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THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 66, 26 February 1880
MANAGEMENT OF NEW LAND. Bit a Plains Farmer. Having had many years experience in managing both light and heavy land, I venture to give the fanners of this district the benefit of it. "When I first came into Canterbury I was fortunate in getting a good section of heavy land, adjoining a large swamp, but sufficiently elevated for good drainage, with a creek of running water at the bottom of it. I commenced in April, and got 30 acres ploughed five inches deep, using four strong bullocks. These acres were sown with oats in August, and produced 30 bushels to the acre. The next year I got another paddock of 35 acres ploughed in the same wjiy, five inches deep, which was done before harvest, in the fall of the year. This was ploughed again lightly, about half the depth, and sown in wheat, which produced about id bushels per acre average. The year following I had another paddock of 33 acres (heavy flax land) skimmed as light as it could be done, and then ploughed the second time about five inches deep, which produced a heavy crop of 50 bushel per acre average. But this was a more even and better piece of land than the other. The first paddock was sown down to clover oud cocksfoot, which was stocked with several good milking cows, the produce paying the grazier and butcher : besides rearing calves and pigs. After some years I went on to a larger piece of light land, and foolishly followed the example of others in laying out a large sura of money, first in paying a portion of the purchase, then getting more horses and implements, and Inning to buy horse feed and seed at the dearest rate, then building house and stabling, together with fencing. All these and other outlays can scarcely he accurately calculated on, only by hoping that a good harvest will reimburse it all. But alas it is a failure. Notwithstanding this, farmers arc not as a rule beaten with one had harvest, but rather make a desperate effort and put the whole of their land in crop the next year, and if it should be a favorable season they will yet recover this loss ; but if a second had harvest should be the result, and that worse than tl e first, as was the case last year, then it becomes a national calamity, and should be borne patiently by all classes.
The primary object I have in view in writing this article, is, if possible to point out the way of preventing the recurof such a calamity. I have come to the conclusion from my own experience, as well as others, that this district is not to be relied on solely as a wheat producing one, at least not for some years, until it has been grassed down and stocked with sheep. I arrive at this from the fact that last year when the crop was light, the quality and sample werefirst-class ; but tins year, when the season has been favorable to the growth of a h eavier crop, the sample is not so good. Now, as a rule on heavy wheat growing land, the larger the crop the better the quality of sample. I have seen some fine looking crops this year . which if grown in heavy land with the same bulk of straw, would yield from 30 to 35 bushels to the aero, yet these crops which are now being Threshed, I was told by the owner on the spot, were only yielding from 20 to 25 bushels per acre. And yet there was no rust, and better management in every respect I have not seen in New Zealand ; in fact it would he worth while for some of our farmers to go and have a look at Mr. Loudeu’s farm in the Kyle district, and take a leaf out of his book. But to return to the subject. The reason of the difference between this district and heavy land is that in the former there is not yet a sufficient quantity of wheat producing element in the soil to carry both quantity and quality. Therefore, I would suggest that instead of putting thewholeofthe farm intowheattho firsfccrop, as many do, the}’ should put upa sheep-proof boundary fence with four wires, then they could put on a few sheep at once ; and in going on to new land, say in April, the plough should be kept going all the winter, at a depth of from four to five inches, and in August a sufficient quantity of land should be put into oats as would bo required for next winter's feed, and perhaps a few acres, by way of experiment, into wheat or barley. But in October begin to sow’ turnips, with clover seed mixed, at the rate of say -Mb. turnip seed, 31bs. of cow-grass, and 3lbs. of red clover to the acre, and not he too sparing on labor in well working the soil, until there is from two to three inches of fine mould. This, with a good season, would produce a fine crop, ready to stock by March or April at the furthest, when full stock should be put on, and later crops of turnips only should be sown at intervals up to the end of December. The latter would go into crop the following spring, and so keep on in succession until the whole is brought into cultivation, and by that time there should be plenty of stock making a good and sure return, As fo capital, I believe it would not require more to carry out such a system than it would in wholesale grain growing, as it would require fewer horses, fewer implements, arid less labor. W. L., Scafield. VALUE OF MANGOLD WUKTZEL BEETS. Many fanners neglect the possibilities of mangold wurtzel beets for cattle feed. Nothing which we can grow’ is more satis-
factory for this purpose. The yield is enormous. Any good corn or wheat land is profitably employed. in raising beets. A field which is intended for beets may and should be heavily manured, as this will largely increase the immediate 3 ield, and its good effects will continue to be felt for several successive crops.
Band in which mangold wurtzels are to be planted needs a thorough preparation. Plough in narrow lands, and with a single plough, following with a harrow and roller. The seed is sown with a drilling machine, and six pounds will be required for an acre. Make the rows frqm 25 to 30 inches inches apart on good soil, and rather closer where the land is poor. Arrange the seedenps of the drill so as to deposit the seed from four to six inches apart in the rows. Unless the weather is very damp, the furrows made by the seed-drill should be rolled. If, after sowing, a heavy rain packs the surface of the soil so hard that it appears difficult for the young plants to' force their way through' the crust, pass a light harrow with sloping teeth over the lows. This is also an advantage as regards the early weeds, and the use of a harrow' to kill weeds between the rows, while yet small, is unquestionable. When the young plants are safely past the dangers of their early existence, they must be thinned out so as to stand ten or twelve inches apart. This is to be done with a sharp, narrow bladcd hoe. The after treatment of mangold wurtzels is simple in the extreme. Cultivate occasionally with a horse hoe, or chisel cultivator. In the- autumn they may be dug, and piled under cover, to keep for winter feed. A furrow run alongside of a row will enable one to pull up the most of the beets on its line. Then the next row may be attacked, and this process may be continued across the field. For use as cattle feed it is best always to cub up the mangold wurtzels. Some farmers throw them in the corral just as they come from tho field, with soil still clinging to the roots, and let the cattle eat what they can, .and trample and waste the rest. If a crop is worth raising, it is worth taking care of afterwards. Tho only way wc can recommend is to wash the beets clean, and cut them up by means of a short hatchet on a block of wood, or with a semi-circular knife of steel rigged to the end of a box, and working like an old-fashioned hay knife. Then have clean, and iron-bound feed-boxes for tho stock.
THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 66, 26 February 1880
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