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ii X-'ViV/' f 'l'LcV'ia-';v'E J'ri&aa.".

' ■ •‘■h-i aC‘ii-/>u -wii firm of French ■ eng-'".- ■- . ~de- ! vise<! m appara:-us lor co’-ntields at nigh i by means of electricity, S'v that harvesting operations might be continued ev9n.after aun*et, it was not unreasonably supposed that the, limit to which thia new motorwould' enter into the work pf : h.u» ’ bahdry had been reached. , yorioufTex-' pertinents had made us acquainted tof|h , what, electricity could do,,bnt the. jarilllant 4Upc6sseß which had bsetij- in every direction did. not seem to atiggejtt or! warrant the.belief ’that it Wiuufii the knowledge of the present generation, he made available for the purpose**.?? - ploughing. Yet tiiia haa been done with, apparatus designed ,by two French iieera, MM. Chtetin aiad' Ffilii., Thdimh. eidfiyati^ o * with the aid bf ateaihia.fiafrmdbut upon a large scale in England, Russia, and in other parte of the.worlds in this is. not the .case, mainly because’.the cost of the apparatus is large and the price' of working and maintenance high. There, too, " the holdings are, as a rule, small and it. can well be imagined that steam cultivation cannot, wider these circumfctancos, be generally adopted. . This, fact ias induced the gentlemen just mentioned 3 0 see whether mechanical power oh farms 1 in France cannot be more generally adopted, and as the result of much la^ or smd many experiments they have devised an. arrangement by which motive power in a certain fixed position may he employed to do the work of several adjacent terms through the medium of electricity as ah agent of transmission. The Gramme 'dynamo-electric machine generates the .electricity* and similar machines are the agents for the reconversion of electricity into motive power, this being conveyed to any required distance by means of cables. .Power thus obtained and transmitted was employed at a beet-root sugar factory during the whole of last winter, and now it lias been transmitted to some neighboring fields, which have been ploughed by a bdince plough and a windlass. The ■ 'dynamo-electric machines were driven by an engine some distance from the, fields ; this was of 8-horse power, and the power transmitted to the plough was of from . three to four horses. In light soil two furrows were made, but in heavy land only one could be ploughed. It is said, though,'that MM. Chrfitih and Ffilix will shortly have machinery ready which will enable them to use a four-furrow plough. The Gramme machines were driven at the rate of 1,609 revolutions per mirtute, while those on the windlasses made 800 in the same period. The furrows were 10-8 inches wide and 7-89 inches deep. It was found that about 50 per cent, of the work of the fixed engine was released on the field, and that the the electrodynamic apparatus is from 30 to 60 percent. , according to the -distance of transmission.

A Disease-Proof Potato-

No excuse is called for on our part for quoting a portion of the correspondence which has appeared in the “ Standard recently anent the failure of the potato crop in the British Isles. At a time when the staple article of food of a large portion of the agricultural population of England and Scotland-, and of 'the bulk of the rural population of the sister kingdom, is threatened with destruction, as; far as this season’s crop is concerned, any information which may prevent the recurrence of: so grave an evil is to' he cordially welcomed. . A few days sin e the fbflowihg’ letter appeared in the columns of our contemporary, under the signature of “Naturalis “I think our only remedy against disease is to return,to natural propagation by crossing the best and strongest . ; growing varieties by impregnation of the - flpwers. This system has already brought US at least one magnificent potato, wh;ch I have now, grown five years, and which has this year again come out free and untouched by disease, although all my other sorts are three-fourths rotten; 1 have this season planted twenty-six acres' of ’ these, and but for them my potato crop would bo a great loss. I attribute the djaeasa-resisting qualities of this potato to its vigorous c-.nstitution and hard, woody stalk, and although this year the leaves were badly spotted by disease, it never gets further. The liaiilm is perfectly free from it, and as the disease in all potatoes descends the haulm, the tubers are invaribly perfectly healthy.. I have taken soma trouble to ascertain the history of * this - variety, „ and. find that it wias brought to notice by Mr. Shirley Hibberd, the editor of the ‘M3*rdener’a Magazine/’ - and that a gardiner had raised it from seed. , Surely we want no other' remedy for the potato disease 1 than the planting of sorts so produced.’’ The following day the annexed' reply was the editor, of the “Standard” “Sir,—The reference to me i»V the letter of * Naturalia ’ may be productive of inconvenience, unless you kindly permit me to supplement it with a few^ words. The' variety referred to as disease-proof is beyond all doubt the moat valuable ever brought into cultivation, for in this disastrous season it has escaped the blight - entirely, and it notable fpr its fipe quality and high productiveness All that I had to do with It was to discover in the first ■ instance its suitability for general cultivation. OAmy recommendation it was pur- - chased and distributed by. Messrs. Sutton and Sons, ,of . Reading, as ‘ Suttons’ ’ Magnum Bonum,’” and under that name it is now widely known.—l am. Sir, your obedient , servant. Shbih Hibbbbd, Editor “Gardeners’ Magazine.” This -conespbidence tells its own tale too. clearly and forcibly to render necessary farther comment from us. By agriculturists, not only of this country but throughout the world, the facts it sets forth will he read with the deepest pos- .•! sible interest

The Condition of the Irish Farmers.

A special commissioner of the “Freeman’s Journal” has been sent westward to ■ investigate the condition of the tenant farmers, and in a letter from Castlebar he tells a pitiable story. He saysl had selected Castlebar as the starting-point of i»y tour through the "West, as the centre of a' district' whie'i. for the past three months, lias been shaken to the core by a esy of suifering. 1 have questioned all xa .mt~‘ -of men of ail manner of opinions. Tnosa v. " V >- \ in nothing else agreed •ant's "a.« uu mim.ty than which I h»V# 'never kmwra anything more remarkahai,

•' ' I *■ ■ ' > V '’“ • ‘ •; .V- ---■ v . . .. . 1.1 3 '*i . • *• • - -v*, ! p;vwuw i ;•&«?, yud T*or. -nt •.•■. -i. - 1 I pa'dVel .-nice too famine. 'V'.yiTJ vt it s ; 1 ya‘. no <i-twnright-hanger'-aavnqj ?no small j f farmers They are trusted with Indian 1 i meal. But were it not -ter the compassion j and 1 courage of a fewjsle'pkeeoers in the i small towns, there W<j;ild have been actual famine, stark starvation, any time since Christmas last. -Either that, pr hundreds' offsrmers would iffibnth^the' bulk : of the small htddieTs of ' :frtm ftAnf to fifteenand even twenty, acre*. ; of 4jiqd' ; (Who fiaitr ;the back-bone o?<ihe.: j population of Mayp) hare beeanxisting en ; on debt* do the ' of -ih© bank' manager of the - shopkeeper.' The load ■ dt ' debt'-"which■ j first began to accumulate upon lthedr ! sh'ooidbrs after toe /-first Vof the bad.-har- i ;vterts : ih ; 1876* dfer-esioh flf! i : tirb-MiccessivCf J'ehra of dfclaraity and>lqite'! f Lwfc harvest • did-'Apt©liable- pay! ! back more thaw from IS te-S&per-eenki. i (in the most favourable Cases' 50 per cepit.) I of their paat indebtedness.,: Every bagof | meal ■ they'. hare' consumed . since (and ; owing to the shortness and rottenness of the potato crop they hare been subsisting on Indian meal since Christmas- Day) has shhk them deeper in the power of the shop* keepers and merchants, 'ft: ia ohe of the most singular circumstances of thissingular time that although, aft a gentleman of financial authority estimates, there are more than L 200,000 in small debts due at : this m?ment in 'Mayo,- the number of: processes in the civil bill Courts has asj yet not increased.' The fact is - that most: of the small debt decrees obtained have - remained unrealised. The money was not; there. It had almost disappeared from j the county. The farmers came with empty; hands and empty pockets for food. They have literally existed on their reputation.; A single merchant in the town of Westport who was not 'repaid more than 15: per cent, of his previous year’s advances,: has .at this moment L. 15,000 worth of debts for provisions outstanding. Another, at Oastleb ;r, upon ' payment of instalments, not exceeding r 6o' per cent, of the! debts of 1878, assured me that he, baa given credit to the extent: of L2OOO more since last harvest/ I'hava no doubt, -from references'to actual'figures, that in. this town alone the credit ofthe peasants in the single article of mestl amounta to I<lo,ooo. ■I have talked with one parish priest who has made himself responsibe to the banks or to the traders for more than L3OO by lending his name to his wretched parishioners. • He told me. the almost incredible tale of all the shifts and struggles by which he has been staving off the evil day; In the overwhelming majority of cases, nobody doubts that the small farmers are telling the literal and terrible truth—that there is nothing to be wrung put of them—that their last three .years’ farming'has been a dead loss—that they are sunk head and neck- in debt—and that it depends upon the state of the weather for the next fortnight whether they -shall be precipitated into actual famine. The causes of the tenants’ present plight are too plain and elementary to be labored. Tliey are all the world’s everyday experience. The most fertile river tracts in Mayo are grazed. Grazing in Ireland for the last twelve months (especially in districts so remote ; from the English markets) was so much dead loss. Beasts are brought from Chicago to Liverpool for within a few shillings of what it would cost to. bring) from Castlebar. Bullocks in Castlebar. are worth at least L 3 a head less than. ■ they were twelve months ago; that is to say, the profit is worse than nothing. In fact the 1 cattle trade is at a dead stand. ’ The ' Meath graziers, who used to flock here for young stock, have ceased to attend the western fairs. Labor is cheap and employment scarce. The harvest ; will for two months keep the wolf 1 from the laborers’ door, ,et apres, alas! 1 how many anxious hearts are throbbing for that same harvest r How many sleep- • less, eyes are fastened upon every changing humor of the elements ■» they brighten ‘ with the sun or grow heavy with the rain. [ Thank God, the cup of promise is at least ' at the lips. The potatoes promise a.good 1 erbp.' The oata are long in the ear, if 1 they will ever yellow. ■ ■ The hay is in-e- ---* ’ fair way of being saved, but there must be. no mistake—a bad harvest would mean 1 Providence only knows what depth of ruin ■ and despair. A good harvest would save ’ the people from famine and no more. ■ The potatoes would feed them at least till ► Marim/the oats, perhaps, would satiate > the landlords'; but the frightful load of f. dlbt would still cling Around the farmers’ 1 «ecksJßp>e shaken off, if ever it is to be r . shakfaipff, otolydty long years of pros- '■ ,porityV"* i .l > y /doniebtic privation, and ’ . dinmmtied rente?* • ■ .

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UNKNOWN Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 39, 25 December 1879

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