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and the profit does not stop here. Look over our pastures through the length and breadth of the State — bushy, rocky, uneven and hilly, most of them unfit for cultivation - and it would seem, by the constant cropping they have sustained, that they have nearly come to the end of their capacity to bear grass. In proof of this we see the woods are taking possession of them in all places remote from villages and dense populations. In the older cleared portions, where there has been but a small quantity of foreign manure applied (we mean by this manure not made on the farm), it has become necessary to give milch cows ground bones, or they become poor and stiff, and in some instances have lost the use of their limbs beyond remedy.
Many of the owners of these pastures have not the fertilizers on hand and are not able to procure them in sufficient quantities to make a permanent improvement on them. But we have the lands. What is the remedy? Nature, ever kind, ever faithful to herself, will restore them if we do not interfere, by a growth of wood; and we believe that sheep kept in these pastures will do the same thing. The first process is a long one, beyond the lives of one, perhaps of two generations. The second is shorter, and the length will depend much on the manner in which the flock is kept. We are quite sure lands can be so restored, for the best of reasons, that we have seen instances where it has been done. We think that the quickest and most permanent method would be to stock the pastures fully, and to feed the flock in addition with grain or oil meal. If the pasture is fully stocked we are sure it will be certain death to most of the bushes and briars which may infest it.
The question whether coarse or fine wool sheep are best adapted to the county seems to be disputed, and it is probable ever will be, considering the diversity in our soil and the difference in management of different individuals. It is contended that the small Merino, with its compact frame, is besi adapted to our sterile pastures, that it returns a larger amount
of finer wool for weight of carcass, and that it can be kept at less expense per pound than can the larger breeds. On the other hand, those who claim that the larger varieties are most profitable, contend that they are most prolific, giving one hundred and fifty per cent. of lambs where the Merino will give but seventy-five — that they shear more wool, worth nearly as much per pound at the present time, and that the cost of keeping is but a trifle more for a coarse than for a fine wool sheep. But we will not go into a discussion of the merits of the different breeds. We hope that the farmers of Essex will try some kind as part of their stock, and will not only show us specimens of their flocks but will also give us an account of their success, with details of their management, and their profit and loss, at the next show.
Francis Dodge, James Carr, Jesse Smith, Warren Mooily, Committee.
SHEEP - FINE WOOLED.
The Committee on Fine Wooled Sheep report:
One flock of ten Merino sheep entered by Alfred L. Moore, of West Newbury, and the Committee award him the premium of $5.00 for his flock.
George B. Loring, of Salem, entered two Merino ewes, nine Merino lambs, and one yearling Merino ram. We award him the premium of $5.00 for his ram, and the premium of “ Harris' Insects” for his lot of lambs
Charles Corliss, Joshua N. Kent, Paul D. Patch, Committee,
POULTRY. The Committee on Poultry report:
There were but ten entries, much less than in former years, and the display of pure or well bred fowls was very small. The Brahma fowls exhibited were fine, and displayed careful breeding from well selected stock birds. A fine coop of Leghorn fowls attracted much attention, but the Committee did not think favorably of this breed for farmers' use, as they are tender in rearing and of inferior size and quality for market fowls. The fine display of Fantailed Pigeons exhibited by I. A. Allen, of Lawrence, was much admired. The Committee, “with the limited amount of money at their disposal to award in this valuable branch of the farmers' interest,” have, after a careful examination, awarded gratuities as follows:
To John S. Ives, of Salem, for coop of Brahma chickens, $4.00.
John Swinerton, of Danvers, for Brahma fowls, one copy Harris' Insects, and $1.00.
I. A. Allen, of Lawrence, for Fancy pigeons, 50 cents.
Robert Buxton, of South Danvers, for Leghorn fowls, 50 cents; for Brahma fowls, $4.00.
John S. Ives, for the Committee.
The Committee on Dairy would report :
That there were seventeen entries of butter, the most of which did credit to the exhibitors. The premiums were awarded as follows:
To Lot No. 2~Sarah L. Ridgway, of West Newbury, 1st premium, $8.00.
To Lot No. 1–Jonathan Berry, of Middleton, 2d premium, $6.00.
To Lot No. 16—Sarah J. Searle, of Methuen, 3d premium, Harris' Insects.
There were three exhibitors of cheese, to whom premiums are awarded as follows:
To Lot No, 2—Daniel Silloway, of West Newbury, 1st premium, $8.00.
To Lot No. 3—D. P. Nelson, of West Newbury, 2d premium, $6.00.
To Lot No. 1—Sarah L, Ridgway, of West Newbury, 3d premium, Harris' Insects.
Your Committee regret very much that there was no application for premium in the third and fourth departments, under the head of “Dairy.” We regard inquiry in relation to these two subjects — quantity of milk produced, and the value of milk for butter -- as of special importance to the farmers of this county. Every farmer may have an OPINION as to the amount of milk his cows give in a year, and also how many quarts of his milk it will take for a pound of butter; but very few know from trial what their cows average, or what is the general quality of the milk.
There is far too little knowledge of the cost of keeping our cows and the best manner of keeping them, especially among those farmers who furnish milk for the market. The production of milk is fast becoming one of the leading agricultural interests of the county. The rise and increase of manufacturing cities and villages have created a large demand for milk; and, as the population increases, the production of butter will become less and the quantity of milk raised for market greater. This change in dairy farming calls for a change in the kind of stock, and in its management. Cows that are profitable for butter will, perhaps, hardly pay the expense of keeping at the wholesale price of milk; and the reverse is equally true.
We need careful and repeated experiments to show us what breed is best for our purpose, and how cows should be kept to secure the largest return at the least outlay. In old buttermaking times but little butter was made in the winter, and the cows would thrive better that season on the hay and other fodder produced by the farmer. But the milk-producer must keep his quantity of milk in winter nearly equal to that of summer; consequently he must bestow extra care, and must use considerable extra feed. The kind, quantity and manner of using this extra feed is unsettled, and opinions among practical farmers vary much. The only way to settle these matters is by careful, patient experiment. And then how little is known of the amount of milk our cows produce. One man tells
you cows generally do not average more than five quarts per day; another thinks a cow very poor if she will not average eight on like keeping. Perhaps it may not be out of place here to state the result of a trial made by the Chairman of your Committee a year or two since.
The object was to ascertain how much an average cow would give, on fair keeping, and how much difference there was between such a cow and the best. Accordingly three cows were selected which had been kept upon the place several seasons, and whose qualities were therefore known, and which calved, as nearly as possible, at the same time. No. 1 was a cow that had always been considered a pair milker; No. 2 was one of the best, — both natives ; No. 3 was a grade Ayrshire.
No. 1 calved April 12th, and the 22d of the next March. No. 2 calved April 25th, and the 19th of the next April. No. 3 calved June 10th, and the 21st of the next June.
The milk was measured carefully every Wednesday, and the amount reckoned an average for the week. The following was the result: