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THE COUNTRY.

C -THE WINTEB SHOW. ■ I mie for the Winter Show '' '&* '*?the list Shows that the com- *^' gone in &* *mgs on a irfite scale. Entries are coming | W«*; a ll parts of the Dominion,, esWWtion wU be a great suciUt The Association is pushing on tesS, nniekly and will have arrangescale when the time: PABS. • ;; -T, n «es Singlestick 11., G-lenapp, Malachi, and Lupin has notified 'fX£* Kent has resigned from the experimental farm. */wKa Stat Gonvell has an inspector under "The dated from February i of tto CI.EAIT BULK. • (jus milk 53 an' essential of the food r «f.davY menu, and in no country * { f except, perhaps, Denmark, clLn tLt the milk •»VrJi by the public as a whole is New Zealand. Much used ■fftaW °* «> e -P uriti <* °* the : Softie dairy, but now that cry -|jrii tec** at the industry in that rechief provisions in the dircctfonof purifying the supply is the one S deiandß the registration of ImL The time is now when licenses X be taken out for the renewal of SJiSclUiiiite the Dairy Inspection ■*t iKe terns of the Act., no one is ,HoU to sell milk unless the premise Ire piwdhy the inspector. The regisintioa ice i 3 ss. 1 wABVISTnTG THE POTATO CROP. L - - BY "OliD SPUD." TEe advent of the scourge "blight" v,, teen fee cause of quite a revolution fete me&ods of .growing (where it is MNftb) and marketing potatoes. Pretpdueaseaffecting a lodgement in lie Dominion, potato growing was oamed ea fcirly regukrly, the same as oats or -heii Certain districts laid themselves and on suitable £>tafo«s were, un&r tteee conditions, eona-aswd a good-paying crop, but grow- ■ m to-**! nk are A a<U l, se !w if they do not get/** least double that uiee 80 thai although more labour is Tftacßed to production the potato is as Inciatlw .as ever—df not more 90. The ilteiite in the system of production is thai gioiprers endeavour' to extend the period- of growing, «o that it may now he ttH that potatoes are being dug *JrQm October to June or July. The per- ' k>3 dnring which they need be stored is, ttewfore, reduced to three _ months in tte year. I suppose there is no other ' ebtmfry in the world where the climate 'wonld'fallow of snci a procedure. Few -..ieemVtot-raalise /what its.,cßißate means, -'to.Kew'-Zealand. Wherever the conditionß are feTOuraWe for this somewhiit jioTiJ eyittin of .intermittent planting, it is iiglily to he commended, as by so doing.;ire have not all the eggs in one basket. Should one planting be attacked by the blight, the following lot may escape. There is now little doubt that the w«atter has muoh .to do with the propagation of the disease. At the ; km time in any district (if there is any iuph) where the blight has appeared, it j$ oily lottery with a hundred to one -.ahißM'of suoces3 to grow potatoes with«at being fully equipped to combat the jest by haying spraying apparatus euffi--1 cleat to deal -with the area under crop. ■Admitting that under the present system of extended harvest, there is not the same quantity requiring to be stored for a period. Still there will always occur periods of glutted market, which necessitates storing for a longer . «r shorter : time, and as It is impossible to tell how long it may be before the market -will be favojirafble, every preciution should he taken that nothing "bni sound tubers are put away, and that they are in the best condition posaFWe. ; ! A pound epentin labour when storing mar.mean £20 when the potatoes come to be marketed. Seeing the importance of harvesting tte potato, a lew hints may be of sei^ "tice to young farmers, at this time of ttejear when the largest part of storing haY: to be done. Should there have ; kern no signs of disease during the : (jrowtt. of the crop, it ds a. simple matter to dig and store potatoes. Still many '?■ j> nr ougb. ignorance or laziness, do v a very perfunctory manner, and -.«Sen mtJi dieastrous Tesufts. Before ™*ng to dig, preparation should be m* /tor how the tubers are to be •wed. Q3ie jnost oisuej way of storing » the pit. TOiy houses or sheds are not ■ awe. largely used, may be accounted lor by the pit being the old country No doirl ' t W fa l« tter than the thete,. when they have to proIS B^ 8 damage by frost. But in we 'Dominion, there are few places where "■on ■ h ev«r severe enough to hurt Pputoes under any sort of cover. All *" necessary to guard against is w«,Md when-potatoes are grown reyear- after year, it will pay to ««' 4 potato house. Pfersonany, after Wtojf Tised a house for many years, I i«l;th&t it would be hard to have to :f"Bni-to a c old way of pitting. The ■•;»«» -or *ned need not be elaborate—a ; , «f ß l# id, tte waU3 of slabs L?% ent ie >ght to allow drays to go Straw makes ttie best to ™n °^ r ' Btro .ng sapplings, from wall •k,T-'» OEe together. A bit of scrub I L^ aMe to prevent *he straw from itifij?- inside in case of fire, iv v ji w k P la «ed on top the same Reading a stack. Thatch and you to'nui- 11 exi?e^en t potato house wherein ■&Ja -° yer and up ready for mar"dunug wet weather, instead of often '«n J Tα e °°* thne "» weather when ■ : «? : J ome! for a truck load - :Now I ionsp fc • ? 41sea3e utflitv °f the ■■Clfnf 81 *. a 8 it may be necespKjfc the tubej . s orer eyen when : jtitt a ?«? f ie f °r them in order to •We k affectefu by -•'fioaofW 'I' there f3 the satisfacto inspect them daily. toa to <L * J , '* *^ c whole covering *W j,f ■'"nwed in order to see that it f fJ&F 0 ? «n right. Moreover, ■ 11 J° D "counting" potatoes : ' >C oUae * Preferable to the pit **r to-n!!?" AY the same tlme m 611 ** on top or sides M Z b ™ B efctin & &**"• ■ • a M old bags, of which there

are usually plenty where potatoes ai* gro,vn, answer the purpose admirably. Should it 'be decided to use a pit, select a dry spot near the homestead or metalled road, so that the haulage when they come to be marketed may be light The surroundings of the pit should be a* little liable as possible to cut up by the drays when carting away in winter This is, I admit, hard to find on potato growing land. Clear the site of all grass, and rubbish by skimming the top off with a sharp spade. The width of the pit should be about four to five feet, some prefer narrower, but if there is a great bulk, the pits run to inordinate length. Sufficient straw should he dTawn and straightened, and ready to cover the pits as they progress in length. It depends largely on the quality of the straw, and the way it 13 put on as To the quantity, but it must be sufficient to ensure the potatoes being kept dry. When the thatching is finished, all the refuse requires to 'be cleared away, and a small ditch cut close to the edge of the straw the full length and on both sides of the pit connected. At one end an outlet must be made to allow the water to get away quickly. Some cover the pits with soil, but that is not necessary here, as we have no frost to do the same harm as in the Old Country. If timber is not available a row of sods can be laid along the ridge to prevent the wind blowing the straw off. When we come to estimate the labour involved in pitting, and remember that it is an annual occurrence, it will be seen that the house is the cheapest in the end, apart from advantages. In the matter of digging mechanical diggers are slowly coming into use where the acreage grown is large. Where the land is free, and there are no weeds, such as fat-hen and thistles, the machines do excellent work, and are a great saving of labour. To make the best work, the dry top or haulms and all weeds and rubbish should be removed prior to the machine being put to work. Since the advent of the blight even if the digging is to be done by hand, it is advisable to clear the "shaws" off, and burn to stop further infection by their coming in contact with the sound tubers after they are brought to the surface. In old times it was customary to make use of the haulms for oovering heaps of roots that had to be left in the field over night. But as it is almost impossible to be certain that no small spores of disease are lurking in the haulms, even in what are considered _clean crops, it is advisable to run no risks and have the tops destroyed right away. Fire being the best thing if the weather will allow.

As a general rule potatoes are fit to dig when the haulms wither and die off. yet there are occasions when that is not a true test, due largely to climatic changes. An extreme dry spell will sometimes wither the haulms before the tubers are fully grown. On the other hand, warm rain coming on just when the "potatoes are about ripe may freshen up the shaws, and give them fresh vitality. The surest plan is to dig a few "hills,'* and if the tubers have left their hold on the shaw 3or fall off freely when dug, they are generally in a fit condition to store. But examine carefully the tubers,' and if 'the skin can be abraised, or rubbed off by the hand, they are not mature enough to stand handling with safety. The- skin -should be tough and not easily broken when fully ripe and will stand some knocking about, but not as is sometimes seen to the extent of throwing bags off the top of a dray on to ha _ d floors, or men walking aoout on top of a heap with hobnailed boots. When handling potatoes for storing, treat them as eggs, careful handling means much as to the keeping qualities of potatoes. When extra, labour has to be employed in raising potatoes, the greatest trouble is not slovenly digging, that can be rectified by after cultivation with harrow and plough. After the cleanest of diggers there will be some left, so that it is only a question of a few extra bags to be picked up when ploughing. It is in getting men to sort them as they should be where the trouble lies. Just a word to growers re sorting or grading potatoes. When potatoes -were only worth 30/- to 40/----per ton or even less, we had to present better graded samples than is the case to-day, or no sale could be affected. This last year or two consumers have been taking all sorts of grading, or no grade ot all. When looking round produce warehouses, I have noted that many of the samples have consisted of from the size of marbles upwards. It is hard to forecast what the value of potatoes will be this -winter, but the present outlook points to lower prices, and if such should be the case, buyers will be more discriminating and demand better grading than in the immediate past. Besides, growers should take a pride in putting their produce on the market nicely graded and in good bags. Sightly goods sell readiest, and at the highest price. After all there is nothing lost by keeping back either amall potatoes or grain, as if not wanted for home use, pig and fowl feed is always in demand. With regard to sorting when being stored, the main thing is to see that no diseased, bruised, or cut potatoes go into the pit or house, as such will soon cause Trouble. As they have to be bagged again when marketed, the small along with the diseased that may have come to light, the deformed can then be left out. "Bhis is where the benefit of the poiato house comes in, where the picking and sorting can be done at odd times when the weather is unfit to stand outside.

THE DOMINION'S LEADING FARMERS' PAPER.

There are few papers published on any subject, or in any part of the world, that as fully meet the wants of the class of readers catered for as does the "New Zealand Farmer." As a body, farmers are conservative and undemonstrative, and when they go out of their way to gratuitously praise an article they have good reason for doing so. It is a pleasing tribute to the work of "The Farmer" that dozens of its readers in renewing their subscriptions, make enthusiastic reference to the value the paper has proved to them individually. If you are interested in any form of live stock— dogs and poultry are specially catered for—or are engaged in agriculture or I fruit-growing, you are a heavy loser if you do not subscribe to this monthly. The April issue is just out, and anyone who has not had the good fortune to see a copy of the-paper should lose no time in securing the number from any news agent, or the Brett Printing Company. An agriculturalist, pastoralist, dairy farmer or fruit-grower who, after carefully going through even one issue of the paper, concludes that he can get on just as well without it belongs to that non-progressive class that fortunately is becoming beautifully less in New Zealand,

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THE COUNTRY. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 79, 2 April 1909

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