Acres. Crop. Average. Carroll 10,107 316,999 32 Jackson 15,680 439,850 30 Monroe 23,375 728,242 31 Portage 10,426 329,529 32 Vinton 11,413 345,470 30
The last counties contain but little bottom land, and hence the average of corn is reduced one-fourth in amount. Of these counties, two are full of coal and iron. The resources of the last are more slow to develop, but in the end will be equally valuable.
But a small quantity of the corn of Ohio is exported as grain. It is first manufactured into other articles, and then exported in another form. The principal part of these are hogs, cattle, and whiskey. It is difficult to say exactly how much corn is in this way exported, but the following is an approximation—
Bushels. In Fat Cattle 4,000,000 In Fat Hogs 10,000,000 In Whiskey 2,500,000 ————— Total 16,500,000
Taking into view the export of corn meal—about twenty millions of bushels—the residue goes to the support of the stock animals on hand, of which there are near three millions, exclusive of those fatted for market.
The exported corn in the shape of cattle, hogs, and whiskey, is worth about thirty cents cash, while on the farm it is not worth twenty—thus proving that it is more profitable to consume corn on the farm, than to export it in bulk. This fact is well known to good farmers, who seldom attempt to sell corn as a merchantable article.
No mining in the world has ever been equal to mining in a fertile soil, and no treasury is so reliable as a granary of surplus products.
Indian corn and meal generally find a market in the West Indies, Newfoundland, Spain, and Portugal. It commands a good price, and finds a ready sale in the ports which are open to its reception.
Deducting one-sixteenth for the amount exported, and one-tenth for seed, the quantity of maize annually consumed for food in the United States by a family of five persons is 85 bushels.
Maize may be considered as the great staple of the agricultural products of the States. It is exported in large quantities, in a raw state, or when manufactured into meal. Before it is manufactured into meal it is dried by a fire, in a kiln prepared for that purpose. By this process the meal is much less liable to become sour on the voyage, and can be preserved much longer in a warm climate. No inconsiderable quantities have likewise been consumed in distillation; and the article of kiln-dried meal for exportation is destined to be of no small account to the corn-growing sections of that country.
The improvement continually making in the quality of the seed augurs well for the productiveness of this indigenous crop, as it has been found that new varieties are susceptible of being used to great advantage.
The following was the produce of the different States in the years named, as given in the Official Census Returns:—
- - - - - 1840 1841 1843 1850 Bushels. Bushels. Bushels. Bushels. - - - - - Maine 950,528 988,549 1,390,799 New Hampshire 1,162,572 191,275 330,925 Massachusetts 1,809,192 1,905,273 2,347,451 Rhode Island 450,498 471,022 578,720 Connecticut 1,500,441 1,521,191 1,926,458 Vermont 1,119,678 1,167,219 1,252,853 New York 10,972,286 11,441,256 15,574,590 New Jersey 4,361,975 5,134,366 5,805,121 Pennsylvania 14,240,022 14,969,472 15,857,431 Delaware 2,099,359 2,164,507 2,739,982 Maryland 8,233,086 6,998,124 6,205,282 Virginia 34,577,591 33,987,255 45,836,788 N. Carolina 23,893,763 24,116,253 27,916,077 S. Carolina 14,722,805 14,987,474 18,190,913 Georgia 20,905,122 21,749,227 26,960,687 Alabama 20,947,004 21,594,354 24,817,089 Mississippi 13,161,237 5,985,724 9,386,399 Louisiana 5,952,912 6,224,147 8,957,392 Tennessee 44,986,188 46,285,359 67,838,477 52,000,000 Kentucky 39,847,120 40,787,120 59,355,156 58,000,000 Ohio 33,668,144 35,552,161 38,651,128 59,788,750 Indiana 28,155,887 33,195,108 36,677,171 53,000,004 Illinois 22,634,211 23,424,474 32,760,434 57,000,000 Missouri 17,332,524 19,725,146 27,148,608 Arkansas 4,846,632 6,039,450 8,754,204 Michigan 2,277,039 3,058,090 3,592,482 Florida Territory 898,074 694,205 838,667 Wisconsin 379,359 521,244 750,775 Iowa T. 1,406,241 1,547,215 2,128,416 D. of Columbia 39,485 43,725 47,837 - - - - Total 377,531,875 387,380,185 494,618,306 500,000,000 - - - - -
The Indian corn crop of 1850, for the whole of the United States, is returned as over 500 million bushels, a gain of about 40 millions on that of 1840.
I give below the quantities of Indian corn and meal which were exported from the United States in the following years:—
Corn, Bushels. Meal, Bushels. Value. Dolls. 1790 1,713,241 1794 1,505,977 241,570 1798 1,218,231 211,694 1802 1,633,283 566,816 1806 1,064,263 108,342 1,286,000 1810 1,054,252 86,744 1,138,000 1814 61,284 26,438 170,000 1818 1,075,190 120,029 2,335,405 1822 509,098 148,288 900,656 1826 505,381 158,652 1,007,321 1829 897,656 173,775 974,535 1833 437,174 146,678 871,814
—(Pitkin's Statistics of the United Stales, and Seybert's Statistical Annals.)
System of culture pursued in the United States.—Maize, the corn, par excellence, of America, is grown in every State in the Union.
Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and Indiana, are in their order the greatest producers of this grain. In Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New York, Maryland, Arkansas, and the New England States, it appears to be a very favorite crop. In Massachusetts, the most Northern and least favorable State on that account, being cold, a fair proportion is grown, the aggregate produce being greater there than in any of the grains, except oats; more, indeed, than might be expected, were not labor somewhat cheaper than in more Southern States, where the climate is more congenial. The ordinary produce is twenty-five bushels per acre; forty bushels is often raised, and in prize crops the weight has come up to 100 bushels per acre. In Ohio the average is fifty-five bushels to the acre. The eight and twelve-rowed varieties of Indian corn are those most usually grown in New York, and the average produce of a good field in that State is from forty to sixty bushels; on ordinary ground twenty-five to thirty is a fair crop. The same returns appeared to be derived from ground in New Jersey. Mr. Doubleday, of Binghampton, New York, estimates the produce of that neighbourhood at forty bushels, and the expense of raising the crop as follows, estimating the worth of the land at twenty-five dollars (say L5) per acre:—
Dollars. Cents. The interest of which is 1 16 One ploughing with double team, and harrowing 3 50 Seed and planting 1 00 Plaster or gypsum, and putting on the hill 0 37 Ploughing and hoeing twice, cutting or stalking the corn 2 75 Husking or thrashing 2 50 ————————- 11 62
Average yield, forty bushels; cost of produce, twenty-nine cents. (1s. 41/2d.) per bushel.
Nothing is here put down for manure or cartage, because the fodder, cut up and saved, as usually adopted, is equal to the manure required. It is looked upon that the preparation of ground for corn costs less than wheat; the approved plan is to plant on sward ground, ploughing at once, and turning the ground completely over, then harrowing longitudinally until, a good tilth is obtained. Should the soil not be rich enough, stable manure is first spread on the land.
Now suppose the corn to sell at seventy-five cents the bushel, the account would stand thus:—
Dollars. Cents. Forty bushels, at seventy-five cents. 30 00 Cost 11 62 ———————- Gain per acre 18 38
or L3 13s. 6d. British money profit per acre.
In Lichfield, Connecticut, the cost of produce has been, for the items as stated above, eighteen dollars twenty-five cents, or the cost of each bushel thirty-six and one-half cents. The acre produce was fifty bushels, so that it stood thus:—
Dollars. Cents. Fifty bushels, at seventy-five cents 37 50 Cost 18 25 ————————- Gain 19 5
or L3 12s. per acre.
The cost of producing maize varies somewhat in the other States, thus:—
Per bushel. Cents. New Hampshire (Unity) the cost was 50 Fayette county, Pennsylvania 16 1/4 Donesville, Michigan, only 17 1/2 Plymouth, Massachusetts 17 7/10
The cost on producing this crop was small, but it appears to have been a small crop, and did not bring more than thirty cents per bushel.
In Monroe county, the richest land in the State of New York, estimating the land at fifteen dollars per acre, the producing cost stood at:—
Dollars. Cents. Interest at six per cent. 0 45 One ploughing sward, cover or stubble 1 00 Harrowing, furrowing, seed, and planting 0 871/2 Cultivating three times and hoeing 1 00 Husking the hill 1 00 Shelling and cleaning 1 00 ———————- 5 821/2
This yielded fifty bushels, the cost of producing the bushel was eleven and three-fifths cents. This low cost was owing to the fact of no manure being used; and while it speaks volumes as to the natural fertility of American soils, yet it reflects very disgracefully upon the careless system adopted there, as under such treatment no land could continue, after some years, to produce a crop which could come into competition with those from newer and less exhausted lands; but if under a good system of tillage the ground was yearly renewed with manure, and those amendments which every soil requires, after a crop has been raised from it, added to the soil in top-dressing and in ploughing-in, we should never hear of the exhausted state of New England land, or see the sons of the soil moving west and cultivating newer soils, thus removing much of the capital and intelligence of a country away from it.
Supposing the corn of Monroe county sold at seventy cents per bushel, the balance would appear thus:—
Dollars. Cents. Fifty bushels, at seventy cents 35 00 Cost of production 5 821/2 ——————— Gain 29 181/2
L6 1s. per acre profit.
In Northern Ohio and in Illinois the cost of production averages twenty cents per bushel.
The mode of cultivation in Connecticut and the New England States has been thus described to me by Mr. L. Durand, an experienced agriculturist:—If the soil selected is light and mellow, it should be ploughed and subsoiled in the spring, first spreading on the coarse unfermented manure which is to be ploughed in. For marking the rows for planting, a "corn marker" may be used to advantage. It is made by taking a piece of scantling, three inches square and ten to twelve feet long, with teeth of hickory or white oak inserted at distances of two to four feet, according to the width designed for the rows. Then an old pair of waggon-thills and a pair of old plough-handles are put to it, and your marker is done. With a good horse to draw this implement, the ground may be made ready for planting very rapidly. It is better to leave the ground flat than to ridge it, for the latter mode has no advantage, except when the ground is wet. The difference in the two modes is chiefly this:—When the ground is ridged, the corn being planted between the edges of the furrows, it comes immediately in contact with the manure, springs up and grows rapidly the fore part of the season. When the ground is left flat, and the manure turned under the furrows, the corn will often look feeble at first, and in growth will frequently be much behind that on the ridges; and the inference early in the season is, that the ridged ground will give the best crop, but as soon as the roots of the corn on the flat ground get hold of the manure (say about the 20th of July), the corn will shoot rapidly ahead, and the full force of the manure will be given to the stalk just at the time of forming the grain. Corn cultivated in this way, if the soil is deeply tilled, will often keep green, while that on ridges is dried up.
Many farmers, at planting, shell the corn off the cob, and plant it dry. Others soak it a few days in warm water. But when the seed is only treated in this way, it is very likely to be pulled up by birds and injured by worms. The best way to prevent this is to first soak the corn in a strong solution of saltpetre; then take a quantity of tar, and having warmed it over a fire, pour it on the corn, and stir with a stick or paddle till the grain is all smeared with the tar; then add gypsum or plaster till the corn will separate freely, and no birds will touch the grain.
The time of planting, in the United States, varies with the season and the section of the country. In New England it may generally be planted from the 15th to the 25th May. Where the ground is flat, a light harrow or a cultivator is much better to go between the rows than the plough. Formerly a great deal of useless labor was spent in hilling up corn; in dry seasons this was worse than useless. The earth hauled round the stalk does not assist its growth, nor aid in holding it up; the brace roots, which come out as the stalk increases in height, support it; and it has been observed, that in a heavy storm and thunder gust, corn that is hilled will be broken down more than that which is not hilled. The ground which is kept level has also the advantage of more readily absorbing rain, rendering the crop less liable to suffer from drought. The field should have two or three regular hoeings, and the weeds be carefully kept under.
In harvesting the following will be found a good plan:—Let two hands take five rows, cutting the corn close to the ground. A hill should be left standing to form the centre of the shock, placing the stalks round it, so that they may not lie on the ground. After the shock is made of sufficient size, take a band of straw, and having turned down the tops of the stalks, bind them firmly, and the work is done.
Maize may be cut as soon as the centre of the grain is glazed, even if the stalks are green. There will be sufficient nutriment in the stalk to perfect the ear, and the fodder is much better than when it gets dry before it is cut. If the shocks are well put up, they may stand four or five weeks. The corn may then be knocked out, and the fodder secured for winter use.
The report of the Ohio Board of Agriculture for 1849, contains many interesting statements in reference to maize culture, made by the officers of numerous county agricultural societies. In Miami county, 2,030,670 bushels were grown, at an average yield of fifty-five bushels per acre. Three varieties are cultivated: the common gourd seed, for cattle; the yellow Kentucky, for hogs and distilling; and the white, for grinding and exportation. According to the returns from Green county, which produced 1,250,000 bushels of corn in 1849, "a regular rotation of clover, corn, wheat, and clover again, is best for corn; and no crop pays better for extra culture." The Harrison county Agricultural Society reports the pork crop at 4,800,000 pounds; and it gave its first premium for corn to Mr. S.B. Lukens, whose statement is as follows:—
"The ground had been in meadow ten years, was ploughed six inches deep about the middle of April, was harrowed twice over on the 9th May, and planted on the 11th four feet by two feet. It came up well, was cultivated and thinned when ten inches high; three stalks were left in a hill. About two weeks afterward it was again cultivated, and the suckers pulled off. About the last of June it was again cultivated, making three times the same way, as it was laid off but one way.
d. c. Expense of culture, gathering, and cribbing, was 17 10 Produce of 374-3/8 bushels, at 311/4 cents 117 10 ————— Profit on three acres 100 00
The evidence on which a premium was awarded was such as should satisfy any one that 374 bushels were grown on three acres of land, and at a cost not exceeding 17 dollars 10 cents, delivered in the crib. This is producing corn at less than 5 cents a bushel.
Whether the statement be true to the letter or not, it shows conclusively the great value of a rich soil for making cheap corn. The Board of Agriculture estimates the crop of Ohio last year at 70,000,000 of bushels. Taking the United States as a whole, probably the crop of corn was never better than in the year 1849. One that has rich land needs only to plough it deep and well, plant in season, and cultivate the earth properly with a plough or cultivator, to secure the growth of a generous crop. On poor soils the case is very different.
To raise a good crop of corn on poor land, and at the least possible expense, requires some science and much skill in the art of tillage. Take the same field to operate in, and one farmer will grow 100 bushels of corn at half the cost per bushel that another will expend in labor, which is money. It unfortunately happens that very skilful farmers are few in number, in comparison with those who have failed to study and practice all attainable improvements. To produce cheap corn on poor land, one needs a clear understanding of what elements of the crop air and water will furnish, and what they cannot supply. It should be remembered that the atmosphere is precisely the same over ground which yields 100 bushels of corn per acre, that it is over that which produces only five bushels per acre. Now, the whole matter which forms the stems, leaves, roots, cobs, and seeds of corn, where the crop is 100 bushels per acre, is not part and parcel of the soil. A harvest equal to fifty bushels per acre can be obtained without consuming over ten per cent, of earth, as compared with the weight of the crop. No plant can imbibe more of the substance of the soil in which it grows, than is dissolved in water, or rendered gaseous by the decomposition of mould.
The quantity of matter dissolved, whether organic or inorganic, during the few weeks in which corn plants organise the bulk of their solids, is small. From 93 to 97 parts in 100 of the dry matter, in a mature, perfect plant, including its seeds, cob, stems, leaves, and roots, are carbon (charcoal) and the elements of water. It is not only an important, but an exceedingly instructive fact, that the most effective fertilisers known in agriculture are those that least abound in the elements of water and carbon. The unleached dry excrements of dunghill fowls and pigeons, have five times the fertilising power on all cereal plants that the dry dung of a grass-fed cow has, although the latter has five times more carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, per 100 pounds, than the former. Although it is desirable to apply to the soil in which corn is to grow as much of organised carbon and water as one conveniently can, yet, where fertilisers have to be transported many miles; it is important to know that such of the measure as would form coal, if carefully burnt, can best be spared. The same is true of those elements in manure which form vapor or water, when the fertiliser decomposes in the ground.
Carbonic acid and nascent hydrogen evolved in rotting stable manure are truly valuable food for plants, and perform important chemical offices in the soil; but they are, nevertheless, not so indispensable to the economical production of crops, as available nitrogen, potash, silica, magnesia, sulphur, and phosphorus. These elements of plants being less abundant in nature, and quite indispensable in forming corn, cotton, and every other product of the soil, their artificial supply in guano, night soil, and other highly concentrated fertilisers, adds immensely to the harvest, through the aid of a small weight of matter. In all sections where corn is worth 30 cents and over a bushel, great benefits may be realised by the skilful manufacture and use of poudrette. This article is an inodorous compound of the most valuable constituents of human food and clothing. It is the raw material of crops.
It is not necessary to restore to a cornfield all the matter removed in the crop to maintain its fertility. A part of each seed, however, ought to be carried back and replaced in the soil, to make good its loss by the harvest.
In every barrel of meal or flour sent to market (196 pounds), there are not far from 186 pounds of carbon (coal), and the elements of water. When a bird eats wheat or corn, I have reason to believe, from several experiments, that over 80 per cent, of the food escapes into the air through its capacious lungs in the process of respiration; and yet the 20 per cent, of guano left will re-produce as much wheat or corn as was consumed. Imported guano, which has been exposed to the weather for ages, often gives an increase in the crop of wheat equal to three pounds of seed to one of fertiliser; while it has given a gain of seven to one of corn, and fifty to one of green turnips.
Like other grains that have been long cultivated, Indian corn abounds in varieties. In Spain they count no less than 130, and in the United States the number is upwards of forty. The difference consists in size, color, period of maturation, and hardness and weight of grain. Of size there exists a considerable variety, from Zea Curagua of Chili, and the Egyptian or chicken corn, both extremely diminutive, to the large white flint, and ground seed corn of the United States. The differences in color are the red, yellow, and white. The period of maturation varies, apparently, very considerably; but it is questionable whether this variation is real, and independent of climate. In the Northern States of America, Indian corn ripens in a shorter period of time than it does in the South, owing, possibly, to the greater length of the summer day in those latitudes.
In selecting varieties, some experienced and judicious farmers prefer that which yields the greater number of ears, without regard to their size, or number of rows. Others prefer that which furnishes one or two larger ears, having from twelve to twenty-four rows. In the Northern States of America the yellow corn bears the highest price in the market, and is considered the most prolific and best suited to feed cattle and hogs. For bread, the white Button is preferred at the North, and the white ground seed is used for that purpose in other quarters. Preference, however, is most frequently given to white flint corn, which is unquestionably the heaviest, and contains the greatest proportion of farina.
In Mississippi many varieties are grown, principally those known as flint and bastard flint. The gourd-seed varieties are very objectionable in that climate, principally on account of their softness rendering them unfit for bread, and open to the attacks of insects in the field and the crib. They require a grain, white, hard, and rather flinty—white because of its great consumption in bread and hommony, in the preparation of both of which their cooks greatly excel. When meal is ground for bread, the mill is set rather wide, that the flinty part of the grain may not be cut up too fine, this being sifted out for "small hommony;" the farinaceous part of the grain is left for bread. This hommony is a beautiful and delicious dish. On most plantations the negroes have it for supper, with molasses or buttermilk. A hard flinty grain is necessary to head the weevil, with which not only the cribs but the heads of corn in the field are infested. These are the Calandra oryzae, the true rice weevil, distinguished from his European cousin by the two reddish spots on each elytra or wing-cover, and known in America as the "black weevil;" also a little brown insect, not a true weevil, but a Sylvanus. This sylvanus, and another of the same genus, most probably the S. surinamensis, attack the corn in the field before it becomes hard, causing serious damage—but nothing to equal that occasioned by the black weevil.
I know of no generally successful method of staying or even checking the injury caused by the insects, though much might be written in the way of suggestion.
In Michigan, the dent variety in dry seasons produces the best crops on sandy loam, as its roots run deeper than the common eight-rowed yellow or white. In moist seasons the latter varieties usually do well. They are grown most generally in the Northern part of the State, while in the Southern section the Ohio dent is principally raised. The shuck and blade are much used as fodder for cattle, in the early part of winter.
Indian corn is very liable to change of character from soil and climate, growing smaller the farther North it is raised. The mixing of the eight-rowed yellow with the Ohio dent has, so far as my experience goes, been beneficial in increasing the yield. Sandy loam, or clay, is considered the soil best adapted to corn. It is usually planted in May, and harvested in September. The blade is not taken off there as at the South; some farmers cut up their corn when ripe, put it into shocks, and husk it late in the fall; others cut the stalks, bind them in sheaves, and stack them for winter in the fields, or put them away in barns or sheds; while others husk the corn on the hill without cutting the stalks, and late in the fall turn their cattle into the field to eat the fodder. Of these different modes the preference is usually given to cutting the stalks and putting them under cover after being well cured, and busting the corn on the hill. The corn is thought to ripen better in this way, and to keep better in the cribs. The Ohio dent, having a smaller ear containing less moisture than other varieties, ripens quicker and keeps better. This crop ranges from 25 to 65 bushels per acre, and the difference in the yield is to be attributed to the manner of cultivation. My experience shows that a crop of 45 bushels per acre costs 13 cents a bushel, including interest on land. Corn is principally raised in Michigan for home consumption, and the stalks and shucks, if well cured, are worths dollars per acre, compared with hay at 5 dollars per ton.
As much as 134 bushels per acre have been obtained, in some instances, in Massachusetts; till the last 20 years 35 bushels was considered an average crop, but by a due rotation of crops, and ploughing in long manure, at least 75 bushels to the acre are now raised. The kinds preferred there, are an eight-rowed variety, procured originally from Canada; the Cass corn, another eight-rowed variety, and the Dutton corn, each of which averages about 60 lbs. to the bushel.
Maize is a principal crop in the Connecticut River Valley, Western Vermont, and along the Lake shore; but in the high dividing ridge, and in the Northern counties bordering on Canada, the climate is too severe for its profitable cultivation.
"The kind mostly grown (observes Mr. Colburn, of Vermont) is the yellow eight-rowed, though some prefer the twelve and sixteen-rowed, known here by the name of the Button corn; but my experience in cultivating the different kinds for the last twenty-four years, has forced me to the conclusion that the common eight-rowed, mixed with a kind called the Brown corn, does the best; the kernel of the-latter bearing upon a chocolate hue, and the mixture of these two kinds of seed imparting a deep rich color to the whole, when they become blended, and enhancing the yield whenever the soil is in high tilth. Of this kind, the writer has raised, the past season, upon eleven acres on the Connecticut River alluvium, over eight hundred bushels shelled corn, four acres of which, with extra preparation, produced four hundred and sixteen bushels.
It will never do to carry seed corn from South to North, as it will not mature in a higher or colder climate than that from which it has been taken. Even half a degree of latitude sensibly affects the maturing of the blade, and renders it an uncertain crop in our high northern latitudes. To insure an extra yield of this valuable grain, the soil must be highly manured, deeply ploughed, thorough cultivated and hoed, and top-dressed with lime, house ashes, and plaster. This done, it is the most remunerative and profitable of all grain crops."
In Delaware there are many varieties, and everybody esteems his own kind the best. The grain varies from pure "flint" to pure "gourd seed"—of course the mixtures which are between these two varieties are most common—it inclines more to gourd seed than to flint. Mint weighs full standard fifty-six, the gourd seed from forty-nine to fifty-two pounds, and the mixtures range between. Flint ripens from ten days to two weeks earlier. It will not produce as many pounds per acre as the lighter gourd seed. Soil exerts its influence over the character of corn, a heavy soil tending to produce flint—light soil, gourd seed.
The corn is "cut up" in the fall, and after curing in the shuck, is husked; the shuck remaining on the stalk with the blades.
The average yield, on improved land, is fifty bushels; though crops of one hundred and twelve, and one hundred and sixty bushels per acre are reported to have been raised in the county, in 1849. The yield increases from year to year. A general and rapid improvement of the State is in progress, and in nothing is this seen more clearly than in the corn crop. Mossy "old sedge" fields, which have been laid out for years, are broken up, and will yield, if it be a good season, from five to ten bushels per acre; fence them, lime them with twenty to thirty bushels, and seed the oat crop with clover, and in two years the clover sod will return eighteen to twenty bushels of corn. Another dressing of lime, or its equivalent in marl, of which there is an abundance in the lower half of Newcastle County, will show thirty bushels of corn; and of wheat, if the farm manure be used on it, nine to twelve bushels will not be too much to expect.
In Arkansas, Indian corn is regarded as the "king of grains." It constitutes the chief food of every animal, from man down to the marauding rat, while its dried blade furnishes seven-tenths of the long food for working animals. The large white is the variety most esteemed, and most generally cultivated, for the reasons that it yields more grain and fodder, makes, when ground into meal, whiter and sweeter bread, and is less liable to injury from the weevils. The blade is usually esteemed the best long food for horses, exceeding in price the best Northern hay; the average price may be stated at about seventy cents per cwt. The shuck is fed to cows and young mules, they eat it, but with less relish than they do the blades, which are sweeter and more nutritious. The former are much used for mattresses, being preferred to moss, as they are cleaner, and easier manufactured. When mixed with coarse cotton, and properly prepared, they will make a mattress but little inferior to curled hair: price about fifty cents per cwt. The average price of this grain may be set down at forty cents per bushel; and the yield on upland in some parts of the State may be stated at thirty bushels per acre.
Five varieties of maize are grown in Peru. One is known by the name of chancayano, which has a large semi-transparent yellow grain; another is called morocho, and has small yellow grain of a horny appearance; amarello, or the yellow, has a large yellow opaque grain, and is more farinaceous than the two former varieties; blanco, white—this variety is large, and contains more farina than the former; and cancha, or sweet maize. The last is only cultivated in the colder climates of the mountains; it grows about two feet high, the cob is short, and the grains large and white; when green, it is very bitter, but when ripe and roasted, it is particularly sweet, and so tender that it may be reduced to flour between the fingers. In this roasted state it constitutes the principal food of the mountaineers of several provinces.
The natives remove the husk from the maize by putting it into water with a quantity of wood ashes, exposing it to a boiling heat, and washing the grain in running water, when the husk immediately separates from the grain.
In Jamaica I found maize to produce two crops in the year, and often three. It is usually grown there on the banks or ridges of the cane fields. It may be planted at any time when there is rain, and it yields from fifteen to forty bushels per acre, according to the richness of the soil, and the more or less close manner in which it is planted.
In the colony of New South Wales, including the district of Port Phillip, there were 20,798 acres under cultivation with maize in 1844, the produce from which was returned at 575,857 bushels; 27,058 bushels of maize were exported from Sydney in 1848.
Culture in the East Indies.—The growers on the hills of Nepaul reckon three kinds of maize: a white grained species, which is generally grown on the hill sides; a yellow grained one, grown in the low and hot valleys; and a smaller one, called "Bhoteah," or "Murilli Makii," which is considered the sweetest of the three, but from being less productive is not generally grown on good lands. Maize thrives best on a siliceous, well-drained, rich soil. A correspondent in my "Colonial Magazine," vol. ii. p. 309, says the finest Indian corn he ever saw was in the Himalayas of the Sikim-range, where the soil consists of a substratum of decomposed mica from the under or rocky stratum, with a superstratum of from three to six inches of decayed vegetable matter, from leaves, &c., of the ancient forests.
Throughout Hindostan, June is the usual time for sowing. In Behar, about two seers are usually sown upon a beggah; in Nepaul, twenty-four seers upon an English acre; in the vicinity of Poonah, one and a-half seer per beggah. Before the seed is sown the land is usually ploughed two or three times, and no further attention given to the crop than two hoeings. In Nepaul, where it is the principal crop cultivated, the seed is sown, after one delving and pulverisation of the soil, in the latter end of May and early part of June, in drills, the seeds being laid at intervals of seven or eight inches in the drills, and the drills an equal space apart. The drills are not raised as for turnip sowing, but consist merely of rows of the plant on a level surface. The seed is distributed in this manner with the view of facilitating the weeding of the crop, not for the purpose of earthing up the roots, which seems unnecessary. The Indian corn sowing resembles that of the gohya (or upland) rice, in the careful manner in which it is performed; the sower depositing each grain in its place, having first dibbled a hole for it five or six inches deep, with a small hand hoe, with which he also covers up the grain.
The after-culture of this crop is performed with great care in the valleys, but much neglected in the hills, especially on new and strong lands. In the former it undergoes repeated weeding during the first month of its growth, the earth being loosened round the roots, at each weeding, with the hand hoe. After the first loosening of the soil, which is performed as soon as the plants are fairly above ground, a top dressing of ashes or other manure is given. By this mode the crop gets the immediate benefit of the manure, which otherwise, from the extraordinary rapidity of its growth, could not be obtained by it. In three months from the time of sowing, the seed is ripe. The crop is harvested by cutting off the heads. In Nepaul these are either heaped on a rude scaffolding, near the cultivator's house, or, more commonly, they are suspended from the branches of the trees close by, where, exposed to wind and weather, the hard and tough sheath of the seed cones preserves the grain for many months uninjured.
Cattle are voraciously fond of the leaves and stems, which are very sweet, and even the dry straw, which Dr. Buchanan surmises may be the reason why it is not more generally cultivated by the natives, as the difficulty would be great to preserve the crop. So slow is the progress of changes in the regions of India, that near Kaliyachak, though the people give all other straw to their cattle, yet they burn that of maize as unfit for fodder. In Nepaul the stalks, with the leaves attached, often twelve feet long, cut by the sickle, are used as fodder for elephants, bedding for cattle, and as fuel. The maize crop within the hills of Nepaul suffers much from the inroads of bears, which are very numerous in these regions, and extremely partial to this grain. The average return from this crop is seldom below fifty seers, ranging frequently far above it. Maize is increasing in cultivation in Java, and some of the Eastern islands. It is found to have the advantage there over mountain rice, of being more fruitful and hardy, and does not suffer from cold until the mean temperature falls to 45 deg. of Fahrenheit, and no heat is injurious to it. Several varieties of it are known, but for all practical purposes these resolve themselves into two kinds: one, a small grain, requiring five months to ripen, and a larger one, which takes seven to mature. In some provinces of Java it yields a return of 400 or 500 fold. Mr. Crawfurd found, from repeated trials, that in the soil of Mataram, in Java, an acre of land, which afforded a double crop, produced of the smaller grain 8481/2 lbs. annually.
This is one of the most extensively diffused and useful of grain crops, and supports the greatest number of the human race. The cultivation prevails in Eastern and Southern Asia, and it is also a common article of subsistence in various countries bordering on the Mediterranean. It is grown in the Japan Islands, on all the sea coasts of China, the Philippine and other large Islands of the Indian Archipelago, partially in Ceylon, Siam, India, both shores of the Red Sea, Egypt, the shores of the Mozambique Channel, Madagascar, some parts of Western Africa, South Carolina, and Central America. Three species only are enumerated by Lindley:—Oryza sativa, the common rice, a native of the East; O. latifolia, a species having its habitat in South America; and O. Nepalensis, common in Nepaul. But there are a host of varieties known in the East; these, however, may for all practical purposes, be resolved into two kinds—the upland or mountain rice (O. Nepalensis, the O. mutica, of Roxburgh), and the lowland or aquatic species (O. sativa).
Zizania aquatica is exceedingly prolific of bland, farinaceous seeds, which afford a kind of rice in Canada and North-West America, where it abounds wild in all the shallow streams. The seeds contribute essentially to the support of the wandering tribes of Indians, and feed immense flocks of wild swans, geese, and other water fowl. Pinkerton says, this plant seems intended to become the bread-corn of the North. Two other species of Zizania are common in the United States of America.
Rice, the chief food, perhaps, of one-third of the human race, possesses the advantage attending wheat, maize, and other grains, of preserving plenty during the fluctuations of trade, and is also susceptible of cultivation on land too low and moist for the production of most other useful plants. Although cultivated principally within the tropics, it flourishes well beyond, producing even heavier and better filled grain. Like many other plants in common use, it is now found wild [it is to be understood that the wild rice, or water oat (Zizania aquatica), already referred to, which grows along the muddy shores of tide waters, is a distinct plant from the common rice, and should not be confounded with it], nor is its native country known. Linnaeus considers it a native of Ethiopia, while others regard it of Asiatic origin.
The chief variety of this cereal is cultivated throughout the torrid zone, wherever there is a plentiful supply of water, and it will mature, under favorable circumstances, in the Eastern continent, as high as the 45th parallel of north latitude, and as far south as the 38th. On the Atlantic side of the Western continent, it will flourish as far north as latitude 38 degrees, and to a corresponding parallel south. On the Western coast of America, it will grow so far north as 40 or more degrees. Its general culture is principally confined to India, China, Japan, Ceylon, Madagascar, Eastern Africa, the South of Europe, the Southern portions of the United States, the Spanish Main, Brazil, and the Valley of Parana and Uruguay.
In 1834, 29,583 bags of rice were shipped from Maranham, but I am not aware what have been the exports since.
At the Industrial Exhibition in London, in 1851, there were displayed many curious specimens and varieties of rice, grown without irrigation, at elevations of three thousand to six thousand feet on the Himalaya, where the dampness of the summer months compensates for the want of artificial moisture. Among these American rice received not only honorable mention for its very superior quality, but the Carolina rice, exhibited by E.I. Heriot, was pronounced by the jury "magnificent in size, color, and clearness," and it was awarded a prize medal. The jury also admitted that the American rice, though originally imported from the Old World, is now much the finest in quality.
This grain was first introduced into Virginia by Sir William Berkeley, in 1647, who received half a bushel of seed, from which he raised sixteen bushels of excellent rice, most or all of which was sown the following year. It is also stated that a Dutch brig, from Madagascar, came to Charleston in 1694, and left about a peck of paddy (rice in the husk), with Governor Thomas Smith, who distributed it among his friends for cultivation. Another account of its introduction into Carolina is, that Ashley was encouraged to send a bag of seed rice to that province, from the crops of which sixty tons were shipped to England in 1698. It soon after became the chief staple of the colony. Its culture was introduced into Louisiana in 1718, by the "Company of the West."
The present culture of rice in the United States is chiefly confined to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. The yield per acre varies from twenty to sixty bushels, weighing from forty-five to forty-eight pounds when cleaned. Under favorable circumstances as many as ninety bushels to an acre have been raised.
Judge Dougherty, who resides near the borders of Henderson county, Texas, has raised a crop of several hundred bushels of upland rice. The crop averages thirty bushels to the acre. He thinks rice can be raised there as easily as Indian corn, and will be far more profitable.
Another variety is cultivated in America to a limited extent, called Cochin-China, dry, or mountain rice, from its adaptation to a dry soil, without irrigation. It will grow several degrees further north or south than the Carolina rice, and has been cultivated with success in the Northern provinces of Hungary, China, Westphalia, Virginia and Maryland; but the yield is much less than that already stated, being only fifteen to twenty bushels to an acre. It was first introduced into Charleston, from Canton, by John Brodly Blake, in 1772.
The American crop of rice in 1848, reached 162,058 tierces in market, and of these 160,330 tierces were exported from South Carolina. The largest rice crop grown in South Carolina for the past thirty years, was in 1847, when 192,462 tierces were raised; 140,000 to 150,000 is about the average, and it has only exceeded 170,000 on four occasions.
The amount of rice exported from South Carolina in 1724, was 18,000 barrels; in 1731, 41,957 barrels; in 1740, 90,110 barrels; in 1747-48, 55,000 barrels; in 1754, 104,682 barrels; in 1760-61, 100,000 barrels; from Savannah, in 1755, 2,299 barrels, besides 237 bushels of paddy or rough rice; in 1760, 3,283 barrels, besides 208 bushels of paddy; in 1770, 22,120 barrels, besides 7,064 bushels of paddy; from Philadelphia, in 1771, 258,375 pounds. The amount exported from the United States, in 1770, was 150,529 barrels; in 1791, 96,980 tierces; in 1800, 112,056 tierces; in 1810, 131,341 tierces; in 1820-21, 88,221 tierces; in 1830-31, 116,517 tierces; in 1840-41, 101,617 tierces; in 1845-46, 124,007 tierces; in 1846-47, 144,427 tierces; in 1850-51, 105,590 tierces.
According to the census of 1840, the rice crop of the United States amounted to 80,841,422 lbs.; in 1850, 215,312,710 lbs.
Rice being an aquatic plant, is best grown in low moist lands, that are easily inundated.
The ground is ploughed superficially, and divided into squares of from twenty to thirty yards in the sides, separated from each other by dykes of earth about two feet in height, and sufficiently broad for a man to walk upon. These dykes are for retaining the water when it is required, and to permit of its being drawn off when the inundation is no longer necessary. The ground prepared, the water is let on, and kept at a certain height in the several compartments of the rice field, and the seedsman goes to work. The rice that is to be used as seed must have been kept in the husk; it is put into a sack, which is immersed in the water until the grain swells and shows signs of germination; the seedsman, walking through the inundated field, scatters the seed with his hand, as usual; the rice immediately sinks to the bottom, and many even penetrate to a certain depth in the mud. In Piedmont, where the sowing takes place at the beginning of April, they generally use about fifty-five pounds of seed per acre. The rice begins to show itself above the surface of the water at the end of a fortnight; as the plant grows, the depth of the water is increased, so that the stalks may not bend with their own weight. About the middle of June this disposition is no longer to be apprehended; the rice is not so flexible as it was, so that the water can be drawn off for a few days to permit hoeing; after which the water is again let on, and maintained to the height of the plant. In July it is usual to top the stalks, an operation which renders the flowering almost simultaneous.
Rice generally flowers in the beginning of the month of August, and a fortnight later the grain begins to form. It is at this period especially that the stalks require to be supported, and this is effectually done by keeping the water at about half their height. The rice field is emptied when the straw turns yellow. The harvest generally takes place at the end of September. In the Isle of France rice is cultivated in very damp soils, upon which a great deal of rain falls, but which are not flooded, as in other tropical countries: but the process is not so certain nor the crop so great, as when inundation is employed. In Piedmont the usual return of a rice field is reckoned at about fifty for one. At Munzo, in New Granada, the paddy fields which are not inundated, under the influence of a mean temperature of 26 deg. centrigrade (79.0 deg. Fahrenheit), yield 100 for 1.—(Simmonds's "Colonial Magazine," vol. xi., p. 92.)
The rice now grown about New Orleans is as sweet, if not sweeter, than that imported from South Carolina, but it is deficient in hardness and brightness when ready for market, a defect owing entirely to two causes, neither of which is beyond the control of the planter. The one cause is the mode of culture, it being generally grown without due attention to the seed—seeded at too late a period of the season, and allowed to become rare-ripe upon the stalk. The other cause is the very imperfect mode of its preparation for market; this being invariably accomplished by the primitive pestle and mortar, or the old-fashioned "pecker mill." The same seed is planted in the same soil from year to year, a system which, it is generally conceded, will deteriorate the quality and production of any grain crop. A very large proportion of the rice grown in Carolina is prepared for market at the steam toll-mills, in the vicinity of Charleston; and a mill of this description near New Orleans, would remedy the greatest defect in the rice of the country, greatly increase the demand for the article, and undoubtedly yield a large return for the investment. The toll mills at and around Charleston are, and always have been, prosperous. The mills of Mr. Lucas, in England, erected to clean "paddy," i.e. "rough rice," sent there in bulk from Carolina, have succeeded also, and have increased the consumption of the article in that country. The "rough rice," "paddy," or grain, as it comes from the ear, is composed, first, of a rough, silicious outer covering, impervious to water, which is very useful in the neighbourhood of cities, for filling up low lots or pools, for horse beds, and for packing crockery and ice, being far better for the latter purpose than the sawdust used; second, a brown flour or bran, lying directly under the outer covering; and third, of the clean or white rice. There is no question that, as a common diet, it is better adapted to the climate of Louisiana than Indian corn; and it can be grown on the hitherto waste lands of the sugar plantations; it is always substituted by the physician, when practicable, as the food best adapted to the laborer, in seasons of diarrhoea and other similar diseases, is preferred before any other grain by the negro; and if the clean rice be ground and bolted, a meal is produced which can be made up into various forms of cake and other bread, of unrivalled sweetness and delicacy. The outer flour, or brown bran, which is separated from the chaff at the toll mill, is known as "rice flour," and corresponds to the "bran" of wheat, it is a most excellent food for horses, poultry, pigs and milch cows, and would always command a ready sale in New Orleans. It is used extensively for these purposes at and around Charleston, and is shipped thence, by the cargo, to Boston and other Northern ports.
No portion of the globe is better adapted to the growth of this grain than the delta of the Mississippi. The river is always "up and ready" to do the all-important duty of irrigation in March, April, May, and June, in which period of the year the crop ought to be made; and I am informed, and doubt not, that two cuttings can be obtained from the same plants, between March and the killing frosts of the succeeding November.
An interesting report by Dr. E. Elliot, on the Cultivation of Rice, was read before the Pendleton Farmer's Society, South Carolina, at a recent annual meeting, from which I shall make an extract.
In "Ramsay's History of South Carolina" it is stated:—"Landgrave Thomas Smith, who was Governor of the Province in 1693, had been at Madagascar before he settled in Carolina. There he observed that rice was planted and grew in low moist ground. Having such ground in his garden, attached to his dwelling in East Bay, Charleston, he was persuaded that rice would grow therein, if seed could be procured. About this time a vessel from Madagascar, being in distress, came to anchor near Sullivan's Island. The master inquired for Mr. Smith, as an old acquaintance. An interview took place. In the course of conversation Mr. Smith expressed a wish to obtain some seed rice to plant in his garden. The cook being called, said that he had a small bag of rice suitable for the purpose. This was presented to Mr. Smith, who sowed it in a low spot in Longitude Lane. From this small beginning did one of the great staple commodities of South Carolina takes its rise, which soon became the chief support of the colony, and its great source of opulence."
"Such is the historical account of the introduction of rice into South Carolina; and from that day to this, it has constituted one of her staple articles of production. Although the climate and soil were found admirably suited to the plant, the planters encountered incredible difficulty in preparing or dressing the rice for market. From the day of its introduction, to the close of the Revolution, the grain was milled, or dressed, partly by hand and partly by animal power. But the processes were imperfect, very tedious, very destructive to the laborer, and very exhausting to the animal power. The planter regarded a good crop as an equivocal blessing, for as the product was great so in proportion was the labor of preparing it for market. While matters stood thus, the planters were released from their painful condition by a circumstance so curious that it deserves a place in the history of human inventions. A planter from the Santee, whilst walking in King-street, Charleston, noticed a small windmill perched on the gable end of a wooden store. His attention was arrested by the beauty of its performance. He entered the store and asked who the maker was. He was told that he was a Northumbrian, then resident in the house—a man in necessitous circumstances, and wanting employment. A conference was held; the planter carried the machine to the Santee, pointed out the difficulties under which the planters labored, and the result was the rice pounding-mill. This man was the first Mr. Lucas, and to his genius South Carolina owes a large debt of gratitude. For what the cotton planter owes to Eli Whitney, the rice planter owes to Mr. Lucas. His mills were first impelled by water, but more recently by steam, and though much mechanical ingenuity and much capital have been expended in improving them, the rice pounding-mill of this day, in all essential particulars, does not differ materially from the mill as it came from the hands of Mr. Lucas.
This great impediment being removed, one formidable difficulty still remained in the way of the rice planters, and that was the threshing of the crop by flail. The labor requisite to accomplish this was so great, that we once heard a distinguished planter say, while having one large crop threshed out by flail, that he would regard another large crop as a calamity. Previous to 1830 threshing mills had been tried by various individuals, but with no apparent success. In that year the attempt was renewed, and we were present and witnessed the first trial of a thresher, constructed in New York, and which was tested on Savannah river, under the auspices of General Hamilton. The machinery was driven by apparatus similar to that employed for driving the cotton gin. The result was not very satisfactory, but there was ground for hope, and after an outlay of very large sums, and after many disappointments, the happy expedient was thought of, of testing the mill with steam instead of animal power. The experiment was completely successful, and it was manifest at once that the difficulties had not been in the imperfect construction, of the thresher, but in the insufficiency of the moving power.
It is now twenty years since we witnessed the working of the small mill alluded to, and the rice threshing-mill, with steam-engine attached, is now a splendid piece of operative machinery. The rice in sheaf is taken up to the thresher by a conveyor, it is threshed, the straw taken off, then thrice winnowed and twice screened, and the result in some cases exceeds a thousand bushels of clean rough rice, the work of a short winter day.
Humanity rejoices at these inventions—at this transfer to water and steam, of processes so slow and so exhausting to the human as well as to the animal frame—and in this feeling we are confident every planter deeply sympathises. Moreover, the relief they have afforded in other respects has been perfectly indescribable. Previous to these improvements all the finer portions of the winter were appropriated exclusively to the milling and the threshing of the crop with the flail, yet it is manifest they added not one particle to the value of the property; indeed, while going on, all other work, and all preparation for another crop had to be suspended, so that the condition of the plantation was not progressive, but retrograde.
A short recapitulation will show what has been accomplished by the enterprise of our planters in the last seventy years. At the close of the Revolution it is believed the rice fields were poorly drained, and when broken up were chiefly turned with the hoe, then trenched with the hoe; then came three or four hoeings and as many pickings. The rice was then cut with the sickle and carried in on the head, then threshed with the flail, then milled and dressed, in some cases wholly by human labor, and in others by a rude machine, called a pecker mill. Now, in 1852, the hoeing, the pickings, and the cutting with the sickle remain unchanged; but the lands are better drained, and in the turning the plough has superseded the hoe; the trenching, when, necessary, is done by animal power; the rice, when cut, is carried in on a flat and wagon, then threshed and milled by machinery, so perfect that it is difficult to imagine how it can be surpassed.
It is one hundred and fifty-nine years since the introduction of rice into Carolina, and there are grounds for supposing that our people have accomplished more during that period, in the cultivation and preparation of this grain, than has been done by any of the Asiatic nations who have been conversant with its growth for many centuries. We had the rare opportunity, a few years since, of seeing a Chinese book on rice planting, which contained many engravings. The language we could not read, but we comprehended a sufficient number of the engravings to institute a comparison between their system and our own, and the result was, in our method of irrigation we were their equals, while in economy of cultivation, and in the preparation of the grain for market and for use, we are greatly their superiors. Again, some six or seven years since the East India Company, of London, sent an agent to this country to procure American cotton seed, gins, and overseers, for the purpose of testing the practicability of raising cotton by our method in India. This agent, Captain Bayles, when in Savannah, was heard to say that he had especial directions from the Company to inform himself minutely of our system of rice culture. Here, then, was an embassage from the banks of the Ganges, a spot where rice has been cultivated probably for twenty centuries, to inquire into the method of cultivation and preparation, of a people amongst whom the grain had no existence one hundred and sixty years ago."
The following is the mode of culture for rice in Carolina:—It is sowed as soon as it conveniently can be after the vernal equinox, from which period until the middle, and even the last of May, is the usual time of putting it in the ground. It grows best in low marshy land, and should be sowed in furrows twelve inches asunder; it requires to be flooded, and thrives best if six inches under water; the water is occasionally drained off, and turned on again to overflow it, for three or four times.
When ripe the straw becomes yellow, and it is either reaped with a sickle, or cut down with a scythe and cradle, some time in the month of September; after which it is raked and bound, or got up loose, and threshed or trodden out, and winnowed in the same manner as wheat or barley.
Husking it requires a different and particular operation, in a mill made for that purpose. This mill is constructed of two large flat wooden cylinders, formed like mill-stones, with channels or furrows cut therein, diverging in an oblique direction from the centre to the circumference, made of a heavy and exceedingly hard timber, called lightwood, which is the knots of the pitch pine. This is turned with the hand, like the common hand-mills. After the rice is thus cleared of the husks, it is again winnowed, when it is fit for exportation.
A bushel of rice will weigh about sixty or sixty-six pounds, and an acre of middling land will produce twenty-five bushels.
Various machines have been contrived for cleaning rice, of which one secured by patent to Mr. M. Wilson, in 1826, and thus described by Dr. Ure, may be regarded as a fair specimen:—It consists of an oblong hollow cylinder, laid in an inclined position, having a great many teeth stuck in its internal surface, and a central shaft, also furnished with teeth. By the rapid revolution of the shaft, its teeth are carried across the intervals of those of the cylinder, with the effect of parting the grains of rice, and detaching whatever husks or impurities may adhere to them. A hopper is set above to receive the rice, and conduct it down into the clean cylinder. About eighty teeth are supposed to be set in the cylinder, projecting so as to reach very nearly the central shaft, in which there is a corresponding number of teeth, that pass freely between the former.
The cylinder may also be placed upright, or horizontal if preferred, and mounted in any convenient framework. The central shaft should be put in rapid rotation, while the cylinder receives a slow motion in the opposite direction. The rice, as cleaned by that action, is discharged at the lower end of the cylinder, where it falls into a shute, and is conducted to the ground. The machine may be driven by hand, or by any other convenient motive power. The growth of rice in North America is almost wholly confined to two States; nine-tenths of the whole product, indeed, being raised in the States of South Carolina and Georgia. A little is grown in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The aggregate crop, for 1843, amounted to 89,879,185 lbs., while in 1847 it had risen to 103,000,000 lbs.
Besides the rice which is raised in the water, there is also the dry, or mountain rice, which is raised in some parts of Europe on the sides of the hills. It is said to thrive well in Cochin China, in dry light soils, not requiring more moisture than the usual rains or dews supply. By long culture the German rice, raised by the aid of water, is stated to have acquired a remarkable degree of hardness and adaptation to the climate. The upland rice of the United States is thought by some to be only a modified description of the swamp rice. It will grow on high and poor land, and produce more than Indian corn on the same land would do, even fifteen bushels, when the corn is but seven bushels. The swamp rice was originally cultivated on high land, and is not so now, because it is more productive in the swamp, in the proportion, as is said, of twenty to sixty bushels per acre; and the use of water likewise, it is stated, makes it easier of cultivation, by enabling the planter to kill the grasses. It is thought that on rich high land, rice may be made to produce twenty-five or thirty bushels to an acre in a good season. A letter from a gentleman in North Carolina gives the following account of some rice raised there. He says:—
"I have planted it the two past years with a view to private consumption only; not, however, with the success of my neighbours, who are famous, and have the things under their own management. They make from forty to fifty, and some, sixty bushels to the acre, on fine land that produces ordinarily from ten to fifteen bushels of Indian corn or maize. It is a larger grain than the gold or swamp rice, and very white; hence it is commonly called here the 'white rice.' It is planted generally about the middle of March, or 1st of April, in small ridges two-and-a-half feet apart, in chops at intervals of about eighteen inches, on the top of the ridge, ten or twelve seeds in each chop. A season that will make Indian corn, will, if long enough, make this rice; but it requires about four or five weeks more than the corn to mature. It ought to be cut before quite ripe, as it threshes off very easily, and is liable to great waste. Instead of the flail, we take the sheaf in the hand, and whip it across a bench in a close room until the rice leaves the straw. It does not stand the pestle as well as the swamp rice, but breaks a good deal in the beating; this, however, I have heard attributed to the dry culture."
A new variety of rice is mentioned as having been discovered in South Carolina, in 1838, called the big-grained rice. It has been proved to be unusually productive. One gentleman, in 1840, planted not quite half an acre with this seed, which yielded forty-nine and a half bushels of clean winnowed rice. In 1842, he planted 400 acres, and in 1843, he sowed his whole crop with this seed. His first parcel when milled, was eighty barrels, and netted half a dollar per cwt. over the primest rice sold on the same day. Another gentleman also planted two fields in 1839, which yielded seventy-three bushels per acre. The average crop before from the same fields of fifteen and ten acres, had only been thirty-three bushels per acre.
The following were the returns of produce on some of the leading estates of South Carolina, in 1848:—
-+ + -+ -+ + Barrels Shipped Barrels Average Net Net Income Plantation of Produce Amount Whole Half 600 lbs.net Weight per barrel. Dollars -+ -+ + -+ -+ + 1. Prospect Hill 1,387 10 1,4951/2 897,166 16 08-100ths 24,001 2. Springfield 737 5 8011/2 480,937 16 60-100ths 13,264 3. Brook Green 1,571 15 1,716 1,026,405 16 53-100ths 28,261 4. Longwood 1,113 4 1,2271/2 736,413 15 53-100ths 19,021 5. Alderly 484 6 533 319,912 16 68-100ths 8,851 -+ -+ + -+ -+ + Total 5,292 40 5,7731/2 3,460,833 93,398 -+ -+ + -+ -+ +
Nos. 2 and 3 were sown with long grain rice, the others with small grain. These plantations were all on the river Waccamaw. The expenses of a well supplied rice plantation may be stated at 33-1/3 per cent. on the net income.
A gentleman from the United States, named Colvin, proposes to establish the cultivation of rice in the colony of Demerara. This is no new experiment, rice having been already grown with success in several parts of the colony—for instance, in Leguan, up the Canje Creek, and elsewhere; and some of it is of superior quality, preferable, indeed, to that imported. If Mr. Colvin's object be not merely to demonstrate the practicability of rice being grown in British Guiana, but to promote its cultivation on such a scale as may tend to render it in time one of the staples of the colony, he is deserving of support, and I hope that his efforts will be crowned with complete success.
The editor of the Gazeta, a local paper, has been shown some sprigs of rice raised near Matanzas, in Cuba, the smallest of which contains at least three hundred grains, perfectly opened, and of a larger size than is usually produced on the island. He observes that this phenomenon is not limited to a certain number of sprigs, but that the whole crop is similar—that this excess of production is to be attributed to the extraordinary abundance of rain this year. "Here we have a specimen," says the editor, "of the enormous production that could be raised in our fields of this excellent and nutritious grain, if it were cultivated in places contiguous to the rivers, where it could be flowed during drought."
The experiment of cultivating rice in France appears to have succeeded perfectly. A piece of ground of 100 hectares in extent (250 acres) was sown with rice last year in the lands of Arcachon, near Bordeaux, and the crop proved a highly satisfactory one. The seed is sown about the middle of April, and almost immediately appears above ground.
Rice may be kept a very long period in the rough—I believe a lifetime. After being cleaned, if it be prime rice, and well milled, it will keep a long time in this climate; only when about to be used (if old) it requires more careful washing to get rid of the must, which accumulates upon it. Some planters—the writer among the number—prefer for table use rice a year old to the new. The grain is superior to any other provisions in this respect. If a laborer in the gold diggings, or elsewhere, takes with him two days' or a week's provisions, in rice, and his wallet happens to get wet, he has only to open it to the sun and air, and he will find it soon dries, and is not at all injured for his purpose. Rough rice may remain under water twenty-four hours without injury, if dried soon after.
Passing eastward, rice begins to be found cultivated in Egypt, becomes more general in Northern India, and holds undisputed rule in the peninsulas of India, in China, Japan, and the East India islands—shares it in the west coast of Africa with maize, which, on the other hand, is the exclusively cultivated corn plant of the greatest part of tropical America, with only some unimportant exceptions. On the coast of Africa rice ripens in three months; they put it under water when cut, where it keeps sound and good for some time.
Rice is now the staple commodity of Bourbon, and it produces about 26,000 quintals annually. It forms, together with maize and mandioc, the principal article of food amongst the negroes and colored people.
The Bhull rice lands of Lower Sind.—Like all large rivers which flow through an alluvial soil, for a very lengthened course, the Indus has a tendency to throw up patches of alluvial deposit at its mouth; and these are in Sind called bhulls, and are in general very valuable for the cultivation of the red rice of the country. These bhulls are large tracts of very muddy swampy land, almost on a level with the sea, and exposed equally to be flooded both by it and the fresh water; indeed on this depends much of the value of the soil, as a bhull which is not at certain times well covered with salt water, is unfit for cultivation. They exist on both sides of the principal mouths of the Indus, in the Gorabaree and Shahbunder pergunnas, which part of the province is called by the natives "Kukralla," and was in olden days, before the era of Goolam Shah Kalora, a small state almost independent of the Ameers of Sind. On the left bank of the mouths of the river these bhulls are very numerous and form by far the most fertile portion of the surrounding district. They bear a most dreary, desolate, and swampy appearance—are intersected in all directions by streams of salt and brackish water, and are generally surrounded by low dykes or embankments, in order to regulate the influx and reflux of the river and sea. Yet from these dreary swamps a very considerable portion of the rice consumed in Sind is produced; and the Zemindars, who hold them, are esteemed amongst the most respectable and wealthy in Lower Sind.
To visit a bhull is no easy matter. Route by land there is none, and the only way is to go by boat, in which it is advisable to take at least one day's provisions and water, as the time occupied in the inspection will be regulated entirely by the state of the tide and weather. Very difficult is it too, to land on any of these places, the mud being generally two or three feet deep, and it is only here and there that a footing can be secured, in the embankment surrounding the field.
Let me now describe the mode of cultivating these anomalous islands, floating as it were in the ocean, and deriving benefit both from it and the mighty river itself, whose offspring they are. Should the river during the high season have thrown up a bhull, the Zemindar selecting it for cultivation, first surrounds it with a low bund of mud, which is generally about three feet in height. When the river has receded to its cold weather level, and the bhull is free of fresh water (for be it remembered, that these bhulls being formed during the inundation, are often considerably removed from the river branches during the low season), he takes advantage of the first high spring tide, opens the bund and allows the whole to be covered with the salt water. This is generally done in December. The sea water remains on the land for about nine weeks, or till the middle of February, which is the proper time for sowing the seed. The salt water is now let out, and as the ground cannot, on account of the mud, be ploughed, buffaloes are driven over every part of the field, and a few seeds of the rice thrown into every footmark; the men employed in sowing being obliged to crawl along the surface on their bellies, with the basket of seed on their backs; for were they to assume an upright position, they would inevitably be bogged in the deep swamp. The holes containing the seed are not covered up, but people are placed on the bunds to drive away birds, until the young grain has well sprung up. The land is not manured, the stagnant salt water remaining on it being sufficient to renovate the soil. The rice seed is steeped in water, and then in dung and earth for three or four days, and is not sown until it begins to sprout. The farmer has now safely got over his sowing, and as this rice is not as in other cases transplanted, his next anxiety is to get a supply of fresh water; and for this he watches for the freshes which usually come down the river about the middle and end of February, and if the river then reaches his bhull, he opens his bund, and fills the enclosure with the fresh water. The sooner he gets this supply the better, for the young rice will not grow in salt water, and soon withers if left entirely dry.
The welfare of the crop now depends entirely on the supply of fresh water. A very high inundation does not injure the bhull cultivation, as here the water has free space to spread about. In fact the more fresh water the better. If, however, the river remains low in June, July, and August, and the south-west monsoon sets in heavily on the coast, the sea is frequently driven over the bhulls and destroys the crops. It is in fact a continual struggle between the salt water and the fresh. When the river runs out strong and full, the bhulls prosper, and the sea is kept at a distance. On the other hand, the salt water obtains the supremacy when the river is low, and then the farmer suffers. In this manner much bhull crop was destroyed in the monsoons of 1851 and 1852, during the heavy gales which prevailed in those seasons. The rice is subject to attacks also of a small black sea crab, called by the natives Kookaee, and which, without any apparent cause, cuts down the growing grain in large quantities, and often occasions much loss.
The crop when ripe, which, if all goes well will be about the third week in September, is reaped in the water by men, either in boats, or on large masses of straw rudely shaped like a boat, and which being made very tight and close, will float for a considerable time. The rice is carried ashore to the high land, where it is dried, and put through the usual harvest process of division, &c.: and the bhull is then on the fall of the river again ready for its annual pickling.
The process of preparing the field for rice culture, in the Kandian country, Ceylon, is very simple.
When the paddy is to be cultivated in mud, a piece of ground is enclosed in a series of squares or terraces, by ridges raised with mud and turf; a quantity of water is directed into the field from an adjacent stream or tank, and is allowed to remain on it for fifteen days; at the expiration of this time the field is ploughed with a yoke of buffaloes, which operation is repeated at the end of fifteen days more, when, by the rotting of the weeds and other matter, the field has become manured. After another interval of fifteen days the field is again ploughed and the broken ridges are repaired. Eight days after the field is harrowed, and subsequently rolled or levelled; and when the water has been let out the seed is sown, having in most instances been previously made to germinate, by being spread on platforms and kept wet.
The water is turned in during night, to prevent crabs and insects from destroying the seedlings, and let out during the day; and this they continue to do till the plants attain the height of one foot. Water is only retained in the field until the ears are half ripe, otherwise they would ripen indifferently and be destroyed by vermin. A variety of coast paddy, called "moottoo samboo," was introduced into the Kandian province in 1832, which was found to produce a more abundant crop, by one third, than the native. It is of six months growth.
In Kashmir rice is the staple of cultivation, and the practice adopted there is thus described by a writer in my "Colonial Magazine," vol. x. p. 130. It is sown in the beginning of May, and is fit to cut about the end of August. The grain is either sown broadcast in the place where it is intended to stand till it is ripe, or thickly in beds, from which it is transplanted when the blade is about a foot high. As soon as the season will admit after the 21st of March, the land is opened by one or more ploughings, according to its strength, and the clods are broken down by blows with wooden mattocks, managed in general by women, with great regularity and address; after which water is let in upon the soil, which for the most part of a reddish clay, or foxy earth, is converted into a smooth soft mud. The seed grain, put into a sack of woven grass, is submerged in a running stream until it begins to sprout, which happens sooner or later, according to the temperature of the water and of the atmosphere, but ordinarily takes place in three or four days. This precaution is adopted for the purpose of getting the young shoots as quickly as possible out of the way of a small snail, which abounds in some of the watered lands of Kashmir, but sometimes proves insufficient to defend it against the activity of this destructive enemy. When the farmer suspects, by the scanty appearance of the plants above the water in which the grain has been sown, and by the presence of the snail drawn up in the mud, that his hopes of a crop are likely to be disappointed, he repeats the sowing, throwing into the water some fresh leaves of the Prangos plant, which either poison the snails or cause them to descend out of the reach of its influence. The seed is for the most part thrown broadcast into about four or five inches of water, which depth is endeavoured to be maintained. Difference of practice exists as to watering, but it seems generally agreed that rice can scarcely have too much water, provided it be not submerged, except for a few days before it ripens, when a dried state is supposed to hasten and to perfect the maturity, whilst it improves the quality of the grain. In general the culture of rice is attended with little expense, although dearer in Kashmir than Hindostan, from its being customary in the former country to manure the rice-lands, which is never done in the latter. This manure, for the most part, consists of rice straw rejected by the cattle, and mixed with cow-dung. It is conveyed from the homestead to the fields by women, in small wicker baskets, and is set on the land with more liberality than might have been expected from the distance it is carried. Many of the ripe lands are situated much higher than might be thought convenient in Hindostan, and are rather pressed into this species of culture than naturally inviting, but still yield good crops, through the facility with which water is brought upon them from the streams which fall down the face of the neighbouring hills. In common seasons the return of grain is from thirty to forty for one, on an average, besides the straw.
The rice of Bengal, by the exercise of some care and skill, has recently been so far improved as nearly to equal that of the Carolinas. Dr. Falconer has introduced into India the numerous and fine varieties of rice cultivated in the Himalayas; of these some of the best sorts were at his suggestion distributed to cultivators along the Doab canal.
A species of hill rice grows on the edge of the Himalaya mountains. The mountain rices of India are grown without irrigation, at elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 feet on the Himalaya, where the dampness of the summer months compensates for the want of artificial moisture. The small reddish Assamese rices, which become gelatinous in boiling, and the large, flat-grained, soft, purple-black Ketana rice, of Java and Malacca, shown at the Great Exhibition, were curious.
The fertility of the province of Arracan is very great, its soil being fit for the culture of nearly all tropical productions; rice, however, is alone cultivated to any great extent; the low alluvial soil which extends over the whole country, from the foot of the mountains to the sea, being admirably suited for its growth. About 115 square miles are under culture with rice. The export trade in rice of the district, is seen by the following statistical return; and it gives employment to from 400 to 700 vessels, aggregating 60,000 to 80,000 tons.
QUANTITY OF PADDY AND RICE EXPORTED FROM AKYAB, THE PORT OF ARRACAN. - - - - Average price per 100 baskets Total of 12 seers, in Rupees Maunds of Maunds value - Paddy of rice Rupees Rice Paddy - - - - - 1831-32 380,600 28,970 130,591 15.4 to 16.6 8 to 9 1832-33 502,740 175,560 232,915 16 17 7.5 8 1833-34 555,540 418,950 430,830 19 20 9 10 1834-35 127,050 260,650 176,717 18 19 8 9 1835-36 783,870 548,460 354,791 10 11 5 5.8 1836-37 1,737,841 641,010 666,732 10.8 12 5 6 1837-38 1,621,566 248,783 650,385 21 23 9 10.8 1838-39 1,364,100 332,380 821,168 24 25.1 8.8 11.12 1839-40 2,033,698 529,961 1,121,311 21.8 23 9.8 10 1840-41 2,212,068 446,941 1,131,087 20 21.8 10 11 1841-42 1,265,388 270,000 553,014 19 20 8 9 1842-43 1,310,900 393,900 472,889 14 15 7.8 8 1843-44 848,922 707,780 633,710 17 18 7 8 - - - - (" Colonial Magazine," vol. vi., p. 348.)
EXPORT OF RICE FROM MOULMEIN
Baskets Value 1840 67,318 38,708 1841 11,175 6,900 1842 64,055 40,034 1843 35,635 35,289 1844 71,822 44,529 1845 149,815 73,034 1846 193,267 101,465
—(Simmonds's "Colonial Magazine," vol. xii., p. 462.)
From Tavoy and Mergui rice was also exported, equal in value to 41,000 rupees, in 1846; 100 baskets of 12 seers each, are equal to 30 Bengal maunds. The basket of rice named above, is equal to 551/2 lbs. English.
Paddy means rice in the husk—rice, the grain when unhusked—a distinction to be kept in mind.
The daily average consumption of rice in a family of five, is rated in the Straits' settlements at three and a quarter chupahs.
The Burmese and Siamese are the grossest consumers of rice. A common laboring Malay requires monthly 30 chupahs, or 56 pounds of rice, value 3s. 9d. or 4s. The Burmese and Siamese about 34 chupahs, or 64 pounds. Rice land in Penang yields a return which cannot be averaged higher than seventy-five fold—or nearly thirty guntangs of paddy for each orlong (1-1/3 acres); but it has been considered advisable to rate it here at sixty fold only.
The rice land of Province Wellesley gives an average return of 1171/2 fold; the maximum degree of productiveness being 600 guntangs of paddy to an orlong of well flooded, alluvial land, or 150 fold, equal to 300 guntangs of clean rice, weighing nearly 4,520 English pounds. The present average produce has been very moderately estimated at 470 guntangs the orlong of paddy. The quantity of seed invariably allotted for an orlong of land is four guntangs. In Siam forty fold is estimated a good average produce. At Tavoy, on the Tenasserim coast, the maximum rate of productiveness of the rice land was, in 1825, and is still believed to be, nearly the same as the average of Siam; while their average was only twenty-fold.—(Low, on "Straits Settlements.")
Rice in Cochin-China is the "staff of life," and forms the main article of culture. There are six different sorts grown; two on the uplands, used for confectionery, and yielding only one crop annually; the other sorts affording from two to five crops a year; but generally two, one in April and another in October; or three when the inundations have been profuse.
The late Dr. Gutzlaff stated, at a meeting of the Statistical Society of London, that the population of China was about 367,000,000, and the returns of the land subject to tax as used in rice cultivation there, gave nearly half an acre to each living person; and he further stated that in the southern and well watered provinces, it is anything but uncommon to take two crops of rice, one of wheat, and one of pulse, from the same land in a single season. Rice is the only article the Chinese ever offer a bounty for; the price fluctuates according to the seasons, from one and three-quarter dollars to eight dollars per picul. Siam and the Indian Islands, particularly Bali and Lombok, supply the empire occasionally with large quantities.
The price of rice in China varies according to the state of the canals leading to the interior; if they are full of water the prices rise; if on the contrary they are low, prices fall in proportion at the producing districts. The amount of consumption is controlled, in a considerable degree, by the cost of transit; when this is cheap prices rise from the general demand; but when land-carriage to any extent has to be resorted to, they fall; it raises prices so much at any great distance, that rice must be used very sparingly, from its enhanced price. It is obvious that if the waters are sufficiently high to allow a boat to pass fully loaded, she does so at an expense of nearly 50 per cent, less than she would do, if, from want of water, she could only take half the quantity; when transport is cheap every one obtains a full supply; when it is dear the rice districts have more than they can consume.
At home we are so much accustomed to the facilities of transit offered by railroads, canal boats, &c., that we do not readily take into consideration, that in China, except by water, all articles are conveyed from one place to another on men's shoulders. Taking the population of Canton at the usual estimate of a million, and allowing to each a catty a day, the quantity of rice required for one day's consumption alone in that city would be 10,000 piculs, of 133 lbs. each = 1,340,000 lbs.
Java is the granary of plenty for all the Eastern Archipelago; and the Dutch East India Company occupies itself in this culture with solicitude, well persuaded that a scarcity of rice might be fatal to its power. Ordinances to encourage and increase this branch of agriculture, have been promulgated at different times by an authority called to watch over the physical well-being of many millions of inhabitants.
As an evident proof that the culture of rice, of which it would be difficult to fix the quantity produced annually, increases considerably, I may mention that the exportation from Java, in 1840, was 1,488,350 piculs of 125 Dutch lbs.
Rice is cultivated in Java in three systems. The name of sawah is given to the rice fields, which can be irrigated artificially; tepar, or tagal, are elevated but level grounds; and gagah, or ladang, are cleared forest grounds. The two last only give one crop; a second crop may be obtained from the sawah, which then most commonly consists of katjang, from which oil is extracted, in kapus or fine cotton, and in ubie, a kind of potato.
There are, says Mr. Crawfurd, two distinct descriptions of rice cultivated throughout the Indian islands, one which grows without the help of immersion in water, and another for which that immersion is indispensably requisite. In external character there is very little difference between them, and in intrinsic value not much. The marsh rice generally brings a somewhat higher price in the market. The great advantage of this latter consists in its superior fecundity. Two very important varieties of each are well known to the Javanese husbandman, one being a large productive, but delicate grain, which requires about seven months to ripen, and the other a small, hardy, and less fruitful one, which takes little more than five months. The first we constantly find cultivated in rich lands, where one annual crop only is taken; and the last in well watered lands, but of inferior fertility, where two crops may be raised.