Having already, in the course of this work, discussed various sub-jects of rural economy, we shall at present confine ourselves to experimental farms, as the articles nece sarily connected with farming, ap-pear in their alphabetical order.
The national importance of agriculture appears to be universally admitted: and though much has been said by others on this subject, we cannot but consider the engross-mg, or concentrating of several farms into one, as a principal cause of the poverty discernible among the lower class of husbandmen, and the late exorbitant price of provisions. Population thus necessarily becomes checked : for many industrious persons who, while in a state of servitude, would be storing up their little earnings against a future period, pre deterred from settling, by the dismal prospect of being unable either to support themselves as day-labourers, or to take a furm consisting of several hundred acres. Hence such inch-Acres.
20 Clever. 20 Rye.
120 acres in six fields.
The first course requires one of the fields to be continued in clover for two years, unless it be culti-vated with buck-wheat, potatoes, or other roots ; when the first year's closer is turned in, after the spring mowing. The potatoes (in Ame-rica) should be planted in June; for in that late season the roots, while bulbing, will receive little vidnals as are better provided with pecuniary means, enjoy what would otherwise maintain perhaps ten small farmers and their families, together with such assistants as it would be requisite for them to employ.
In reflecting on this topic, it is •matter of just astonishment, that no experimental farm, though frequently proposed, has been hitherto undertaken, in a country where agriculture is peculiarly valued; - as, in the western hemisphere,where the arts and sciences are still in their infancy, various institutions of this nature have lately been established. The following plan of a grain-farm, is extracted from the observations of Mr. BordlEy, an intelligent American, whom we have repeatedly mentioned.
171/7 Maize, fallow crop.
171/7 Ditto, for which may occasionally be substituted buck-wheat.
171/7 Barley or rye.
171/7 Wheat, which may be sown with buck-wheat and clover, if the sod be rich.
120 acres in seven fields.
injury from the scorching heat of midsummer. Mr.BordlEy recommends them in preference to buck-wheat ; as this, by running to seed, is apt to impoverish the soil: on the contrary, potatoes, turnips, and other roots, do not materially exhaust the soil; and, if properly cultivated, are, in his opinion,even .meliorating.
If, according to this plan, one field be manured in each year, the six fields, consisting of 20 acres each, will be all manured in rotation ; and those containing 17 acres each, in seven years : an object of the utmost importance, as, independently of the abundant crops raised in consequence of this operation, the soil will thus renew its fertilizing properties. - The net produce of the different sorts of grain and pulse, as well as their respective quality and specific gravity, ought, in each experiment, to be minutely recorded. Mr. B. proposes to continue the annual manuring of each field in rotation ; and particularly recommends the saving of the dung in compact masses, sheltered from the sun; and also, in some measure, from the rain : though he allows, that the manure is not materially injured by the dropping of the rain on the area of the dung-heap, as some portion of moisture is absolutely necessary for promoting its fermentation. He farther advises the making of experiments on detached parts of the soil with lime, gypsum, clay, etc. in order to ascertain with precision their effects on different soils.
In the 4th volume of Annals of Agriculture (1785), Mr. Arthur Young bitterly and justly complains of the unpardonable neglect and indifference shewn to the interests of agriculture, by the Sovereigns and courtitrs of all ages and countries. Since that period, however, an exception prevails in Britain; a Board of Agriculture has been established ; and though we cannot boast of many evident advantages which have resulted from that ex-cellent institution, yet there is every prospect that a national or experimental farm will, at length, be adopted, in order " to hold out as an example to the nation, the most vigorous system of modern substantial improvements in husband-dry." As the late President, Lord SomervillE, has proposed, such an establishment to take place only alter the expiration of four or rive years, we devoutly hope the first President of that Board, Sir JoHN Sinclair, will be enabled to carry this desirable measure into effect, by private subscription, at a much earlier period.
With respect to the expences and profits of farming, we cannot enter into any detail, as such particulars necessarily depend on peculiar circumstances. The common allowance on a farm, was, in Mr. Tull's time, three rents or assessments ; one for the landlord, a second for the expences, and the third for the tenant's subsistence, and for other purposes. There are, however, few farms, even in the present improved state of agriculture, that will constantly afford this increase, or which can be carried on, and maintained at such a charge. For instance, in a farm worth 1001. per annum, if the land be worth 20s. per acre, 1001. will perhaps be sufficient to defray the expences necessarily incurred. But, if the soil of a farm, which is lett at the same total amount of rent, be worth only 10s. per acre, an allowance must be made of 1201. or 1301. per annum, at the least for charges; and 250 3cres of land must be computed to be the extent of the farm, in order to make up the rent, otherwise considerable loss will necessarily be incurred, unless the land be capable of great improvements". It should, however, be remarked, that these proportion subsisted in England about 80 years since, but are now greatly altered; for in-stance, an acre of land then rented at 20s. per annum, pays at present from 21. to 31.; and the price of manual labour is raised nearly in a similar proportion.
According to the modem improved state of agriculture, the expence of cultivating a farm of 1000 acres, consisting partly of pasture, arable, meadow, and other land (the annual rent of which is, by Mr. Macro, of Barrow, Suffolk, stated to be 41ol.) amounted in the year 1780, to 22081. 2s. and 6d. - In order to balance this ex-penditure, the profits of a farm should be about five times the annual rent: and, if the combinations of engrossers be suffered to proceed with impunity, they will, no doubt, in a short time, amount to six or seven times the value of the rent actually paid.