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continual cropping, and require applications of manure in proportion to the quantity of produce removed from them. The soil must be rich indeed that will bear uninjured a second crop of hay, without being renovated by manure of some kind, such as town or farm-yard dung, composts of earth or ashes, or lime, marl, chalk, or other calcareous matter; and no judicious farmer will ever subject his land to such an exhausting process.
Wherever the means of irrigation exist, the fertility of meadow lands may be kept unimpaired for any length of time, without other manuring than is obtained by the passing of the water over the surface; provided that this is duly attended to, and that the land is properly drained, and kept free from stagnant water. The value of irrigation, especially on meadow lands, to which it is so peculiarly applicable, can hardly be over-estimated; and it is a matter of surprise that it is not more generally resorted to, and every brook and rivulet turned to use, instead of being, as they now often are, allowed to run to waste, carrying off fertilizing qualities which might so easily be imparted to the soil.
Although most commonly applied to the growth of hay crops, meadow lands are, nevertheless, not unfrequently used for the grazing of cattle, for which the abundant herbage which they produce well fits them. They are especially valuable in this respect in dry summers, and during seasons of long-continued drought.
The Uplands, may be said to comprise all which is not included under the foregoing head—that is, the whole of the space from mountain ranges and hills of more or less elevation, to the low-lying and comparatively level grounds, which are known as meadow lands. Over such an extensive and varied surface, every variety of soil and capacity of production will of course be found. The more elevated tracts are generally used for the pasturage of sheep, and the other portions, not cultivated as arable lands, are applied to the grazing of cattle, or, in some instances where circumstances are suitable, to the growing of hay. This is more particularly the case, where the vicinity of a
town presents a profitable market for the hay, and at the same time affords a ready supply of manure for the renovation of the soil.
Of the hilly districts we shall hereafter speak ;* and · it may be sufficient here to remark, that it would be a great mistake to suppose that grass land, whether upland or meadow, does not require attention on the part of the farmer. Weeding is as necessary in grass as in arable lands, and if neglected, the consequence will be soon perceptible in the quality of the herbage.
If the dung dropped by the cattle is allowed to lie in heaps, it kills the grass and injures the pasture, but if it be knocked about and spread from time to time, it will serve to enrich the soil without injuring the herbage; or a better plan still would be, to collect and carry it to some convenient spot, and there form a compost heap, to be spread over the field at a proper time.
The urine of cattle is of the greatest use as a manure, and in keeping up the fertility of our pastures; for although in very dry weather it may sometimes injure the grass on the spot where it falls, its fertilizing qualities soon spread beyond this limit, and the first shower carries them to the whole of the surrounding surface. There is no kind of manure so immediately effective as urine, and the drainings of stables and cow and cattle sheds, when diluted and applied to the land, whether it be arable or pasture, meadow or upland.
Draining is as necessary to be attended to in grass as it is in arable lands; for unless excess of moisture is removed, the herbage will be neither sweet, nourishing, nor abundant. If rushes appear, or if other plants spring up which delight in moisture, no time should be lost in setting about draining the land, for until this is done it will be in vain to expect a good crop of grass, either for hay or pasture.
All lands are improved by enclosures judiciously arranged, and grass lands as much so as any, the shelter thereby afforded being of the greatest use in encouraging the growth of the herbage; whilst the changing of
* See Improvement of Cold Grass Land, p. 21.
the cattle occasionally from one field to another, and thereby freshening the pasture, will enable the same extent of land to support a much larger quantity of stock than it would do if it was not divided by enclosures.
Care must be taken to eradicate all noxious weeds and plants, such as thistles, docks, nettles, &c.; and to prevent the growth of furze, thorns, broom, or briars in the fields, which must be kept clear of rubbish of every kind. The fences must be regularly trimmed, and kept within bounds, so as to allow the fullest and freest space for the growth of the grasses, which alone constitute the food of your cattle.
If, owing to neglect and previous bad management, the land becomes infested with moss, that will not yield to draining and the application of lime (which however will very rarely be the case), it may be expedient to break it up, and put it through a regular course of tillage, until the whole of the old sward is destroyed ; after which it may be again laid down in grasses of good quality, and will soon become equal to old pasture.
Composts of all kinds, constitute the best species of manure for grass lands. Street-sweepings, ashes, and other refuse from towns, the earth of old hedges, the scourings of ditches, road-scrapings, turf, chalk, sand, lime, marl, and stable-dung, each and all form valuable additions to the compost heap; and when thoroughly amalgamated, and spread upon the land, the mixture soon gets washed into the soil, nourishing and strengthening the roots of the grass. It is better, however, to apply a compost of this kind in moderate quantities every year, than to lay on a large quantity at one time at more distant periods; and, indeed, the same may be said of manures generally.
After the application of manure, the land should be bush-harrowed, and all stones, sticks, or other rubbish, be carefully picked off. If it be meadow, or if the field is intended for hay, it ought to be rolled with a heavy wooden roller, to consolidate and level the surface. This will improve the growth of the grass, and enable it to be cut closer, than if the process of rolling were to be omitted,
THE ARTIFICIAL GRASSES.
No farming can be well conducted, in which the artificial grasses are not cultivated; for without them there cannot be a proper rotation of crops, nor the requisite supply of manure for the land.
Clover and Rye-grass are the chief artificial grasses in use in British husbandry. They require the land to be in good condition, and are generally sown with the corn crop immediately following a fallow crop of turnips, potatoes, or mangel-wurzel.
In choosing clover seed, be careful that it is clean, and not mixed with other seeds, which may afterwards spring up and become troublesome weeds. The sorts of red, white, and yellow clover seed, may be easily distinguished from each other. The two latter are perennial pasture grasses, and the red clover is biennial, and grows tall and luxuriant.
Of rye-grass there are two sorts—the Italian, and the common perennial kind, and there is no certain mark by which they can be distinguished. The farmer ought therefore to purchase his seed from a respectable dealer, in order to guard against mistakes in this respect. When the ley is only intended to stand two or three years, the Italian rye-grass is preferable, from its giving a more abundant crop than the common variety; but the latter should chiefly be sown for permanent pasture.
When land is to be sown for permanent pasture, with white clover and rye-grass, the quantity of seed will vary a little, according to the condition and quality of the land, poor soil requiring most seed. White clover should only be sown in land intended for permanent pasture, for which it is well adapted ; but it is wasteful to introduce it into alternate cultivation. The red clover is not adapted for permanent pasture, although in its proper place, and for soiling purposes, it is decidedly the best plant in alternate husbandry, and its growth cannot be too extensively encouraged. The yellow clover, or trefoil, is more permanent than the red, but not so much so as the white, neither is it so much relished by cattle.
Grass and clover seeds are occasionally sown with all sorts of grain crops, but they succeed best with barley. In high situations, where neither wheat nor barley prosper, they may be sown with oats. The state of the weather, of the ground, and the mode of sowing, all influence the successful vegetation of the crop. A rough uneven surface will require a greater quantity of seed than a finely pulverized soil. If the weather is wet at the time of rolling in the seeds, they will be apt to adhere to the roller. Calm weather should be selected, if possible, for the sowing of these seeds; and the time of sowing must be regulated by that of the crops along with which they are sown, or any time in March, April, or May.
The white clover and common perennial rye-grass, judiciously intermixed and properly cultivated, will ever rank high as a nutritive and wholesome herbage. Through the agency of these grasses, extensive tracts of land have been converted into rich pasture, and the produce of the dairy has thereby been greatly augmented. Lime is the manure which has chiefly been used, and its application has improved the soil and adapted it to the habits of the plants, and the land has become progressively enriched. Indeed, in the improvement of waste land, and as a preparation for pasturage of white clover and rye-grass, the most liberal application of other manure will not always ensure their successful growth, without the application of lime.
Surface applications are now largely used around Edinburgh, for procuring crops of white clover and ryegrass. Soot is applied to a great extent, and has uniformly the effect of forwarding the crop. Liquid manures are also extensively used, and urine is collected with great care, for the purpose of being applied to the soil. Liquid manures are much more lasting in their effects than soot, and seem better adapted for clover. Saltpetre is likewise used occasionally, and forms an excellent top-dressing for seeding grasses. It is by the judicious use of such means as these, that the agriculturists of the Netherlands have been able to obtain abundant crops, and to keep up the fertility of their lands during so long a period.