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CONCORD, N. H., May 1, 1888.
To His Excellency the Governor :
The seventeenth annual report of the State Board of Agriculture from May 1, 1887, to May 1, 1888, is herewith submitted.
A careful consideration of the general condition of New Hampshire agriculture reveals no decline during the year, and in some particulars there is evidence of material improvement. According to the report of the State Board of Equalization for 1887, there are in the State 59,285 horses, 22,419 oxen, 94,329 cows, 47,476 other cattle, 155,685 sheep. Comparison with the report for the previous year shows a gain of 2,445 horses, 862 oxen, 3,866 cows, 2,474 other cattle, and 5,172 sheep, increasing the value of the live-stock of the State $499,606.
No fatal disease has existed to any considerable extent among the live-stock of the State during the year, the State Board of Cattle Commissioners having issued strict quarantine orders and averted what might otherwise have been a serious outbreak. The report of the cattle commissioners in this volume will indicate the cases that have come to their attention.
The copious rain of spring and early summer produced an abundant hay crop, but much was injured in curing and by standing until overripe. Corn yielded an average crop, and more was preserved in the silo than in any previous year. Reports from all sections of the State are universally favorable to the silo, and there is reason to believe that ensilage will be more largely fed in the future. The potato crop was exceedingly
light and rotted badly. Fruit, the production of which is gradually increasing in the State, was about an average crop. Wheat, oats, barley, and rye have been rather light, in many instances lodging and failing to fill. Dairying in all its branches has been fairly prosperous. Thirteen creameries have been in successful operation, manufacturing about 600,000 pounds of butter in 1887, and have returned to the farmers an average of twenty-two cents for the cream to make one pound of butter. Several new creameries have been established during the year, and if still more were established it would be advantageous to the dairy interests of the State. Stimulated by the success of the creameries, private dairying has received more attention, and is now the leading industry on many of the best farms.
There seems to exist among the farmers considerable interest in the investigation of agricultural subjects, and farmers' institutes have been held in each county of the State, as required by law. The leading agricultural subjects have been discussed at these institutes by members of the Board and others whose study and investigation qualified them to instruct in the special branch presented.
The various agricultural organizations of the State have been successful. The Agricultural College, with increased trusteeship, is pushing strongly forward, and there is reason to believe it will receive hearty support from the farmers in the future. The Experiment Station, established within the year by congressional appropriation, will be able to conduct experiments and make investigations in the interest of agriculture heretofore impossible to be done within the State. The Grange has experienced a remarkable growth during the year, having made a net gain in membership of about one thousand. It has become a large and powerful institution, and is doing a noble work in the social and material advancement of the farmer and his family. The State Dairymen's Association has increased the interest in dairying and is heartily commended. The State Poultry Association held a successful exhibition in January, and is otherwise promoting the poultry industry. About the usual number of agricultural fairs have been held by the various associations. Most of these have been highly commendable exhibitions, and
have fostered and encouraged agriculture; yet there is opportunity for great improvement in New Hampshire farming by an increased number of well-conducted agricultural exhibitions. We believe the agriculture of the State can be elevated above its present somewhat improved condition by harmonious and persistent work on the part of our various agricultural organizations.
N. J. BACHELDER, Secretary State Board of Agriculture.