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there ought to be none others,) there is usually a tolerable second growth which may in many cases be used as pasturage to quite as good advantage as to cut and store, or if not sufficient for a crop to be harvested, to be left unfed with the view to enriching the land by its decay or to protecting the roots during winter. The manure left by the feeding animals will increase the future product more than would the decay of the grass, and as for protection, if not fed too close, our usual winter's snow is quite sufficient. Turning in cattle upon poor meadows, or those yielding less than a ton per acre, and this as soon as the crop is removed, cannot fail to be injurious.
As indicating the opinions of some practical farmers, I append the following replies to a question on this topic:
FROM HIRAM Russ, FARMINGTON. " Feeding mowing lands in the fall, I consider the greatest injury imaginable, in this cold climate. It leaves the ground bare, and cold winters kill the roots."
Froy SAMUEL BUTMAN, PLYMOUTH. “I feed off the after growth of my mowing lands partially, where there is much of it, in preference to cutting a second crop. Am not in favor of cutting a second crop, except on locations particularly adapted to the growth of grass. I consider close feeding on grass lands generally, as destructive to subsequent crops."
From Joseph Frost, Elliot. “ We do not consider it any injury to put cattle to eat off the after growth of grass, if put on at the middle of October, and not fed too close. Consider it very injurious to put cattle on as soon as the hay crop is taken off.”
Frou GEORGE II. ANDREWS, MONMOUTH. “ When there is a burden of second crop, it will do to feed it off partially, but nothing is more injurious than to feed off in the fall, what may have sprung up after haying. Our best farmers are well satisfied on this point and are abandoning the practice.”
From E. R. FRENCH, CHESTERVILLE. “With regard to feeding meadows in the fall, I am not fully settled in my own opinion. It has always been our practice to feed
moderately after the late frosts commence, and am not aware that the practice has been detrimental to the hay crop. While I believe that too early and too close feeding is highly injurious, I think moderate feeding after autumn frosts may be profitable, as it causes the grass to thicken up at the roots, and secures a better under growth the following season."
From CalEB HODSDON, STANDISI. “The feeding of mowing fields in the fall, I think one of the great errors that farmers fall into. In 1853, I purchased a field of twelve acres, that had been feed snug in the fall, for twenty years, and as it was three-fourths of a mile from home, I concluded to fence it up and not feed it, and there has been a steady increase of hay, and I now cut double that I did six years ago, when I made the purchase. I think if farmers would have less field and feed less in the fall, and consequently more pasture, they would find it to their advantage. Ten years ago I turned half my field into pasture, and I cut more hay now than I did before."
Few, if any, of the States of the Union are better adapted by nature to grazing than Maine, yet no portion of her lands are more neglected than her pastures.
Necessity compels us to cultivate winter stores of forage in order to preserve the lives, and in a good degree the condition, of our animals; good policy would dictate, that after being preserved with such pains, they should when turned to pasture find feed in amount and nutrition amply sufficient to insure a full flow of milk, or a rapid increase in growth or weight. If we reckon the money value of the milk, meat and wool obtained from pasturage, we find it very far exceed that obtained from the consumption of all the hay, roots and grains which have been cultivated and harvested for their use at great cost, while the care and expense bestowed upon those pastures to render them fertile bears a small proportion to that given to the harvested crops. This, it is true, would still be the case under an improved husbandry; but that the disproportion at present existing between them is quite too great, and that true policy dictates that far more attention should be given to pastures, is a proposition so palpably true that no intelligent farmer would for a moment think of disputing it. In fact, our pastures to a considerable extent consist of lands formerly in meadow, and which have been cropped for
hay with no returns of fertilizing materials being made, until the product would little more than pay for gathering it, and have been turned out to pasture with a view to improvement under a neglect more wholesome than their previous treatment.
So general is the neglect of pastures in this State, that if my own observation be not at fault, where one acre can be found, upon
which labor and expense have been bestowed for the express purpose of improving its condition as pasture ground, there are several which have been so hardly treated that they are confidently expected to improve simply by being thus used.
This naturally brings us to the consideration of the fact, of which it is difficult to say whether it is better known and more universally acknowledged in theory, or more ignored and neglected in practice, viz: that farmers generally strive to occupy too much land. An enlightened policy would dictate the reduction of what is subjected to the plow to the amount which can be properly manured and cultivated—to bring up so much of the pasturage as is not under the plow to a fair degree of productiveness, and so much as cannot thus be improved, be used to grow a good crop of wood or timber, instead of a worthless crop of bushes, brakes and weeds.
Wherever a rotation of crops can be adopted, let this be done, and let it include a definite term of pasturage. To such extent, if the rotation be judiciously carried out will good pasturage be secured. For the rest, let the means used be adapted to the nature of the
In many instances where a rotation may not be practicable, the land may be plowed, harrowed and re-seeded.* This alone will often pay a large profit, and larger still, if at the same time an application of compost or leached ashes be made. If this cannot be done, as with a great deal of land in Maine, where from too steep
* I am aware that an opinion prevails among many farmers that the sward obtained by re-seeding plowed pasture, is greatly deficient, both in permanency and in the sweetness of its yield. That such bas often proved to be the case, is readily admitted; and that such will continue to be tho case so long as the seeding is confined to Red Clover and Timothy, we ought confidently to expect; as the former is only a biennial, and the latter (of first excellence though it be as a meadow grass) is unreliable as a pas.. lure grass. We have yet to learn of the first instance where a sufficient re-seeding with the grasses which chiefly prevail in our best pastures has failed to give, within a proper length of time, a sward fully as permanent and yielding quite as abundant and sweet feed as any old one wbatever.
elevation, or from the existence of ledges or large boulders, it is out of the question to plow to advantage and which is yet capable of yielding early, nutritive and sweet feed, we can adopt other means. If they be overgrown with running junipers, bushes or weeds, let them be cut clean, and after drying a few days, be burned, together with any decaying logs or stumps, and the ashes spread around. It is said that such cutting is most effective in the month of August, and the burning is of course best done on a pleasant and not very windy day. A liberal supply of seeds, consisting of white and red clover, and of redtop and other pasture grasses, should then be scratched in with a stout iron toothed rake, or a light, sharp harrow, bestowing a double dose of ashes (or manure) and seeds upon any bare knolls. It will be found of decided advantage not to admit cattle until at least the next season and somewbat late in the season, as the pasture grasses generally do not arrive early at such degree of maturity as to bear cropping without injury. Redtop in particular rarely amounts to much before the second and third years, and all are much better for getting a good growth before being fed down for the first time. If the bushes start again, it is needful that they be cut repeatedly until they die out; but for most bushes, rarely will more than a second cutting be requisite. Sweet fern and brakes are the most obstinate, but several cuttings the same season usually destroy even these. Canada thistles are a great pest, and whether in pastures or by roadsides, every farmer should contribute his share towards their eradication. They should be mown when coming into bloom-certainly before any seeds ripen, and repeatedly afterwards the same season. It is averred by some farmers that when mown just before a rain they rarely start again. However this may be, sure it is, that they can be eradicated by repeatedly cutting them during one or two seasons, beginning when they are in the height of their growth and vigor and following at intervals of a fortnight subsequently
A few hours labor occasionally, may be spent to advantage on pasture grounds, in spreading the droppings of cattle and horses. If these be left as dropped, some plants are killed out, and those adjacent shoot into a rank, coarse growth, which is so unpalatable that cattle will not touch it until very hungry indeed; but when spread, an increased growth of sweet and palatable feed results.
Top dressing may be resorted to upon pasture lands, with equal benefit as upon meadow lands, and the same rules apply in regard to the fertilizers to be spread-gypsum, marl, ashes, leached or unleached, bone dust, pond, river, peat, salt marsh, or dock mud, marine manures generally, where these may be obtained, and even road scrapings, may all be used to very decided advantage, and often produce an improvement even more immediate, marked and durable than stable manure. Upon lands long cropped by milch cows and young stock, and which have thus yielded a large proportion of their phosphates to the milk, and bone carried from them, probably no application is equal to crushed bones, and it is sometimes necessary to resort to this dressing upon old pastures, not merely to produce increased fertility, but to obviate the effects of what is called bone disease in cows, and which is caused by a deficient supply of phosphates in their food. Whenever a cow is found eagerly nibbling or chewing a stray bone, as is not unfrequently the case, we may be sure she is suffering from a deficiency of the bone producing material in the food, and the remedy is obvious. If crushed bone cannot be obtained, leached ashes will serve this purpose, as they usually contain enough phosphate of lime alone to repay the cost. Liebig states that leached ashes from the wood of the common beech tree, yield about five times as much phosphate as is contained in rich animal manure.
Another point with regard to pastures should not be forgotten. It is impossible to secure a good growth of valuable nutritious grasses upon land which is encumbered with stagnant water either upon or near the surface. Under-draining is as useful upon pasture ground as upon meadow land, and if carried out would contribute greatly to the health of cattle, and particularly so in the case of sheep. Open drains, however, if suitably cared for and kept open, serve a valuable purpose; but unless drainage in some form be secured, wet, marshy, swampy lands, however well prepared in other respects, will soon become occupied with rushes, flags or water grasses, to the exclusion of nutritious feed, and to the detriment of the stock feeding upon them, besides being badly poached up by the tread of the cattle. Division of pastures, so that the stock may be removed from one portion to another, is in many instances, attended with advantages outweighing the drawback of increased cost for