SECTION XV.

On the Culture of Barley Wheat—Produce, per Acre—The tenth Part of an Acre, dabbled, yielded 405 for 1—Deductions which prove that from 51/3 Ounces of Seed, 900 Bushels of Corn might be produced in nine Months at St. Helena—successful Experiment in Malting and Brewing front Island Barley Wheat.

IN the St. Helena Register for November, 1811,[1] I have given the progress, and result at that time, of two experiments in the cul­ture of naked barley, or barley wheat ; and in that for December (page 32), are added some further observations upon this excellent corn. On the 17th of December, I superintended the Putting of two square rods of the second crop; the produce of which being 12 sheaves, is at the rate of 960 sheaves per acre.

The remainder of this crop was reaped some days after, and the total number of sheaves was 1100.

To simplify calculations, eleven only (being the 100th of the produce) were thrashed on the 4th January, 1812 . They yielded of clean corn 46 pounds, and of straw 45 pounds: but as the operation of thrashing, for want of a barn, was performed in the open air, upon a temporary wooden floor : as a good deal was lost by getting over the thrashing-boards, among the grass ; and as the grain was not entirely separated from the straw, it may be fairly reckoned that not less than two pounds of grain were lost wherefore the produce of clean corn and straw from eleven sheaves should stand thus :

Of clean corn, 48   pounds
Of straw, 45   ditto

The total produce, at this rate, from 1100 sheaves, would there­fore be,

Of clean corn, 4800   pounds
Of straw, 4500   ditto

It will be found upon calculation, that this produce per acre is 4189 pounds of corn,[2] and 3927 pounds of straw.

This is no more than a return of 35 for one ; but it must be observed that this crop was sown broad cast ; a good deal was destroyed by the grub, and by canary birds; and many grains, laying on the surface. lead not vegetated.

The value of the above crop, rating the barley wheat at two­pence per pound, and the straw at £5. per ton, is £43..4..2. per acre, which is inferior to a potatoe crop at 8s. per bushel ; because 200 bushels at one crop would be £80. : yet if potatoes be rated at 4 shillings, and if the advantage of obtaining manure be con­sidered, the barley wheat crop will be found equivalent to that of potatoes.

The small experiment which preceded this crop was dibbled on the 16th of March, 1811 ; and gave a much greater return : five and one-third ounces was the quantity of seed. After the produce was reaped, I inspected the stubble, and it appeared that not a single grain of the seed had tailed. The produce from those five and one-third ounces was 135 pounds, or 2100 ounces, which is 405 for one. If therefore these 2,160 ounces had also been dibbled, and with the same success as in the first experi­ment, the result would have been 2160 × 405 = 874800 ounces, which divided by five one-third ounces (the first seed,) gives a return from the two crops of 164127 for one. Hence it is not impossible, under the circumstances of the first crop, from the five one-third ounces of seed dibbled on the 16th March 1811 : supposing its produce had also been dibbled, instead of broad­cast, on the 3d August, that from the second crop about the middle of December, there might have been a return of 54675 pounds, equivalent to about 900 bushels, from not more than three common sized wine glass full of seed grain : and this within the short period of nine months, that is, from sowing the first to the reaping of the second crop.

Nothing can tend more to develope the capabilities of this soil and climate, than investigations of this nature. Let these deductions be carefully examined ; and every one may satisfy himself whether or not they are consonant to fair reasoning, and let it be considered that the first experiment, on which these deductions are founded, was on land unmanured, and the natural inference must be, that it is practicable at St. Helena (although not in any country in Europe), by due care and attention, to effect even a larger produce from barley wheat, than what has been deduced from the line of argument I have pursued.

I have peculiar satisfaction in adding, that the barley wheat of the December crop has yielded an uncommonly sweet and high flavoured malt, from which Mr. John Onions (who well understands Shropshire brewing) has made some ale, equal in quality to the best I ever tasted in that country. His success is indeed the more surprising, as he laboured under the disadvan­tages of malting upon a very small scale, and with a temporary apparatus for drying. Wherefore from all that has been stated, I trust it has been distinctly proved, that by means of the common practice of husbandry in England, the island breweries here might be supplied (I will venture to say) with island malt, of a fresher and superior quality, and at a much less expense, than that which is imported from England.


23d March, 1812.



  1. Vide Section XI.
     
  2. Because if 11 sheaves yield 48 rounds of grain, 960 sheaves should yield 4189 pounds.

 Section XVI