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THE VALUE OF RYEGRASS.

A most Important contribution to tbe discussion now going on In England on the advantage or disadvantage of Including ryegrass m mixtures of seed for permanent pasture has been published by Sir John La<res. A good deal of what be says relates to the 0 m-roverey, and would not be of Interest to- readers who have not seen the remarks of those to whom he replies. Instead of giving hia letter ln full, then, It will be better to give the leading points of it. He Is not surprised tbat Mt Oarruthers, as consulting botanist to the Royal Agricultural Soolaty, ahoald have been ied to entertain a strong objection to ryegrass when he found large quantities of it m mixtures of seed sent to him to analyse, for whioh farmers had paid a high price. This ls an argument m favor of buying grasses separately instead of ready-mixed, but n n agaiost the nse of the grass. As Sir John Laws points out, to advl.i farmers not to sow ryegrass at all because its use op ana tha door to fraud Is like advising them not to purchase nitrate of soda because It Is often adulterated with common salt. Ryegrass, as an Ingredient m the mix. Ute of seed to be sown m laying down land to permanent grass, mast stand upon its own merits. It is an undoubted fact, ha adds, tbat m a pasture In Leicestershire, which was seleoted by bim for examination on account of its extremely fattening chiraoter, ryegrass was first m amount iv eight out of 11 samples taken at as many different parlods over four different years, and it came second In order m tbe other three. It contributed an area of 27 per i cent of the total herbage m eight samples, and of nearly 15 per cent m the remainI ing three, corresponding In tbe eight samples to about 24 per cent of tbe total grasses. The plant next. In order of amount was white clover, wbioh, on tbe average of tbe 11 samples, contributed more than 23 per oent of the total herbage, only very small amountß of any other leguminous species being present. At tbe times of the examinations tbe pasture was fattening more than one bullock per acre, without aDy cake exoepting toward, tbe end of the Benson and a little given to shee p during the winter. Theorlelnal examinations were made, two In 1879, six In 1880, and tno m 1882 ; and In July cf last year, 1888, he examined a further sample from the same psstnre. Ryegrass w.s still the most prominent species, yielding 36$ per cent of the total herbage and nearly 42 per cent of tbe total grasses. But there waa then, doubtless owing to the coldness of tbe season throughout and the cold ai d wet July, an unusually email amount of white olover and a greatly Increased proportion of Agro-tis vulgaris, whioh contributed "nearly 26 per oent to the total 'herbage. -This graes has by do means a good charaoter. Lastly, Sir John points out that we have muoh yet to learn as to the influence of soil, season, manuring, and oiber circumstances m determining the predominance and tbe character of the development of Individual species when grown In association In the mixed herbage of graes-lacd ; and as, whatever seed may be sown, tbe results obtained de p.nd so very maoh on these conditions, It becomes a question whether In laying down land to permanent grass the more costly sort should not be used somewhat sparingly. Indeed, accordingly aa the conditions aro favorable or otberwl&e, cne species will predominate and another be reduced or disappear, and so on. Then again, a speoles which under certain con* ditioDß of 8011, senop, mannrlng and treatment, may be of good feeding quality may under other conditions be almost worthless. Thns concbgrass (^hitic^mreper^s) occupies a prominent place In some of the sewage medows near Edinburgh - m fact, the sewage land Is sometimes Inoculated with it, by plants weeded onb of arable land ; and certainly botb ryegrass and agroatls contribute largely to the herbage of some of the pastures ln Leicestershire, whioh will fatten more than one ox per aore. Caution should therefore be exercised before pronouncing any particular 1 grass which Is good or bad nnder certain l circumstances to be good or bad under all { olroumttanceß. The subjeot is one of . great importa.Cß lo all oouotrleß, and Sir John Lawes is 9 great authority upon pastures as well as oa ' agricultural chemistry.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890322.2.25

Bibliographic details

THE VALUE OF RYEGRASS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2094, 22 March 1889

Word Count
760

THE VALUE OF RYEGRASS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2094, 22 March 1889

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