Culture Of Grasses For Fodder

As has been already stated, the grasses in summer, and hay in winter,

form the most natural and important food for milch cows; and, whatever

other crops come in as additional, these will form the basis of all

systems of feeding.

The nutritive qualities of the grasses differ widely; and their value as

feed for cows will depend, to a considerable extent, on the management

of pastures and mowing-lands. Some considerations bearing upon the

subject of the proper cultivation of these leading articles of food

are, therefore, proposed in this article.

If the turf of an old pasture is carefully examined, it will be found to

contain a large variety of plants and grasses adapted for forage; some

of them valuable for one purpose, and some for another. Some of them,

though possessing a lower percentage of nutritive constituents than

others, are particularly esteemed for an early and luxuriant growth,

furnishing sweet feed in early spring, before other grasses appear; some

of them, for starting more rapidly than others, after having been eaten

off by cattle, and, consequently, of great value as pasture grasses.

Most grasses will be found to be of a social character, and do best in a

large mixture with other varieties.

In forming a mixture for pasture grasses, the peculiar qualities of each

species should, therefore, be regarded: as the time of flowering, the

habits of growth, the soil and location on which it grows best, and

other characteristics.

Among the grasses found on cultivated lands in this country, the

following are considered as among the most valuable for ordinary farm

cultivation; some of them being adapted to pastures, and others almost

exclusively to mowing and the hay-crop: Timothy, Meadow Foxtail, June or

Kentucky Blue Grass, Fowl Meadow, Rough-stalked Meadow, Orchard Grass,

Perennial Rye Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Redtop, English Bent, Meadow

Fescue, Tall Oat Grass, Sweet-scented Vernal, Hungarian Grass, Red

Clover, White or Dutch Clover, and some others.

Of these, the most valuable, all things considered, is TIMOTHY. It forms

a large proportion of what is commonly called English, or in some

sections meadow, hay, though it originated and was first cultivated in

this country. It contains a large percentage of nutritive matter, in

comparison with other agricultural grasses. It thrives best on moist,

peaty, or loamy soils, of medium tenacity, and is not well suited to

very light, sandy lands. On very moist soils, its root is almost always

fibrous; while on dry and loamy ones it is bulbous. On soils of the

former description, which it especially affects, its growth is rapid,

and its yield of hay large, sometimes amounting to three or four tons

the acre, depending much, of course, upon cultivation. But, though very

valuable for hay, it is not adapted for pasture, as it will neither

endure severe grazing, nor is its aftermath to be compared with that of

meadow foxtail, and some of the other grasses.

JUNE GRASS, better known in some sections as Kentucky Blue Grass, is

very common in most sections of the country, especially on limestone

lands, forming a large part of the turf, wherever it flourishes, and

being held in universal esteem as a pasture grass. It starts early, but

varies much in size and appearance, according to the soil; growing in

some places with the utmost luxuriance, and forming the predominant

grass; in others, yielding to the other species. If cut at the time of

flowering, or a few days after, it makes a good and nutritious hay,

though it is surpassed in nutritive qualities by several of the other

grasses. It starts slowly after having been cut, especially if not cut

very early. But its herbage is fine and uniform, and admirably adapted

to lawns, growing well in almost all soils, though it does not endure

very severe droughts. It withstands, however, the frosts of winter

better than most other grasses.

In Kentucky--a section where it attains its highest perfection and

luxuriance, ripening its seeds about the tenth of June--and in latitudes

south of that, it sometimes continues green through the mild winters. It

requires three or four years to become well set, after sowing, and it

does not attain its highest yield as a pasture grass till the sod is

even older than that. It is not, therefore, suited to alternate

husbandry, where land usually remains in grass but two or three years

before being ploughed up. In Kentucky, it is sown any time in winter

when the sun is on the ground, three or four quarts of seed being used

to the acre. In spring the seeds germinate, when the sprouts are

exceedingly fine and delicate. Stock is not allowed on it the first


The MEADOW FOXTAIL is also an excellent pasture grass It somewhat

resembles Timothy, but is earlier, has a softer spike, and thrives on

all soils except the dryest. Its growth is rapid, and it is greatly

relished by stock of all kinds. Its stalks and leaves are too few and

light for a field crop, and it shrinks too much in curing to be valuable

for hay. It flourishes best in a rich, moist, and rather strong soil,

sending up a luxuriant aftermath when cut or grazed off, which is much

more valuable, both in quality and nutritive value, than the first crop.

In all lands designed for permanent pasture, therefore, it should form a

considerable part of a mixture. It will endure almost any amount of

forcing, by liquid manures or irrigation. It requires three or four

years, after soiling, to gain a firm footing in the soil. The seed is

covered with the soft and woolly husks of the flower, and is

consequently light; weighing but five pounds to the bushel, and

containing seventy-six thousand seeds to the ounce.

The ORCHARD GRASS, or ROUGH COCKSFOOT, for pastures, stands pre-eminent.

This is a native of this country, and was introduced into England, from

Virginia, in 1764, since which time its cultivation has extended into

every country of Europe, where it is universally held in very high

estimation. The fact of its being very palatable to stock of all kinds,

its rapid growth, and the luxuriance of its aftermath, with its power of

enduring the cropping of cattle, have given it a very high reputation,

especially as a pasture grass. It blossoms earlier than Timothy; when

green, is equally relished by milch cows; requires to be fed closer, to

prevent its forming tufts and growing up to seed, when it becomes hard

and wiry, and loses much of its nutritive quality. As it blossoms about

the same time, it forms an admirable mixture with red clover, either for

permanent pasture or mowing. It resists drought, and is less exhausting

to the soil than either rye grass or Timothy. The seed weighs twelve

pounds to the bushel, and when sown alone requires about two bushels to

the acre.

The ROUGH-STALKED MEADOW GRASS is somewhat less common than the June

grass, but is considered equally valuable. It grows best on moist,

sheltered meadows, where it flowers in June and July. It is readily

distinguished from June grass by its having a rough sheath, while the

latter has a smooth one, and by having a fibrous root, while the root of

the other is creeping. It possesses very considerable nutritive

qualities, and comes to perfection at a desirable time, and is

exceedingly relished by cattle, horses and sheep. For suitable soils it

should form a portion of a mixture of seeds, producing, in mixture with

other grasses which serve to shelter it, a large yield of hay, far above

the average of grass usually sown on a similar soil. It should be cut

when the seed is formed. Seven pounds of seed to the acre will make a

good sward. The grass loses about seventy per cent. of its weight in

drying. The nutritive qualities of its aftermath exceed very

considerably those of the crop cut in the flower or in the seed.

FOWL MEADOW GRASS is another indigenous species, of great value for low

and marshy grounds, where it flourishes best; and, if cut and properly

cured, makes a sweet and nutritious hay, which, from its fineness, is

eaten by cows without waste. According to Sinclair--who experimented,

with the aid of Sir Humphrey Davy, to ascertain its comparative

nutritive properties--it is superior in this respect to either meadow

foxtail, orchard grass, or tall meadow oat grass; but it is probable

that he somewhat overrates it. If allowed to stand till nearly ripe, it

falls down, but sends up innumerable flowering stems from the joints, so

that it continues green and luxuriant till late in the season. It

thrives best in mixture with other grasses, and deserves a prominent

place in all mixtures for rich, moist pastures, and low mowing-lands.

RYE GRASS has a far higher reputation abroad than in this country, and

probably with reason; for it is better adapted to a wet and uncertain

climate than to a dry and hot one. It varies exceedingly, depending much

on soil and culture; but, when cut in the blossom to make into hay, it

possesses very considerable nutritive power. If allowed to get too ripe,

it is hard and wiry, and not relished by cows. The change from a juicy

and nutritious plant to a woody fibre, containing but little soluble

matter, is very rapid. Properly managed, however, it is a tolerably good

grass, though not to be compared to Timothy, or orchard grass.

REDTOP is a grass familiar to every farmer in the country. It is the

Herd's grass of Pennsylvania, while in New York and New England it is

known by a great variety of names and assumes a great variety of forms,

according to the soil in which it grows. It is well adapted to almost

every soil, though it seems to prefer a moist loam. It makes a

profitable crop for spending, in the form of hay, though its yield is

less than that of Timothy. It is well suited to our permanent pastures,

where it should be fed close, otherwise it becomes wiry and

innutritious, and cattle refuse it. It stands the climate of the country

as well as any other grass, and so forms a valuable part of any mixture

for pastures and permanent mowing-lands; but it is, probably, rather

over rated by us.

ENGLISH BENT, known also by a number of other names, is largely

cultivated in some sections. It closely resembles redtop, but may be

distinguished from it by the roughness of the sheaths when the hand is

drawn from above downward. It possesses about the same qualities as


MEADOW FESCUE is one of the most common of the fescue grasses, and is

said to be the Randall grass of Virginia. It is an excellent pasture

grass, forming a very considerable portion of the turf of old pasture

lands and fields; and is more extensively propagated and diffused from

the fact that it ripens its seeds before most other grasses are cut, and

sheds them to spring up and cover the ground. Its long and tender leaves

are much relished by cattle. It is rarely sown in this country,

notwithstanding its great and acknowledged value as a pasture grass. If

sown at all, it should be in mixture with other grasses, as orchard

grass, and rye grass, or June grass. It is of much greater value at the

time of flowering than when the seed is ripe.

THE TALL OAT GRASS is the Ray grass of France. It furnishes a luxuriant

supply of foliage, is valuable either for hay or for pasture, and has

been especially recommended for soiling purposes, on account of its

early and luxuriant growth. It is often found on the borders of fields

and hedges, woods and pastures, and is sometimes very plenty in

mowing-lands. After having been mown it shoots up a very thick

aftermath, and, on this account, partly, is regarded of nearly equal

excellence with the common foxtail.

It grows spontaneously on deep, sandy soils, when once naturalized. It

has been cultivated to a considerable extent in this country, and is

esteemed by those who know it mainly for its early, rapid, and late

growth, making it very well calculated as a permanent pasture grass. It

will succeed on tenacious clover soil.

The SWEET-SCENTED VERNAL GRASS is one of the earliest in spring and one

of the latest in autumn; and this habit of growth is one of its chief

excellencies, as it is neither a nutritious grass, nor very palatable to

stock of any kind, nor does it yield a very good crop. It is very common

in New England and all over the Middle States, coming into old worn-out

fields and moist pastures spontaneously, and along every roadside. It

derives its name from its sweetness of odor when partially wilted or

crushed in the hand, and it is this chiefly which gives the delicious

fragrance to all new-mown bay. It is almost the only grass that

possesses a strongly-marked aromatic odor, which is imparted to other

grasses with which it is cured. Its seed weighs eight pounds to the

bushel. In mixtures for permanent pastures it may be of some value.

HUNGARIAN GRASS, or millet, is an annual forage plant, introduced into

France in 1815, and more recently into this country. It germinates

readily, and withstands the drought remarkably, remaining green when

other grasses are parched and dried up. It has numerous succulent

leaves which furnish an abundance of sweet fodder, greatly relished by

stock of all kinds. It attains its greatest luxuriance on soils of

medium consistency and richness, but does very well on light and dry


RED CLOVER is an artificial grass of the leguminous family, and one of

the most valuable cultivated plants for feeding to dairy cows. It

flourishes best on tenacious soils and stiff loams. Its growth is rapid,

and a few months after sowing are sufficient to supply an abundant sweet

and nutritious food. In the climate of New England, clover should be

sown in the spring of the year, while most of the natural grasses do far

better when sown in the fall. It is often sown with perfect success on

the late snows of March or April, and soon finds its way down into the

soil and takes a vigorous hold with its root. It is valuable not only as

a forage plant, but as shading the ground, and thereby increasing its


The introduction of clover among the cultivated plants of the farm has

done more, perhaps, for modern agriculture than that of any other single

plant. It is now considered indispensable in all good dairy districts.

WHITE CLOVER, often called Honeysuckle, is also widely diffused over

this country, to which it is undoubtedly indigenous. As a mixture in all

pasture grasses it holds a very high rank, as it is exceedingly sweet

and nutritious, and relished by all kinds of stock. It grows most

luxuriantly in moist grounds and moist seasons, but easily accommodates

itself to a great variety of circumstances.

With respect to the mixtures of grass-seeds most profitable for the

dairy farmer, no universal rule can be given, as they depend very much

upon the nature of the soil and the locality. The most important point

to be observed, and the one as to which, probably, the greatest

deficiency exists, is to use a large number of species, with smaller

quantities of each than those most commonly used. This is Nature's rule;

for, in examining the turf of a rich old pasture, a large number of

different species will be found growing together, while, if the turf of

a field sown without two or three species is examined, a far less number

of plants is found to the square foot, even after the sod is fairly set.

In the opinion of the most competent judges, no improvement in grass

culture is more important than this.

As an instance of what he would consider an improvement on the ordinary

mixtures for permanent pastures, Mr. Flint, in his "Milch Cows and

Dairy Farming," suggests the following as likely to give satisfactory

results, dependent, of course, to a considerable extent, on the nature

and preparation of the soil:

Meadow Foxtail, flowering in May and June, 2 pounds

Orchard Grass, " " " " 6 "

Sweet-scented Vernal, " " April and May, 1 "

Meadow Fescue, " " May and June, 2 "

Redtop, " " June and July, 2 "

June Grass, " " May and June, 4 "

Italian Rye Grass, " " June, 4 "

Perennial do., " " " " 6 "

Timothy, " " June and July, 3 "

Rough-stalked Meadow Grass, " " 2 "

Perennial Clover, flowering in June, 3 "

White Clover, " " May to September 5-40 "

For mowing-lands the mixture would, of course, be somewhat changed. The

meadow foxtail and sweet-scented vernal would be left out entirely, and

some six or eight pounds added to the Timothy and red clover. The proper

time to lay down lands to grass in the latitude of New England is August

or September, and no grain crop should be sown with the seed.

Stiff or clayey pastures should never be overstocked, but when fed

pretty close the grasses are far sweeter and more nutritious than when

they are allowed to grow up rank and coarse; and if, by a want of

sufficient feeding, they get the start of the stock, and grow into rank

tufts, they should be cut and removed, when a fresh grass will start up,

similar to the aftermath of mowing-lands, which will be eaten with

avidity. Grasses for curing into hay should be cut either at the time of

flowering, or just before, especially if designed for milch cows. They

are then more succulent and juicy, and, if properly cured, form the

sweetest food.

Grass cut in the blossom will make more milk than if allowed to stand

later. Cut a little before the blossoming; it will make more than when

in blossom, and the cows prefer it, which is by no means an unimportant

consideration, since their tastes should always be consulted. Grass cut

somewhat green, and properly cured, is next to fresh, green grass in

palatable, nutritive qualities. Every farmer knows the milk-producing

properties of rowen, or second crop, which is generally cut before it


No operation on the farm is of greater importance to the dairyman than

the cutting of his grass and the manner of curing hay; and in this

respect the practice over the country generally is susceptible of very

marked improvement. The chief object is to preserve the sweetness and

succulence of the grass in its natural state, so far as possible; and

this object cannot be attained by exposing it too long to the scorching

suns and drenching rains to which our climate is liable. As a general

thing, farmers try to make their hay too much.

As to the best modes of curing clover, the following, among others, is

adopted by many successful farmers: What is mown in the morning is left

in the swath, to be turned over early in the afternoon. At about four

o'clock, or while it is still warm, it is put into small cocks with a

fork, and, if the weather is favorable, it may be housed on the fourth

or fifth day, the cocks being turned over on the morning of the day in

which it is to be carted. By this method all the heads and leaves are

saved, and these are more valuable than the stems. For new milch cows in

winter scarcely any food is better. It will cause them to give as great

a flow of milk as any hay, unless it be good rowen.

INDIAN CORN makes an exceedingly valuable fodder, both as a means of

carrying a herd of milch cows through our severe droughts of summer, and

as an article for soiling cows kept in the stall. No dairy farmer will

neglect to sow an extent in proportion to the number of cows which he

keeps. The most common practice is, to sow in drills from two and a half

to three feet apart, on land well tilled and thoroughly manured, making

the drills from six to ten inches wide with the plough, manuring in the

furrow, dropping the kernels about two inches apart, and covering with

the hoe. In this mode of culture, the cultivator may be used between

the rows when the corn is from six to twelve inches high, and, unless

the ground is very weedy, no other after culture is needed. The first

sowing usually takes place about the middle of May, and this is

succeeded by other sowings, at intervals of a week or ten days, till

July, in order to have a succession of green fodder; but, if it is

designed to cut it up to cure for winter use, an early sowing is

generally preferred, in order to be able to cure it in warm weather, in

August or early in September. Sown in this way, about three or four

bushels of corn are required for an acre; since, if sown thickly, the

fodder is better, the stalks smaller, and the waste less.

The chief difficulty in curing corn cultivated for this purpose, and

after the methods just spoken of, arises from the fact that it comes at

a season when the weather is often colder, the days shorter, and the

dews heavier, than when the curing of hay takes place. Nor is the curing

of corn cut up green so easy and simple as that of the drying of stalks

of Indian corn cut above the ear, as in the common practice of topping.

The plant is then riper, less juicy, and cures more readily.

The method sometimes adopted is to cut and tie into small bundles, after

it is somewhat wilted, and then to stook upon the ground, where it is

allowed to stand, subject to all the changes of weather, with only the

protection of the stook itself. The stooks consist of bunches of stalks

first bound into small bundles, and are made sufficiently large to

prevent the wind from blowing them over. The arms are thrown around the

tops to bring them as closely together as possible, when the tops are

broken over or twisted together, or otherwise fastened, in order to

make the stook "shed the rain" as well as possible. In this condition

they remain out until they are sufficiently dried to be put in the barn.

Corn fodder is very excellent for young dairy stock.

COMMON MILLET is another very valuable crop for fodder in soiling, or to

cure for winter use, but especially to feed out during the usual season

of drought. Many varieties of millet are cultivated in this country, the

ground being prepared and treated as for oats. If designed to cut for

green fodder, half a bushel of seed to the acre should be used; if to

ripen seed, twelve quarts, sown broadcast, about the last of May or

early in June. A moist loam or muck is the best soil adapted to millet;

but very great crops have been grown on dry upland. It is very palatable

and nutritious for milch cows, both green and when properly cured. The

curing should be very much like that of clover, care being taken not to

over-dry it. For fodder, either green or cured, it is cut before

ripening. In this state all cattle eat it as readily as green corn, and

a less extent will feed them. Millet is worthy of a widely-extended

cultivation, particularly on dairy farms. Indian millet is another

cultivated variety.

RYE, as a fodder plant, is chiefly valuable for its early growth in

spring. It is usually sown in September or October--from the middle to

the end of September being, perhaps, the most desirable time--on land

previously cultivated and in good condition. If designed to ripen only,

a bushel of seed is required to the acre, evenly sown; but, if intended

for early fodder in spring, two or two and a half bushels of seed per

acre should be used. On warm land the rye can be cut green the last of

April or the first of May. Care should be taken to cut early; since, if

it is allowed to advance too far towards maturity, the stalk becomes

hard and unpalatable to cows.

OATS are also sometimes used for soiling, or for feeding green, to eke

out a scanty supply of pasture feed; and for this purpose they are

valuable. They should be sown on well-tilled and well-manured land,

about four bushels to the acre, towards the last of April or the first

of May. If the whole crop is to be used as green fodder, five bushels of

seed will not be too much for good, strong soil. They will be

sufficiently grown to cut by the first of July, or in some sections

earlier, depending upon the location.

The CHINESE SUGAR-CANE also may deserve attention as a fodder plant.

Experiments thus far made would seem to show that when properly

cultivated, and cut at the right time, it is a palatable and nutritious

plant, while many of the failures have been the result of too early

cutting. For a fodder crop the drill culture is preferable, both on

account of the larger yield obtained and because it is thus prevented

from becoming too hard and stalky.

Of the root crops the POTATO is the first to be mentioned. This produces

a large quantity of milk, though the quality is inferior. The market

value of this root is, at times, too great to allow of feeding

extensively with it, even in milk dairies, where it is most valuable as

a food for cows; still, there are locations where it may be judicious to

cultivate this root for dairy feed, and in all circumstances there is a

certain portion of the crop of unmarketable size, which will be of value

fed to milch cows or swine. It should be planted in April or May, but in

many sections in June, on good mellow soil, first thoroughly plowed and

harrowed, then furrowed three feet apart, and manured in the furrows

with a mixture of ashes, plaster of Paris, and salt. The seed may be

dropped in the furrows, one foot apart, after the drill system--or in

hills, two and a half or three feet apart--to be covered with the plough

by simply turning the furrows back, after which the whole should be

rolled with the field-roller, when it can be done.

If the land is not already in good heart from continued cultivation, a

few loads of barnyard manure may be spread, and plowed under, by the

first plowing. Used in this way it is far less liable to cause the rot,

than when it is put in the hill. If a sufficient quantity of wood-ashes

is not at hand, sifted coal-ashes will answer the purpose, and these are

said to be valuable as a preventive of rot. In this way, one man, two

boys, and a horse can plant from three to four acres a day on mellow


By another method two acres a day on the sod have been planted. The

manure is first spread upon the grass, and then a furrow made by a yoke

of oxen and one man, another following after and dropping, a foot apart,

along the outer edge of the furrow on the grass. By quick work, one hand

can nearly keep up with the plow in dropping. When arrived at the end of

the piece, a back furrow is turned up to the potatoes, and a good

plowman will cover nearly all without difficulty. On the return furrow,

the man or boy who dropped follows after, covering up any that may be

left or displaced, and smoothing off the top of the back-furrows when

necessary. Potatoes thus planted have come out finely.

The cost of cultivation in this mode, it must be evident, is but

trifling, compared with the slower method of hand-planting. It requires

a skillful ploughman, a quick, active lad, and a good yoke of oxen, and

the extent of the work will depend somewhat upon the state of the turf.

The nutritive equivalent for potatoes in a hundred pounds of good hay is

319 pounds; that is, it will take 3.19 pounds of potatoes to afford the

same amount of nourishment as one pound of hay. The great value of roots

is as a change or condiment calculated to keep the animal in a healthy


The CARROT is somewhat extensively fed, and is a valuable root for milch

cows. This, like the potato, has been cultivated and improved from a

wild plant. Carrots require a deep, warm, mellow soil, thoroughly

cultivated, but clean, and free from weed-seed. The difference between a

very good profit and a loss on the crop depends much upon the use of

land and manures perfectly free from foul seeds of any kind. Ashes,

guano, seaweed, ground bones, and other similar substances, or

thoroughly-rotted and fermented compost, will answer the purpose.

After plowing deep, and harrowing carefully, the seed should be planted

with a seed-sower, in drills about eighteen inches apart, at the rate of

four pounds to the acre, about the middle of May. The difference

between sowing on the fifteenth of May and on the tenth of June in New

England is said to be nearly one-third in the crop on an average of

years. In weeding, a little wheel hoe is invaluable, as with it a large

part of the labor of cultivation is saved. A skillful hand can run this

hoe within a half an inch of the young plants without injury, and go

over a large space in the course of a day, if the land was properly

prepared in the first place.

The American farmer should always plan to economize labor, which is the

great item of expense upon a farm. By this is not meant that he should

strive to shirk or avoid work, but that he should make the least amount

of work accomplish the greatest and most profitable results.

Labor-saving machinery on the farm is applied, not to reduce the number

of hours of labor, or to make the owner a man of leisure--who is,

generally, the unhappiest man in the world--but to enable him to

accomplish the greatest results in the same time that he would be

compelled to obtain smaller ones.

Carrots will continue to grow and increase in size late into the fall.

When ready to dig, plow around as near to the outside rows as possible,

turning away the furrow from the row. Then take out the carrots, pulling

off the tops, and throw the carrots and tops into separate heaps on the

plowed furrows. In this way a man and two boys can harvest and put into

the cellar upwards of a hundred bushels a day.

The TURNIP, and the Swedish turnip, or ruta baga, are also largely

cultivated as a field crop to feed to stock; and for this purpose almost

numberless varieties are used, furnishing a great amount of succulent

and nutritious food, late into winter, and, if well-kept, late into

spring. The chief objection to the turnip is, that it taints the milk.

This may be remedied--to a considerable extent, if not wholly--by the

use of salt, or salt hay, and by feeding at the time of milking, or

immediately after, or by steaming before feeding, or putting a small

quantity of the solution of nitre into the pail, and milking upon it.

Turnips may be sown any time in June, in rich land, well mellowed by

cultivation. Very large crops are obtained, sown as late as the middle

of July, or the first of August, on an inverted sod. The Michigan, or

double-mould-board plow leaves the land light, and in admirable

condition to harrow, and drill in turnips. In one instance, a successful

root-grower cut two tons of hay to the acre, on the twenty-third of

June, and after it was removed from the land spread eight cords of

rotten kelp to the acre, and plowed in; after which about three cords of

fine old compost manure were used to the acre, which was sown with ruta

baga seed, in drills, three feet apart, plants thinned to eight or ten

inches in the drill. No after cultivation was required. On the fifteenth

of November he harvested three hundred and seventy bushels of splendid

roots to the acre, carefully measured off.

The nutritive equivalent of Swedish turnips as compared with good meadow

hay is 676, taking hay as a standard at 100; that is, it would require

6.76 pounds of turnips to furnish the same nutriment as one pound of

good hay; but fed in connection with other food--as hay, for

example--perhaps five pounds of turnips would be about equal to one

pound of hay.

The English or round turnip is usually sown broadcast after some other

crop, and large and valuable returns are often obtained. The Swede is

sown in drills. Both of these varieties are used for the production of


The chief objection to the turnip crop is that it leaves many kinds of

soil unfit for a succession of some other crops, like Indian corn, for

instance. In some sections, no amount of manuring appears to make corn

do well after turnips or ruta bagas.

The MANGOLD WURTZEL, a variety of the common beet, is often cultivated

in this country with great success, and fed to cows with advantage,

furnishing a succulent and nutritive food in winter and spring. The crop

is somewhat uncertain. When it does well, an enormous yield is often

obtained; but, not rarely, it proves a failure, and is not, on the

whole, quite as reliable as the ruta baga, though a more valuable crop

when the yield is good. It is cultivated like the common beet in moist,

rich soils; three pounds of seed to the acre The leaves may be stripped

off, towards fall, and fed out, without injury to the growth of the

root. Both mangolds and turnips should be cut with a root-cutter, before

being fed out.

The PARSNIP is a very sweet and nutritious article of fodder, and adds

richness and flavor to the milk. It is worthy of extended culture in all

parts of the country where dairy husbandry is pursued. It is a biennial,

easily raised on deep, rich, well-cultivated and well-manured soils,

often yielding enormous crops, and possessing the decided advantage of

withstanding the severest winters. As an article of spring feeding,

therefore, it is exceedingly valuable. Sown in April or May, it attains

a large growth before winter. Then, if desirable, a part of the crop may

be harvested for winter use, and the remainder left in the ground till

the frost is out, in March or April, when they can be dug as wanted, and

are exceedingly relished by milch cows and stock of all kinds. They make

an admirable feed at the time of milking, and produce the richest cream,

and the yellowest and finest-flavored butter, of any roots used among

us. The best dairy farmers on the Island of Jersey often feed to their

cows from thirty to thirty-five pounds of parsnips a day, in addition to

hay or grass.

Both practical experiment and scientific analysis prove this root to be

eminently adapted to dairy stock, where the richness of milk or

fine-flavored butter is any object. For mere milk-dairies, it is not

quite so valuable, probably, as the Swedish turnip. The culture is

similar to that of carrots, a rich, mellow, and deep loam being best;

while it has a great advantage over the carrot in being more hardy, and

rather less liable to injury from insects, and more nutritive. For

feeding and fattening stock it is eminently adapted.

To be sure of a crop, fresh seed must be had, as it cannot be depended

on for more than one year. For this reason the largest and straightest

roots should be allowed to stand for seed, which, as soon as nearly

ripe, should be taken out and spread out to dry, and carefully kept for

use. For field culture, the hollow-crowned parsnip is the best and most

profitable; but on thin, shallow soils the turnip-rooted variety should

be used. Parsnips may be harvested like carrots, by plowing along the

rows. Let butter or cheese dairymen give this crop a fair and full

trial, and watch its effect in the quality of the milk and butter.

The KOHL RABI is also cultivated to a considerable extent in this

country for the purpose of feeding stock. It is supposed to be a hybrid

between the cabbage and the turnip and is often called the

cabbage-turnip, having the root of the former, with a turnip-like or

bulbous stem. The special reason for its more extensive cultivation

among us is its wonderful indifference to droughts, in which it seems to

flourish best, and to bring forth the most luxuriant crops. It also

withstands the frosts remarkably, being a hardy plant. It yields a

somewhat richer quality of milk than the ordinary turnip, and the crop

is generally admitted to be as abundant and profitable. Very large crops

of it have been produced by the ordinary turnip or cabbage cultivation.

As in cabbage-culture, it is best to sow the seed in March or April, in

a warm and well-enriched seed-bed; from which it is transplanted in May,

and set out after the manner of cabbages in garden culture. It bears

transplanting better than most other roots. Insects injure it less than

the turnip, dry weather favors it, and it keeps well through winter. For

these reasons, it must be regarded as a valuable addition to our list of

forage plants adapted to dairy farming. It grows well on stronger soils

than the turnip requires.

LINSEED MEAL is the ground cake of flaxseed after the oil is pressed

out. It is very rich in fat-forming principles, and given to milch cows

increases the quality of butter, and keeps them in condition. Four or

five pounds a day are sufficient for cows in milk, and this amount will

effect a great saving in the cost of other food, and at the same time

make a very rich milk. It is extensively manufactured in this country,

and largely exported, but it is worthy of more general use here. It must

not be fed in too large quantities to milch cows, for it would be liable

to give too great a tendency to fat, and thus affect the quantity of the


COTTON-SEED MEAL is an article of comparatively recent introduction. It

is obtained by pressing the seed of the cotton-plant, which extracts the

oil, when the cake is crushed or ground into meal, which has been found

to be a very valuable article for feeding stock. From analysis it is

shown to be equal or superior to linseed meal. Practical experiments

only are needed to establish it. It can be procured in market at a

reasonable price.

The MANURES used in this country for the culture of the above named

plants are mostly such as are made on the farm, consisting chiefly of

barnyard composts of various kinds, with often a large admixture of

peat-mud. There are few farms that do not contain substances, which, if

properly husbanded, would add very greatly to the amount of manure

ordinarily made. The best of the concentrated manures, which it is

sometimes necessary to use, for want of time and labor to prepare enough

upon the farm, is, unquestionably, Peruvian guano. The results of this,

when properly applied, are well known and reliable, which can hardly be

said of any other artificial manure offered for the farmer's notice. The

chief objection to depending upon manures made off the farm is, in the

first place, their great expense; and in the second--which is equally

important--the fact, that, though they may be made valuable, and produce

at one time the best results, a want of care in the manufacture, or

designed fraud, may make them almost worthless, with the impossibility

of detecting the imposition, without a chemical analysis, till it

becomes too late, and the crop is lost.

It is, therefore, safest to rely mainly upon the home manufacture of

manure. The extra expense of soiling cattle, saving and applying the

liquid manure, and thus bringing the land to a higher state of

cultivation, when it will be capable of keeping more stock and

furnishing more manure, would offer a surer road to success than a

constant outlay for concentrated fertilizers.

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