NOTES FOR FARMERS.
USEFUL FOR SHEEP,
A British Board of Agriculture leaflet says sainfoin, which, in common with the olovers, jg a member of tbe natural order Legumin-1 osro, has been known and cultivated as a fodder plant tor over 200 years. The name "•ainfoin," by which it is commonly known, is a corruption of "Saint-foin," or "holy^hay." Sainfoin is a perennial plant indigenous to dry chalky soils. Under suitable conditions the primary root descends to a great depth, and the plant is able to withstand | the severest drought, being almost independent of surface moisture. Although sanfoin seems to prefer light soils containing a considerable percentage of lime, it is probably adaptable to a much wider range of conditions than is generally believed to be the case. Good crop* are grown both on olayß and loams in districts where the climate is dry and warm. As a forage crop, specially adapted for sheep, it is of grea mportance in the south of England. It is Fometimes sown instead of clover, more particular y in the Eastern Counties, where clover "sickness" is common.
The cultural conditions best suited to the growth of sanfoin are practically the same as for luaeme. Tbe soil should be clean and ' in good heart, and the sub.-soil should penetrate by the tap root, There aie trio varieties in cultivation, the common sanfoin (Onobrychis saliva) and piant-ainfoiu (Diobrychis sativa var bifera). These flower during May and June, the con.' mon cainfoin being rather later than in the giant variety. The common sanfoin is dis> tinguished by its characteristic and some' what meagre aftermath, which consists of long leaves, flowering stems being absent. The giant sanfoin is of more rapid and heavy growth; the second cutting producs flowering stem?, and in consequence of this habit h shorter lived. Giant sainfoin is best adapted.for making into hay, while common sainfoin is the better for grazing. Giant sainfoin is nrre of the naturo of a rotation crop., whereas common sainfoin should be regarded chiefly as a long ley crop paying for special cultural andmanurial treatment. On land that is not particularly suitab'e fcr growing a successful crop of sainfoin, the farmer would be well advised to sow the giant in preference to the common varuty, as on land which is not able to hold common sainfoin for tbe usual term of y art,, the piant variety will yield more bulky crops In tho time, and may be cut more often. Common sainfoin is usually ai its best about the third year, but under suitable conditions it may be allowed to stand with profit for fi7e to seven years or even longer. Four bushels to tho acre of unmilled seed or 561b of milled seed is tho customary rate of sowing. It is usual to grow sainfoin pure in the Eastern Counties, but on cbalky soils in the south and we3t of England it is often used as a constituent of a mixture for temporary or permanent leys. A mixture of 1 giant sainfoin, red clover, and Italian rye grass makes excellent hay. If a crop is cut eaoh year the land may receive occasional dressings of farmyard manure with dressings of phosphatic and poiassic i manures in the intervening years, but as a rule dung should be used sparingly as a direot manure to this crop, although it. may be freely applied to tbe preceding root crop. Sainfoin grows to a height of 1J to 2 feet, and produces numerous succulent branches with abundant foliage, bearing many flowed spike like clusters of fresh coloured or rosy red flowers ; the compound pinnate leaves are sufficiently to aid one in recognising the pknt. It is impor'ant that cutting for hay should start direotly flowering commences, a" the plant is then at its best for feeding purposes, and each day's delay impairs both the quality of the hay and tbe future yield of the crop. It should be handled with great care, tike lucerne und olover, to avoid break.
ing off the fine leaf; but it is not readily spoiled, if left alone unturned, even in the wettest weather. A yield of 30 to 40cwt. of hay is considered an average crop. In the case of giant sainfoin two erop_s of hay are often mown the first year, while seed is generally taken from the second crop of the second year; when allowed to ripen for seed cutting takes place in July or August, after which it is carefully dried before being stocked. In a good Eeason 25 to 30 bushels of seed in me husk may be obtained per acre.
It is usual to cut sainfoin for hay in the first year; afterwards it may be mown or grazed as circumstances require. Whether as hay or as ereen forage it is an admirable food, and is regarded as the best possible change for stock which may not be thriving on ordinary pastures..
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NOTES FOR FARMERS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXIII, Issue 3446, 20 October 1914