Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

“I HAVE prefixed to this report two engravings of modern implements, which, in England are deemed of immense value; and which bid fair, if adopted, to be of great importance in our husbandry; they are the Smith Subsoil Plough, and the Rack Heath Plough; both intended for the same object. The original engravings are imperfect; but they will at least give a clear idea to our ingenious mechanics of an implement that is much wanted among us, and I hope, lead to its early invention. An implement is wanted by which the cold gravelly subsoil, often found in our lands, our wet lands especially, may be effectually stirred and loosened and rendered permeable to air and water, without, at the same time bringing it to the surface, where it must require a length of time and a most copious supply of manure to render it productive; and also without burying the loam and richer parts of the soil under the subsoil as is necessarily done in such cases by deep ploughing with a common plough. We want to keep the richer parts of the soil, that is the mould, on the surface; where the plants can derive all the advantages possible from it, and where too, the manure applied to it will be most efficacious. At the same time it is important to loosen the subsoil, so that the water may pass off; and the roots of the plant, if so disposed, may spread themselves into it; and likewise, that we may be gradually but constantly deepening the upper soil. I have myself seen so much the importance of doing this that I am persuaded this invention must be duly appreciated by the farmers. Its great utility likewise in draining many kinds of land will be at once apparent. In many instances it will completely obviate the necessity of open or covered ditches. Its utility too in clay soils, but especially in many of our wet meadows, where the upper surface is thin and resting upon a hard pan, cannot admit of a question. It is of course designed to follow in the furrow of a common plough. The trenching of ground in considerable tracts in other countries, and in gardens of our own, has been followed with the best effects. Here the soil is dug thoroughly to the depth of two or three feet; and at the same time it is so managed, that the substratum is completely loosened and turned over, and the rich vegetable mould is returned again to the top, where it was at the commencement of the operation. These ploughs are adapted to operate in the same way as this trenching by the spade. The increase of crops in grounds thus managed has been always an ample compensation for the labor. The loosening of the earth and the consequent removal of the water and admission of the air, besides affording room for the expansion of the roots, without doubt by a chemical action, assists the nourishment and growth of the plant. The great objection to deep ploughing has always been, that the cold gravelly pan was brought to the surface; the vegetable mould buried beneath it; and, that it required a great length of time and an extravagant amount of manure, to bring the land into a healthy and fruitful condition. These models are copied from a late number of the British Farmer's Magazine; and I subjoin the accounts which are therein given of them.

“ The most astonishing effects appear to have been produced by a new agricultural implement, the invention of Mr. Smith, of Deanster, near Sterling in Scotland, called the Subsoil Plough. This machine is a necessary accompaniment to draining; but when that is done effectively, it seems calculated to render the most sterile and unproductive soil fertile and profitable. There is no difficulty more fatal to the practical farmer than that of cultivating a thin shallow soil with a stiff retentive subsoil. Whatever pains may be taken with the tillage of the former, , however expensive the dressing which may be used in its cultivation, the nature of the subsoil will always counteract its beneficial effects. Many persons have endeavored, by trenching, to obviate this difficulty, but where the subsoil is of that sterile nature, and requires exposure to the atmosphere for so long a period to make it produce, few farmers have been found bold enough to repeat the experiment. Mr. Smith's ingenious invention by breaking the subsoil without bringing it to the surface, renders it pervious both to air and water. The same chemical changes, which take place in a fallow, owing to its exposure to the action of wind and rain, are thus brought into operation in the subsoil; whilst the upper is in the ordinary course of cropping, and when, after a few years by a greater depth of ploughing, the subsoil is mixed with the upper, it is found to be so completely changed in its nature as to be capable of producing every species of grain. The experiment has been tried for twelve years, and with uniform success."

THE RACK HEATH PLOUGH.

“The plate introduces to public 'notice, what in my humble estimation, promises to be one of the most useful inventions ever exhibited to the farmer, whether of sharp clays, or stiff gravels; and when I say this, I do not mean in the slightest degree to disparage the subsoil plough of Mr. Smith. I would rather include his implement in my encomium; because the objects of each being the same, viz: loosening not turning up the subsoil, I do not see why each invention should not have occured simultaneously, without either of the authors being chargeable with plagiarism. The one is a foot the other a wheel plough. The public must decide which is best.

“Sir Edward Stracey says, he invented his plough in the year 1833. He adds, I have broken up nearly five hundred acres of heath land with this plough; my crops have been nearly doubled, the wheat produced on the land so broken up, has been fine plump grain, weighing about sixty three and a half pounds to the imperial bushel; and it has brought the best price in the market, when before the deep ploughing, the land scarcely produced the seed; the wheat was poor and shrivelled; and as I had no manure to. lay on the ground I can ascribe the goodness of the crop to nothing but the deep ploughing."

“For planting trees this plough far exceeds digging, as, by proper management, the soil may

be broken two feet deep all around; instead of the young trees being crammed into a little hole, where they have no room to breathe; and the whole may be done at a fourth of the expense of trenching. Some of my neighbors are getting these ploughs for the express purpose of planting." - British Farmer's Magazine, for July, 1837.

[ocr errors]

REPORTS, &c.

OF COMMITTEE TO AWARD THE PREMIUMS OFFERED BY THE STATE SOCIETY.

THE Committee on Animals offered for the State Society's Premiums, REPORT:

By the liberality of the Massachusetts Society for the promotion of agriculture, our society were enabled to offer one hundred dollars to be awarded in premiums for working oxen, bulls, milch cows, and heifers, and the claimants were not confined to our own county. But Essex being at the extremity of the commonwealth, there was but little competition from other counties. Mr. Horatio C. Merriam, of Tewksbury, in the county of Middlesex, presented some superior animals, which contributed greatly to the interest of the show.

The committee were assisted in their examination and award by Mr. Henry Codman, deputed by the State Society. Eighteen pairs of working oxen were entered, some of which, however, were not shown by their owners. A fair trial of the strength and docility of the oxen was made, and it is not strange that the committee should have found it difficult to give a preference among so many fine cattle; they, however, determined to award,

For working Oxen, To Dr. Joseph Kittredge, of Andover, the first premium of

$12 00

« PreviousContinue »