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object. What amount of fiber may be raised from the acre, I have no means of knowing. March, 1863.
SELECTION OF CALVES.
By S. S. Lansing. To keep up a dairy of cows, in good paying order as milkers, it is necessary to make yearly changes in the herd. From five to ten per cent. of the dairy cows of the county are annually “turned off” in the fall, that from age, or lack of milking qualities desirable, viz.: Loss of tears, injured udder, early dryers, kickers, unruly, and various other causes tov numerous to mention, causing a perfect stampede, in the month of November, of the dry-bones, or rather, refuse members of every dairy, to eastern markets, to be slaughtered, and barreled, and marked prime beef; proving, I imagine, more "prime” to the contractor who speculates on the brand than to the poor soldier or sailor who is obliged to pick the bones to test the quality.
Most of our dairymen depend upon filling up in the spring, or during the winter, from droves that are brought in from the neighboring and western counties of this state and Canada. In many instances, good selections are made from these droves, if the party offering them for sale has experience and judgment sufficient to make good selections. But they are exceptions to the general run of cow dealers that find their way to this market; and, instead of becoming benefactors, prove the reverse. They are bought to sell, and hundreds of cows are yearly driven or carried in; and all good, bad and indifferent are quartered on the county, at least for a season, swelling the army of “rattle-bone turn-offs” of the succeeding fall. • Many of our dairynien have raised their own dairies of cows, and it is a saying, patent among them, in pointing out their best cows, “I know this or that one to be good, as I raised her from “old brindle," or “white face," or some other favorite, of a generation passing away. And I venture to say that the best cows, in a majority of the dairies of the county, were raised from choice calves, selected from the best milkers of the herd. Now, this brings me to the “ text,” (from which I have been somewhat wandering), proposed by the club to discuss to-day, viz.: “The best method for dairymen to select calves, with reference to making good milkers."
There is about as much fancy in the selection of cows as in horses. Different breeds, formation, style, color, bearing, dispositions, &c., &.c., hav. ing their admirers, each claiming superiority for the animal of his peculiar fancy or choice. The short-horned Durham is, and justly, too, the Englishman's pride. Bred with great care, without reference to expense, from the best selections of the different herds of pure bloods of that country; for many generations kept distinct by the fancy breeders who have brought them to a high state of perfection, in point of beauty, form, proportion, length, breadth, depth and' symmetry, and smoothness of head, trunk and limb, unsurpassed, in my estimation, by any other breeds. But, with all this perfection, in other respects, they are not what we want for our cheese dairies, being better adapted to beef than butter or cheese-makers, although, in many instances, a very fine stock of milkers has been produced by a cross with the Durham upon our native, or Dutch cow. The Devons, Here fords—distinct breeds of English fancy breeding-have been brought to a great state of perfection, and kept pure and distinct for ages; and, with increasing demand, the English epicure carries his prejudice with him to the table; and his sirloin roast must be not only cooked well, but it must be from the quarter of his favorite bullock, of his fancy breed. Some very good milkers are found among the above breeds, particularly the Devons are said to give rich milk, and better for butter than cheese, as they rarely give over half the quantity of our common Dutch cow.
The Ayrshire, of Scotch origin, unlike the foreign breeds before mentioned, is bred more with a view of developing her milking qualities, than for any beauty of form or rotundity of body. In size, rather small and angular, of pumpkin-seed shape, heavy hind quarter, broad loin, full barrel, light fore quarter, slim neck, head and horns, slim tail, well-developed udder, teats wide apart, are some of her points, and those most sought after by the dairy man making his selections of calves to raise, or cows to purchase.
Another cow deserves notice in this connection; that is the native or Dutch cow, of the Mohawk and Hudson valleys, and Schoharie, a breed whose origin dates back to the emigration of the Dutch, probably with the landing of the “Goode Frow," that, I believe, stuck in the mud, somewhere in the Hudson, some three centuries ago. Be that as it may, among the descendants of those early pioneers are found the best cows we have for milkers.
We have in our county many fine dairies, that were produced by a cross of the Durhams upon the native, or Dutch cow. I have been informed that in the north part of the county very desirable improvements have been made, by a cross of the Ayrshire and Dutch cows. I have had no experience in the Ayrshire cross, but have conversed with breeders of the Ayrshire stock in Jefferson county, and Mr. Buck, of our county, who concur in the opinion I had conceived of their peculiar adaptedness to the cheese dairies of this county. Now, as most of our farms are generally full stocked with cows, it might not be advisable to stop cheese making for two or three years, and experiment upon Ayrshire, or any other grades of cattle. Most farms have an odd corner, side-hill or bush pasture, that would raise from six to twelve calves a year, for three or four years, the expense being trifling, in comparison to the improvement of the dairy. A club of six or eight dairymen, of a neighborhood, sending for a full-blood animal, kept in a central place, to accommodate those interested, and selec tions made from the best cows of the dairy to cross from, and again careful selections made in the spring from the best heifers produced, I think would be a paying investment to the parties concerned, and to the community at large. In raising calves, my course of feed is, for a week or ten days, fresh milk; a week or two longer, or until they eat hay freely, skim-milk, with a good handful of wheat middlings, or canel, buckwheat flour, or suppaun (Dutch), pudding (Yankee), alias, boiled corn-meal mixed with their milk; or fresh whey, later in the season, whun sweet, and fed to them warm, of about the temperature of milk from the cow. Early calves, thus treated, may be turned out from the twentieth of May to the first of June
in a good sweet pasture, with plenty of fresh water, and require nothing further, except, occasionally, salt throughout the season. In the fall, after the grass freezes, a handful of meal or oats, daily, continued through the winter, keeps them thrifty and in good growing condition, with the appearance, at a year old, of a two-year old, treated in the ordinary way.
They should be stanchioned in warm stables, kept clean and dry, which I find a great improvement upon the calf pen-turned in loose, and allowed to lie in wet and filth during the winter. As to the points in the calf to select by, I think the form and description, given above, of the Ayrshire, and the heavier muscle and frame of the Dutch cow, blended in the cross, gives the dairyman what he desires as a profitable acquisition to his herd. March, 1863.
S. S. LANSING,
SELECTING AND PLANTING TREES.
By C. Oyston. As the season for planting trees is fast approaching, I purpose making a few remarks upon the selection of the trees, preparation of the ground, planting of the trees, and the subsequent treatment of the same.
As apples and pears are the staple fruit of this part of the country, I shall confine my remarks chiefly to them. One of the principal errors in selecting and buying fruit-trees is, a desire to be governed by the same rule that prevails in buying cord-wood—the greatest lump for the money. As a general thing, trees three years from the graft are preferable to those that are older, for this reason: trees are planted in rows in nurseries, and in taking them up, the spade has to be put in the middle of the row, and, consequently, it cuts off more of the fine roots of the four year old tree than it does of the three year old one; and as the fine roots are those which contribute most to the growth of the tree, the reason why the three years old trees are better, will be obvious to all. Trees raised on a shallow, or gravelly soil, generally make the best roots; and from such soils I should prefer to select trees, of moderate thrift, to those raised in a rich loam, and of very vigorous growth, especially if brought from a comparatively mild, to a cold climate like this.
The nature of the soil, intended for the orchard, ought to govern, in some degree, the relative proportion of the two kinds of trees to be planted. Where the soil is upland, light or loamy, and not very deep, a greater proportion of apples ought to be planted, as the roots of the apple spread horizontally, and generally do well in such soils. On the other hand, if the soil is compact and deep, with a stiff, or clayey sub-soil, pears may be planted in a greater proportion, with a fair prospect of profit and success, as the principal root of the pear strikes downwards.
Having selected the ground, the next thing is the preparation. If the ground is in grass, and has not been plowed the preceding fall, the holes may be dug two and a half feet deep, and five feet in diameter, and then the sods thrown in, grass side downwards, to within a foot of the surface, or nearly so, in the form of a cone; then put in a little fine earth from the garden or potato field, and plant the tree with the same kind of soil, being careful to get the roots in their natural position, and the earth nicely packed in among them. The circular space around the tree ought to receive a supply of manure, ashes, salt, air-slacked lime, fragments of bones, charcoal dust, decayed leaves and similar kinds of organic matter in proportion to the poverty or richness of the soil. One of the best materials for planting trees in, that I have ever found is alluvial deposit or thick mud, taken from the bottom of a canal, river or mill-pond, and allowed to mellow a year or two before using. A substitute for this may be made by composting sods, manure, ashes, air-slacked lime and similar ingredients a year or so before it is wanted, and turn and mix it once or twice if convenient. Leaves and muck are good ingredients where they can be obtained, and if designed principally for pears, a liberal sprinkling of iron-turnings and filings (not blacksmith's cinders) may be added. Material thus prepared, where the soil is not made suitable luy previous culture, is very desirable ; it is almost like milk to the tender infant. If the location is on a side-hill, with an open and dry subsoil, the space around the tree ought to be left level and a little lower than the surrounding soil, so as to catch the summer showers, as well as the nutrition conveyed to them from the vicinity. If the soil is moist the reverse of this ought to be the rule ; instead of planting a little lower than the surface, the soil ought to be raised above it, and the tree occupy a little mound, as it were. Where the ground has been cultivated, the plow may be made to perform a large share of the labor in this mode of preparing the ground for the tree. As a general thing, that portion of the orchard which is nearest a level, will be the best for pears, because it contains more clay, which appears to be an indispensable element to their success. After the trees are planted, a liberal portion of their tops ought to be cut off, with & sharp knife, to restore the equilibrium between the top and roots. If the season prove dry, after planting, a portion of long manure, or old straw rubbish, ought to be spread on the surface, around the tree, and a few stones laid on it to keep it from blowing away.
In planting pear trees, it appears to be a good plan to lay out the ground for the standards first, and then plant dwarfs between, as the dwarfs come into bearing much sooner, and die off correspondingly soon. The reason why the pear, on a quince stock, comes into bearing so early, is because the growth of the pear exceeds that of the quince; and as the sap descends on the outside growth, it becomes obstructed, and results in the formation of fruit buds.
The following plan has been proposed to combine longevity, with early productiveness, in the dwarf pear:-Plant the tree so that it will stand in the centre of a shallow basin; after a year or two, in the spring or early summer, take a small, sharp gouge and insert it, point upwards, in the pear-wood where it unites with the quince, and push it upwards so as to loosen a sliver of the wood, with the bark on it, an inch or two high, and let the upper end remain attached to the tree; repeat the operation, in proportion to the size of the tree. Now, as the sap descends, it will soon beal up; and if the earth is drawn up in contact with these artificial members, and kept moist by mulching, they will be apt to strike root, and consequently approximate the character of standards.
The next thing in order is pruning; and as a great deal depends upon the judgment of the operator, it will be proper to point out the object of pruning, which is varied. One object is, to produce fruitfulness; another, to give the proper form, and a sufficient degree of stiffness to sustain its load; another, to admit air and light. While sometimes it is necessary to prune, to encourage the growth of wood, trees differ very much as regards the relative amount of pruning they require; and the condition of the soil has an important bearing also; the same kind of tree, in a moderate soil, will require far less pruning than if planted in a rich one; and the tree that comes into bearing early will require but little pruning.
As a rule, a tree in good soil will make from two to four feet of wood, in a season after it is established, unless checked by bearing, and as the next year's shoots would push mainly from the top of the last year's ones, if allowed, it would make a slim, sprawling appearance, unsightly and badly adapted to sustain a load. To prevent this the shoots ought to be shortened from one-third to one-half, according to strength and position, taking care that none are left to chafe each other. It is not wise to stimulate trees too much with manure until they commence bearing, as it has a tendency to encourage the growth of wood, instead of fruit, and an excessive growth is apt to be imperfectly ripened and suffer from the effects of winter frost.
Where trees have been planted in poor soil, without proper attention to enriching the soil, and have come into bearing, it will sometimes pay to dig an angular trench around the tree, two or three feet from the stem, and of similar width and depth, and fill it with the cultivated surface soil and spread the subsoil on the surface. On the other hand, where the soil is so rich as to produce an exuberance of growth so as to interfere with bearing, the root may be shortened on one side of the tree so as to diminish the supply of food and induce bearing, and in the course of two or three years the other side roots may be shortened, if required. It is a fact so well established as to need no illustration, that trees do much better where the ground is cultivated than when in grass, but it is perhaps not generally known that the very worst effects are sometimes produced by the grass harboring mice, and allowing them to prey on the bark of the trees in winter, and thereby destroying or injuring a great many of the trees. In fact, I know of no evil so great, or so much to be dreaded, especially where the orchard is contiguous to a wood. To destroy these vermin appears to be very difficult.
Arsenic has been tried without success, and I am now trying phosphorous as a poison. The borer is another insidious enemy, and needs close watching, and when found must be dug out with a gouge or similar instrument.
As regards planting trees in the same position with respect to the cardinal points, I think it a matter of no consequence, but I do think it advisable to incline the tree a little in the direction of the prevailing winds, and if the top is uneven, let the heaviest side incline the same way.
C. 0YSTON. REPORT ON ABORTION OF COWS.
By S. S. Whitman. That dairymen have met with losses, in consequence of their cows coming in prematurely, is too well understood to require any comments. [Ag. Trans.]