Page images

Now, by comparing the analysis of the Loughgall soil with that of the barren soil, they will be found to be nearly identical; and by comparing the composition of the Loughgall and the fertile soils, it will be seen that the former is mainly deficient in alkalies and acids, and as the crops generally cultivated contain a large proportion of these deficient ingredients, it is clear that they cannot be perfected without them. Professor Cameron shows that the ashes of the following plants contain, in 100 parts (I only note the ingredients which are deficient in the soil):

Turnips Wheat


(grain). Potash ...

Soda ...

Magnesia ...
Sulphuric acid
Phosphoric acid







.09 47.55

5.32 8.69

8.24 4.01

2.11 30.61


Whence, then, are these essential elements to be derived, seeing they are not to be found in the soil Some of them, it is true, may be extracted from the atmosphere in limited quantities; and it is evident that the crops in the district in question, are greatly dependent upon that scanty and precarious supply for their sustenance. For, in the late very dry season of 1859, when there was not sufficient rain to convey from the atmosphere the indispensable ingredients which were not contained in the soil, the wheat mildewed, withered, and died; whereas, in the following year, there was abundance of rain, which carried a partial supply of nutriment to the plants, and prevented them dying of starvation. This, in some degree, accounts for the remarkable fact before referred to, that, in 1859, the wheat in the neighborhood of Loughgall was universally bad, while in the surrounding districts the quality was excellent, although the yield was not very abundant, while the whole country suffered equally from drought.

Professor Johnston shows that a rotation of crops, similar to that alluded to above, carries from the soil

[blocks in formation]

Now these materials have been carted off many farms from year to year, in the shape of potatoes, turnips, wheat, clover and oats, have been but partially restored by a limited application of farm-yard manure; consequently the soil has become exhausted, and its cultivation unprofitable


The foregoing facts I look upon as practical illustrations of Baron Liebig's theory, and a remarkable fulfillment of his prediction. In the Belfast Mercury of 29th December, 1859, he is reported to have said :—"A child can comprehend that a very productive field, in order to remain very productive, or even simply productive, must have the elements which have been withdrawn in the harvests perfectly restored—that the aggregate of condition must remain in order to produce the aggregate results; and that & well, however deep it may be, which receives no supply of water, must in the end become empty, if its water be constantly pumped out.” Again, speaking of the economizing of manure, he says: “It is clear that if these elements were collected without loss, and every year restored to the fields, these would then retain the power to furnish every year to the cities the same quantity of corn. And it is equally clear, that if the fields do not receive these elements, agriculture must cease." In corroboration of this, Professor Hodges says, as reported in the Journal of February, 1860 : “Science teaches us that even the more fertile field is not inexhaustable; that the most productive soil contains only a limited amount of the materials which the plant can mould into wheat, or potatoes, or turnips; that every plant grown by the farmer requires at least eight substances to be supplied by the soil for its development. And it follows, that if our farmers, year after year, in their crops and cattle, sift out as it were, mainly five or six of these necessary constituents of the soil, the work of production, after a time, cannot go on.” Now, although the members of this society may be quite conversant with the above theory, there are many farmers who are not so. For respecting the great failure of wheat in 1859, I have heard it said by persons from the district in which it occurred, that “there was a shower of honey in that neighborhood which spotted the straw, and the wheat did not fill afterwards.” Now, this spotting of the straw was, I think, caused by the want of mineral matters in a soluble state, to give it sufficient stamina. Others say, "the ground is too rich, and sends out too much straw, which lies down, and the wheat does not fill." Now the land may be too rich in some respects, but the analysis shows it is miserably poor in others, and, unless a proper proportion of the deficient elements be supplied, the soil cannot be restored to its former state of fertility. Again, others say, "the land is wheated out and requires rest." And this is probably pretty near the truth, as rest would certainly improve the exhausted land. But resting land is too slow a process for these stirring times—particularly as the landlord and tax.gatherers cannot be induced to rest at the same time, but must have their several demands satisfied. Therefore it is much wiser for farmers to avail themselves of the information afforded by this and similar societies, which will enable them skill. fully to use the abundance of ingredients placed within their reach, and supply the soil with such substances as it requires, than to lay their fields out for years, to collect from the atmosphere what might be supplied to them in a few hours. And it is manifest, that if the present system is pursued much longer, the predictions of Baron Liebig and Professor Hodges will, in many cases, be fulfilled, viz: "Agriculture must gradually cease;" the work of production “cannot go on,"

MEMORANDA. If the power to absorb water possessed by a stiff and pure clay be taken at 70, the absorptive power of a clay loam may be put down at 50, of chalk at 45, of loamy land 40, of calcerous sand 29, pure sand 25. The power of soils to absorb water is nearly a correct index to, or in proportion of, the power to retain water. Nitrate of soda is rapidly getting into favor as a top-dressing for the cereals. For oats it is especially valuable. Applied to wheat, it increases the yield both of grain and straw. Salt can be added, however, to the soda, not only with no loss of effect, but, on the contrary, with a gain. We ourselves have had as marked an increase of produce by using a mixture of salt and nitrate of soda, in equal proportions, as when we used nitrate of soda alone. Dr. Vælcker's analysis of nitrate of soda is as follows: Moisture....

1.87 Sulphate of soda.. Pure nitrate of soda.

95.68 Sand Chloride of sodium.

0.79 In 100 parts of the grain of wheat there are 23.72 parts (12.41) of potash.


CHLORIDE OF LIME. In scattering chloride of lime on a plank in a stable, all kinds of flies, but more especially biting flies, were quickly got rid of. Sprinkling beds of vegetables with even a weak solution of this salt effectually preserves them from the attacks of caterpillars, butterflies, mordella, slugs, &c. It has the same effect when sprinkled on the foliage of fruit trees. A paste of one part of powdered chloride of lime and one-half part of some fatty matter, placed in a narrow band round the trunk of the tree, prevents insects from creeping up it. It has even been noticed that rats and mice quit places in which a certain quantity of chloride of lime has been spread. This salt, dried and finely powdered, can, no doubt, be employed for the same purposes as flour of sulphur, and be spread by the same means.

FOOT-ROT IN SHEEP. A specific against this disease has just been discovered by M. Bauchiere, of Toulon, and considered by the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce to be of sufficient importance to warrant his sending M. Renault, Inspector General of the Imperial Veterinary Schools, and several other gentlemen, on a mission to verify the efficacy of this new remedy. The Moniteur now publishes the report of this commission, from which it appears that they visited the farm of Bois-Vert, in the commune of Aries, where they found a flock of about 1200 sheep of the Merino breed, nearly all of which were attacked with foot-rot, some to such a degree that they could no longer stand, but crawled along on their knees. Fifty of these sheep were selected by the commission, and operated upon by M. Bauchiere; while 24 others, divided into 3 lots of eight each, were treated according to three different methods in common use, viz: 1. Verdigris and vinegar; 2. Tar, essence of turpentine, hydrochloric acid, and sulphate of copper; and, 3. Calcined alum and sulphuric acid. M. Bauchiere's treatment consisted in rapidly cutting away all the parts of the hoofs which had become detached by suppuration, taking care to draw no blood during the operation. He then wiped the suppuration from the sore, moistened it with a brush dipped into a brownish liquid he had at hand, and then powdered it over with a white substance. Five days after the operation the sheep treated by M. Bauchiere were found to be cured, while those subjected to the other three methods were still in a diseased state, though progressing favorably. M. Bauchiere's specific is still a secret, but will no doubt be published.




Did Moses know more about pigs than we do? Was it a knowledge of the parasitic diseases common to man and swine which led the father of the Jews to condemn pork as human food ? Both questions can be answered in the negative; and the apparently slender grounds on which pigs were first regarded as unclean are stated in the following verse: "And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” The wisdom of the Mosaic law can only be justly estimated with a knowledge of the accidents arising in warm countries from eating pork throughout long and hot periods of the year; and there is no doubt that the direct evil results as manifested by human sickness led to the exclusion of pork from the list of Israelitish viands. The masses of measly pork which may be seen hanging from the butchers' stalls in Southern Europe prove that the long-legged swine which hunt the forests for acords, and rove about to pick up all kinds of offal, are often unfit for human food; and that they were so to no less extent in the land of Israel is probable. There are those who fancy that domesticity breeds disease—that improving the meat-producing powers and hastening the growth of our live stock renders it liable to disorders of a malignant type

- no greater fallacy! The parasitic maladies which are bred for man in the systems of the animals we eat are most common in the quadrupeds allowed to rove about in search of food, and which living amongst men and animals, have every opportunity of meeting with the germs of the worms which prey on them. The animalcules which burrow and breed in the human frame are not, as the ancients believed, the results of an agglomeration of unhealthy humours becoming vitalized when perfected in form. The advocates of the spontaneous generation theory are now few and far between, and the development of the lower forms of animal life in apparently inaccessible regions of the human frame, only affords an illustration of how wonderfully every precaution is taken in the

« PreviousContinue »