the war than previously. Agriculture must go on in order that the war may be proseouted; though one of the " arts of peace," it is as much a supporter of the contests between belligerents as the manufacture of arms, ammunition, and army blankets. Though we may look for a decline of those pursuits which minister to the elegancies of life; though many luxuries and articles not at all necessary to our health and comfort will be dispensed with, yet unless this war continues much longer than with the present number of men and vigor with which it is being prosecuted, it seems possible, the number of acres under cultiration will not be decreased.


"Is there a disposition among farmers generally to employ more machinery than formerly?

"Are reapers and mowers in general use in your county?

"What reaper is considered the best ?" What mower is considered the best?

"Are horse-rakes in general use?

"Are grain-drills in general use?

"Are any hay-pitching machines used?

"Are any double plows used ; and to what extent?

"Is sabsofling practiced in your county?

"Do farmers plowtdeeper than formerly?"

Machinery Used Hi Farmers.—The advantage gained by using machinery is, with it a power which would otherwise go to waste is utilized. The amount of this power, treasured up in wind, water, electricity, and in the muscular system of animals, is almost infinite; and it is the greatest triumph of human genius, when, by the arrangement of wheel and axle, lever and pulley, it applies it to its own use. The stream of water, that goes rushing on to the lake or ocean, never grumbles when we ask it to just give a little turn to our water-wheel when it passes; the wind is ever going our way, and will just as readily carry a freighted ship to Africa, China, Japan or London, as to go empty; electricity never grumbles when we ask it to do an errand for us in New York or Boston—" it is going there every minute," and had "just as soon do it as not." Some writers seem to think that it is the nature of man to own slaves, but it is only a perversion of this nature when he claims human ones; his true slaves are the forces of nature, which are ever ready to work at his bidding. They only ask to be harnessed, after which they will "work for nothing and board themselves." Machinery gives us the long end of the lever, and, by little more than the touch of our finger, do what, with our hands alone, we could never accomplish. The progress of the human race, in a great measure, depends upon the substitution of machinery for human muscle. It emancipates the man, and gives him leisure for culture in the pursuit of science and art, or for the extension of his enterprise. The use of machinery has done much to ennoble the pursuit ol agriculture. The excessive toil to which the farmer is subject without it is degrading. Labor is ennobling, and man is all the better that he cannot pluck and eat his daily food, and surround himself with elegancies, without working for them; but when that labor is excessive it makes him a slave. Its effects upon the body, though not aa disastrous to health as a sedentary life, where one is ever breathicg a polluted atmosphere, and affording so little ex'rcise that the body becomes dwarfed, and unfitted to perform properly its functions, are such as to give stiffness and awkwardness, and destroy all gracefulness of movement and nobility of appearance. Like a wheel that has been battered out of its proper shape, the slave to toil moves irregularly. Its effect upon the mind is worse than upon the body. Excessive labur consumes upon the muscles that nervous energy intended for use on both muscle and brain; and the latter, like a wheel with little water to turn it, goes with uncertain force. If we would have the brain act with power we must save a portion of our strength to expend upon it. The application of thought to agriculture makes it an entirely different pursuit from what it is without it. Thought, which is but another word for the application of science to the culture of the soil, ennobles it. From being a pursuit wh'ch exhausts it in a vain endeavor to extort a meagre subsistence from it; from being a pursuit in which man only vegetates, and hardly makes his income for the year cover his expenses, it becomes the noblest business in which man can engage. A celebrated painter was once asked by a young student " with what he mixed his paints to produce such fine results?" "With brains, sir," was the reply. The answer, though it gave no light on the details of the art to the young man, was full of truth. So with agriculture. If we would make it what it is capable of becoming, we must use brains in the preparation of our soil. The use of machinery on the farm, the substitution of brute labor for human labor, enables the farmer to do this. With it he can perform the same work to-day, with one hand, that without it required four. These three hands can engage in other pursuits—join the army, or, if sons of the farmer, are released from toil, and can now attend college and obtain an education.

Mowers Akd Reapers—The increased use of machinery on the farm in Ohio, within the last ten years, has been immense. The mowing and reaping machine has saved ninny harvests which, owing to the demand for men in other directions, conld never have been secured without them. They are now in general use in almost every township and on elmost every farm in Ohio. The saving they effect in the number of men employed depends upon the preparation of the surface of the grout d for their use, the efficiency with which they are worked, and the perfection ol the machine. As yet farmers have not taken much pains to remove stones, stumps and level inequalities in their meadows and grain-fields, for the better work'ng of machinery. The efforts have rather been on the part of inventors to produce implements that would woik almost anywhere—and their success has been complete. The improvement in the style of mowers and reapers within the last five years has been very great. Combinations of the improvements made by different inventors have been made—till now there is little more to ask. The greatest improvement have been in the saving of power required to work them. Now, a light team, going at a slow pace, will do, with the machines of present manufacture, what five years ago would require a heavy team, going at a rapid rate. The simplicity of their structure, their strength, and ease with which they are handled, are now much greater than ever before. Most of the machinery for cutting grass and grain, used in Ohio, is manufactured in the State. The nearer home farmers can procure a good machine, the more likely they are to own one.

As to which is the best mower or reaper there is of course diversity of opinion, and it would require nicer tests than have been given them at any trial to decide this question satisfactorily.

Horse Rakes —Very few farmers who have grass to cut try to get along without a horse rake. Their use commenced before the introduction of mowing machines, and now, in all the grass-growing regions of the State, little hay is raked by hand.

Pitching Machines.—Machines for pitching hay are not yet in general use, though they are rapidly being introduced in many places.

Roping Hat.—This method of drawing hay to the barn or stack, when situated in the meadow, is common in some districts and is not known in others. The rapidity with which a winrow can be drawn to the stack without pitching a pound of it is very great.

With the aid of the mower and reaper, the horse rake, the pitching machine and rope, farmers now secure their crop; with less than half the number of hands it formerly required. It is doubtful if in any department of labor has there been as great improvement, in so short a time, as has been effected for the farmer by implements.

On th< ir comparative value an intelligent farmer (Mr. D. At water) of Mantua, Portage county, writes as follows: "For several years I have cut most of my grass with, a mowing machine; have raked it with a horse-rake; have drawn it to the barn or stack with a rope; and, for the last two years, have pitched it with a horse-foik. I have found all of these improvements to work well together, and that, by working much less myself than formerly, I could make more than twice the progress with half the help, and do it equally well. I have found them a great saving when means to hire were not abundant. Though I count all of these valuable, if I were to class them according to their real value in laborsaving, I would say first the horse-rake; second, the rope; third, the mower; and fourth, the horse fork. I place the rope before the mower because five dollars will pay the expense of one for ten years, and often the use of one two hours will save more than that amount.

Cultivators And Horss-hoes.—In cultivating Indian corn and potatoes, there has been great improvement within a few years. Formerly, a shovel-plow, of poor quality, was the only horse tool used in the cornfield; what it did Dot do, must be dune by the hoe or left undone Now, the shovel-plow has been greatly improved, and the cultivator has been almost universally introduced. This and the plow are found to work we 1 together. By their thorough use little is left to be don - by hand In addition to these, the horse-hoe is being introduced, and in s lis free from stones and other impediments to its use it is found to work advantageously, both in destroying weeds and in mellowing the soil. It does the work better than can be done with the hoe, and the saving in both time and labor is very great. A boy, with a good horse or mule with the improved tools for working among corn, potatoes, and other crops grown in rows, can keep fifty acres in a well cultivated condition. The cultivator and the hoe give level culture, which ia being more generally adopted than hilling, especially for corn.

Hollers And Clod-Crushers.—The clod-crusher has not yet been very generally introduced into the State. A few have tried and found it to work well for the purpose of reducing scil to a fine state. It can never be used when it is wet, without injury. Rulh rs are considerably used before sowing to reduce lumps; after the plant has come up, to fix the roots more firmly, and on light soils, to consolidate them. It is also much used to improve the surface of meadows. It requires a good deal of care to be able to use the roller and clod crusher at the right time, otherwise more harm than good will result. With proper precaution, they are valuable implements, and should have a more extensive me. On light soils wheat is not likely to succeed without the use of the roller to press it together on the surface, and give it more firmness, and fur 1bis purpose its use on such soils produces excellent results.

Grain Drills.—Grain-drills are in general use throughout the wheat-growing region of the State. Though they may not have fulfilled the claim set up for them when first introduced—"that their use would add several bushels per acre to the yield of grain "—yet, where it is extensively grown, their use is the most economical method of sowing it. No amount of machinery for sowing grain will greatly increase the yield, unless, at the same time, the soil ba belter fiued for the crop. One advantage in the use of the drill is, that it requires the soil to be better prepared for its use, than when the grain is sown broadcast. That it deposits the seed more evenly, with less Lbor, and ia a better position to root well, is now generally admitted.

Plowing.—Improvement in plowing is the basis of all improved culture of the eoil. Without it, other improvements are of little importance. Plows have been very greatly improved within a few years, and adapted to almost every kind of soil or variety of work; Bo that now there is no reason why we should not have perfection in the art.

The object of plowing is two-fold: the pulverization and loosening of the soil that it may be easily penetrated by the roots of plants, and be render* d permeable to both moisture and the atmosphere, and the covering of weeds, gras-, s'ubb!e or manure. Providing the soil contains abundance of plant food, we cannot give the roots too much room to pene'rate it. Where it is hard, the rootlets come in contact with only a small portion of soil, find little food, and make a fet ble growth. Any one who will take the trouble to examine the ramificaiiuns oi the roots of a hill of corn planted in a well plowed field, and compare it with one from a hard, impenetrable soil, will at once see the benefit of pulverization.

Requisites To Good Plowing.—The first is a good plow, of the right shape, sharp, brighi, and adapted to the variety of plowing intended. Where the main object is to loosen the soil, it should take a narrow furrow; where it is to turn under grass or turf, it is better that it should cat a wide slice. Plows made to cut narrow can never be made to turn a wide furrow well; but a wide-working plow can be made to work narrow without difficulty. It is better that it turn a furrow that shall lap on the previous one. The point where the beam joins the mould-board should be somewhat higher from the ground than plows are usually made, in order to prevent clogging. A wheel should be attached, which can easily be removed; and the points should be of the best quality.

Next to a good plow, is required a good team. The greatest fault with our plow teams is, they are not strong enough. To plow well, it is important that we plow deep, and to do this strength is required. If the horses in Ohio were twenty-five per cent, stronger, our plowing would be improved in proportion. W« usually adapt the depth of our plowing to the strength of the team. It is also important that they be well trained. If half the attention of the driver is occupied in guiding his horses, he will plow very imperfectly. We do not give sufficient attention to the training of horses for this purpose. They ought to be so under the control of the plowman, that his word is sufficient to produce a change in any movement he desired. A plow horse should not be a tall, thin animal, but low and broad both in the chest and on the back. The less unnecessary gearing attached to the animal while at work the better.

With a good team and a good plow we are, however, only prepared to do good work; it requires a master hand to do the guiding. In England the plowman does little else, and learns his trade so perfectly that every furrow is turned with the greatest precision; very little difference exists in their depth, or the evenness witn which they are turned, and a line could scarcely be drawn with less variation from right to left.

One reason why our farmers plow so imperfectly is, they undertake to do too much. One a:re, or at most one and a quarter, is as much as a single team can do well in a single day; and yet most plowmen pretend that two acres is only a good day's work. So much cannot be done well. True, it may not be so important that the same perfection be reached as by the English plowman, yet it is necessary that all the soil be turned and as completely pulverised as possible. Upon the perfection with which the soil is tilled, in a great measure, depends onr crop. In " striking out a land," it will add to the ease with which the work is well done if great accuracy be observed, so that throughout its whole length it be of the same width. Wherever there is variation will be found imperfection; the plow cuts too wide here and too narrow there; leaves some unturned, and some turned a second time.

Ridgiaq Or Lap-plowino.—In soil too hard and stiff, by its preponderance of clay, there is great advantage gained by ridging the land in the fall, that is, by turning two lurrows on to an unplowed surface, so that their edges shall touch each other, thus leaving the land in alternate furrows and ridges. The frosts of winter have a very important influence in ameliorating such soils and reducing them to a well pulverieed condition. This practice might be more extensively follow ed by many of our farmers with great profit.

« VorigeDoorgaan »