The Land Girl

THE LAND GIRL it is difficult to grow a good crop of beans. Peas are very expensive to harvest, they need a lot of labour and so I rely on sil­age. Many farmers will tell you that sUage smells, so it does if it is not made properly but well made silage has a de­licious scent and judging by the way the cows appreciate it, it must have an excel­lent flavour. I have tried all ways of making it and find the best to be in pits about five yards wide. The crop is built up to a height of about six feet then covered with soil. During the process the tractors with their loads are driven over the top thereby consolidating the material. There is nothing novel about silage, the Egyptians made it. It is simply a question of the exclusion of air, at the same time allowing sufficient to get into raise the temperature to 110 to 120 degrees. We are using some now and it looks just alike gigantic cheese. It is cheap and avery flexible method of utilising surplus food in the flush times. A Sweet Tooth Sugar beet is a useful dairy crop, after the part required for sugar has gone off the farm. I use my tops green, leaving them to He a few days as they contain an acid which maybe poisonous before they are wilted. When we have carted all the tops off the field, we turn a herd of cows on and they rummage about alike lot of pigs and their pleasure is very obvious when they find atop which has been over­looked. The pulp is a good dairy food. I grow a big acreage of oats, most of which are put throijgh a hammer mill unthreshed, this, in addition to saving labour produces a good feed and uses up all the straw. Kale is the dairy farmer's standby. It is no trouble, gives enormous yields provided it is planted early enough. Mangolds, which the experts tell us are nothing but water play a big part in 'my winter feeding programme. After all, milk is 87 percent water. Practically all my land has now been ploughed and I rely on one, two or three year leys. In addition all the corn is undersown with ryegrass and trefoil to provide cheap grazing in the Autumn. If 1 had my way I should graze the two year leys for the first year and mow them the second as by that rotation the crop is heavier, but circumstances often make it necessary to mow them in the first year. 1 am sure that the best way to get the maximum yield would be to have one year leys only but that cannot be until labour and machinery are more plentiful. Cows which do not mix The cows, once they have been allot­ted to a bail always keep to the same March, 1944 one and are not mixed with other ani­mals. This provides some protection casein of outbreak of disease. Milking is twice daily, at 6.30 and 4 o'clock. We. have our difficulties in the dark winter’s mornings but have never yet failed to find the cows. They get their concentrated food at milking time and during the day bulky foods such as hay, roots, mixed corn and straw. They are fed as often as possible to keep them satisfied so that their minds will be continually on milk production. Grazing time is at least a month earlier with these young seeds than with old turf. I cannot cope with the flush of grass unless 1 divide the fields into five acre plots. This is done by electric fencing, the bail being put on a bare plot and the cows let onto afresh plot for about three hours daily during which time they can eat as much as is good for them. If the grass does get in front we make some silage. Being a producer retailer, I am often told that I get twice the profit. I do not know about that, I certainly get three times the work. Anyhow. 1 have always aimed at producing the highest possible quality milk ,retailing it in the surround­ing districts. Often I am introduced to a child and told that it is “Clyde Higgs* Baby,” meaning that it was reared on milk from my farm. We use lifjht motor vans for delivery and the milk is all dis­tributed direct from the farm. A well- equipped dairy cools it down to 40 de­grees and the bottling machine makes an aluminium cap, fills the buttle and covers it. Plenty of steam, hot water, cold air and elbow grease are essential if raw milk is to keep the confidence of the consumer. I have only been able to touch on the fringe of this subject, those of you who ate on dairy farms will know how wide a question it is. I have every confidence in the future of the industrv for never was an article in such demand and in so short a supply as milk and even if we do satisfy the liquid demand the opportunities for other developments are unlimited. HINTS ON TOOLS Never leave tools caked with dirt Keep a strong, short stick to scrape the dirt off when you finish working on a wet day. A wipe with an oily rag stops rust Keep the edges sharp. Find the correct name and proper, use of every unfamiliar tool. NEVER borrow other people’ stools with­out first asking permission—a pood worker values his own tools highly. 3
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