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ON THE LAND., New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVIII, Issue 14815, 19 October 1911
ON THE LAND.
INJURY DONE BY WEEDS.. ' Ok arable soil weeds are trepassers "that should be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. They are thieving vagrants, to bo expelled from 'the. fields. The amount of water which is taken up by,,WGeds ; and evaporated from the surface of the leaves is very great. The transpiration is 'generally in proportion -to the surface of the leaf, but thin leaves transpire or throw off water more freely than fleshy ones. Consequently, weeds having large ' leaf surface draw from the soil and e-ivo off through the leaves a large amount of water, and thereby rob the surrounding plants.- Many botanists consider this waste of moisture the most serious injury . done by the weeds. Weeds naturally, make use of .the same food as the- cultivated plants among which they grow. Consequently*, they.. deprive a crop of , a.. largo amount of the available nourishment; and they rob the succeeding crop as well; For example, an analysis of the Russian thistle by Snyder* showed that it contained from' 12 'to 17 per cent, -as much nitrogen as thero -is" in clovor, and an ordinary thistlo of this kind covering a square yard takes more potash and, lime from the soil than two good. crops of wheat from . the same area. .Weeds, often grow more vigorously than useful' plants, and, as a consequence, they shade or (crowd, or partially choke the seedlings Of the '"desired crop. Black bindweed, for l instance, often covers completely a largo part of plants among which it grows. In the treatment of weeds, it is emphatically a case" of '."a, stitch in time saves nine;" they should be prevented from seeding whenever possible, and when buying seeds for sowing get them pure, so as. be certain . thai "you. sre not sowing weed seeds. ..', ~ . ... *
"i AGRICULTURE IN SWEDEN, i The backbone ,of Swedish agriculture is cattle-breeding, for dairy purposes.,;' Little beef is eaten. in .any park iof Scandinavia, and; the milking powers .of . cattle are the first :■ and only consideration. Lacking any native breed of * good milking capacity, the Swedes have; imported most of their cattle, and the Ayrshire, Shorthorn, ■•■'• and 'Dutch breeds are most used. ' In the colder-climate of Northern' Sweden there is ! a white-polled breed, which is more or less pure and indigenous. The" soil and pasturage determine the breed kept in various parts of the country. In the south, where agriculture is seen at its best, Dutch', cattle' are found; in the less fertile lands of .middle Sweden, Ayrshire's. and . a cross.between,.the Ayrshire and Shorthorn, called :.the Red Spotted breed.'- Ayrshires are the- most numerous among the pure breeds of cattle. A few Swiss cattle are aLSo to' be seen. ->- :
VALUE OF SOIL ANALYSIS. ■' On the value of soil analysis as affording guidance for the mammal treatment of a soil, 'the Government expert at' the Cape emphasises the point that; too. much. reliance should . not", be placed on the-chemical analysis of soils. - t The, value/ of analysis and if carried out on modern lines it is very valuable indeed— - and - ends - with the .deductions which .'-. pray .-> be intelligently made from the results, oifc' is. in no"! sensefinal so. far as the agricultural .productivity of the: soil .is concerned j- and to 'be } made complete and of full value should always be followed" by careful experimentation. ; Chemical analysis ' may prove very disappointing otherwise. ; The /.experienced farmer 'who- asks for soil analysis 'for practical purposes will at once follow up,; the results by -','a series of experiments with- the ... crops which may be indicated as likely to succeed. But, he should _ not be . disappointed should the return not equal ; his anticipations.. ' Even a. soil richly endowed with ; plant : food aiyi • every .. prospect of- : giving profitable" results cannot * always -be' made to - give -exactly, the •' returnr*desiredf ott? the first attempts • at : • cultivation. In '--fact,', a -poorer soil • may bo found 'to give tetter results at times. The causes of these differences are not always' easily traceable, but they are usually "to found,in the varying , farming practices i .adopted, ..the, mechanical condition, of .the, soil, i and, othot ; physical features. The soil alone can give the exact information ; wanted/, and solve . the; puzzling problem, ; and the only , reliable method of ,; obtaining this reliable informa-; tion is to put questions "to the; soil in an; intelligent manner by means rof : /a 'series of i: well-planned > experiments. Whether fertility has to be restored or new cfoprtested, the best course is intelligent'experimentation; and every farmer should, learn to do this for himself.
. SALT AND SOIL. '' • • Salt is composed, of , two elements, sodium, and chlorine, and is known to' chemists as chloride of,sodium. As a rule there is.-suffi- '. cient : salt in the soil :• to meet the .' require-', ments of all ordinary crops, and,\ moreover, sodium is not an: essential constituent of most cultivated plant*, While chlorine is not uaiwdly present in most crops. iii very large proportions. It is, however, necessary, and it is partly because .it. supplies san 'essential element ''of plant food'-.' that 'it ■ ? is! useful as| manure. *•-" "'7'...''. :• '■'': ' '"''.'"V" ; ,"'",' p. ■ But, besides : being directly ;• necessary as plant food, itj like lime, f has an indirect saction which '.the'main is beneficial.? It; .has .the power, for instance, of attracting moisture front the- atmosphere, and g thus. keeping the soil moist. in times of drought, - and it is said" also 1 to . have the effect of destroying'" wireworms and other j*J. similar pests. *In largo quantities , it' is a plant poison, and even in 'moderate ■ quantities it retards the growth ofplants, -and. it "Is probably to this property that "the; beneficial effect often observed when salt is used in conjunction with nitrate of ; soda as-a topdressing for wheat, is due. When « applied to grass land it sweetens the. herbage.. * I A solution of salt nas a greater solvent action than pure water, and, doubtless, part I of the beneficial effects observed may be referred to -this ; property. ' "In tho neighbourhood *' of A 'the ;: *' sea rain water contains an appreciable quantity. of :■; salt, sometimes over a grains to *. the 'gallon. At the rate of one'•vrrami-to/the.'gallop, ithe yearly deposition of salt 'would amount to about lewt of salt per aero, an amount; which is certainly sufficient to meet all the direct needs of crops, with the possible.exception of mangels, for which its action ia very beneficial. • . As the action of salt as manure is tin- 1 certain, ■ its use is recommended • upon a very limited area, before ■ going to the expense of treating, the lane 1 generally. with it. ',:.,Even if it is found thai salt; has a beneficial effect* it is just a question''.whether it could not be more ecohomici.lly applied in conjunction with ; potash in : the : form of -kainit,_ which contains about* one-third ; ! of ' its ■ weight •of common salt, besides chloride of magnesium and sulphate of potash. _ ".-"'.. In nearly all the forma in which it is found on , the market salt is in a practically pure condition, ~ and for agricultural purposes it .matters" little if it be slightly discoloured.','."*.; V ' ..-„". .*.'■"
s; PLANT FOOD [ FOR -'PASTURES. The essential plant foods extracted from pastures are the mineral constituents, phosphoric ' acid, potash,- and lime; these three may be said to form tho links of a- chain of nourishment, and if one of the links is deficient or weak the chain will not 'suffice to support the growth of the; crop:?- The strength of the chain is dependent on its ■weakest link. Therefore pasture lands mi-', i be'supplied with these three -links,-; unless ! one or . the .other, is present, naturally in sufficient quantities, ... as,' for instance,''; lime in calcareous soils. Of;; the three links, phosphoric acid is the most important, because it suffers the greatest drain, and the i natural supply is almost > always deficient.
CLOSER AS FEED. Clovers are of especial value J upon the farm, as stock feed, on account of their ex-. ceptional richness ;in protein. - Protein, as ; is .well understood, is the most; valuable of the food constituents, being essential to the'. ; , formation ot flesh, and undoubtedly- influenc- .? ing milk production to & greater degree than '•:. any other food constituent. - HayHmadar : : from 1 grasses -is likely,-to', contemn ordy 6to .kl 8 per , cent, of protein; hay made from clovers, oh. the- other hand, is likely ? iq;con. .< tain from 12 to 14 per cent. Every.fsane?,, however, who has had; experience* K fcncys~| : the superior results' which can be obtained * in feeding when good clover hay is avail. able. This point, therefore, needs no lujw ■ ( ther discussion :
ON THE LAND., New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVIII, Issue 14815, 19 October 1911
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