Pasture ground is, at present, often preferred to corn-land, on account of the comparatively less labour which it requires ; and, because it is erroneously believed, that the manure dropped by the cattle enriches the soil, and thus renders it more profitable, when laid down for grain.- Such land is divided into two classes : 1. Meadows, which are frequently overflowed ; and, 2. Uplands, that are considerably more elevated, and consequently dry. The former produce a larger crop of" hay than the latter, and do not require to be manured so frequently; but the hay is generally inferior to that obtained from the uplands. The flesh of animals fattened on the latter, is much finer and more delicate than that of such as are fed in rich meadows ; the luxuriant herbage of which, remarkably promotes the growth of cattle. On the other hand, dry pastures are preferable to meadows ; as they afford food during the winter, and are not so apt to poach on the return of spring : nor are they so liable to be over-run with weeds; advantages which amply compensate for the smaller crops of hay.
Having already pointed out the profitable nature of meadow-land, or that where Irrigation is practicable, under those respective heads, we shall proceed to state the most eligible methods of improving upland pasture.
The first measure to be adopted for this purpose is, the division of the land into fields, each, comprising four, five, or more acres ; to fence the whole with good hedges -, and to plant timber-trees at proper distances, in order to shelter the grass from the boisterous vernal winds. The inclosure, however, ought not to be too small, particularly when the hedge-rows are to be planted with trees: for, if these be placed too closely together, they will render the grass sour, and thus materially injure the pasture.
All weeds, infesting the ground, must be carefully eradicated towards the end of summer, previously to their seed-vessels being formed : when sufficiently dry, they ought to be burnt, and their ashes spread on the land before the commencement of the autumnal rains; after which, the surface of the soil should be levelled, and sown with grass-seed that will vegetate in the succeeding spring.— Where the surface of the ground is of a cold, clayey nature, it may be improved by PaRing and burning ; but, if it be hot and sandy, it will be necessary to apply considerable quantities of chalk, clay, marle, or lime. Every mole-hill should likewise be pared, burnt, and the ashes immediately scattered over the land ; though it will be advisable, to sow the bare spots With grass-seeds, shortly before the rains of autumn.
The next operation is that of levelling veiling the surface with a heavy wooden roller, in the month of February or March, during moist weather ; in consequence of which, the grass will vegetate more luxu-riantly, and the growth of weeds will be counteracted.
In laying down land for pasture, the greatest attention is requisite in the selection of seeds : the best for this purpose are, the finest upland hay-seeds, and the White or Dutch Clover. If the former be sifted from all extraneous substances, three bushels will be fully sufficient for an acre of land : of the latter, eight pounds will be necessary, which ought to be sown after the hay -seeds; because the clover, being considerably heavier than these, will otherwise sink to the bottom ; and its distribution in the ground will be irregular.
When the first grass appears, all weeds must be speedily eradicated ; as they will otherwise impede its growth : and, if suffered to stand till they shed their seed, the land will be so completely overrun, that the herbage will be totally suppressed.
Various methods are practised with a view to enrich pastures, and to promote the growth of thegrass. Among these, rolling the ground two or three times, at proper intervals, during the spring, has been found very beneficial; for it compresses the grass, which thus acquires a thicker bottom : and the clover striking roots from every branch in contact with the ground, they will be matted so closely together, as to form a beautiful thick sward, thatt will cover the whole surface of the land, and flourish during the severest droughts.— Some graziers turn a few sheep.and one or two colts, into each pasture;
Which practice is very successful for the sheep eat down and destroy the rag-wort fSenerio Jacobea, L.) which vitiates many of our best pastures, where oxen only are fed.
New pasture-land may be advantageously stocked with sheep; because those animals will partially check the luxuriance of the grass ; in consequence of which the latter will unite, or mat, at the bottom ; and thus produce a tender herbage for cattle.—Pastures may likewise be materially improved, by alternately mowing and feeding off the crops.
in the counties of Cardigan and York, an excellent practice prevails, which, if it were more gene-rally known, would be the means of ameliorating poor or indifferent pasture-grounds. The farmers put up such lauds as early as possible the the month of May, for the summer season ; during which they pay no other attention, than to eradicate docks, to destroy thistles, etc. In this state, the ground remains till-December, when all the stock is turned in, and every animal will be in excellent condition, without the aid of hay, straw, or oats ; while the milk, or butter, in all respects becomes equal To that produced at any other period of the year. The grass is sweetened by the frost, and remains uninjured by the snow ; but, while the latter covers the ground, it will be necessary to resort to dry food. In the spring, young shoots of grass will burst forth beneath the shelter of the old ones, and both are eaten with avidity. By this practice, land formerly infested with moss, in conse-quence of its having been overstocked and grazed too bare, will soon be covered with palatable herbage : and the moss disappear without the aid of the plough, or of any surface-manure.
For a comparative view of the advantages and disadvantages of pasturing and soiling cattle, the reader is referred to pp. 462—3, of our first volume.—See also Grass, and Meadow.