ELECTRICITY APPLIED TO AGRICULTURE.
We give below a statement read at a meeting of the Geological and Polytechnic Society of the West Riding of Yorkshire, held at Halifax, on the 13th of March. As the paper shows the results of an experiment actually made, confirmatory of the theory of the action of the electric fluid always present in the atmosphere on the growth of plants brought under its direct influence, we have no doubt that it will be read with attention and satisfaction. As the modus operandi is at once simple and inexpensive, we trust that some of our readers will take an early opportunity of making practical application of the information thus afforded, as also that, actuated by a highly commendable public spirit and a desire for the diffusion of important information, they will communicate the results to their fellowcolonists through the press. Doctor Forster, of Findrassie House, near Elgin, had thrashed, weighed, and measured his electro cultured chevalier barley, and the product was the enormous quantity of 104 bushels, or thirteen quarters per acre! The tail corn was not measured, and each bushel weighed 54*lbs. The weight of the straw was 9,300 lbs. per acre. The cost of the electric apparatus is £1 per acre, which will last for twenty years. The following is the plan of a plot for a quarter of an acre :—: — Wooden pin. 55 yards. Wooden pin. o — — o The line of buried wire. ~ 8 § '* S °» a - . -mS. | 5 " ?=— f-S5 * g " 1 S. a c. s g! £o o o o>2 51 -a The line of suspended wire, -a < 1 " I- §• * n a n on I Buried wire. O O Wooden pin. 65 yards. Wooden pin. COST. s. d. Clbs. of iron wire at 4d. per lb., for buried wire 2 0 4lbs. of do. at 3d. per lb., for suspended wire 1 0 2 poles dry wood at 6d. each 10 Labour, &c. . . • 10 5 0 As the area increases, the cost diminishes rapidly. Convenient and desirable areas are for — 2 acres, 127 by 75 yds. ian acre, 73j"by33 yds. 1 ditto, 80 by 55 „ i ditto, 55 by 22 „ 3 ditto, 82i by 44 „ i ditto, 36 by 16i „ The mode in which the plot is laid out is as follows : — With a mariner's compass and measured lengths of common string, lay out the places for the wooden pegs, to which the buried wire is attached by passing through a small staple. Care must be taken to lay the length of the buried wire due north and south by com pass, and the breadth due east and west. This wire must be placed from two to three inches deep in the soil. The lines of the buried wire are then completed. The suspended wire must be attached and in contact with the buried wires at both of its ends. A wooden pin with a staple must therefore be driven in at A, and the two poles (one 14 feet and the other 15 feet) being placed by the compass due north and south, the wire is passed over them and fastened to the wooden stake, but touching likewise at this point the buried wire. The suspended wire must not be drawn too tight, otherwise the wind will break it.
The Rev. W. Thorpe remarked that the application of the electricity of the atmosphere upon a large scale for the purpose of agriculture is a discovery which, if successful (and there is every theoretical reason that it should be so), will exercise a most important influence upon its interests. Dr. Forster here has obtained more than three times the average amount of both barley and straw (4 to 5 quarters being the average, while he has 13 quarters ; and about 3,000 lbs. of straw, while he has 9,300 lbs). The condition of the air in regard to electricity has evidently a most striking influence on the rapidity of the growth of plants, rr.ost of which increase in the most extraordinary manner during thundery weather. Nitric acid, a most important element in the root
of plants, is formed in the atmosphere during thunder storms ; and at these periods free electricity, in considerable quantity, can be drawn from the air by flying-kites with wire strings. There is also a general electric current over the earth's surface from east to west, and both the terrestrial and aerial currents are here collected by the suspended and buried wires, and are again abstracted by the moist earth and roots, which, when wet, become conductors of electricity. The application of electricity to field culture is quite in its infancy, and probably many improvements will be discovered ; whether one or more suspended wires should be added, or galvanic troughs placed in the field to supply additional electric fluid, are yet subjects to be determined. It is unncessary to add, that the electric fluid acts as a stimulant, and therefore the usual quantity of manures must be applied. Under the direction of Mr. Gordon, the president of the Tring Agricultural Association, many of its members are trying the experiment. Mr. Mechi, at Tiptree Hall, is trying fifty acres : Mr. Briggs, at Overton, near Wakefield; Captain Newton, of Womersly Grove, are likewise about to try it upon their barley crops. One word with regard to Mr. Briggs's remedy for clover sickness. He (Mr. Thorpe) had long since proved that clover is killed by the frost, and that no manuring will ensure its continuance on "puffy soils," and these late frosts are now affording a melancholy proof of the truth of this assertion. — Observer.
Permanent link to this item
Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume IV, 8 November 1845
ELECTRICITY APPLIED TO AGRICULTURE. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume IV, 8 November 1845
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.