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Striking experiments in electroieiilture were carried out by the South Wales Electrical Power Distribution Company during 1917 and 1918 on a two-acre plot of ground near Pontypridd. As regards ploughing and manuring, the whale plot was ti'eated alike, but elcetroeulture was applied to only n portion of the ground, the remainder serving as a "control" for the purpose of comparison. Potatoes were planted under precisely similar conditions over the whole area, and during 1917 the electrified portion yielded a crop heavier by 17.2 per cent, than that of the control portion. In 1918 the increase out of eleetroculture was 12.6 per cent , the reduction being explained on sevral grounds, such as that a smaller area of electric wires was used and that part of the controlled plot had had the benefit, of electrification in the previous year. Experiments were also made with oats in an adjoining field, and although they were not carried out very thoroughly, they point to an increase of 25 p.rr cent, in grain and 17 per cent, in straw. On. the potato patch the 'wires wero first arranged as a 6-foot rectangular network supported on insulators C f«>t 6 indies from the ground. •In August, 1917, the height was reduced to 5 feet. During the 1918 experiment, the wires wei spaced 9 feet apart, with no cross wires, and were kept about two feet above Ihe haulms. The network was fed through a transformer =uid rectified with current at between 30,000 volts and 39,000 volfc^, according to the dt'jrreo.s of v.eatlior: i\>(> amount of current taken varied from 2.."> milliamperes iv dry -md from 4 to 7 in wet weather clurimc 101.7. and from O.JV, to 0.8 during Jf>lß. The apparatus never failed, even in the wettest of Welsh weather on dark nights the wires could he seen flowing, anil even the tips of the grass in the rectifier were touched with lightInsects seemed to avoid the wires, but occasionally they settled upon the networks v.-hoiv they flowed and were electrocuted. Although the voltage is so high th'« ourre-nt is so low that there is tio danger to nny thine but insect life. Horse? nre extremely susceptible to f lectric shock, but a. horse which broke into the network,retired undamaged, al--tiirnijrrli carrying a good deal of wire with him. t Then* experiments confirm the promising claims made for tin's application of electrcitv to agriculture, '.vliieli is TrfiiTj; "arcfui'v studied ny a Mibroniinitree' of the TSritisli Board of Agriculture.

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Bibliographic details

Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui Chronicle, Volume LXVI, Issue 17581, 27 May 1919

Word Count

BIG POTATO CROPS WITH ELECTROCULTURE. Wanganui Chronicle, Volume LXVI, Issue 17581, 27 May 1919