A FARMER’S NOTES.
I am perhaps the last person in the world to set up as an instructor of my fel-low-farmers, and 1 do not do so. But some time ago you said in your paper that if, we men who could speak on farming matters from practical experience sent our experience to you, no matter how roughly we put it down you would put it in shape and publish it. I can’t write papers for the Agricultural and Pastoi’al Association, though I would like to. I am no speaker, so I cannot take part in the discussions, and must remain a listener. Your offer to do up our rough letters gives us a chance to have a say even if we are not speakers or writers. Mr. Guinness delivered a very sensible address to the Association a month ago. I quite agree with all he said, and perhaps, 1 like his offhand speaking better than I would have liked a prepared paper. Things come natural like to a man when he speaks straight out to his. hearers without writing. He spoke of seed, and the kind we should plant. Most of us, I think, are not careful enough in choosing seed wheat. Wheat is a thing that will degenerate very quickly. Every farmer should make it his study to choose the very best seed he can get, and that kind that has grown the greatest number of bushels to the acre, with a good sample. I have been used to both light and heavy soils, and my father before mo. We always changed our seed every year if possible. For light land we took the corn from heavy soil, and for heavy land from light soil, paying great attention to cleanliness and class cf seed. Fanners here, I think, do not pay enough attention to this, but look more to price than to quality. I would not sow a single seed that had been grown on land where the slightest touch cf rust or blight had been apparent in the crop. I am afraid, considering that there was a bit of rust about last year, that some tainted seed will be got into the ground this year. That shouldn’t bo. The farmer should study what corns will best suit his land. Now, about the weather. Mr. Guinness was very nice on that subject. A farmer ought to get at the rainfall and moisture on his farm. I am sorry that no practical farmer has as yet set about collecting figures as to the quantity of rain that falls in the district. I believe some careful man would undertake the duty of “ clerk of Ihe weather ” if the Association found the appliances. Then, the time of planting ought to bo seen to and studied. I find by experience that the best months for sowing are Juno and July. Wheat sown in last May gave no returns—about 4 bushels —and was blighty ; that planted in August had the rust, but June sown gave on the plains about 22 bushels, clean, and a good sample for the mill, and July sown gave as good wheat and 20 bushels. These are “facts” I have witnessed myself, and the conditions were in each case the same—light land, good ploughing, and general tillage by practical men, only the different dates of sowing, but the same seed* Then as to ploughing—l find too many farmers give more value to quantity than to quality. Every ploughman should look to his plough, for the sake of his horses as well as for the land. The land should be well ploughed—well turned and packed, with a fair depth, say to 41r to 5 inches deep, and 10 inches wide—not turned too fiat. Many plough too wide, and do not move all the land under the furrow. The land is not pulverised, and the root has a hard bed to grow in. I am sorry that the- ploughing match seems to have gone out of date, as it had its advantages in making Tom, Dick, and Harry try to keep up in good ploughing with Harry, Dick, and Tom. I see lots of land very far from being properly harrowed. New land should be harrowed twice with the furrow, and once across, Mr. Guinness must have had his eyes open when he said that all the tillage round about was not of the best. I harrowed a piece of land when the corn was in the blade. It was thin, but the harrowing improved it very much, and the growth thickened and came away very well. My experience of light land is that if it is pressed with a Cambridge roller before sowing, and when in the blade harrowed instead of rolled, the crop would be benefited. The soil would be loosened at the root of the blade (I am speaking of wheat) by the harrowing, and the rolling would close the soil for the corn to root in, and keep in the moisture. When the soil is rolled in dry weather it bakes, no damp can enter, and if any does it is soon drawn awaj by the sun. I do not set myself up as an authority, but I daresay there is something in what I have written that farmers will agree with, and something that they won’t. If you publish this, farmers will see that your columns are free to them to express their opinions, and they ought to write. They cannot do it any more roughly than I have done this, I am sure, but I know you will make it readable. I would like if of some of my fellow-farmers would give a few “facts” —say as to their experience about the depth and width they plough, and the re-
suits —what returns they get. There are many that such information would benefit. I will not say thank you for the space until I see what like a job you have made of my epistle. Swingle-True. [We have seen many with greater pretensions make a worse appearance than “ Swingle-Tree. ” His letter wanted some “ doing up,” as he calls it in his “ letter of instruction,” but we are very to do that for him, as far as our ability allows us. The sentence marked with a* ■& however, we will not stand sponsor for, but it is the best we can make of it. — Ed. ]
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 118, 26 June 1880
A FARMER’S NOTES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 118, 26 June 1880
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