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LANSING, December 15, 1864. To the Legislature of Michigan:
In compliance with legal requisitions, the accompanying Report (being for the year 1864), with supplementary papers, is herewith submitted.
SANFORD HOWARD, Secretary of the Michigan State Board of Agriculture.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE STATE
BOARD OF AGRICULTURE.
The Secretary of the Michigan Board of Agriculture, on entering upon his duties, issued the following circular:
TO THE FARMERS OF MICHIGAN.
LANSING, June 1, 1864. The Secretary of the Board of Agriculture desires to obtain correct information in regard to the Agricultural resources of the State, and with this view proposes the questions herewith annexed. Answers to them, or to any portion of them, or any information relating to rural affairs—whether specially called for by the questions or not-will be thankfully received. Replies should be forwarded as early as practicable, in order to render the 1 matter they comprise available for the report of the present year. It is hoped that a ready response will be given to this call, and that materials will be thus gathered for the ground-work of a series of reports which shall advance the interests of the farmers of Michigan.
1. How long has the soil of your section been cultivated, and what was its original character as to composition, wetness or dryness, &c.? State whether it was prairie, opening,” or wood-land, and if the latter, what were the prevailing species of trees.
2. What are the principal crops, and what has been their average yield per acre, from the first ? If there has been an increase or a decrease, state how much, and from what causes, particularly in reference to wheat. State the comparative productiveness of different kinds of wheat-white and red.
3. What have been the ruling prices of different kinds of grain, hay, &c., since your section has been cultivated, what is the relative cost of the different crops, and which have been the most profitable? State what crops are sold, or what proportion of certain crops, and in generel terms how the remainder is disposed of.
4. What kinds of fruit are cultivated in your section, what their relative profits, and also the profits of any kind, compared with other crops
State what have been the prices of apples and other fruits, and for what markets they have been sold.
5. Are root crops cultivated in your section? If so, state what kinds are preferred, and the purposes to which they are devoted. State, also, any facts which are established, bearing on the question of the expediency of root-culture in Michigan.
6. Beyond the number of horses, cattle and swine, deemed essential to farm management, what description of live stock has been most profitable?
7. What have been the prices of beef, pork, mutton, butter and cheese, at your principal market stations or towns ?
8. Which of the three kinds of meat mentioned in the foregoing question, can be produced at the least cost?
9. What is the average annual yield of butter per cow, and what of cheese ?
10. What is the relative cost per pound, of butter and cheese? State if cheese is made on the so-called “factory system,” in your neighborhood, and with what results.
11. What breed of cattle is most profitable in your vicinity, for beef, what for the dairy, and if oxen are used for labor, what for that purpose ? State what have been the results of the introduction of any distinct breeds, and whence they were obtained.
12. What breed or grade of horses is best adapted to farm work, and what to traveling with light vehicles ? State what height and weight of horses are preferred for farm work, and the same for those for traveling. State also what have been the results of the introduction of different kinds of horses into your section.
13. What breeds of sheep are kept in your section, what has been the average weight of their fleeces, washed or unwashed, and what prices have they brought per pound ? State if sheep are fattened for market, either as lamb or mutton, and what breeds are most profitable for these purposes. State what hare been the results of the introduction of any distinct breeds or families, and whence they were obtained.
14. What breed of swine is most profitable? State at what age swine are usually slaughtered, and what their average dressed weight.
** 15. What labor-saving implements or machines have been introduced into your section, and to what extent has manual labor been thus dispensed with--in other words, with how much less manual labor can a given amount of products be obtained, than before such implements or machines were used?
16. What kind of reaping machines, and what kind of mowing machines