Obrazy na stronie

Agriculture has ceased to be a practice of mere routine; submit to attempts conclusive, by their importance, the and it knows how to fulfil the task imposed upon it. easy means which is recommended to it by a conscientious It has suffered too much from the scourge to which M. experimenter, and, better still, by a wealthy man. Décoste believes he has discovered a preventive, not to

(Signed) Eug. Gavot.

WENLOCK FARMER'S CLUB. LECTURE ON ARTIFICIAL MANURES, BY PROFESSOR VOELCKER. A meeting of the members of the Wenlock Farmers' Club, material-phosphates, as the chemists called them. In some was held at the Raven Inn, on Monday, Dec. 21, to hear a cases again, the failure must be attributed to the artificial lecture on the “ Agricultural and Commercial Value of Arti- manure which has been supplied ; and he grieved to say that ficial Manures,” by Dr. Augustus Voelcker.

in the present day there was a much larger number of inferior Dr. Voelcker commenced by observing that there are two than superior kinds of manures sold. The diagrams would classes of persons who, upon the subject of the utility of agri- show the analyses of different kinds of manure. One of cultural chemistry, entertain diametrically opposed opinions. them was the London Economical, which at one time made a One of them think nothing more is necessary for successful great noise, and was used ia different parts of England and farming ibau to read one or two books upon agricultural che- Scotland. It was accompanied by a small volume of testimomistry, aud perhaps Mr. Mechi's letters, or some similar nials, all speaking of it as a most efficient manure ; whereas it popular treatise, containing a strange admixture of science and contained nothing wbich was koown as possessing fertilizing practice ; and this kind of knowledge they believe will enable properties in a very high degree. If any good effect had a man to dispense with that vast amount of experience which therefore been produced by its application, it must be attri. every one who has tried his band at farming knows is requi- buted rather to the good farming, or to an uncommonly good site, no matter how clever a man may be, if he would make a season, wbich, as was well known, often was more effective living by farming; while the other class think that agricul- than the best manure (Hear, hear). And indeed it was almost tural chemistry, like all other sciences, is, to use a plain word, impossible by experiments, continued even for two or three all "humbug." The truth bere, as in many other things, lies seasons, to ascertain the practical value of a manure ; but in in the middle. A mere knowledge of science will never make the loug run a really good masure will be found out. He a man a good farmer; but at the same time, it is of very great remembered the time when there were almost as many people advantage if, in addition to practical experience, he has a against guano as there were now for it. Not very long ago knowledge of the priociples of science. Moreover, young men hardly any purchaser for bones could be found ; and even now with a scientific knowledge would make much greater progress no bones were used on the continent, hence the large imporin useful experience than others who were ignorant of the tations of that article to this country. Everybody knew that principles of chemistry. The great utility of science to farm- artificial manures were more efficacious under some circuming is not so much direct as indirect- it does not dispense stances than others; and why? Because the effect produced with that practice, without which no excellency could be by artificial manure would be just in proportion as it supplied acquired, but enables the farmer to make better use of it. the ingredients which were deficient in the soil. Artificial Very frequently, in lectures of that description, the mistake manures sometimes failed too, by reason of the mechanical was made of aiming at too much-a large number of subjects condition of the land being such that it could not produce its were mixed up together, and the audience went away more or legitimate results. For instance, fresh bone-dust does not act less muddled. It was also not unfrequently thought that in upon the soil at all for the first year, very little the second, order to make an impression a little exaggeration was peces. and only a partial effect the third. For want of sufficient air sary. The very fact, however, that this club had existed, and the material remains very much in the coudition after the first kept up with spirit for a number of years, was a sufficient six or twelve mouths in which it is put in. Excess of moisreason, if he had no other, why he should not attempt in this ture was often another reason why manures were upproductive. way to create a little temporary excitement. He should Without good draining no amount of artificial or natural confine himself to one very important subject—that of artificial manure would produce a very large crop. It would be seen manures, and attempt to convey some views on the subject, then that the practical efficacy of artificial manures is known which he trusted would be of some use in their practice as by a variety of circumstances; and it would also be clear farmers (Hear, hear). There could be uo question as to the that the commercial value of artificial manure does not necesgreat improvements which have taken place since artificial sarily coincide with its practical efficacy-the commercial value manures have been introduced into farming. The great of artificial manure being much more fixed in its character demand for artificial manures is the best proof that in many than the practical value. For instance, under some circuminstances they have not been misapplied, for no man will stances lime produced an astonishing effect upon the land ; in spend money for a succession of years upon something which other cases none whatever. In the neighbourhood of Cirenbrings him no useful result. The fact, therefore, that new cester no good farmer limes; and upon examination the soils companies and new businesses are started almost everywhere, are found to contain sufficient lime to meet the requirements proves that artificial manures, when judiciously applied, are a of the growing crop. In the generality of cases, however, the great boon to the agricultural community. Within the last soil does not partake of the character of the subjacent rock three or four years manufacturers of artificial manures have -most of our soils being soils of transportation, and do not sprung up like mushrooms, and it was therefore not to be belong exactly to the rock on which they rest. Hence a wondered at that some inferior descriptions bave been offered general geological knowledge will not be a sufficient practo the police of the farmer. It must also not be forgotten tical guide-nothing short of an examiuation of the surface that in many instances artificial manures have proved complete will decide when a man should lime and when not. The prace failures. The question, therefore, arose, What is the reason tical efficiency of artificial manure is determined by expeof these failures ? It was not always easy to discover rience, and does not necessarily coincide with the price at the reason. In some cases artificial manures have been which it is bought in the market, but on its particular adaptainjudiciously applied ; i. e., in too large or too small quanti- tion to the land where it is applied. In most soils phosphoric ties. He had seen guano used in quantities that would cer-acid was deficient, and hence really effective manures contained tainly do more harm than good—too large, that was, for a very considerable proportion of phosphates. Again, in some the soils or crops to which it was applied, to the exclusiou of descriptions of produce-corn, &c.-ammoniacal matter was of farm-yard manure and other manures more suited for root very great utility, because ammoniacal ingredients were genecrops. In passing, he observed that guano should not be rally deficient in the soil. It was also found that alkaline used generaliy upon any soils for crops dependent upon the matter, potash and soda, produced very great effects wben apdevelopment of the roots. For turnips, mangolds, and other plied to the land. This was the conclusion, then, to which root crops, the manure should have a large proportion of bone they must arrive : phosphates, and substances which, on de


composition, are ready-formed ammonia; substances contain- | their cost. Bearing in mind, then, that the value of artifiing nitrogen; and alkaline matters, more especially potash, cial manures is to be estimated by the amount of nitrogen are the most aniversally efficient manures. These are also thé (ammonia) and phosphates which they contain, there would more expensive manuring constituents, so that to some extent be no difficulty in applying this test to the different manures sold the practical and commercial value of artificial manure go hand to farmers. The Economic Manure, to which he had referred, in-band; but, on the other hand, it would be wrong always to contained very little of these ingredients. A sample of Mexican determine what you should pay for artificial manure by the guano (as would be seen from the diagram) contained only 18 effect which it produces. In some cases he had seen onper- per cent. of phosphate of lime (one-third of that contained in phosphates applied upon lands which contained in themselves bone dust) and a mere trace of ammonia. Anotber manure, a large quantity of phosphates, and therefore the extra supply advertised as the very essence of Peruvian guano, consisted did no good whatever. These, however, were exceptional cases, chiefly of burnt clay, carbouate of lime, and a little sheep's and did not often occur. The question and a very important dung. (Laughter.)' The learned professor tben directed one it was—then arose : what description of manure oight attention to the diagrams showing the composition of the you to use ? and secondly, what ought you to pay for a ma- best guano (for corn) and the best superphosphates for root nure of a certain character! No person should understand so crops. These manures varied considerably in their compowell as the farmer himself what is really required for bis par- pent parts, and their effect when applied to the land must ticnlar farm; and in practical matters no fixed rule can be also be vastly different. In one of the samples it would be laid down. Some general hints may be thrown out which seen that there was not more than a fourth as much phoshave been collected from a number of experiences in various phate as that contained in another sample. In the highest districts, which are useful as a basis ; and it is from the expe- there was no less than 40 per cent. of soluble and insoluble rience of farmers living in many counties in England and Scot- / phosphates, and this could not be sold for less than £12 per land we know that, generally speaking, ammoniacal or nitro- With this exception the other manures—though varygenous matters are peculiarly beneficial to coro crops. In ing so much in quality-were about the same price, from £6 making this statement, he left entirely untouched the ques- to £7 10s. How could you ascertain which really was the tion wbether mineral substances are not an advantage in some most valuable article ? To take it up, and smell it, in order instances for corn. He knew that they were. But, on the to discover its quality, was simply ridiculous. In the course whole, substances rich in nitrogen are applied with great benefit of the year he examined some hundred specimens of superto corn crops. Hence good rotten dung was better than fresh phosphates; yet he had not yet attained to that practical manure, because weight for weight it contained a larger acquaintance with it to be able by looking at it to ascertain amount of nitrogen. He wished them to understand that he whether it was good or bad. They all looked very much alike, did not recommend well-rotted dung under all circumstances ; and smelled more or less disagreeable. In nine cases out of because it was generally better to take the manure as fresh as ten, as he had said, the farmer wants either guano or superpossible, and get all tbat was valuable out of it upon the land. phosphate, and be should confine himself to these manures. But because rotten manure contained a larger amount of nitro- As to guano, when farmers buy this they ought to receive in gen in the shape of ammoniacal salt, it generally produced writing a guarantee that it really is genuine Peruvian with greater effects than the fresh. So with guano-a small quan- which they are supplied. But if there is any suspicion, a very tity of this produced such extraordinary results, because it simple test would prove whether it is well grounded or not. contained in one cwt. as much ammonia as a ton of well- A trustworthy opinion of its genuineness could be obtained at rotted farmyard manure. The effect of manures did not depend the moderate expense of seven or eight shillings. Without upon anything mysterious, Manure from half starved animals this, however, good Peruvian guano has such marked qualities, would never be very good, no matter how much it was turned, and varies so little in its composition, that any one may for and it was not the mere rotting that made it good. In good Peru- bimself ascertain its quality. When burned it should leave vian guano there was from 16 to 17 per cent. of ammonia. one-third of itself a perfectly white ash-adulterated guano It was important that they should recollect that there was produces more ash, and is coloured; this ash, on being disa great difference between good Peruvian guano and that solved in acid, should leave no perceptible amount of sand. which had been brought over since the best layers had been At any rate, it would be easy to obtain in writing from the cleared away. Io good guano there was also a large propor- dealer a guarantee that what he supplied is genuine. Supertion of phosphates or bone earth. The solid part of bones phosphate is a manure that can be produced in a variety of consists of phosphoric acid and lime, and this would explain ways, its efficacy depending, unlike that of guano, on the why it is that good guano produces a good effect upon tur. amount of phosphates it contains ; and not only upon the nips. Experience had likewise shown that phosphoric ma- amount of material, but upon the state of preparation it has pures were especially beneficial to root crops--bone dust undergone. Between soluble and insoluble phosphates there and some inferior kinds of guano, having phosphate of lime was a great difference, not only in their efficacy, but in as their characteristic constituents, were the manures best the expense to which the manufacturer is at to produce adapted to turnips, mangolds, et cetera. Alkaline salts was them. Mauuring constituents to enter into plants must bea very good manure for root crops. It would be admitted by come soluble ; phosphates, when in a condition to be readily all who had any experiene in the application of artificial taken up by plants, must be far more efficacious than the same manures, that guano and superphosphate were the two most constituents in a state in which they cannot be absorbed by Taluable, in a commercial point of view, that could possibly the rootlets. To illustrate this, a valuable raw material was be used in agriculture. Guano, it was well known, was the coprolite, or fossil remains, which had been not altogether cormost successful agency they could apply to wheat or grain rectly termed coprolites. That term signified the petrified ex. and grass lands, while süperphosphate was most applicable to crement of animals; but the substances known as coprolites roots.

Saldanha guano, which was cheaper than the best were in reality the fossil bones of those animals which in disPeruvian, produced a better result when applied to roots, tant ages inhabited the regions where they were found. because it contained more phosphate. If they depended en- They were also more correctly known by the name of pseudotirely upon guano they would have too much leaf and not croprolites, and were in reality nothing more than fossil bones. suficient bulk. A series of experiments which he had con- With regard to their composition he might observe that they tiaued for four years convinced him that they could not dis- did not contain any organic matter; they contained only pense entirely with ammonia for root crops, but it produced mineral substances, and amonget others pho phate of lime. In frequently more harm than good. To spend, therefore, a its crude state, however, this phosphate was of no use whate large sum in buying ammonia (which is a very expensive ever; it produced no effect, no matter how finely it was powmaterial) for root crops was to make a great practical blundered. He had tried it repeatedly, some eight years ago; and der; for phosphate was one-seventh the cost, and produced although finely powdered, it remained insoluble, even when infinitely better results wben applied to roots. Commercially attacked by acetic acid. Hence there was always some risk of speaking, ammonia is the most expensive ingredient used in baving a portion of insoluble and useless material in supersuperpbosphates. Alkaline salts, which are occasionally phosphates. Bones were rendered only soluble by expending found in artificial manures, are likewiso expensive materials | large sums of money in buying expensive acids; hence soluble -too expensive, in fact, to be used with advantage in agri- bone earth ia worth at least three times as much as it is in its culture. For this reason most artificial manures do not con- crude state as insoluble phosphate. It may be asked if, when tain any appreciable quantity of these expensive salts-the these acids came into contact with the tender fibre of the efect they produce upon the land is not commensurate with plant, would they not be injurious to it? There was, however,

in most soils a natural provision against this ; there was gebe. which was now made for guarantees. After thanking them
rated in the soil lime, or oxide of iron, or alumina, or some for their attention, the learned professor resumed his seat
other constituent, which neutralised any such effect. Even loudly cheered.
oil of vitriol was soon dispersed and neutralised by these con- The CHAIRMAN said he was sure all felt equally with
stituents. When applied to land, therefore, the superphosphate himself much indebted to the learned gentleman for his
became insoluble. Hence it did not enter into the composition able and lucid address. He had never heard a plainer
of the plant as applied. But they would be inclined to ask elucidation of the principles which rendered artificial ma-
what was the value of the manure if it did not enter into the nures of importance to soils. There had been lately dis-
composition of the plant immediately on its applicatiou? To covered, as of course the Professor was aware, some large
this he would reply that the great value of superphosphate deposits of guano at Kooria Mooria, in the Eastern Seas;
was owing to its sub-division, for in its finely divided condi- and it appeared that there was now upon the seas some-
tion it possessed properties differing very materially from thing like 100,000 tons of this guano. From the analysis,
ordinary insoluble phosphate of lime. The lecturer took a it appeared to be equal in ammonia to the Peruvian, and,
solution of bone dissolved in acid, to which he added am- like some of the other guanos, to have a larger proportion
monia. The result was, that the whole of the phosphate was of phosphates. They would all readily agree that it was to
rendered soluble, the solution appearing to be converted into a the root-crops they must chiefly look; and not only how
thick glutinous mass. In this finely-divided state, it was easily best to prepare the land for the present crop, but how to
taken up by the plant. This he illustrated by adding to the get it into good condition for the subsequent produce. He
precipitated phosphate rome strong vinegar (acetic acid), when did not gather from the lecture whether ammonia was so
the whole was instantly dissolved, although this comparatively volatile as to be less available for subsequent crops—whe-
weak acid would scarcely have bad any action on bone-dust, if ther it was all absorbed by the cereal crop; and this was a
applied in the first instance ; thus showing that by resorting very important question for the farmer, Peruvian guano,
to this mode they obtained the advantage of more energetic at its present price, was almost a forbidden fruit to the
action. Pounded or ground bones could never be divided into farmer; and it was certainly worth inquiring, whether the
such fine particles, or spread so squally or evenly over the soil, ammonia, which made it valuable, benefited the land be-
as could be accomplished when dissolved in the manner he had yond one crop. It was most important that they should
described ; and their bulk greatly increased, for the one was know that this expensive manure was not adapted to root-
mechanical action and the other was chemical. When bones crops; for, if they could buy a better article for little more
were used first it was usual to break them into one-inch than half the money, why should they not do so? It would
pieces ; when they became dearer they were reduced to one- be a great advantage if farmers could be got to adopt some
half the size, for the farmer discovered that when more rule ; but of all men on earth to get to stick to a point,
uniformly spread balf the quantity was just as good. And 80 farmers were the most difficult. If you talked to half-a-
in the application of artificial manures--it was everything to dozen different men, you would find that they each enter-
have it, not here and there, but well distributed, so that the tained a separate opinion ; and nothing would induce them
roots of the plant could reach it, and take up the ingredients to take any trouble to ascertain the truth. It might not
congenial to its growth. Some persons contended that it was be very agreeable to hear this; but it was quite true. The
an advantage to have a portion of the phosphate insoluble, in result of that day's market, when the farmer was offered
order that it may remain after the rain had washed away the 6s. 6d. for his wheat, was not very agreeable: it was not
soluble portion, to maintain the after-growth of the plant. calculated to make him very happy, seeing at how much
This was all moonshine and theory, and never could have been trouble and expense he had been to rear it. Their duty
founded on practice or correct principles. It was certainly a clearly was to be as saving as possible-to ascertain which
most convenient doctrine for artificial manure manufacturers to was the best manure, and to buy that, and not confide
say that it was as well, and better, to have a portion inso- altogether to the character of the dealer. Nitrate of soda
luble, because the more soluble the phosphate was the more was some time ago highly recommended as a manure for
expensive it was. The conclusion, therefore, to which he would cereal crops ; and, as he understood there was a large
ead them, was this : In buying superphosphate, let them as- supply on the coast of Peru, he could not understand how
certain that they had a large proportion of soluble phospbates. it was that it was not exported in larger quantities than at
There was no reason why the farmer should go to the expense present. Another subject of some importance to the
of an analysis ; let the dealer supply one; it was his business farmer was top-dressing. He should like to know, from
to show what he had to sell. If a dealer had an objection, and some of the practical farmers present, whether any prac-
said, “My manure is as good as anybody else's, but I cannot tical benefit arose to the crop from top-dressing. A dressing
tell you exactly how much soluble phosphate there is in it,” of nitrate of soda or sulphate of ammonia made the crops
they may be sure that in nine cases out of ten be had not a very look splendidly green ; but did any real good accrue!
good article to show. In the absence of an analysis, the dealer Mr. W. THURSFIELD said he bad found great advantage
should be required to give a guarantee that it contained so from top-dressing.
much of soluble phosphate; for upon this the value of the The CHAIRMAN said, it was probably from want of accurate
mapure chiefly depends, and not only upon the amount of its observation, but he perceived no practical benefit to the crop
various constituents; analyzation, therefore, was not always a on that part of the field wbich he had top-dressed; it was
sufficient test of the full value of a manure, although of course much greener, but at harvest he saw no difference. It was
the material must be present to bave a really efficacious ma- very true that they could not lay down any general principles ;

He was most anxious to point out how desirable it was every person ought to be able by observation to know what
tbat the farmer should not be content to buy his superphos- was best suited for his own land, for there was scarcely a farm
phate, relying entirely upon the respectability of the dealer. of any extent which did not consist of several kinds of land.
Frequently the dealer may be a very honest man, and yet may Hence the importance of knowing sufficient of general princi.
not know bimself what be is selling ; the manufacturer him- ples to be able to apply one's common sense to particular
self may be a perfectly trustworthy man, but he may have some cases. The value of an institution like that at Cirencester,
very erroneous notions as to the relative value of soluble and in- | where the students were made acquainted with the practical
soluble phosphate ; and such ideas may not enable him to application of science, was not sufficiently known and could
produce so cheaply an effective manure as another manufac- not be over-estimated. It would be an excellent thing if
turer. The farmer is not to pay for the character of the dealer farmers could send their sons there for a short time, and the
or the manufacturer, but for the character of the manure knowledge that he would acquire would certainly make him
(Hear, hear). The cheaper he could get it the better, but hy all a better farmer. What could be more important than for the
means secure a guarantee. These few practical hints he hoped farmer to know that coprolite in an undissolved state was
would be of advantage to them in purchasing artificial manure. useless on the land ? It was, however, with some surprise
It was only by these means they could check the nefarious that he heard that one cwt. of guano was equal to a ton of
practices which now and then are attempted upon the farmer. farmyard manure. To put upon land 3 or 4 cwt. of guano
The adulteration of guano bad been practised last year to a far was a good dressing-three or four tons of manure would do
greater extent than he had ever known it before-as many as nothing at all.
three-fourths of the samples he had received were adulterated; Mr. W. THURSFIELD asked what kind of bones were
on the other hand. superphosphates appeared to be getting best—those which were calcined, or those in which the glue
more valuable, and this he attributed to the general demand

was left.

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Dr. VOELCKER said, the value of the bones would be re- see that he could buy a manure to answer his purpose better duced just in proportion as the nitrogen was taken out of than guano at half the cost. them; but inasmuch as the phosphate was made more available Dr. VOELCKER in acknowledging the compliment said, the the deterioration was more than made up. He would therefore difference in price was not the only advantage gained ; for in an rather have boiled bones.

experiment which he had made upon some poor land, he found Mr. THURSFIELD inquired how it was when he put lime that guano produced about six tons per acre, while superphosupon a field for barley, after it had been manured by guano phate produced double-nearly 12 tons. and superphosphate for turnips, the crop was not so good in Mr. Fowler proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Benson for that part of the field as in the portion where he put no the able manner in which he had presided over the meeting. linne?

Mr. Evan DAVIES seconded it. It was often the case that Dr. VOELCKER thought the land did not require lime after farmers prided themselves upon the amount of money they being well manured with superphosphate. In answer to the had expended in top-dressing, without, he was afraid, careChairman the learned Professor furiber said, that he did not fully weighing the results. Last year he top-dressed part of intend to convey that no ammonia was beneficial to root a field; and he must confess tbat, so far as he could observe, crops; but generally speaking the plant absorbed enough of there was no difference in the crop between that which was atmospheric ammonia, and any large amount applied would do top-dressed and that which was not. The harvest came upon harm. In speaking of coprolites be meant to say that al- them rather suddenly, and he was not able to weigh carefully though they were useless to the farmer, they were of the the product of each poction as he intended to do, otherwise he greatest use to the manufacturer. All soils more or less stored should have been better prepared to give the results than he up with great care the ammonia--the only exception being was at present. The remarks of the Professor upon the subloose soils. If, therefore, he had his choice of manures for root ject of soluble phosphates should be carefully considered, for crops he should take nothing but phosphates, for in most cases it was now clear that they should secure those manures which animals were fed on the roots and supplied, with other sources, had not ouly phosphate in their composition, but having that suficient ammonia.

valuable ingredient in a soluble form. The CHAIRMAN said, his land would be in a pitiable meas The CHAIRMAN, after thapking them, asked what protecif he were to feed on it, and it would take some time to bring tion the farmer had that he was supplied with real phosphates ? the land into a proper state. Strong land, in his opinion, was Clearly but one-to make the manure himself, by buyivg the the best for turnips-of course he did not mean wet land, be. bones and dissolving them in acid. cause land not drained, with a quantity of sour water upon it, Dr. VOELcker thought it was certainly not the best plan was not conducive to the health of any plant. But those lands for the farmer to make his own superphosphate. Upon their which were most favourable for growing swedes and turnips farm, up to within the last three years, they had manufacwere just those which the farmer could not eat off. He pre- tured their own superphosphate, but they had now discovered sumed, however, that the Professor meant that if the turnips that it was much better to buy it ready manufactured, in were taken to the stall, and consumed there, the land ultimately addition to the inconvenience of doing so. If the buyer received the manure.

obtained a guarantee that the manure contained a certain Dr. VOELCKER: Certainly; for, to eat off some soil would quantity of soluble phosphate, he wanted nothing more. be to ruin the land. With respect to top-dressing, he had This constituent was a distinct chemical substance, and how always looked upon this as patch-work, which on a good farm the manufacturer produced it was nothing to the farmer. should be dispensed with, although it was very useful now and The manufacturing of artificial manures was now quite an then. But when the farmer bad been prevented prosecuting art; and the superior appliances at the disposal of the large his regular work, and the land was not in a good state, a top- manufacturer rendered it easy for him to produce a good dressing of nitrate of soda and salt-applied in the spring- manure at a price not far above what the farmer would have was very beneficial. To manure well in rotation however to pay for the crude material. Thus many intelligent manuFould enable them to dispense in a great measure with top- facturers make a better superphospate than can be made from dressing, although on grass land this was of the utmost bones and acids alone. utility.

After a little further conversation, the meeting broke up. Mr. THURSFIELD appealed to one or two gentlemen present to whom he had recommended his plan of top-dressing, aad they said it had answered.

DR. VOELCKER ON THE COMPARATIVE VALUE Rev. H. W. Wayne mentioned that some soils, upon which OF ARTIFICIAL AND FARM-YARD MANURES. Fery poor crops of grain were given, were extremely deficient in alumioa. He wished to know whether alumină could be On Tuesday Professor Voelcker delivered a lecture on the applied to the the land in a concentrated form, or must it above subject, in the Lion Rooms, Shrewsbury. Mr. Joseph be carted in the shape of clay ?

Meire, of Berrington, presided. Dr. VOELCKER answered in the negative.

The attendance was not large. Rev, H. W. WAYNE said there were some springs in that The CHAIRMAN said the subject upon which they were neighbourhood, which contained in solution a large amount of about to hear a very interesting leeture was a very important line; Dot he should like to know if it would be worth while one to the farmer. to mix salt with this water, where it could easily be con- Dr. VOELCKER said there had been a good deal of talk Feyed over the land, and thus have a deposit of carbonate of about the relative merits of farm-yard manure and artificials. side.

Some would have nothing but the former, while others eviDr. Voelcker replied that ordinarily there was in water dently thought the perfection of good farming was to use an nfcient lime to answer all practical purposes ; and the ex- unlimited quantity of artificial manure. Many of the latter periment would not in his opinion produce any marked result. gentlemen troubled themselves very little about what they la reply to another question the learned professor said, super really bought; it sufficed for them to expend a certain amount phospbate by being diluted was not made more fit to apply to of money on some description of artificial manure, which might plants but inasmuch as it could by being diluted be so much be entirely valueless for their particular purpose. Such, for better distributed over the land, immense benefit resulted from instance, as the London Economic, the Essence of Guano, waing the liquid manure-drill.

and others. Now, farm-yard manure was an excellent thing Rer H. 'W. WAYNE then in very complimentary terms in its proper place, and so was any other description of proposed a vote of thanks to the learned lecturer; and after manure. Some artificial manures, which were exceedingly making some remarks upon the utility of these gatherings, valuable, lost their efficacy from being improperly applied, and referred to the curions fact that, according to an old Roman a great quantity of valuable manure at the present day was inter, the ancient Britons were in the habit of using as manure wasted on farms for the want of knowledge pecessary for its what they took out of the mines, thus showing that from a application. Those who had not sufficient intelligence or very early period our ancestors had been accustomed to enrich general kpowledge on the subject of plants would be less the surface of the land.

likely to go wrong if they followed the old-fashioned routine Nr. BLAKEWAY seconded the proposition with much plea- and used farm-yard manure, than by using artificial manure, Ele. The meeting ought to be much obliged to the talented which at least would be of no use to them. Some knowledge fetarer for the important knowledge he had communicated, ought to be bad of the wants of the different crops that grow for there was not a farmer present who would not be able to in rotation. Those wants could not well be laid before his

hearers without a reference to the character or properties of | in the soil being in too large proportion. Some people had a the soil to wbich they were applied. On the whole, the proper curious way of estimating the skill of the farmer by the amount system of manuring required a great deal of rudimentary of the manure which he put on bis laud. Some men were knowledge, which could not be treated of in a single lecture. content with eight tons of farm-yard manure, while others used He would therefore rather offer a few remarks on the compa- as much as twenty tons to the acre. The farmer, however, rative advantages of natural and artificial manure; and each who tried the larger dose did not often repeat the experiment, of these possessed peculiarities of their own, which rendered for he became convinced that, in farming, what was good in one them perfectly well adapted to special purposes. As would instance was not good in another. The great advantage of be seen on reference to the diagrams, one peculiarity of farm- artificial manures was that they contained special fertilizing yard manure was its extreme complexity of character. [The ingredients to the exclusion of other substances, and hence its diagram referred to contained the analysis of the component adaptation to special circumstances. How were these special parts of fresh and rotten manure.] It contained both organic circumstances to be ascertained ? He had no doubt in his own and inorganic food, and was applicable to a variety of mind that bone dust or superphosphate mixed with farm-yard crops, such as corn, root crops, and grass land; and this, manure would be of great advantage, as it would supply the no doubt, was the reason why farm-yard manure was enti- element which was very much deficient infarm-yardmapure, estled to the name of universal manure. It contained every pecially where the manure was produced by young and lean thing required by our cultivated crops. But he did not stock, which absorbed all the phosphate of the food; in the say i hat it should always be used indiscriminately. Another manure from fattening animals there was a large proportion of peculiarity of farm-vard manure was that it exercised this substance, and hence its great value. Phosphates genebeneficial effect on plants, not only supplying direct food to rally speaking were more suitable for root crops, but it was imthem, but producing a highly beneficial mechanical effect on possible to lay down general rules ; the farmer himself ought the soil, especially on stiff clay land. He was a strong ad- to be the best judge, whether in order to obtain a good crop vocate for long dung being applied as soon as possible. In anything else was required. Turnips did not live alone upon the yard manure one great peculiarity was the large amount phosphate; they required a variety of other substancesof water, in fact, this amounted generally to 66 per cent., lime, soda, potash, and other fertilizing matters. It depended and in rotten it amounted to three-fourths of the whole upon the farmer to find this out, and no one else. There was bulk; so that for every ton of active manuring matter, the a good deal of land in this part of the country which required farmer has to cart three tons of useless

materials, even snp- nothing more, in order to obtain good root crops, than bone posing that the remaining ton is composed of nothing else in an efficient state of preparation. The learned professor but valuable fertilizing constituents. This would explain then went on to observe upon the constituent parts of guano why it was that artificial manures were especially adapted and superphosphate, and their application to particular soils for hilly districts and for fields removed a considerable dis-snd for particular crops. [The substance of this part of his tance from the farm-yard. He did not think that farmers lecture will be found in our report of the Wenlock Farmers' al ways took a sufficient account of the wear and tear of Club]. He illustrated the immense importance of examining horses and men in the transit and application of that ma- the manure we buy, by referring to the following table, which nure. If the subject were carefully considered, the farmer proved that some superphosphate contained four times as would think twice before he carted a heavy load of farm- much valuable fertilizing matters as others : yard manure some eight or nine miles from a town, and afterwards applied it to a remote field on the farm; and he would also hesitate before producing farm-yard manure at any expense. Under some circumstances, which every farmer ought to know best for himself, feeding cattle did not pay at all; farmers sometimes made up their minds to feed at å loss, calculating on something for the manure. But it was a very delicate question whether this was the best way of producing manure, or whether it was not better to use the ordinarily-made manure, and apply it in connection with artificial or special manure, the latter term showing that it was adapted for special purposes. If a farm was not in good order, it ought to be brought round by general manure, such as farm-yard manure; but when it was in better condition, to make it go as far as possible, special manure must be resorted to. A peculiarity in artificial ma. nures was that they supplied special fertilizing ingredients to the exclusion of some others which were abundant in farm-yard manure. For instance: In the best Peruvian guano

there was a high per-centage of ammonia, with about 20 or 25 per cent. of phosphate of lime; and that guano was applied for getting an additional crop of corn. Some other artificial manures-bone-dust, for instance-were valuable on account of their containing phosphate of lime, which was favourable to the production of roots, nothing tending to the rapid development of bulb so much as that. He did not mean that phosphates were of no use to corn crops In some soils they produced a marked effect, and he had that morning recommended a gentleman to use superphosphate by way of a trial, to keep up his wheat. There had been a good deal of talk about a deficiency of silica in soils, which prevented corn from standing up. It was remarkable that soils peculiarly liable to corn lying down generally contained a high per-centage of silica. From observations that had been made on the subject, he was inclined to think that what had been said abont silica must be regarded more as a theory rather than a resting on well-ascertained facts. Mr. GEORGE Davies, as a farmer, was much obliged for It had not yet been ascertained how it was that some crops the able and practical lecture which they had just heard. He were stronger than others; and until that was found out, it was wished to know if the learned professor could iell him how red of no use reasoning upon the matter. Corn become laid down clover conld be retained on light soils from February until from a variety of reasons. If the land contained a supply of all June. He had some years ago conversed with Dr. Pepper on the elements necessary for the growth of the plant, a dressing this subject, and was now in communication with Mr. Nesbit

, of guano produced a coarse wheat, which often became laid but the latter gentleman had not answered the question be down. When wheat became laid down it arose from something now put.

Equal to ammonia

gen ..... Per-centage of nitro

Water ...

Sand ..

Alkaline salts ......
Burnt gypsum.....

lime (gypsum)....
Hydrated sulphate of

pbate ..........
Insoluble bone phog..
Equal to bone earth.

soluble phosphate of
Organic matter



1.66 2.01! 1.065


22.16 17.72





16.10 14 76

8.93 trace. 19.26 20.53 14.40 22.03 20.37



100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00

5.16 1.56
6.73 19.50


25.10 28.39 44.20 24.42 40.16 43.05 46.63 43.60


96 10.78



6.38 10.31 3.60 8.55 (9.91) (16.09) (5.61) (13.33) (7.37) (40.11) (31.63)|23.06

5.02 25.70 20.28 14.78


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8.91 10.80 26.89





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