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in the best possible manner?” I will call upon Mr. Sage of New Braintree to give his opinion upon that.
Mr. Sage. I think, under ordinary circumstances, it would hardly be necessary to cement a barn cellar. It may be well enough for fancy farmers, where they have plenty of money to do it; but ordinarily I think if our farmers will cart in enough absorbents to take up the liquid that accumulates in the barn cellar, it will be all that can reasonably be expected.
Mr. Thompson. My barn cellar is cemented on the bottom, but not on the sides. I find that, if I am not very careful to bank up on the sides, the liquid will begin to run out very soon. I think, if we want to save all the liquid, we should cement both the bottom and sides, and have the cellar perfectly water-tight.
Secretary SESSIONS. We would like to hear a word from Mr. Newhall on this important question.
Mr. NEWHALL. As far as concerns my own cellar, I do not think it is necessary to cement it. The soil is a compact hard-pan. We use a large amount of absorbents, and in the spring we have to draw out a great deal of liquid. We go in with a cart with a large hogshead on it, and draw it out. I do not think it leaks at all without any cement.
Mr. Howe. I would suggest that George Marsh of Dudley is able to give you information on this subject. He has bad large experience.
Mr. GEORGE Marsii of Dudley. My way of handling the liquid manure for the last five or six years has been by running it off into a cistern outside of my barn cellar. The cistern is large enough to hold the accumulations of a year, and about the last of May or the first of June I use it for top-dressing my grass land. I have not been able to apply anything that shows so plainly where it was placed as this liquid manure.
QUESTION. Do you use a sprinkler to put it on with?
Mr. Marsi. I take the body off of my cart, and I have built a platform some six feet in width which I put on the wheels, and on this platform I have a large hogshead which holds perhaps as much as two or three ordinary hogsheads. I cart out the liquid in that way. That hogshead has a bung-hole perhaps two or three inches in diameter. I have a contrivance inside of the hogshead by wbich I regulate the discharge. As the liquid goes down, I open the bunghole wider. There is no stopping; everything that will run distributes all right.
Secretary SESSIONS. Shall we hear a word from Secretary Bachelder of New Hampshire, on this point?
Secretary BACHELDER. I agree with the previous speakers, that, if a sufficient amount of absorbents be used in the stable, we shall save practically all of the liquid manure. I practice hauling soil into the cellars after they have been cleaned out, both in the spring and in the fall; and that, with the other absorbents, I think saves nearly all the liquid.
Secretary SESSIONS. I have a cellar, and practice the method that all these gentlemen, with the exception of Mr. Marsh, have suggested; but I believe, if I were to build a barn again, I should build it so that I could drive a team through behind my cows every morning, and take the manure to the fields every day throughout the year, and distribute it where I wanted it. In this way I should save a great amount of labor in handling the absorbents. My observation has led me to the conclusion that, although we may have a barn cellar and all the fixtures, we do not get the full value of our manure.
QUESTION. I would like to ask Mr. Marsh the expense of the tank he uses for holding the urine.
Mr. MARSH. I did not keep an exact account. I estimated it at about $150. It is built of stone and brick, nineteen feet in diameter, and eleven feet deep.
The CHAIRMAN. The subject for the afternoon lecture is “ Law, or Nature's Modes of Action,” by Prof. I. P. Roberts of Ithaca, N. Y.
LAW, OR NATURE'S MODES OF ACTION.
BY PROF. I. P. ROBERTS, DIRECTOR CORNELL UNIVERSITY AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN :- I speak from the sincerity of my heart, when I say that it gives me great pleasure to come down to New England. There are two
places on the globe that from time immemorial I wanted to know more about. One place was New Orleans, and the other place was New England. When I was a boy I took Horace Greeley's advice, and went West. I have wrestled with the gentle zephyrs of Iowa many a day, and I learned some valuable lessons in that far-off country. I have returned to New York State, but there I have learned but little of New England. For forty years I waited to see New Orleans, and I have waited sixty years to find out something about New England.
I felt that your Secretary was kind when he sent me an invitation to address the leading agriculturists of this great Commonwealth ; he was kinder, when he intimated that I · would be expected to speak not more than thirty minutes; but kindest, when he said that time would be given for questions and discussions after the paper was read; for now I have but to set the stakes, strike out the lands, and then we will all " set to,” and plough out the middles.
During the decades from 1840 to 1860 agriculture was greatly depressed. Our inherited, unrestrained desire for land resulted in destroying the forests on millions of acres of steep hill-sides and sandy plains, which contained but little fertility, and which could yield remunerative returns at best for only brief periods. The cities were small and few; the wants of the consumers were simple, and easily satisfied; producers were many; the home market glutted ; the foreign, distant and expensive to reach.
Corn and oats in Illinois and Iowa in some of these years could with difficulty find a market at from ten to twelve cents per bushel, many other products were correspondingly
Wild-cat money and bad banking laws in many of the States resulted in giving the people a currency in which few had confidence, and which could be used outside of the State in which it was issued only at a ruinous discount. Government was borrowing money at twelve per cent, individuals at still higher rates. Carpenters and masons received from one dollar and fifty cents to one dollar and seventy-five cents, farm hands (except in harvest) fifty cents to seventy-five cents per day, and board. In the midst of these difficulties, taking no thought for the future, we went
on clearing and improving, at vast expense of energy, large tracts of land which could only be cultivated at a positive loss. At least one-third of all the cleared lands in New England should never have been improved. Left in timber, an annual barvest could have been secured and large profits realized from this land, which has not given a clear do!lar since the last brush heap was burned.
All of our troubles and difficulties come from the zransgression of law : laws of agriculture, laws of forestry, laws of springs and brooks, laws of supply, laws of fertility and of plants for it, laws of economy, laws of energy and work, laws of education, laws of finance.
The Northern farm boy studied Hebrew, and shut his eyes to the rape which was being committed on mother earth, when he should have studied how plants and animals grow and feed and live. The Southern boy studied Latin when he should have been studying chemistry, not dreaming that millions of value lay rotting and wasting in the neglected cotton seed and behind the old gin-house.
The next decade was ushered in with cannon filled to the mouth with deadly shot and shell. Their reverberations proclaimed to all the world that another of nature's laws had been broken, and that the penalty was about to fall. Large numbers of producers were quickly converted into consumers; prives reached high-water mark, inventive genius saw its opportunity. The farmer had two cultivators, and but one man to use them. With a few bolts and bars they were united, and the productive power of the corn grower was more than doubled.
Efficiency was increased tenfold by substituting the two-horse for the hand-planter. Headers, binders and gang ploughs enabled each man to produce six times as inuch wheat as he could by the old method.
The war closed, consumers were again transformed into producers. An abundant currency, phenomenal increase in the number and size of the cities, extension of railways and unbounded faith in the future, caused prices for land and its products to recede slowly from their lofty heights. Meantime, new lands were opened up in forest and prairie with unabated energy, and depletion of soil fertility was still
further accelerated. Few stopped to consider the penalty which must sooner or later attach to the transgression of the first great laws of agriculture.
Every million bushels of wheat, with the accompanying straw, removed from the land $402,900 worth of potash, nitrogen and phosphoric acid; and the 490,000,000 bushels raised last year represented $197,421,000 worth of these three prime elements of plant growth A conservative estimate would put the amount of these elements carried back to the field at not more than one-fourth of the amount removed by the wheat and straw. Is it any wonder that the exacting wheat plant moves its habitat westward, to escape the penalty of the transgression of the laws which govern its successful cultivation ?
Many have broken the laws of pomology, and numberless starving orchards furnish “ nothing but leaves," and these scarcely sufficient for the vast broods of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera which infest them. When we consider the vast variety and quantity of farm products which have been removed from the fields of New England in the last hundred years, we are led to conclude that the description of some of the earlier discoverers of the beauty and fertility of “ the New England” was not greatly exaggerated.
By this array of discouraging facts it is not meant to find fault, or to cast blame on our ancestors. Many well-kept, fertile fields, numerous stately farm-houses in which dwell refinement and plenty, testify to their intelligence, courage, wisdom and success. They did nobly; it is unnecessary to speak of their heroic deeds here and now, for annually at every New England Thanksgiving dinner their virtues are justly lauded and their bravery set forth in story and in song. But they made many mistakes, they broke many laws, they set nature's mode of action at defiance. They said, “ Let us go to now, and rear many plants and animals, that we may have good things in store, and let those who come after us raise plants too, if they can, or “go West.'” They should have said, “ Let us go to now, and study the laws of nature, that we may work in harmony with them, and raise plants to feed animals to make fertility, to feed other plants, to feed other animals, to mike more fertility.”