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I have used salt on my hay for many years, and observation has taught me that four quarts to the ton is as much as the cattle need, for they would not cat more if they had access to it every day while eating a ton of hay.
I have used a horse rake for twenty years; for the last eight years I have used Delano's wheel rake, which I consider superior to all others. One man and a horse will rake more hay in a given time than six men.
I have practiced top-dressing four years; I cart loam or muck into my barn yard when done planting, and yard my cattle on it during the summer and early autumn months, turning and mixing it once or twice with the droppings of the cattle, and that which was made during the winter. I spread about seven cords per acre, in the month of October, with very satisfactory results."
By G. C. WATERMAN, BRUNSWICK, “My method of curing clover, is as follows:-If my grass does not lodge, I prefer to cut when in full bloom. When the wet is well dried off, shake out well, leaving it as light as possible. When it is wilted (perhaps two or three o'clock same day) pitch into heaps of about seventy-five pounds, as snug and compact as possible, without rolling or pressing in any manner; rake up scatterings, if any, and complete the whole before the dew begins, as early as five o'clock. Let it remain thus, two or three days. Before carting to the barn, spread out and warm in the sun, three hours ; finish getting in as early as five o'clock, to avoid all damp from fog or dew. I cut no hay, upon which cattle will thrive as well, as on clover cured in this manner. Herdsgrass and redtop, rake into winrows and pitch into heaps (never roll up my hay) with caps, may remain out, through a long storm. Dry it as I do clover, until carting, which is to be done before five o'clock, and no drier than is essential to the preservation of the hay. Such are the result of forty-five years experience in hay making.”
BY AUGUSTUS SPRAGUE, GREENE. “I think it better to sow grass seed in spring and with grain, as the grain will shade it when young and weak, and will keep the ground moist. On my land, (a clayey loam,) I have no trouble in getting a good “ catch” with any kind of grain.
My mode of curing hay of all kinds is to cut and let it wilt, then rake and put it in cock and let it stand over night, open the next
fair day, and with a little stirring it is fit to go in unless it is very heavy grass, in which case I think it better to let it stand in cocks two nights.
I don't think there is any danger of getting hay in too dry, if kept in cock most of the time and not parched up by being spread in the sun.
I prefer to cut grass when it is in bloom, because, if there is not more nutriment in it, cattle relish it better, and I think will grow and thrive better upon
it. I use a horse rake, and think I save fifty per cent. in the work of raking. Have used the spring tooth, but now use Delano's, called by some the wheel rake, and like it better."
By G. H. ANDREWS, MONMOUTH. Farming is not my business; yet I live in the midst of a farming community, and having more or less to do with that branch of business, I am interested in whatever tends to promote the cause of agriculture. I shall therefore submit for your perusal some of my observations and experience.
The best time for seeding grass land is spring, because becoming more firmly rooted, it is better able to withstand the frosts of winter. Our winters, or rather I might say springs, are very hard upon the grass crops, hence the necessity of being well rooted. Some however, have sown as late as September, and succeeded well; but I would advise none to put it off till fall, but to sow as early as possible in the spring.
I am satisfied when seed could be sown early, it will do better sown alone, but our farmers are not conditioned to do so ; therefore, it is usually sown with grain, and with wheat or barley does quite well. We consider wheat or barley decidedly the best of all grains with which to sow grass seed, as they do not cover the ground, so but that the sun and air, which are necessary for the growth of all plants, can reach the young shoots. Farmers cannot take too much pains in this particular, to secure a good catch of grass, as it is the most important crop of the farmers of Maine. Few of our farmers have made much money by the raising of grain, but many of them have acquired an independence by the raising of stock.
We grow no other grasses than herdsgrass, redtop and clover, or at least I might say no other seeds are sown. Bog and meadow grasses are grown somewhat with us, but I esteem such hay but
lightly, especially to feed out to stock; it does very well for litter, to throw into our hog and cow yards, but no farmer will feed out much to his stock if he is mindful of their growth. I am aware there are those who differ from me in this matter, but I base my decision upon not only observation, but experience.
The method adopted for curing herdsgrass and redtop, is to cut down in the morning, of a fine day. When dry from dew, spread evenly; stir often where it is thick ; put into cock at night; next day open and spread to the air. The hay having sweat a little during the night, will make very rapidly when opened, and with proper care will be in a fine condition for the barn in the afternoon, and will need no salt to save it. Hay never should be burned up in a hot sun, so as to be brittle ; it should be cured, not baked. Clover is usually treated differently. Cutting in the morning and lying in the swath until afternoon, it is put into small bunches, where it lies until ready for the barn. When the weather has been good, hay got in this manner is much more valuable. I consider clover hay to be very valuable. It will require more of it, but for young stock and milch cows it is decidedly preferable to all others, in my judgment.
When the seed is full in the milk, or perhaps a little turned, is in my opinion the proper time to cut grass. The stalk has at this period arrived at maturity and contains all the nutritious elements that it ever will.
Early cut grass does not contain the amount of nutriment in grass of a more mature age. In late cut grass the roots retain their vigor and thereby are more tenacious of life, and will not run out (as it is termed) so readily.
More loss is sustained in a succession of years by early cutting for reasons stated above.
If the season be wet it will do to cut close, but if dry, you cannot cut close without injury to the roots. There is nothing lost in leaving sufficient to protect the roots against a scorching sun.
I use neither salt or lime; do not consider it a good practice. Stock, in my estimation, do not do as well upon it as upon fresh hay.
There are but two machines for cutting grass in our town. Those are liked well; they are of one horse power.
Caps are coming into general use; are liked well; they are made of common sheeting, and are square, with pins at each corner to -run into the hay for security against wind.
Top-dressing has been practiced as yet, but little, yet it is the way of dressing. Our farmers are beginning to adopt this method. Thus far it has been done with manure from the yard or heap, spread on in the spring. As for the quantity I do not know of any definite quantity; it has not become general yet, and therefore no standard has been fixed. They, however, cover the ground pretty well. The effect has been a marked one, and the only reason of its not coming into general use is the want of manure. Most of our farmers have scarcely enough for their cultivated crops; in fact, I might say they have not half enough, for they could put on double and not over-dress.
Although manure is no doubt the best article for top-dressing, yet, sand, loam, gravel or clay even, spread evenly upon our grass land, would pay three times over for all costs. Probably August and September would be as good a time for dressing with sand or loam; the ground is then dry; it would not cut up the fields as in spring. The loam would be dry and finely pulverized; would spread evenly without difficulty. It would also cover up what seeds might have dropped through haying. Also a little seed might be scattered about, under such circumstances, with good advantage.”
BY JABEZ D. HILL, Moscow. "I have never sown grass seed except in spring; therefore cannot say there is any better season. Have seeded to grass in conjunction with wheat, rye, barley and oats, and am not aware that one kind of grain is preferable to another for this purpose, unless it is sown thinner, so as to afford the young grass a better chance to escape smothering. You ask, what varieties besides herdsgrass, redtop and clover do you cultivate, and what their value compared with the above-named? If by this, you mean the kind of grasses which I encourage and improve by manuring and loosening the soil, I shall add “witch grass” to the catalogue. Its value for dry forage I consider equal if not superior to either of the others on the list. It is true, I do not sow the seed—as is the case with the others—because it is not necessary; being endowed with the rare faculty of re-seeding itself, or maintaining its existence in suitable soils, in defiance of very rough usage, when it has once been introduced, which was the case on my farm when I purchased it. Had it not been pretty well stocked with witch grass, I do not
hesitate to declare that with my present knowledge of its value, I should labor diligently to promote its introduction. I might dilate to some extent upon the merits of this grass, did I suppose it would be to any good purpose ; but knowing the prevailing prejudices against it, I will forbear, content to let the world wag as it pleases.
The way of curing herdsgrass and redtop which I have followed for many years, is to mow in the forenoon and shake out before dinner. Between two and five o'clock, rake and cock, (the interval between dinner and the time we commence raking being spent in carting what hay was cut the previous day.) The cocks are then capped and thus remain till the next day after the dew has evaporated, when we shake out and let it sun till after dinner, when it is carted to the barn. This is the slow method, compared with that in which the grass is cut down and allowed to lie unraked till dry enough to put into the barn. As to the "state of dryness in which it is in best condition for the barn," it is impossible to speak absolutely, though a man of experience can readily tell by “handling” when it is right. Hay should be dried no more than enough to prevent its overheating in the mow, and under some circumstances this end is obtained with less drying than in others. If the hay is to be placed on a scaffold, where its depth is slight, it will save in good condition with much less sun-drying than if it is mowed down in a thick mass. I will here mention, that I have at times, in an emergency upon the approach of a storm, got in a load of partially dried hay and placed it upon a scaffold ; and that in feeding it out, it emitted a peculiarly sweet, honey-comb fragrance, which I never found in sun-dried hay.
I am not in the habit of sowing clear clover on account of the greater difficulty of curing it, and because I think it lighter, more
chaffy” and occupying a greater amount of barn-room-according to substance-than herdsgrass, redtop or witch grass.
We prefer to cut grass when the seed is pretty well formed, but still soft; about the time when in the “second blow"_when the juices of the grass “gum" up the scythe the most,-because the fibre has acquired a degree of firmness but little liable to shrinkage, yet not so far matured as to be tough and woody, and the juices have thickened and attained a consistency which they possess at no other period, and are therefore less liable to evaporate in sun-drying, or to sour in the mow. But with a good deal of hay to cut, we have to begin a little before this period, and end a