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SALEM, Aug. 21, 1858. My Dear Sir:-I desire to express to you the satisfaction I have derived from the use of the Tedder imported by you for the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. It was sent to me by Mr. Motley, after he had used it, and I only regret that I could not obtain it sooner. The difficulties we have all met with in making hay during the uncertain weather of this season, have given us peculiar opportunities for testing the value of any machine intended to facilitate the process of drying. And I was surprised to find with how much greater ease I could overcome these difficulties after I obtained the Tedder than before. With diligent use of the machine, I found one good drying day sufficient. Hay, which under the ordinary treatment would have been raked and cocked as unfit to go to the barn until the next day, was thoroughly made by applying the Tedder twice in the afternoon. And every farmer knows the value of this in a season when every "next day” was almost sure to rain.
The machine works with great rapidity and ease in almost all places. I tried it on rough land and smooth with equal success. I used it on hay lying in swath and in windrow opened by the fork, and it worked equally well in both instances. I found that it would thoroughly spread an acre of grass in fifteen minutes, without extra exertion—and the work when done was really done as no man with a fork could have done it, in any length of time. Not a particle of the grass had escaped exposure to the sun and air.
The construction of the machine is simple, strong, and entirely appropriate to the work. I found it better in heavy grass to use two horses, tandem, as the weight was rather more than I liked to put upon one-although this was choice, and not necessity. It required no repairs during my use of it.
I can safely say, that I have found no labor-saving machine more perfect. It enables us to make our hay easily, rapidly, and thoroughly, and makes us entirely independent of that kind of manual labor which requires constant watching, especially in the process of spreading and turning hay, and which is all that can be obtained in these modern days. It seems to me almost indispensable on large farms. After I obtained it, I set apart a field of about five acres for experiment in machinery. It was cut with the simple and admirable grass-cutter, Danforth's patent, sent to me by Mr. Thompson of Greenfield,—it was spread with the Tedder,-it was raked with the horse-rake in common use—and was ready for the
barn, without having had any manual labor applied to it, except to open the windrows, the morning after it was cut. I can only say that no five acres of my grass this season have been made into hay with half the economy and expedition that I was able to apply to these, by means of machinery.
I would express my obligations to you for bringing the machine into my notice, and I really trust our farmers will, cre long, be enabled to obtain them at reasonable prices, and of American manufacture.
Truly, your friend and serv't,
Geo. B. LORING. R. S. Fay, Esq., Secretary.
The horse pitchfork is an implement which might be introduced to advantage upon many of our large hay farms. Pitching hay by hand labor is very fatiguing work, but by the use of this, brute force may be substituted; and as the effective force of a horse is estimated to be equal to that of five men, it should take only a fifth as long to pitch a load of hay by this mode as in the usual manner; and such is said to be the result of actual trial.
Several forks have been introduced for pitching by horse power, of which one recently constructed by C. E. Gladding of Troy, Pa., has some decided advantages over previous ones. It has a hingejoint at the connexion of the head with the handle, so that by pulling a rope the fork is dropped and the load deposited instantaneously as it is swung to the most favorable spot. It may thus be used under circumstances where the horse fork without the hinge, would be of no use, as under a low roof, beyond purlin beams, or when the mow is nearly filled; nor is there the danger or inconvenience which might arise from the upward sweep and falling back of the handle of a fork without such joint. It is understood that Mr. Gladding proposes to furnish this fork with the necessary ropes, pulleys, &c., for twelve dollars.
Caps made of cotton cloth for the purpose of protecting hay while in cock from dews, showers and storms, are an introduction into farm practice of comparatively recent date, yet have they so commended themselves by good works as to have come into general and almost universal favor. A few yet oppose their use, but rarely, if ever, is a farmer found to depreciate their usefulness and economy who has once fairly tried them. In the replies received to the ques
tion of my circular on this point, no doubt is expressed by any one of their value; but some who have not used them express their intention to do so. Of those who have used them, a single reply will serve as a sample of the evidence received: “We use hay caps and find the advantage from them to be great. For instance : last season we cocked up a lot of hay on Saturday afternoon and capped it. Sunday forenoon it began to rain, and it continued wet and lowery for five days. On the return of fair weather we found the capped hay bright. Other cocks in the vicinity uncapped were soaked through and blackened, so that it was not worth half price. Good hay was worth here last spring eighty cents per hundred. If an expenditure of twenty-five cents for a cap saved forty cents worth of hay in that one storm, it must be apparent to the most obtuse that it paid well."
They are usually made of a square of cloth a yard and a half wide, with an eyelet hole in each corner in which a string is tied and fastened by wooden pins.
It is no part of my intent to recommend the present sale of hay from the farms of Maine, believing as I do, that as a general and almost universal rule, it is needful for some time to come, that the crops of our farms be consumed at home in order to bring up the productive power of our lands to a point where we may sell hay or grain, or both, and yet obtain maximum crops.
Wherever this is attained, and it is believed that no obstacle exists which need prevent its attainment upon a great majority of the farms of the State, or where the facilities for obtaining fertilizers from other than home resources are such as to admit of its sale without detriment, hay may be sold, if a remunerating price is offered, as well as potatoes or any other farm product. In the hope that rapid progress may be made towards an exportation which may not impoverish our lands and thus cripple our productive power, and, as for some markets, and particularly for shipment from the ports on our extended seaboard, it is needful to put it in more portable form than as it lies in the mow, or is pitched from it, I give below an engraving of a hay press exhibited at the last exhibition of the State Society at Augusta, and which has been received with great favor, having proved expeditious and efficient in accomplishing its work, and has received numerous premiums.
The plan of this hay press and the arrangement and operation of the parts will be readily understood by the annexed engraving, in which B is the follower, JK
the main levers, F F the fulcrum B В
levers, and N the connection rods. J
The power being applied at the rope R the levers and each end of the follower must move simul
taneously, a mechanical perfection R
which the patentee avers cannot
be attained by any other arrangement; and which is deemed necessary in order to obviate the friction and consequent loss of power experienced in other presses.
Mr. Dederick's prices are as follows:
Bales from Height of Press. No. 1, (Stationary,) 375 to 425 lbs. 14 ft. $165 00
2, (Portable,) 275 to 325 66 12 ft. $150 00 " 3, (Hand Press,) 200 to 250 " 9 ft. $110 00
In my report for 1857, some pages were devoted to the preparation of lands for grass, methods of seeding, and to top-dressing and other means of increasing the hay crop. Numerous statements were also given from practical cultivators showing their modes of operation and success; so that it is not deemed so necessary now to treat these points at length as it otherwise might be. Since then, increased observation and experience have but impressed me more strongly with the importance and economical value of top-dressing. If, as often is the case, barn-yard manure can with difficulty be spared from hoed crops, or purchased for the purpose, it is recommended that muck, sand, clay, ashes, seaweed, or whatever can be procured, be applied, having a care to adapt the dressing to the character of the meadow, (as putting sand upon clay, clay upon sand, &c.) The best results have been by no means confined to the application of barn-yard manure alone. Composts made by carting muck, loam, sods, road and ditch scrapings, and the like, into the barn-yard, yarding the cattle upon it, and afterwards mixing thoroughly once or twice and applied in autumn at the rate of five to eight cords per acre, have produced a surprising degree of benefit.