SECTION XXII.

Useful Notices on Husbandry at St. HelenaCrops liable to Attacks of Caterpillars and AphidesCrops not liable to Injury from those InsectsLord Bacon's Idea of the Generation of Caterpillars apparently substantiatedMethod tried to prevent their Generationthe Haulm of Potatoes suggested as an auxiliary Food for CattleExperiments to determine the Produce of Cos Lettuceyields, in three Months from the Period of Sowing, about 15 Tons per Acrean excellent Food for Hogs.

IT is an essential part of husbandry, to make choice of those crops that can be most advantageously raised in the country where it is practised. Almost every kind of esculent and grain may be cultivated here with facility and success ; and the returns, from the time of sowing the seed, are much more rapid than in colder climates; seldom exceeding from four to four months and a half. Some plants are, however, more liable than others to attacks of the caterpillar and aphides. Amongst these may be reckoned the potatoe, cabbage, turnip, mangel wurzel, and radish but the potatoe rarely suffers so as materially to injure the crop yet the haulm, from this cause, and the present system of culture, is entirely lost to the farmer.

Amongst the crops least liable to injury from those insects, are corn of all sorts ; kidney beans, carrots, and lettuces ; wherefore these are particularly deserving attention.

In regard to the loss sustained in potatoe haulm, it seems to me, there is a very simple, and perhaps an advantageous mode of averting it. I have observed that caterpillars generally make their appearance at a certain stage of the growth of the plants, which seldom happens until they have been some time in blossom ; and probably the generation of those insects, as supposed by Lord Bacon,[1] may take place at the time when a certain, yet invisible, change has operated in the leaves of the haulm ; that is, when they begin to have a tendency to putrefaction. This opinion seems to be strengthened by recent observation ; for, accidentally, I had a small patch of potatoes in the Plantation-house garden, considerably more advanced in growth than a crop which closely surrounded it ; and I observed the haulm of this patch was swarming with caterpillars, and the whole was soon after destroyed, whilst the adjoining younger plants were wholly untouched: nor were these attacked until about a fortnight afterwards, when they bad arrived at a more advanced state of growth.

It seems to me that the generation of the caterpillar may be prevented by keeping the haulm in a young and tender state : and this can readily be done by cutting it down after it has been some time in blossom. If this cutting were to commence at about 9 or 10 weeks growth,[2] and to continue for a fortnight, the potatoe farmer would secure about four or five tons per acre of green fodder for his cattle, which would well repay any small difference there might be in the produce of the potatoes. I have, indeed, good reason to believe that this difference would be far less than in England ; owing to the almost unceasing powers of vegetation which are observable in this climate. It is probably from this cause, that the gooseberry, the currant, and some other shrubs become evergreens, and bear no fruit. If then, in these, we observe so great a change in the process of nature, it is at least probable that similar changes may take place, although not perceptibly, in other vegetable productions.

I have not yet completed my experiments upon the effect of cutting potatoe haulm : but so confident of success do I feel, from the observations I have already made, that I mean to adopt the practice upon a crop of two acres allotted expressly for the purpose. My former trials were indeed imperfect, on account of cutting the haulm within a field of potatoes, so that when the uncut haulm was attacked and devoured, the caterpillars naturally crawled to the young and tender sproutings of the cut haulm, and eat them off as fast as they appeared.

That the cut haulm will reproduce leaves I have frequently ascertained. The following are some notices I have retained of a small experiment : but, the comparative produce of potatoes from the uncut and cut haulm was accidentally omitted.

On the 12th of February, 1809 , the potatoes were planted. On The 4th of April, whilst in blossom, a square rod was mowed. It yielded 67½ pounds of fine tender haulm, which is at the rate of 10,800 pounds, or 4¾ tons per acre. The haulm of the adjoining crop was left uncut. I observed on the 28th of April, the uncut haulm had become brownish, and was much eaten by caterpillars, whilst the haulm that was cut, (having reproduced leaves) was of a fine green. The last notice I took of this experiment was on the 14th of May, when the cut continued in green leaf, that is, 40 days after it had been mowed. This is sufficient to prove that the powers of vegetation do continue in this climate long after the haulm is cut : and if further trials should fully confirm what is here related, the discovery of a new mode of culture would be of infinite advantage, because the potatoe haulm hitherto lost to the farmer, would become valuable as a food for cattle and hogs ; and would consequently be of great service when the pastures are low ; and would also give him the means of enriching his lands with large quantities of valuable manure, which might be made by consuming the haulm either as food or litter (or both) in his farm yard.[3]

Lettuce is an esculent which I have never observed here to be injured by the caterpillar or aphides. Its growth is quick, and it may, I believe, be raised at all seasons. I lately ascertained its produce per acre: which proves it might be a valuable acquisition to the hoggery, and an auxiliary food for cattle. The circumstances of the crop alluded to are as follows :

On the 13th of August, last, a seed bed was sown with cos lettuce, received from the Cape of Good Hope . It was transplanted on the 28th of September, at the distance of 15 inches from plant to plant. On the 13th of November, although well grown, the plants did not entirely cover the soil, wherefore, they might admit of being set nearer to each other, that is, at one foot asunder. In this case an acre would contain 43,560 Plants. Twenty plants cut close to the roots on the 13th of November, yielded 16 pounds of excellent fodder ; consequently an acre would produce 34,848 pounds, or about 15 tons. It is probable it might even exceed this quantity, and that the average weight of full grown plants might be one pound in three months from sowing the seed : for two of the largest plants having been selected, one. weighed one pound and six ounces, and the other one pound.

In the annexed paper on the use of hay tea, the hog feeders will derive much valuable information ; and I very strongly recommend their attention to lettuce crops, as I am confident they will find them equal, if not superior, to any other in feeding sows and pigs, and particularly during the summer months.

Mr. Arthur Young informs us, in his Calendar of Husbandry, that be first observed the sowing of lettuces for hogs, practised in a pretty regular system on the farm of a very intelligent cultivator (not at all a whimsical man) in Sussex. He had, every year, an acre, or two, which afforded a great quantity of very valuable food for his sows and pigs." He adds, that "it yields milk amply, and all sorts of swine are fond of it." And he thinks that "the economical farmer, who keeps many hogs, should take care to have a succession of crops for these animals, that his carts may not be for ever on the road for purchased grains, or his granary open for corn, oftener than is necessary." These observations may well be applied to this island, where grain is dear, and where the carriage to the interior is difficult, being upon an ascent of 5 or 600 yards from James's Town.

It gives me peculiar satisfaction to observe that my endeavours to promote the prosperity of this settlement, by publishing the results of experiments, and by communicating every useful tract I find, on subjects connected with the important objects I have had in view, have not been fruitless : at this moment a spirit of improvement in husbandry is clearly manifested in all parts of the island, and the happy consequences resulting from it are already felt in a degree that scarcely could have been credited by those who, not unnaturally, were averse to new practices. What has already been effected, merely by the extended culture of potatoes, and by some most exuberant specimens of corn, are sufficient to prove the surprising change that will soon be produced in the value of this long neglected island ; a change which will he not less beneficial to the lord's proprietors than to the landholders, and all other classes of the community.

It is also with gratification I observe, at the Cape of Good Hope , the same energies, and the same pursuits, carrying on under the auspices of his Excellency Sir John Cradock. His observations upon the importance of agriculture and upon its slow progress in that colony, are so truly applicable to St. Helena, that I shall conclude this paper with an Extract from a Government advertisement (in the Cape Town Gazette) dated the 17th of' October, 1812. This paper contains sentiments exactly similar to those that were communicated in the St. Helena Register for October, 1812, in an Extract entitled "On the Cultivation of the Soil." This coincidence, as to the time of publishing, is not less remarkable, than the coincidence of the subjects ; that two neighbouring colonies remote front the mother country, which have been so long occupied without having made the smallest advances in the arts of husbandry, should. at the very same time, be roused from inactivity to useful and laudable exertion.

In the advertisement referred to, Sir John Cradock makes the following observations.

"It is now established on the authority of the most eminent and enlightened men who have written upon the subject, that agriculture forms the true basis of the Wealth of Nations ; and that commerce and manufactures, although powerful auxiliaries, are considerations of secondary importance. Agriculture too, or the cultivation of soil, Is naturally the primary object of all emigrations from civilized nations to foreign countries : and such productions are most cultivated as experience may point out to be most congenial to the climate and soil.

"When it comes to be considered, the number of years that this colony has been possessed by an enlightened and industrious nation, it is a matter of surprise that the progress in agricultural pursuits has not been more rapid. This observation is plain to every understanding capable of considering the inadequate proportion which the increase of cultivation bears to that of the population of the settlement.

"His Excellency, with a lively sense of this growing evil, and an ardent desire to lend his full support and countenance to the support of agriculture, as well as the improvement of cattle of every description—objects so highly essential to the permanent welfare of this valuable and growing Colony, judges it expedient to re-organize the Board of Agriculture ; and is pleased to accept the resignation of the gentlemen hereafter named, (members of the late board), who for the reasons they have severally assigned, cannot afford such portion of their time as becomes necessary to give efficiency to the institution, and embrace the various objects which must at least for some time, command the attention of the board.

"His Excellency has therefore taken upon himself, the Presidency of the Board Agriculture."

These judicious sentiments ought to serve as a farther proof to our cultivators, and to convince them that the change which has happily been effected here, is conformable to what is universally admitted as the true basis of the Wealth of Nations. It has been well observed in an able Essay on the Spirit of Legislation, "that without agriculture, which is the base of the prosperity and power of the state, there can be neither commerce nor manufacture. It is to agriculture that we ought ever to attend as the most important point. She furnishes nourishment, fuel, clothing, and the first materials for every thing. Population is created by agriculture, which gives subsistence to all without exception—to the farmer and the workman, as well as to the merchant."


20th November, 1812.

On the Use of Hay Tea in feeding Hogs.

THE use of hay-tea, in the feeding in the feeding of hogs has been attempted by Mr. Saunders, of Stroud, Gloucesterhire, with much success. He was led to the use of this liquid from considering its effects in weaning calves. In his experiments, as stated in the Agricultural Magazine, the sorts of hay made use of, were clover, sainfoin, and lucern ;[4] and he thickened the tea or wash indiscriminately, with either grains. or bran, or pollard. or any kind of meal, or boiled cabbages, or boiled potatoes (carrots, though excellent, he had none;) sometimes adding two or more of these articles, as his stock of either most enabled him. And he had the greatest satisfaction to find, that he made a single sack of boiled potatoes , when mixed with wash, and without any other ingredient, go as far as four or five sacks, (though boiled) when he gave them to the pigs alone ; and the expense of the wash thickened with potatoes is considerably lower than potatoes alone. With the view of showing the practicability of prosecuting the plan individually upon a larger scale, he gradually increased his stock to upwards of four hundred ; and in the course of his experiments, he used nearly fifteen hundred hogsheads of the wash, consuming when his stock was at the highest, about five hogsheads daily. And, incredible as it may appear, he maintained them, collectively, at the very low rate of one penny a head per day ; and in excellent store order, and many of them fit for the butcher. It deserves particular attention, he says, that, in a week or fortnight after he had commenced his experiments, the pigs which he had before been feeding potatoes alone, improved in their coats, which from looking coarse, assumed a gloss, and became fine and short ; a proof, surely, of the great nutrition of the food, and of its perfectly agreeing with pigs.

"Nor is it, says he, less remarkable, "that this voracious animal, though fed with this food but twice a day (which he prefers to oftener) would lie down contented for the remainder, provided he was well-ringed, and had a warm and dry place to shelter himself under.

"And this be attributes to the following causes, besides the nutritive properties of the wash :

"He found it beneficial to store the boiled potatoes in large casks (in which he conceives they would keep good above a twelvemonth) and when they had remained in them some time, freed from the water they were boiled in, (which is considered noxious) they not only went further, but they generated a spirit and the wash being also, as he apprehends of considerable strength, they disposed the animal to betake himself to rest from their soporific and intoxicating qualities ; a circumstance evidently conducive to his quicker growth. Nor can an objection be raised to this food when applied to the flesh of the animal. So far from possessing any pernicious quality, it communicates, perhaps, a richer and more delicate flavour to the pork and bacon than they receive when fed after the common mode ; and the butchers, and others, not only eagerly purchased his pigs, but commonly remarked that they rapidly improved when put up to fatten."

And hence," says he, "arises another most important consideration.

"He is confident he could make one sack of meal, of whatever description, go as far as two sacks in the common mode of fattening. For, by gradually thickening the wash with meal, it forms, he thinks, the best introduction to the higher and last stages of fattening, both for pork and bacon ; indeed that method should be followed throughout the process, using the wash. instead of water. The increased quantity of a cheap and highly nutritious food, thus administered, will satisfy the voracious habits of this animal, and yield, be says, the greatest profit ; and this alone would cause an immense annual saving of corn, which would tend to ensure plenty and cheapness ; the grand desiderata in all experiments. For the price of a commodity, in a great degree, depends on the relative quantity produced, and the regular consumption ; to lessen the consumption, therefore, diminishes the demand, and has the same effect as increasing the supply, which must necessarily cheapen the article."

And his calculations of the daily expenses of this mode of feeding, are the following :

He observes, that "clover, or sainfoin hay, at £4..13..4. per ton, is 4s. 8d. per hundred, or ½d. per pound ; and that twenty pounds of either, well boiled, will make with the addition of the incorporating ingredients, sufficient wash or food to maintain, throughout the day, fifty store pigs, from three months old, to an indefinite age upwards.


Estimation of daily Expenses of feeding fifty Store Pigs.
L.  s. d.
To potatoes, two bushels, (120lb. at 5s. per sack,)
0   2   6
To clover, or sainfoin hay, 20lbs. (which will give 10
          quarts, or 2½ gallons of liquid food to each pig)
0   0 10
To coal, ½ bushel, (at 6d. per bushel, average value)
0   0   3
To attendance, boiling food, serving, &c.
0   0   6
Total
0   4   1
This is 1d. short of 1d. a head per day.
 
Again:
Potatoes, 1 bushel, (60lbs.)
0   1   3
Grains, 2 bushels, at 6d. per bushel.
0   1   0
Clover, &c.
0   0 10
Attendance,
0   0   6
Coal
0   0   3
Total
0   3 10
This is 4d. short of 1d. a head.
 
Or,
Potatoes, 1 bushel
0   1   3
Meal of any description (particularly oat-meal, as being
          the cheapest) or pollard
0   1   0
Clover
0   0 10
Coal
0   0   3
Attendance,
0   0   6
Total
0   4   2
This is exactly 1d. per head.

 

It is remarked that "carrots, either raw or boiled, are excellent ; and these, with oatmeal and grains, would make a cheap and good addition. And that the hay when put into the furnace to boil should be put into a net, or a basket with a lid to it, or in a tin kettle and cover, filled with large holes, and the potatoes, (or carrots, &c.) should be steamed over the tea, while gently boiling or simmering. This may easily be done, by fitting to the furnace, a vessel having a number of holes, of the size of a common auger, bored through the bottom of it, so as to allow the steam to pass through the potatoes, with which the vessel is filled ; and having a little moist clay, or a wet flannel or cloth put circularly round the bottom, where it rests on the mouth of the furnace, so as to secure the steam from escaping. By this mode of steaming the potatoes, a considerable saving will be made in the article of coal. The potatoes should be but slightly steamed or boiled, and not reduced to a pulp,[5] and whilst hot should be trod or rammed in casks for future use. The hay, after boiling, may be dried, and perhaps offered to store cattle : or else thrown to the pigs as litter, or, to add to the dung heap. The wash should be carefully given to the pigs in a lukewarm state, and if meal, or pollard be added, it should be thrown into the tub, or cooler, immediately after boiling the wash, and well mixed together ; but steaming the meal, or pollard, and even the grains might be a further improvement. The water where there is a sufficient fall, may be led into the furnace without any trouble whatever, by means of a leaden pipe or may be conveyed into the furnace by a spout from the pump and the tea may be drawn of, through a cock into a cooler, which should be placed by the side of the furnace. To convey the wash to the pigs be used an open barrel or hogshead, suspended upon a pair of shafts with wheels to it, drawn by a single horse.

It is added, that "in the estimates of the expense of maintaining the pigs, it should be observed, that he has taken no credit for the article of manure ; and thus his pigs will make the farmer a present of their dung, as well as pay him a good price for their keep. Fifty strong stores, with a sufficient quantity of stubble, (which is frequently and very improperly, ploughed into the land) or carpenters' shavings and saw-dust, or virgin earth, or sand, especially sea-sand, (where obtainable) laid down in the yard, will make, he says, in the course of the year, from two to three hundred waggon-loads of excellent manure: the sea-sand will add saline particles to the manure, and check evaporation." And he thinks it "necessary to remark, as a most favourable circumstance, that the hay-tea binds the dung of swine, and renders it hard and black, like sheeps' dung ; and if it does not produce this effect, it must assuredly be either bad in quality, or not properly boiled, or not rendered sufficiently strong ; all which particulars should be most carefully attended to ; and the state of the dung is an admirable guide to go by. The hay should always be of an excellent quality ; and that which heated best, and contains most of the saccharine juices should have the preference. Bad hay is certain destruction to the pigs. Clover stands first, next sainfoin, and lastly, meadow bay. Indeed, most of his experiments were made, he says, (though not by choice) with meadow hay."

Extracted from "The Complete Farmer"by K.


  1. Lord Bacon observes, "the caterpillar is one of the most general of worms, and breedeth of dew and leaves they breed in the spring chiefly, because then there is both dew and leaf. And they breed commonly when the east winds have much blown ; the cause whereof is, the dryness of that wind ; for to all vivification upon putrifaction, it is requisite the matter be not too moist. Caterpillars, both the greatest and the most, breed upon cabbages, which have a fat leaf, and apt to putrify."
     
  2. A surer guide is to cut the haulm about ten days after it has blossomed : red blossoms appear in 10 or 12 weeks ; and the white in 7 or 8 weeks after planting.
     
  3. Rating the present potatoe grounds at one hunded and fifty acres, and the produce of haulm at 4 tons per acre, this would be 600 tons of green fodder from one crop, or 1,200 tons from the two crops in the year. The practice here suggested, will, I trust, attract the attention of the landholders.
     
  4. The wire-grass has been used with success, at Long Wood, in rearing calves : and appears equal to any other grass for the purpose recommended.
     
  5. The steaming operation would, no doubt, he much facilitated by previously slicing the potatoes, by means of the potatoe cutters ; of which a few were lately received at this place, from England.

 Section XXIII