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observations concerning the state of agriculture and manufactures in the Commonwealth as it may deem useful. The return shall be marked in such manner that the passages deemed by such officers most worthy of public notice, study and application, may be easily distinguished."
Then follows a very important clause, which must be familiar to us all, in regard to the forfeiture of bounty for non-compliance with the laws relating thereto.
Very few societies appear, from their transactions, to now comply fully with the spirit of all the suggestions, although they seem to satisfy the law. These laws were framed before experiment stations were established; and as the requirements, which have been just quoted, include committee reports, and statements of experiments and cultivation, it would seem that this work, which has so generally, and with a few exceptions, apparently, fallen into disuse, might have new life and usefulness infused into it, by transferring such work to the experiment department of the college, where the experimenting is done. The agricultural societies would then co-operate upon well-defined plans with said experiment department, in this line of work. This would seem to be a matter of considerable importance, and one which should be carefully considered; possibly by a joint committee from this Board, and from the college trustees, in order that, if advisable, a suitable bill may be framed, and introduced into the Legislature to accomplish this.
In Public Statutes, chapter 31, section 17, we find a provision for a "Board of Supervisors of Statistics," as follows:
"The secretary of the Commonwealth, the secretaries of the boards of agriculture, of education, and of the State board of health, lunacy and charity [health undoubtedly intended, but title not here altered to conform to new law], and the chief of the bureau of statistics of labor, shal! constitute a board of supervisors of statistics, who shall serve without pay."
This is superfluous now that the Bureau of Statistics is in existence; but cannot meetings of the secretaries of the boards of agriculture, education and health be held, to the advantage of each of these boards? Certainly this Board
is educational in its agricultural work, and was formed to do all that was possible in that direction; consequently it might gain and give valuable additional force to and from its work, by consultation with the educational department, and certainly the work of the health department is most closely allied to the other two boards.
The condition and needs of our agricultural population could thus be more intelligently understood, from such consultations as are here suggested, and the welfare of a large part of our citizens probably benefited.
At the recent teachers' meeting in Boston, the superintendent of Chicago public schools in his address argued that the public school rests upon the inalienable right of childhood to an education suited to its surroundings. The child has a claim on the State, which should cultivate the intellect of its children." He went on to point out evils in the present systems, and their remedies.
I will add that there are students of these subjects who believe that ours, which was formerly the leading educational system, has been so built upon in other younger States, in forming their systems, that Massachusetts should now carefully investigate the systems of other States and countries, with a view to learning any improved methods and ensuring her children's education best suited to their future wants and happiness.
It is understood that the reference applied more to the rural than city schools.
CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF MILCH
BY GEO. L. CLEMENCE OF SOUTHBRIDGE.
The milch cow is the basis of New England agriculture. She is the essential factor by means of which the farmer is enabled to convert the products of his fields and meadows into an available commodity of exchange, and in addition she furnishes, to a very material extent, those elements which enable him to carry on his farm operations and maintain the fertility of his lands. She is the delicate, living mechanism by which we seek above all things else to perpet uate and make profitable a New England rural economy. The occupation and cultivation of the broad and cheap areas in the West preclude the possibility of producing in Massachusetts beef and the more important cereals, at a profit. Fortunately the growth of population in cities and towns has created an ever-enlarging market for those products of our farms which do not come into so direct competition with the production of the inexpensive and virgin acres of the West, as would the less perishable products.
To-day milk is the staple article produced upon the farms of Massachusetts; and, whether this is sold whole or in the form of cream or butter, the great majority of farmers are dependent upon it for whatever measure of success they secure in their calling. To obtain the greatest amount of this, of a standard quality, and at the least possible expense, is the aim of the dairy farmer. To this end he directs his thoughts and efforts, and, realizing that dairy or milk farming will not permit of that freedom or indifference possible in stock or grain raising, he looks more carefully and with a greater diligence to the farm and its buildings, and to the cultivation of his fields. He ploughs and manures, sows his
seed, cultivates and harvests his crops for this single purpose, and the culmination of it all is with the dairy cow. No matter how diligently he may have toiled, no matter how rich and succulent has been the feed in his pastures, or how bountiful his crop of hay, upon her capacity or power to convert her food into milk, and the products made therefrom, depends the measure of his reward. Recognizing this, how essential it is that her owner should direct his best efforts and energies to her care and management.
The subject assigned me is of a two-fold nature, for the milch cow may be one kept particularly either for milk or for butter. The care and management are essentially the same, but their breeding may be on a different line. It is as a milk producer alone that I shall speak to you on this occasion, for as such has been my entire experience.
From the time when I first embarked as a farmer, some eighteen years ago, down to the present, my energies and my farm have been directed to the production of milk of a quality satisfactory to my customers, and in quantity sufficient to pay me better by selling it whole than by converting it into butter. The location of my farm, but a mile or so from a busy manufacturing town of seven thousand inhabitants, made it possible and desirable that I should, in the very beginning of my farm life, adopt this course; and I have seen my permanent stock increase from twelve head to forty head, maintained from the same number of tillable acres that I possessed at the beginning of my farming career.
From the outset to the present time it has been my aim to breed and raise my own cows. Occasionally I have bought promiscuously, to tide over a temporary deficiency in my supply of milk, and again I have bought now and then a cow in which I saw promise of a superior milker; but, as a whole, my herd has consisted of stock bred and reared by myself. I believe this course has been of continuous and permanent advantage to me. By this method I have known, to a far greater degree, the nature, characteristics, temperament and predispositions of my cows than would have been the case had I replenished my herd by purchases, as the cows themselves are thoroughly at home, and are accustomed from birth to their surroundings. I know that with the farmers
living near a large city this custom may not be practicable, for it presupposes the possession of cheap, outlying pastures, where the young stock can be fed in the summer months.
The ideal cow for a milk farm is, in my opinion, a grade. I do not believe that any one breed possesses so many good points as two or three breeds combined. I keep a pure-bred sire, alternating, as nearly as practicable, every three years, with one of a different breed. To illustrate, if I were starting a herd, I would keep a Shorthorn bull of a well-established milk strain; during the second three years I would keep an Ayrshire; and in the third three years I would keep a Jersey. From the Shorthorn sire would come size, and capacity to eat and digest a large amount of feed; from the Ayrshire I secure a predisposition to a large yield of milk, and a cow peculiarly adapted to our hilly and rocky pastures and their short feed; from the Jersey would come the requisite richness and solidity of the milk. I have never kept a pure-bred Devon or Holstein sire; still, I would not hesitate to take a Devon, instead of a Jersey, because of the richness of their milk, their rugged constitution and their adaptability to our climate and lands. Neither would I object to a Guernsey; and, if my milk tested well above the legal standard, I might possibly be induced to use a Holstein.
In breeding, I aim to secure as large a cow as possible, and retain the milk form and characteristics. The larger the cow, the more she can eat; and the more she eats, the more milk will she produce. A small cow with small digestive capacity cannot, in the nature of things, make so much milk as a larger cow with a greater digestive capacity. This on the supposition that both are proportionately equal in a milk-yielding point of view.
The milch cow should have a warm, clean and wholesome stable, well lighted and well ventilated; and I have come to the conclusion that it is a wise economy that this stable should be separated from the main barn, and constructed with especial reference to her welfare and convenience. I believe this plan has much to commend it. Its construction we can so plan as to economize in the labor of feeding; secure far greater safety from danger of loss of cattle from fire; provide more light and better ventilation; and can