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We haven't got manure enough. We cannot manure when we have got three or four hundred acres, but clover and plaster will do every time.
THE FALLACY OF FARMERS TRAVELING IN OLD
BY HIRAM SMITH, SHEBOYGAN FALLS.
The mode and manner of doing nearly all kinds of business are changing so gradually from day to day, that their full significance is not fully realized by the casual observer. But looking back fifty years, and comparing any leading branch of human industry with the present mode of doing the same, we are at once convinced of the great change. The improvements in mechanical, commercial, financial and agriculture enterprises has been rapid. In travel and the transportation of freight, nearly three-fourths of the time and expense are saved. In commercial exchanges large fees are saved and much idle capital utilized. In mechanical industries, the improvements in our favor are almost beyond computation ; also in the art of printing, and the means of transmitting intelligence among the people by the use of daily papers. The magnetic telegraph and the telephone read like a fairy tale. But the department of agriculture lags far behind all other enterprises. It is true that a large class of farmers receive much valuable aid from the introduction of labor-saving machinery, and a few farmers receive liberal returns from improved methods of farming, and in turning their attention and employing their energies in the production of such articles ag are favored by natural advantages and light competition, and in making their productions conform to the changing demands of the markets. Contrast this small class of thrifty farmers, quick to see and utilize improvements, with that larger class that are blindly traveling in the old ruts made by their fathers and grandfathers. Let the observer go through any county in this state, upon any road, and he will see that three-fourths of the farmers pursue the old and wasteful method of throwing the manure out of the
windows, there to be drenched and wasted under their eyes until autumn, disfiguring and injuring the barn; and when hauled upon the land it is of little value, producing ordinarily not much over thirty bushels of corn, when, if the same manure had been bauled direct from the stable as fast as made, and put upon the corn land, it would bave been a great saving of work, would have doubled its value, and its benefits would have been received one year in advance of the old method. The observer will also notice one or two colts that usually run all over the farm, and frequently neighbors' farms, breaking down fences and letting other stock into the growing crops. They also keep a few sheep. The colts and the sheep will eat all the grass that grows in a dry time, to the serious injury of all other stock; and generally trying to raise wheat, that of late years has been about equally divided between the farmer, the chinch bug and the weevil. This class of rut farmers keep a few cows to shiver in cold barns during the winter, and to vainly contend with the colts and sheep for their share of the grass in suinmer. These cows, so kept, prove to their owners that dairying don't pay. Many of these farmers when building a barn, will build with a cellar stable, because, tracing the rut back, they find that their father
Nine-tenths of these stables are as unfit for cows as the " black hole" is for prisoners in the house of correction in Mil. waukee. These cellar stables are the most successful contrivances of ancient or modern times to secure a villainous atmosphere, and add ore-half to the work of doing chores, and also add worse tha useless expense to the building. Such a barn in these days of horse forks is as unnecessary as to buy a pair of snuffers with a kerosene lamp. I have no fears of personally offending any of this class of farmers, for they scarcely ever attend an agricultural convention, as they consider such conventions only a “ring" to cheat the mass of farmers. They pursue the antidiluvian method of making their butter after the orthodox fashion of setting in shallow, open pans in the pantry or kitchen, trying to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer, and miserably fail in both cases; but they generally succeed in making it rancid in summer and bitter in winter, and seldom fail to secure the lowest price
when sold, because buyers are so partial. It is said that figures will not lie. I took the pains a short time ago to gather statistics from four of these “rut farmers,” whose farms agregate 420 acres, and their entire receipts from sales were less than $2,500; while a dairy farm of about 210 acres produces annually $2,800 to $3,000. I have no doubt the comparison would hold good throughout the state.
These two different systems of farming determine the question of poverty or competence. The time is rapidly approaching when Wisconsin farmers will have to resort to every available means to increase the value of their productions. We are menaced on the north and west with a large area of rich, cheap land, that will soon send its products into our markets at prices far below the cost of production here, at all consistent with the present price of Wis consin farms. Just now we are protected by what we please to call railroad extortions on freights ; but when forty-five cent wheat from Dakota and $25 four-year-old steers from Kansas, are freighted to Chicago as cheap as they now are from Chicago to New York, we shall have to adopt some more productive farming than that now prevailing among the majority of farmers. The great question of the way, manner and price for transporting western products to the sea-board, when fully settled on some uniform basis, will largely determine the character of farming in different localities. It is evident that those who have the facili. ties and knowledge to engage in raising such products as produce the greatest value, with the least cost for transportation, will stand the best chance for success.
Every indication seems to point out that Wisconsin farmers can safely engage in the manufacture of butter and cheese, and they will be almost certain to receive present advantage and future profit, mainly for the reason that freight tariffs are not burdensome, compared with other products, and we have the world for a market, and no competition west of us at present; and no locality between us and the sea board possessing the same natural advan. tages, of cheap food and a rich and fertile soil, with a climate admirably adapted to the production of the very best butter and cheese, as a recent competition at the International Dairy Fair in
New York fully demonstrated. If a majority of Wisconsin farm. ers could be made to see the fallacy of longer traveling in the old rut, and would take possession of advantages now within their reach, it would add largely to their individual profit, in. crease the taxable property of the state, and permanently increase its revenue, and could not fail to be a credit to their intelligence, and a guarantee of future prosperity.
Mr. Olds - I think Mr. Smith did not tell us what he would recommend as the best plan for stables.
Mr. Hiram Smith - I thought it might be inferred that they must be on top of the ground. It is as easy, as all farmers know, to raise hay with a horse fork twenty-four feet as twelve feet. The old idea of building a cellar stable was because we had to pitch up hay by band ; but now to build our barns on level ground and hoist our hay with a fork, as we all do, it makes no perceptible difference whether you hoist it twenty-four feet or twelve; and the stable can be on a level where it can be properly ventilated both below and above, and a good healthy atmosphere is always obtained.
The style of stables differ. Some like box etables and some stalls. I think stanchions for the cows, generally three feet apart, the most economical and most readily taken care of.
Mr. Anderson — I would like to ask how high he would build his barn. I will state that my barn is just such an one as he has been denouncing. My barn is forty feet high. I have a good deal of room for hay up stairs. I think in this cold climate my cattle are more comfortable in a basement barn.
Mr. Field – You have good ventilation, haven't you?
Very good ventilation. Over the horse stable there are bay funnels that run into the feed rooms below. I hold that in this cold climate such a barn is very comfortable for stock; particularly young stock. And I think it is a little more comfortable for my cows to lie on a bed of straw than op a plank floor, and have their heads tied with stanchions. I think stanchions are very uncomfortable. I should dislike very much to have a hole in the head board for my head.
Mr. Hiram Smith - How would you like to have a rope around your neck? (Laughter.)
Mr. Anderson — If it was long enough for me to lie around and reach around and rub myself, all right. Not so bad as the hole in the head board.
Mr. Hiram Smith - About forty years ago about such an argument was advanced in favor of keeping ice through the summer. It must be down cellar; and all through Pennsylvania, in the older sections of the country, they have their ice-houses in a bank; but the modern plan has been to have the ice up chamber and bring the cool air down where they want it, instead of trying to force it the other way.
There is no difficulty in making a barn on top of the ground that never freezes at all. I keep my roots under the barn floor and it never freezes at all. Simply seal outside and inside with straw. I do not have the stable twelve feet between joists, but about eight feet, and room overhead for all the cattle will eat. Twenty-four feet at the eaves, with stables each side, and forty feet wide, will hold all the bay that cattle stabled therein will eat, which is all you want; and you need only to extend the length of your barn to get all the room you want. The wall is the most expensive part of the building.
There is another important point that you want to observe.
In hauling your manure you should have one door to drive in and the other to drive out. And building into a bank, it is difficult to do so, and it is hardly to be supposed that stables will be built wide enough to turn around in. You can get it as warm as cattle ever ought to stand in, and it is much more easily ventilated, for the ventilation wants to be below as well as above, and it is very difficult to get a good atmosphere in cellar stables, as the floors are generally laid as low as possible and no ventilation under the floor. That gives a poisonous air, and no chance for
it to escape.
Mr. Olds — Upon that point I want to draw out the impossi. bility of having a common stable constructed so that the air will be pure. I have had an opportunity from experience with the Cooley creamery to prove that matter to my own satisfaction.