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Mr. Van Alstyne, of Columbia county, denied that mullens were a part of their rotation. He had seen rye grown sixteen years in succession upon the same ground, and the last crop was the best. We get 100 to 150 bushels of potatoes per acre, and that is a good crop. We grow grass and pota toes to sell, and rye, wheat, clover and pasture, and find feeding sheep a profitable portion of our farming. The east side of the county is mostly devoted to grazing and making butter, cheese and wool. Some sheep farms near the Harlem railroad have been turned into hay farms, in consequence of the high price of hay in New York, and facilities of transportation. As to the best mode of applying manure, I should second the proposition of Me. Robinson, for that is according to the system of nature.
Hon. George Geddes.--I have heard a good deal about following the sys tem of nature, and that we should apply manure on the surface, because that is where the leaves are deposited by nature. But these reasoners for get that nature never plows. The system of spreading manure on the surface is a good one, but the reason given that it is according to nature is a
Mr. Walrath of St. Lawrence county said, experience teaches me to apply my manure to the surface. It also teaches me not to use manure fresh. By composting it I kill the seeds of weeds, which, if applied fresb, would keep the land very foul. In some places there is as much weight of this tles as grass, and in other places white daisies are equally thick. In such places the manure should never be used in a fresh state. Rotten manure I can apply to grass, or upon plowed land, and cultivate it in. I think manure twenty-five per cent better for composting.
The Hon. T. C. Peters said he wanted to hear from a Long Island farmer as to the peculiar mode of manuring there, by which the fertility of the soil was kept up to so high a point, as he finds by statistics, that the average yield of wheat on that Island is eight bushels an acre more than the general average of the State, and the average of corn is also larger. What is the system of applying manure there? I see Mr. Cock," a Long Island farmer, of the vicinity of Oyster Bay, I believe, is present; let us hear from him.
Mr. Cock replied: Our system of applying manure is, to spread it upon wheat stubble and plow it in, about twelve wagon loads of city manure, from horse stables, per acre, at a cost of say $36; and our wheat crop is about twenty bushels per acre, but we gain advantages from the manure in future crops, as we follow wheat with grass two or three years, or as long as it produces two or three tons per acre, which we sell in New York; and then we pasture the land a couple of years, and then turn the sod and plant corn, with manure. Some farmers spread coarse city manure on the sod in winter and turn it under in spring for corn, and also apply it to the hill, but it yields very well without that. We husband manure in piles and compost everything with it that will increase bulk and quantity. We often move fences and take away the ridge of rich earth and sods that have ao cumulated to mix with the compost, and we save all the weeds, muck, etc., that we can, as by our system of selling hay we must make manure from every possible source.
Prof. Nash said that Long Island farmers buy great quantities of leached ashes from Westeru New York, and they also use a great quantity of
fish and seaweed for manure; and he knows one that pursues such a system that he gets more from 60 acres than the former owner did from 640, inclo ding this 60.
Mr. Cock said that the "moss-bunkers," the kind of fish that Long Island farmers had formerly used so extensively as manure, have become so valuable for oil manufacturers, that farmers cannot afford to use them, though some do use the fish guano made by grinding the refuse after extracting the oil.
Solon Robinson.—And that refuse is worth nearly as much as the fish before extracting the oil, as that has but little value when applied in the usual way of using fish.
Mr. Cock said the principal objection to the fish guano was its extremely affensive odor. This at the oil factories is horrible, and creates a prejudice against the fish guano.
Hon. George Geddes.--I have now learned why the farmers of the eastern counties talk so much about manure. It is because they sell everything off the farm, and of course must cart manure on even at an expense of $36 80 acre to get twenty bushels of wheat. In Onondaga county, I know farmers who grow one to two hundred bushels of grain and cut 150 tons of hay a year, and never sell any of it, feeding all to stock to make animals, a butter and cheese for sale. That keeps up the fertility of the soil to an indefinite extent. I know a farmer who could have sold his hay one year for more than his sheep to which he fed it would sell for in the spring. Yet that man knew that it was not good economy to sell his hay. By the course we pursue, our farms are growing better every year. I would not baul manure a mile for all the advantages I should gain. I prefer to keep the land rich with sheep and clover, aud grow wheat, barley and oats for sale. I know distilleries that cannot sell their manure, because farmers can keep their land rich cheaper than by hauling manure; certainly, if they had to pay $36 an acre and get only twenty bushels of wheat in return. Any farm that sells only the grain and keeps all the hay and straw, will not deterio rate. Such farms in our section average forty bushels of barley, or thirtyfive bushels of wheat per acre. I have such land that never had a load of stable manure spread upon it. I have knolls that will produce two and a half tons of hay per acre, that are kept up to this point of fertility by the droppings of sheep, which always resort to dry places. I do not understand why Long Island farmers find it good economy to buy city manure at $2 a load, wben it is balf straw, only colored by the urine and horse droppings. It is not any more valuable for manure than it was when it was hauled to the city to be colored. I can prove to the satisfaction of any reasonable man, that there is actually more manure in an acre of clover sod than in any twelve wagon-loads of city manure. In making the com parison between our mode of manuring and that of the Long Island farmers, I am glad that we are so fortunate as to be so far from city manure that we cannot be tempted to purchase the stuff. I don't believe any farmer can succeed unless his farm is self-sustaining. As to keeping up Long Island farms with Western New York ashes, that day has gone by. The salt makers are burning coal, and the wood is becoming scarce and ashes will be too dear. The people who have depended upon ashes had
better begin to look up substitutes. As to "husbanding manure," I don't believe in it. I would spread manure on the surface late in autumn. I would like to know how best to keep it over summer?
Mr. Harris (editor of Genesee Farmer) said, in answer to a question of Mr. Geddes, about the relative value of a clover crop and stable manure, that three tons of clover hay contained the same quantity of nitrogen (120 lbs.) as twelve tons of ordinary farmyard manure; and, as nitrogen is the basis of calculation of manure values, it could easily be calculated which would be the most economical system of manuring.
Mr. Walker, of Oswego, said that he prefers to apply fresh manure in spring, spread on and worked into the surface. If it is hauled out in autumn and spread, it becomes chaffy, and I think loses value. I therefore haul it out during winter, and deposit it in large piles. I think that the straw should be thoroughly rotted.
Solon Robinson.-Have you proved that it is of any advantage to rot straw? A gentleman stated last evening that he had obtained the greatest benefit from straw by applying it dry upon the surface of grass land. That course saves much labor.
Mr. Walker replied that he had had no experience in the use of unrotted straw, but had conceived the idea that it must be rotted to make it of any use as manure.
Mr. Cock said that the reason Long Island farmers did not raise calves instead of selling them, and the hay, was that they could get $12 for a calf st six weeks old, and an average of about $18 a ton for hay, and at these prices they could better afford to buy manure than to keep stock to make it
Mr. Geddes said it was an exceptional.case, where farmers have the ocean or city of New York to draw upon, but he laid it down as a rule that all farms in the interior must be made self-sustaining, or the owners will grow poor.
Several gentlemen confirmed a remark of Mr. Robinson that flax always benefitted the grass where it was spread to rot for dressing, but no one could tell why, whether it was the shade or something washed off the straw.
Other gentlemen spoke of the value of weeds and sods in the pig-pen, and sawdust for stable bedding, but Mr. Walrath thought sand, which contains a little clayey loam, the best of all substances for bedding, as it absorbs the urine and does not heat and mold in the manure pile like sawdust,
Mr. Conger thought there was an insuperable objection to the proposition to cart out stable manure in a fresh state, because the farmer would not always have a field ready to apply the manure, nor could he always be ready to haul it out. He could not leave the work of tilling nor harveste ing to haul manure. That work must be done at a more leisure season. My plan is to plow in autumn and haul manure in winter or spring, and put it in small compact piles, twenty-four feet apart, which are easily spread evenly over all the surface, by manure forks, and then it should be imme diately worked into the soil and kept as near the surface as possible. It is & very important question for farmers to discuss-how to make manure, how to store it and keep it without deterioration, and how to apply it. I think it very important that farmers should adopt some course that will save the necessity of carting all the manure in spring. If we consider that there is an average rain-fall of thirty-six inches a year in this state, and that a manure-yard twenty by thirty feet would receive one and a half tons of water a year, we must believe that much of the soluble parts of the manure will be washed away. If stowed under a shed, it saves this drenching, but is then liable to fire-fang, unless carefully watched and watered.
Mr. Walker said that he would manure on the sled in winter because he could do it then so much cheaper than at any other time. In fitting it for spreading he would not put the heaps more than fifteen feet apart. He finds all his coarse fodder in stalls, and throws out the manure in piles, and does not think that it loses much from exposure.
Hon. Geo. Geddes inquires why not spread the manure at once, snow or no snow. If upon dry frozen ground, and the manure dries, does it lose anything by evaporation?
Hon. A. B. Conger-It would be safe on perfectly level land, but if upon a hill side, the valuable portion would be washed away and wasted. Whenever manure comes in contact with the earth that fixes the ammonia. Snow contains nitric acid, and that unites with ammonia, and snow water does not injure manure except by running away and carrying off the best of its fertilising power.
Mr. Geddes inquired, suppose the earth frozen but dry, what then would be the result?
Mr. Conger replied that the manure would lose some of its value by evaporation.
Joseph Harris (editor Genesee Farmer) was earnestly solicited to say a word upon this question. He said that he entirely agreed with Mr. Geddes in his views of the treatment of land in the wheat district; that is, to depend upon clover and sheep to maintain fertility. In the recommendation to manure grass-land in autumn upon grass-sod, the question is asked, how to preserve the manure over the summer, or how much loss it would sustain by keeping over ? There are two sources of waste; fermentation, which forms ammonia, and water that falls upon an open yard, as that has an affinity for ammonia and may carry off a portion of it.
Von Thaer, by the most minute and careful experiments, could not detect the escape of ammonia from barn yards that had a concave bottom and abundance of steam mixed with the cow droppings.
It is advantageous to mix all kinds of manure together, that is, the droppings of horses, cows, hogs, sheep, etc. Where manure leaches, there is, of course, a great loss, but I doubt whether there is much danger of loss from overflow of a concave yard by the natural rain fall. If the roofs are not properly spouted to carry off the rain, it added to that falling upon the surface would do injury. In some seasons there might be too much rain and cause the yard to overflow. This excess should be saved in a tank and pumped back in a dry time and that would save everything.
Gypsum in solution will fix ammonia, but it will not in a dry state. In properly constructed yards or sheds, and by pumping back, liquid manure can be easily kept over summer so as to be used as suggested in autumn.
This question was further discussed by several members, without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion, and it was therefore agreed to postpone [AG. TRANS.]
its consideration until next annual meeting, and recommend farmers to make experiments and come to the next fair prepared to give others the benefits of their experience.
DISCUSSIONS ON MANURES AT ALBANY, AT THE ANNUAL MEETING IN
FEBRUARY, 1864. We avail ourselves of the report made by Solon Robinson for The Tribune, which he kindly furnished us.
The Hon. A. B. Conger, of Rockland, chairman, called up the manure question, adjourned from the meeting at Utica in September, and stated that the leading point was the best method of preserving manure till wanted for use.
The Hon. Geo. Geddes said that last year he manured a piece of eight acres of land, partly in the fall and partly in the spring, with sheep manure, and expected to get a good crop of corn. The result was that the eight acres yielded the lightest crop of any land on the farm. The surface was entirely covered; the plowing was about eight inches deep, and land in good condition. The growth of stalks was large, but yield of corn light.
Mr. John McGraw, of Tompkins county, said that he broke up three acres of seven years sod, and manured it highly with sheep, hog, horse and cow manure mixed, spread on the surface and turned under six inches deep, planted late, and got 420 bushels of ears of sound corn. The soil is rather clayey, mixed with stones. In my experience, the heavier the manuring, the greater the crops of all kinds.
Mr. Geddes wants to know why it was that he did not succeed in getting a good crop. The soil is dry, naturally well drained, about 500 feet above tide water. What I want to know is wherein I have done wrong.
The Hon. T. C. Peters.—You plowed too deep; it will show better next year.
Mr. Geddes said that he did not like to hear a farmer say to New York farmers that they ever plowed too deep.
The Hon. A. B. Conger announced that the real question before the meeting was the best method of preserving manure, and asked gentlemen to speak to that.
The Hon. J. Stanton Gould called for experience in regard to the system of "box feeding," for the preservation of manure, which is practiced in England.
E. G. Faile, President of the Society, said that the system was a bad one, because the stock does not remain healthy.
Col. John Butterfield advocated the preservation of manure in piles, under cover, to be wet and drained into tanks. He is quite satisfied with the system of box feeding, and never has found any bad results. He gets a depth of two or three feet before spring. For grass he prefers liquid maDure, and for corn, manure in the bill.
Mr. Crosby, of Westchester county, has tried a similar plan, and does not find that the manure ferments so as to be injurious to stock. He also preserves manure in water to good advantage. But he believes the best way to preserve manure is to put it on the land as fast as it is made. If manure is'exposed, so that the liquid runs away, it loses value. The urine