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The Stock-Feeder's Manual - the chemistry of food in relation to the breeding and - feeding of live stock
by Charles Alexander Cameron
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COMPOSITION OF CHICORY, ACCORDING TO ANDERSON.

Fresh roots. Fresh leaves.

Water 80.58 90.94 Nitrogenous matters 1.72 1.01 Non-nitrogenous substances 16.39 6.63 Ash 1.31 1.42 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

Yarrow (Achillaea millefolium) is usually regarded as a weed, but sheep are very fond of it, and when they can get it, never fail to eat it greedily. It possesses astringent properties. Some writers have recommended it as a good crop for warrens and sands. Its composition, according to Way, is as follows:—

DRIED YARROW.

Albuminous matter 10.34 Fatty matters 2.51 Starch, gum, &c. 45.46 Woody fibre 32.69 Mineral matter 9.00 ——— 100.00

Melons and Marrows have been used, but to a very limited extent, as food for stock. Mr. Blundell advocates their use in seasons of drought. He states that he has obtained more than forty tons per acre of both melons and marrows. They are relished by horses, oxen, sheep, and pigs. Mr. Blundell's advocacy has not been attended with much success, but it would be desirable to give these vegetables a further trial.

Dr. Voelcker's analysis of the cattle melon shows that it contains:—

Water 92.98 Albuminous matters 1.53 Oil .73 Sugar, gum, &c. 2.51 Fibre 1.65 Ash .60 ——— 100.00

The Cabbage.—The composition of the Drumhead Cabbage has been studied by Dr. Anderson. He found a larger proportion of nutriment in the outer leaves than in the "heart," and ascertained that the young plants were richer in nutriment than those more advanced in age. His results show the desirability of cultivating the open-leaved, rather than the compact varieties of this plant.

ANALYSIS OF THE CABBAGE.—BY DR. ANDERSON.

Outer leaves. Heart leaves.

Water 91.08 94.48 Compounds containing nitrogen 1.63 0.94 Compounds destitute of nitrogen, such as gum, sugar, fibre, &c. 5.06 4.08 Ash (mineral matter) 2.23 0.50 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

According to Fromberg, the composition of the whole plant is as follows:—

Water 93.40 Nitrogenous, or flesh-forming compounds 1.75 Non-nitrogenous substances such as gum, sugar, &c. 4.05 Mineral matter 0.80 ——— 100.00

Dr. Voelcker, who has more recently analysed the cattle cabbage, furnishes us with the following details of its composition:—

COMPOSITION OF CABBAGE LEAVES (OUTSIDE GREEN LEAVES).

Water 83.72 Dry matter 16.28 ——— 100.00

The fresh and the dry matter consisted of:—

Fresh Dry matter. Matter. Per cent.

[*] Protein compounds 1.65 10.19 Non-nitrogenous matter 13.38 82.10 Mineral matter 1.25 7.71 ——- ——— 16.28 100.00 [* Containing nitrogen .26 1.63]

In the following table the results of a more elaborate analysis of the heart and inner leaves are shown:—

COMPOSITION OF HEART AND INNER LEAVES.

In natural state. Dry.

Water 89.42 Oil .08 .75 [*] Soluble protein compounds 1.19 11.24 Sugar, digestible fibres, &c. 7.01 66.25 Soluble mineral matter .73 6.89 [] Insoluble protein compounds .31 2.93 Woody fibre 1.14 10.77 Insoluble mineral matter .12 1.17 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00 [* Containing nitrogen .19 1.79] [ Containing nitrogen .05 .47]

If I were asked what plant I considered the most valuable for forage, I certainly should pronounce an opinion in favor of cabbage. This crop yields a much greater return than that afforded by the Swedish turnip, and it is richer in nutritive matter. Cabbages are greedily eaten by sheep and cattle, and the butter of cows fed upon them is quite free from the disagreeable flavor which it so often possesses when the food of the animal is chiefly composed of turnips. If the cabbage admitted of storing, no more valuable crop could be cultivated as food for stock.

Mr. John M'Laren, of Inchture, Scotland, gives in the "Transactions of the Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland for 1857," a report on the feeding value of cabbage, which is highly favorable to that plant:—

On the 1st December, 1855 (says the reporter), two lots of Leicester wethers, bred on the farm, and previously fed alike, each lot containing ten sheep, were selected for the trial by competent judges, and weighed. Both lots were put into a field of well-sheltered old lea, having a division between them. All the food was cut and given them in troughs, three times a day. They had also a constant supply of hay in racks.

At the end of the trial, on the 1st of March, 1856, the sheep were all re-weighed, sent to the Edinburgh market, and sold same day, but in their separate lots. As I had no opportunity of getting the dead weights, I requested Mr. Swan, the salesman, to give his opinion on their respective qualities. This was to the effect that no difference existed in their market value, but that the sheep fed on turnips would turn out the best quality of mutton, with most profit for the butcher. Both lots were sold at the same price, viz., 52s. 6d. During the three months of trial, we found that each lot consumed about the same weight of food—viz., 8 tons 13 cwt. 47 lb. of cabbage, being at the rate of 21-1/3 lbs. per day for each sheep, and 8 tons 10 cwt. 7 lb. Swedes, being at the rate of 20-9/10 lb. per day.

It will be seen, by referring to the table (see next page), that in this trial the Swede has proved of higher value for feeding purposes than the cabbage, making 11 st. 4 lb. of gain in weight, whilst the cabbage made 10 st. 9 lb. At the same time, 3 cwt. 40 lb. less food were consumed; and taking the mutton gained at 6d. per lb., the Swedes consumed become worth 9s. 3-1/4d. per ton, while the gain on the cabbage, at the same rate, makes them worth 8s. 7d. per ton. But from the great additional weight of the one crop grown over the other, the balance, at the prices, c., mentioned, is in favor of the cabbage by L1 15s. 11-3/4d. per acre.

These results certainly speak strongly in favor of the cabbage; but the weight of the acreable crop of cabbages stated in the table appears to be unusually great. So heavy a crop is rarely obtained.

Furze (Gorse, or Whins).—Notwithstanding the natural historical knowledge of Goldsmith, his poetical description of the furze is far from accurate. This plant, instead of being "unprofitably gay," deserves to rank amongst the most valuable vegetables cultivated for the use of the domestic animals. It grows and flourishes under conditions which most injuriously affect almost every other kind of fodder and green crop. Prolonged drought in spring and early summer not unfrequently renders the hay crop a scanty one; while autumn and winter frosts change the nutriment of the mangels and turnips into decaying and unwholesome matter. Under such circumstances as these, the maintenance of cattle in good condition is very expensive, unless in places where a supply of furze is available. This plant is rather improved than otherwise by exposure to a temperature which would speedily destroy a mangel or a turnip; and, although it thrives best when abundantly supplied with rain, it can survive an exceedingly prolonged drought without sustaining much injury.

TABLE

SHOWING THE DIFFERENCE OF WEIGHT GROWN ON AN ACRE OF CABBAGE AND AN ACRE OF SWEDES, AND THE VALUE OF EACH FOR FEEDING.

+ -+ -+ -+ -+ + + + + No. Weight Weight Value of Total Weight Of of of Gain of Food Value Sheep Kinds Ten Ten taking consumed of Food In of Sheep, Sheep, Gain. Mutton in consumed Each Food. 1st Dec., 1st Mar., at 6d. Three Months per Lot. 1855. 1856. per lb. by each lot. Ton. + -+ -+ -+ -+ + + + + st. lb. st. lb. st. lb. L s. d. tons. cwt. lb. s. d. 10 Cabbage 90 10 101 5 10 9 3 14 6 8 13 47 8 7 10 Swedes 89 3 100 7 11 4 3 19 0 8 10 7 9 3-1/4 + -+ -+ -+ -+ + + + +

- - - No. Total Of Weight Value Extra Free Balance Sheep Kinds per of each Cost on Value in favor In of Acre Crop each Crop of each of Each Food. of each per Acre. per Acre. Crop Cabbage Lot. Crop. per Acre. per Acre. - - - tons. cwt. L s. d. L s. d. L s. d. L s. d. 10 Cabbage 42 14 18 6 6 4 10 11 13 15 7 1 15 11-3/4 10 Swedes 26 12 12 6 7-1/4 0 7 0 11 19 7-1/4 - - -

The furze is a member of the family Leguminosae, which includes so many useful plants, such as, for example, the pea, the bean, and the clovers. There are three varieties of it met with in this country—namely, the common furze, Ulex europaeus, the dwarf furze, Ulex nanus, and the Irish, or upright furze, Ulex strictus.

The common furze is a hardy shrub, and grows luxuriantly at an elevation far higher than the limits of cereal cultivation. It flourishes on any kind of soil which is moderately dry, and heavy crops may easily be raised on uplands almost incapable of producing grass. The dwarf furze is never cultivated, but as it grows at a still greater elevation, and on a poorer soil than the larger varieties, it might be profitably cultivated on very high uplands. The Irish furze yields a softer and less prickly food than the other kinds, but as it does not usually bear seed, and must therefore be propagated by cuttings, its cultivation has hitherto been limited to but a few localities.

The produce of an acre of furze appears to be at least equal to that of an acre of good meadow. The Rev. Mr. Townsend of Aghada, county of Cork—the most zealous and successful advocate for the cultivation of this plant—informed me that he had obtained so much as 14 tons per acre; a fact which proves that the furze is a plant which is well deserving of the attention of the farmer.

Furze is an excellent food for every kind of stock. Cattle, although they may at first appear not to relish its prickly shoots, soon acquire a fondness for it. I have known several instances of herds being fed almost if not entirely on the bruised plant, and to keep in good condition. The late Professor Murphy, of Cork, stated that on the farm of Mr. Boulger, near Mallow, thirty-five cows were fed on crushed furze, which they "devoured voraciously." Each animal received daily from four to six stones of the crushed plant, to which were added a little turnip pulp and a small quantity of oats. The milk and butter yielded by these cows were considered excellent. In a letter addressed to me by a very intelligent feeder, Mr. John Walsh,[28] of Stedalt, county of Dublin, the following remarks in relation to this subject are made:—

I had lately an opportunity of seeing a herd of cattle of about sixty head, of which twenty had been fed with furze prepared with my machine for about six weeks before being put out to grass. The condition of these was so superior that I pointed out every one of them, one after the other, out of the herd. The owner of the cattle had made the same observation; it was new to him but not to me.

Furze is seldom given to sheep or pigs, but I believe that it might with advantage enter into the dietary of those animals. Some of my friends who have lately tried it with pigs report favorably as to its effects. Horses partly fed upon this plant keep in good condition; it is usually given to them cut merely into lengths of half an inch or an inch, but it would be better to give it to them finely bruised. A horse during the night will eat a much larger quantity of coarsely cut furze than of the well bruised article, because he is obliged to expend a great deal of muscular power in bruising the furze, and must, consequently, use an additional quantity of the food to make up for the corresponding waste of tissue.

Until quite recently, the chemistry of the furze was very little studied. The analysis of this plant made many years ago by Sprengel gave results which, in the present advanced condition of agricultural chemistry, are quite valueless. The late Professor Johnston merely determined its amount of water, organic matter, and ash. I believe I was the first to make a complete investigation into the composition of this plant according to the methods of modern chemical analysis. I made two examinations. The first was of shoots cut on the 25th April, 1860, on the lands of Mr. Walsh of Stedalt, near Balbriggan, in the county of Dublin. The shoots were, in great part, composed of that year's growth, with a small proportion of the shoots of the previous year. They were very moist, and their spines, or thorns, were rather soft. Their centesimal composition was as follows:—

Water 78.05 Nitrogenous, or flesh-forming principles 2.18 Fat-forming principles (oil, starch, sugar, gum, &c.) 8.20 Woody fibre 10.17 Mineral matter (ash) 1.40 ——— 100.00

The second analysis was made of furze cut on the 15th August, 1862. The following were the results obtained:—

Water 72.00 Nitrogenous, or flesh-forming principles 3.21 Oil 1.18 Other fat-forming principles (starch, gum, &c.) 8.20 Woody fibre 13.33 Mineral matter 2.08 ——— 100.00

The specimen was allowed to lie for a few days in a dry room, so that it lost a little water whilst in my possession, before it was subjected to analysis.

The sample cut in August contained a larger amount of nutriment than the specimen analysed in the spring; but its constituents appeared to be much less soluble in water, and therefore, less digestible.

Professor Blyth, of the Queen's College, Cork, has more recently made a very elaborate analysis of furze, grown in the county of Cork, which gave results still more favorable to the plant than those arrived at by me—probably because the specimens furnished to him were drier than mine.

ANALYSIS OF FRESH FURZE, BY DR. BLYTH.

100 parts contain:—

Matters readily soluble in water and easily digested.

[*] Albuminous, or flesh-forming compounds 1.68 Fat and heat-producing, or respiratory elements, viz., sugar, gum, &c. &c. 7.83 Ash 0.83 ——- Total matters soluble in water 10.34 [* Containing nitrogen 0.265]

Matters insoluble in water.

Oil 2.14 [] Albuminous, or flesh-producing compounds 2.83 Fat and heat-producing, or respiratory elements 1.00 Woody fibre 28.80 Ash 3.23 ——- Total matters insoluble in water 38.00 Water, expelled at 212 51.50 ——- 99.48 Total nitrogen in plant 0.71 Total albuminous, or flesh-producing compounds 4.51 Total respiratory, or heat and fat-producing compounds 8.83 Total ash 4.06 The ash contains in 100 parts:— Potash 20.00 Phosphoric acid 8.72 [ Containing nitrogen 0.445]

If the large per-centage of water be deducted, the dry, nutritive matters can then be more readily compared with the amount of the same substances in other feeding articles:—

Composition of 100 parts of furze dried at 212 deg.. Matters soluble in water in the dry furze.

[*] Albuminous compounds 3.47 Respiratory elements 16.15 Ash 1.71 ——— Total matters soluble in water 21.33 [* Containing nitrogen 0.546]

Matters insoluble in water in the dry furze.

Oil 4.41 [+] Albuminous compounds 5.84 Respiratory elements 2.06 Woody fibre 59.38 Ash 6.66 ——— Total matters insoluble in water 78.35 ——- 99.68

Total nitrogen in dry furze 1.46 Total albuminous compounds 9.13 Total respiratory elements 18.20 Total ash 8.36 [+ Containing nitrogen 0.917]

Composition of ash per cent.

Potash 20.00 Phosphoric Acid. 8.72

The results of these analyses show that dry furze contains an amount of nutriment equal to that found in dry grass. The nature of its composition resembles, as might be expected, that of its allied plants, vetches, &c., and therefore it exceeds the grasses in its amount of ready formed fatty matter.

SECTION IV.

STRAW AND HAY.

Straw.—At the present time, when the attention of the farmer is becoming more and more devoted to the production of meat, it is very desirable that his knowledge of the exact nutritive value of the various feeding substances should be more extensive than it is. No doubt, most feeders are practically acquainted with the relative value of corn and oil-cake—of Swedish turnips and white turnips; but their knowledge of the food equivalents of many other substances is still very defective. For example, every farmer is not aware that Indian corn is a more economical food than beans for fattening cattle, and less so for beasts of burthen. Locust-beans, oat-dust, malt-combings, and many other articles, occasionally consumed by stock, have not, as yet, determinate places assigned to them in the feeder's scale of food equivalents.

The points involved in the economic feeding of stock are not quite so simple as some farmers, more especially those of the amateur class, appear to believe. There are many feeders who sell their half-finished cattle at a profit, and yet they cannot, without loss, convert their stock into those obese monsters which are so much admired at agricultural shows. The complete fattening of cattle is a losing business with some feeders, and a profitable one with others. Stall-feeding is a branch of rural economy which, perhaps more than any other, requires the combination of "science with practice;" yet how few feeders are there who have the slightest knowledge of the composition of food substances, or who are agreed as to the feeding value, absolute or relative, of even such well-known materials as oil-cake, straw, or oats! "It is thus seen how inexact are the equivalents which are understood to be established for the different foods used for the maintenance of the animals. It is equally plain, when we reflect on the different methods pursued for the preservation of the animals, that we are still far from having attained that perfection towards which our efforts tend. Visit one hundred farms, taken by chance in different parts of the country, and you will find in each, methods directly opposite—a totally peculiar manner of managing the stalls; you will see, in short, that the conditions of food, of treatment, and of hygiene, remain not understood in seven-eighths of rural farms."[29]

The straws of the cereal and leguminous plants are a striking illustration of the erroneous opinions and practices which prevail amongst agriculturists with respect to particular branches of their calling. The German farmers regard straw as the most valuable constituent of home-made fertilisers, and their leases in general prohibit their selling off the straw produced on their farms. Yet chemical analysis has clearly proved that the manurial value of straw is perfectly insignificant, and that, as a constituent of stable manure, it is chiefly useful as an absorbent of the liquid egesta of the animals littered upon it. As food for stock, straw was at one time regarded by our farmers as almost perfectly innutritious; some even went so far as to declare that it possessed no nutriment whatever, and even those who used it, did so more with the view of correcting the too watery nature of turnips, than with the expectation of its being assimilated to the animal body. Within the last few years, however, straw has been largely employed by several of the most intelligent and successful feeders in England, who report so favorably upon it as an economical feeding stuff, that it has risen considerably in the estimation of a large section of the agricultural public. Now, even without adopting the very high opinion which Mechi and Horsfall entertain relative to the nutritive power of straw, I am altogether disposed to disagree with those who affirm that its application should be restricted to manurial purposes. Unless under circumstances where there is an urgent demand for straw as litter, that article should be used as food for stock, for which purpose it will be found, if of good quality, and given in a proper state, a most economical kind of dry fodder—equal, if not superior to hay, when the prices of both articles are considered.

The composition of straw is very different from that of grain. The former contains no starch, but it includes an exceedingly high proportion of woody fibre; the latter is in great part composed of starch, and contains but an insignificant amount of woody fibre. Dr. Voelcker, the consulting chemist to the Royal Agricultural Society of England, and Dr. Anderson, chemist to the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, have made a large number of analyses of the straws of the cereal and leguminous plants, the results of which are of the highest interest to the agriculturist. In the following tables the more important results of these investigations are given:—

ANALYSES OF STRAW, BY DR. VOELCKER.

+ + + + + + + No. 1. No. 2. No. 3. No. 4. No. 5. Wheat, Wheat, Barley, Barley, Oat, just ripe over dead not too cut and well ripe. ripe. ripe. green. harvested. + + + + + + + Water 13.33 9.17 15.20 17.50 16.00 Albumen, and other protein compounds: a. Soluble in water 1.28 0.06 0.68 5.51 }5.73 b. Insoluble in water 1.65 2.06 3.75 / 2.98 Oil 1.74 0.65 1.36 1.17 1.57 Sugar, mucilage, extractive matters, &c. (soluble in water) 4.26 3.46 2.24 16.04 Digestible woody fibre and cellulose 19.40 5.97 }71.44 26.34 Indigestible }82.26 / fibre &c. 54.13 / 66.54 / 24.86 Inorganic matter: a. Soluble 1.13 1.29 2.88 5.76 }4.52 b. Insoluble 3.08 1.05 0.38 / 0.94 + + + + + + 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + No. 6. No. 7. No. 8. No. 9. No. 10. Oat, cut Oat, Bean. Pea. Flax when over Chaff. fairly ripe. ripe. + + + + + + + Water 16.00 16.00 19.40 16.02 14.60 Albumen, and other protein compounds: a. Soluble in water 2.62 1.29 1.51 3.96 }4.75 b. Insoluble in water 1.46 2.36 1.85 5.90 / Oil 1.05 1.25 1.02 2.34 2.82 Sugar, mucilage, extractive matters, &c. (soluble in water) 10.57 3.19 4.18 8.32 8.72 Digestible woody fibre and cellulose 30.17 27.75 2.75 17.74 18.56 Indigestible fibre &c. 31.78 41.82 65.58 42.79 43.12 Inorganic matter: a. Soluble 3.64 2.26 2.31 2.72 4.07 b. Insoluble 2.71 4.08 1.40 2.21 3.36 + + + + + + 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 + + + + + + +

[...] This table contains in a condensed form all the results of Voelcker's analyses of the straws which are given in his paper published in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, vol. xxii., part 2. 1862.

Nos. 5, 6, and 7 were analysed shortly after being cut, when they contained a high proportion of water. They have, therefore, been calculated to contain 16 per cent. of moisture so as to arrive at accurate relative results.

ANALYSES OF STRAW, BY DR. ANDERSON.

- - - Wheat Barley Wheat from from Barley from from East Lothian. Kent. East Lothian. Kent. - + Water 10.62 10.93 11.15 11.44 11.15 11.10 Flesh-formers Soluble 0.86 0.37 1.37 1.42 0.39 0.66 Insoluble 0.51 1.12 1.00 1.54 1.12 1.98 Oil 0.80 1.00 1.50 0.97 0.88 1.05 Respiratory elements Soluble 2.68 6.68 5.26 3.22 6.11 4.56 Insoluble 44.88 36.43 38.79 35.56 38.38 27.95 Woody fibre 32.88 34.78 35.01 41.34 36.62 47.53 Ash 6.20 8.04 6.32 4.21 5.62 4.85 + - 99.43 99.35 100.40 99.70 100.27 99.68 -

+ + -+ + + -+ + Oat Oat from Oat Sandy Oat from 850 feet Oat from from from Sea above Mellhill, Kent East Lothian. level Sea level, Inchture, (White East East Scotland. one Lothian. Lothian. side.) + -+ -+ + + -+ + Water 11.70 10.95 12.60 11.28 11.70 10.55 Flesh-formers Soluble 0.40 1.03 0.67 0.92 0.95 0.33 Insoluble 0.93 0.43 0.38 0.39 1.21 0.33 Oil 1.45 0.77 1.25 1.36 1.60 1.00 Respiratory elements Soluble 10.12 6.90 7.16 7.42 12.01 6.23 Insoluble 33.52 34.77 24.28 29.55 23.35 30.95 Woody fibre 35.36 38.73 48.49 44.40 45.27 47.40 Ash 6.36 6.28 5.11 5.07 3.95 3.62 + -+ -+ + + -+ + 99.84 99.86 99.94 100.39 100.14 100.41 + + -+ -+ + + -+ +

[...] This table is compiled from Dr. Anderson's paper in the Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for March, 1862.

Many very important conclusions are deducible from the facts recorded in these valuable tables. We learn from them that straw is more nutritious when it is cut in the ripe state than when it is permitted to over-ripen, and that green straw contains a far greater amount of nutriment than is found even in the ripe article. It appears also that the least nutritious kind of straw equals the best variety of turnips in its amount of flesh-forming principles, and greatly exceeds them in its proportion of fat-forming elements. We further learn that in general the different kinds of straw will be found to stand in the following order, the most nutritious occupying the highest, and the least nutritious the lowest place:—

1. Pea-haulm. 2. Oat-straw. 3. Bean-straw with the pods. 4. Barley-straw. 5. Wheat-straw. 6. Bean-stalks without the pods.

It is a matter to be regretted that we possess so little accurate knowledge of the chemical composition of the plants cultivated in Ireland. No doubt the analyses of English grown wheat, beans, mangels, and other plants, serve to give us a general idea of the nature of those vegetables when produced in this country. But this kind of information, though very important, must necessarily be defective, as differences in climate modify—often to a considerable extent—the composition of almost every vegetable. Thus, the results of Anderson's analyses prove Scotch oats to be superior, as a feeding stuff, to Scotch barley, whilst, according to Voelcker and the experience of most English feeders, the barley of parts of England is superior to its oats. It follows, then, that whilst the results of the analyses of straw, made by Voelcker and Anderson are of great interest to the Irish farmer, they would be still more important to him had the straw to which they relate been the produce of Irish soil. In order, therefore, to enable the Irish farmer to form a correct estimate of the value of his straw, we should put him in possession of a more perfect knowledge of its composition than that which is derivable from the investigations to which I have referred. The straws of the cereals—which alone are used here to any extent—should be analysed as carefully and as frequently as those of Great Britain have been; and if such were done, I have no doubt but that the results would indicate a decided difference in composition between the produce of the two countries. Some time ago I entered upon what, at the time, I had intended should be a complete investigation into the composition of Irish straws; but which want of time prevented me from making more than a partial one. The results are given in the following tables:—

ANALYSES OF IRISH OAT-STRAW.

+ + No. 1. Obtained in the Dublin Market. From Co.+ -+ -+ Wicklow. No. 2. No. 3. No. 4. + + -+ -+ Water 14.00 14.00 14.00 14.00 Flesh-forming principles a. Soluble in water 4.08 2.02 2.04 1.46 b. Insoluble in water 2.09 3.16 3.00 2.23 Oil 1.84 1.40 1.26 1.00 Sugar, gum, and other fat-forming matters 13.79 12.67 10.18 11.16 Woody fibre 59.96 61.79 65.45 65.29 Mineral matter 4.24 4.96 4.07 4.86 + + -+ -+ 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 + + -+ -+

All the specimens of oats, the analyses of which are given in the preceding table, are assumed to contain 14 per cent. of water, in order the more correctly to compare their nutritive value. No. 1 contained 18.23 per cent. of water; No. 2, 12.90; No. 3, 12.74; and No. 4, 12.08. Oat straw, before its removal from the field, often contains nearly half its weight of water; but after being for some time stacked, the proportion of moisture rarely exceeds 14 per cent.

ANALYSES OF IRISH WHEAT-STRAW.

-+ + -+ -+ - No. 1. No. 2. No. 3. Green, Obtained in the Dublin changing Markets. to Over yellow. Ripe. Ripe. + - County County County Kildare. Dublin. Dublin. No. 4. No. 5. No. 6. -+ + -+ -+ -+ -+ - Water 13.00 13.15 12.14 10.88 11.22 12.12 Flesh-forming principles a. Soluble in water 1.25 0.98 0.44 0.06 0.42 0.30 b. Insoluble in water 1.26 1.40 1.41 1.90 1.00 1.76 Oil 1.22 1.13 1.14 0.90 1.17 1.08 Sugar, gum, and other fat-forming matters 4.18 3.98 3.88 4.08 3.89 4.30 Woody fibre 75.84 76.17 77.76 78.67 79.18 77.15 Mineral matter (ash) 3.25 3.19 3.23 3.51 3.12 3.29 + + -+ -+ -+ -+ - 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 -+ + -+ -+ -+ -+ -

The results of these analyses are somewhat different from those arrived at by Voelcker and Anderson. They show that properly harvested Irish oat and wheat straws are far more valuable than those of Scotland, and somewhat less nutritive than those produced in England. They also show that wheat-straw is allowed to over-ripen, by which a very large proportion of its nutritive principles is eliminated and altogether lost, and a considerable part of the remainder converted into an insoluble, and therefore less easily digestible state. Nor is there any advantage to the grain gained by allowing it to remain uncut after the upper portion of the stem has changed from a green to a yellowish color; on the contrary, it also loses a portion—often a very considerable one—of its nitrogenous, or flesh-forming constituents. It has been clearly proved that wheat cut when green, yields a greater amount of grain, and of a better quality too, than when it is allowed to ripen fully; yet, how often do we not see fields of wheat in this country allowed to remain unreaped for many days, and even weeks, after the crop has attained to its full development!

The oat-straw obtained in the Dublin Market proved less valuable than the green straw which I selected myself from a field of oats; but the discrepancy between them was far less than between the nearly ripe wheat-straw and the straw of that plant purchased in Dublin. During visits which I have paid in harvest-time to the North of Ireland, I noticed that the oats were generally cut whilst green, whereas wheat was almost invariably left standing for at least a week after its perfect maturation, probably for the following reasons:—Firstly, because oats are more liable to shed their seed; secondly, because there is a greater breadth of that crop to be reaped, which necessitates an early beginning; and, lastly, because most farmers know that over-ripe oat-straw is worth but little for feeding purposes, as compared with the greenish-yellow article.

As compared with white turnips, the nutritive value of oat-straw stands very high, for whilst the former contains but little more than 1 per cent. of flesh-formers, and less than 5 per cent. of fat-formers, the latter includes about 4 per cent. of flesh-formers, and 13 per cent. of fat-formers. Again, whilst the amount of woody fibre in turnips is only about 3 per cent., that substance constitutes no less than 60 per cent. of oat-straw. In comparison with hay—taking into consideration the prices of both articles—oat-straw also stands high, as will be seen by comparing the following analyses of common meadow hay with that of properly harvested straw:—

Meadow Hay. Oat Straw.

Water 14.61 14.00 Flesh-forming constituents 8.44 6.17 Respiratory and fatty matters 43.63 15.63 Woody fibre 27.16 59.96 Mineral matter (ash) 6.16 4.24 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

Woody fibre is as abundant a constituent of the straw of the cereals as starch is of their seeds, and if the two substances were equally digestible, straw would be a very valuable food—superior even to the potato. At one time it was the general belief that woody fibre was incapable of contributing in the slightest degree to the nutrition of animals, but the results of recent investigations prove that it is, to a certain extent, digestible. In the summer of 1859 two German chemists, Stoeckhardt and Sussdorf, made a series of experiments, with the view of ascertaining whether or not the cellulose[30] of the food of the sheep is assimilated by that animal. The results of this inquiry are of importance, seeing that they clearly prove that even the hardest kind of cellulose—sclerogen, in fact—is capable of being assimilated by the Ruminants. The animals selected were two wethers, aged respectively five and six years. They were fed—firstly, upon hay alone; secondly, upon hay and rye-straw; thirdly upon hay and the sawdust of poplar wood, which had been exhausted with lye (to induce the sheep to eat the sawdust, it was found necessary to mix through it some rye-bran and a little salt); fourthly, hay and pine-wood sawdust, to which was added bran and salt; fifthly, spruce sawdust, bran and salt; sixthly, hay, pulp of linen rags (from the paper-maker), and bran. The experiments were carried on from July till November, excepting a short time, during which the animals were turned out on pasture-land, to recover from the injurious effects of the fifth series of experiments—produced probably by the resin of the spruce. The animals, together with their food, drink, and egesta, were weighed daily. The amount of cellulose in the food was determined, and the proportion of that substance in the egesta was also ascertained; and as there was a considerable discrepancy between the two amounts, it was evident that the difference represented the weight of the cellulose assimilated by the animals. In this way it was ascertained that from 60 to 70 per cent. of the cellulose of hay, 40 to 60 per cent. of the cellulose of straw, 45 to 50 per cent. of the cellulose of the poplar wood, 30 to 40 per cent. of the cellulose of the pine, and 80 per cent. of the cellulose of the paper pulp was digested.

In stating the results of his analyses of the straws, Professor Voelcker sets down as "digestible" that portion of the cellulose which he found to be soluble in dilute acids and alkaline solutions; but he admits that the solvents in the stomach might dissolve a larger amount. The results of the experiments of Stoeckhardt and Sussdorf prove that 80 per cent. of the cellulose of paper (the altered fibre of flax) is assimilable, and it is, therefore, not unreasonable to infer that the cellulose of a more palatable substance than paper might be altogether digestible.

The facts which I have adduced clearly prove that the straws of the cereals possess a far higher nutritive power than is commonly ascribed to them; that when properly harvested they contain from 20 to 40 per cent. of undoubted nutriment; and lastly, that it is highly probable that their so-called indigestible woody fibre is to a great extent assimilable.

The composition of cellulose is nearly, if not quite, identical with that of starch, and it may therefore be assumed to be equal in nutritive power to that substance—that is, it will, if assimilated, be converted into four-tenths of its weight of fat. Now as cellulose forms from six-tenths to eight-tenths of the weight of straws, it is evident that if the whole of this substance were digestible, straws would be an exceedingly valuable fattening food. When straw in an unprepared state is consumed, there is no doubt but that a large proportion of its cellulose remains unappropriated—nay more, it is equally certain that the hard woody fibre protects, by enveloping them, the soluble and easily digestible constituents of the straw from the action of the gastric juice. I would, therefore, recommend that straw should be either cooked or fermented before being made use of; in either of these states its constituents are far more digestible than when the straw is merely cut, or even when it is in the form of chaff. An excellent mode of treating straw is to reduce it to chaff, subject it to the action of steam, and mix it with roots and oil-cake or corn. Mr. Lawrence, of Cirencester, one of the most intelligent agriculturists in England, cooks his chaff, which he largely employs, in the following manner:—"We find that, taking a score of bullocks together fattening, they consume, per head per diem, 3 bushels of chaff mixed with just half a hundred-weight of pulped roots, exclusive of cake or corn; that is to say, rather more than 2 bushels of chaff are mixed with the roots, and given at two feeds, morning and evening, and the remainder is given with the cake, &c., at the middle day feed, thus:—We use the steaming apparatus of Stanley, of Peterborough, consisting of a boiler in the centre, in which the steam is generated, and which is connected by a pipe on the left hand with a large galvanised iron receptacle for steaming food for pigs, and on the right with a large wooden tub lined with copper, in which the cake, mixed with water, is made into a thick soup. Adjoining this is a slate tank of sufficient size to contain one feed for the entire lot of bullocks feeding. Into this tank is laid chaff, about one foot deep, upon which a few ladles of soup are thrown in a boiling state; this is thoroughly mixed with the chaff with a three-grained fork, and pressed down firm; and this process is repeated until the slate tank is full, when it is covered down for an hour or two before feeding time. The soup is then found entirely absorbed by the chaff, which has become softened, and prepared for ready digestion." A cheap plan is to mix the straw with sliced roots, moisten the mass with water, and allow it to remain until a slight fermentation has set in. This process effectually softens and disintegrates, so to speak, the woody fibre, and sets free the stores of nutritious matters which it envelopes. Some farmers who hold straw in high estimation, prefer giving it just as it comes from the field; they base this practice on the belief that Ruminants require a bulky and solid food, and that their digestive powers are quite sufficient to effect the solution of all the useful constituents of the straw. It may be quite true that cattle, as asserted, can extract more nutriment out of straw than horses can, but that merely proves the greater power of their digestive organs. No doubt the food of the Ruminants should be bulky; but I am quite sure that cooked or fermented straw is sufficiently so to satisfy the desire of those animals for quantity in their food.

So far as I can learn, all the carefully conducted feeding experiments to test the value of straw which have been made, have yielded results highly favorable to that article. Mr. Blundell, in a paper on "The Use and Abuse of Straw," read before the Botley (Hampshire) Farmer's Club, states that in his experience he found straw to be more economical than its equivalent of roots or oil-cake, in the feeding of all kinds of cattle:—

I find (says Mr. Blundell) that dairy cows, in the winter months, if fed on large quantities of roots, particularly mangels and carrots, will refuse to eat straw almost entirely, and become very lean; but they will always eat a full portion of sweet, well-harvested straw, when they get a small and moderate allowance of roots, say, for an ordinary-sized cow, 15 lbs. of mangel three times per day, the roots being given whole, just in the state they come from the store heap. Again, calves and yearlings being fed with roots in the same way, will eat a large quantity of straw, and when they have been kept under cover I have had them in first-rate condition for many years past. Also, in fattening beasts, when they get a fair allowance of roots, say 65 to 70 lbs. per day, with from 3 to 4 lbs. of cake or meal in admixture, they will eat straw with great avidity, and do well upon it, and make a profit. It is, however, often the case that bullocks receive 100 lbs., or upwards, of roots per day, with a large quantity of cake or meal, often 10 or 12 lbs. per day; they will not then look at straw, and are obliged to be fed with hay. The cost price of these quantities and kinds of food stands so high that the animals do not yield a profit; for although they may make meat a little faster, yet the proportionate increase is nothing compared to the increased cost of the feeding materials used.

Mr. Blundell gives us also the tabulated results of one of his experiments, which prove that by the use of straw there is to be obtained something more than manure by the feeding of stock:—

COST OF FEEDING AN OX PER WEEK WITH STRAW, ETC., ACCORDING TO MR. BLUNDELL.

s. d. 4 lbs. of oil-cake per day, or 38 lbs. per week, at L10 per ton 2 6 64 lbs. of roots ditto, or 4 cwt. ditto, at 13s. 4d. ditto 2 8 20 lbs. of straw feeding, or 1-1/4 cwt. ditto, at 30s. ditto 1 10-1/2 20 lbs. of straw litter, or 1-1/4 cwt. ditto, at 15s. ditto 0 11

Attendance, &c., per week 0 1 ————— 8 0-1/2 Deduct value of manure, per week 1 3-1/2 ————— 6 9 Increased value of ox per week 10 0 Deduct cost of feeding 6 9 ————— 3 3

If we now turn to the study of the composition of straw regarded from an economic point of view, we shall find that the theoretical deductions therefrom harmonise with the results of actual feeding experiments. Let us assume that 100 parts of oat-straw contain on an average—

1 part of oil, 4 parts of flesh-formers, 10 parts of sugar, gum, and other fat-formers, and 30 parts of digestible fibre;

and if the price of the straw be 30s. per ton, we shall have at that cost the following quantities of digestible substances:—

ONE TON OF OAT-STRAW, AT 30s., CONTAINS:—

lbs.

[31] Oil 22.4 Flesh-forming principles 89.6 Sugar, gum, and other fat-forming substances 224.0 Digestible fibre 672.0 ———- 1,008.0 [32] Total amount of fat-formers, calculated as starch 952.0 Add flesh-formers 89.6 ———- Total amount of nutritive matter 1,041.6

We shall now compare this table with a similar one in relation to the composition of linseed cake, which will place the greater comparative value of straw in a clearer light.

A fair sample of linseed-cake contains, centesimally—

Flesh-formers 26 Oil 12 Gum, mucilage, sugar, &c. 34 Woody fibre 6

ONE TON OF LINSEED CAKE, AT L11, CONTAINS:—

lbs.

Flesh-forming principles 582.4 Oil 268.8 Gum, sugar, and other fat-formers 761.6 Woody fibre 74.4 ———- 1,687.2 Total amount of fat-formers, calculated as starch 1,508.0 Add flesh-formers 582.4 ———- Total amount of nutriment 2,090.4

These comparisons are very instructive and important. We learn from them that we pay L11 for 2,000 lbs. of nutriment, when we purchase a ton of linseed-cake, whereas, when we invest 30s. in a ton of straw, we receive 1,000 lbs. of digestible aliment. It cannot be said that I have strained any points in favour of the straw; on the contrary, I believe that when that article is cut in proper season and well harvested, its composition will be found far superior to that detailed in the comparative analysis. It must be borne in mind, too, that I take no account of the 30 per cent. of the so-called indigestible woody fibre which straw contains, and which, I believe, is partly assimilable under ordinary circumstances, and could be rendered nearly altogether digestible by proper treatment; on the other hand, I have assumed that the woody fibre of the oil-cake is completely digestible, although I believe it is in reality less so than the fibre of straw.

It is an important point in the composition of oil-cakes, that they contain a large proportion of ready-formed fatty matters which can, with but little alteration, be at once transmuted into animal fat. There are some individuals of the genus Homo to whose stomachs fat, per se, is intolerable; nevertheless, as a general rule, fatty substances exercise a favorable influence in the process of digestion, and, either in a separate state, or intimately commingled with other aliments, constitute a large proportion of the food of man. Digestion in the lower animals is, no doubt, similarly promoted by mixing with the aliments which are to be subjected to that process, a due proportion of oily or fatty matter. Straw is relatively deficient in the flesh-forming principles, and abounds in the fat-forming elements—of which, however, the most valuable, oil, is the least abundant. Now, if we add to straw a due proportion of some substance very rich in flesh-formers and oil, the compound will possess in nicely adjusted proportions all the elements of nutrition. Perhaps the best kind of food which we could employ for this purpose is linseed meal. It contains about 24 per cent. of flesh-formers, 35 per cent. of a very bland oil, and 24 per cent. of gum, sugar, and mucilage. Linseed-cake may be substituted for linseed-meal; but the meal, though its cost is 15 per cent. greater, is, I believe, rather the better article of the two. Its flesh-formers are more soluble, and its oil thrice more abundant and far more palatable than the same principles in most samples of oil-cake. An important point, too, is, that linseed, unlike linseed-cake, is not liable to adulteration. As linseed possesses laxative properties it cannot be largely employed; the addition, however, of bean-meal—the binding tendency of which is well known—to a diet partly composed of linseed will neutralise, so to speak, the relaxing influence of the oily seed. If oil-cakes be used as an adjunct to straw, rape-cake will be found more economical than linseed-cake. If it be free from mustard, well steamed, and flavored with a little treacle, or a small quantity of locust-beans, it will be readily consumed, and even relished, by dairy and fattening stock.

Hay.—There is no food substance more variable or more complex than hay, for under that term are included, not only mixtures of grasses, but also of leguminous plants—clover, for example. The herbage of no two meadows is exactly alike; and the composition of the meadow plants is so greatly modified by differences of climate, soil, and mode of culture, that we have nothing to excite our wonder in the extreme variability of hay.

The composition of the hay made from clover, lucerne, and various other kinds of artificial grasses, is shown in the table—which is based on the results of Way's analyses:—

COMPOSITION OF THE HAY OF ARTIFICIAL GRASSES.

+ - KEY: A. Flesh-forming Substances. B. Fatty Matters. C. Respiratory Substances. D. Woody Fibre. E. Ash. F. Water. -+ -+ + -+ -+ + - A. B. C. D. E. F. + -+ + -+ -+ + - Trifolium pratense Red clover 18.79 3.06 37.06 16.46 7.97 16.6 Trifolium pratense perenne Purple clover 15.98 3.41 35.35 21.63 6.96 " Trifolium incarnatum Crimson clover 13.83 3.11 31.25 26.99 8.15 " Trifolium medium Cowgrass 20.27 2.97 30.30 20.12 9.67 " Do., second specimen 15.64 3.98 41.38 15.70 6.64 " Trifolium procumbens Hop trefoil 17.07 3.89 36.55 18.88 6.94 " Trifolium repens White trefoil 15.63 3.65 33.37 22.11 8.57 " Vicia sativa Common Vetch 19.68 2.55 32.87 22.82 5.42 " Vicia sepium Bush vetch 19.23 2.40 27.62 25.87 8.21 " Onobrychis sativa Sainfoin 15.38 2.51 38.30 20.59 6.56 " Medicago sativa Lucerne 10.63 2.30 33.47 28.51 8.42 " Medicago lupulina Yellow clover 20.50 3.38 27.76 22.66 9.03 " Plantago lanceolata Rib grass 11.91 3.06 33.58 27.56 7.23 " Poterium sanguisorba Burnet 13.96 3.34 39.50 19.89 6.64 " Achillea millefolium Millefoil 8.62 2.09 37.88 27.24 7.50 " + -+ + -+ -+ + - Mean 15.81 3.18 34.42 22.47 7.59 16.6 -+ -+ + -+ -+ + -

Very many analyses of hay have been made by British and Continental chemists, the results of which are of great interest to the agriculturist. The composition of the natural and artificial grasses, which is shown in the tables given in pages 158-9 will, if we reduce their per-centage of water to 16, give us an approximation to the composition of hay. If the herbage, too, be sown in the proper time, and the hay-making process be skilfully conducted, there will be but little difference, except in the amount of water, between the plants in their fresh and dry state; but owing to inopportune wet weather, and carelessness in manipulation, excellent herbage is not unfrequently converted into inferior hay.

According to Dr. Voelcker, the average composition of meadow-hay, as deduced from the results of twenty-five analyses, is as follows:—

Water 14.61 Flesh-forming constituents 8.44 Respiratory and fatty matters 43.63 Woody fibre 27.16 Mineral matter (ash) 6.16 ——— 100.00

Dr. Anderson's analysis of meadow-hay, one year old, and of inferior quality, gave the following results:—

Water 13.13 Flesh-forming matters 4.00 Non-nitrogenous substances 77.61 Mineral matter 5.26 ——— 100.00

The results of the investigations of Way prove that the herbage of water-grass meadows is more nutritious than that of dry meadows—results perfectly harmonious with the experience of practical men.

It is a somewhat general belief, that the aftermath, or second cutting, is less nutritious than the first cutting; but there appears to be no chemical difference between the two crops, provided they be saved under equally favorable conditions. According to Dr. Anderson, the composition of clover-hay of the second cutting is as follows:—

Water 16.84 Flesh-forming principles 13.52 Non-nitrogenous matters 64.43 Mineral matter (ash) 5.21 ——— 100.00

I have already shown the importance of reaping in proper season—not less necessary is it to mow before the plants ripen fully, and even before they flower. The results of the experiments of Stoeckhardt, Hellreigel, and Wolff, in relation to this point, are very interesting, and are well worthy of reproduction here.

RESULTS OF STOeCKHARDT'S AND HELLREIGEL'S EXPERIMENTS.

- - Stem. Leaves. - - -+ - Hay. Hay. Water + + Water + + in Flesh- in Flesh- Fresh forming Ash. Fresh forming Ash. Plant. Matters. Plant. Matters. + - - Clover cut on the 4th June, quite young 82.80 13.16 9.71 83.50 27.17 9.42 23rd " ready for cutting 81.72 12.72 9.00 82.68 27.69 9.00 9th July, beginning to flower 82.41 12.40 6.12 77.77 15.83 10.46 29th July, full flower 78.30 9.28 4.63 70.80 19.20 9.58 21st August, ripe 69.40 6.75 4.82 65.70 18.94 12.33 - -

RESULTS OF WOLFF'S EXPERIMENT.

- - Red Clover. Alsike Clover. - - - Beginning Full Beginning Full to flower, flower, to flower, flower, 11th June. 25th June. 23rd June. 29th June. - - - Fresh. Hay. Fresh. Hay. Fresh. Hay. Fresh. Hay. - - - - - pct. pct. pct. pct. pct. pct. pct. pct. Water 83.07 16.66 76.41 10.66 86.98 16.66 82.60 16.66 Ash 1.43 7.04 1.67 5.90 1.12 7.17 1.45 6.94 Woody fibre 4.24 20.87 8.88 37.37 3.79 24.26 5.11 24.47 Nutritive substances 11.26 55.43 13.04 46.07 8.11 51.91 10.84 51.93 - - - - - -

During the operation of converting the grass—"natural" or "artificial"—into hay, there is more or less loss of nutritive matter sustained by fermentation, the dispersion of the smaller leaves by the wind, and other agencies. But this unavoidable loss is trivial when compared with the prodigious waste sustained, in Ireland at least, by allowing the hay to remain too long in cocks in the field. "Within the last three or four years," says Mr. Baldwin, of the Glasnevin Albert Model Farm, "we have made agricultural tours through twenty-five of the thirty-two counties of Ireland; and from careful consideration of the subject, and having in some instances used a tape-line and weighing-machine to assist our judgment, we have come to the conclusion that one-twentieth of the hay-crop of Ireland is permitted to rot in field-cocks. The portion on the ground, as well as that on the outside of the cocks, is too often only fit for manure. And the loss of aftermath, and of the subsequent year's crop (if hay or pasture), suffers to the extent of from sixpence to one shilling per acre. If we unite all these sources, the loss sustained annually in this country is something serious to contemplate. On an average, for all Ireland, it is not under 20 per cent., or a fifth of the actual value of the crop." This is a startling statement; but I do not believe it to be an exaggeration of the actual state of things.

Damaged Hay and Straw.—Damaged corn and potatoes, so much injured as to be unfit for human food, are generally given, and with apparently good results, to the inferior animals. The "meat manufacturing machines," as the edible varieties of the domesticated animals are now generally termed, are not very dainty in their choice of food; and vegetable substances which would excite the disgust of the lords of the creation are rendered nutritious and agreeable by being reorganised in the mechanisms of oxen, sheep, and pigs.

Now, although it is pretty generally known that musty corn and diseased potatoes form good feeding stuffs, it is not so patent whether or not the natural food of stock, such as hay and straw in a diseased state, is proper food for those animals. This question is worthy of consideration. Firstly, I shall describe the nature of the diseases which most frequently affect fodder; these are, "mildew" and "mould." These diseases are produced by the ravages of minute and very low forms of vegetable life, termed by the botanists epiphytical fungi. The mildew (Puccinia graminis) generally attacks the grasses when they are growing, and is more frequently met with on rich and heavily manured soils. In localities where heavy night-fogs and dews are of common occurrence, this pest often destroys whole crops. On the other hand, in light, sandy, and well-drained soils, and in warm and dry districts, the mildew is a rare visitant. The "blue mould" (Aspergillis glaucus) attacks hay and straw in the stack or rick, and without any regard to their origin—no matter whether they were the produce of the wettest or the dryest, the warmest or the coldest of soils. The chief condition in the existence of the blue mould is excessive moisture. If the hay or straw be too green and succulent when put up, or if rain get at them in the rick, the mould is very likely to make its appearance, and the well-known odor termed musty will speedily be developed.

Neither the mildew nor the mould can, strictly speaking, be regarded as parasites, such as, for example, the flax-dodder, which feeds upon the healthy juices of the plant to which it is attached. It appears to me that the tissues and juices of the fodder-plants decay first, and then the mould or the mildew appears and feeds upon the decomposing matter. Now, as these vegetables belong to a poisonous class of fungi, it is more than probable that they convert the decomposing substance of the straw or hay into unwholesome, if not poisonous matter; and it is not unlikely but that the disagreeable odor which they evolve is designed by nature as a sign to the lower animals not to partake of mouldy food. There is no doubt but that most animals will instinctively reject fodder in this state; and the question arises, ought this odour to be destroyed or disguised, in order to induce the animals to eat the damaged stuff? The experience of most feeders who have largely consumed mouldy provender is, that although cattle may be induced to eat it, they never thrive upon such stuff if it form a heavy item in their diet. The reason of this is obvious. The nitrogenous portion of the straw is that which is chiefly assimilated by the fungi. And as this constituent is the one which contributes to the formation of muscle, and is naturally extremely deficient in straw and hay—more particularly the former—it follows that the animals fed upon mouldy fodder cannot elaborate it into lean flesh (muscle).

In the case of young stock, mouldy fodder is altogether inadmissible, for these animals require abundance of flesh-forming materials—precisely those which the fungi almost completely remove from the diseased fodder.

As large quantities of mouldy or mildewed provender are at the present moment to be found in many farmsteads, and as they are unsaleable, and must therefore be made use of in some way at home, it is well to consider the best way to dispose of them. In the case of straw, the greater portion will be required for litter, and if the whole of the damaged article can be disposed of in this way so much the better. If, however, there is more than is necessary for the bedding of the stock, it may be used in conjunction with sound fodder, but always in a cooked state. The greater part, if not the whole, of the diseased nitrogenous part of the straw is soluble in warm water, so that if the fodder be well steamed the poisonous matter will be eliminated to such an extent as to leave the article almost as wholesome as good straw, but not so nutritious. The straw cleansed in this way will be very deficient in flesh-forming, though not in fat-forming power, and this fact should be duly considered when the other items of the animal's food are being weighed out. Beans, malt-combs, and linseed-cake are rich in muscle-forming principles, and are consequently suitable adjuncts to damaged fodder; but the latter should never constitute the staple food, or be given unmixed with some sweet provender.

When the fodder is considerably damaged it becomes, after steaming, nearly as tasteless as sawdust. To this kind of stuff the addition of a small amount of some flavorous material is very useful. For damaged hay, Mr. Bowick recommends the following mixture:—

Fenugreek (powdered) 112 parts. Pimento 4 " Aniseed 4 " Caraways 4 " Cummin 2 "

A pinch of this compound will render agreeably-flavored the most insipid kinds of fodder.

Mr. Bowick states that he had fed large numbers of bullocks on damaged hay, flavored with this compound, and that their health was not thereby injured in the slightest degree.

SECTION V.

ROOTS AND TUBERS.

The important part which the so-called root crops play in the modern systems of agriculture, has secured for them a large share of the attention of the chemist, so that our knowledge of their composition and relative nutritive value is very extensive. As compared with most other articles of food, the roots, as they are popularly called, of potatoes, turnips, mangels, carrots, and such like plants, contain a high proportion of water, and are not very nutritious; indeed, with the exception of the potato, none of them contain 20 per cent. of solid matter, and some not more than five per cent. They are, however, easily produced in great quantities, which compensates for their low nutritive value. I shall consider each of the more important roots separately.

The Turnip.—There are numerous varieties of this plant, which differ from each other in the relative proportions and total amount of their constituents, and even in different individuals of the same variety there is considerable variation in composition; hence the difficulty which has been felt by those who have endeavored to assign to this plant its relative nutritive value. From the average results of a great number of experiments, conducted both in the laboratory and the feeding-house, it is concluded that turnips are the most inferior roots produced in the field. The Swedish turnips are the most valuable kind: they contain a higher proportion of solid matter than the other varieties, and they are firmer and store better. The average composition of five varieties of turnips, as deduced from the results of the analyses of Anderson and Voelcker, is shown in the following table:—

ANALYSES OF TURNIPS.

- - -+ - Swedish White Aberdeen Purpletop Norfolk Turnip. Globe. Yellows. Yellows. Bell. + - - - - Water 89.460 90.430 90.578 91.200 92.280 Albuminous, or flesh-forming substances 1.443 1.143 1.802 1.117 1.737 Non-nitrogenous, or fat-forming substances (fat, gum, sugar, &c.) 5.932 5.457 4.622 4.436 2.962 Woody fibre 2.542 2.342 2.349 2.607 2.000 Mineral matter (ash) 0.623 0.628 0.649 0.640 1.021 - - - - 100.000 100.000 100.000 100.000 100.000 - - - -

The Greystone Turnip is a variety which has only quite recently been introduced. It is stated to be an uncommonly productive crop, usually yielding returns from 30 to 50 per cent. greater than those obtained from other varieties of the turnip. The composition of the Greystone turnip appears to be inferior, so that probably it is not, after all, a more economical plant than the ordinary kinds of turnips.

DR. ANDERSON'S ANALYSIS OF THE GREYSTONE TURNIP.

No. 1. No. 2. Grown on Clay. Grown on Sand.

Water 93.84 94.12 Oil 0.26 0.34 Soluble albuminous matters 0.35 0.56 Insoluble ditto 0.20 0.18 Soluble respiratory matters 2.99 2.32 Insoluble ditto (chiefly fibre) 1.73 1.85 Ash 0.63 0.63 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

It was at one time the fashion—not yet become quite obsolete—to regard the proportion of nitrogen in the turnip as the measure of the nutritive value of the bulb; but the fallacy of this opinion has been shown by several late investigators, and more particularly by the results of one of the numerous series of feeding experiments conducted by Mr. Lawes. Many bulbs exceedingly rich in nitrogen are very deficient in nutritive power—partly from a deficiency in the other elements of nutrition—partly because most of their nitrogen is in so low a degree of elaboration as to be incapable of assimilation by animals. The value of a food-substance does not merely depend upon the amount and the relative proportion of its constituents, but also, and to a very great extent, upon their easy assimilability. There is but little doubt that the nutritive matters contained in the Swedish turnip when the bulb is fresh are very crude. By storing, certain chemical changes take place in the bulb, which render it more nutritious and palatable. A large proportion of the non-nitrogenous matters exist in the fresh root as pectin; but this substance, if the bulb be preserved for a couple of months, becomes in great part converted into sugar, which is one of the most palatable and fattening ingredients of cattle-food. By storing, too, the bulbs lose a portion of their excessive amount of water, and become less bulky, which is unquestionably a desideratum. These facts suggest the necessity for cultivating the earlier varieties of the turnip, for it may be fairly doubted if a late-grown crop, left for consumption in the field, ever, even under the most favorable circumstances, attains its perfect development. At the same time it must not be forgotten that turnips fully matured in the field rather deteriorate than otherwise after a few weeks' storage.

Many agriculturists consider that there is a strict relation between the specific gravity, or comparative weight of the bulb, and its nutritive value; others believe that a very large turnip must necessarily be inferior in feeding qualities to a small one; whilst not a few maintain that neither its size nor its specific gravity is an indication of its feeding qualities. Dr. Anderson, who has specially investigated a portion of this subject, states that "the specific gravity of the whole turnip cannot be accepted as indicating its real nutritive value, the proportion of air in the cells being the determining element in such results; that there is no constant relation between the specific gravity of, and the nitrogen compounds in, the bulb; and that such relation does exist between the specific gravity of the expressed juice and the nitrogen compounds and solid constituents." Dr. Anderson allows, however, that the best varieties of the turnip have the highest specific gravity; which admission—coupled with the fact admitted by all experimenters that the heavy roots store best—lead me to adopt the opinions of those who consider great specific gravity as one of the favorable indications of its nutritive value. With respect to size, I prefer bulbs of moderate dimensions; the monsters that win the prizes at our agricultural shows—and which, in general, are forced—are inferior in feeding qualities, are always spongy, and almost invariably rot when stored.

The composition of the turnip is influenced not only by the nature of the soil on which it is grown, but also by that of the manure applied to it. The most reliable authorities are agreed that turnips raised on Peruvian guano are watery, and do not keep well; but that with a mixture of Peruvian guano and superphosphate of lime, with phospho-guano, or with farmyard manure supplemented with a moderate amount of guano, the most nutritious and firm bulbs are produced.

Turnip-tops have been analysed by Voelcker, with the following results:—

ONE HUNDRED PARTS CONTAIN—

White. Swedish.

Water 91.284 88.367 Nitrogen compounds 2.456 2.087 Non-nitrogenous matters (gum, sugar, &c.) 0.648 1.612 Ditto, as woody fibre 4.092 5.638 Mineral matter 1.520 2.296 ———- ———- 100.000 100.000

These figures apparently show that the tops of turnips are more valuable than their bulbs; but, in the absence of any feeding experiments made to determine the point, we believe they are less so, as a very large proportion of the solid matter in the tops of turnips is in too low a degree of elaboration to be assimilable. Their high proportions of nitrogen and mineral matter constitute them, however, a very useful manure—nearly twice as valuable as the bulbs; this fact should be borne in mind when turnips are sold off the land.

The Mangel-wurtzel is one of the most valuable of our green crops. Its root is more nutritious than the turnip, occupying a position in the scale of food equivalents midway between that bulb and the parsnip. Mangels, when fresh, possess a somewhat acrid taste, and act as a laxative when given to stock; but after a few months' storing they become sweet and palatable, and their scouring property completely disappears.

Although the mangel is one of the most nutritious articles of food which can be given to cattle, yet it is stated on the best authority that sheep do not thrive upon it. Voelcker, who has investigated this subject, informs us that a lot of sheep which he fed on a limited quantity of hay and an unlimited quantity of mangels, did not, during a period of four months, increase in weight, whilst another lot of sheep supplied with a small quantity of hay, and Swedish turnips ad libitum increased on an average 2-1/2 lbs. weekly. I believe the experience of the greater number of feeders agrees with the results of Dr. Voelcker's experiment.

The chemistry of the mangel-wurtzel has been thoroughly studied by Way and Ogston, Fromberg, Wolff, Anderson, and Voelcker. According to the last-named chemist, its average composition is as follows:—

Water 87.78 Flesh-forming matters 1.54 Sugar 6.10 Gum, pectin, &c. 2.50 Woody fibre 1.12 Mineral matter (ash) 0.96 ——— 100.00

It is difficult to accurately determine by a comparative trial the relative feeding properties of mangels and turnips, for the former are only in a fit state to be given to the animals when the latter are deteriorating. However, by comparing the composition of the two substances, and the results obtained from numerous feeding experiments, it would appear, that on the average 75 lbs. weight of mangels are equal to 100 lbs. weight of turnips. Of the different varieties of the mangel the long yellow appears to be the most nutritious, and the long red the least so.

The leaves of the mangel—some of which are occasionally pulled and used for feeding purposes, during the growth of the bulb—are an excellent feeding substance: their composition indicates a nutritive value but little inferior to that of the root; but as their constituents cannot be in a highly elaborated condition, it is probable they are not more than equal to half their weight of the bulbs.

One questio vexata of the many which at present occupy the attention of the agricultural world is, whether or not the leaves of mangels may be removed with advantage during the latter part of the development of the plants. This practice prevailed rather extensively a few years since, but latterly it has fallen somewhat into disuse.

Those who adopt this plan urge, as its advantages, that a large quantity of food is obtained at a time when it is urgently needed, and that instead of the removal of the leaves exercising an injurious influence on the development of the roots, the latter are actually increased in size.

In 1859 an experimental investigation was carried out at the Glasnevin Model Farm, with the view of throwing new light on the question. The outside leaves were very gradually removed on different occasions—from the 12th August to the 15th October. In this way five tons of leaves per statute acre were removed, and subsequently made use of for feeding purposes. The experiment was conducted on a field of four acres, of which the produce of 12 drills, each 200 yards in length, was left untouched. The result was that the produce of the roots of the untouched plants was only 40 tons 8 cwt. 6 qrs. per acre, whilst the roots of the plants which had been partly denuded of their leaves weighed at the rate of 45 tons 1 cwt. This experiment afforded results which are apparently favorable to the practice of stripping the leaves; but it is to be regretted that it was not rendered more complete by an analysis of the roots, as a great bulk of roots does not necessarily imply a great weight of dry food, and it is just possible, though not very probable, that the roots of the stripped mangels contained a larger proportion of water than those of the untouched plants.

The results of the experiments of Buckman, and of Professor Wolff, of the Royal Agricultural College at Hohenheim, are at direct variance with those obtained at Glasnevin. Both of these experimenters found that the removal of the leaves occasioned a diminution in the produce of the roots to the amount of 20 per cent. Nor was this the only loss, for it was found by the German professor that the roots of the untouched plants possessed a far higher nutritive value than those of the stripped mangels.

When doctors differ, who is to decide? Here we have high authorities in the agricultural world at direct variance on a matter of fact. The names of Buckman and Wolff are a sufficient guarantee that the experimental results which they announce are trustworthy, and I can testify, from observation, that no field experiments could be more carefully conducted than those carried out at the Albert Model Farm. We can only, then, under the circumstances, admit that both Mr. Boyle, on the one side, and Professors Buckman and Wolff on the other, are correct in their statements of fact; but as it is evident both cannot be right in the general inferences therefrom, it is desirable that the subject should be still further investigated, and the truth be placed beyond doubt. It is a question which appears so simple that one is at a loss to account for the discrepant opinions in relation to it which prevail. "Let nothing induce the growers," says Mr. Paget, in a paper on the cultivation of the mangel, "to strip the leaves from the plant before taking up the root. A series of careful experiments has convinced me that by so doing we borrow food at a most usurious interest." "Although," says Mr. Boyle, "the practice of stripping has been followed for many years on the farm without any perceptible injury to the crop, these results, showing so considerable an addition to the crop from taking off the leaves, were hardly anticipated." It certainly does appear somewhat at variance with our notion of the functions of the leaves of plants, that their partial removal could possibly cause an increase in the weight of the roots; but granting such to be the fact, it is not altogether theoretically inexplicable. We know that highly nitrogenous manure has a tendency to increase the development of the leaves of turnips at the expense of the roots. Gardeners, too, not unfrequently remove some of the buds from their fruit trees, lest the excessive development of foliage should retard or check the growth of the fruit. Theoretically an excessive development of the leaves of the mangel may be inimical to the growth of the root. Probably, too, it may be urged, the outer leaves, which soon become partially disorganised and incapable of elaborating mineral matter into vegetable products, prevent the access of light to the more vigorous inner leaves. In conclusion, I may say of this subject that it is worthy of further elucidation; and I would suggest to my readers, and more especially to the managers of the various model farms, the desirability of fully testing the matter.

The White Beet is a congener of the mangel. It is largely grown on the continent as a sugar-producing plant, but is seldom cultivated in these countries. It produces about 15 tons of roots per acre, and its roots on the average contain—

Water 83.0 Sugar 10.0 Flesh-formers 2.5 Fat-formers 1.5 Fibre 2.0 Ash 1.0 ——- 100.0

This plant is deserving of more extensive growth in Great Britain.

The Parsnip is, after the potato, the most valuable of roots. It differs from the turnip and the mangel in containing a high proportion of starch, and but little sugar; and its flesh-forming constituents are largely made up of casein, instead of, as in the case of the turnip, albumen.

The average composition of the parsnip is as follows:—

Water 82.00 Flesh-forming principles 1.30 Fat-formers (starch, sugar, &c.) 7.75 Woody fibre 8.00 Mineral matter (ash) 0.95 ——— 100.00

The parsnip is extensively grown in many foreign countries, on account of its valuable feeding properties. As a field-crop it is but little cultivated in Great Britain, and its use is—if we except the table—almost restricted to pigs. Its food equivalent is about double that of the turnip; that is, one pound of parsnips is equal to two pounds of turnips.

The Carrot bears a close resemblance to the parsnip, from which, however, it differs, containing no starch, and being somewhat inferior in nutritive value. According to Voelcker, its average composition is as follows:—

Water 88.50 Flesh-formers 0.60 Fat-formers (including woody fibre) 10.18 Mineral matter (ash) 0.72 ——— 100.00

As carrots contain a high proportion of fat-forming matters, and a low per-centage of flesh-forming substances, they are better adapted for fattening purposes. Dairy stock greedily eat them; and they are given with great advantage to horses out of condition.

Kohl-Rabi.—This plant, though early introduced into the agriculture of these countries, has made but little progress in the estimation of the farmer. It belongs to the order and genus which include the turnip, but differs widely from that plant in its mode of growth. Its bulb—which is formed by an enormous development of the overground stem—is, according to some authorities, less liable than the turnip to injury from frost. It is subject to no diseases, save anbury and clubbing; and, owing to its position above the soil, it can be readily eaten off by sheep. The bulbs store better than Swedes, and, according to some farmers, keep even better than mangels. With respect to the flavor of this bulb, there is some difference of opinion. Professor Wilson, of Edinburgh, quotes several eminent feeders to prove that "whether in the fold for sheep, in the yard for cattle, or in the stables for horses, it will generally be preferred to the other descriptions of homegrown keep." Mr. Baldwin, on the contrary, states that although good food for sheep, it is too hard-fleshed for old ewes, and that carrots are better food for horses, and Swedish turnips for cattle.

An accurately conducted comparative trial to test the nutritive value of the Kohl-rabi, was conducted at the Glasnevin Model Farm, under the direction of Mr. Baldwin. The experiment was commenced in January, 1863. Four oxen were selected, and divided into two lots. Nos. 1 and 2 (Lot 1) were fed on Kohl-rabi, oil-cake, and hay, and Nos. 3 and 4 (Lot 2) on Swedish turnips, oil-cake, and hay. As the animals supplied with the Kohl-rabi did not appear to relish it, and as it was desirable to gradually accustom them to the change of food, the experiment did not really commence till the 12th January. On that date the weights of the animals were as follows:—

cwt. st. cwt. st. Lot 1. {No. 1. 10 1 Lot 2. {No. 3. 7 5 {No. 2. 7 4 {No. 4. 10 2 - - 17 5 17 7

The lots, therefore, counterpoised each other pretty fairly. From the 12th to the 28th January they received the following quantities of food per diem:—

1. 2. 3. 4.

Roots stones 7-1/2 6 6 7-1/2 Oil cake pounds 4-1/2 3 3 4-1/2 Hay pounds 10-1/2 10-1/2 10-1/2 10-1/2

The animals fed upon the Kohl-rabi evinced from the first a disinclination to it, but they nevertheless ate it before their meal of oil-cake was supplied to them. On the morning of the 28th January they were put upon the dietary shown in the table, and which induced them to eat the Kohl-rabi more quickly.

1. 2. 3. 4.

At 6.30 a.m. {Roots, Stones 3 2-1/2 2-1/2 3-1/2 {Cake, lbs. 1-1/2 1 1 1

At 12.30 a.m. {Roots, Stones 3 2-1/2 2-1/2 3-1/2 {Cake, lbs. 1-1/2 1 1 1

At 6.30 p.m. {Roots, Stones 3 2-1/2 2-1/2 3-1/2 {Cake, lbs. 1-1/2 1 1 1

At 9.30 p.m. Hay, lbs. 7 7 7 7

On the 11th February the cattle were again weighed, when their increase was found to be as follows:—

Weight on Weight on Increase in Jan. 12. Feb. 11. 30 days.

cwt. st. cwt. st. st.

1} Lot 1, fed on Kohl-rabi,} 10 1 10 4 3 2} &c. } 7 4 7 6 2 —- Total 5

3} Lot 2, fed on Swedes, } 7 5 8 3 6 4} &c. } 10 2 10 7-1/4 5-1/2 ——— Total 11-1/2

The results of this experiment show that the animals fed upon Swedish turnips, hay, and oil-cake, increased in weight at a rate more than 100 per cent. greater than the lot supplied with equal quantities of Kohl-rabi, hay, and oil-cake. The superiority of the Swedish turnips was rendered more evident by the results of subsequent experiments. Nos. 1 and 4 were not tried after the 11th February; but Nos. 2 and 3 were kept under experiment. No. 2 was put on Swedes, and No. 3 on mangel-wurtzel, and after an interval of a fortnight No. 2 had increased much more than they had done on Kohl-rabi.

Specimens of the Kohl-rabi and Swedish turnips employed in this experiment were submitted to me for analysis by Mr. Baldwin, and yielded the following results:—

Swedish Kohl-rabi. Turnip.

Water 87.62 88.84 Nitrogenous, or flesh-forming principles 2.24 1.66 Non-nitrogenous, or fat-forming principles 7.78 6.07 Woody fibre 1.34 2.73 Mineral matter (ash) 1.22 0.70 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

These results show a slight superiority of the Kohl-rabi over the Swedish turnip; the great difference in their nutritive power, as shown by Mr. Baldwin's experimental results, must therefore be due to the superior flavor and digestibility of the turnip.

Dr. Anderson's analysis of Kohl-rabi afforded results more favorable to the highly nutritive character assigned by some feeders to that bulb than those arrived at by me. The bulbs, it should however be remarked, were grown, no doubt with great care, by Messrs. Lawson and Son, the well-known seedsmen:—

ANALYSIS OF KOHL-RABI, BY DR. ANDERSON.

Bulbs. Tops.

Water 86.74 86.68 Flesh-forming principles 2.75 2.37 Fat-forming principles 8.62 8.29 Woody fibre 0.77 1.21 Mineral matter 1.12 1.45 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

The Radish is a plant which deserves a place amongst our field crops, though hitherto its cultivation has been restricted to the garden. At one time its leaves were boiled and eaten, but in these latter days they are subjected to neither of these processes. The root, however, in its raw state, is, as every one is aware, considered one of the dainties of the table.

Many of those who devote themselves to the important study of dietetics, consider the use of raw vegetables to be objectionable; but be their objections groundless, or the reverse, it is certain that a vegetable which, like the radish, may be eaten raw with apparently good results, cannot be otherwise than a good article of food when cooked. I once tried the experiment of eating matured radishes, not as a salad, but cooked like any other boiled vegetable, and I must say that I found their flavor rather agreeable than otherwise. Boiled radishes—roots and tops—form excellent feeding for pigs. How could it be otherwise? for what is good for the family of man must surely be a luxury to the swine tribe. I have known horses to eat radishes greedily, and I am certain that they would prove acceptable to all the animals of the farm. But it may be asked, why it is that I recommend the use of radishes as food for stock, when there are already so many more nutritious roots at our disposal—turnips, mangels, and potatoes. Simply for this reason:—Between the departure of the roots and the advent of the grasses, there is a kind of interregnum.[33] Now we want a good tuberous, bulbous, or tap-rooted plant to fill up this interregnum. Such a plant we have in the radish. The root is certainly a small one, but then it grows so rapidly that a good supply can be had within thirty days from the sowing of the seed, and a crop can be matured before the time for sowing turnips. Two crops may be easily obtained from land under potatoes—one before the tops cover the ground, the other after the tubers have been dug out. The yield of radishes, judging from the produce in the garden, would be at least six tons of roots and three tons of tops. I would suggest, then, that the radish should at once get a fair chance as a stolen crop. If it succeed as such, it will not be the first gift of the gardener to the husbandman. Was not the mangel-wurtzel once known only as the produce of the garden?

The composition of the radish indicates a nutritive value less than that of the white turnip. I have analysed both the root and the tops, and obtained the following results:—

ANALYSIS OF THE RADISH.

Root. Tops.

Water 95.09 94.30 Flesh-forming principles 0.52 0.75 Fat-formers (starch, gum, fat, &c.) 1.06 1.16 Woody fibre 2.22 2.36 Mineral matter (ash) 1.11 1.43 ——— ——— 100.00 100.00

The Jerusalem Artichoke has long been cultivated as a field-crop on the Continent, and in certain localities the breadth occupied by it is very considerable. The French term the tuberous root of this plant poitre de terre, or topin ambour; and although they expose it for sale in the markets, it is not much relished by our lively neighbours, who are so remarkable for their cuisiniere. As food for cattle, however, the French agricultural writers state it to be excellent. It is much relished by horses, dairy cows, and pigs; store horned-stock also eat it when seasoned with a little salt, and appear to enjoy it amazingly when permitted to pull up the roots from the soil. The green tops are also given to sheep and cattle, and, it is stated, are readily eaten by those animals.

The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus Tuberoses) differs from its half namesake, the common artichoke, and resembles the potato in being valuable chiefly for its tubers. It is perennial, and attains on the Continent a height varying from 7 to 10 feet. In this country its dimensions are less. The stem is erect, thick, coarse, and covered with hairs. It is a native of Mexico, and although introduced 200 years ago into Europe, it can hardly be said to be acclimatised, since it very seldom flowers, and never develops seed. The plant is therefore propagated by cuttings from its tubers, each containing one or two eyes; or if the tubers be very small, which is often the case, a whole one is planted. The tubers possess great vitality, and remain in the ground during the most severe frosts, without sustaining the slightest injury. For this reason it is usual to devote a corner of the garden to the cultivation of the Jerusalem artichoke; for, no matter how completely the crop may appear to have been removed from the soil, portions of the tubers will remain and shoot up into plants during the following season. This peculiarity of the plant it is likely may prove an obstacle to its having a place assigned to it in the rotation system.

The question now presents itself—What are the peculiar advantages which the crop possesses which should commend it to the notice of the British farmer? I shall try to answer the question.

1st. No green crop (except furze) can be grown in so great a variety of soils; except marshy or wet lands, there is no soil in which it refuses to grow.

2nd. It does not suffer from disease, is very little affected by the ravages of insects, is completely beyond the influence of cold, and may remain either above or below ground for a long time without undergoing any injurious changes in composition.

3rd. It gives a good return, when we consider that it requires very little manure, and but little labor in its management.

At Bechelbronn, the farm of the celebrated Boussingault, the average yield is nearly eleven tons per acre, but occasionally over fourteen tons is obtained. Donoil, a farmer of Bailiere, in the department of Haut-loire, states that he fed sheep exclusively on the tops and tubers of this plant, and that he estimated his profits at L23 per hectare (L9 3s. 4d. per acre). The soil was very inferior. Donoil terms it third-rate, and it does not appear to have been manured even once during the fifteen years it was under Jerusalem artichoke. I fear our artificial manure manufacturers will hardly look with a favorable eye on the advent of a crop into our agriculture which can get on so well without the intervention of any fertilising agents. Indeed, several of the French writers state that little or no manure is necessary for this plant. But this can hardly be the case; for it is evident that a crop which, according to Way and Ogston, removes 35 lbs. of mineral matter per ton from the soil, or three times as much potash as turnips do, must certainly be greatly benefited by the application of manure. And I have no doubt but that the Jerusalem artichoke, if well manured and grown in moderately fertile soil, would produce a much heavier crop than our Continental neighbors appear to get from it.

4th. The Jerusalem artichoke may be cultivated with advantage in places where ordinary root-crops either fail or thrive badly. In such cases the ground should be permanently devoted to this crop. Kade gives an instance where a piece of indifferent ground had for thirty-three years produced heavy crops of this plant, although during that time neither manure nor labor had been applied to it. In Ireland the potato has been grown under similar circumstances.

The nutritive constituents of tubers of the Jerusalem artichoke bear a close resemblance in every respect, save one, to those of the potato. Both contain about 75 per cent. of water, about 2 per cent. of flesh-forming substances, and 20 per cent. of non-nitrogenous, or fat-forming and heat-giving elements. In one respect there is a great difference—namely, that sugar makes up from 8 to 12 per cent. of the Jerusalem artichoke, whilst there is but a small proportion of that substance in the potato.

The large quantity of sugar contained in this root is no doubt the cause of its remarkable keeping properties in winter, and it also readily accounts for the avidity with which most of the domesticated animals eat it.

On the whole, then, I think that the facts I have brought forward relative to the advantages which the Jerusalem artichoke presents as a farm crop, justify the recommendation that it should get a fair trial from the British farmer, who is now so much interested in the production of suitable forage for stock.

COMPOSITION OF (DRY) JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE

Albuminous matters 4.6 Fatty matters 0.4 Starch, gum, &c. 19.8 Sugar 69.5 Fibre and ash 5.7 ——- 100.0

The Potato, regarded from every point of view, is by far the most important of the plants which are cultivated for the sake of their roots. Its tubers form the chief—almost sole—pabulum of many millions of men, enter more or less into the dietary of most civilised peoples, and constitute a large proportion of the food of the domesticated animals. The great importance of this plant, arising from its enormous consumption, has caused its composition to be very minutely studied by many British, Continental, and American chemists. With respect to its nutritive properties, the least favorable results were obtained by the American chemists, Hardy and Henry, and the most by the European chemists.

The flesh-forming principles vary from 1 per cent., as found by Hardy, to 2.41 per cent., the mean results of the analyses of Krocker and Horsford. The proportion of starch in different varieties of the potato also varies, but not to the same degree as the nitrogenous principles. In new potatoes, only 5 per cent. has been found; in ash-leaved kidneys, 9.50 per cent.; and in different kinds of cups, from 15 to 24 per cent. The amount of starch is also influenced by the soil, the manure, the climate, and the various other conditions under which the plant is developed. The proportion of starch increases during the growth, and diminishes during the storage of the tubers.

Dr. Anderson is the most recent investigator into the composition of the potato; the chief results of his inquiries are given in the following table:—

ANALYSIS OF THE POTATO BY DR. ANDERSON.

- - - - Regents. Dalmahoys. Skerry-blues. White Orkney Flukes. Rocks. Reds. - - - - Water 76.32 75.91 76.60 75.93 78.57 74.41 Starch 12.21 12.58 11.79 12.77 10.85 12.55 Sugar, &c. 2.75 2.93 3.09 2.17 2.78 2.89 Flesh-formers soluble 2.16 2.10 1.90 1.88 1.48 1.98 insoluble 0.21 0.15 0.16 0.24 0.21 0.20 Fibre 5.53 5.21 5.41 5.55 5.93 6.71 Ash 0.88 0.81 0.94 1.04 0.98 0.98 - - - - 100.06 99.69 99.89 99.58 100.80 99.72 - - - -

The potato is relatively deficient in flesh-forming matters, and contains the respiratory elements in exceedingly high proportions; hence it is well adapted for fattening purposes, and in this respect is equal to double its weight of the best kind of turnips. When used as food for man, it should be supplemented by some more fatty or nitrogenous substance—such, for example, as flesh, oatmeal, or peas. Buttermilk, a fluid which is rich in nitrogen, is an excellent supplement to potatoes, and compensates to a great extent for the deficiency of those tubers in muscle-forming matters. If, then, the potato is destined to retain its place as the "national esculent" of the Irish, I trust their national beverage may be—so far at least as the masses of the people are concerned—buttermilk, and not whiskey.

Potatoes so far diseased as to be unsuited for use as food for man, may be given with advantage to stock. They may be used either in a raw or uncooked state, but the latter is the preferable form. Sheep do not like them at first, but on being deprived of turnips they acquire a taste for them; on a daily allowance, composed of 1 lb. of oil-cake or corn, and an unlimited quantity of potatoes, they fatten rapidly. Cattle thrive well on a diet composed of equal parts of turnips and diseased potatoes, and do not require oil-cake. The evening feed of horses may advantageously be composed of potatoes and turnips. If raw, the potatoes should be given in a very limited quantity—four or five pounds; in the cooked state, however, they may be given in abundance, but the animals should not, after their meal, be permitted to drink water for some hours. As a feeding substance, diseased potatoes, unless they be very much injured, are equal to twice their weight of white turnips; it is certain that they do not injure the health or impair the condition of the animals which feed upon them.

SECTION VI.

SEEDS.

In seeds the elements of nutrition exist not only in the most highly elaborated, but also in the most concentrated state; hence their nutritive value is greater than that of any other class of food substances.

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