The Evening Star THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1889.
One of the most notable facts connected With British agriculture is the rapidity with which ensilage is superseding hay. It is only a few years since this method of preserving green stuff for fodder came into Use in Great Britain. In 1882 there were six silos in existence ; but last year the number had risen to 2,667, and it was calculated that nearly 1,300 farmers had made ensilage in stack. At first the new process Was regarded as valuable chieily on account of the ease and certainty with which the hay crop could'be secured in wet seasons; but now it is quite as much valued for the large increase of fodder, and that of a superior quality, which it gives the blockowner. A crop that would make one and a - half tons of hay to the acre produces five or six tons of ensilage. It is said, moreover, that ensilage keeps all kinds of stock in better health than hay, and certainly cows fed on it give more milk. It thus not only secures the farmer against loss through bad weather—as far, that is, as his hay crop is concerned—but it adds greatly to the value of that crop. Ensilage, besides, can be made of any kind of green stuff that is not acrid or unwholesome. A farmer in Victoria made a stack of Scotch thistles, which his cattle ate with avidity. In the Old Country grain crops are seldom or nover used for fodder—never, at least, in any quantity—except, of course, in the shape of straw. British ensilage will thus be mainly composed of the grasses that used to be made into hay; although, as we have said, any kind of green stuff is available for the purpose maize, tares, mangold and turnip tops, thistles, nettles, etc. It is very different, however, in these colonies, where grain is of less value, and hay as a rule of more value, than at Home. As yet New Zealand farmers have made little or no use of the silo ; but over in Victoria its value has been recognised, and it is likely to be generally adopted in all the farming districts of Australia. There it is evident that it will be of greater service than it would be in New Zealand, though even here we shall be very much mistaken if the farmers do not take to it before long. But in an arid country like Australia ensilage—if all that is said of it be true, and there is no reason to doubt the reports, especially as they are now the result of several years' experience—must prove an immense boon, particularly to the dairy farmer. The Victorians, who are a go-ahead people, like the Americans, in spite of their economic heresies and hindrances, have accordingly held a conference of farmers to discuss the merits of the new process, chiefly wiLh reference to its bearing on dairying. Mr Dow, Minister of Agriculture, was in the chair. A paper was read by a Mr Bodky on ensilage. This was followed by a conversational discussion, which may be said simply to havo confirmed what we have heard of the value of this method of preserving green stuff for fodder from the Mother Country. Every farmer who has tried it seems to be convinced that its introduction will mark a new era in the history of dairy farming in Australia. What with irrigation and ensilage they will have little difficulty in providing succulent, nutritious, and milkproducing food for their cattle all the year round. Ensilage is, besides, good for all kinds of stock, and even poultry. It is of two kinds, sweet and sour—the former is said to be better for fattening, but the sour is preferred for milch cows and it is made as we have already said, in two different ways—either in the silo (which is simply a pit dug in the ground, and lined with wood) or in stack. The latter mode is the cheaper, and it is better than the other for making sweet ensilage; though there is, on the other hand, a certain amount of loss from exposure to the weather. After the discussion which took place at this Melbourne Conference, Professor Brown, of the Longerenong Experimental Farm, read a paper, in which he explained the methods of making
ensilage, and gave such instructions to the farmers as lie considered necessary. We have always understood tttatlieav'y pressure was atl essential part of the proeeoS) whether the silo or stack was used ; but Professor Brown is of a different opinion. "lam a believer," lie said, "in what I have observed "during eight years' testing, that " little, if any, weight is needed " except for stacks. If the proper "temperature is developed during " the three batches recommended, the " material will settle down of itself "and form a solid mass." And this opinion, he added, was corroborated from Canada and the United States. Another recommendation of ensilage is the cheapness with which it is made. In England it costs about 3s per tori. One of the farmers at the Melbourne Conference said that his cost him 8s per ton, exclusive of the cost of the pit; but a Mr J. L. Thompson gave the following estimate for making fifty tons in stack:—A three-horse team with reaper arid binder and mail, 30s • three drays with men, 30s; one man pitching, 5s ; three men stacking, 15s; total, £4, or about Is 7d per ton. This is probably too low an estimate; but Professor Brown stated that they had made a twenty tdn. stack of rye etisilage at tb.e Experimental I?ar jjo that cost, everything included, is 6d per ton. There can be little doubt that ensilage is destined to play an important part in the farming of the future.
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The Evening Star THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1889., Evening Star, Issue 8046, 24 October 1889
The Evening Star THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1889. Evening Star, Issue 8046, 24 October 1889
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