« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
tion is very properly prohibited until after the 1st of April
. If, as frequently happens, rain set in before this period, the straw becomes too wet to burn, and the farmer is compelled to make the succeeding crop hay, by sowing a few grains, which with what fell in reaping, will produce a good cutting ; if inconvenient to harrow it, he turns the cattle and horses into the field, and they soon tread the seed in. These disadvantages attending machine reaping, although, perhaps, of trifling import to the wealthy agriculturist, render it imperative on the needy young settler to prefer hand reaping, which is performed with a sickle, as in this country; except that each man both reaps and binds for himself. Some farmers thresh on a floor in the
open air, made of cow-dung, wood-ash, and earth, mixed with water, and well worked together to the consistency of stiff mortar, laid down, smoothed flat with a spade, and left to dry. When threshed, they winnow the corn, by standing on a stool, on a windy day, and shaking the grain through a sieve held high in the air, when it falls on a cloth spread to receive it, and the chaff flies off. All, however, who have been established a few years, thresh in a barn made of wood slabs, or other similar material, and cure wheat for the market with almost as much care as the agriculturists of Britain ; indeed, the young settler will act wisely by, in these matters, adhering as closely as possible to the following instructions, published in Adelaide by A. Murry Esq., proprietor of the South Australian news
paper, viz. :
“Wheat should be cut when fresh and ripe, and well winnowed, and taken dry in the farmyard, and every means employed to prevent it from becoming heated. For these
For these purposes, binding and stooking' should be attended to, by taking care that the sheaves are well bound, and that their bottoms are not unnecessarily occupied by grass and the upper part of wild flowers; for most of these being surcharged with moisture, tend greatly to spoil the grain by their moisture entering into the stalks of the wheat, which by its subsequent movement, gives birth to mildew and other diseases, which will seriously affect the quality as well as the quantity of the wheat. It is advantageous to open up the bottoms of the heading sheaves before they are laid on the stook, for the purpose of allowing the grass and flower tops to fall out before the sheaves are laid on. After the grain has been properly winnowed, in a winnowing machine, it ought to be carefully removed and stacked in the barn-yard : the stacks should be built of a circular or octagonal form, on saddles, having a central vent throughout to cause a current of air to circulate through the middle of the stack. The vent, if possible, should be left open for a few days after the stack has been built, but the thatching and the heading ought to be put on as soon as possible after the building has been completed. Moreover, whenever there is an appearance of rain, the central vent should be closed by a good layer of straw, in order to prevent the rain from reaching the heads of the sheaves. The importance of proper stacking is apparent from the fact, that wheat is found to keep the best in stacks; and also, that the farmer who wishes to dispose of his crop to advantage in South Australia, must generally keep it by him for four or five months.” Just before harvest the barn should be swept clean, freed from old grain of every description, and washed within and without with a solution of quick-lime, which besides giving it an appearance of cleanliness, will destroy weevils and other vermin which subsequently devour and injure the grain.
Barley harvest commences about a fortnight prior to that of wheat. Barley, and in fact all grain except wheat, must be reaped by hand, as only the corn of wheat is sufficiently large, in proportion to the size of the straw, not to fall out between the teeth of the comb if reaped with the machine.
The potato can only be cultivated to advantage in cool and tolerably moist districts. In moist situations, the ground is well broken by repeated ploughings and harrowings ; after which planting drills are drawn about 3 feet apart, and in the bottom of the drills loose manure is spread in the proportion of 14 cartloads per acre.
The sets are then placed in the manure, and the whole ploughed in. Some farmers, after ploughing in the sets, give the ground a slight rolling to level the tops of the ridges. In situations where the soil is dry, the mode of operation is as follows—Plough the land only once, and pare off as thinly as possible the surface of every third, or as some prefer, every fourth furrow, with the plough, turning it down into the open furrow. Place the sets in the paring thus turned into the furrow, then come round in the same place with very deep ploughing, turn it over the sets, and afterwards, when convenient, break the surface with the hoe to prevent the drought from penetrating.
Maize, which in new South Wales is a most profitable crop, in almost all years, has in South Australia so repeatedly failed, that now this