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In the lower parts of Lincolnshire, where the land is the most valuable, and consequently the most subject to mildew, spring wheat has been long known, and it is now cultivated to a great extent. Mr. Sers, of Gedney, near Spalding, has this year claimed a premium of the board for the largest quantity of land sown with spring wheat in 1805; his quantity is 241 acres, and there is no reason to suppose that he added a single acre to his crop on account of the board's offer. He is a man who, by bis skill and talents in agriculture alone, has raised himself to opulence, and possesses a considerable landed estate, for which he is certainly in part indebted to the free culture of spring wheat during the last thirty years.
Mr. Sers sows spring wheat from the 25th of March till the first week in May; for a full crop he sows fourteen pecks on an acre, and expects to reap four quarters; if he sows seeds under it, which is very generally practised, he sows nine pecks, and expects three quarters in return he finds it thrive nearly equally well on his stiff and his light land; and has found it, by experience, to be exempt from the mildew or blight, and free from all damage of the grub or wire-worm.The farmers in South Holland, where Mr. Sers resides, uniformly declare that they have been many years ago compelled, by frequent attacks of the mildew or blight, to abandon almost entirely the sowing of winter wheat, and that they then substituted spring wheat in its place, and have used it ever since: they believe it to be wholly exempt from the mildew or blight. In the neighbourhood of Horncastle, where I live, the land is either light or sandy, or composed chiefly of Norfolk marle,
called in that neighbourhood white clay. Such land, though tolerably productive in barley and seeds, is not to be compared with the rich and fertile tracts of South Holland; and yet the culture of spring wheats has of late years increased, and is now increas ing fast, because the millers begin to understand its nature, and cease to undervalue it as they did at first.
The grain of spring wheat is con- ! siderably smaller than that of winter wheat; in colour it resembles red lammas so much, that it may be mixed with that grain, and this mixture will do no injury to the seller, as spring wheat weighs heavy; nor to the buyer, as it yields better at the mill than from its appearance might be expected; 60lb. a bushel is about its usual weight. Mr. Sers's, of this year, weighed 61lbs. and he has sold some mixed with less than half of red lammas, at the usual marketprice of the winter wheat of the last harvest, though the winter wheat is better in quality this year, and the spring worse than usual.
In the countries best acquainted with its culture, spring wheat is preferred to all other corn for raising crop of seeds. This is owing to the small quantity of leaf it bears, less perhaps than any other corn, and to the short duration of the leaf, which fades and falls down almost as 500 as it has attained its full size.
In cases where red wheat has been damaged by the wire-worm, a mis chief which seems of late years to have increased in this island, spring wheat appears to hold out an easy and a simple remedy. In the first week of May the ravages of the worm have abated somewhat; if then the seed of spring wheat is at that time dibbled, or only raked with a gar den rake into the naked spots left by
the worm, though it will not attain the growth at which the worm begins to prey upon it till he has changed his state for that of a winged beetle, will certainly be ripe as soon as the winter wheat, and may be thrashed out and sold with it; or if it is preferred, may be reaped separately, as the appearance of the ears, which in the Lincolnshire sort have longer beards or awms, than the rivett or cone wheat, will point it out to the reapers in such a manner that no great error can happen in separating it from the lammas.
In years of scarcity, this wheat offers a resource which may occasionally be of the utmost importance to the community; of this the board were very sensible last spring, when they offered premiums for the increase of its culture, which have had the effect of rendering it much more generally known than otherwise would have been the case. The price of wheat seldom advances much, even in very scarce years, till a considerable portion of the crop has been thrashed out, and the yield of it by this means actually ascertained; but this does not take place till the seedtime of winter wheat is wholly over; no speculation, therefore, of sowing an increased quantity of that grain can be entered into during the first year of a scarcity; but before the end of April the question of the average-yield of the preceding crop will be generally known, and when it is much below the usual proportion, there can be no doubt that a large quantity of spring wheat will be sown, if the seed can be easily procured.
It is rather melancholy to reflect, that the progress of agricultural improvements has in some instances advanced in the inverse ratio of the utility of the novelty recommended to the public. Tobacco and potatoes VOL. XLIX.
reached Europe at much the same period, the time when Virginia was settled by Sir Walter Raleigh; but an ineffectual firmaum was issued by the Great Mogul against the use of tobacco, long before potatoes were commonly cultivated in the gardens of England; and that nauseous weed reached the farthest extremities of the Chinese empire, in spite of the obstacles placed by the government of that country against the introduction of novelties of any kind, long before potatoes had occupied any extensive portion in the field-cultivation of this island.
Lest the revival of the culture of spring wheat, even under the liberal protection it has received from the board, may be retarded by this principle, which seems to be inherent in the nature of mankind, it may be adviseable to state here, that in the neighbourhood of Boston and Spalding, in Lincolnshire, the cultivation of it is now fully established, and likely to continue; from either of these places, therefore, the seed may at any future time, as well as at present, be obtained without difficulty; and as there is a water communication between these towns, and as Boston is a sea-port, it may always be brought to London, or any other maritime part of England, at a small charge.
In times when dearth recurs, which will occasionally happen as long as the manufacturing interest insists on keeping the price of corn, in a plentiful harvest, below the actual cost of growing it, speculations on the sowing of spring wheat may be carried so far as to raise the price of seed till a saving in it becomes a matter of political as well as of economical importance; an experiment is therefore added, to shew that spring wheat will succeed as well by dibbling as by broadcast, made in the spring 1804. 3 K
Mr. William Showler, an intelligent farmer at Revesby, in Lincolnshire, dibbled four pecks and a half of spring wheat on one acre and two roods of middling land, which had borne turnips the winter before, and had no extraordinary preparation for this crop; the rows were eight inches asunder; the holes four inches asunder and two inches deep; two grains were put into each hole.
The produce from the quantity of 4 pecks of seed was 7 quarters; or 4 quarters, i bushel, and 1 peck, an acre; a fair crop, and as much at least as could have been expected from 18 or 21 bushels sown broadcast on the same land.
By a careful analysis in the wet way, conducted by professor Davy, of the Royal Institution, the following
results have been obtained from different kinds of wheat:
of 1804.... From this ingenious analysis we may fairly deduce, that bread made of the flour of spring wheat is more nutritious than that made of winter wheat, because spring wheat contains a larger proportion of the gluten or half-animalised matter; and also that a miller ought not to deduct from the price of spring wheat more than 2 per cent. on the money price of winter wheat of the same weight, as the excess of the weight of insoluble matter, or bran, is no more than 2 per cent. when compared with good English winter wheat.
Bread made of spring wheat is rather less white than that made of the
better sorts of winter wheat; but it is allowed to be more palatable in Lincolnshire, where it is best known. Both these qualities are probably owing to the excess of gluten contained in it.
A Plan for improving the Growth of Tares. By Mr. Thomas Herod, of North Creak, Norfolk.
[From Communications to the Board of Agriculture.]
To be sown broad-cast in October, from ten to twelve pecks per acre, with one peck of wheat, then plough ed into four-furrow ridges. In the
months of April and May, a one horse-plough (double breast) is to be run through the furrows; this will keep them clean, and admit the air to the roots of the tares, and will keep them clean and growing till Midsum
Tares being found very useful for the soiling of cattle, and the best plan of growing them being required by the board, I submit one for their consideration which I have practised seven years with success. They are a plant that contain a great deal of moisture, particularly when young, therefore it is not proper to soil cattle with them in that state without food; those persons who are destitute of that must give them very sparingly, or they injure their stock more than they are aware of. On the general plan of sowing, soon after they are at an age proper for the stock, they begin to rot at the bottom; to obviate which, some people sow rye, some oats, and some barley: the stems of the latter being weak, of course they can have no effect: the former soon get hard, and the cattle refuse to eat
them; and by endeavouring to avoid them destroy many of the tares, treading them under foot: therefore, on that plan they caunot be grown to so great advantage as might be hoped for. If it had been considered that air is the most essential means of the life both of the animal and vegetable creation, a different plan would have been resorted to. It is well known, that tares grow so close together at the tops as to exclude all the external air from the bottoms; and although they keep green at the tops where they receive the air, they continue rotting at the bottoms for want of it. When they are cut for soiling, the stock refusing to eat the decayed part, destroy a great deal of the sound food: the loss to the growers of this plant therefore is not to be calculated! My first attempt of improvement was on two roods of ground for the soiling of two horses, sown as first stated, and ploughed into four-furrow ridges; they continued growing with rapidity to the height of near five feet, clinging to the wheat. A high wind took them about Midsummer, and bent they all down, but not close to the ground; some yards might be seen up the furrows, which appeared like an arch. These furrows admitted the light as well as the air, which is also a means of preserving the plants green; for if air is admitted, and light taken away, they may continue growing, but they will lose their colour. These two roods produced more than my two horses could eat; after Midsummer the remainder were cut, and produced half a load of excellent hay. This land is a sandy soil upon a gravel; six loads of farm-yard dung were ploughed in with the tares. year and the preceding year, I had two roods on a black gravel, sown on this plan, had no other ma
nure than a thin covering of mould from an old bank in the same piece; the first crop was but middling; I gave it another thin covering of mould from the headland of the same piece last year, as the ground was weak. I sowed six pecks of tares, and three quarters of a peck of wheat; this proved a good crop, and after soiling two horses with them from the end of May till the middle of August, half a load were cut for seed. I have always found that two roods of tares sown on this plan were more than two horses could eat. I am well convinced from my own practice, that tares sown on poor land will improve it, if repeated a few crops; they may also be grown to great advantage, if sown on this plan, as the food will not only be sound and sweet, but also much greater in quantity. It has been supposed that they would be inconvenient to cut on the ridges; but, I
believe, they may be cut better than when they are fallen close to the ground and rotten. The reasons for my sowing wheat among the tares are, the stems of the wheat are not only strong, aud hold the tares up, but they are also so sweet that the stock will eat them with as much avidity as they do the tares, and to as late a time as the tares are proper to be cut for soiling.
covered with heath, and not exceeding two shillings and sixpence per acre, on an average value. The number of Scottish acres contained in the ground, which consisted of two plots or divisions, the Tor-hill, and the Law-park, was sixty one. According to the measurement of Mr. Oman, land surveyor, the medium elevation of the Tor-hill, from the water-level to the top, is four hundred and twenty-two feet. The ascent in a right line continues at an elevation of twenty-five degrees, to the extent of two hundred and sixty-four feet, from which it continues to the distance of one thousand and eighty-two feet, at an elevation of seventeen degrees. The quantity of ground reduced to a state of culture during the first year, was fifteen acres; during the second, twenty-five; and during the third year twenty-one. The ground was ploughed at intervals of leisure during the summer months, and suffered to remain in that condition till after the harvest, when it was manured with lime, in the proportion of twenty bolls of shells to the Scottish acre. The boll of lime contains six Winchester bushels. From the situation of the ground, it was ploughed with a single furrow, in an oblique direction, from right to left. Small's plough, drawn by two horses, was employed; but in the most elevated parts, where the soil was light and shallow, the small Scottish plough appeared preferable. Shell lime costs 1s. 2d. per boll, at the lime-works; but as these are sixteen miles distant, the expense of carriage may be estimated at 1s 11d. per boll. Lime was preferred to dung as a manure, from the superior facility with which, on account of its inferior weight, it could be carried to so great a height, and spread over the ground. It was brought in carts
to the most accessible part of the ground, and dragged up the ascent by doubling the number of horses, or yoking the horses of two carts to one. It was then brought to the steepest parts of the ploughed ground in a sledge without poles, moved by dragropes, and termed a slipe. The lime was laid upon the ground dur ing the winter, and in the spring the land was ploughed a second time from left to right, and then sown with oats. After being ploughed from right to left, as at first, a second crop of oats was raised upon it. The next crop was of pease, raised after ploughing in a straight direction down the hill; and in 1801, the same piece of ground was sown with rough barley, or big, and grass seeds, in order to convert it into pasture. In the oat crops, Mr. Allan sowed at the rate of one boll to the acre, and reaped at an average seven bolls. In the pease crop, he sowed three firlots and two pecks on the acre, and reaped at an average eight bolls. The average expence of manure and labour may be estimated from between three pounds fifteen shillings to four pounds the Scottish acre. By a similar process, Mr. Allan intends to convert the whole piece of ground into pasture. After two crops of oats, divisions of between thirteen and fifteen acres may be sown with turnips, broad-cast, and eaten on the ground by sheep; by which the process of conversion may perhaps be accelerated. The average value of the laud in this state of improvement, is estimated at the rate of between fifteen and twenty shilings per acre.
The land (sixty-one acres) which Mr. Allan thus first brought into culture, has ever since remained in grass, and maintained its estimated value,