The most common practice of reaping is with sickles ; though, where the scythe can be conveniently employed, it is certainly preferable, on account of its being less fatiguing, and far more expeditious. We are aware of the objections made by farmers against the latter instrument, namely, that it shakes the ear, and consequently numerous grains must be lost ; and that considerable quantities are wasted, by the exposed state in which the corn is left, after being cut down. It is farther urged, that mowing is not only injurious to the health of the labourer, but also mixes noxious weeds among the grain; which, when sown the succeeding year, often completely stifle the growth of the rising crop.
On the other hand, it may be maintained that, if a good scythe be judiciously managed by a skil-ful mower, the corn will both be cut more regularly, and fall to the ground with less concussion than if a sickle were employed. Thus, if the labourer work in the manner directed in the article Mowing, the objection arising from the unhealthiness of the practice will be completely obviated. On the whole, we are of opinion, that reaping is far more troublesome ; and, as the reapers must be continually bending forward, more prejudicial to their health than mow -ing. To facilitate the latter operation, therefore, we propose to give in its proper place, an account of the best Scythes, that may be most advantageously substituted for sickles.