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Moved by Mr. Elmer Lick, seconded by Mr. James Murray, "That the Board of Editors should be as follows: Professors Geo. E. Day and C. A. Zavitz, and Messrs. W. J. Brown, T. H. Mason, E. C. Drury, G. C. Creelman, N. Monteith.” Carried.
A VOICE FROM NEW YORK STATE. Prof. Gilmore, Cornell University: It is a great gratification to me to be here for the first time as representing the Experimenters' League of New York. This is the first year of our existence, and the league was organized so late in the spring that we have no tangible results to show for this season. We have an active membership of seventy, and the work is carried on by the ex-students of the College as well as by the farmers. We have three departments of work-horticulture, field crops and animal industry. We are looking forward to a large growth of interest, as well as to more diversified activities in experimenting. In reference to making The O. A. C. Review the organ of your league, I think it would be quite as beneficial to the farmers generally as to the 'members of the Union. The object of the publication similar to this one which we have begun is not only to benefit the Experimenters' League, but also to make the farmers generally acquainted with our work and with the facilities for experimenting which we offer them.
It is often asked, why is the farmer somewhat backward in comparison with the members of other callings? I suppose there are two general reasons. One is that the farmer has not had the teaching that he mi ght have had in such a way as to make it beneficial to him. There seems to have been something wrong with our general educational system. We have adopted scientific ways in our educational system, and these, when taken to the farmer, are not adapted to the environment in which he lives. Matter regarding fattening of animals and the growing of the different crops must be adapted to the farmer in such a way as to be applicable to his environment.
The next point is that the farmer has to deal with things that are alive, and do not readily obey fixed laws. The mathematician deals with problems that obey fixed laws. The manufacturer knows that he can work according to certain formulas. In farming we have to deal with the life of the plant, the weather, and all the latent possibilities of the soil, which at present we understand very little about. The mere understanding of these things requires a great deal of time and energy. The primary or fundamental object of our work therefore should be to bring the instruction received at the Colleges to the men working on the farms, who have not the time or the energy to devote to such matters. If we can adapt our system of teaching to the environment of the farmer, we shall accomplish a very great purpose. We are endeavoring to develop our work along that line, and to enable students of the College of Agriculture to continue to be students after they return to the farm. There is a tendency, when our students returii to the farm, to drift back into the old ways, which are not always the best ways.
CO-OPERATIVE EXPERIMENTS IN AGRICULTURE.
By C. A. Zavitz, Director of Experiments, Agricultural College, Guelph.
As Director of the co-operative experim ents in agriculture throughout Ontario, I submit the summary results of the reports of those experiments which were carefully conducted during the past year. As some persons may be unfamiliar with our systein of co-operative experiments, I take the liberty of making some explanations regarding the work, which may add to the interest of the report which follows.
As many of you know, the Ontario Agricultural College and Experimental Farm was established in 1874 by the Government of the Province of Ontario. Experimental work was commenced in the spring of 1876, and has gradually increased in extent and in value from that day up to the present time. Experiments and investigations are now conducted at the college along different lines of practical and scientific agriculture. In the experiments with farm crops, upwards of 2,000 plots are used annually in growing grains, roots, potatoes, fodders, grasses, and clovers, to obtain information regarding the best varieties, the most productive selections of seed, the best dates of seeding, the most improved methods of cultivation, the most economical ways of increasing the fertility of the soil, etc.
In 1879 the officers, ex-students, and students of the Ontario Agricultural College formed themselves into an association under the name of the “Ontario Agricultural and Experimentai Union." The objects of the association were: “To form a bond of union among the officers and students, past and present, of the Ontario Agricultural College and Experimental Farm; to promote their intercourse with the view to mutual information; to discuss subjects bearing on the wide field of agriculture, with its allied sciences and arts; to hear papers and addresses delivered by competent parties, and to meet at least once annually at the Ontario Agricultural College."
At the beginning of the year 1886, experiments had been carried on at the college for a period of ten years. The information thus obtained formed an excellent foundation for the establishment of a system of co-operative experiments among the farmers of Ontario. There was no way in which this could be brought about better than through the medium of the Experimental Union, which was comprised of energetic young men who had had the advantage of a training at an agricultural college, and had become familiar with accurate methods of conducting experimental work. A committee was, therefore, appointed by the Experimental Union to assist in getting a plan of co-operation established. The person now giving this report, who at that time had charge of the experiments in field agriculture and in live stock feeding at the college, was appointed Director of the co-operative experiments, in addition to his other duties. Letters were written to members of the Union, and twelve consented to conduct experiments with fertilizers and field crops on their own farms in the year 1886. The co-operative work started at that time has had a steady and substantial growth up to the present day. The increase in the number of experimenters in a griculture can be seen from the following figures, which show the exact numbers actu ally engaged in the work in each of several years: 1886, 12; 1887, 60; 1888, 90; 1891, 203: 1892, 754; 1894, 1,440; 1896, 2,425;
1901, 2,760; 1902, 3,135; and 1903, 3,345.
In the spring each year circulars, outlining the co-operative work, are distributed by the agricultural committee appointed by the Experimental Union. Those asked to take part in the scheme of co-operation may be classified as follows: (1) The officers and students, past and present, of the Ontario Agricultural College, who pay an annual fee of 50 cents, and have control of the executive work of the Experimental Union; (2) the experimenters of former years who have done satisfactory work; (3) leading farmers, gardeners and others, whose have been suggested by secretaries of Farmers' Institutes, secretaries of agricultural societies, principals of collegiate institutes, inspectors of public schools, and others; and (4) various persons who have seen the experiments of other people, or have in some way heard of the work and wish to assist in the movement by conducting experiments on their own farms. The circulars are distributed in the order here given, starting first by sending to those who have been connected with the college, and are therefore trained fer the work, and finishing the distribution by sending to those engaged in some branch oi practical agriculture who have not conducted experiments previously, but who wish to undertake the work.
From the beginning, the co-operative ex perimental work of the Union has been directed and controlled by circulars and letters, printed and written, which have been transmitted through the mails. When per sonal visits have been made to the experimenters, the object has been to enable the director to study the difficulties of those actually engaged in the work, and thus to be in a better position to know the best methods to adopt in the printed instructions, rather than to take any part in the immediate control of the practical operations of the experiments.
Every man is made responsible for his own experiment, and is urged to do the very best he can for himself, for his neighbors, a na for the Union. Many persons who at first took but little interest in the experiments have afterwards proven themselves to be most valuable experimenters, and have shown great care and accuracy in the details of their work. The names of those who conduct the experiments with the proper amount of care and accuracy are placed on the list of successful experimenters, and these individuals are carefully looked after in the future. It will, therefore, be seen that the Experimental Union makes a study of the men themselves, as well as of the products of their labor. The education of the men in the development of accurate methods, careful observation, and a deeper interest in the occupation of farming is one of the objects of the co-operative experimental work in Ontario. I have no hesitation in saying that the results which have been obtained along this line alone are of far greater value than the entire cost of the co-operative work of the past seventeen years.
No direct financial help is offered any person to undertake and carry through the cooperative work. It is purely a volunteer movement from the start to the finish. The materials for the experiments, the instructions for making the tests, and the blank forms for reporting the results are furnished free of charge to those who ask to join in the work, and who sign the agreement furnished by the Union. Experimenters in crop production use the soil on their own farms, conduct the experiments themselves, and report the results to the director of that particular branch of co-operative work in which they have enlisted. In those experiments in which crops are produced, the produce is retained by the experimenters as their personal property, except any small quantities which are returned to the college as samples.
The cost of the co-operative experiments is paid conjointly by the station and the Union. The station pays for most of the labor and for some of the material, and the Union for all of the stationery, printing, postage, expressage, etc., as well as for part of the material required to carry on the coroperative work.
In 1903 co-operative experiments in agriculture were conducted by the Union along thirty-four distinct lines of work. Of this number, thirty were with spring and four with autumn crops. They included grains, root crops, forage, fodder, silage, and hay crops; culinary crops, methods of cultivation, preparation of seed, and application of commercial fertilizers and farmyard manures. The following is the list of co-operative experiments in agriculture conducted in 1903 by Ontario farmers, of whom there were 3,345 actually engaged in the work :
List of Experiments for 1903. Grain Crops.
Plots. 1. Testing three varieties of Oats.....
3 14. Testing Parsnips and two varieties of Carrots.... Forage, Fodder, Silage and Hay Crops. 15. Testing three varieties of fodder op silage Corn....
3 16, Testing three varieties of Millet...
3 17. Testing three varieties of Sorghum ....
3 22. Testing five varieties of Grasses.
5 Culinary Crops. 23. Testing three varieties of Field Beans....
3 24. Testing three varieties of Sweet Corn....
3 Fertilizer Experiments. 25. Testing fertilizers with Corn..
6 26. Testing fertilizers with Swedish Turnips....
6 Miscellaneous Experiments.
27. Growing Potatoes on the level and in hills..
with land plaster......
Corn will be used)....
3 32. Testing three varieties of Red Winter Wheat....
3 33. Testing five fertilizers with Winter Wheat....
6 34. Testing autumn and spring applications of nitrate of soda and common salt with Winter Wheat......
5 The most of the plots were one rod wide by two rods long, being exactly oneeightieth of an acre in size. The largest plots used in 1903 contained sixteen square rods, and were therefore one-tenth of an acre each. Formerly some of the plots were one-half of an acre in size, but these gave less satisfaction than the smaller ones.
The reports of the co-operative tests were very carefully examined, and those which were complete and which showed carefulness and reliability throughout were summarized. While these summaries should be of great value to the farmers generally, still those who conducted the experiments obtained much additional information regarding the results of their experiments as adapted to their individual circumstances, which it is impossible to convey in a concise report of this kind:
The experimenters deserve great credit for successfully conducting the various experiments during the past season, and the farmers owe much to these experimenters for the valuable reports which they furnish ed, the summaries of which are here presented.