Page images
PDF
EPUB

between the plats, or straddles, pretty large, the spaces must be raked clean. The next business is to turn the plats or straddles, then to turn the grass of the second day's mowing, as before directed. This should always be done, if there are hands sufficient, before one o'clock, that the people may, as the custom is, take one hour for dinner, whilst all the grass mowed is drying. After dinner the straddles are raked into double wind-rows; the grass into single windrows; and the hay cocked into middling sized-cocks, called bastard cocks: The grass is then cocked as before on the preceding day.

"On the third day the grass mowed on the preceding day, and on the morning of this day, is to be managed as before directed. The grass made the preceding day, and now in grass-cocks, is to be managed in the same manner as on the first and second days. The hay now in bastard cocks, is spread again into straddles, and the whole is turned before the people go to dinner, that is, the hay, though last spread, is first turned, next that which was in grass-cocks, and then the grass. If the weather should have been sunny, and fine, the hay that was last night in bastard cocks, will on the afternoon of the third day be fit to be carried; but if the weather should have been cool and cloudy, no part of it probably will be fit to carry; and, in that case, the first thing done after dinner is to rake the second day's hay into double wind-rows; the grass into single wind-rows; to make the first day's hay into cocks with a fork, putting only one cock in a straddle; to rake the ground clean; and put the rakings on the top of each cock. The hay raked into double wind-rows is now put into bastard cocks; and the grass which is in single wind-rows is made into cocks as before. Provided there be no rain, even though the weather should have been cloudy, the hay now in great cocks ought to be carried; the hay in bastard cocks put into great cocks; the grass-cocks made into bastard cocks; and that tedded this morning into grass-cocks.

"In the course of hay-making the grass cannot be too much protected from the night dews or rain by cocking. Care also should be taken to proportion the number of haymakers to the mowers, so that there should be no more hay or grass in hand at one time than can be managed according to the above direction.

"The hay thus made becomes the object of the fourth day's consideration in order to get it into stacks. The hay-farmer pays great attention to have the stack well tucked and thatched, and I may venture to assert, that, from what I have seen in other counties, there are no hay-stacks, when finished, that are so well secured, and nicely formed, as those in Middlesex.

"In the neighbourhood of Harrow, Hendon, and Finchley, there are many hay-barns capable of holding from 50 to 100 loads of hay. They are found very convenient in a catching time in hay-making, and also at other times, when the weather will not admit the hay to be cut and trussed out of doors.”

HORSES.-P. 59. "Few horses of any excellency are bred in the county of Middlesex. The farmers in general supply themselves with their cart-horses, which are compact and boney, at the different fairs in the neighbouring counties, and at the repositories and stables of the several dealers in and around the metropolis."

CATTLE.-London Cows.-P. 80. The "number of cows, kept by the London cow-keepers in the county of Middlesex, amounts to nearly 7,200; and in the counties of Kent and Surrey to 1,300. I have taken great pains to ascertain these numbers with as much precision as the nature of the subject is capable of."

Breed and Management.-P. 82. "The cows kept for the purpose of furnishing the metropolis with milk, are, in general, bred in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Staffordshire.* The London dealers buy them of the country breeders when they are three years old, and in calf. The prices given for them are from eight guineas to fourteen pounds a cow. The different fairs and markets, which are held at Barnet, Isling ton, and other places around the metropolis, furnish the London Cow-keepers with the means of keeping up their several stocks. Many cows likewise are bought in Yorkshire in small lots, from, ten to twenty, by private commission, and forwarded to the cow-keepers in and about

London.

"During the night the cows are confined in pens or stalls. About three o'clock in the morning each cow has a halfbushel basket of grains. From four o'clock to half past six, they are milked by the milk-dealers, who contract with the cow-keepers for the milk of a certain number of cows, at the price of fourteen or fifteen pence for eight quarts. When the milking is finished, a bushel-basket of turnips is given to each cow; and very soon afterwards they have an allotment, in the proportion of one truss to ten cows, of the softest meadow-hay of the first cut that can be procured. These

This is a palpable error. The established breed of Lancashire and Staffordshire is the longhorned: whereas the "cows kept for the purpose of furnishing the Metropolis with milk," may be said to be invariably of the shorthorned breed. The suckling farmers, in the neighbourhood of London, have their cows chiefly out of Staffordshire. Hence, probably, the mistake.

These several feedings are generally made before eight o'clock in the morning, at which time the cows are released from their stalls, and turned out into the cow-yard. About twelve o'clock, they are again confined to their different stalls, and served with the same quantity of grains as they had in the morning. About half past one o'clock in the afternoon the milking commences in the manner as before described, and continues till near three, when the cows are again served with the same quantity of turnips, and, about an hour afterwards, with the same distribution of hay as before described.

"This mode of feeding generally continues during the turnip season, which is from the month of October to the month of May. During the other months in the year they are fed with rowing, or second-cut meadow hay and grains, and are continued to be fed and milked with the same regularity as above described, until they are turned out to grass, when they continue in the field all night, and event during this season they are frequently fed with grains, which are kept sweet and eatable for a considerable length of time by being buried under ground in pits made for the purpose. There are about ten bulls to a stock of 300 cows. The calves are generally sent to Smithfield market at a week old. "Good milkers are kept four, five, six, and sometimes seven, years; they are fatted by an encreased allowance of the same food as is given to them while in milk, and sold off."

The Produce of Cows, and the Profits of Retailers.-The following calculations are grounded on eight quarts of milk, a day, by each cow, "taken on an average the year round."

P. 84. "The account, therefore, of eight quarts of milk a day, will stand thus, supposing the milk of every cow to be sold to the milk-men, which is not the case:

"Each cow, on an average, eight quarts a day, £. s. d. for 365 days, 2,920 quarts, at 14d. a quart*

comes to

21 5 10

66 8,500 cows, at 211. 5s. 10d. per ann. each cow, or 24,820,000 quarts, at 14d. a quart, comes to 180,9791. 3s. 4d. per ann.

"The consumers, however, as before observed, pay 3d. a quart to the retailers, which, on 24,820,000 quarts, amounts to the sum of 310, 250l. and makes a difference of 129,270l. 16s. 8d. in favour of the retailers.

* The price of milk, to retailers, at the time of reporting.

"But

"But, when the families leave London, the cow-keepers do not find a ready sale for all their milk; and in this case they generally set the unsold milk for cream, of which they make fresh-butter for the London markets, and give their butter-milk to the hogs."

P. 85. "The facts and observations above stated have been collected personally by myself, from those whose engagements in, or connection with the business of cowkeeping enables them to judge with accuracy and discrimination on this subject."

Calves.-P. 90. "The calves from the large cows do not so soon get fat, as they grow too fast, are coarser in the grain of their flesh, and not so white. To make them better, the cow-keepers have their cows served by a bull of the longhorned breed. Those that get their calves white and bright in the fat and flesh are very valuable."

Another and well judged motive, for employing longhorned bulls, is that of lessening the risk, in calving.

Suckling Calves, in Middlesex.-P. 67. "The practice of suckling calves prevails mostly in the western part of the county."

SHEEP. Breed.-P. 60. "The county of Middlesex is not famous for the breed of sheep. Hounslow Heath, and its adjoining pastures, are the only places where flocks of sheep are kept, and this seems more for the sake of folding their lands than from the hope of sending a superior kind of mutton to market.

"The farmers buy them at the fairs at Burford, Wilton, Weyhill, and other fairs in Wiltshire and Hampshire. The flocks differ in their individual numbers in proportion to the right of common which the respective proprietors possess.

"The sheep in the parish of Harmondsworth amount, I believe, to nearly 2000, and from the best accounts I could collect about 6000 are fed on Hounslow Heath. The sheep are generally sold off between fair and fair; some few however are fatted. The hay farmers also, particularly in the neighbourhood of Hendon and Barnet, devote their aftergrass to the agistment of sheep and other cattle, which they take in at so much a score or head."

House Lamb.-The Reporter offers an account of "the method of breeding house lamb in the County of Middlesex." But it is not sufficiently full to serve as a guide to the inexperienced, nor sufficiently accurate, I think, to be inserted in this register.

VIEW

OF THE

AGRICULTURE

OF

MIDDLESEX

WITH

OBSERVATIONS ON THE MEANS OF ITS IMPROVEMENT,

AND

SEVERAL ESSAYS ON AGRICULTURE IN GENERAL.

DRAWN UP FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF

THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE,

BY JOHN MIDDLETON, Esq.

› OF WEST-BARNS FARM, MERTON, AND OF LAMBETH, SURREY, LAND SURVEYOR;

Member of the London Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactors, and Commerce, and Corresponding Member of the Board of Agriculture.

ACCOMPANIED BY THE

REMARKS OF SEVERAL RESPECTABLE GENTLEMEN

AND FARMERS.

1798."

THIS is one of the earliest of the "reprinted" Reports

of the Board.

The QUALIFICATIONS of its author as a rural Reporter, is declared in the title page, only. It does not evidently appear, in his work, that Mr. Middleton possessed, at the time of writing it, a maturity of knowledge in practical agriculture. Nevertheless, throughout his extended volume, there is abundant evidence to show that Mr. M. naturally possesses a considerable compass of mind, amply stored,-by reading, as well as by professional observations on the practices of other men,-with general ideas on rural subjects.

Mr. Middleton's mode of cOLLECTING the MATERIALS which his volume contains, concerning the established practices of the County of Middlesex, is not explained.

We

« PreviousContinue »