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of cattle is very valuable manure. He approves of penning cattle upon poor spots in the field. His manure pits are in clay, which holds the liquid, and there it remains very fresh. He spreads manure in spring to good advantage upon grass land.
Mr. McGraw said it was a great object with him to make and save manure, by feeding coarse feed to stock, and he keeps a large stock for that purpose. He has taken stock to board for a party who furnished the feed, and gave all the labor for the manure. He objects to tying up all young animals; it ruins some to confine them, more than all that could be gained from manure. Box feeding is a good way to save manure, but very destructive to all animals, no matter how carefully they are fed and watered. He gives salt and sulphur to calves and sheep, and believes it will prevent lice and ticks. It is very bad for the health of sheep to let them lie upon a bed of manure. This is the opinion of many practical shepherds. He likes sawdust for bedding colts, but care must be taken not to let the bedding remain too long, else the colts' feet will be injured.
Dr. Newcomb, of Rensselaer county, said that he had found liquid manure the best of all, but the question is how to convert the coarse manure into liquid, and how to save all the urine. In plowing in manure deeply Fou lose a large share of the value of the manure the first season.
Mr. Geddes said that he thought that he did not plow his corn field deep enough, instead of too deep. If he had got the manure entirely out of the way the corn would have been better.
Mr. Gould contended that experiments in England prove that the best mode of preserving manure is by the box system of feeding, where the manure is covered every morning with chopped straw, so as to keep the surface dry.
Mr. Chamberlin, of Dutchess county, said that sheep keepers in Germany keep their sheep in stables all the time in winter, and at night in summer, and they keep healthy.• He pursues the same course-only cleaning the stables once a year. He is careful to give fresh bedding every day. The best feeders in England dig pits six feet deep, in which bullocks are placed and bedded until they are eventually lifted by their own excrement and bedding, to a level with the surface. The manure of these boxes is very valuable.
Mr. Crosby called for the discussion of the question of the abortion of cows, which prevails as an epidemic in several of the river connties.
Mr. Gould said that one great cause was ergot in June grass, which prevails some seasons to great extent. The spur is perhaps an eighth of an iuch long on the heads. It generally arises, probably, from an excessively rapid growth.
Mr. Peters said that ergot may be the prime cause, but afterward it prevails as an epidemic. It does not generally prevail in the wheat districts, but very frequently in regions where there are old pastures. The way to prevent the disease from spreading is to isolate a cow that is affected from all others in the herd.
The Hon. A. B. Conger, of Rockland, thought that there must be some cause for the sympathetic affection in a herd. Ergot is not alone the one fungus that will produce abortion. He does not believe that abortion ever
occurs in a healthy animal. Long feeding of grain, in which there is ergot, poisons the whole system; but that sympathy ever produces abortion he does not believe. Still, it is true that the disease does spread through a herd, but it requires certain facts to prove that it results in any manner from sympathy. Many diseases of cattle may be traced to damaged grain that is ground and sold to feeders. A farmer who selects his own grain will escape danger from this source, but he may at the same time suffer from his own hay, which may contain ergot, without his having suspected it. The fungus of Indian corn is undoubtedly injurious to animals, though it may not produce abortion.
Mr. Faile said that, for the first time, abortion prevails in his herd, in the lower part of Westchester county. His pastures are old, but his hay is all from new meadows, and turnips in good order, and a little fine ground feed. The cows are all healthy, and have come into full milk after dropping the fetus.
Mr. Gould said that the cow may communicate the disposition to abor
Geo. Clarke, of Otsego, said that he had had 300 cows lose their calves within six years, and he does not believe that it is caused by any fungus or by sympathy, but that it is an unaccountable disease, that does not act specifically upon any particular set of cows, nor are they affected in any particular manner in°regard to the bull. The disease has now left the herd where it prevailed for years, and has taken possession of another herd in the neighborhood. The grass, old pastures, turning out from the first to the middle of May. The summer and winter feed is the same that it has been for twenty years, when the herds were perfectly healthy. The disease commenced with one or two the first year and increased next year, and the third year we only raised eight calves from forty cows. Now, without cause, the disease is abating. The disease has prevailed at all seasons, from July to March, but mostly in midwinter, and at all periods of conception. The disease has not apparently been governed by any rule.
Mr. Conger stated that frozen turnips fed to cows between the seventh and eighth months of conception, will produce abortion.
Mr. Clarke stated that his young heifers are never affected by this disease, unless from accident, but acknowledged that they were kept on a farm twenty-five miles from the home farm, where abortion has prevailed to an alarming extent.
Several other gentlemen spoke upon the subject, and the weight of testimony was in favor of the theory that the difficulty is always produced by ergot, though Mr. Faile stated that his cows, fed upon clover and timothy hay from newly-seeded fields, suffered, wbile those of his son, upon another farm, fed from the same hay, remained healthy.
THURSDAY EVENING, Feb. 11. The discussion upon the eubject of abortion of cows was further treated, and every one, I suppose, would have been fully satisfied that it was caused by ergot upon grass, if it had not been for the positive facts in direct contradiction of this theory, produced by Mr. Faile. So the matter remains, with the cause as uncertain as before; but this much was developed by the discussion: that it is highly important to withdraw the cow that is first affected from the herd, and to keep all affected cows as much as possible isolated from the healthy ones, since it is pretty certain that the epidemic does spread by something very much like sympathy.
MR. CORNELL'S REMARKS ON ROOTS." After the close of this discussion, Mr. Cornell, ex-president of the Society, gave an account of his visit to Rothamstead, England, which was listened to with great satisfaction. I make a few brief notes of some of the leading points that appear most likely to interest the farmers of this country, This, it will be remembered, is the experimental farm of Messrs. Lawes & Gilbert, who have tested many manures as well as other matters. The first field they examined was one that had been in grass for one hundred years, and for twenty-five years no grass seed had been sown. On this land various manures had been tried, and proved that the several artificial or concentrated manures cannot be used in competition with barn-yard manure. The whole was also compared with unmanured plots. The whole result proves that the most valuable concentrated manure for is two hundred and seventy-five pounds per acre of nitrate of soda, but the increase was not enough to pay cost.
In one of the experiments a ton of sawdust increased the hay crop only twenty-eight pounds, the sawdust being valued at two dollars. In another case there was a loss instead of gain from the use of sawdust. By an application of a ton of cut straw, nothing was gained. One pound of nitrate of soda produced three and a half pounds of hay.
He also detailed a variety of experiments of wheat, and showed that unmanured land averaged fifteen and a half bushels per acre for eighteen years. Some of the results of manures were as follows: Superphosphate of lime alone proved a very expensive manure. In one case six hundred pounds of bone ash and four hundred and fifty pounds of sulphuric acid increased the crop only two and a quarter bushels. In another case four hundred pounds of sulphate of potash, two hundred pounds of sulphate of soda, two hundred pounds sulphate magnesia, produced a crop of only sixteen bushels, or an increase of half a bushel. With two hundred pounds of ammonia salts the product was twenty-seven and a half busbels of wheat.
With fourteen tons of farm-yard manure the average was thirty-four and a quarter bushels of wheat, or $14.50 an acre profit on the use of the manure, which was the only manure that did afford any profit, the most of the salts applied proving a great loss.
With eight hundred pounds of ammonia salts the yield was thirty-seven bushels, but in this case the large amount used made one bushel of wheat cost over some other experiments $30.
The Hon. Geo. Geddes said that one of the important facts developed in this paper, was that a fair crop of wheat, that is, fifteen and a half bushiels per acre, can be grown upon land without manure, continuously, and that no farmer in this country can afford to buy any of these salts to apply to wheat land, but that we can use barnyard manure profitably. Mr. Geddes stated that he had a crop of wheat now growing upon a field that has grown wheat and clover since 1799, without any manure having ever
been applied, and he has arrived at the conclusion that any good farm cân be continuously cropped without manure, by the growing and turning under clover. In regard to plowing, Mr. Geddes having stated that he could plow three acres a day with a pair of horses, makes this calculation: A team walking three miles per hour for twelve hours, will travel thirtysix miles. If a plow is drawn that cuts a furrow one foot wide, it will cut 4.363-1,000 acres in twelve hours.
Upon the manure question, Solon Robinson moved the following resolution:
The best way to preserve manure, is to spread it as fast as made, upon the land where it is required.
This resolution was seconded and advocated by Mr. McGraw, Mr. Geddes and Geo. Clarke, of Otsego, who said that he spread his manure upon grass land in winter, even on hill sides, to good advantage. If he could he would spread the manure upon grass immediately after the grass is mowed.
Mr. Conger contended for the plan of box-feeding and to accumulate the manure until spring before hauling. This in cases of fatting animals, but not in young or breeding animals. He also advocates husbanding manure under cover, keeping it wet. If to be applied to grass land it may as well be hauled out at once and spread, and so may it when practicable be applied to corn land, spreading it broad-cast and plowing or harrowing it in.
The following valuable summary of the discussions at Utica and Albany by Hon. A. B. Conger, who presided at all the meetings, comprises the results of the discussions, as approved by those present at the conclusion of the meetings :
SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION ON THE HUSBANDING OF MANURES. I. Where sufficient manure has been reserved for arable lands, barnyard manure may be spread upon pastures and meadows under the following restrictions :
1. If spread early in the spring on pastures designed for immediate use, it should not be of the droppings of that species of animals intended to be placed in the pastures.
2. It should never be spread upon meadows in the spring, as the coarser parts will be caught by the hay-rake, and mixed with the hay, imparting to it a musty smell, if not tainting and poisoning it with fungus.
3. It may be evenly spread on meadows at any time after harvest, and lightly harrowed or bushed, especially if the after-math is heavy, so that the grass may not be smothered.
4. The weather should indicate the absence of high winds, the approach of moderate rains, or the presence of copious dews, so that the ammoniacal portion of the manure may not be lost.
5. On rapidly sloping lands a heavier top-dressing should be applied near the summit, unless furrows such as are necessary in irrigation are made, so as to prevent the manure being washed with heavy rains to the bottom.
6. In winter no manure should be spread on either pastures or meadows when hard frozen, even when most of the atmospheric conditions above alluded to are present, unless the surface is or soon will be covered with snow, and then only on ground either level or gently rolling, so that in case of a thaw the melting snows may not render the distribution of the manure comparatively useless.
II. Under a system of rotation of crops, as supposed in the question, the hasbanding of manures is indispensable to thrift in farming, and is to be regulated according to the supply of litter and the method of feeding adopted.
III. On farms whose principal staple is grain, the amount of straw is not unfrequently in excess of the feeding material reserved, and in such case it is necessary to spread it profusely over the barnyard, that it may be trodden down by the cattle and sheep and mixed with their droppings. In such cases it is sufficient that the barnyard should be dished or provided with one or more tanks for the holding of the drainage of the mass; that fermentation should be allowed to proceed until the straw is disintegrated sufficiently either to turn the mass into heaps (into which the liquid contents of the tanks are to be conveyed by pump and troughs), or drawn out into the fields for spring and fall crops-of which method, as generally in all departments of the farm service, the labor that can be applied is the discriminating test.
IV. Where from the scarcity of straw upon a farm, its high price in neighboring markets, or its being an element of food prepared for stock, it is necessary to economise its use, the system of box or stall-feeding is to be resorted to, and the husbanding of manures is determined as the feeding is either of animals to be fattened or reared.
V. In the former case, neat cattle may be placed in boxes not less than eight by ten feet, the bottoms slightly dished with a view to drainage or being filled with muck or other absorbents, and the animals wintered with light additions of cut straw as litter, so as to prevent the loss of hair, and other cutaneous affections (which proceed from the heating of straw if too liberally supplied), and the whole mass of droppings, &c., left until removed to the fields.
VI. In the latter case, that of the rearing of young animals a like method may be pursued; but if their value will admit of a greater regard being paid to cleanliness, &c., the box should have a slatted floor of oak or other durable strips one and one-half inch thick, three inches wide, and one-half inch apart over a paved, clayed, or cemented floor, inclined so as to carry the drainage of the box into gutters leading to a tank, and the manure, removed as often at least as once in six weeks, placed under cover of a roof either permanent, or of boards battened, turning on pins and moved by a long lever as in sheds for drying of brick; the liquid manure (if not used separately) being pumped from the tank and conveyed by troughs over the mass so as to prevent fire-fanging. If used separately, the sheds are to be opened to occasional rains for the same purpose.
VII. The manure from animals stabled in the ordinary way is to be treated as last above described, and it is desirable that the manure shed should be constructed with access to it from a level below that on which the manure is deposited, so that in winter the manure may be carted out