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1 correction by doug.butler - Show corrections

AGRTCULTUIRAL NOTES The weather for the last week has been 1 cold, accompanied with several frosts, which have in a measure checked the t growth of the crops, early potatoes and young fruit having suffered consider ably. Now that we are having large imports- i tions of store sheep suitable for fattening or breeding purposes, preparations should be at once commenced for turnip crops. The experience of last winter must con vince those who fatten or breed lambs that it is essential to have some artificial food on hand to succeed. The mortality last winter through cold and hunger was large, and good condition will wonderfully assist to tide stock -through the severe months of July and August. Now is the time to pre pare the land for turnip crops, and either the end of December or any time in January is the best for turnip sowing, but much depends on sowing the seed at the time of rain to get a plant. Weo have known a good crop on one side of a pad dock, while the other side of the same field was almost a failure, through being sown only a few days later in dry weather. We would also remind our small sheep farming friends that it is time to remove the rams from their flocks. The losses of last winter should not be forgotten, and if the rams are turned in with the ewes on the 1st April, lambs may be expected in the beginuing of September, which is quite early enough for our climate. The premier topic at this time of the year with residents of the country districts is undoubtedly the weather, and how the crops and grass are growing. In the Scottsdale and Iingarooma districts the season has been most favourable for grow ing grass, and at present the feed in these parts is said to surpass anything else in the island. Notwithstanding there is such luxuriant feed there seems to be verylittle stock in these districts, and people say that you could not buy a fat beast at any price. Sheep are equally as scarce. Melbourne mutton finds its way into these parts. For weeks past this has been the case, and stock is still very scarce. Ringarooma and Scottsdale have been considerably drawn upon during the past twelve months to supply the Launceston market, and the scarcity existing at present has been the result. The district is soon cleared of stock, and local residents, who are sup posed to know, assert that the Iingarooma district cannot at present carry suflicient stock to supply Launceston with, say, 15 head of cattle per week. This refers of course to the land that is at present opened up, which is only a very small proportion of the whole. There are thousands of acres of splendid land locked up under the Mineral Lands Act, which have been pros pected over and over again, and no indica tions of minerals found upon them. Yet another plan is suggested for the destruction of rabbits. This latest pro position is by Professor Watson,' of the Adelaide University. The professor pur poses the introduction of a parasite pecu liar to rabbits alone, whose presence engenders a fatal disease. Writing to the S. A. Register on the description of the course of the disease, Professor Watson says that "at first there is apparently little the matter with the rabbit. It soon, however, shows a few crusts about its face, which extend by continuity of epidermal tissue, as well as by auto-infection from scratching, to more distant parts of its integumental surface. It begins to lose flesh from loss of appetite, unrest, and slow septic intoxication resulting from the venous and lymphatic absorption of the products of a hitherto purely localised and easily curable cutaneous affection. Exten- sive suppuratidn,principally of the cervical and sub-maxillary lymphatic glands, cor- responding to the lymphatic-capillary areas of the face, supervenes. In like manner the absorbed toxic matter circulating in the blood induces coagulation and exten- sive thrombosis (plugging) in various parts of its venous system, and usually some low form of pneumonia intervening, mercifully puts an end to its sufferings." The above plan for the innoculation and consequent death of the rabbit, has the advantage of being peculiarly adapted for application in rocky fastnesses and belts of scrub, which on account of their almost inaccessible character, become the happy breeding grounds of this prolific pest. It is in coun try of this kind, where the rabbits are thickest, that the victims of the disease will necessarily be both absolutely and relatively the most numerous. In older animals this disease is relatively slow, last ing more than a year, but in consequence it allows them for a longer period to be a source of infection to their younger brethren, in whom there is a relatively greater predisposition to acquire the para- site, and in whom from some inherent pyogenic tendency on their part the result ing disease runs a more rapid but none the less fatal course. The professor proposes, therefore, the introduction into these colo- nies of a few German rabbits infested with this parasite,thereby constituting a nucleus which would soon produce the disease in some thousands of their Australian cousins. A stock of infected animals could thus be formed, from which samples could be dis- tributed, and the propagation of a disease encouraged, which when left to itself leads infallibly to the death of the patient, and indirectly to that of his kindred. The great point in connection with this alleged rabbit scourge is the fact that its being peculiar to the rabbits, it is harmless to both man and sheep. Agriculture is carried on in Cape Colony (says the Australasian) amid the advan tages and disadvantages of a semi-tropical climate. Heavy crops of oats, wheat, barley, maize, and other farm products are obtained without irrigation in the coast districts, and with irrigation in the dry parts of the colony, but rust is a serious drawback, especially to the wheat crop. From 40 to 50 bushels of wheat to the acre.are obtained when the crops are not injured by rust, but the disease occurs too frequently to allow a high average to be obtained. Double, three-furrow, and four-furrow ploughs are used in culti vating the land, and in harvesting modern machinery, including the reaper and binder, is employed, but the farmers find it difficult to compete against the cheap grain imported from Australia and New Zealand. The rate of labour is low, Kaffres working (almost as well as Europeans, it is stated) for 2a a day, but still the farmers find it dificult to compete against im ported farm produce. Instead of export ing cereals, large quantities of wheat, oats, and barley are annually imported. As rust is one of the greatest bars to the development of farming, the study of rust proof varieties of rwheat has received a good deal of attention, and several kinds with remarkable rust-resisting qualities have been discovered. Thiese varieties have been obtained by selecting odd ears, which have escaped the rust, out of the crops. They are wheats with hard clean straw comparatively free from flaggy growth and ripening early in time season. Seed of these wheats could be got by our Department of Agriculture on application to the Cape Government. The potato fields around Belfast, Koroit, and Warrnambool, Victoria (thoughl in the first-named neighbourhood several farmers suffered by a flood about a month ago, necessitating re-pLant ime g in some instances) are looking grand, and the exceptional yields for whlichl these districts have long been famous will be repeated this year, according to presentappearancos. Farmers in these localities are paying a little more attention and carefulness to the cultivation of their potatoes, and considerable trouble is now taken to procure a change of seed of the best varieties. This year great care has been exercised in this direction, and as a result the quality and quantity produced are likely to be both improved. Thie cereal crops are looking as well as the potato fields; and, given mn exemption from too long a drought, which is rarely experienced in the coast districts, and freedom from the other farmers' plagues in the shlape ofrust, caterpillar, etc., we shall be in a position to record in a fewr months the muost pros perous year for the farming community with which they hIave been favoured for a long time past. Mr. E. J. Morris, of Stapleton Court Farm, writes to an English paper, advo cating thie cross between the liereford bull and the shorthorn cow, for the purpos-s of the ordinary mixed husbandry and dairy ing. He says:-I Ihave made many experi ments in crossing the two breeds,and found that the Hereford bull was by far the most impressive sire. Calves sired by the liere ford rescmbled their sire much more closely

in colour, hair, and flesh than calves sired by the shorthorn; and the Cheltenham butchers have told me that the best oxen they hang up in their shops are bred in that way,always possessing a great amount of lean meat with great aptitude to fatten. It will also be remembered that the cham pion ox at Islington last show was bred'in the same way. I would, therefore,str'ongly recommend farmers keeping a herd. of shorthorn dairy cows to cross them with a Hereford bull. They will get much har dier and bctteristeers and barrens.; while many of the heifers will turn out capital milkers, and the bad ones can be weeded out after their first calf and fed. Inam per fectly certain, after a long experience in each breed, that the Hereford is not nearly so liable to disease as the shorthorn. Hoose in calves and yellows in cows are nearly unknown in Hereford herds, while there is no doubt as to their superior hardiness and longevity. I have myself a descendant of a cow which was born when her dam was over 30 years of age, and which bred twin bulls (entered at the "Hereford Stud Book ") in her thirtieth year. An experiment in ensilage is reported as having been undertaken by Mr. George Currie, of the Puckawidgee station, in the Deniliquin district, Victoria. The grass is there more than ordinarily luxuriant, and he has moved about 16 or 20 tons of it, and placed it in two silos, about equal quantities in each. Heintends to open one of these silos in about six months. Mr. COrrie con tends that hundreds of tons of grass could be moved from the pastures this year with out being missed, and that if his experi ment is a success an economical means will be indicated of in some measure guarding against disastrous droughts. He is also try ing another experiment with the grass with the object of preserving its sweetness and succulence for a long period. ie hasplaced the grass in an ordinary wool press in a bale, as is done with wool, and, after sub jecting it topressure, he sews the bales up in the ordinary way. By this means lhe manages to put about 6 or 7 cwt of grass into each bale. The whole of the exterior surface of the bale is then smeared with tar, so as to prevent the air from reaching the contents. The bales are then stacked away in a dry place, and will also be opened in about six months for inspection.