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CLOVER HARVESTING.

1 i(Br "COCKATOO,? ii "N.Z. liomer.") I During the past few years a good deal 1 ef money has been made by farmers in I leveral parts of the Dominion by the hi production of red clover, or cbw-grass j teed. The industry has not j et- been overdone, and up to the present'there •re few crops that pay better: tlan a 'good crop of clover seed. The libpur, risk, and anxiety are not great compared with cereal growing, and the price remains at a very remunerative raje. A s • . - ..the- time for cutting clover for" sed is fast approaching a few words on harvesting seed may be of use to those'who I tie "intending tp save clpver seed fff the : tret, time. The usual time for cutting clove fpr " . Mcd is about the middle of April. This y teason some of the principal clover plowing portions of the Dominion have had [■' -».good, spell' of dry weather, and soie of ■' the clover crops are coming in a week fitter than usual, but I have knownpad- \- -locks go till May before they weie fit : to eat. It is not an easy matter to iidge when the stuff is ready, because it does :" jot iipen evenly. One will always-find • certain proportion of heads on the pe*n side, while others will be juite ,'; "P 6 - This will be understood whei one . Kmembers that a clover paddocl reKaun in flower a long-time. Some feads •re coming into blossom all througl the autumn, while, others are continually i, tying off. The stuff must be averaged, ;,aad when it is thought that the bulk ..-,«. the heads are ripe the crop mist 'j* cat If; it is allowed to get tooHpe, •he top' seeds in each head will shel as Wituff ig being handled. I ...f» order to produce as far as poaible, flameis in. ripening, a clover padlock Mould have hay taken off it aout :-:.-. time., Thus two birds aredll--1 * '!$!» the one stone, and two cops on the same piece of gromd, ■ few months of each othe—a *™Bjof hay and a crop of clover feed. Tfc^'' l weeds are done away ; ;-*W seldom come up on.theafteriath r!™rt. If by any chance there shhild .;** he a sufficient weight of stuff onthe ; irootid: at Christmas time, to mak- it WMe cat *"S iOT hay.sheep shjuid "'herded in to eat down the pasiire. fh«y, of course, do not njake ascWh f vJ 0 ? "9 the haymower, but they fare than leaving the first crop *lt>geXkttt was it one time another ol^et .« cutting the hay off a, clover-paddekv ■Mm allowing the aftermath, togow; tt ** Tras conimonl y thought iat 1 |^*P^ B i.i r P'ni clover would riot 1 be y grained by. the humble, bees,, and. iatl £.,****-therefore, no use. cutting aiv-' aftermath for seed. ■ tiat ,_' uite «n erroneous impression,.anl.I . ;i .-«r. apeak from experience. I have|ot crop of B eed from a dun clover which'was neifer - nor stocked in the sumifer. / «wmr J for the reason* I have tadifty ■«'-,,..•. '.-' - ."..<*>..'■ ' I '

edj.it. i s better to save clover seed from the aftermath. .::>', i■ The best implement for reaping clover with it is the side delivery reaper, ''"'it cuts the clover, and collects it on a platform at the back of the knife, and then puts the gathered spoil' off. at fixed intervals by means of automatic rakes. The stuff is thereby put off.in small heaps over the paddock; but" these heaps are automatically put in line bylthe.ma-; chine. The rakes may be fixed to put the spoil off the platform at long or short intervals according .to the state, pf' the: crop. If it heavy crop the platform will require to be cleared of stuff bftener than it will in light stuff, and the sweeps or rakes must therefore be adjusted to clear the platform qfteher. The driver has it in his power to adjust the rakes as the machine is in progress, and he must see to it thaf the spoil is being deposited in lines, so that the carting in may be the more easily performed. It can be readily understood that if the stuff is not laid off in lines it will take a lot of running about to gather it in wFen leading in time comes. After having been'-cut the stuff is allowed to lie on jhe ground till it is fit for stacking, and the length of the period during which it must be allowed to lie depends wholly, of course, upon the state of the weather. A shower of rain is rather welcomed by clover growers, while t£e stuff is lying on the ground, but it should 1 not be enough to thoroughly wet the stuff. A light wetting is considered to -be of benefit in causing the seed to shell easier. It ds not desirable to turn the clover as it lies on, the ground, unless, wet weather renders the operation necessary. The more it is handled, the more seed gets wasted. The.carting in must be done while the stuff ig absolutely dry It must not be touched in the morning till the dew has quite dried off it, and work must be discontinued when the sun sets. Consequently the hours one can work at loading in clover are.of ten quite short. The work is light, because the stuff weighs very little indeed. Each . heap will be found to fork up in an intact condition, after the stuff has remained on the ground for a ; , : time. The drays must not be loaded out on the frame. The body and frame must be covered' with bag 3, and the clover must be built insTde the frame so that no seed may be wasted. The stack must be run up straight, and topped off with straw, just as one would cover a pile of chaff or corn sacks in a paddock. Ties and weights must be placed on the straw to prevent it blowing off. Threshing should not take place till the stuff has finished sweating in the stack. A piece of. wire with a Book on the end of it should be inserted in the stack, and some of the inside material pulled out to see whether it is in threshing condition or not. The seed should come out- easily when the heads are rub-bed-off in the hand, and the straw should feel quite, dry. The*clover sheller or huller is very much like an ordinary grain threshing machine. In fact, an old combine may be converted, intoya-sclover shelling machine. The, main difference is on the hummelTer, whickis<so -constructed in a clover shelling maclune a'sio'-'strip the pods off the cloverjseedit'rA clover, sheller i« just as hard to drive as a threshing mill, and therefore requires as much, steam. . The work'is* done ~by the'dayf AhtTfclie price has got down from £ 1 to 15/- per sack of 240 lbs. Four men only are requiredto work a clover sheller, the engine driver, who also attends to the bags, the stackman, fhe feeder, and the water carter, who also does the cooking. The woTk is not of an orduous nature, but it is very dusty, and unpleasant, owing to the fact that the pods on the seed are found up ,to powder in their removal, bag an hour is the usual rate of threshing. Formerly 240 lbs. used to be put in each sack, but the new railway regulations will reduce that weight to 200 . lbs. The seed must be placed in double sacks, because it is so small and heavy that otic Back is not strong enough to hold it. Usually the Railway Department sees that the trucks in which clover seed is placed are double sheeted, owing to the valuable nature of the seed. Its value is generally about £8 to £10 a bag. It will be seen therefore, that a dray load of clover seed makes a valuable cargo. One bag an acre is considered a good crop. Sometimes a crop will run more than that, but very often it goes under that quantity. The weight of straw per acre is not a. sure indication of the weight of seed to be expected. It all depends whether- the bees have fertilised the seed or not. The humble bees have put hundreds of pounds into the pockets of many a farmer whose land is capable of producing clover seed. Some who only go in for clover seed growing on a small scale do not go to the expense of buying a side delivery reaper. They use a hay mower instead, and convert it into a clover cutter, by rigging an oval platform of galvanised iron or zinc behind the cutter bar. A man walks behind the machine and with a hay rake he keeps raking the clover from the knife on to the platform. Then when: he has a sufficiently large quantity collected on the platform, he rakes it off out of the way of the horses when they are going the next round. The driver and the man with the rake should occasionally change places, as the work of following a mower, and manipulating a rake is by no means easy, if the horses are made to maintain a smart travelling pace.

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CLOVER HARVESTING. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 90, 16 April 1909

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