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The grain in the waggon is deposited in the most convenient place for thrashing, and it is not unusual in California to see the thrashing machine and the header working in the same field, the headed grain being drawn straight away to the thrasher.
That the header supplies a means for the cheap, rapid, and economical harvesting of grain does not admit of doubt, and there are many districts in our Colony where this class of machine can be successfully and economically used.
Of course, in districts where straw is valuable, there is the objection that the header leaves almost as much straw as the stripper, but it is claimed, and with justice, that headed grain is more easily thrashed, and there being less straw, there are fewer cavings and less chaff, so the thrasher can put through a much larger quantity per day.
It is estimated that the header harvests the grain and puts it in the stack at a little under 48. per acre.
Giant Binders (a combination of the Binder and the Header).
The very latest development in harvesting machinery is the Giant Binder Fig. 5, which is really a header with a binder attached.
This machine will cut a swath from 12 to 20 feet wide and it has the adjustability of the header which allows the operator to instantly raise or lower the cutter-bar so that the required length of straw may be cut to ensure perfect binding.
It will thus be seen that the Californian Harvester has now another rival in the field, and it remains to be proved whether the cost of harvesting with a Giant Binder and separate thrasher together with the extra expense of string and hauling the bound sheaves to the thrasher will be less than the cost of harvesting with the Californian machine, the item of loss of grain during the process of harvesting being taken into account.
The Californian Harvester can claim that it only handles the grain once, that is whatever waste or loss there may be is between the cutter bar and the wheat bags, whereas the Giant Binder loses grain in discharging the sheaf and the sheaf loses grain whilst being transported to the thrasher but as against these two losses it can be claimed that the thrashing machine being always fixed level, with larger shaking and riddle capacity and a more perfect machine than the thrasher which is part of the Californian Harvester, thrashes and cleans more perfectly than similar parts in the Californian Harvester and thus saves more grain in the thrashing process than was lost by the delivery of the sheaf by the Giant Binder and the transport of the sheaf to the thrasher.
These disputed points can only be satisfactorily settled after fair trials under fair conditions and our farmers should carefully watch the development of both the Californian Harvester and the Giant Binder as competition will surely force us to use the very latest labour-saring harvesting machinery in the near future.
Export of Poultry and Eggs.
By S. GRAY.
In spite of the advice given in this and other publications, the esport of poultry and eggs from this Colony does not appear to make much progress. An interview recently took place between Mr. Gerritsen of the firm of Oetzen and Gerritsen, of Tooley-street, London, and a representative of the Sydney Daily Telegraph which disclosed the fact that while regular shipments of prime poultry and eggs were despatched to London from Victoria, very little was sent from New South Wales. Mr. Gerritsen is a large buyer and will take all he can get of the right quality, the money is certain, and in the proper seasons (Christmas, and from March to May) the prices are high.
There will be time when this appears to catch the London spring markets with young fowls and ducks. As I have already pointed out on several occasions, the best fowl is a cross between the Dorking and Indian game, and the best ducks are either pure Aylesburys or crosses between Aylesburys and Pekins. The birds must be young, certainly under six months when killed, their necks should be wrung, not the heads chopped off, and the feathers removed while they are warm, care being taken not to split the skin when plucking. It is quite useless to attempt to play with the markets. The London dealers thoroughly understand their business, and any sharp practice, such as cutting the spurs off old cocks, will be immediately detected. It must be borne in mind, moreover, that any case of sharp practice will not only cause loss to the person who attempts it, but give a bad name to any shipment coming from the whole Colony. Honest, straightforward dealings will not only secure the market, but in time the shipments will be relied upon and looked forward to by the dealers, and then not only will the regular rates be realised which are considerably better than colonial rates, but there is always the chance of fancy prices, and London fancy prices are worth working for.
I say, without hesitation, that there is a wider area of country in New South Wales suitable for rearing poultry than in Victoria, and it is to the honour of the latter colony that they have pushed this valuable trade with such energy and success. In order to place the business on & sound footing it will be necessary not only for the farmers to prepare the supplies, but also for some enterprising firm in Sydney to take charge of the shipping. Refrigerating cars are running on the various lines of railway for the conveyance of meat, and if a few farmers will look into the matter, there should be little trouble in securing space, provided regular supplies are forwarded. Then arrangements must be made for the reception of the birds in Sydney, their proper packing and shipment. Mr. Gerritsen states that the best temperature for poultry is the same as for meat, while eggs should not be frozen, and travel better at a temperature ranging from 35 to 45 degrees.
With regard to eggs, it has been found that they travel best in card-board boxes divided into squares, each square holding an egg on end, and these boxes kept in position in the case or crate with chopped straw or any springy substance. Another point worth considering is the peculiar fondness of the London consumers for a brown or tinted-shelled egg. These always realise higher prices than white-shelled, and as the cost of transport is the same, it is certainly better to ship those which sell the best. The eggs laid by Langshans and other Asiatic breeds will therefore fill the bill.
It will be well for each intending shipper to decide which trade will suit his circumstances, best-eggs or table poultry. I would not recommend any one to try both, at any rate in the beginning, as the two businesses are, or should be, conducted on entirely different lines.
Had these trades not been tried and found to be profitable the hesitancy of the New South Wales farmers would be understandable. The facts, however, prove the contrary, and while caution is a good quality, it would appear that while our farmers are being cautious, those of other colonies are making substantial profits. The Victorian products are known and appreciated. In New South Wales, Mr. Gerritson says he cannot get any quantity of the right sort, though he has come 14,000 miles to try. It does seem a pity not to help a man who takes all this trouble to do business. We are in the habit of comparing our condition with that of the Russians, and not in favour of the latter. But the Russians are doing a large and increasing trade in poultry and eggs with England, in spite of the fact, as mentioned by our Produce Commissioner in London, that the Australian product is superior to the Russian and realises a higher price. When farmers are complaining all round of bad seasons and loss of crops, is it not almost criminal to neglect a trade wbich can be successfully carried on in spite of adverse seasons ? Poultry requires a smaller capital than any other branch of agriculture, and gives a far higher return in cash. It certainly requires a little trouble, but I should not like to think that this can be a consideration; and again, if the men are too busy, or have more important duties, nearly everything necessary can be done by the women, and—I had almost said-done better.
In France and Belgium the raising of poultry and eggs is a business of enormous proportions, and realises millions. The population of the United Kingdom requires considerably more than their surplus; and I would urge on farmers to take prompt steps to supply at least a portion of this deficiency to their own profit.
Practical Vegetable and Flower Growing.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH.
Vegetables. AFTER the intense heat generally experienced throughout the Colony during the present summer, it is not improbable that we may have good rains and much cooler weather during March. As a rule this is one of the most pleasant spring-like months of the vear, during which a great deal of useful work can be carried out in the garden. Every opportunity should be taken to clear away rubbish, weeds, and useless vegetables, and heap together so that they may decay and form useful manure. To prevent this rubbish from becoming offensive, spread dry soil over it from time to time, and this soil will absorb all bad odours.
Trench, drain, dig, and manure any new ground you intend to add to the garden; or treat old ground that has been in use for some time in the same manner, if it be not under crop. The earlier the ground is prepared for such permanent vegetables as asparagus and rhubarb the better for the plants.
It is important that the ground be well trenched, for the natural drainage is seldom sufficient. Drainage is of far more importance than is generally supposed, and it must not be imagined that drainage will cause the ground to become more dry than if it were allowed to remain undrained. Wherever animal manure or vegetable matter of some sort is abundant, use plenty of it when digging the ground. Make the surface of your vegetable-beds as level as you can, and avoid heaps and hollows.
Asparagus.--It would be advisable to get a bed ready for some plants as soon as this can be done. The ground should be trenched 18 inches or 2 feet deep, some manure being well mixed up with the surface soil as it is being dug. It is not necessary to make a very large bed, for a few plants even will give an occasional dish, if the plants are looked after, and if the soil happens naturally to suit them the supply will be considerable. When the ground has been dug up the surface should be left as rough as possible until the time comes for planting in the very early spring. Asparagus likes a rich sandy deep soil, but it will grow fairly well in almost any kind of soil that has been well prepared. It is a native of the sea coast of Europe, and has been in cultivation from remote times and long before the Christian era. It is found growing wild in the sandy interior of Russia, far away from the sea coast, but probably the soil is saline. It should grow well in the inland parts of this Colony where the saltbush grows, and it will probably succeed splendidly where it could be irrigated by the water from artesian bores. At the present time nothing need be done beyond preparing the ground.
Bean, French or Kidney.- In the warm districts of the Colony a few rows should be sown, if the soil is not very dry. It will probably be too late to sow in the cold districts, for the plant cannot stand frost. Plants that have ceased to bear should be pulled up to make room for some other kind of vegetable. Old withered plants of beans or peas when allowed to remain give the vegetable garden a most miserable neglected appearance, besides taking up space that might be producing something useful. Every grower of vegetables should strive to keep his garden tidy and make it worth looking at. If this be done the place will become more and more interesting and profitable.
Bean, Broad.—This vegetable has been in cultivation from the most reinote times—thousands of years before the Christian era. The soil best suited to it is a heavy clay loam, although it will grow and bear well in almost any kind of soil. It would not be advisable to sow to any great extent during the present month. Dig the ground well, and if it is poor apply plenty of horse or cow dung, and if this has been well rotted, all the better. If artificial manure is used, apply little or no sulphate of ammonia
Sow in rows from 2 feet to 3 feet apart, according to the variety, for the dwarf-growing kinds may be sown closer together than the tall. The seed should be sown about 4 or 5 inches apart in the rows.
Beet, Red.-Sow a row or two of this useful vegetable. Thin out well any plants that are coming up from previous sowings.
Beet, Silver.—Sow a little seed in ground that has been well manured, that is, if the soil is not naturally sufficiently rich without it which is seldom the case.
Borecole or Kale.-It is doubtful whether this vegetable is worth troubling about when there are so many other kinds of the cabbage family can so easily be grown in the Colony. It will succeed best in the coolest districts. Seed may be sown in beds or boxes like cabbage, and the seedlings afterwards transplanted. It prefers a rather stiff soil, but may be grown successfully in almost any garden.
Broccoli.-Seed may be sown in the same way as cabbage seed, and the seedlings afterwards transplanted, bearing in mind the rule that the richer the soil the wider apart the plants. Plants available from previous sowing may be planted out.
Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Savoy may be planted out if well-grown seedlings are available. Seed also may be down, and care should be taken not to sow it too thick in the drills.
Celery .-Sow a pinch or so of seed in order to have plants available when required. It should be remembered that celery requires a great deal of moisture during its growth, for its native localities are wet and marshy places. Plant out a few well-grown seedlings in well-manured ground. Make shallow trenches so that water and liquid manure when applied will not run to waste. It may be mentioned that although the plant requires plenty of water during its growth, it may be possible to over-water, whereby the result is a loss of flavour. The proper quantity to apply can only be learned by experience, and anyone who will take an interest in the gardening work will soon learn. The best manure to use for celery is the droppings of farm animals, mixed well with the soil when the ground is being prepared. If anyone wishes to try the common old method of growing and blanching this plant he should dig out trenches 12 inches deep or more and about 16 inches wide, the soil taken out of the trench to be spread along the top of the bank. At the bottom of the trench dig in a good supply of manure and plant strong stocky young seedlings 9 inches apart in the middle of the trench. The seedlings should be moved from the seed bed with care, and the roots injured as little as can be avoided. When the plants have attained a good growth they can be earthed up so as to make the stalks white, or "blanched" the ordinary term used. The soil must not be allowed to drop into the centre of the leaves, or they will probably decay or become