynolds, correspondent of the Department at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, writes as follows of his experience with the potato bug:
I planted potatoes May 7 and 8; the field thirty by eight rods; planted cast and west. In the centre I planted ten rows of early varieties, which came up much sooner than the main field, and some days earlier than the Early Goodrich, planted side by side at the same tiine. On tho 26th full-grown bugs (two) made their appearance, the tield being eighty rods from where potatoes had been before; 27th, ten were destroyed; 28th, thirty ; 29th, sixty-seven ; 30th, thirty ; 31st, fifteen-up to which time all were on about a rod of ground. June 1, two other small spots were infested, when I came to the conclusion that the price of potatoes was eternal vigilance. Therefore, with two paddles in hand, I scrutinized every hill myself, destroying bugs and larvæ until the 220, when the larvæ that I had overlooked became crawling slugs and so numerous that I resorted to a pan and stick, knocking them off and destroying them. This I practiced until July 5, when I was told by a farmer from Iowa that one pound Paris green and four pounds dry ashes sifted and well mixed, applied to the infested vines while the dew was on, was sure death to the bugs and no injury to the vines. I tried it, and to my great satisfaction found it to be so. I used the composition, passing over the tield twice a week, and kept the bags subdued until the leaves had become too tough for their food, and they have disappeared.
It will be noticed the bugs appeared in my field in patches. Many conjectures aroso in my mind, as to whether they were deposited in the ground last fall, or flew in the night from one field to another. I came to the former conclusion, for had they tlown in the night they would have been more evenly distributed over the field.
I would recommend planting in fields of long narrow strips, and, at least onco in two rods, plant the earliest varieties across the piece, that the bugs in the ground may be destroyed before the main field is up, as they will surely concentrate on the earliest varieties. I would further recommend that planting be done with single eyes, say fivo in a hill, that they may grow single stalks, in order to more closely detect the larva, as they are deposited on the under side of the leaves.
The most convenient method of destroying the bugs is by using a pair of tongs mado of nail-rod. With such an instrument bugs and eggs can be kept off for some time with as little labor as using the Paris green and ashes, and saving the cost of the pigment.
A neighbor of mine planted potatoes on ground that grew potatoes the year before, and when covering them found from three to seven full-grown bugs on each potato.
ANTS AT THE ROOTS OF FRUIT-TREES.
Rev. W. P. Smith, M. D., of Fayetteville, Texas, communicates the following successful mode of dealing with ants at the roots of fruit-trees,
which insects are very troublesome and destructive, particularly in warm climates:
“I was raising some tobacco, and operated with the green leaves in the following manner: I removed the earth from around the tree or vine as much as I could without injuring the roots; then I put a handful of tobacco leaves around the tree or vine, where the ants worked, covered them nicely with the earth, and pressed it well. In a few cases I had to repeat the dose, but I have tried it often with uniform success in driving the ants and saying the tree or vine."
It will be seen that the foregoing collection embraces a large variety of experiments from the skillful and careful field-trial down to that which is comparatively crude and incomplete. However imperfect many of these experiments may appear, taken collectively they furnish material for practice, thought, critical comparison, and profitable deduction. Experiments even of small value in themselves may serve by example as stepping-stones to others of more perfect character, affording more decisive conclusions. It is by the constant accretion of knowledge gained through similar trials, and by the slow progress made through conflicting successes and failures, that improvements are established and errors overcome.
It is important to note some of the requisites to the clear statement of a field experiment. The narrator should specify the nature of the surface soil, whether clayey or sandy loam, porous or compact, wet or dry, and its depth; the nature of the subsoil; the manures applied, in what manner applied, and in what quantity per acre or square rod, &c; the quantity of seed sown to a given area, of what particular variety, and in what manner sown; the manner of cultivation; the cost of production; the amount of product to a given area, and its value. It is, of course, impossible to prescribe an unvarying form of statement saitable to all cases. Common sense and reflection will supply means of adaptation. It is the plain statement of facts that is wanted, not elegance of style. The farmer who contributes such desirable information may in that act be a benefactor to himself, to his immediate section, and to thousands remote from his own habitation. It should never be forgotten that, in its proper estate, agriculture is indeed an art; and that its followers, wherever they be and in whatever condition, are bound by the most common ties of humanity to contribute as far as possible to the general welfare of their fraternity.