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Except in sections where the land is comparatively level, the subdivision of a farm into fields must be determined largely by the lay of the land. In nearly all parts of the country, every farm has more or less land not suitable for cultivation. As the topography is not the same on any two farms, it can be considered only in a general way in this connection. The principles involved can be illustrated in cases in which the topography is not a factor and in which the soil is uniform in character, and leave the application of these principles to the farmer. Occasionally the character of the soil on different parts of the farm varies so much as to render one field unadapted to crops that will grow well on others, but for obvious reasons no general principles can be given to cover such variations.
For most types of farming it is desirable to subdivide the farm, to permit of a more or less definite rotation of crops. The number of such subdivisions depends on the crops to be grown, the live-stock to be kept, and the rotations adopted. We can only assume a plan and work to it, leaving the individual farmer to suit the plan to his needs. There are a few general principles that should be observed in laying out the fields. (1) It is cheaper to cultivate long rows rather than short ones. The loss of time in turning when cultivating short rows as compared with very long rows may easily account for a difference of as much as 30 per cent in the cost of tilling a crop. For this reason, the subdivisions, so far as possible, particularly on small farms, should be long and narrow when there is much tilling to be done. (2) The fields and roadways should be so arranged as to permit of easy and direct access to all parts of the farm. (3) The buildings should be so situated as to avoid . long hauls in carrying out manure and bring] ing in crops. In the case of very small farms compactly arranged, it is desirable to have the buildings near the roadway, usually at one side of the farm. If the farm is cut up into small tracts separated by hills and valleys, the site . _ for the buildings should be chosen with a view to minimizing the distance to the fields. On medium-sized and large farms and on small farms consisting of detached areas, the buildJ ings should be more centrally located. (4) It has already been suggested that large farms may very properly be cut up into units, each working more or less independently of the other. In such cases there should be a central point for gathering final products preliminary to their preparation for market. Even on the large grain farms of the West subdivision into rather large units is desirable on the score of economy of operation. This plan requires very little more outlay in buildings and machinery than would be necessary in handling the farm as one large unit, and the saving in various ways appreciably reduces the cost of operation, (n) The subdivision should be such as to provide for good rotations, as discussed in the next paragraph. (6) In addition to the greater economy of operation with well laid-out fields, there is the further consideration of neatness in the appearance of the farm. Straight fences, straight rows, and properly arranged fields and roadways are as much a source of legitimate pride to the farmer as are the beautiful architecture and the well-kept lawn of the country or city home. A little attention to details of this character adds much to the charm of country life. Such things indicate the state of culture in a community.
When rotation of crops is practiced, it is essential that the subdivisions of a farm should be of such size as to permit approximately equal quantities of
Fi*. 159. Proposed reorganization of farm shown in Fig. 158.
each crop to be grown each year; hence, the fields occupied by a given rotation should be nearly equal in area. It is not at all necessary that the whole farm should be devoted to the same rotation. Running two or more rotations on different parts of the farm will greatly increase the number of different crops that can be grown in rotation. Frequently, also, one wants more of some crop than one field in a rotation can produce, while at the same time he wishes to avoid growing this crop too often on the same field. By means of two rotations on two sets of fields of different size, one can adjust yields to
requirements without growing the same crop too frequently. Again, on fields near the barn one may depend more on manure to maintain fertility and can dispense with legumes and other greenmanures, while these restorative crops may be made to take the place of more or less manure on fields at a greater distance from the barn. The number of fields required for the proper conduct of a rotation is the same as the number of years covered by the rotation. Thus: a four-year course should occupy four fields, in order that each crop in the course may be grown every year. While these fields should be about equal in area, or at least in producing power, it is not essential that each of them should consist of a single tract. Any one or all of them, if necessary, may consist of several detached pieces of land. In fact, such an arrangement is frequently desirable, for it provides the opportunity of separating parts of a crop to be used for different purposes. Frequently, also, one of the fields in the course may consist of small areas of different crops, and the division of the fields in the separated tracts gives the opportunity to use these crops for purposes for which they could not be used if they were all grown in the same enclosure. It is hardly necessary to state that rigidly fixed rotations are not always desirable. The system should be sufficiently elastic to permit of dropping in other crops wherever the failure or temporary undesirability of a crop may render a change advisable. We cannot, however, take cognizance of such changes in laying out the fields, for they depend on future contingencies, which cannot always be foreseen.
In establishing a new farm, especially in prairie regions, it is easy enough to secure a desirable arrangement of fields. Fig. 157 shows an arrangement of such a farm. It is not contended that this arrangement is ideal, nor that it is the best for any particular farm; but it is one that illustrates the principles that have been discussed above. The area of this farm is 160 acres, and it is supposed to be devoted to dairying, hog-raising and poultry; and the subdivision of the farm is intended to fit it for the purposes stated. If the farm were much larger, it would be desirable to cut it up into units more or less independent of each other; and, in fact, it might be desirable to divide a dairy farm even of this size into two, three, or possibly four smaller units.
In the first place, the barnyard (Fig. 157), which occupies one acre, and is supposed to provide room for barns, silos, machine-sheds, and the like, is situated as near the center of the farm as is convenient, and the roadways are so arranged as to give convenient and near access to every field of the farm. The house and surrounding lawn are given one-half acre. Adjacent to the house are a garden of three-fourths of an acre, and an orchard of one and three-fourths acres. To the right of the barn lie two small tracts, which may be subdivided to suit, either as shown or into two six-acre tracts. These will be convenient for growing soiling-crops and for use as calf-lots; and they may alternate for these purposes as often as is desirable. Back of the barn and the seven-acre lot is a ten-acre tract, which in the plan as drawn is intended for hog pastures. It is shown divided into five two-acre subdivisions, so arranged that all of them open into a central lane, the lane forming the roadway from the barn to the two fields in the rear. This ten-acre tract may be used for various purposes; on the writer's farm it is subdivided as shown, and used for hog pastures. One of the fields is in permanent sod, and the other four are used for a rotation of crops, all of which are used for hog pasture, and they provide abundant green pasture for forty to sixty head of hogs throughout the season.
The remainder of the farm consists of five seventeen-acre fields, all arranged so as to be long and narrow and thus economical to cultivate; and four twelve-acre fields. Throughout the larger part of the country in which the type of farming here considered prevails, the five seventeen-acre fields might be run in a rotation of corn, oats, wheat, timothy and clover two years. The four twelveacre fields might be devoted to the same rotation with the wheat left out. This would give a small acreage of wheat every year, which it is desirable on many farms to grow, the remainder of the crops produced on the farm being available for stock-feed.
Numerous modifications of this plan might be made. For example, the two seventeen-acre fields at the left might be put down in alfalfa. The next seventeen-acre field and the adjacent twelve-acre field could be combined into one; the two fields to the right of these into another; and the two fields in the lower left-hand corner of the diagram into another; thus giving three fields of twenty-nine acres each, on which a rotation of corn, oats and clover might be run. This would leave the three tracts in the right-hand lower corner of the diagram for soiling-crops, pastures, orchard, truck-crops, and the like.
A good well anywhere near the house, with a little piping, might supply water to the house, barnyard, chicken-runs, and to the lane in the field subdivided for hog pastures.
A much simpler arrangement of this farm could be made, provided only one rotation were to be run; but it is deemed sufficient to show the more complex one only.
Instead of having the opportunity to plan a farm de novo, the more usual problem of the farm engineer is that of remodeling an old farm. Fig. 158 is a diagram of an actual farm which has been remodeled by the Office of Farm Management of the United States Department of Agriculture. The layout ef this farm, as shown in the figure, is typical of the small cotton farms of the South. In that part of country, on farms that are to be devoted to cotton and stock-raising, the most desirable rotation is cotton followed by corn and cowpeas, this followed by oats as a winter crop, finishing with a crop of cowpeas%for hay. This is a four-course rotation that requires only three fields, as one of the crops is a winter crop in the South. The rearrangement of the farm which has been suggested by this Office is shown in Fig. 159.
It will be recognized that the problem of making a satisfactory arrangement of this farm is compli
cated, first, by the peculiar outlines of the farm, and, second, by the topography and the presence of the country road cutting off a small corner of it. An inspection of Fig. 159 will show that by treating the fields marked P and 0 as two parts of one field, the main body of the farm may be divided into three approximately equal areas, and thus adapted to the three-year rotation outlined above. The small strip of land marked E is separated from the field N by a rise of ground on which a roadway runs. The new arrangement permits access to all of the fields by short roadways, and leaves the topographically segregated field E for use as a truck-patch or for growing soiling-crops or whatever is desirable. The small tract lying across the road from the main body of the farm may also be utilized for any miscellaneous crops that are needed. The rearrangement permits the main body of the farm to be divided in such a way as to admit of economical cultivation. This arrangement, of course, assumes that the open ditches shown in Fig. 158 are to be covered.
THE REORGANIZATION OF FARMS IN NEW ENGLAND
By J. W. Sanborn
The representative New England farm contains approximately 150 acres. The homes are ranged along the roadsides and close by them, economizing both land and steps. The ideal business location has often been sacrificed to the social instinct in this location. The hills, sometimes stretching away into ridges that dip each way into valleys, represent the most valuable land, and so it happens that, passing over them as they do, the roads cut the best land. Fields usually are grouped about the buildings. For modern machinery these are far too small, and are enclosed with boulder walls that repel removal. They are, however, to a limited extent giving way to mechanical necessity. Pastures occupy more remote sections of the farm, being connected, when cows are kept, with the barnyards by lanes or driveways walled in. Woodlands occupy the more distant parts of farms, except where the repellant character of the land invites them elsewhere. The rocky character of some sections of most of the hill-farms has prevented the close-calculating Yankee farmer from following this mechanical laying out of his farm. He seldom locates woods with reference to windbreaks and landscape effects. New England owes its scenic charm to the farmer's necessity rather than to his cultivated forethought, so far as trees lend their influence to the landscape.
For a generation there has been a decided drift toward centralization of farm-buildings, and, as shown in Fig. 160, practically all the main buildings are being placed under connecting roofs. Often the farmer does not go out-of-doors in making the rounds of his indoor labor. Steps are avoided, and in inclement weather the farmer labors in the barn and wood-shed. Insurance is cheaper than labor, and comfort more important than bank accounts.
The withdrawal of the youths and capital for the settlement of the West as from no other section, and the secondary great movement to the centers of enterprise to found new industries and to reorganize old ones, created a crisis in New England farming. Its result was a contraction of operations. Tillage crops decreased and grass farming extended. The rotation became corn, oats or barley, clover and timothy. The timothy crop was extended for five years at least and often to an indefinite time. Manuring occurs but once in the rotation,—for the corn crop, and in heavy amounts, thirty-five to forty-five tons. Pastures are left to nature, as are the woods.
The contraction of tillage and the reign of grass and low-pressure farming, the passing over of old fields to pastures and of pastures to bushes and woods, has brought the division of the upland and typical hill granite soils into thirty- to forty-acre tillage areas. One-half or more of the remainder is in pastures,the remainder, ordinarily the roughest land, being woods.
The repressive causes that have tended to inertia in agriculture are passing away, and a new hope is inspiring farmers. Freer application of capital, labor, machinery, chemicals and increased tillage, are creating a new era in eastern agriculture. This article will treat, then, as more in keeping with present tendencies, of the type of things to be aimed for rather than the type developed under passing conditions in New England.
Those constructing new buildings should locate them as central to farm operations as possible. An acre eighty rods from the buildings requires, in a rotation period, some six miles more travel for the men than one close to the barn, and five miles more annually for the team. This represents, in interest on land at 5 per cent and labor at $1.25 per day, $25 per acre. The close-by acre is worth, then, for use $25 more than the one eighty rods away. If the house is in the center of a 150-acre farm, the most remote acre would be less than onethird the distance away than when the house is at one end of a 150-rod or 160-rod farm containing the same area.
On the same principle, the present tendency of New England farmers to concentration of buildings is commendable, both for the economy of steps and the comfort of work in inclement weather. The round barn conserves labor, but not the exchequer.
The square barn economizes both in first cost and annual labor bill, as compared with the common rectangular barn.
The conservation of labor should be applied in the laying out of the fields, pastures and woods. The inner circle should be fields, the second circle pastures, and the remote land woods. While Nature on the hills has often predetermined which shall serve each function, art may often improve on Nature when applied to the service of man.
It would be wise to invest, as seen, $25 per acre, if necessary, in subduing to tools near-by pastureland in exchange for remote field-land. An exchange can often advantageously be made with the woodland; this statement is made from experience.
Concentration in farm buildings. Such arrangement economizes time and strength.
The mistake is often made of developing fields on a
The tillage area.
The vanishing causes that reduced New England farming to the capacity of the owner for labor, and the capital and tillage involved to a minimum,
, 161. Representative of the more conveniently laid out farm lands for the East. Woods are often separated from pastures.
acre farm given over to staple crops is now a dairyfarm. It does not carry over twelve cows, nor does it sell over 200 pounds of butter per cow at twenty-two cents per pound. Adding to this skimmilk at $10 per cow and the sales of two old cows, a revenue of $688 is secured. Add miscellaneous receipts of $212, and the gross revenue of but $6 per acre is secured. This is less than the rental value of European farms and of good farms in the Middle West, and has no possibilities. It is hopeless.
The revenue of farms is derived from their tillage areas. The farmer should expand these by contraction of pasture and woodland areas. Each acre thus added has a ten-fold productive capacity, makes a home market for money, gives profitable play to machinery, requires regular labor and expands the farmer's mental activity.
New England farming is professedly and designedly one of small effort. Nothing large can come from contracted operations in any sphere of business activity. For great operations as now conceived in the business world it is not the plea. Rather, a larger use of the mental faculties may be urged in greater pressure on the capacities of the farms in question. Their productive powers are barely touched, and the intellectual faculties in but small part pressed into use in exploiting the resources of the soils.
relates it here not for copying, but as illustrative. It has comprised much of the woods and pastureland. It runs as follows: Corn for silage, treated with chemicals and manure; oats and peas, chemicals or ashes applied; clover, mineral manures applied; potatoes, yard manure and chemicals applied; Hungarian grass and grain, yard manure applied; timothy, yard manure or chemicals; timothy, chemicals; pasturage, chemicals.
This has the following advantages: 1. It so divides the labor of the farm that it is employed the year round in regular amounts, and made of maximum economic effect. The same is true of the horse-power employed. These factors experience demonstrates to be important.
2. This division of the farm into crops following each other in orderly succession, so divides operations that each part can be well done, and avoids rush periods and those offering no economic work.
3. Each section is adequately fertilized each year and productive crops introduced. A phenomenally rapid increase of crops follows, that involves so free a use of machinery, executive faculties in handling the labor problem, and capital in the prosecution of the work, that a wholly new aspect is given to agriculture in New England, mentally, socially and commercially.
4. Rotations are soil-conservers and soil-feeders. They are dictated by nature's processes, and philosophically founded in varying root-areas of crops; in the differing type of leaves and water-vaporizing powers, and in their varying powers of gathering nitrogen, potash, phosphoric acid and the like from the soil; in their differing weight of roots; in powers of solving soils; in bacterial relations to nitrogen-gathering; to fungous and insect pests,and to other causes. It has been fully shown in field trials, by the writer and by others, that a rotation series gathers more from the soil than a non-rotation series.
The extended demand for plant-food made by a scheme of fanning that reverses traditional methods and feeds a far larger area of the farm and all
Crop-rotatian, or scheme of farming.
How, then, shall we reorganize the scheme of farming? A fixed crop-rotation embracing all the pasture and woodland available should be adopted. This land must be fitted for machinery. The age of muscle has passed. It cannot compete in New England with machinery elsewhere. Labor of others would and should be involved in the farming. On it only, in farming as in other business, can more than very limited results be secured. A rotation should involve more of the rank-growing annuals as corn, oats and peas, and less of the perennial grass crop. The grass crop gives in New England only about a ton to the acre.
The writer uses an eight-years' rotation, and
Floor plan of dairy bam on a representative New England
of it every year, must receive a passing notice and
1. It will be noted that one-half of the farm is tilled every year. Tillage, in every age and condition of agriculture, has been shown to be an indirect process of manuring. Science has shown it to be a means of increased solution of soils.