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benefit to the succeeding crops of wheat and maize, and prove so still, wherever this is practised.
Hence, also, in the pi'oposed rotation, the plants alluded to intervene between the crops of wheat, as a supplement and auxiliary to the manuring, which is presumed practicable only once in every five years.
The tendency of all systems of rotation is that of an adjustment of the succession of crops and manures in such a way, that in raising the greatest amount of produce, the fertility of the soil is raised also. The test, therefore, of their value will, with the advancement of science, resolve itself into a question of balance between the fertilising principles which are abstracted from the soil by the produce, and the amount which is returned to it by manures; in which question, if the numerical result shows that we return more than we take away, the system of rotation is good; if the contrary, the system must be bad.
This has been already demonstrated practically and satisfactorily by that eminent traveller, chemist, and agriculturist, Boussingault *, who, with an untiring perseverance, equalled only by his abilities and love of science, lately devoted one year to the chemical analysis, on the one hand, of all the produce which the soil yielded during five years on the farm of Bechelbrunnen; on the other, of all the manure which during that time the farm returned to the soil, in the shape of dung, ashes, gypsum, grasses, stalks, and roots left behind by the harvest, and ploughed in.
The first analysis gave the element of the fertilising principle abstracted from the soil
The second gave that which was restored to it; and the balance between the two proved that, owing to the judicious rotation, the soils of the farm, instead of losing, gained, in five years, on an acre —
* Since writing this, the English translation of Boussingault's "Agriculture" has been published, and, from the range of its usefulness, cannot be too strongly recommended to the English and Colonial farmer.
f Phosphoric pounds - - 34-96
Acids-I Sulphuric „ - - 694-37
(.Chloric „ - - 37-72
Lime „ - - 104.604
Magnesia „ - - 197"78
Potash and soda „ - - 285-52
Silex „ - - 11,885-25
The services rendered to agriculture by the inquiries of Boussingault are of the greatest value: they introduce a positive mode of procedure in agricultural experiments, and by the results they give, will incite either the English public or the English government to assist the able chemists, of whom this country may be justly proud, to devote their time and labour to similar inquiries, and thus enrich the farmer on this side of the channel with data by which he may test his improvements.
Next to irrigation, manure, and rotation, change of the seed of wheat, is a matter of paramount importance and necessity with the greater number of Australian farmers; indeed, without it, all the other improvements are of little avail.
The wheat-grain has, with some exceptions, deteriorated throughout the two colonies: it has a greater per-centage of bran or husk, and a smaller amount of the azotised principles of gluten and albumen, than that originally imported into the colony.
The analysis of wheat raised on the greater number of small farms of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land has generally shown a deficiency'in azote: in cases where the land is exhausted, such deficiency is extraordinary, and proves that the poorer the soil, the poorer the wheat is in those elements which constitute the nourishment of man and animals, thus rendering the conclusion obvious, that unless a proper agricultural system be introduced, the grain will deteriorate still farther.
The following table places the quality of some of the Kuropean, American, and African wheats in their juxtaposition.
TABLE SHOWING TIIE PROPORTION OF GLUTEN CONTAINED IN 100 PARTS OF THE WHEAT OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.
19-5 20-2 18-3 17-2 220 20-0 15-0 26-3 23-0 21-5 19-0 18-0 28-0 30-0 25-0
In the foregoing table, we see the highest average of gluten is 22'5 per cent, in European wheat, and the lowest in South American is 18 per cent.
If we take the amount of gluten in twenty-five different specimens of wheat in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, its average will be greatly below that of the South American.
It would be really invidious and injurious to the Australian farmers to insert here the localities where the wheat, which has been analysed, was grown: suffice it to say, as a warning against the evil with which the most essential interests of society are threatened, that the gluten of the wheat of some of the farms, in both the colonies, does not amount to 4 per cent.
Exceptions are on record; and some of these — as the farm of Strout (Australian Agricultural Company) of Cambden (Mr. M'Arthur's), Ballangola, and that of Captain Rossi's, — are mentioned here, as, from the circumstance of the wheat grown on them containing the highest average of gluten in New South Wales (16 per cent.), they may furnish seed to those farms on which the grain has a lower per-centage of that ingredient.
In Van Diemen's Land, the wheat of Mr. William Archer, grown on the farm of Brickendon, may be pointed out to Tasmanian agriculturists as the best in the island: it contains 18 per cent, of gluten, and its bran does not amount to 22 per cent.
Liebig has shown, that the azotised matter in wheat depends upon the kind of manure; and Stermbstadt has demonstrated by experiments, that wheat raised with the manure of human urine gave 35 per cent, of gluten, while that raised on a soil without manure gave but 9; and thus, too, all wheat below that per-centage found in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, was observed and noted as being grown on an exhausted and unmanured soil.
The necessity of seasoning the seed of wheat, to avert diseases from the crop (such as blight, smut, &c), may be also alluded to.
While in Tasmania, the writer took the liberty of suggesting the use of sulphate of iron; since then, however, Boussingault, who, in these matters, is of great authority, has recommended the sulphate of copper, three ounces to a bushel of wheat, diluted in a quantity of water sufficient to cover the grain,— the soaking not to exceed three hours: and this recommendation, based as it is on most gratifying experiments and results, cannot but be acceptable to Australian agriculturists.
With the introduction of these and other agricultural improvements, which the advance of science daily brings forth, into the two colonies, there is not the least doubt but that the Australian soil will be raised from its present impaired, and in some parts, inert state, to the yielding of fifty bushels per acre; and that in that rise, the agriculturist will find the best protection against the competition of foreign markets.
The melancholy events which have of late taken place in these colonies, will unfortunately retard, for a while, the amelioration of agriculture. They were unavoidable, and took their rise, not in the country's being ill adapted to become a prosperous colony, but in the fluctuations of immigration, and importation of capital, which no measure or provision can control, and which is constantly disturbing the equilibrium of the relative value of different kinds of property in a new community.
Thus, when money was abundant in the colonies,