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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
(from Lat. ager, field, and colere, to cultivate), the science, art and industry of utilizing the soil so as to produce the means of human subsistence, embracing in its widest sense the rearing of live-stock as well as the raising of crops. The history of agriculture is the history of man in his most primitive, and most permanent aspect. Hence the nations of antiquity ascribed to it a divine origin; Brahma in Hindustan, Isis in Egypt, Demeter in Greece, and Ceres in Italy, were its founders. The simplest form of agriculture is that in which crops are raised from one patch of ground till it is exhausted, when it is allowed to go wild and abandoned for another. This " extensive " husbandry is found in combination with a nomadic or seminomadic and pastoral organization, such as that of the German tribes described by Caesar and Tacitus (see especially Germania, 26). The discovery of the uses of the bare fallow and of manure, by making it possible to raise crops from the same area for an indefinite period, marks a stage of progress. This " intensive " culture in a more or less developed form was practised by the great nations of antiquity, and little decided advance was made till after the middle ages. The introduction of new plants, which made it possible to dispense with the bare fallow, and still later the application to husbandry of scientific discoveries as to soils, plant constituents and manures, brought about a revolution in farming. But the progress of husbandry, evidenced by the production of larger and better crops with more certainty, is due to that rationalizing of agricultural practices which is the work of modern times. What before was done in the light of experience is nowadays done in the light of knowledge. Even the earliest forms of intensive cultivation demand the practice of the fundamental processes of husbandry - ploughing, manuring, sowing, weeding, reaping. It is the improvements in methods, implements and materials, brought about by the application of science, that distinguish the husbandry of the 10th century from that of medieval and ancient times.
The monumental records of Egypt are the source of the earliest information on farming. The Egypt. of the Pharaohs was a country of great estates farmed Egypt either by tenants or by slaves or labourers under the superintendence of stewards. It owed its fertility to the Nile, which, inundating the land near its banks, was distributed by means of canals over more distant portions of its valley. The autumnal subsidence of the river was followed by shallow ploughing performed by oxen yoked to clumsy wooden ploughs, the clods being afterwards levelled with wooden hoes by hand. Next came the sowing, the seed being pressed into the soil by the feet of sheep which were driven over the fields. At harvest the corn was cut high on the stalk with short sickles and put up in sheaves, after which it was carried to the threshing-floor and there trodden out by the hoofs of oxen. Winnowing was done by women, who tossed the grain into the air with small wooden boards, the chaff being blown away by the winds. Wheat and barley were the chief crops, and another plant, perhaps identical with the durra, i.e. millet, of modern Egypt, was also cultivated. The latter, when ripe, was pulled up by the roots, and the grain was separated by means of an implement resembling a comb. To these crops may be added peas, beans and many herbs and esculent roots. Oxen were much prized, and breeding was carried on with a careful eye to selection. Immense numbers of ducks and geese were reared.
Diodorus Siculus, writing of later times, says that cattle were sent during a portion of each year to the marshy pastures of the delta, where they roamed under the care of herdsmen. They were fed with hay during the annual inundation, and at other times tethered in meadows of green clover. The flocks were shorn twice annually (a practice common to several Asiatic countries), and the ewes yeaned twice a year. (See also Egypt.) The agriculture of the region bordering the Tigris and Euphrates, like that of Egypt, depended largely on irrigation, and traces of ancient canals are still to be seen in Babylonia. But beyond the fact that both Babylonia and Assyria were large producers of cereals, little is known of their husbandry. The nomads of the patriarchal ages, whilst mainly dependent upon their flocks and herds, practised also agriculture proper. The tracts over which they roamed were in ordinary circumstances common to all shepherds alike. During the summer they frequented the mountainous districts, and retired to the valleys to winter. Vast flocks of sheep and of goat constituted their wealth, although they also possessed oxen. When the last were abundant, it seems to be an indication that tillage was practised. Job, besides immense possessions in flocks and herds, had 500 yoke of oxen, which he employed in ploughing, and a " very great husbandry." Isaac, too, conjoined tillage with pastoral husbandry, and that with success, for " he sowed in the land Gerar, and reaped an hundred-fold " - a return which, it would appear, in some favoured regions, occasionally rewarded the labour of the husbandman. In the parable of the sower, Jesus Christ mentions an increase of thirty, sixty and an hundred fold. Along with the Babylonians, Egyptians and Romans, the Israelites are classed as one of the great agricultural nations of antiquity. The Mosaic Institute contained an agrarian law, based upon an equal division of the soil amongst the adult males, a census of whom was taken just before their entrance into Canaan. Provision was thus made for 600,000 yeomen, assigning (according to different calculations) from sixteen to twenty-five acres of land to each. This land, held in direct tenure from Jehovah, their sovereign, was in theory inalienable. The accumulation of debt upon it was prevented by the prohibition of interest, the release of debts every seventh year, and the reversion of the land to the proprietor, or his heirs, at each return of the year of jubilee. The owners of these small farms cultivated them with much care, and rendered them highly productive. They were favoured with a soil extremely fertile, and one which their skill and diligence kept in good condition. The stones were carefully cleared from the fields, which were also watered from canals and conduits, communicating with the brooks and streams with which the country " was well watered everywhere," and enriched by the application of manures. The seventh year's fallow prevented the exhaustion of the soil, which was further enriched by the burning of the weeds and spontaneous growth of the Sabbatical year. The crops chiefly cultivated were wheat, millet, barley, beans and lentils; to which it is supposed, on grounds not improbable, may be added rice and cotton. The chief implements were a wooden plough of simple and light construction, a hoe or mattock, and a light harrow. The ox and the ass were used for labour. The word " oxen," which occurs in our version of the Scriptures, as well as in the Septuagint and Vulgate, denotes the species, rather than the sex. As the Hebrews did not mutilate any of their animals, bulls were in common use. The quantity of land ploughed by a yoke of oxen in one day was called a yoke or acre. Towards the end of October, with which month the rainy season begins, seedtime commenced, and of course does so still. The seedtime, begun in October, extends, for wheat and some other white crops, through November and December; and barley continues to be sown until about the middle of February. The seed appears to have been sometimes ploughed in, and at other times to have been covered by harrowing. The cold winds which prevail in January and February frequently injured the crops in the more exposed and higher districts. The rainy season extends from October to April, during which time refreshing showers fall, chiefly during the night, and generally at intervals of a few days. The harvest was earlier or later as the rains towards the end of the season were more or less copious. It, however, generally began in April, and continued through May for the different crops in succession. In the south, and in the plains, the harvest, as might be expected, commenced some weeks earlier than in the northern and mountainous districts. The slopes of the hills were carefully terraced and irrigated wherever practicable, and on these slopes the vine and olive were cultivated with great success. At the same time the hill districts and neighbouring deserts afforded pasturage for numerous flocks and herds, and thus admitted of the benefits of a mixed husbandry. Not by a figure of speech but literally, every Israelite sat under the shadow of his own vine and fig-tree; whilst the country as a whole is described (2 Kings xviii. 32) as " a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey." The earliest known forms of intensive husbandry were based chiefly upon the proximity of rivers and irrigation. The agri-. culture of classical ages was slightly more developed in Greece so far as the husbandman of Greece and Rome was less able to leave to nature the fertilization of the soil. Greece being a mountainous land was favourable to the culture of the vine rather than to that of cereals. Scanty information on its agriculture is to be derived from the Works and Days of Hesiod (about the 8th century B.C.), the Oeconomicus of Xenophon (4th century B.C.), the History of Plants and the Origin of Plants of Theophrastus (4th century B.C.). The latter is the first writer on botany, and his works also contain interesting remarks on manures, the mixing of soils and other agricultural topics (see also Geoponici). Greek husbandry had no salient characteristics. The summer fallow with repeated ploughing was its basis. The young crop was hoed, reaping was performed with a sickle, and a high stubble left on the ground as manure. The methods of threshing and winnowing were the same as those in use in ancient Egypt. Wheat, barley and spelt were the leading crops. Meadows were pastured rather than mown. Attica was famous for its olives and figs, but general agriculture excelled in Peloponnesus, where, by means of irrigation and drainage, all the available land was utilized.
In the early days of the Roman republic land in Italy was held largely by small proprietors, and agriculture was highly esteemed and classed with war as an occupation becoming a free man. The story of Cincinnatus, twice summoned from the plough to the highest offices in the state, illustrates the status of the Roman husbandman. The later tendency was towards the absorption of smaller holdings into large estates. As wealth increased the peasant-farmer gave way before the large landowner, who cultivated his property by means of slave-labour, superintended by slave-bailiffs. The low price of grain, which was imported in huge quantities from Sicily and other Roman provinces, operated to crush the small holder, at the same time as it made arable farming unremunerative. Sheep-raising, involving larger holdings, less supervision and less labour, was preferred by the capitalist land-holder to the cultivation of the wheat, spelt, vines or olives which were the chief crops of the country. Lupine, beans, peas and vetches were grown for fodder, and meadows, often artificially watered, supplied hay. Swine and poultry were used for food to a greater extent than oxen, which were bred chiefly for ploughing. The following epitome of Virgil's advice to the husbandman in the first book of the Georgics suggests the outline of Roman husbandry: " First learn the peculiarities of your soil and climate. Plough the fallow in early spring, and plough frequently - twice in winter, twice in summer unless your land is poor, when a light ploughing in September will do. Either let the land lie fallow every other year or else let spelt follow pulse, vetches or lupine. Repetition of one crop exhausts the ground; rotation will lighten the strain, only the exhausted soil must be copiously dressed with manure or ashes. It often does good to burn the stubble on the ground. Harrow down the clods, level the ridges by cross ploughing, work the land thoroughly. Irrigation benefits a sandy soil, draining a marshy soil. It is well to feed down a luxuriant crop when the plants are level with the ridge tops. Geese and cranes, chicory, mildew, thistles, cleavers, caltrops, darnel and shade are farmer's enemies. Scare off the birds, harrow up the weeds, cut down all that shades the crop. Ploughs, waggons, threshing-sledges, harrows, baskets, hurdles, winnowing-fans are the farmer's implements. The plough consists of several parts made of seasoned wood. The threshing-floor must be smooth and rammed hard to leave no crevices for weeds and small animals to get through. Some steep seed in soda and oil lees to get a larger produce. Careful annual selection by hand of the best seed is the only way to prevent degeneration. It is best to mow stubble and hay at night when they are moist." In addition to the use of several kinds of animal and other manures, green crops were sometimes ploughed in by the Romans. The shrewdness which, more than inventiveness, characterized their husbandry comes out well in the following quotation from the 18th book of the Natural History of Pliny: - " Cato would have this point especially to be considered, that the soil of a farm be good and fertile; also, that near it there be plenty of labourers and that it be not far from a large town; moreover, that it have sufficient means for transporting its produce, either by water or land. Also that the house be well built, and the land about it as well managed. They are in error who hold the opinion that the negligence and bad husbandry of the former owner is good for his successor. Now, I say there is nothing more dangerous and disadvantageous to the buyer than land so left waste and out of heart; and therefore Cato counsels well to purchase land of one who has managed it well, and not rashly to despise and make light of the skill and knowledge of another." Roman writers on agriculture (see Geoponici) are more numerous than those of Greece. The earliest important treatises are the of Cato (2 341 49 B. C.) and the Rerum Rusticarum Libri of Varro. More famous than either are the Georgics of Virgil, published about 30 B.C., and treating of tillage, horticulture, cattle-breeding and bee-keeping. The works of Columella (1st century A.D.) and of Palladius (4th century A.D.) are exhaustive treatises, and the Natural History of the elder Pliny (A.D. 23-70) contains considerable information on husbandry. Under the later empire agriculture sank into a condition of neglect, in which it remained throughout the Dark Ages. In Spain its revival was due to the Saracens, and by them, and their successors the Moors, agriculture was carried to a high pitch of excellence. The work on agriculture' of Ibn-al-Awam, who lived in the 12th century A.D., treats of the varieties of soils, manuring, irrigation, ploughing, sowing, harvesting, stock, horticulture, arboriculture and plant diseases, and is a lasting record of their skill and industry.
The subsequent history of agriculture is treated in the following pages primarily from the British standpoint. Doubtless Flanders may claim to be the pioneer of " high farming " in medieval times, other countries following her lead in many respects. It is not, however, necessary to deal with the agricultural evolution of continental Europe, the gradual progress of agriculture as a whole being well enough typified in the story of its development in England, which indeed has led the way in modern times. After sections on the history and chief modern features of British agriculture, a separate account is given of the general features of American agriculture.
History Of English Agriculture The " combined " or " common-field " system of husbandry practised by the village community or township (see Village Communities) may be taken as the starting-point of English agriculture, in which, till the end of the 18th century, it is a dominant influence. The territory of the " township " consisted of arable land, meadow, pasture and waste. The arable land was divided into two or, more usually, three fields, which were cut up into strips bounded by balks and allotted to the villagers in such a way that one holding might include several disconnected strips in each field - a measure designed to prevent the whole of the best land falling to one man. The fields were fenced in from seed-time to harvest, after which the fences were taken 1 Translation by Clement-Mullet (Paris, 1864).
down and the cattle turned in to feed on the stubble. According to early methods of cropping, which were destined to prevail for centuries, wheat, the chief article of food, was sown in one autumn, reaped the next August; the following spring, oats or barley were sown, and the year following the harvest was a period of fallow. This procedure was followed on each of the three fields so that in every year one of them was fallow. In addition to the cereals, beans, peas and vetches were grown to some extent. The meadow-land was also divided into strips from which the various holders drew their supply of hay. The pasture-land was common to all, though the number of beasts which one man might turn into it was sometimes limited. Rough grazing could also be had on the outlying waste lands. In the absence of artificial grasses and roots, hay was very valuable; it constituted almost the only winter food for live stock, which were consequently in poor condition in spring.
Under the manorial system, the rise of which preceded the Norman Conquest, communal methods of husbandry remained, but the position of the cultivator was radically altered. " Villeins," instead of free-holders, formed the most numerous class of the population. They were bound to the soil and occupied holdings of scattered strips (amounting usually to a virgate or 30 acres) in return for a payment partly in labour and partly in kind. A portion of the manor, generally about a third, constituted the lord's demesne, which, though sometimes separate, usually consisted of strips intermingled with those of his villeins. It thus formed part of the common farm and was cultivated by the villeins and their oxen under the superintendence of a bailiff. Below the villeins in the social scale came the cottiers possessing smaller holdings, sometimes only a garden, and no oxen. Free tenants and, after the Norman Conquest, slaves formed small proportions of the population. During the middle ages cattle and sheep were the chief farm animals, but the intermixture of stock consequent on the common-field system was a barrier to improvement in the breed and conduced to the propagation of disease. Oxen, usually yoked in teams of eight, were used for ploughing. Sheep were small and their fleeces light, nevertheless, owing to the meagreness of the yields of cereals' and the demand for wool for export, sheep-farming was looked to, as early as the 12th century, as the chief source of profit. Pigs and poultry were universally kept. The treatise on husbandry of Walter of Henley, dating from the early 13th century, is very valuable as describing the management of the demesne under the twoor three-field system. The following are typical passages: " April is a good season for fallowing, if the earth breaks up behind the plough; for second fallowing after St John's Day when the dust rises behind the plough; for seed-ploughing when the earth is well settled and not too cracked; however, the busy man cannot be always waiting on the seasons." " At sowing do not plough large furrows, but little and well laid together, that the seed may fall evenly." " Know that an acre sown with wheat takes three ploughings, except lands that are sown each year, and that each ploughing costs 6d. more or less and the harrowing id. It is well to sow at least two bushels to the acre." " Change your seed every year at Michaelmas, for the seed grown on other land will bring you more than that grown on your own." " Neither sell your stubble nor move it from the ground unless you need it for thatching. Have manure put up in heaps and mixed with earth." " Ridge marshy ground so as to let the water run off." During the 13th century there arose a tendency to commute labour-rents for money payments. This change led to the gradual disappearance of tenants in villeinage - the villeins and cottiers - and the rise on the one hand of the small independent farmer, on the other of the hired labourer. The plague of 1348 marks an epoch in English agriculture. The diminution of the population by one-half led to a scarcity of labour and an increase of wages which deprived the landowner of his narrow margin of profit. To meet this situation, the Statute of Labourers 1351) enacted that no man should refuse to work at the same rate of wages as prevailed before the plague. In addition the 1 Walter of Henley mentions six bushels per acre as a satisfactory crop.
landowners attempted to revive the disappearing system of labour-rents. The bitter feelings engendered between employer and employed culminated in the peasants' revolt of 1381. Meanwhile large numbers of landowners were forced to adopt one of two alternatives. In some cases they ceased to farm their own land and let it out on lease often together with the stock upon it; or else they abandoned arable culture, laid down their demesnes to pasture, enclosed the waste lands and devoted themselves to sheep-farming. In the latter course they were encouraged by the high prices of wool during the ,4th century, and by Edward III.'s policy of fostering both the export of wool and the home manufacture of woollen goods. The ,5th century, barren of progress in methods of husbandry, was in its early years moderately prosperous. Later on the increasing abandonment of arable husbandry for sheep-farming brought about a less demand for labour, and rural depopulation was accelerated as the peasant was deprived of his grazing-ground by the enclosure of more and more of the waste land .2 From the beginning of the reign of Henry VII. to the end of Elizabeth's, a number of statutes were made for the encouragement of tillage, though probably to little purpose. Where in some towns," says the statute 4th Henry VII. (1488), " two hundred persons were occupied and lived of their lawful labours, now there are occupied two or three herdsmen, and the residue fall into idleness "; therefore it is ordained that houses which within three years have been let for farms, with twenty acres of land lying in tillage or husbandry, shall be upheld, under the penalty of half the profits, to be forfeited to the king or the lord of the fee. Almost half a century afterwards the practice had become still more alarming; and in 1534 a new act was tried, apparently with as little success. " Some have 24,000 sheep, some 20,000 sheep, some io,000, some 6000, some 4000, and some more and some less "; and yet it is alleged the price of wool had nearly doubled, " sheep being come to a few persons' hands." A penalty was therefore imposed on all who kept above 2000 sheep; and no person was to take in farm more than two tenements of husbandry. By the 39th Elizabeth (1597) arable land made pasture since the 1st Elizabeth shall be again converted into tillage, and what is arable shall not be converted into pasture.
The literature of agriculture, in abeyance since the treatise of Walter of Henley, makes another beginning in the 16th century. The best of the early works is the Book of Husbandry (1st ed. 1523), commonly ascribed to Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, a judge of the Common Pleas in the reign of Henry VIII., but more probably written by his elder brother John. This was followed by the Book of Surveying and Improvements (1523), by the same author. In the former treatise we have a clear and minute description of the rural practices of that period, and from the latter may be learned a good deal of the economy of the feudal system in its decline.
The Book of Husbandry begins with a description of the plough and other implements, after which about a third part of it is occupied with the several operations as they succeed one another throughout the year. Among other passages in this part of the work, the following deserve notice: "Somme (ploughs) wyll tourn the sheld bredith at every landsende, and plowe all one way "; the same kind of plough that is now found so useful on hilly grounds. Of wheel-ploughs he observes, that " they be good on even grounde that lyeth lyghte "; and on such lands they are still most commonly employed. Cart-wheels were sometimes bound with iron, of which he greatly approves. On the much agitated question about the employment of horses or oxen in labour, the most important arguments are distinctly stated.
" In some places," he says, " a horse plough is better," and in others an oxen plough, to which, upon the whole, he gives the preference. Beans and peas seem to have been common crops. He mentions the different kinds of wheat, barley and oats; and after describing the method of harrowing " all maner of cornnes," we find the roller employed. "They used to role their barley grounde 2 This process of enclosure must be distinguished from that of enclosing the arable common fields which, though advocated by Fitzherbert in a passage quoted below proceeded slowly till the 18th century.
after a showr of rayne, to make the grounde even to mowe." Under the article " To falowe," he observes, " the greater clottes (clods) the better wheate, for the clottes kepe the wheat warme all wynter; and at March they will melte and breake and fal in manye small peces, the whiche is a new dongynge and refreshynge of the come." This is agreeable to the present practice, founded on the very same reasons. " In May, the shepe folde is to be set out "; but Fitzherbert does not much approve of folding, and points out its disadvantages in a very judicious manner. " In the latter end of May and the begynnynge of June, is tyme to wede the come "; and then we have an accurate description of the different weeds, and the instruments and mode of weeding. Next comes a second ploughing of the fallow; and afterwards, in the latter end of June, the mowing of the meadows begins. Of this operation, and of the forks and rakes and the haymaking there is a very good account. The corn harvest naturally follows: rye and wheat were usually shorn, and barley and oats cut with the scythe. The writer does not approve of the common practice of cutting wheat high and then mowing the stubbles. " In Somersetshire," he says, " they do shere theyr wheat very lowe; and the wheate strawe that they purpose to make thacke of, they do not threshe it, but cut off the ears, and bynd it in sheves, and call it rede, and therewith they thacke theyr houses." He recommends the practice of setting up corn in shocks, with two sheaves to cover eight, instead of ten sheaves as at present - probably owing to the straw being then shorter. The corn was commonly housed; but if there be a want of room, he advises that the ricks be built on a scaffold and not upon the ground. The fallow received a third ploughing in September, and was sown about Michaelmas. " Wheat is moost commonlye sowne under the forowe, that is to say, cast it uppon the falowe, and then plowe it under "; and this branch of his subject is concluded with directions about threshing, winnowing and other kinds of barn-work.
Fitzherbert next proceeds to live stock. " An housbande," he says, " can not well thryue by his come without he have other cattell, nor by his cattell without come. And bycause that shepe, in myne opynyon, is the mooste profytablest cattell that any man can haue, therefore I pourpose to speake fyrst of shepe." His remarks on this subject are so accurate that one might imagine they came from a storemaster of the present day.
In some places at present "they neuerseuertheir lambes from their dammes "; " and the poore of the peeke (high) countreye, and such other places, where, as they vse to mylke theyr ewes, they vse to wayne theyr lambes at 12 weekes olde, and to mylke their ewes flue or syxe weekes "; but that, he observes, " is greate hurte to the ewes, and wyll cause them that they wyll not take the ramme at the tyme of the yere for pouertye, but goo barreyne." " In June is tyme to shere shepe; and ere they be shorne, they must be verye well washen, the which shall be to the owner greate profyte in the sale of his wool, and also to the clothe-maker." His remarks on horses, cattle, &c., are not less interesting; and there is a very good account of the diseases of each species, and some just observations on the advantage of mixing different kinds on the same pasture. Swine and bees conclude this branch of the work.
The author then points out the great advantages of enclosure; recommends " quycksettynge, dychynge and hedgeyng "; and gives particular directions about settes, and the method of training a hedge, as well as concerning the planting and management of trees. Fitzherbert throws some light on the position of women in the agriculture of his day. "It is a wyues occupation," he says, " to wynowe all maner of comes, to make malte, to washe and wrynge, to make heye, shere come, and, in time of nede, to helpe her husbande to fyll the mucke wayne or dounge carte, dryue the ploughe, to loode heye, come and suche other; and to go or ride to the market to sel butter, chese, mylke, egges, chekyns, capons, hennes, pygges, gese, and all maner of comes." The Book of Surveying adds considerably to our knowledge of the rural economy of that age. " Four maner of commens " are described; several kinds of mills for corn and other purposes, and also " quernes that goo with hand "; different orders of tenants, down to the " boundmen," who " in some places contynue as yet "; " and many tymes, by colour thereof, there be many freemen taken as boundmen, and their lands and goods is taken from them." Lime and marl are mentioned as common manures, and the former was sometimes spread on the surface to destroy heath. Both draining and irrigation are noticed, though the latter but slightly. And the work concludes with an inquiry " how to make a township that is worth XX. marke a yere, worth XX. li. a year," advocating the transition from communal or open field to individual or enclosure farming.
" It is undoubted, that to every townshyppe that standeth in tyllage in the playne countrey, there be errable landes to plowe and sowe, and leyse to tye or tedder theyr horses and mares upon, and common pasture to kepe and pasture their catell, beestes and shepe upon; and also they have medowe grounde to get theyr hey upon. Than to let it be known how many acres of errable lande euery man hath in tyllage, and of the same acres in euery felde to chaunge with his neyghbours, and to leve them toguyther, and to make hym one seuerall close in euery felde for his errable lands; and his leyse in euery felde to leve them togyther in one felde, and to make one seuerall close for them all. And also another seuerall close for his portion of his common pasture, and also his porcion of his medowe in a seuerall close by itselfe, and al kept in seureall both in wynter and somer; and euery cottage shall haue his portion assigned hym accordynge to his rent, and than shall nat the ryche man ouerpresse the poore man with his cattell; and euery man may eate his oun close at his pleasure. And vndoubted, that hay and strawe that will find one beest in the house wyll finde two beestes in the close, and better they shall lyke. For those beestis in the house have short heare and thynne, and towards March they will pylle and be bare; and therefore they may nat abyde in the fylde before the heerdmen in winter tyme for colde. And those that lye in a close under a hedge haue longe heare and thyck, and they will neuer pylle nor be bare; and by this reason the husbande maye kepe twyse so many catell as he did before.
" This is the cause of this approwment. Nowe euery husbande hath sixe seuerall closes, whereof iii. be for come, the fourthe for his leyse, the fyfte for his commen pastures, and the sixte for his haye; and in wynter time there is but one occupied with come, and than hath the husbande other fyue to occupy tyll lente come, and that he hath his falowe felde, his ley felde, and his pasture felde al sommer. And when he hath mowen his medowe, then he hath his medowe grounde, soo that if he hath any weyke catell that wold be amended, or dyvers maner of catell, he may put them in any close he wyll, the which is a great advantage; and if all shulde lye commen, than wolde the edyche of the come feldes and the aftermath of all the medowes be eaten in X. or XII. dayes. And the rych men that bath moche catell wold have the advantage, and the poore man can have no help nor relefe in wynter when he bath moste nede; and if an acre of lande be worthe sixe pens, or it be enclosed, it will be worth VIII. pens, when it is enclosed by reason of the compostying and dongyng of the catell that shall go and lye upon it both day and nighte; and if any of his thre closes that he hath for his come be worne or ware bare, than he may breke and plowe up his close that he hadde for his layse, or the close that he hadde for his commen pasture, or bothe, and sowe them with come, and let the other lye for a time, and so shall he have always reist grounde, the which will bear moche come with lytel donge; and also he shall have a great profyte of the wod in the hedges whan it is growen; and not only these profytes and advantages beforesaid, but he shall save moche more than al these, for by reason of these closes he shall save meate, drinke and wages of a shepherde, the wages of the heerdmen, and the wages of the swine herde, the which may fortune to be as chargeable as all his holle rente; and also his come shall be better saved from eatinge or destroyeng with catel. For dout ye nat but heerdemen with their catell, shepeherdes with theirshepe, and tieng of horses and mares, destroyeth moch come, the which the hedges wold save. Paraduenture some men would say that this shuld be against the common weale, bicause the shepeherdes, heerdmen and swyne-herdes shuld than be put out of wages. To that it may be answered, though these occupations be not used, there be as many newe occupations that were not used before; as getting of quicke settes, diching, hedging and plashing, the which the same men may use and occupye." The next author who writes professedly on agriculture is Thomas Tusser, whose Five Hundred Points of Husbandry, published in 1562, enjoyed such lasting repute that in 1723 Lord Molesworth recommended that it should be taught in schools. In it the book of husbandry consists of 118 pages, and then follows the Points of Housewifrie, occupying 42 pages more. It is writtep in verse. Amidst much that is valueless there are some useful notices concerning the state of agriculture at the time in different parts of England. Hops, which had been introduced in the early part of the 16th century, and on the culture of which a treatise was published in 1574 by Reginald Scott, are mentioned as a well-known crop. Buckwheat was sown after barley. Hemp and flax are mentioned as common crops. Enclosures must have been numerous in some counties; and there is a very good comparison between " champion (open fields) country and several," which Blith afterwards transcribed into his Improver Improved. Carrots, cabbages, turnips and rape, not yet cultivated in the fields, are mentioned among the herbs and roots for the kitchen. There is nothing to be found in Tusser about serfs or bondmen, as in Fitzherbert's works.
In 1577 appeared the Foure Bookes of Husbandry, translated, with augmentation, from the work of Conrad Heresbach. Much stress is laid on the value of manure, and mention is made of clover.
Fitzherbert, in deploring the gradual discontinuance of the practice of marling land, had alluded to the grievance familiar in modern times of tenants " who, if they should marl and make their holdings much better, fear lest they should be put out, or make a great fine or else pay more rent." This subject is treated at length in Sir John Norden's Surveyor's Dialogue (1st ed. 1607), the next agricultural work demanding notice. The author, writing from the landowner's point of view, ascribes the rise in rents and the rise in the price of corn' to the " emulation " of tenants in competing for holdings, a practice implying that the agriculture of the period was prosperous. Norden's work contains many judicious observations on the " different natures of grounds, how they may be employed, how they may be bettered, reformed and amended." The famous meadows near Salisbury are mentioned, where, when cattle have fed their fill, hogs, it is said, " are made fat with the remnant - namely, with the knots and sappe of the grasse." " Clouer grasse, or the grasse honey suckle " (white clover), is directed to be sown with other hay seeds. " Carrot rootes " were then raised in several parts of England, and sometimes by farmers. London street and stable dung was carried to a distance by water, and appears from later writers to have been got for the trouble of removing. Leases of 21 years are recommended for persons of small capital as better than employing it in purchasing land. The works of Gervase Markham, Leonard Mascall, Gabriel Plattes and other authors of the first half of the 17th century may be passed over, the best part of them being preserved by Blith and Hartlib, who are referred to below.
Sir Richard Weston's Discourse on the Husbandry of Brabant and Flanders was published by Hartlib in 1645, and its title indicates the source to which England owed much of its subsequent agricultural advancement. Weston was ambassador from England to the elector palatine in 1619, and had the merit of being the first who introduced the great clover, as it was then called, into English agriculture, about 1652, and probably turnips also. Clover thrives best, he says, when you sow it on the barrenest ground, such as the worst heath ground in England. The ground is to be pared and burnt, and unslacked lime must be added to the ashes. It is next to be well ploughed and harrowed; and about 10 lb of clover seed must be sown on an acre in April or the end of March. If you intend to preserve seed, then the second crop must be let stand till it come to a full and dead ripeness, and you shall have at the least five bushels per acre. Being once sown, it will last five years; the land, when ploughed, will yield, three or four years together, rich crops of wheat, and after that a crop of oats, with which clover seed is to be sown again. It is in itself an excellent manure, Sir Richard adds; and so it should be, to enable land to bear this treatment. Before 1655 the culture of clover, exactly according to the present method, seems to have been well known in England, and it had also made its way to Ireland.
A great many works on agriculture appeared during the time of the Commonwealth, of which Walter Blith's Improver Improved and Samuel Hartlib's Legacie are the most valuable. The first edition of the former was published in 1649, and of the latter in 1651; and both of them were enlarged in subsequent editions. In the first edition of the Improver Improved no mention is made of clover, nor in the second of turnips, but in the third, clover is treated of at some length, and turnips are recommended as an excellent cattle crop, the culture of which should be extended from the kitchen garden to the field. Sir Richard Weston must have cultivated turnips before this; for Blith says that Sir Richard affirmed to himself that he fed his swine with them. They were first given boiled, but afterwards the swine came to eat them raw, and would run after the carts, and pull them forth as they gathered them - an expression which conveys an idea of their being cultivated in the fields.
Blith's book is the first systematic work in which there are some traces of alternate husbandry or the practice of interposing clover and turnip between culmiferous crops. He is a great enemy to commons and common fields, and to retaining land in 1 During the 16th century wheat had risen in price, and between 1606 and 1618 never fell below 30s. a quarter. At the same time wages remained low.
old pasture, unless it be of the best quality. His description of the different kinds of ploughs is interesting; and he justly recommends such as were drawn by two horses (some even by one horse) in preference to the weighty and clumsy machines which required four or more horses or oxen. The following passage indicates the contemporary theory of manuring: - " In thy tillage are these special opportunities to improve it, either by liming, marling, sanding, earthing, mudding, snayl-codding, mucking, chalking, pidgeons-dung, hens-dung, hogs-dung or by any other means as some by rags, some by coarse wool, by pitch marks, and tarry stuff, any oyly stuff, salt and many things more, yea indeed any thing almost that bath any liquidness, foulness, saltness or good moysture in it, is very naturall inrichment to almost any sort of land." Blith speaks of an instrument which ploughed, sowed and harrowed at the same time; and the setting of corn was then a subject of much discussion. Blith was a zealous advocate of drainage and holds that drains to be efficient must be laid 3 or 4 ft. deep. The drainage of the Great Level of the Fens was prosecuted during the 17th century, but lack of engineering skill and the opposition of the fen-men hindered the reclamation of a now fertile region.
Hartlib's Legacie contains, among some very judicious directions, a great deal of rash speculation. Several of the deficiencies which the writer complains of in English agriculture must be placed to the account of climate, and never have been or can be supplied. Some of his recommendations are quite unsuitable to the state of the country, and display more of general knowledge and good intention than of either the theory or practice of agriculture. Among the subjects deserving notice may be mentioned the practice of steeping and liming seed corn as a preventive of smut; changing every year the species of grain, and bringing seed corn from a distance; ploughing down green crops as manure; and feeding horses with broken oats and chaff. This writer seems to differ a good deal from Blith about the advantage of interchanging tillage and pasture. " It were no losse to this island," he says, " if that we should not plough at all, if so be that we could certainly have corn at a reasonable rate, and likewise vent for all our manufactures of wool "; and one reason for this is, that pasture employs more hands than tillage, instead of depopulating the country, as was commonly imagined. The grout, which he mentions as " coming over to us in Holland ships," about which he desires information, was probably the same as shelled barley; and mills for manufacturing it were introduced into Scotland from Holland towards the beginning of the 18th century.
Among the other writers previous to the Revolution mention must be made of John Ray the botanist and of John Evelyn, both men of great talent and research, whose works are still in high estimation.
The first half of the 17th century was a period of agricultural activity, partly due, no doubt, to the increase of enclosed farms. Marling and liming are again practised, new agricultural implements and manures introduced, and the new crops more widely used. But the Civil War and the subsequent political disturbances intervened to prevent the continuance of this progress, and the agriculture of the end of the century seems to have relapsed into stagnation.
Of the state of agriculture in Scotland in the 16th and the greater part of the 17th century very little is known; no professed treatise on the subject appeared till after the Revolution. The south-eastern counties were the earliest improved, and yet in 1660 their condition seems to have been very wretched. Ray, who made a tour along the eastern coast in that year, says, " We observed little or no fallow ground in Scotland; some ley ground we saw, which they manured with sea wreck. The men seemed to be very lazy, and may be frequently observed to plough in their cloaks. It is the fashion of them to wear cloaks when they go abroad, but especially on Sundays. They have neither good bread, cheese nor drink. They cannot make them, nor will they learn. Their butter is very indifferent, and one would wonder how they could contrive to make it so bad. They use much pottage made of coal-wort, which they call kail, sometimes broth of decorticated barley. The ordinary country-houses are pitiful cots, built of stone and covered with turfs, having in them but one room, many of them no chimneys, the windows very small holes and not glazed. The ground in the valleys and plains bear very good corn, but especially bears barley or bigge, and oats, but rarely wheat and rye." It is probable that no great change had taken place in Scotland from the end of the i 5th century, except that tenants gradually became possessed of a little stock of their own, instead of having their farm stocked by the landlord. " The minority of James V., 'the reign of Mary Stuart, the infancy of her son, and the civil wars of her grandson Charles I., were all periods of lasting waste. The very laws which were made during successive reigns for protecting the tillers of the soil from spoil are the best proofs of the deplorable state of the husbandman."' In the r7th century those laws were made which paved the way for an improved system of agriculture in Scotland. By a statute of 1633 landholders were enabled to have their tithes valued, and to buy them either at nine or six years' purchase, according to the nature of the property. The statute of 1685, conferring on landlords a power to entail their estates, was indeed of a very different tendency in regard to its effects on agriculture. But the two Acts in r695, for the division of commons and separation of intermixed properties, facilitated improvements.
From the Revolution to the accession of George III. the progress of agriculture was by no means so considerable as might be imagined from the great exportation of corn. It Progress of agricul- is probable that very little improvement had taken ture from place, either in the cultivation of the soil or in the 1688 to management of live stock, from the Restoration down 1760. to the middle of the 18th century. Clover and turnips were confined to a few districts, and at the latter period were scarcely cultivated at all by common farmers in the northern part of the island. Of the writers of this period, therefore, it is necessary to notice only such as describe some improvement in the modes of culture, or some extension of the practices that were formerly little known.
In John Houghton's Collections on Husbandry and Trade, a periodical work begun in 1681, there is one of the earliest notices of turnips being eaten by sheep:" Some in Essex have their fallow after turnips, which feed their sheep in winter, by which means the turnips are scooped, and so made capable to hold dews and rain water, which, by corrupting,; _ mbibes the nitre of the air, and when the shell breaks it runs about and fertilizes. By feeding the sheep, the land is dunged as if it had been folded; and those turnips, though few or none be carried off for human use, are a very excellent improvement, nay, some reckon it so, though they only plough the turnips in without feeding." This was written in February 1694. Ten years before, John Worlidge, one of his correspondents, and the author of the Systema Agriculturae (1669), observes, " Sheep fatten very well on turnips, which prove an excellent nourishment for them in hard winters when fodder is scarce; for they will not only eat the greens, but feed on the roots in the ground, and scoop them hollow even to the very skin. Ten acres (he adds) sown with clover, turnips, &c., will feed as many sheep as one hundred acres thereof would before have done." The next writer of note is John Mortimer, whose Whole Art of Husbandry, a regular, systematic work of considerable merit, was published in 1707.
From the third edition of Hartlib's Legacie we learn that clover was cut green and given to cattle; and it appears that this practice of soiling, as it is now called, had become very common about the beginning of the 18th century, wherever clover was cultivated. Rye-grass was now sown along with it. Turnips were hand-hoed and extensively employed in feeding sheep and cattle.
The first considerable improvement in the practice of that period was introduced by Jethro Tull, a gentleman of Berkshire, who about the year 1701 invented the drill, and whose Horse- 1 Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 732.
hoeing Husbandry, published in 1731, exhibits the first decided step in advance upon the principles and practices of his predecessors. Not contented with a careful attention to details, Tull set himself, with admirable skill and perseverance, to investigate the growth of plants, and thus to arrive at a knowledge of the principles by which the cultivation of field-crops should be regulated. Having arrived at the conclusion that the food of plants consists of minute particles of earth taken up by their rootlets, it followed that the more thoroughly the soil in which they grew was disintegrated, the more abundant would be the " pasture " (as he called it) to which their fibres would have access. He was thus led to adopt that system of sowing his crops in rows or drills, so wide apart as to admit of tillage of the intervals, both by ploughing and hoeing, being continued until they had well-nigh arrived at maturity. Such reliance did he place in the pulverization of the soil that he grew as many as thirteen crops of wheat on the same field without manure.
As the distance between his rows appeared much greater than was necessary for the range of the roots of the plants, he begins by showing that these roots extend much farther than is commonly believed, and then proceeds to inquire into the nature of their food. After examining several hypotheses, he decides this to be fine particles of earth. The chief and almost the only use of dung, he thinks, is to divide the earth, to dissolve " this terrestrial matter, which affords nutriment to the mouths of vegetable roots "; and this can be done more completely by tillage. It is therefore necessary not only to pulverize the soil by repeated ploughings before it be seeded, but, as it becomes gradually more and more compressed afterwards, recourse must be had to tillage while the plants are growing; and this is hoeing, which also destroys the weeds that would deprive the plants of their nourishment.
The leading features of Tull's husbandry are his practice of laying the land into narrow ridges of 5 or 6 ft., and upon the middle of these drilling one, two, or three rows, distant from one another about 7 in. when there were three, and 10 in. when only two. The distance of the plants on one ridge from those on the contiguous one he called an interval; the distance between the rows on the same ridge, a space or partition; the former was stirred repeatedly by the horse-hoe, the latter by the hand-hoe.
" Hoeing," he says, " may be divided into deep, which is our horse-hoeing; and shallow, which is the English hand-hoeing; and also the shallow horse-hoeing used in some places betwixt rows, where the intervals are very narrow, as 16 or 18 inches. This is but an imitation of the hand-hoe, or a succenadeum to it, and can neither supply the use of dung nor fallow, and may be properly called scratch-hoeing." But in his mode of forming ridges his practice seems to have been original; his implements, especially his drill, display much ingenuity; and his claim to the title of founder of the present horse-hoeing husbandry of Great Britain seems indisputable.
Contemporary with Tull was Charles, a nd Viscount Townshend, a typical representative of the large landowners to whom the strides made by agriculture in the 18th century were due. The class to which he belonged was the only one which could afford to initiate improvements. The bulk of the land was still farmed. by small tenants on the old common-field system, which made it impossible for the individual to adopt a new crop rotation and hindered innovation of every kind. On the other hand, the small farmers who occupied separated holdings were deterred from improving by the fear of a rise in rent. Townshend's belief in the growing of turnips gained him the nickname of " Turnip Townshend." In their cultivation he adopted Tull's practice of drilling and horse-hoeing, and he was also the founder of the Norfolk or four-course system, the first of those rotations which dispense with the necessity of a summer-fallow and provide winter-keep for live-stock (see below, Rotation of Crops). The spread of these principles in Norfolk made it, according to Arthur Young (writing in 1770), one of the best cultivated counties in England. In the latter half of the century another Norfolk farmer, Thomas William Coke of Holkham, earl of Leicester, 1.13 a (1752-1842), figures as a pioneer of high-farming. He was one of the first to use oil-cake and bone-manure, to distinguish the feeding values of grasses, to appreciate to the full the beneficial effects of stock on light lands and to realize the value of long leases as an incentive to good farming.
Of the progress of the art in Scotland, till towards the end of the 17th century, we are almost entirely ignorant. The first Awe work, written by James Donaldson, was printed in culture in 1697, under the title of Husbandry Anatomized; or, Scotland an Inquiry into the Present Manner of Tilling and in the 18th Manuring the Ground in Scotland. It appears from century. this treatise that the state of the art was not more advanced at that time in North Britain than it had been in England in the time of Fitzherbert. Farms were divided into infield and outfield; corn crops followed one another without the intervention of fallow, cultivated herbage or turnips, though something is said about fallowing the outfield; enclosures were very rare; the tenantry had not begun to emerge from a state of great poverty and depression; and the wages of labour, compared with the price of corn, were much lower than at present, though that price, at least in ordinary years, must appear extremely moderate in our times. Leases for a term of years, however, were not uncommon; but the want of capital rendered it impossible for the tenantry to attempt any spirited improvements.
The next work on the husbandry of Scotland is The Countryman's Rudiments, or an Advice to the Farmers in East Lothian, how to labour and improve their Grounds, said to have been written by John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven about the time of the Union, and reprinted in 1723. The author bespeaks the favour of those to whom he addresses himself in the following significant terms: - " Neither shall I affright you with hedging, ditching, marling, chalking, paring and burning, draining, watering and such like, which are all very good improvements indeed, and very agreeable with the soil and situation of East Lothian, but I know ye cannot bear as yet a crowd of improvements, this being only intended to initiate you in the true method and principles of husbandry." The farm-rooms in East Lothian, as in other districts, were divided into infield and outfield.
" The infield (where wheat is sown) is generally divided by the tenant into four divisions or breaks, as they call them, viz. one of wheat, one of barley, one of pease and one of oats, so that the wheat is sowd after the pease, the barley after the wheat and the oats after the barley. The outfield land is ordinarily made use of promiscuously for feeding of their cows, horse, sheep and oxen; 'tis also dunged by their sheep who lay in earthen folds; and sometimes, when they have much of it, they fauch or fallow a part of it yearly." Under this management the produce seems to have been three times the seed; and yet, says the writer, " if in East Lothian they did not leave a higher stubble than in other places of the kingdom, their grounds would be in a much worse condition than at present they are, though bad enough." " A good crop of corn makes a good stubble, and a good stubble is the equalest mucking that is." Among the advantages of enclosures, he observes, " you will gain much more labour from your servants, a great part of whose time was taken up in gathering thistles and other garbage for their horses to feed upon in their stables; and thereby the great trampling and pulling up and other destruction of the corns while they are yet tender will be prevented." Potatoes and turnips are recommended to be sown in the yard (kitchen-garden). Clover does not seem to have been in use. Rents were paid in corn; and for the largest farm, which he thinks should employ no more than two ploughs, the rent was about six chalders of victual " when the ground is very good, and four in that which is not so good. But I am most fully convinced they should take long leases or tacks, that they may not be straitened with time in the improvement of their rooms; and this is profitable both for master and tenant." Such was the state of the husbandry of Scotland in the early part of the 18th century. The first attempts at improvement cannot be traced farther back than 1723, when a number of landholders formed themselves into a society, under the title of the Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland. John, 2nd earl of Stair, one of their most active members, is said to have been the first who cultivated turnips in that country. The Select Transactions of this society were collected and published in 1743 by Robert Maxwell, who took a large part in its proceedings. It is evident from this book that the society had exerted itself with success in introducing cultivated herbage and turnips, as well as in improving the former methods of culture. But there is reason to believe that the influence of the example of its numerous members did not extend to the common tenantry, who not unnaturally were reluctant to adopt the practices of those by whom farming was perhaps regarded as primarily a source of pleasure rather than of profit. Though this society, the earliest probably in the United Kingdom, soon counted upwards of 300 members, it existed little more than 20 years.
In the introductory paper in Maxwell's collection we are told that " The practice of draining, enclosing, summer fallowing, sowing flax, hemp, rape, turnip and grass seeds, planting cabbages after, and potatoes with, the plough, in fields of great extent, is introduced; and that, according to the general opinion, more corn grows now yearly where it was never known to grow before, these twenty years last past, than perhaps a sixth of all that the kingdom was in use to produce at any time before." In 1757 Maxwell issued another work entitled The Practical Husbandman; being a collection of Miscellaneous papers on Husbandry, F&'c. In it the greater part of the Select Transactions is republished, with a number of new papers, among which an Essay on the Husbandry of Scotland, with a proposal for the improvement of it, is the most valuable. In this he lays it down as a rule that it is bad husbandry to take two crops of grain successively, which marks a considerable progress in the knowledge of modern husbandry; though he adds that in Scotland the best husbandmen after a fallow take a crop of wheat; after the wheat, peas; then barley, and then oats; and after that they fallow again. The want of enclosures was still a matter of complaint. The ground continued to be cropped so long as it produced two seeds; the best farmers were contented with four seeds, which was more than the general produce.
The gradual advance in the price of farm produce soon after the year 1760, occasioned by the increase of popula tion and of wealth derived from manufactures and 1760 to 1815.
commerce, gave a powerful stimulus to rural industry, augmented agricultural capital and called forth a more skilful and enterprising race of farmers.
A more rational system of cropping now began to take the place of the thriftless and barbarous practice of sowing successive crops of corn until the land was utterly exhausted, and then leaving it foul with weeds to recover its power by an indefinite period of rest. Green crops, such as turnips, clover and rye grass, began to be alternated with grain crops, whence the name alternate husbandry. The writings of Arthur Young, secretary to the Board of Agriculture, describe the transition from the old to the new agriculture. In many places turnips and clover were still unknown or ignored. Large districts still clung to the old common-field system, to the old habits of ploughing with teams of four or eight, and to slovenly methods of cultivation. Young's condemnation of these survivals was as pronounced as his support of the methods of the large farmers to whom he ascribed the excellence of the husbandry of Kent, Norfolk and Essex. He realized that with the enclosure of the waste lands and the absorption of small into large ho] dings, the commonfield farmer must migrate to the town or become a hired labourer; but he also realized that to feed a rapidly growing industrial population, the land must be improved by draining, marling, manuring and the use of better implements, in short by the investment of the capital which the yeoman farmer, content to feed himself and his own family, did not possess. The enlargement of farms, and in Scotland the letting of them under leases for a considerable term of years, continued to be a marked feature in the agricultural progress of the country until the end of the century, and is to be regarded both as a cause and a consequence of that progress. The passing of some 3500 enclosure bills, affecting between 5 and 5z million acres, during the reign of George III., before which the whole number was between 200 and 250, shows how rapidly the break-up of the common-field husbandry and the cultivation of new land now proceeded. The disastrous American War for a time interfered with the national prosperity; but with the return of peace in 1783 the cultivation of the country made more rapid progress. The quarter of a century immediately following 1760 is memorable for the introduction of various important improvements. It was during this period that the genius of Robert Bakewell produced an extraordinary change in the character of our more important breeds of live stock, more especially by the perfecting of a new race of sheep - the well-known Leicesters. Bakewell's fame as a breeder was for a time enhanced by the improvement which he effected on the Long-horned cattle, then the prevailing breed of the midland counties of England. These, however, were ere long rivalled and afterwards superseded by the Shorthorn or Durham breed, which the brothers Charles and Robert Coiling obtained from the useful race of cattle that had long existed in the valley of the Tees, by applying to them the principle of breeding which Bakewell had already established. To this period also belong George and Matthew Culley - the former a pupil of Bakewellwho left their paternal property on the bank of the Tees and settled on the Northumbrian side of the Tweed, bringing with them the valuable breeds of live stock and improved husbandry of their native district. The improvements introduced by these energetic and skilful farmers spread rapidly, and exerted a most beneficial influence upon the border counties.
From 1784 to 1795 improvements advanced with steady steps. This period was distinguished for the adoption and working out of ascertained improvements. Small's swing plough and Andrew Meikle's threshing-machine, although invented some years before this, were now perfected and brought into general use, to the great furtherance of agriculture. Two important additions were about this time made to the field crops, viz. the Swedish turnip and potato oat. The latter was accidentally discovered in 1788, and both soon came into general cultivation. In the same year Merino sheep were introduced by George III., who was a zealous farmer. For a time this breed attracted much attention, and sanguine expectations were entertained that it would prove of national importance. Its unfitness for the production of mutton, and increasing supplies of fine clothing wool from other countries, soon led to its total rejection.
In Scotland the opening up of the country by the construction of practicable roads, and the enclosing and subdividing of farms by hedge and ditch, was now in active progress. The former admitted of the general use of wheel-carriages, of the ready conveyance of produce to markets, and in particular of the extended use of lime, the application of which was immediately followed by a great increase of produce. The latter, besides its more obvious advantages, speedily freed large tracts of country from stagnant water and their inhabitants from ague, and prepared the way for the underground draining which soon after began to be practised. Dawson of Frogden in Roxburghshire is believed to have been the first who grew turnips as a field crop to any extent. It is on record that as early as 1764 he had loo acres of drilled turnips on his farm in one year. An Act passed in 1770, which relaxed the rigour of strict entails and afforded power to landlords to grant leases and otherwise improve their estates, had a beneficial effect on Scottish agriculture.
The husbandry of the country was thus steadily improving, when suddenly the whole of Europe became involved in the wars of the French Revolution. In 1795, under the joint operation of a deficient harvest and the diminution in foreign supplies of grain owing to outbreak of war, the price of wheat, which, for the twenty preceding years, had been under 50s. a quarter, suddenly rose to 81s. 6d., and in the following year reached 96s. In 1797 the fear of foreign invasion led to a panic and run upon the banks, in which emergency the Bank Restriction Act, suspending cash payment, was passed, and ushered in a system of unlimited credit transactions. Under the unnatural stimulus of these extra ordinary events, every branch of industry extended with unexampled rapidity. But in nothing was this so apparent as in agriculture; the high prices of produce holding out a great inducement to improve lands then arable, to reclaim others that had previously lain waste, and to bring much pasture-land under the plough. Nor did this increased tillage interfere with the increase of live stock, as the green crops of the alternate husbandry more than compensated for the diminished pasturage. This extraordinary state of matters lasted from 1795 to 1814, the prices of produce even increasing towards the close of that period. The average price of wheat for the whole period was 89s. 7d. per quarter; but for the last five years it was 1075., and in 1812 it reached 126s. 6d. The agriculture of Great Britain, as a whole, advanced with rapid strides during this period; hint nowhere was the change so great as in Scotland. Indeed, its progress there, during these twenty years, is probably without parallel in the history of any other country. This is accounted for by a concurrence of circumstances. Previous to this period the husbandry of Scotland was still in a backward state as compared with the best districts of England, where many practices, only of recent introduction in the north, had been in general use for generations. This disparity made the subsequent contrast the more striking. The land in Scotland was now, with trifling exceptions, let on leases for terms varying from twenty to thirty years, and in farms of sufficient size to employ at the least two or three ploughs. The unlimited issues of government paper and the security afforded by these leases induced the Scottish banks to afford every facility to landlords and tenants to embark capital in the improvement of the land. The substantial education supplied by the parish schools, of which nearly the whole population could then avail themselves, had diffused through all ranks such a measure of intelligence as enabled them promptly to discern and skilfully and energetically to take advantage of this spring-tide of prosperity, and to profit by the agricultural information now plentifully furnished by means of the Bath and West of England Society, established in 1777; the Highland Society, instituted in 1784; and the National Board of Agriculture, in 1793.
The restoration of peace to Europe, and the re-enactment of the Corn Laws in 1815, mark the beginning of another era in the history of agriculture. The sudden return to peace- 1815 to prices was followed by a time of severe depression, low 1875. wages, diminished rents and bad farming. The fall in prices was aggravated, first by the unpropitious weather and deficient harvest of the years 1816, 1817, and still more by the passing in 181 9 of the bill restoring cash payments, which, coming into operation in 1821, caused serious embarrassment to all persons who had entered into engagements at a depreciated currency, which had now to be met with the lower prices of an enhanced one. The frequency of select-committees and commissions, which sat in 1814, 1821 and 1822, 1833 and 1836, testifies to the gravity of the crisis. The years 1830-1833 are especially memorable for a disastrous outbreak of sheep-rot and for agrarian outrages, caused partly by the dislike of the labourers to the introduction of agricultural machines.
During this period of depression, which lasted till the 'forties, want of confidence prevented any general improvement in agricultural methods. At the same time, certain developments destined to exercise considerable influence in later times are to be noted. Before the close of the 18th century, and during the first quarter of the 19th, a good deal had been done in the way of draining the land, either by open ditches or by James Elkington's system of deep covered drains. In 1834 James Smith of Deanston promulgated his system of thorough draining and deep ploughing, the adoption of which immeasurably improved the clay lands of the country. The early years of the reign of Queen Victoria witnessed the strengthening of the union between agriculture and chemistry. The Board of Agriculture in 1803 had commissioned Sir Humphry Davy to deliver a course of lectures on the connexion of chemistry with vegetable physiology. In 1840 the appearance of Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture and Physiology by Justus von Liebig set on foot a movement in favour of scientific husbandry, the most notable outcome of which was the establishment by Sir John Bennet Lawes in 1843 of the experimental station of Rothamsted. Since Blith's time bone was the one new fertilizer that had come into use. Nitrate of soda, Peruvian guano and superphosphate of lime in the form of bones dissolved by sulphuric acid were now added to the list of manures, and the practice of analysing soils became more general. Manual labour in farming operations began to be superseded by the use of drills, hay-makers and horse-rakes, chaff-cutters and root-pulpers. The reaping-machine, invented in 1812 by John Common, improved upon by the Rev. Patrick Bell in England and by Cyrus H. McCormick and others in America, and finally perfected about 1879 by the addition of an efficient self-binding apparatus, is the most striking example of the application of mechanics to agriculture. Improvements in the plough, harrow and roller were introduced, adapting those implements to different soils and purposes. The steam-engine first took the place of horses as a threshing power in 1803, but it was not until after 1850 that it was applied to the plough and cultivator. The employment of agricultural machines received considerable impetus from the Great Exhibition of 1851. The much-debated Corn Laws, after undergoing various modifications, and proving the fruitful source of business uncertainty, social discontent and angry partisanship, were finally abolished in 1846, although the act was not consummated until three years later. Several other acts of the legislature passed during this period exerted a beneficial influence on agriculture. Of these, the first in date and importance is the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836. Improvement was also stimulated by the Public Money Drainage Acts 1846-1856, under which government was empowered to advance money on certain conditions for the improvement of estates. Additional facilities were granted by the act passed in 1848 for disentailing estates, and for burdening such as are entailed with the share of the cost of certain specified improvements.
Meanwhile much had been done in the organization of agricultural knowledge. Mention has already been made of the institution of the Highland Society and the National Board of Agriculture. These institutions were the means of collecting a vast amount of statistical and general information connected with agriculture, and by their publications and premiums made known the practices of the best-farmed districts and encouraged their adoption elsewhere. These associations were soon aided in their important labours by numerous local societies which sprang up in all parts of the kingdom. After a highly useful career, under the presidency till 1813 of Sir John Sinclair, the Board of Agriculture was dissolved in 1819, but left in its statistical account, county surveys and other documents much interesting and valuable information regarding the agriculture of the period. In 1800 the original Farmers' Magazine came into existence under the editorship of Robert Brown of Markle, the author of the well-known treatise on Rural Affairs. The Highland Society having early extended its operations to the whole of Scotland, by and by made a corresponding addition to its title, and as the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland gradually extended its operations. In 1828, shortly after the discontinuance of the Farmers' Magazine, its Prize Essays and Transactions began to be issued statedly in connexion with the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture. This society early began td hold a great show of live stock, implements, &c. In 1842 certain Midlothian tenant-farmers had the merit of originating an Agricultural Chemistry Association (the first of its kind), by which funds were raised for the purpose of conducting such investigations as the title of the society implies. After a successful trial of a few years this association was dissolved, transferring its functions to the Highland and Agricultural Society.
In England the Agricultural Society was founded in 1838, with the motto " Practice with Science," and shortly afterwards incorporated by royal charter. In 1845 the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester was incorporated. This era of revival was not, however, without its calamities. The foot-and-mouth disease first appeared about 1840, having been introduced, as is supposed, by foreign cattle. It spread rapidly over the country, affecting all domesticated animals except horses, and although seldom attended by fatal results, caused everywhere great alarm and loss. It was soon followed by the more terrible lung-disease, or pleuro-pneumonia. In 1865 the rinderpest, or steppe murrain, originating amongst the vast herds of the Russian steppes, had spread westward over Europe, until it was brought to London by foreign cattle. Several weeks elapsed before the true character of the disease was known, and in this brief space it had already been carried by animals purchased in Smithfield market to all parts of the country. After causing the most frightful losses, it was at last stamped out by the resolute slaughter of all affected animals and of all that had been in contact with them. Severe as were the losses in flocks and herds from these imported diseases, they were eclipsed by the ravages of the mysterious potato blight, which, first appearing in 1845, pervaded the whole of Europe, and in Ireland especially proved the precursor of famine and pestilence.
A short period of low prices followed the repeal of the Corn Laws, wheat averaging only 38s. 6d. a quarter in 1851, but the years from 1852 to 1875 were the most prosperous of the century. The letters written by Sir James Caird to The Times during 1850, and republished in 1852 under the title English Agriculture in 1850-1851, give a general review of English agriculture at the time. The scientific and mechanical improvements of the first half of the century were widely adopted, while the prices of the protectionist period showed little decline. Amelioration in all breeds of domesticated animals was manifested, not so much in the production of individual specimens of high merit as in the diffusion of these and other good breeds over the country, and in the improved quality of live stock as a whole. The fattening of animals was conducted on more scientific principles. Increased attention was successfully bestowed on the improvement of field crops. Improved varieties, obtained by cross-impregnation either naturally or artificially brought about, were carefully propagated and generally adopted, and increased attention was bestowed on the cultivation of the natural grasses. 'The most important additions to the list of field crops were Italian rye-grass, winter beans, white Belgian carrot and alsike clover.
The last quarter of the 19th century proved, however, a fateful period for British agriculture. The great future that seemed to await the application of steam power to the tillage of the soil proved illusory. The clay soils of England, Agricul- the latent fertility of which was to be brought into 187 since Y g I sis. play in a fashion that should mightily augment the home-grown supplies of food, remained intractable, and the extent of land devoted to the cultivation of corn crops, instead of expanding, diminished in a marked degree. British farmers of long experience look back to 1874 as the last of the really good years, and consider that the palmy days of British agriculture began to dwindle at about that time. The shadow of the approaching depression had already fallen upon the land before the year 1875 had run its course, and the outlook became ominous as the decade of the 'seventies neared its close. One memorable feature was associated with 1877 in that this was the last year in which the dreaded cattle plague (rinderpest) made its appearance in England. The same year, 1877, was the last also in which the annual average price of English wheat (then 56s. 9d.) exceeded 50s. a quarter. With declining prices for farm produce came that year of unhappy memory, 1879, when persistent rains and an almost sunless summer ruined the crops and reduced many farmers to a state of destitution. Much of the grain was never harvested, whilst owing mainly to the excessive floods there commenced an outbreak of liver-rot in sheep, due to the ravages of the fluke parasite. This continued for several years, and the mortality was so great that its adverse effects upon the ovine population of the country were still perceptible ten years afterwards. A fall in rents was the necessary sequel of the agricultural distress, to inquire into which a royal commission was appointed in 1879, under the chairmanship of the duke of Richmond and Gordon. Its report, published in 1882, testified to " the great extent and intensity of the distress which has fallen upon the agricultural community. Owners and occupiers have alike suffered from it. No description of estate or tenure has been exempted. The owner in fee and life tenant, the occupier, whether of large or of small holding, whether under lease, or custom, or agreement, or the provisions of the Agricultural Holdings Act - all without distinction have been involved in a general calamity." The two most prominent causes assigned for the depression were bad seasons and foreign competition, aggravated by the increased cost of production and the heavy losses of live stock. Abundant evidence was forthcoming as to the extent to which agriculture had been injuriously affected " by an unprecedented succession of bad seasons." As regards the pressure of foreign competition, it was stated to be greatly in excess of the anticipations of the supporters, and of the apprehensions of the opponents of the repeal of the Corn Laws. Whereas formerly the farmer was to some extent compensated by a higher price for a smaller yield, in recent years he had had to compete with an unusually large supply at greatly reduced prices. On the other hand, he had enjoyed the advantage of an extended supply of feeding-stuffs - such as maize, linseedcake and cotton-cake - and of artificial manures imported from abroad. The low price of agriculturalproduce, beneficial though it might be to the general community, had lessened the ability of the land to bear the proportion of taxation which had heretofore been imposed upon it. The legislative outcome of the findings of this royal commission was the Agricultural Holdings Act 1883, a measure which continued in force in its entirety till 1901, when a new act came into operation.
The apparently hopeless outlook for corn-growing compelled farmers to cast about for some other means of subsistence, and to rely more than they had hitherto done upon the possibilities of stock-breeding. It was in particular the misfortunes of the later 'seventies that gave the needed fillip to that branch of stock-farming concerned with the production of milk, butter and cheese, and from this period may be said to date the revival of the dairying industry, which received a powerful impetus through the introduction of the centrifugal cream separator, and was fostered by the British Dairy Farmers' Association (formed in 1875). The generally wet character of the seasons in 1879 and the two or three years following was mainly responsible for the high prices of meat, so that the supplies of fresh beef and mutton from Australia which now began to arrive found a ready market, and the trade in imported fresh meat which was thus commenced has practically continued to expand ever since. The great losses arising from spoilt hay crops served to stimulate experimental inquiry into the method of preserving green fodder known as ensilage, with the result that the system eventually became successfully incorporated in the ordinary routine of agricultural practice. A contemporaneous effort in the direction of drying hay by artificial means led to nothing of practical importance. By 1882 the cry as to land going out of cultivation became loud and general, and the migration of the rural population into the towns in search of work continued unchecked (see below, Agricultural Population). In 1883 foot-and-mouth disease was terribly rampant amongst the herds and flocks of Great Britain, and was far more prevalent than it has ever been since. It was about this time that the first experiments were made (in Germany) with basic slag, a material which had hitherto been regarded as a worthless by-product of steel manufacture.
A year or two later field trials were begun in England, with the final result that basic slag has become recognized as a valuable source of phosphorus for growing crops, and is now in constant demand for application to the soil as a fertilizer.
In 1883 the veterinary department of the Privy Council - which had been constituted in 1865 when the country was ravaged by cattle plague - was abolished by order in council, and the " Agricultural Department " was substituted, but no alteration was effected in the work of the department, so far as it related to animals. In 1889 the Board of Agriculture (for Great Britain) was formed under an act of parliament of that year (see Agriculture, Board Of). The election took place in the same year (1889) of the first county councils, and the allotment to them of various sums of money under the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Act 1890 enabled local provision to be made for the promotion of technical instruction in agriculture (see below, Agricultural Education). It was about this time that the value of a mixture of lime and sulphate of copper (bouillie bordelaise), sprayed in solution upon the growing plants, came to be recognized as a check upon the ravages of potato disease.
The general experience of the decade of the 'eighties was that of disappointing summers, harsh winters, falling prices, declining rents and the shrinkage of land values. It is true that one season of the series, that of 1887, was hot and droughty, but the following summer was exceedingly wet. Nevertheless, the decade closed more hopefully than it opened, and found farmers taking a keener interest in grass land, in live stock and in dairying. Cattle-breeders did well in 1889, but sheep-breeders fared better; on the other hand, owing to receding prices, corngrowers were more disheartened than ever. With the incoming of the last decade of the century there seemed to be some justifiable hopes of the dawn of better times, but they were speedily doomed to disappointment. In 1891 excessively heavy autumn rains washed the arable soils to such an extent that the next season's corn crops were below average. Wheat in particular was a poor crop in 1892, and the low yield was associated with falling prices due to large imports. The hay crop was very inferior, and in some cases it was practically ruined. This gave a stimulus to the trade in imported hay, which rose from 61,237 tons in 1892 to 263,050 tons in 1893, and despite some large home-grown crops in certain subsequent years (1897 and 1898) this expansion has never since been wholly lost.
The misfortunes of 1892 proved to be merely a preparation for the disasters of 1893, in which year occurred the most destructive drought within living memory. Its worst effects were seen upon the light land farms of England, and so deplorable was the position that a royal commission on agricultural depression was appointed in September of that year under the chairmanship of Mr Shaw Lefevre (afterwards Lord Eversley). Thus, within the last quarter of the 19th century - and, as a matter of fact, only fourteen years apart - two royal commissions on agriculture were appointed, the one in a year of memorable flood, 1879, and the other in a year of disastrous drought, 1893. The report of the commission of 1893 was issued in March 1896. Amongst its chief recommendations were those relating to amendments in the Agricultural Holdings Acts, and to tithe rentcharge, railway rates, damage by game, sale of adulterated products, and sale of imported goods (meat, for example) as home produce. Two legislative enactments arose out of the work of this commission. In the majority report it was stated " that, in order to place agricultural lands in their right position as compared with other ratable properties, it is essential that they should be assessed to all local rates in a reduced proportion of their ratable value." The Agricultural Rates Act 1896 gave effect to this recommendation. Its objects were to relieve agricultural land from half the local rates, and to provide the means of making good out of imperial funds the deficiency in local taxation caused thereby. It was provided that the act should continue in force only till the 31st of March 1902, but a further act in 1901 extended the period by four years, and in 1905 its operation was extended to the 31st of March 1910. The other measure arising out of the report of the royal commission of 1893 was the Agricultural Holdings Act 1900. This was an amending act and not a consolidating act; consequently it had to be read as if incorporated into the already existing acts. As affecting agricultural practice there were three noteworthy improvements in respect of the making of which, without the consent of or notice to his landlord, a tenant might claim compensation - (1) the consumption on the holding " by horses, other than those regularly employed on the holding," of corn, cake or other feeding-stuff not produced on the holding; (2) the "consumption on the holding by cattle, sheep, or pigs, or by horses other than those regularly employed on the holding, of corn proved by satisfactory evidence to have been produced and consumed on the holding "; (3) " laying down temporary pasture with clover, grass, lucerne, sainfoin or other seeds sown more than two years prior to the determination of the tenancy." A further act was passed in 1906 (the Agricultural Holdings Act 1906) which improved the tenant's position in respect of freedom of cropping, disposal of produce and compensation for disturbance.
After 1894, in which year the brilliant prospects of a bountiful harvest were ultimately extinguished by untimely and heavy rains, all the remaining seasons of the closing decade of the 19th century were dominated by drought. A fact that was amply illustrated, moreover, is that the period of incidence of a drought is not less important than its duration, and the same is true of abnormal rainfall. A spring drought, a summer drought, an autumn drought, each has its distinctive characteristics in so far as the effect upon the crops is concerned. The hot drought of 1893 extended over the spring and summer months, but there was an abundant rainfall in the autumn; correspondingly there was an unprecedentedly bad yield of corn and hay crops, but a moderately fair yield of the main root crops (turnips and swedes). In 1899 the drought became most intense in the autumn after the corn crops had been harvested, but during the chief period, of growth of the root crops; correspondingly the corn crops of that year rank very well amongst the crops of the decade, but the yield of turnips and swedes was the worst on record. It is quite possible for a hot dry season to be associated with a large yield of corn, provided the drought is confined to a suitable period, as was the case in 1896 and still more so in 1898; the English wheat crops in those years were probably the biggest in yield per acre that had been harvested since 1868, which is always looked back upon as a remarkable year for wheat. The drought of 1898 was interrupted by copious rains in June, and these falling on a warm soil led to a rapid growth of grass and, as measured by yield per acre, an exceedingly heavy crop of hay.
With the exceptions of 1891 and 1894, every year in the period 1891-1900 was stricken by drought. The two meteorological events of the decade which will probably live longest in the recollection were, however, the terrible drought of 1893, resulting in a fodder famine in the succeeding winter, and the severe frost of ten weeks' duration at the beginning of 1895. Between these two occurrences came the disastrous decline in the value of grain in the autumn of 1894, when the weekly average price of English wheat fell to the record minimum of 17s. 6d. per imperial quarter. As a consequence, the extent of land devoted to wheat in the British Isles receded in 1895 to less than i 2 million acres. The year 1903 was memorable for a very heavy rainfall, comparable though not equal in its disastrous effects to that of 1879. Successful trials of sulphate of copper solution as a means of destroying charlock in corn crops took place in the years 1898-1900. Charlock is a most persistent cruciferous weed, but if sprayed when young with the solution named it is killed, the corn plants being uninjured. In 1901 the formation of the Agricultural Organization Society marked the first systematic attempt to organize co-operation among the farmers of Great Britain. In the subsequent years the principle, which had already made great progress in Ireland, began to obtain a hold in England and Wales, where, in 1906, there were 145 local co-operative societies with a turn-over of £350,000.
Amongst legislative measures of importance to agriculturists mention should be made, in addition to those that have been referred to, of the Tithe Rent-charge Recovery Act 1891, which transfers the liability for payment of tithe from the occupier to the owner. In the same year was passed the Markets and Fairs (Weighing of Cattle) Act. The object of the Small Holdings Act 1892 was to facilitate the acquisition of small agricultural holdings. It provided that a county council might acquire any suitable land, with the object of allotting from one to fifty acres, or, if more than fifty acres, of an annual value not exceeding £50, to persons who desired to buy, and would themselves cultivate, the holdings. If, owing to proximity to a town or otherwise, the prospective value were too high, the council might hire such land for the purpose of letting it. (See Allotments And Small Hold Ings for this and other acts.) The Fertilizers and Feeding Stuffs Act 1893 compelled sellers of fertilizers (i.e. manures), manufactured or imported, to state the percentage of the nitrogen, of the soluble and insoluble phosphates, and of the potash in each article sold, and this statement was to have the effect of a warranty. Similar stringent conditions applied as regards the sale of feeding-stuffs for live stock. The Fertilizers and Feeding Stuffs Act 1906, amending and re-enacting the act of 1893, provided for the compulsory appointment by county councils of official samplers. It also provides penalties for breaches of duty by the seller, but grants him protection in cases where he is not morally responsible. The Finance Act of 1894, with its great changes in the death duties, overshadowed all other acts of that year both in its immediate effects and in its far-reaching consequences. The Copyhold Consolidation Act 1894 supersedes six previous copyhold statutes, but does not effect any alteration in the law concerning enfranchisement. The Diseases of Animals Act 1896 provided for the compulsory slaughter of imported live stock at the place of landing. The Light Railways Act and the Locomotives on Highways Act were added to the statute book in 1896, and various clauses in the Finance Act effected reforms in respect of the death duties, the land-tax, farmers' income-tax and the beer duty. The Chaff-cutting Machines (Accidents) Act 1897 is a measure very similar in its intention to the Threshing Machines Act 1878, and provides for the automatic prevention of accidents to persons in charge of chaff-cutting machines. The Sale of Food and Drugs Act 1899 has special reference in its earlier sections to the trade in dairy produce and margarine. In 1899 was also passed the act establishing the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Ireland.
The year 1900 saw the passing of a Workmen's Compensation Act, which extended the benefits of the act of 1897 to agricultural. labourers.
Acreage and Yields of British Crops. The most notable feature in connexion with the cropping of the land of the United Kingdom between 1875 and 1905 was the lessened cultivation of the cereal crops associated with an expansion in the area of grass land. At the beginning of the period the aggregate area under wheat, barley and oats was nearly 102 million acres; at the close it did not amount to 8 million acres. There was thus a withdrawal during the period of over 22 million acres from cereal cultivation. From Table I., showing the acreages at intervals of five years, it will be learnt that the loss fell chiefly upon the wheat crop, which at the close of the period Table - Areas of Cereal Crops in the United Kingdom - Acres. occupied barely more than half the area assigned to it at the beginning. If the land taken from wheat had been cropped with one or both of the other cereals, the aggregate area would have remained about the same. This, however, was not the case, for a fairly uniform decrease in the barley area was accompanied by somewhat irregular fluctuations in the acreage of oats. To the decline in prices of home-grown cereals the decrease in area is largely attributable. The extent of this decline is seen in Table II., wherein are given the annual average prices from 1875 to 1905, calculated upon returns from the 190 statutory markets of England and Wales (Corn Returns Act 1882). These prices are per imperial quarter, - that is, 480 lb of wheat, 400 lb of barley and 312 lb of oats, representing 60 lb, 50 lb and 39 lb per bushel respectively. After 1883 the annual average price of English wheat was never so high as 40s. per quarter, and only twice after 1892 did it exceed 30s. In one of these exceptional years, 1898, the average rose to 34s., but this was due entirely to a couple of months of inflated prices in the early half of the year, when the outbreak of war between Spain and the United States of America coincided with a huge speculative deal in the latter country. The Table II. - Gazette Annual Average Prices per Imperial Quarter of British Cereals in England and Wales, 1875-1905.
weekly average prices of English wheat in 1898 fluctuated between 48s. id. and 25s. 5d. per quarter, the former being the highest weekly average since 1882. The minimum annual average was 22S. I od. in 1894, in the autumn of which year the weekly average sank to 17s. 6d. per quarter, the lowest on record. Wheat was so great a glut in the market that various methods were devised for feeding it to stock, a purpose for which it is not specially suited; in thus utilizing the grain, however, a smaller loss was often incurred than in sending it to market. In 1894 the monthly average price for October, the chief month for wheat-sowing in England, was only 17s. 8d. per quarter, and farmers naturally shrank from seeding the land freely with a crop which could not be grown except at a heavy loss. The result was that in the following year the wheat crop of the United Kingdom was harvested upon the smallest area on record - less than 12 million acres. In only one year, 1878, did the annual average price of English barley touch 40s. per quarter; it never reached 30s. after 1885, whilst in 1895 it fell to so low a level as 21s. I Id. The same story of declining prices applies to oats. An average of 20S. per quarter was touched in 1891 and 1902, but with those exceptions this useful feeding grain did not reach that figure after 1885. In 1895 the average price of 480 lb of wheat, at 23s. id., was identical with that of 312 lb of oats in 1880, and it was less in the preceding year. The declining prices that have operated against the growers of wheat should be studied in conjunction with Table III., which shows, at intervals of five years, the imports of TABLE III. - Imports into the United Kingdom of Wheat Grain, and of Wheat Meal and Flour - Cwt. wheat grain and of wheat meal and flour into the United Kingdom. The import of the manufactured product from 1875 to 1900 increased at a much greater ratio than that of the raw grain, for whilst in 1875 the former represented less than one-ninth of the total, by 1900 the proportion had risen to nearly one-fourth. The offal, which is quite as valuable as the flour itself, was thus retained abroad instead of being utilized for stock-feeding purposes in the United Kingdom. In the five subsequent years the proportion was fundamentally altered, so that with a greatly increased importation of grain, that of meal and flour was in the proportion of about one-ninth. The highest and lowest areas of wheat, barley and oats in the United Kingdom during the period 1875-1905 were the following: Wheat. 3,514,088 acres in 1875; 1,407,618 acres in 1904. Barley. 2 ,93 1, 80 9 ï¿½ ï¿½ 18 79; 1, 8 7 2 ,3 0 5 ï¿½ ï¿½ 1905.
Oats. 4,5 2 7, 8 99 ï¿½ ï¿½ 18 95; 3,998,200 ï¿½ ï¿½ 1879.
These show differences amounting to 2,106,470 acres for wheat, 1,059,504 acres for barley, and 529,699 acres for oats. The acreage of wheat, therefore, fluctuated the most, and that of oats the least. Going back to 1869, it is found that the extent of wheat in that year was 3,981,989 acres or very little short of four million acres.
The acreage of rye grown in the United Kingdom as a grain crop is small, the respective maximum and minimum areas during the period 1875-1905 having been 102,676 acres in 1894 and 47,937 acres in 1880. Rye is perhaps more largely grown as a green crop to be fed off by sheep, or cut green for soiling, in the spring months.
Of corn crops other than cereals, beans and peas are both less cultivated than formerly. In the period 1875-1905 the area of beans in the United Kingdom fluctuated between 574,414 acres in 1875 and 230,429 acres in 1897, and that of peas between 318,410 acres in 1875 and 155,668 acres in 1901. The area of peas (175,624 acres in 1905) shrank by nearly one-half, and that of beans (256,383 acres in 1905) by more than one-half. Taking cereals and pulse corn together, the aggregate areas of wheat, barley, oats, rye, beans and peas in the United Kingdom varied as follows over the six quinquennial intervals embraced in the period 1875-1905: - Year. Acres. Year. Acres.
18 75.11,399,030 1890.9,574,249 1880.10,672,086 1895 ï¿½ 8,865,338 1885.. 10,014,625 1900.8,707,602 1905.8,333,770 Disregarding minor fluctuations, there was thus a loss of corn land over the 30 years of 3,065,260 acres, or 27%. The area withdrawn from corn-growing is not to be found under the head of what are termed " green crops." In 1905 the total area of these crops in the United Kingdom was 4,144,374 acres, made up thus: Crop. Acres.
Potatoes. .. 1,236,768 Turnips and swedes. 1,879,384 Cabbage, kohl-rabi and rape 225,315 Vetches or tares 139,285 Other green crops. 186,082 The extreme aggregate areas of these crops during the thirty years were 5,057,029 acres in 1875 and 4, 1 09,394 acres in 1904. At five-year intervals the areas were: - These crops, therefore, which, except potatoes, are used mainly for stock-feeding, have like the corn crops been grown on gradually diminishing areas.
The land that has been lost to the plough is found to be still further augmented when an inquiry is instituted into the area devoted to clover, sainfoin and grasses under rotation. The areas of five-year intervals are given in Table IV. Under the old Norfolk or four-course rotation (roots, barley, clover, wheat) land thus seeded with clover or grass seeds was intended to be ploughed up at the end of a year. Labour difficulties, low prices of produce, bad seasons and similar causes provided inducements for leaving the land in grass for two years, or over three years or more, before breaking it up for wheat. In many cases it would be decided to let such land remain under grass indefinitely, and thus it would no longer be enumerated in the Agricultural Returns as temporary grass land, but would pass into the category of permanent grass land, or what is often spoken of as " permanent pasture." Whilst much grass land has been laid down with the intention from the outset that it should be permanent, at the same time some considerable areas have through stress of circumstances been allowed to drift from the temporary or rotation grass area to the permanent list, and have thus still further diminished the area formerly under the dominion of the plough. The column relating to permanent grass in Table IV. shows clearly enough how the British Isles became TABLE IV.-Areas of Grass Land (excluding Heath and Mountain Land) in the United Kingdom-Acres. more pastoral, while the figures already given demonstrate the extent to which they became less arable. In the period 18 751905 the extreme areas returned as " permanent pasture "-a term which, it should be clearly understood, does not include heath or mountain land, of which there are in Great Britain alone about 13 million acres used for grazing-were 23,772,602 acres in 1875, and 28,865,373 acres in 1905. Comparing 1905 with 1875 the increase in permanent grass land amounted to over five million acres, or about 21%.
On account of the greater humidity and mildness of its climate, Ireland is more essentially a pastoral country than Great Britain. The distribution between the two islands of such important crops of arable land as cereals and potatoes is indicated in Table V. The figures are those for 1905, but, though the absolute acreages Table -Areas of Cereal and Potato Crops in Great Britain and Ireland in 1905.
vary somewhat from year to year, there is not much variation in the proportions. The comparative insignificance of Ireland in the case of the wheat and barley crops, represented by 2 and 8% respectively, receives some compensation when oats and potatoes are considered, about one-fourth of the area of the former and more than half that of the latter being claimed by Ireland. It is noteworthy, however, that Ireland year by year places less reliance upon the potato crop. In 1888 the area of potatoes in Ireland was 804,566 acres, but it continuously contracted each year, until in 1905 it was only 616,755 acres, or 187,811 acres less than 17 years previously.
A similar comparison for the several sections of Great Britain, as set forth in Table VI., shows that to England belong about 95% of the wheat area, over 80% of the barley area, over 60% of the oats area, and over 70% of the potato area, and these proportions do not vary much from year to year. The figures for cereals are important, as they indicate that it is the farmers of England who are the chief sufferers through the diminishing prices of corn; and particularly is this true of East Anglia, where corn-growing is more largely pursued than in anyother part of the Table Vi. A reas of Cereal and Potato Crops in England, Wales and Scotland, and in Great Britain, in 1905.
country. Scotland possesses nearly one-third of the area of oats and nearly one-fourth of that of potatoes. Beans are almost entirely confined to England, and this is even more the case with peas. The mangel crop also is mainly English, the summer in most parts of Scotland being neither long enough nor warm enough to bring it to maturity.
The Produce of British Crops. Whilst the returns relating to the acreage of crops and the number of live stock in Great Britain have been officially collected in each year since 1866, the annual official estimates of the produce of the crops in the several sections of the kingdom do not extend back beyond 1885. The practice is for the Board of Agriculture to appoint local estimators, who report in the autumn as to the total production of the crops in the localities respectively assigned to them. By dividing the total production, say of wheat, in each county by the number of acres of wheat as returned by the occupiers on June 4, the estimated average yield per acre is obtained. It is important to notice that the figures relating to total production and yield per acre are only estimates, and it is not claimed for them that they are anything more. The fact that much of the wheat to which the figures apply is still in the stack after the publication of the figures shows that the latter are essentially estimates. The total produce of any crop in a given year must depend mainly upon the acreage grown, whilst the average yield per acre will be determined chiefly by the character of the season. In Table VII. are shown, in thousands TABLE VI Estimated Annual Total Produce of Corn Crops in the United Kingdom, 1890-1905-Thousands of Bushels. of bushels, the estimated produce of the corn crops of the United Kingdom in the years 18 9 0-1905. The largest area of wheat in the period was that of 1890, and the smallest was that of 1904; the same two years are seen to have been respectively those of highest and lowest total produce. It is noteworthy that in 1895 the country produced about half as much wheat as in any one of the years 1890, 1891 and 1898. The produce of barley, like that of oats, is less irregular than that of wheat, the extremes for barley being 80, 794,000 bushels (1890) and 62,453,000 bushels (1904), and those for oats 190,863,000 bushels (1894) and 161,17 5,000 bushels (1901). Similar details for potatoes, roots and hay, brought together in Table VIII., show that the TABLE VIII.-Estimated Annual Total Produce of Potatoes, Roots and Hay in the United Kingdom, 1890-1905-Thousands of Tons. production of potatoes varies much from year to year. The imports of potatoes into the United Kingdom vary, to some extent inversely; thus, the low production in 1897 was accompanied by an increase of imports from 3,921,205 cwt. in 1897 to 6,751,728 cwt. in 1898. No very great reliance can be placed upon the figures relating to turnips (which include swedes), as these are mostly fed to sheep on the ground, so that the estimates as to yield are necessarily vague. Mangels are probably more closely estimated, as these valuable roots are carted and stored for subsequent use for feeding stock. Under hay are included the produce of clover, sainfoin and rotation grasses, and also that of permanent meadow. The extent to which the annual production of the leading fodder crop may vary is shown in the table by the two consecutive years 1893 and 1894; from only nine million tons in the former year the production rose to upwards of fifteen million tons in the latter, an increase of over 70%.
Turning to the average yields per acre, as ascertained by dividing the number of acres into the total produce, the results of a decade are collected in Table IX. The effects of a prolonged [[Table Ix]].-Estimated Annual Average Yield per Acre of Crops in spring and summer drought, like that of 1893, are exemplified in the circumstance that four corn crops and the two hay crops all registered very low average yields that year, viz. wheat 26ï¿½08 bushels, barley 2 9.3 o bushels, oats 38.14 bushels, beans 19.61 bushels, rotation hay 23.55 cwt., permanent hay 20.41 cwt. On the other hand, the season of 1898 was exceptionally favourable to cereals and to hay. The effects of a prolonged autumn drought, as distinguished from spring and summer drought, are shown in the very low yield of turnips in 1899. Mangels are sown earlier and have a longer period of growth than turnips; if they become well established in the summer they are less susceptible to autumn drought. The hay made from clover, sainfoin and grasses under rotation generally gives a bigger average yield than that from permanent grass land. The mean values at the foot of the table-they are not, strictly speaking, exact averages-indicate the average yields per acre in the United Kingdom to be about 31 bushels of wheat, 33 bushels of barley, 40 bushels of oats, 28 bushels of beans, 26 bushels of peas, 44 tons of potatoes, 134 tons of turnips and swedes, 184 tons of mangels, 32 cwt. of hay from temporary grass, and 29 cwt. of hay from permanent grass. Although enormous single crops of mangels [[Table X]].--Decennial Average Yields in Great Britain of Wheat, Barley and Oats-Bushels per acre. are sometimes grown, amounting occasionally to loo tons per acre, the general average yield of 184 tons is about 5 tons more than that of turnips and swedes. Again, although from the richest old permanent meadow-lands very heavy crops of hay are taken season after season, the general average yield of permanent grass is about 3 cwt. of hay per acre less than that from clover, sainfoin and grasses under rotation. The general average yields of the corn crops are not fairly comparable one with the other, because they are given by measure and not by weight, whereas the weight per bushel varies considerably. For purposes of comparison it would be much better if the yields of corn crops were estimated in cwt. per acre. This, indeed, is the practice in Ireland, and in order to incorporate the Irish figures with those for Great Britain so as to obtain average values for the United Kingdom, the Irish yields are calculated into bushels at the rate of 60 lb to the bushel of wheat, of beans and of peas, 50 lb to the bushel of barley and 39 lb to the bushel of oats. The figure denoting the general average yield per acre of any class of crop needs readjustment after every successive harvest. If a decennial period be taken, then-for the purpose of the new calculation -the earliest year is omitted and the latest year added, the number of years continuing at ten. Adopting this course in the case of the cereal crops of Great Britain the decennial averages recorded in Table X. are obtained, the period 1885-1894 being the earliest decade for which the official figures are available. It thus appears that the average yield of wheat in Great Britain, as calculated upon the crops harvested during the ten years (1896-1905), exceeded 31 bushels to the acre, whereas, for the ten years ended 1895, it fell below 29 bushels. A large expansion in the acreage of the wheat crop would probably be attended by a decline in the average yield per acre, for when a United Kingdom, 1895-1904. crop is shrinking in area the tendency is to withdraw from it first the land least suited to its growth. The general average for the United Kingdom might then recede to rather less than 28 bushels of 60 lb per bushel, which was for a long time the accepted average - unless, of course, improved methods of cultivating and manuring the soil were to increase its general wheat-yielding capacity.' Crops and Cropping. The greater freedom of cropping and the less close adherence to the formal system of rotation of crops, which characterize the early years of the 10th century, rest upon a scientific basis. Experimental inquiry has done much to enlighten the farmer as to the requirements of plant-life, and to enable him to see how best to meet these requirements in the case of field crops. He cannot afford to ignore the results that have been gradually accumulated - the truths that have been slowly established - at the agricultural experiment stations in various parts of the world. Of these stations the greatest, and the oldest now existing, is that at Rothamsted, Harpenden, Herts, England, which was founded in 1843 by Sir John Bennet Lawes. The results of more than half a century of sustained experimental inquiry were communicated to the world by Lawes and his collaborator, Sir J. H. Gilbert, in about 130 separate papers or reports, many of which were published, from 1847 onwards, in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.' In the case of plants the method of procedure was to grow some of the most important crops of rotation, each separately year after year, for many years in succession on the same land, (a) without manure, (b) with farmyard manure and (c) with a great variety of chemical manures; the same description of manure being, as a rule, applied year after year on the same plot. Experiments on an actual course of rotation, without manure, and with different manures, have also been made. Wheat, barley, oats, beans, clover and other leguminous plants, turnips, sugar beet, mange's, potatoes and grass crops have thus been experimented upon. Incidentally there have been extensive sampling and analysing of soils, investigations into rainfall and the composition of drainage waters, inquiries into the amount of water transpired by plants, and experiments on the assimilation of free nitrogen.
Amongst the field experiments there is, perhaps, not one of more universal interest than that in which wheat was grown for fifty-seven years in succession, (a) without manure, (b) with farmyard manure and (c) with various artificial manures. The results show that, unlike leguminous crops such as beans or clover, wheat may be successfully grown for many years in succession on ordinary arable land, provided suitable manures be applied and the land be kept clean. Even without manure the average produce over forty-six years, 1852-1897, was nearly thirteen bushels per acre, or about the average yield per acre of 1 The higher yield of wheat in the later years of the 19th century appears to be largely attributable to better grain-growing seasons. The yields in the experimental wheat-field at Rothamsted - where there is no change either of land or of treatment - indicate this. The following figures show the average yields per acre of the selected plots at Rothamsted over six 8-yearly periods from 1852 to 1899, and afford evidence that the higher yield of later years is due to the seasons: Bushels (of 60 lb) Average of - per acre.
8 years 1852-1859. .. ... 28 3 8 ï¿½ 1860-1867. .. ... 28* 8 ï¿½ 1868-1875. .. ... 27* 8 ï¿½ 1876-1883. .. ... 254 8 ï¿½ 1884-1891. .. ... 298 8 ï¿½ 1892-1899. .. ... 30 32 ï¿½ 1852-1883.. 278 16 ï¿½ 1884-1899.. 30 48 ï¿½ 1852-1899. .. 284 The average of the first thirty-two years was thus 278 bushels per acre, of the last sixteen years 30 bushels, and of the whole forty-eight years 284 bushels.
2 See J. B. Lawes and J. H. Gilbert, Rothamsted Memoirs on Agricultural Chemistry and Physiology, 7 vols. (1893-1899); A. D. Hall, Book of the Rothamsted Experiments (1905).
the wheat lands of the whole world. Mineral manures alone give very little increase, nitrogenous manures alone considerably more than mineral manures alone, but the mixture of the two considerably more than either separately. In one case, indeed, the average produce by mixed minerals and nitrogenous manure was more than that by the annual application of farmyard manure; and in seven out of the ten cases in which such mixtures were used the average yield per acre was from over two to over eight bushels more than the average yield of the United Kingdom (assuming this to be about twenty-eight bushels of 60 lb per bushel) under ordinary rotation. It is estimated that the reduction in yield of the unmanured plot over the forty years, 1852-1891, after the growth of the crops without manure during the eight preceding years, was, provided it had been uniform throughout, equivalent to a decline of one-sixth of a bushel from year to year due to exhaustion - that is, irrespectively of fluctuations due to season. It is related that a visitor from the United States, talking to Sir John Lawes, said, " Americans have learnt more from this field than from any other agricultural experiment in the world." Experiments upon the growth of barley for fifty years in succession on rather heavy ordinary arable soil resulted in showing that the produce by mineral manures alone is larger than that without manure; that nitrogenous manures alone give more produce than mineral manures alone; and that mixtures of mineral and nitrogenous manure give much more than either used alone - generally twice, or more than twice, as much as mineral manures alone. Of mineral constituents, whether used alone or in mixture with nitrogenous manures, phosphates are much more effective than mixtures of salts of potash, soda and magnesia. The average results show that, under all conditions of manuring - excepting with farmyard manure - the produce was less over the later than over the earlier periods of the experiments, an effect partly due to the seasons. But the average produce over forty years of continuous growth of barley was, in all cases where nitrogenous and mineral manures (containing phosphates) were used together, much higher than the average produce of the crop grown in ordinary rotation in the United Kingdom, and very much higher than the average in most other countries when so grown. The requirements of barley within the soil, and its susceptibility to the external influences of season, are very similar to those of its near ally, wheat. Nevertheless there are distinctions of result dependent on differences in the habits of the two plants, and in the conditions of their cultivation accordingly. In the British Isles wheat is, as a rule, sown in the autumn on a heavier soil, and has four or five months in which to distribute its roots, and so it gets possession of a wide range of soil and subsoil before barley is sown in the spring. Barley, on the other hand, is sown in a lighter surface soil, and, with its short period for root-development, relies in a much greater degree on the stores of plant-food within the surface soil. Accordingly it is more susceptible to exhaustion of surface soil as to its nitrogenous, and especially as to its mineral supplies; and in the common practice of agriculture it is found to be more benefited by direct mineral manures, especially phosphatic manures, than is wheat when sown under equal soil conditions. The exhaustion of the soil induced by both barley and wheat is, however, characteristically that of available nitrogen; and when, under the ordinary conditions of manuring and cropping, artificial manure is still required, nitrogenous manures are, as a rule, necessary for both crops, and, for the spring-sown barley, superphosphate also. Although barley is appropriately grown on lighter soils than wheat, good crops, of fair quality, may be grown on the heavier soils after another grain crop by the aid of artificial manures, provided that the land is sufficiently clean. Experiments similar to the foregoing were carried on for many years in succession at Rothamsted upon oats, and gave results which were in general accordance with those on the other cereal crops.
Additional significance to the value of the above experiments on wheat and barley is afforded by the fact that the same series, with but slight modifications, has also been carried out since 1876 at the Woburn (Bedfordshire) experimental farm of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the soil here being of light sandy character, and thus very different from the heavy soil of Rothamsted. The results for the thirty years, 1877-1906, are in their general features entirely confirmatory of those obtained at Rothamsted.
Root-Crops. - Experiments upon root-crops--chiefly white turnips, Swedish turnips (swedes) and mangels - have resulted in the establishment of the following conclusions. Both the quantity and the quality of the produce, and consequently its feeding value, must depend greatly upon the selection of the best description of roots to be grown, and on the character and the amount of the manures, and especially on the amount of nitrogenous manure employed. At the same time, no hardand-fast rules can be laid down concerning these points. Independently of the necessary consideration of the general economy of the farm, the choice must be influenced partly by the character of the soil, but very much more by that of the climate. Judgment founded on knowledge and aided by careful observation, both in the field and in the feeding-shed, must be relied upon as the guide of the practical farmer. Over and above the great advantage arising from the opportunity which the growth of root-crops affords for the cleaning of the land, the benefits of growing the root-crop in rotation are due (1) to the large amount of manure applied for its growth, (2) to the large residue of the manure left in the soil for future crops, (3) to the large amount of matter at once returned as manure again in the leaves, (4) to the large amount of food produced, and (5) to the small proportion of the most important manurial constituents of the roots which is retained by store or fattening animals consuming them, the rest returning as manure again; though, when the roots are consumed for the production of milk, a much larger proportion of the constituents is lost to the manure.
Leguminous Crops and the Acquisition of Nitrogen
The fact that the growth of a leguminous crop, such as red clover, leaves the soil in a higher condition for the subsequent growth of a grain crop - that, indeed, the growth of such a leguminous crop is to a great extent equivalent to the application of a nitrogenous manure for the cereal crop - was in effect known ages ago. Nevertheless it was not till near the approach of the closing decade of the 19th century that the explanation of this longestablished point of agricultural practice was forthcoming. It was in the year 1886 that Hellriegel and Wilfarth first published in Germany the results of investigations in which they demonstrated that, through the agency of micro-organisms dwelling in nodular outgrowths on the roots of ordinary leguminous plants, the latter are enabled to assimilate the free nitrogen of the air. The existence of the root nodules had long been recognized, but hitherto no adequate explanation had been afforded as to their function.
Since Hellriegel's striking discovery farm crops have been conveniently classified as nitrogen-accumulating and nitrogenconsuming. To the former belong the ordinary leguminous crops - the clovers, beans, peas, vetches or tares, sainfoin, lucerne, for example - which obtain their nitrogen from the air, and are independent of the application of nitrogenous manures, whilst in their roots they accumulate a store of nitrogen which will ultimately become available for future crops of other kinds. It is, in fact, fully established that these leguminous crops acquire a considerable amount of nitrogen by the fixation of the free nitrogen of the atmosphere under the influence of the symbiotic growth of their root-nodule-microbes and the higher plant. The cereal crops (wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize); the cruciferous crops (turnips, cabbage, kale, rape, mustard); the solanaceous crops (potatoes); the chenopodiaceous crops (mangels, sugar-beets), and other non-leguminous crops have, so far as is known, no such power, and are therefore more or less benefited by the direct application of nitrogenous manures. The field experiments on leguminous plants at Rothamsted have shown that land which is, so to speak, exhausted so far as the growth of one leguminous crop is concerned, may still grow very luxuriant crops of another plant of the same natural order, but of different habits of growth, and especially of different character and range of roots. This result is doubtless largely dependent on the existence, the distribution and the condition of the appropriate microbes for the due infection of the different descriptions of plant, for the micro-organism that dwells symbiotically with one species is not identical with that which similarly dwells with another. It seems certain that success in any system involving a more extended growth of leguminous crops in rotations must be dependent on a considerable variation in the description grown. Other essential conditions of success will commonly include the liberal application of potash and phosphatic manures, and sometimes chalking or liming for the leguminous crop. As to how long the leguminous crop should occupy the land, the extent to which it should be consumed on the land, or the manure from its consumption be returned, and under what conditions the whole or part of it should be ploughed in - these are points which must be decided as they arise in practice. It seems obvious that the lighter and poorer soils would benefit more than the heavier or richer soils by the extended growth of leguminous crops.
Remarkable as Hellriegel's discovery was, it merely furnished the explanation of a fact which had been empirically established by the husbandman long before, and had received most intelligent application when the old four-course (or Norfolk) rotation was devised. But it gave some impetus to the practice of green manuring with leguminous crops, which are equally capable with such a crop as mustard of enriching the soil in humus, whilst in addition they bring into the soil from the atmosphere a quantity of nitrogen available for the use of subsequent crops of any kind. In Canada and the United States this rational employment of a leguminous crop for ploughing in green is largely resorted to for the amelioration of worn-out wheat lands and other soils, the condition of which has been lowered to an unremunerative level by the repeated growth year after year of a cereal crop. The well-known paper of Lawes, Gilbert and Pugh (1861), " On the Sources of the Nitrogen of Vegetation,. with special reference to the Question whether Plants assimilate free or uncombined Nitrogen," answered the question referred to in the negative. The attitude taken up later on with regard to this problem is set forth in the following words, which are quoted from the Memoranda of the Rothamsted Experiments, 1900 (p. 7): - " Experiments were commenced in 1857, and conducted for several years in succession, to determine whether plants assimilate free or uncombined nitrogen, and also various collateral points. Plants of the gramineous, the leguminous and of other families were operated upon. The late Dr Pugh took a prominent part in this inquiry. The conclusion arrived at was that our agricultural plants do not themselves directly assimilate the free nitrogen of the air by their leaves.
" In recent years, however, the question has assumed quite a new aspect. It now is - whether the free nitrogen of the atmosphere is brought into combination under the influence of micro-organisms, or other low forms, either within the soil or in symbiosis with a higher plant, thus serving indirectly as a source of nitrogen to plants of a higher order. Considering that the results of Hellriegel and Wilfarth on this point were, if confirmed, of great significance and importance, it was decided to make experiments at Rothamsted on somewhat similar lines. Accordingly, a preliminary series was undertaken in 1888; more extended series were conducted in 1889 and in 1890; and the investigation was continued up to the commencement of the year 1895. Further experiments relating to certain aspects of the subject were begun in 1898. The results have shown that, when a soil growing leguminous plants is infected with appropriate organisms, there is a development of the so-called leguminous nodules on the roots of the plants, and, coincidently, increased growth and gain of nitrogen." The conclusions of Hellriegel and Wilfarth have thus been confirmed by the later experiences of Rothamsted, and since that time efforts have been directed energetically to the practical application of the discovery. This has taken the form of inoculating the soil with the particular organism required by the particular kind of leguminous crop. To this end the endeavour has been made to produce preparations which shall contain in portable form the organisms required by the several plants, and though, as yet, it can hardly be claimed that they have been generally successful, the work done justifies hopes that the problem will eventually be solved in a practical direction.
Another field experiment of singular interest is that relating to the mixed herbage of permanent meadow, for which seven acres of old grass land were set apart in Rothamsted Park in 1856. Of the twenty plots into which this land is divided, two were left without manure from the outset, two received ordinary farmyard manure for a series of years, whilst the remainder each received a different description of artificial or chemical manure, the same being, except in special cases, applied year after year on the same plot. During the growing season the field affords striking evidence of the influence of different manurial dressings. So much, indeed, does the character of the herbage vary from plot to plot that the effect may fairly be described as kaleidoscopic. Repeated analyses have shown how greatly both the botanical constitution and the chemical composition of the mixed herbage vary according to the description of manure applied. They have further shown how dominant is the influence of season. Such, moreover, is the effect of different manures that the gross produce of the mixed herbage is totally different on the respective plots according to the manure employed, both as to the proportion of the various species composing it and as to their condition of development and maturity.
The Rotation of Crops. The growth, year after year, on the same soil of one kind of plant unfits it for bearing further crops of the kind which has exhausted it, and renders them:_less vigorous and more liable to disease. The farmer therefore arranges his cropping in such a way that roots, or leguminous crops, succeed the cereal crops.
It is not only the conditions of growth, but the uses to which the different crops are put, that have to be considered in the case of rotation. Thus the cereal crops, when grown in rotation, yield more produce for sale in the season of growth than when grown continuously. Moreover, the crops alternated with the cereals accumulate very much more of mineral constituents and of nitrogen in their produce than do the cereals themselves. By far the greater proportion of those constituents remains in circulation in the manure of the farm, whilst the remainder yields highly valuable products for sale in the forms of meat and milk. For this reason these crops are known as " restorative," cereals the produce of which is sold off the farm being classed as " exhaustive." With a variety of crops, again, the mechanical operations of the farm, involving horse and hand labour, are better distributed over the year, and are therefore more economically performed. The opportunities which rotation cropping affords for the cleaning of the land from weeds is another distinct element of advantage. Although many different rotations of crops are practised, they may for the most part be considered as little more than local adaptations of the system of alternating root-crops and leguminous crops with cereal crops, as exemplified in the old four-course rotation - roots, barley, clover, wheat.
Under this system the clover is ploughed up in the autumn, the nitrogen stored up in its roots being left in the soil for the nourishment of the cereal crop. The following summer the wheat crop is harvested, and an opportunity is afforded for extirpating weeds which in the three previous years have received little check. Or, where the climate is warm and the soil light, a " catch-crop," i.e. rye, vetches, winter-oats or some other rapidly-growing crop may be sown in autumn and fed off or otherwise disposed of prior to the root-sowing. On heavy soils, however, the farmer cannot afford to curtail the time necessary for thorough cultivation of the land. The cleaning process is carried on through the next summer by means of successive hoeings of the spring-sown root-crop. As turnips or swedes May occupy the ground till after Christmas little time is left for the preparation of a seed-bed for barley, but as the latter is a shallow-rooted crop only surface-stirring is required. Clover is sown at the same time or shortly after the cereal and thus occupies the land for two years.
The rotations extending to five, six, seven or more years are, in most cases, only adaptations of the principle to variations of soil, altitude, aspect, climate, markets and other local conditions. They are effected chiefly by some alteration in the description of the root-crop, and perhaps by the introduction of the potato crop; by growing a different cereal, or it may be more than one cereal consecutively; by the growth of some other leguminous crop than clover, since " clover-sickness " may result if that crop is grown at too short intervals, or the intermixture of grass seeds with the clover, and perhaps by the extension by one or more years of the period allotted to this member of the rotation. Whatever the specific rotation, there may in practice be deviations from the plan of retaining on the farm the whole of the root-crops, the straw of the grain crops and the leguminous fodder crops (clover, vetches, sainfoin, &c.) for the production of meat or milk, and, coincidently, for that of manure to be returned to the land. It is equally true that, when under the influence of special local or other demand - proximity to towns, easy railway or other communication, for example - the products which would otherwise be retained on the farm are exported from it, the import of town or other manures is generally an essential condition of such practice. This system of free sale, indeed, frequently involves full compensation by purchased manures of some kind. Such deviations from the practice of merely selling grain and meat off the farm have much extended in recent years, and will probably continue to do so under the altered conditions of British agriculture, determined by very large imports of grain, increasing imports of meat and of other products of stock-feeding, and very large imports of cattle-food and other agricultural produce. More attention is thus being devoted to dairy produce, not only on grass farms, but on those that are mainly arable.
The benefits that accrue from the practice of rotation are well illustrated in the results obtained from the investigations at Rothamsted into the simple four-course system, which may fairly be regarded as a self-supporting system. Reference may first be made to the important mineral constituents of different crops of the four-course rotation. Of phosphoric acid, the cereal crops take up as much as, or more than, any other crops of the rotation, excepting clover; and the greater portion thus taken up is lost to the farm in the saleable product - the grain. The remainder, that in the straw, as well as that in the roots and the leguminous crops, is supposed to be retained on the farm, excepting the small amount exported in meat and milk. Of potash, each of the rotation crops takes up very much more than of phosphoric acid. But much less potash than phosphoric acid is exported in the cereal grains, much more being retained in the straw, whilst the other products of the rotation - the root and leguminous crops - which are also supposed to be retained on the farm, contain very much more potash than the cereals, and comparatively little of it is exported in meat and milk. Thus the whole of the crops of rotation take up very much more of potash than of phosphoric acid, whilst probably even less of it is ultimately lost to the land. Of lime, very little is taken up by the cereal crops, and by the root-crops much less than of potash; more by the leguminous than by the other crops, and, by the clover especially, sometimes much more than by all the other crops of the rotation put together. Very little of the lime of the crops, however, goes off in the saleable products of the farm in the case of the self-supporting rotation under consideration. Although, therefore, different, and sometimes very large, amounts of these typical mineral constituents are taken up by the various crops of rotation, there is no material export of any in the saleable products, excepting of phosphoric acid and of potash; and, so far at least as phosphoric acid is concerned, experience has shown that it may be advantageously supplied in purchased manures.
Of nitrogen, the cereal crops take up and retain much less than any of the crops alternated with them, notwithstanding the circumstance that the cereals are very characteristically benefited by nitrogenous manures. The root-crops, indeed, may contain two or more times as much nitrogen as either of the cereals, and the leguminous crops, especially the clover, much more than the root-crops. The greater part of the nitrogen of the cereals is, however, sold off the farm; but perhaps not more than to or 15% of that of either the root-crop or the clover (or other forage leguminous crop) is sold off in animal increase or in milk. Most of the nitrogen in the straw of the cereals, and a very large proportion of that of the much more highly nitrogenyielding crops, returns to the land as manure, for the benefit of future cereals and other crops. As to the source of the nitrogen of the root-crops-the so-called " restorative crops "-these are as dependent as any crop that is grown on available nitrogen within the soil, which is generally supplied by the direct appli cation of nitrogenous manures, natural or artificial. Under such conditions of supply, however, the root-crops, gross feeders as they are, and distributing a very large extent of fibrous feeding root within the soil, avail themselves of a much larger quantity of the nitrogen supplied than the cereal crops would do in similar circumstances. This result is partly due to their period of accumulation and growth extending even months after the period of collection by the ripening cereals has terminated, and at the season when nitrification within the soil is most active, and the accumulation of nitrates in it is the greatest. When a full supply of both mineral constituents and nitrogen is at command, these root-crops assimilate a very large amount of Table Xi.-The Weight and Average Composition of Ordinary Crops, in lb. per Acre. *Calculated from a single analysis only.
carbon from the atmosphere, and produce, besides nitrogenous food materials, a very large amount of the carbohydrate sugar, as respiratory and fat-forming food for the live stock of the farm. The still more highly nitrogenous leguminous crops, although not characteristically benefited by nitrogenous manures, nevertheless contribute much more nitrogen to the total produce of the rotation than any of the other crops comprised in it. It is the leguminous fodder crops-especially clover, which has a much more extended period of growth, and much wider range of collection within the soil and subsoil, than any of the other crops of the rotation-that yield in their produce the largest amount of nitrogen per acre. Much of this is doubtless taken up as nitrate, yet the direct application of nitrate of soda has comparatively little beneficial influence on their growth. The nitric acid is most likely taken up chiefly as nitrate of lime, but probably as nitrate of potash also, and it is significant that the high nitrogen-yielding clover takes up, or at least retains, very little soda. Table XI., from Warington's Chemistry of the Farm, 1 9th edition (Vinton and Co.), will serve to illustrate the subjects that have been discussed in this section.
For further information on the routine and details of' farming, reference may be made to the articles under the headings of the various crops and implements.
British Live Stock. The numbers of live stock in the United Kingdom are shown at five-yearly intervals in Table XII. Under horses are embraced only unbroken horses and horses used solely for agriculture (including mares kept for breeding). The highest and lowest annual totals for the United Kingdom in the period 8751905 were the following: After 1892 cattle, which in that year numbered 11,519,417, and sheep declined continuously for three years to the totals of 1895, the diminution being mainly the result of the memorable drought of 1893. Sheep, which numbered 32,J71,018 in 1878, declined continuously to 27,448,220 in 1882-a loss of over five million head in five years. This was chiefly attributable to the ravages of the liver fluke which began in the disastrously wet season of 1879. Pigs, being prolific breeders, fluctuate more widely in numbers than cattle or sheep, for the difference of 1 ,49 8 ,55 2 in their case represents one-third of the highest total, whereas the difference is less than one-seventh for horses, less than one-sixth for cattle, and less than one-fifth for sheep. The [[Table Xii]].-Numbers of Horses, Cattle, Sheep and Pigs in the United Kingdom. relative proportionsas distinguished from the actual numbers -in which stock are distributed over the several sections of the United Kingdom do not vary greatly from year to year. Table XIII., in which the totals for the United Kingdom include those for the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, illustrates the preponderance of the sheep-breeding industry in the drier climate of Great Britain, and of the cattle-breeding industry in the more humid atmosphere of Ireland. In Great Britain in 1905, for every head of cattle there were about four head of sheep, whereas in Ireland the cattle outnumbered the sheep. Again, whilst Great Britain possessed only half as many cattle more than Table XiiI.-Numbers of Horses, Cattle, Sheep and Pigs in the United Kingdom in 1905.
Ireland, she possessed six times as many sheep. The cattle population of England alone slightly exceeded that of Ireland, but cattle are more at home on the broad plains of England than amongst the hills and mountains of Wales and Scotland, which are suitable for sheep. Hence, whilst in England sheep were not three times as numerous as cattle, in Wales they were nearly five times, and in Scotland nearly six times as many. Great Britain had twice as many pigs as Ireland, but the swine industry is mainly. English and Irish, and England possessed more than six times as many pigs as Wales and Scotland together, the number in the last-named country being particularly small. One English county alone, Suffolk, maintained more pigs than the whole of Scotland.
British Imports of Live Animals and Meat. The stock-breeders and graziers of the United Kingdom have, equally with the corn-growers, to face the brunt of foreign competition.
1 Including Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
Up to 1896 store cattle were admitted into the United Kingdom for the purpose of being fattened, but under the Diseases of Animals Act of that year animals imported since then have to be slaughtered at the place of landing. The dimensions of this trade are shown in Table XIV.
[[Table Xiv]].-Numbers of Cattle, Sheep and Pigs imported into the United Kingdom, 1891-1905 The animals come mainly from the United States of America, Canada and Argentina, and the traffic in cattle is more uniform than that in sheep, whilst that in pigs seems practically to have reached extinction. The quantities of dead meat imported increased with great rapidity from 1891 to 1905, a circumstance largely due to the rise of the trade in chilled and frozen meat. Fresh beef in this form is imported chiefly from the United States and Australasia, fresh mutton from Australasia and Argentina.
Table XV. shows how rapidly this trade expanded during the decade of the 'nineties. The column headed bacon and hams indicates clearly enough that the imports of fresh meat did not displace those of preserved pig meat, for the latter expanded from 4,715,000 cwt. to 7,784,000 cwt. during the decade. The column for all dead meat includes not only the items tabulated, but also [[Table Xv]].-Quantities of Dead Meat imported into the United Kingdom, 1891-1905-Thousands of Cwt. the following, the quantities stated being those for 1905:-Beef, salted, 142,806 cwt.; beef, otherwise preserved, 598,030 cwt.; preserved mutton, 30,111 cwt.; salted pork, 205,965 cwt.; dead rabbits, 656,078 cwt.; meat, unenumerated, 875,032 cwt. The quantities of these are relatively small, and, excepting rabbits from Australia, they show no general tendency to increase. The extent to which these growing imports were associated with a decline in value is shown in Table XVI.
The trend of the import trade in meat, live and dead (exclusive of rabbits), may be gathered from Table XVII., in which are given the annual average imports from the eight quinquennial periods embraced between 1866 and 1905. An increase in live cattle accompanied a decrease in live sheep and pigs, but the imports of dead meat expanded fifteen-fold over the period.
The rate at which the trade in imported frozen mutton increased as compared with the industry in home-grown mutton is illustrated in the figures published annually by Messrs W.
Weddel and Company, from which those for 1885 and 1890 and for each year from 1895 to 1906 are given in Table XVIII. The home-grown is the estimated dead weight of sheep and lambs slaughtered, which is taken at 40% of the total number of sheep and lambs returned each year in the United Kingdom. In the [[Table Xvi]]. - Average Values of Fresh Meat, Bacon and Hams imported into the United Kingdom, 1891-1905 - per Cwt. imported column is given the weight of fresh (frozen) mutton and lamb imported, plus the estimated dead weight of the sheep imported on the hoof for slaughter. The quantity imported in 1899 was double that in 1890, and quadruple that in 1885. Moreover, in 1885 the imported product was only about one-seventh [[Table Xvi I]]. - Average Annual Imports of Cattle, Sheep and Figs, and of Dead Meat, into the United Kingdom over eight 5-yearly Periods. as much as the home-grown, whereas in 1890 it was more than one-fourth, and in 1906 close on two-thirds. This large import trade in fresh meat, which sprang up entirely within the last quarter of the 19th century, has placed an abundance of cheap and wholesome food well within the reach of the great industrial TABLE XVIII. - Home Product and Imports of Sheep and Mutton into the United Kingdom - Thousands of Tons. populations of the United Kingdom. At the same time it cannot be gainsaid that it has opened the way to fraud. Butchers have palmed off upon their customers imported fresh meat as homegrown, and secured a dishonest profit by charging for it the prices of the latter, which are considerably in excess of those of the imported product.
Sale of Cattle by Live Weight. In connexion with the internal live stock trade of Great Britain attention must be directed to the Markets and Fairs (Weighing of Cattle) Act 1891. The object of this measure is to replace the 1 In 1903 two of the principal sources of supply of mutton shipped in excess of their exportable surplus, for which they suffered severely in 1904 - hence the somewhat irregular movements after 1903.
old-fashioned system of guessing at the weight of an animal by the sounder method of obtaining the exact weight by means of the weighbridge. The grazier buys and sells cattle much less frequently than the butcher buys them, so that the latter is naturally more skilled in estimating the weight of a beast through the use of the eye and the hand. The resort to the weighbridge should put both on an equality, and its use tends to increase. Under the act, as supplemented by an order of the Board of Agriculture in 1905, there were in that year 26 scheduled places in England and 10 in Scotland, or 36 altogether, from which returns were obtained. The numbers of cattle (both fat and store) weighed at scheduled places in 1893 and 1905 2 were respectively 7.59 and 18% of those entering those markets. The numbers for Scotland are greater throughout than those for England, 72% of the fat cattle entering the scheduled markets in Scotland in 1905 2 having been weighed, while in England the proportion was only 20 7 0. Little use is made of the weighbridge in selling store-cattle, sheep or swine. As the main object of the act is to obtain records of prices, it follows that only in so far as statements of the prices realized, together with the description of the animals involved, are obtained, is the full advantage of the statute secured. In 1905 the average price per cwt. for fat cattle in Great Britain was 32S. IId. as compared with 35 5.2d. in 1900.
Food - values and Early Maturity. In the feeding experiments which have been carried on at Rothamsted it has been shown that the amount consumed both for a given live weight of animal within a given time, and for the production of a given amount of increase, is, as current food-stuffs go, measurable more by the amounts they contain of digestible and available non-nitrogenous constituents than by the amounts of the digestible and available nitrogenous constituents they supply. The non-nitrogenous substance (the fat) in the increase in live weight of an animal is, at any rate in great part, if not entirely, derived from the non-nitrogenous constituents of the food. Of the nitrogenous compounds in food, on the other hand, only a small proportion of the whole consumed is finally stored up in the increase of the animal - in other words, a very large amount of nitrogen passes through the body beyond that which is finally retained in the increase, and so remains for manure. Hence it is that the amount of food consumed to produce a given amount of increase in live weight, as well as that required for the sustentation of a given live weight for a given time, should - provided the food be not abnormally deficient in nitrogenous substance - be characteristically dependent on its supplies of digestible and available non-nitrogenous constituents. It has further been shown that, in the exercise of force by animals, there is a greatly increased expenditure of the non-nitrogenous constituents of food, but little, if any, of the nitrogenous. Thus, then, alike for maintenance, for increase, and for the exercise of force, the exigencies of the system are characterized more by the demand for the digestible nonnitrogenous or more specially respiratory and fat-forming constituents than by that for the nitrogenous or more specially flesh-forming ones. Hence, as current fattening food-stuffs go - assuming, of course, that they are not abnormally low in the nitrogenous constituents - they are, as foods, more valuable in proportion to their richness in digestible and available nonnitrogenous than to that of their nitrogenous constituents. As, however, the manure of the animals of the farm is valuable largely in proportion to the nitrogen it contains, there is, so far, an advantage in giving a food somewhat rich in nitrogen, provided it is in other respects a good one, and, weight for weight, not much more costly.
The quantity of digestible nutritive matter in 1000 lb of ordinary feeding-stuffs when supplied to sheep or oxen is shown in Table XIX. This table is taken from Warington's Chemistry of the Farm, 19th edition (Vinton and Co.), to which reference may be made for a detailed discussion of the feeding of animals.
In the fattening of animals for the butcher the principle of 2 Returns for only ten months were available for this year.
early maturity has received full recognition. If the sole purpose for which an animal is reared is to prepare it for the block - and this is the case with steers amongst cattle and with wethers amongst sheep - the sooner it is ready for slaughter the less should be the outlay involved. During the whole time the animal is living the feeder has to pay what has been termed the " life tax " - that is, so much of the food has to go to the maintenance of the animal as a living organism, independently of that which may be undergoing conversion into what will subsequently be available in the form of beef or mutton. If a bullock can be rendered fit for the butcher at the age of two or three years, will the animal repay another year's feeding? It has been proved at the Christmas fat stock shows that the older a bullock gets the less will he gain in weight per day as a result of the feeding. With regard to this point the work of the Smithfield Club deserves recognition. This body was instituted in 1798 as the Smithfield Cattle and Sheep Society, the title being [[Table Xix]]. - Digestible Matter in 1000 lb. of various Foods. changed to that of the Smithfield Club in 1802. The original object - the supply of the cattle markets of Smithfield and other places with the cheapest and best meat - is still kept strictly in view. The judges, in making their awards at the show held annually in December, at Islington, North London (since 1862), are instructed to decide according to quality of flesh, lightness of offal, age and early maturity, with no restrictions as to feeding, and thus to promote the primary aim of the club in encouraging the selection and breeding of the best and most useful animals for the production of meat, and testing their capabilities in respect of early maturity. At the first show, held at Smithfield in 1799, two classes were provided for cattle and two for sheep, the prizes offered amounting to 52: ios. In 1839 the classes comprised seven for cattle, six for sheep, and one for pigs, with prizes to the amount of £300. By 1862 the classes had risen to 29 for cattle, 17 for sheep and 4 for pigs, and the prize money to 2072. At the centenary show in 1898 provision was made for 40 classes for cattle, 29 for sheep, 18 for pigs, and 7 for animals to be slaughtered, whilst to mark the importance of the occasion the prizes offered amounted to close upon 5000 in value. In 1 In the absence of experiments it is assumed that wheat is digested like other foods of the same class.
1907 there were 38 classes for cattle, 29 for sheep, 20 for pigs, and 12 for carcase competitors, and the value of the prizes was £4113. The sections provided for cattle are properly restricted to what may be termed the beef breeds; in the catalogue order they are Devon, South Devon, Hereford, Shorthorn, Sussex, Red Polled, Aberdeen-Angus, Galloway, Welsh, Highland, Cross-bred, Kerry and Dexter, and Small Cross-bred.
It will be noticed that such characteristically milking breeds as the Ayrshire, Jersey and Guernsey have no place here. Provision is made, however, for all the well-known breeds of sheep and swine. In the cattle classes, aged beasts of huge size and of considerably over a ton in weight used to be common, but in recent years the tendency has been to reduce the upper limit of age, and thus to bring out animals ripe for the butcher in a shorter time than was formerly the case. An important step in this direction was taken in 1896, when the senior class for steers, viz. animals three to four years old, was abolished, the maximum age at which steers were allowed to compete for prizes being reduced to three years. The cow classes were abolished in 1897, and in the schedule of the 1905 exhibition the classes for each breed of cattle were (I) for steers not exceeding two years old, (2) for steers above two years and not exceeding three years old, and (3) for heifers not exceeding three years old. The single exception is provided by the slowly-maturing Highland breed of cattle, for which classes were allotted to (I) steers not exceeding three years old, (2) steers or oxen above three years old (with no maximum limit), and (3) heifers not exceeding four years old. As illustrating heavy weights, there were in the 1893 show, out of 310 entries of cattle, four beasts which weighed over a ton. They were all steers of three to four years old, one being a Hereford weighing 20 cwt. 2 qr. 4 lb, and the others Shorthorns weighing respectively 20 cwt. 2 qr., 20 cwt. 3 qr. 21 lb, and 22 cwt. 2 qr. 18 lb. In the 1895 show, out of 356 entries of cattle, there were seven beasts of more than a ton in weight. They were all three to four years old, and comprised four Shorthorns (top weight 21 cwt. I qr. 18 lb), one Sussex (22 cwt. 3 qr. 7 lb), and two cross-breds (top weight 20 cwt. 3 qr. 24 lb). In the 1899 show, with 311 entries of cattle, and the age limited to three years, no beast reached the weight of a ton, the heaviest animal being a crossbred(Aberdeen-Angus and Shorthorn)which,at three years old, turned the scale at 19 cwt. I qr. 5 lb. Out of 301 entries in 1905 the top weight was 19 cwt. I qr. 25 lb in the case of a Shorthorn steer. Useful figures for purposes of comparison are obtained by dividing the weight of a fat beast by the number of days in its age, the weight at birth being thrown in. The average daily gain in live weight is thus arrived at, and as the animal increases in age this average gradually diminishes, until the daily gain reaches a stage at which it does not afford any profitable return upon the food consumed. At the centenary show of the Smithfield Club in 1898 the highest average daily gains in weight amongst prize-winning cattle were provided by a Shorthorn-Aberdeen cross-bred steer (age, one year seven months; daily gain 2.4 7 lb); a Shorthorn steer (age, one year seven months; daily gain, 2.44 lb); and an Aberdeen-Shorthorn cross-bred steer (age, one year ten months; daily gain, 2ï¿½ 33 lb). These beasts, it will be observed, were all under two years old. Amongst prize steers of two and a half to three years old, on the same occasion, the three highest daily average gains in live weight were 2.07 lb for an Aberdeen-Angus, 1.99 lb for a Shorthorn-Aberdeen cross-bred and 1.97 lb for a Sussex. In the sheep section of the Smithfield show the classes for ewes were finally abolished in 1898, and the classes restricted to wethers and wether lambs, whose function is exclusively the production of meat. At the 1905 show, sheep of each breed, and also cross-breds, competed as (1) wether lambs under twelve months old, and (2) wether sheep above twelve and under twenty-four months old. The only exception was in the case of the slowly-maturing Cheviot and mountain breeds, for which the second class was for wether sheep of any age above twelve months. Of prize sheep at the centenary show the largest average daily gain was o. 77 lb per head given by Oxford-Hampshire cross-bred wether lambs, aged nine months two weeks. In the case of wether sheep, twelve to twenty-four months old, the highest daily increase was oï¿½ 56 lb per head as yielded by Lincolns, aged twenty-one months. Within the last quarter of the 19th century the stock-feeding practices of the country were much modified in accordance with these ideas of early maturity. The three-year-old wethers and older oxen that used to be common in the fat stock markets are now rarely seen, excepting perhaps in the case of mountain breeds of sheep and Highland cattle. It was in 1875 that the Smithfield Club first provided the competitive classes for lambs, and in 1883 the champion plate offered for the best pen of sheep of any age in the show was for the first time won by lambs, a pen of Hampshire Downs. The young classes for bullocks were established in 1880. The time-honoured notion that an animal must have completed its growth before it could be profitably fattened is no longer held, and the improved breeds which now exist rival one another as regards the early period at which they may be made ready for the butcher by appropriate feeding and management.
In 1895 the Smithfield Club instituted a carcase competition in association with its annual show of fat stock, and it has been continued each year since. The cattle and sheep entered for this competition are shown alive on the first day, at the close of which they are slaughtered and the carcases hung up for exhibition, with details of live and dead weights. The competition thus constitutes what is termed a " block test," and it is instructive in affording the opportunity of seeing the quality of the carcases furnished by the several animals, and in particular the relative proportion and distribution of fat and lean meat. The live animals are judged and subsequently the carcases, and, though the results sometimes agree, more often they do not. Tables are constructed showing the fasted live weight, the carcase weight, and the weight of the various parts that are separated from and not included with the carcase. An abundance of lean meat and a moderate amount of fat well distributed constitutes a better carcase, and a more economical one for the consumer, than a carcase in which gross accumulations of fat are prominent. To add to the educational value of the display, information as to the methods of feeding would be desirable, as it would then be possible to correlate the quality of the meat with the mode of its manufacture. A point of high practical interest is the ratio of carcase weight to fasted live weight, and in the case of prizewinning carcases these ratios usually fluctuate within very narrow limits. At the 1899 show, for example, the highest proportion of the carcase weight to live weight was 68% in the case of an Aberdeen-Angus steer and of a Cheviot wether, whilst the lowest was 61%, afforded alike by a Shorthorn-Sussex cross-bred heifer and a mountain lamb. A familiar practical method of estimating carcase weight from live weight is to reckon one Smithfield stone (8 lb) of carcase for each imperial stone (14 lb) of live weight. This gives carcase weight as equal to 57% of live weight, a ratio much inferior to the best results obtained at the carcase competition promoted by the Smithfield Club.
Breed Societies. A noteworthy feature of the closing decades of the 19th century was the formation of voluntary associations of stockbreeders, with the object of promoting the interests of the respective breeds of live stock. As a typical example of these organizations the Shire Horse Society may be mentioned. It was incorporated in 1878 to improve and promote the breeding of the Shire or old English race of cart-horses, and to effect the distribution of sound and healthy sires throughout the country. The society holds annual shows, publishes annually the Shire Horse Stud Book and offers'_gold and silver medals for competition amongst Shire horses at agricultural shows in different parts of the country. The society has carried on a work of high national importance, and has effected a marked improvement in the character and quality of the Shire horse. What has thus voluntarily been done in England would in most other countries be left to the state, or would not be attempted at all. It is hardly necessary to say that the Shire Horse Society has never received a penny of public money, nor has any other of the voluntary breeders' societies. The Hackney Horse Society and the Hunters' Improvement Society are conducted on much the same lines as the Shire Horse Society, and, like it, they each hold a show in London in the spring of the year and publish an annual volume. Other horsebreeders' associations, all doing useful work in the interests of their respective breeds, are the Suffolk Horse Society, the Clydesdale Horse Society, the Yorkshire Coach Horse Society, the Cleveland Bay Horse Society, the Polo Pony Society, the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society, the Welsh Pony and Cob Society and the New Forest Pony Association. Thoroughbred race-horses are registered in the General Stud Book. The Royal Commission on Horse Breeding, which dates from 1887, is, as its name implies, not a voluntary organization. Through the commission the, money previously spent upon Queen's Plates is offered in the form of " King's Premiums " (to the number of twenty-eight in 1907) of L1 so each for thoroughbred stallions, on condition that each stallion winning a premium shall serve not less than fifty half-bred mares, if required. The winning stallions are distributed in districts throughout Great Britain, and the use of these selected sires has resulted in a decided improvement in the quality of half-bred horses. The annual show of the Royal Commission on Horse Breeding is held in London jointly and concurrently with that of the Hunters' Improvement Society.
Of organizations of cattle-breeders the English Jersey Cattle Society, established in 1878, may be taken as a type. It offers prizes in butter-test competitions and milking trials at various agricultural shows, and publishes the English Herd Book and Register of Pure-bred Jersey Cattle. This volume records the births in the herds of members of the society, and gives the pedigrees of cows and bulls, besides furnishing lists of prizewinners at the principal shows and butter-test awards, and reports of sales by auction of Jersey cattle. Other cattle societies, all well caring for the interest of their respective breeds, are the Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn Association, the Hereford Herd Book Society, the Devon Cattle Breeders' Society, the South Devon Herd Book Society, the Sussex Herd Book Society, the Longhorned Cattle Society, the Red Polled Society, the English Guernsey Cattle Society, the English Kerry and Dexter Cattle Society, the Welsh Bla. ck Cattle Society, the Polled Cattle Society (for the Aberdeen-Angus breed), the English AberdeenAngus Cattle Association, the Galloway Cattle Society, the Ayrshire Cattle Herd Book Society, the Highland Cattle Society of Scotland and the Dairy Shorthorn Association.
In the case of sheep the National Sheep Breeders' Association looks after the interests of flockmasters in general, whilst most of the pure breeds are represented also by separate organizations. The Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders' Association may be taken as a type of the latter, its principal object being to encourage the breeding of Hampshire Down sheep at home and abroad, and to maintain the purity of the breed. It publishes an annual Flock Book, the first volume of which appeared in 1890. In this book are named the recognized and pure-bred sires which have been used, and ewes which have been bred from, whilst there are also registered the pedigrees of such sheep as are proved to be eligible for entry. Prizes are offered by the society at various agricultural shows where Hampshire Down sheep are exhibited. Other sheep societies include the Leicester Sheep Breeders' Association, the Cotswold Sheep Society, the Lincoln Longwool Sheep Breeders' Association, the Oxford. Down Sheep Breeders' Association, the Shropshire Sheep Breeders' Association and Flock Book Society, the Southdown Sheep Society, the Suffolk Sheep Society, the Border Leicester Sheep Breeders' Society, the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders' Association and Flock Book Society, the Incorporated Wensleydale Blue-faced Sheep Breeders' Association and Flock Book Society, the Kent Sheep Breeders' Association, the Devon Longwool Sheep Breeders' Society, the Dorset Horn Sheep Breeders' Association, the Cheviot Sheep Society and the Roscommon Sheep Breeders' Association.
The interests of pig-breeders are the care of the National Pig Breeders' Association, in addition to which there exist the British Berkshire, the Large Black Pig, and the Lincoln CurlyCoated White Pig Societies, and the Incorporated Tamworth Pig Breeders' Association.
The addresses of the secretaries of the various live-stock societies in the United Kingdom are published annually in the Live Stock Journal Almanac. The Maintenance of the Health of Live Stock. It was not till the closing decade of the 19th century that the stock-breeders of the United Kingdom found themselves in a position to prosecute their industry free from the fear of the introduction of contagious disease through the medium of store animals imported from abroad for fattening on the native pastures. By the Diseases of Animals Act 1896 (59 & 60 Vict. c. 15) it was provided that cattle, sheep and pigs imported into the United Kingdom should be slaughtered at the place of landing. The effect was to reduce to a minimum the risk of the introduction of disease amongst the herds and flocks of the country, and at the same time to confine the trade in store stock exclusively to the breeders of Great Britain and Ireland. This arrangement makes no difference to the food-supply of the people, for dead meat continues to arrive at British ports in ever-increasing quantity. Moreover, live animals are admitted freely from certain countries, provided such animals are slaughtered at the place of landing. At Deptford, for example, large numbers of cattle and sheep which thus arrive - mainly from Argentina, Canada and the United States - are at once slaughtered, and so furnish a steady supply of fresh-killed beef and mutton. The animals which are shipped in this way are necessarily of the best quality, because the freight on a superior beast is no more costly than on an inferior one, and the proportion of freight to sale price is therefore less. With this superior description of butchers' stock all classes of home-grown stock - good, bad and indifferent - have, of course, to compete. The Board of Agriculture has the power to close the ports of the United Kingdom against live animals from any country in which contagious disease is known to exist. This accounts for the circumstance that so few countries - none of them in Europe - enjoy the privilege of sending live animals to British ports. In 1900 the discovery early in the year of the existence of foot-and-mouth disease amongst cattle and sheep shipped from Argentina to the United Kingdom led to the issue of an order by which all British ports were closed against live animals from the country named. This order came into force on the 30th of April, and the result was a marked decline in the shipments of live cattle and sheep from the River Plate, but a decided increase in the quantity of frozen meat sent thence to the United Kingdom.
The last quarter of the 19th century witnessed an important change in the attitude of public opinion towards legislative control over the contagious diseases of animals. When, after the introduction of cattle plague or rinderpest in 1865, the proposal was made to resort to the extreme remedy of slaughter in order to check the ravages of a disease which was pursuing its course with ruinous results, the idea was received with public indignation and denounced as barbarous. Views have undergone profound modification since then, and the most drastic remedy has come to be regarded as the most effective, and in the long run the least costly. The Cattle Diseases Prevention Act 1866 (29 & 30 Vict. c. 2) made compulsory the slaughter of diseased cattle, and permitted the slaughter of cattle which had been exposed to infection, compensation being provided out of the rates. The Act 30 & 31 Vict. c. 125, 1867, is of historical interest, in that it contains the first mention of pleuro-pneumonia, and the exposure in any market of cattle suffering from that disease was made an offence. The Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act 1869 (32 & 33 Vict. c. 70) revoked all former acts, and defined disease to mean cattle plague, pleuro-pneumonia, foot-and-mouth disease, sheep-pox, sheep-scab and glanders, together with any disease which the Privy Council might by order specify. The principle of this act in regard to foreign animals was that of free importation, with power for the Privy Council to prohibit or subject to quarantine and slaughter, as circumstances seemed to require. The act of 1869 was at that time the most complete measure that had ever been passed for dealing with diseases of animals. The re-introduction of cattle plague into England in 1877 led to the passing of the Act 41 & 42 Vict. c. 74, 1878, which repealed the act of 1869, and affirmed as a principle the landing of foreign animals for slaughter only, though free importation or quarantine on the one hand and prohibition on the other were provided for in exceptional circumstances. By an order of council which came into operation in December 1878, swine fever was declared to be a disease for the purposes of the act of that year. It was not, however, till October 1886 that anthrax and rabies were officially declared to be contagious diseases for the purposes of certain sections of the act of 1878. In 1884 the Act 47 & 48 Vict. c. 13 empowered the Privy Council to prohibit the landing of animals from any country in respect of which the circumstances were not such as to afford reasonable security against the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease. After one or two other measures of minor importance came the Act 53 & 54 Vict. c. 14, known as the Pleuro-pneumonia Act 1890, which transferred the powers of local authorities to slaughter and pay compensation in cases of pleuro-pneumonia to the Board of Agriculture, and provided further for the payment of such compensation out of money specifically voted by parliament. This measure was regarded at the time as a marked step in advance, and was only carried after a vigorous campaign in its favour. In 1892 by the Act 55 & 56 Vict. c. 47 power was given to the Board of Agriculture to use the sums voted on account of pleuro-pneumonia for paying the costs involved in dealing with foot-and-mouth disease; under this act the board could order the slaughter of diseased animals and of animals in contact with these, and could pay compensation for animals so slaughtered. Under the provisions of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act 18 93 (56 & S7 Vict. c. 43) swine fever in Great Britain was, from the 1st of November in that year, dealt with by the Board of Agriculture in the same way as pleuro-pneumonia, the slaughter of infected swine being carried out under directions from the central authority, and compensation allowed from the imperial exchequer. In 1894 was passed the Diseases of Animals Act (57 & 58 Vict. c. 57), the word " contagious " being omitted from the title. This was a measure to consolidate the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts 1878-1893. In it " the expression ` disease' means cattle plague (that is to say, rinderpest, or the disease commonly called cattle plague), contagious pleuropneumonia of cattle (in this act called pleuro-pneumonia), foot-and-mouth disease, sheep-pox, sheep-scab, or swine fever (that is to say, the disease known as typhoid fever of swine, soldier purples, red disease, hog cholera or swine plague)." The Diseases of Animals Act 1896 (59 & 60 Vict. c. 15) rendered compulsory the slaughter of imported live stock at the place of landing, a boon for which British stock-breeders had striven for many years. The ports in Great Britain at which foreign animals may be landed are Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool, London; t 'Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Animals from the Channel Islands may be landed at Southampton.
The Diseases of Animals. Under the Diseases of Animals Acts 1894 and 1896 weekly returns are issued by the Board of Agriculture of outbreaks of anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, glanders (including farcy), pleuro-pneumonia, rabies and swine fever in the counties of Great Britain; also monthly returns of outbreaks of sheep-scab. Cattle plague, or rinderpest, has not been recorded in Great Britain since 1877. In that year there were 47 outbreaks distributed over five counties and involving 263 head of cattle. The course of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain between 1877 and 1905 inclusive is told in Table XX., from which the [[Table Xx]]. - Outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Great Britain, 1877-1905.
years 1887 to 1891, 1895 to 1899 and 1903 to 1905 inclusive are omitted, because there was no outbreak during those periods. The disease is seen to have attained its maximum virulence in 1883.
Sheep-scab is a loathsome skin disease due to an acarian parasite. Table XXI. shows the number of outbreaks and the number of counties over which they were distributed from 1877 to 1905. The recorded outbreaks were more numerous in the decade of the 'nineties than in that of the 'eighties, though possibly this may have been due to greater official activity in the later period. The largest number of sheep attacked was [[Table Xxi]]. - Outbreaks of Sheep-Scab in Great Britain, 1877-1905.
68,715 (in 1877). It is compulsory on owners to notify the authorities as to the existence of scab amongst their sheep. By the Diseases of Animals Act (1903) powers to prescribe the dipping of sheep, irrespective of the presence or otherwise of sheep scab, were conferred upon the Board of Agriculture. An inspector of the board or of the local authority was by the same act authorized to enter premises and examine sheep. Each year the disorder runs a similar course, the outbreaks dwindling to a minimum in the summer months, June to August, and attaining a maximum in the winter months, December to February. It is chiefly in the " flying " flocks and not in the breeding flocks that the disease is rife, and it is so easily communicable that a drove of scab-infested sheep passing along a road may leave behind them traces sufficient to set up the disorder in a drove of healthy sheep that may follow. For its size and in relation to its sheep population Wales harbours the disease to a far greater extent than the other divisions of Great Britain.
The fatal disease known as anthrax did not form the subject of official returns previous to the passing of the Anthrax Order of 1886. Isolated outbreaks are of common occurrence, and from the totals for Great Britain given in Table XXII. it would appear that there is little prospect of the eradication of this bacterial disorder.
Glanders (including farcy) was the subject during the twentyfour years 1877-1900 of outbreaks in Great Britain ranging between a minimum of 518 in 1877 and a maximum of 1657 in 1892; in the former year 758 horses were attacked, and in the latter 3001. A recrudescence of the disease marked the closing years of the 19th century, the outbreaks having been 748 in 1898, 853 in 1899 and 1119 in 1900. The counties of Great Britain over which the annual outbreaks have been distributed have ranged between 24 in 1890 and 52 in 1879. As a matter of fact, [[Table Xxii]]. - Outbreaks of Anthrax in Great Britain, 1895-1905.
however, the disease is strongly centred upon the metropolitan area, more than half of the outbreaks being reported from the county of London alone.
The Rabies order was passed in 1886, and the number of counties in Great Britain in which cases of rabies in dogs were reported in each subsequent year is shown in Table XXIII. In addition there have been some cases of rabies in animals other than dogs. The disease was very rife in 1895, but the extensive application of the muzzling restrictions of the Board of Agriculture was accompanied by so steady a diminution in the [[Table Xxii I]]. - Cases of Rabies in Dogs in Great Britain, 1887-1902. prevalence of the disease, that it was thought the latter had been extirpated. The entire revocation of the muzzling order, which accordingly followed, proved, however, to be premature, and it became necessary to reimpose it in the districts where it had last been operative, namely, certain parts of South Wales. No cases were reported in 1903, 1904 or 1905.
Pleuro-pneumonia in Great Britain was dealt with by the local authorities up to the year 1890. Between 1870 and 1889 the annual outbreaks had ranged between a minimum of 312 in 1884 and a maximum of 3262 in 1874, the largest number of cattle attacked in any one year being 7983 in 1872. The largest number of counties over which the outbreaks were distributed was 72 in 1873. On the 1st of September 1890 the Board of Agriculture assumed powers with respect to pleuro-pneumonia under the Diseases of Animals Act of that year. Their administration was attended by success, for from 192 outbreaks in Great Britain in 1891 the total fell to 35 in 1892 and to 9 in 1893. In the four subsequent years, 1894-1897, the outbreaks numbered 2, I, 2, and 7 respectively. In January 1898 an outbreak was discovered in a London cow-shed. This proved to be the last case in the 19th century of what at one time had been a veritable scourge to cattle-owners and a source of heavy financial loss.
Between 1879 and 1892 inclusive, administration with regard to swine fever was entrusted to local authorities. The largest number of outbreaks reported in any one of those years was 7926 in 1885, and the smallest 1717 in 1881. In 1893 the Board of Agriculture took over the management, and Table XXIV. shows the number of counties in which swine-fever existed, the number of outbreaks confirmed and the number of swine slaughtered by order of the board in each year since. The trouble with this disease has been mainly in England, the outbreaks in Wales and Scotland being comparatively few. What are termed " swine-fever infected areas " are scheduled by the board when and where circumstances seem to require, and the movement TABLE Xxiv.-Outbreaks of Swine Fever in Great Britain, 1894-1905.
of swine within such areas is prohibited, much inconvenience to trade resulting from restrictions of this kind. Frequently, moreover, the exhibition of pigs at agricultural shows has to be abandoned in consequence of these swine-fever regulations.
The Trade in Live Stock between Ireland and Great Britain. The compulsory slaughter at the place of landing does not extend to animals shipped from Ireland into Great Britain, and this is a matter of the highest importance to Irish stock-breeders, who find their best market close at hand on the east of St George's Channel. Table XXV. shows the number of cattle, sheep and pigs shipped from Ireland into Great Britain in each of the fifteen years 1891-1905, the numbers of horses similarly shipped being also indicated. On the average rather more than half the total of cattle is made up of store animals for fattening or breeding purposes, the fattening of Irish stores being a business of considerable magnitude in Norfolk and other counties. Calves constitute about one-twelfth of the total number of cattle.
[[Table Xxv]].-Imports of Live Stock from Ireland into Great Britain, 1891-1905. Most of the pigs sent from Ireland into Great Britain are fat, the store pigs accounting for less than one-tenth of the total number. The returns from Ireland under the Diseases of Animals Acts 1894 and 1896 are less significant than those of Great Britain. Thus, in the year ending June 1905, they included 4 outbreaks of anthrax, 219 of swine-fever and 343 of sheepscab, while there were no cases of rabies. Compared with the export trade in live stock from Ireland to Great Britain the reciprocal trade from Great Britain to Ireland is small, and is largely restricted to animals for breeding purposes. Owing to the reappearance of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain early in 1900 the importation of cattle, sheep, goats and swine therefrom into Ireland was temporarily suspended by the authorities in the latter country.
Exports of Animals from the United Kingdom. The general export trade of the United Kingdom in living animals represented an aggregate average annual value over the five years 1896-1900 of £1,017,000 as against £935,801 over the five years 1901-1905. To these sums the value of horses alone contributed about three-fourths, Belgium taking more than half the number of exported horses. The export trade in cattle, sheep and pigs is practically restricted to pedigree animals required for breeding purposes, and though its aggregate value [[Table Xxvi]].-Quantities and Value of Home-bred Live Stock exported from the United Kingdom, 1900-1905.
is not large it is of considerable importance to stock-breeders, as it is a frequent occurrence for buyers for export-to Argentina, Australasia, Canada, the United States and elsewhere-to bid freely at the sale rings, and often to pay the highest prices, thus stimulating the sales and encouraging the breeding of the best types of native stock. Details for the six years 1900-1905 are summarized in Table XXVI.
Implements and Machinery. It is the custom of the Royal Agricultural Society of England to invite competitions at its annual shows in specified classes of implements, and an enumeration of these will indicate the character of the appliances which were thus brought into prominence in the latter years of the 19th and the early years of the 10th century. These trials taking place, with few intermissions, year after year serve to direct the public mind to the development, which is continually in progress, of the mechanical aids to agriculture. The awards here summarized are quite distinct from those of silver medals which are given by the society in the case of articles possessing sufficient merit, which are entered as " new implements for agricultural or estate purposes." In 1875, at Taunton, special prizes were awarded for onehorse and two-horse mowing-machines, hay-making machines, horse-rakes (self-acting and not self-acting), guards to the drums of threshing-machines, and combined guards and feeders to the drums of threshing-machines. In 1876, at Birmingham, the competitions were of self-delivery reapers, one-horse reapers and combined mowers and reapers without self-delivery. In 1878, at Bristol, the special awards were all for dairy appliances -milk-can for conveying milk long distances, churn for milk, churn for cream, butter-worker for large dairies, butterworker for small dairies, cheese-tub, curd knife, curd mill, cheese-turning apparatus, automatic means of preventing rising of cream, milk-cooler and cooling vat. A gold medal was awarded for a harvester and self-binder (McCormick's). In 1879, at Kilburn, the competition was of railway waggons to convey perishable goods long distances at low temperatures. In 1880 at Carlisle, and in 1881 at Derby, the special awards were for broadside steam-diggers and string sheaf-binders respectively. In 1882, at Reading, a gold medal was given for a cream separator for horse power, whilst a prize of roo guineas offered for the most efficient and most economical method of drying hay or corn crops artificially, either before or after being stacked, was not awarded. In 1883, at York, a prize of £50 was given for a butter dairy suitable for not more than twenty cows. In 1884, at Shrewsbury, a prize of £Ioo was awarded for a sheafbinding reaper, and one of £50 for a similar machine. In 1885, at Preston, the competitions were concerned with two-horse, three-horse and four-horse whipple-trees, and packages for conveying fresh butter by rail. In 1886, at Norwich, a prize of 25 was awarded for a thatch-making machine. In 1887, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, a prize of 200 went to a compound portable agricultural engine, one of £loo to a simple portable agricultural engine, and lesser prizes to a weighing-machine for horses and cattle, a weighing-machine for sheep and pigs, potato-raisers and one-man-power cream separators. In 1888, at Nottingham, hay and straw presses for steam-power, horse-power and handpower were the subjects of competition. In 1889, at Windsor, prizes were awarded for a fruit and vegetable evaporator, a paring and coring machine, a dairy thermometer, parcel post butter-boxes to carry different weights, and a vessel to contain preserved butter. In 1890, at Plymouth, competitions took place of light portable engines (a) using solid fuel, (b) using liquid or gaseous fuel, grist mills for use on a farm, disintegrators, and cider-making plant for use on a farm. In 1891, at Doncaster, special prizes were given for combined portable threshing and finishing machines, and cream separators (hand and power). In 1892, at Warwick, the competitions related to ploughs - single furrow (a) for light land, (b) for strong land, (c) for press drill and broad-cast sowing; two-furrow; three-furrow; digging (a) for light land, (b) for heavy land; and one-way ploughs. In 1893, at Chester, self-binding harvesters and sheep-shearing machines (power) were the appliances respectively in competition. In 1894, at Cambridge, the awards were for fixed and portable oil engines, potato-spraying and tree-spraying machines, sheep-dipping apparatus and churns. In 1895, at Darlington, the competitions were confined to hay-making machines and clover-making machines. In 1896, at Leicester, prizes were awarded after trial to potatoplanting machines, potato-raising machines and butter-drying machines. In 1897, at Manchester, special awards were made for fruit baskets and milk-testers. In 1898, at Birmingham, a prize of £ioo was given for a self-moving vehicle for light loads, ioo and 50 for self-moving vehicles for heavy loads, and fio for safety feeder to chaff-cutter, in accordance with the Chaffcutting Machines (Accidents) Act 1897. In 1899, at Maidstone, special prizes were offered for machines for washing hops with liquid insecticides, cream separators (power and hand), machines for the evaporation of fruit and vegetables, and packages for the carriage of (a) soft fruit, (b) hard fruit. In 1900, at York, the competitions were concerned with horse-power cultivators, self-moving steam diggers, milking machines and sheep-shearing machines (power and hand). In 1901, at Cardiff, competition was invited in portable oil engines, agricultural locomotive oil engines and small ice-making plant suitable for a dairy. In the years 1903 and 1904 petrol motors adapted for ploughing and other agricultural operations formed a prominent feature of the exhibits.
The progress of steam cultivation has not justified the hopes that were once entertained in the United Kingdom concerning this method of working implements in the field. It was about the year 1870 that its advantages first came into prominent notice. At that time, owing ï¿½to labour disputes, the supply of hands was short and horses were dear. The wet seasons that set in at the end of the 'seventies led to so much hindrance in the work on the land that the aid of steam was further called for, and it seemed probable that there would be a lessened demand for horse power. It was found, however, that the steam work was done with less care than had been bestowed upon the horse tillage, and the result was that steam came to be regarded as an auxiliary to horse labour rather than as a substitute for it. In this capacity it is capable of rendering most valuable assistance, for it can be utilized in moving extensive areas of land in a very short time. Accordingly, when a few days occur early in the season favourable to the working of the land, much of it can be got into a forward condition, whilst horses are set free for the lighter operations. The crops can then be sown in due time, which in wet years, and with the usual teams of horses kept on a farm, is not always practicable. Much advantage arises from the steam working of bastard fallows in summer, and after harvest a considerable amount of autumn cultivation can be done by steam power, thus materially lightening the work in the succeeding spring. On farms of moderate size it is usual to hire steam tackle as required, the outlay involved in the purchase of a set being justifiable only in the case of estates or of very big farms where, when not engaged in ploughing, or in cultivating, or in other work upon the land, the steam-engine may be employed in threshing, chaff-cutting, sawing and many similar operations which require power. The labour question again became acute in the early years of the 10th century, when, owing to the scarcity of hands and the high rate of wages, selfbinding harvesters were resorted to in England for the ingathering of the corn crops to a greater extent than ever before. For the same reason potato-planting and potato-lifting machines were also in greater requisition.
Agricultural Population and Wages. The last half of the 19th century witnessed a remarkable diminution of the British rural population. The decrease has assumed serious proportions since 1871, as before that date the supply of rural labour exceeded the demand. A large number of agricultural labourers were thus only in partial employment, and their withdrawal from the land was of minor importance as compared with the shrinkage in the number of those permanently employed. The following tables indicate the extent of rural depopulation: Number of " Persons engaged in Agriculture " in the United Kingdom, 1851-1901. The number of " agricultural labourers and shepherds," which affords a more precise index, declined in a still more marked degree.
The decrease in the demand for labour is attributable chiefly to the reduction of the cultivated area and the laying down to pasture of land once under the plough, and to the increasing use of agricultural machinery. It may, however, be noticed that the period 1850-1903 was marked by a steady increase of the cash wages of the farm labourer, as indicated in the following table from the Report on the Earnings of Agricultural Labourers issued by the Board of Trade in 1905.
Average Weekly Cash Wages of ordinary Agricultural Labourers employed on certain Farms in England and Wales. (See also Allotments And Small Holdings.) Agricultural Education. In Great Britain agricultural education as a whole lacks the scope and co-ordination which it has in some continental countries. Centres at which higher agricultural education is given are, however, numerous. The chief are: The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
Aspatria Agricultural College, Carlisle.
Tamworth Agricultural College.
- Agricultural and Horticultural College, Uckfield, Sussex. *Agricultural and Horticultural College, Holme Chapel, Cheshire.
- Midland Agricultural and Dairy College, Kingston, Derby. *Harper-Adams Agricultural College, Newport, Monmouth. *Lancashire County School, Harris Institute, Preston. *University College of North Wales, Bangor.
- University of Leeds.
- Armstrong College, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
- Cambridge University.
- University College, Reading.
- South-Eastern Agricultural College, Wye.
- University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.
- Agricultural Institute, Ridgmont (Bedfordshire County Council).
- Essex County Technical Laboratories, Chelmsford.
In the year 1904-1905 £10,600 was devoted by the Board of Agriculture to agricultural instruction and experiments. Of this sum the greater part was divided amongst the institutions marked with an asterisk in the above list. The first three named are private establishments. The county councils also expend sums varying at their own discretion on instruction in dairy-work, poultry-keeping, farriery and veterinary science, horticulture, agricultural experiments, agricultural lectures at various centres, scholarships at, and grants to, agricultural colleges and schools; the whole amount in 1904-1905 reaching £87,472.1 The sum spent by individual counties varies considerably. In 1904-1905 Lancashire (£8510), Kent (£5922) and Cheshire (£4310) spent most in this direction. In some instances colleges are supported entirely by one county, as is the Holmes Chapel College, Cheshire; in others a college is supported by several affiliated counties, as in the case of the agricultural department of the University College, Reading, which acts in connexion with the counties of Berks, Oxon, Hants and Buckingham. The organization and supply of county agricultural instruction is often carried out through the medium of the institution to which the county is affiliated. In Scotland higher agricultural instruction is given at: Edinburgh and East of Scotland Agricultural College.
Edinburgh University, Agriculture Department.
West of Scotland Agricultural College, Glasgow.
Aberdeen and North of Scotland Agricultural College. University of St. Andrews.
A typical course at one of the higher colleges lasts for two years and includes instruction under the heads of soils and manure, crops and pasture, live stock, foods and feeding, dairy work, farm and estate management and farm bookkeeping, surveying, agricultural buildings and machinery, agricultural chemistry, agricultural botany, veterinary science and agricultural entomology. Experimental farms are attached to the colleges.
The facilities for intermediate are far inferior to those for higher agricultural education. Schools for farmers' sons and daughters, and others, answering to the ecoles pratiques d'agriculture (see France), are few, the principal being the Dauntsey Agricultural School, Wiltshire, the Hampshire Farm School, Basing, and the Farm School at Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumberland, maintained by the county councils of Cumberland and Westmorland. Occasionally grammar schools have agricultural sides, and in evening continuation schools agricultural classes are sometimes held. Both elementary day schools and continuation schools are in many cases provided with gardens in which horticultural teaching is given.
In Ireland agricultural education is under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, founded in 1899. Higher education is given at the Royal College of Science, Dublin; the Albert Agricultural College, Glasnevin; and the Munster Institute, Cork, for female students, where dairying and poultry-keeping are prominent subjects. Winter classes for boys over sixteen years of age are held at centres in some counties, and there are winter schools of agriculture at Downpatrick, Monaghan and Mount Bellew (Co. Galway); while lectures are given at farmers' meetings by 1 This sum was furnished out of a total of £693,851, forming the residue grant allocated for the purposes of education to the various county councils of England and Wales under the Local Taxation (customs and Excise) Act 1890.
itinerant instructors. The Department carries on agricultural experiment-stations at Athenry (Co. Galway), Ballyhaise (Co. Cavan) and Clonakilty (Co. Cork), where farm apprentices are received and instructed.
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Agriculture'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​a/agriculture.html. 1910.