« VorigeDoorgaan »
The cheapest, though not probably the most economical, plan of feeding store catile is to give them whole roots, and to put the straw, uncut, into racks, making them, in fact, cut and prepare their own food. The objection to this plan is the danger of choking an animal by a small root, or a portion of one, sticking in the throat. There is great risk of such an accident when the roots are small and hard. Mangold, being soft and usually larger than turnips and Swedes, may be given with comparative safety. Store animals fed in this way will do well, and perhaps as well as on prepared food, probably in consequence of the more perfect mastication and deglutition of food when taken slowly.
It was one of the advantages of thrashing by flail that the straw came daily from the barn into the racks as it was wanted. Under the present system it will generally be found more convenient to cut a portion of the straw stack into chaff at a leisure time, and store it away for future use. It is quite indispensable to store it in a place free from damp, for unless kept perfectly sweet it will disorder the stock, and will not be eaten with relish.
A cheap and excellent floor for a chaff house is made with asphalte; and unless the site is particularly dry, the interior walls should have a coating of the same material, reaching three or four feet from the ground.
The cost of cutting straw into chaff with a machine driven by horse gear is 6s. per ton. And it costs quite as much to cut it by steam power, unless other machinery, covering part of the expense, is driven at the same time. Under the most favorable circumstances a saving of 2s. per ton may be effected.*
It has been suggested that steaming straw renders it more wholesome. On trial I find that a large apparatus with two "pans" will steam 250 bushels, weighing 1626 lbs, in a day, at a cost of 7a. 6d. per ton. This quantity would be sufficient for 90 head of cattle, supposing each to receive 18 lbs. daily. The expense of steaming a smaller quantity is much greater in proportion, as the coat
• Details of cost of chaff-cutting :—
£ : d.
1 man to feed 0 2 0
1 man to supply him 0 1 8
2 men to straighten the hay or straw 0 3 4
1 man to remove chaff to chaff-bouse 0 1 8
1 man to drive horses 0 2 0
2 to briDg hay or straw from the stack to machine 0 3 4
1 horse for ditto 0 2 0
'3 horses to work by turns, two at a time 0 6 0
For use of chaff cutter and horse-gear (10 per cent, on 25i. if used once a
we.k) 0 10
If 4 tons are cut in a day the cost is 5» 9d. per ton; it would, however, te a long day's work to cut that quantity into short chaff fit f.-r feeding cattle with a 2-horse gear. If allowance be made for short days in winter, when chaff is most in use, and for the interruptions which sometimes occur, 6s. per ton is not too high aa estimate.—B. E.
of fuel and attendance cannot be reduced in proportion to the smaller quantity of straw steameti.
The expense of this process is very much reduced, when the waste steam of a fixed engine can be employed.
If it cost 6s per ton to cut straw into chaff, and an additional 7s. 6d. per ton to steam it, then it may well ba doubted whether the cost of preparation is warranted by the value of the article when prepared.
Straw with its 40 per cent, of woody fibre is, at the best, anything but digestible. And we know of no available method for converting this fibre into food. Steaming does not appear to do much for it except to make it palatable; and I believe, the advantages derived from steaming may be obtained at much less cost, by fermentation with pulped roots.
Fatting cattle can readily be induced to eat from 10 lbs. to 14 lbs. of straw-chaff by mixing it with their cake or corn. Either fatting or store cattle will eat any kind of chaff when mixed and fermented with pulped roots. My cows are at the present time eating 18 lbs. each daily of straw-chaff prepared by this method; and I have found no difficulty in inducing them to eat rape-cake, which otherwise they would not touch, by grinding it small and mixing it into the heap of pulped roots and chaff.
With regard to the value of different sorts of straw, any kind saved in good condition is better than any other kind at all damaged. If at all injured, it should be condemned for litter; none but the best should be given to stock. The nearer it approaches to ripeness when cut, the less wholesome and nutritious it is.
Cattle prefer oat-straw, or barley-straw with clover in it, and both are excellent fodder. Pea haulm is eagerly eaten by sheep, and is very serviceable in the racks of horses and store-cattle in the winter months. On sheep-farms every handful should be saved for the ewes and store flock.
Bean haulm is frequently exposed too long in the field, but if carted in good condition, it should be carefully saved and cut into chaff. For although cattle and horses will eat it from racks during the winter months, they will waste a portion. On dairy-farms bean-straw is especially useful for the cows, and may be made palatable by fermenting with pulped roots
It is an interesting fact that well-fed cattle, kept in open yards, will eat more straw during the winter months than other cattle kept under the warm shelter of a roof. The careful manager saves his stock of baan-straw until the cold weather sets in, knowing that at that season its bitter flavor will be disregarded.
During the present winter I compared the quantity of mixed hay and strawchaff eaten by six oxen, fattened in a warm cattle-house, with that consumed by cattle of the same age and breed in an adjoining yard. Each lot was fed alike in respect of corn and roots, and as much chaff was given as '.hey would eat. Those in the house ate 14 lbs., and the others 18 lbs. daily; showing a difference of nearly a fourth less carbonaceous food, required by cattle when kept in a condition of artificial warmth.
This fact indicates the value of straw for maintaining animal warmth. It would require a long course of experiments to ascertain its value as compared with hay and other articles of food. The results of experiments of this kind are frequently unlike. They are affected by the age and breed of the animal, by the kind of food used in connection with the straw, by temperature and other circumstances. When animals are much exposed to cold it may be right to give them a considerable quantity of straw, and but little hay, in their food; but it dees not follow that it would be right to give the same quantity and proportions, on removing the cattle to a warm house. We have already seen that when kept warm they require less carbonaceous food.
Straw is not sufficiently digestible and nutritious to be a desirable addition to the food of young animals.
Having thus pointed out the known value of straw as an article of food, I now leave it to the reader to decide whether in his own particular case he cannot profitably convert more of it into meat.
Composition of Wheat-straw, air-dried. From Morton's "Cyclopaedia."
Nitrogenized, or muscle-producing substances 1-85
Substances free from nitrogen, heat and fat producing substances 26 34
Insoluble substances 41 22
'Mineral substances 459
Water 26 00
Barley-straw. From Morton's " Cyclopaedia."
Nitrogenized substances 1-70
Free from nitrogen, soluble and ins luble 82-12
Water 10 94
Oat-slraw, By Bouesingault.
Non-nitrogenized, soluble 22-1
do insoluble • 43 8
Water 28 7
Pea-straw. By Boussingault.
Nitrogenized 12 55
Non-nitrogenized, soluble 21-93
do insoluble 47-52
Mineral 6 00
Bean-straw. By Wat, "Royal Agricultural SDciety's Journal."
Albuminous matter 16 38
Oil or fatty matter 2-23
Woody fibre 25-84
Starch, gum, &c 31-63
Bye-straw. By Boussinoault.
Non-nitrogem'zed, soluble 37-10
do insoluble 39-75
Water 18 70
Non-nitrogenous .' 62 63
Mineral ........ 6 08
White Turnips, Swedes, Mangolds (by Voelckkr), and Carrots.
White Turnips. Swedes. Carrots. Mangolds.
Nitrogenous 1-143 1-443 1-48 1-81
Non-nitrogenous 7-799 8-474 11 61 11 19
Ash -628 -623 -81 -96
Water 90 430 89-460 86-10 8604
100 000 100-000 100 00 100 00
From the conflicting opinions of scientific men, based on chemical analysis, as to both the feeding aud manuring value of straw, and the almost contradictory statements of other writers on this subject,— the large promises of direct profit held out by some from the combination of straw chaff with richer food" in cattle feeding, contrasted with the assertions of others that however high may be the true theoretic valua of straw for feeding, still it will not answer to buy rich food for the purpose of mixing with straw-chuff,—we turn with satisfaction to the practical good sense of the author of the present Essay.
The hisrh'sst ssrvice which can be at present rendered to agriculture is, perhaps, that of the practical man who, informing his mind, and shaping his observations by the light of scientific speculation, will address himself methodically t put things to the proof under his own eye; testing, measuring, and weighing, not estimating results, yet making due allowance for the influence which disturbing causes exercise on the average result as compared with the maximum effect which can be produced at some short and picked moment of time.
In this sense our author seems to be truly practical, and if he 'leans a little to the old-fashioned side, that is the safe side for him who is not unwilling to test and try well recommended novelties. If his estimates differ from those of other recent writers, they may perhaps be found to square with a sober view of average results, when others are rashly generalizing from exceptional cases.
These pages are fully as valuable for the suggestions they offer as for the conclusions at which they arrive. Our author, indeed, gives us full means of estimating the amount of manure which may be made under a given course of feeding in boxes or in covered yards, in which respect his calculations may be of great service in aiding us to arrive at a standard for the composition and value of farmyard manure,—a standard with which all other qualities of such manure must ultimately be compared and measured. But boxes and covered yards are hitherto the exception and not the rule. When, however, he comes to the point which most materially affects the mfajority of farmers, how far this problem is modified when the cattle are fed in open yards, or even when the Utter is thrown out from stalls into such yards, our author does not venture to clench his statement; he has, however, at my suggestion, appended a note to his original Essay, in which he calculates approximately that the rainfall would add 464 tons of water to the 525 tons of manure on which it is supposed to fall.
This estimate is, however, subject to deductions; first, for overflow from the yards, and, secondly, from the effects of evaporation. It must, however, be borne in mind that the assumed dimensions of the yards are very small, such as are not often found except in connexion with modern buildings, where waste from overflow is carefully guarded against. If the buildings were old-fashioned, the area of the yards would probably be much larger, and the drippings from the roof would add considerably to the direct rainfall; these two sources of an increased supply of water would probably compensate for the overflow. Very little is known as to the amount of evaporation arising from a bed of straw, the top of which is comparatively dry; but, as the surface exposed is but small, and the situation sheltered, the loss of moisture from this cause is probably not great, especially during the winter months. Taking Mr. Evershed's calculutioa as it stands, without abatement, 200 tons'of litter would, in open yards, furnish 989, or, in round numbers, 1000 tons of manure. Considering, therefore, that he calculates the amount of rainfall for yards only of such moderate area as seem best adapted to improved modern practice, it may be reckoned that, in the larger old-fashioned yards, the weight of manure to be carted is doubled by the rainfall.*
* The result will be the same if we allow for the employment of a smaller number of yards, and, consequently, fewer head of stock kept for a longer period. Four yards filled the whole