Page images
PDF
EPUB

the instructions of the lecture room. The time has arrived, however, when this can be done. We can adopt a system by whicb the truths pointed out by science can be exemplified by prao tice on the farm. The result attained would then show the value of our institution not only to the students, but to the people of the State. Unless this be done the public have but little opportunity of judging of the nature of the professional instruction imparted at the College. We have no doubt this subject will commend itself to your attention.

Necessarily heretofore the work on the farm has been mostly of preparation. No effort has been made to raise the largest possible crops. This requires land of the highest degree of productiveness, either naturally or made so by art. Large crops are not always a proof of skillful farming, although the soil, if properly managed, will annually increase in fertility. It would have been an easy matter for us to take a limited portion of soil and enrich it to almost any extent. These results would only be a just criterion of the skill employed, when they show large profits on the outlay made. Even when our land becomes thoroughly subdued, it may be that many farmers in the State, from rich natural resources, may be able to raise larger crops than we can profitably do for many years to come. The success, however, will be measured by the increased productiveness of the soil, as compared with the small expenditure of means.

The crops on the College farm the past season have been generally good. Our wheat crop consisted of 24 acres, and contained 640 bushels. A portion of this yielded 30 bushels per acre. From 30 acres of grass was cut between 50 and 60 tons of hay. The other crops were of average yield.

THOROUGH BRED STOCK.

The College has as yet given no attention to the raising of thorough bred stock. This has been principally from the reason that in the rude state of the farm there were no suita. ble conveniences for testing the comparative value of different breeds of animals. But the institution is now in a condition to prosecute successfully these experiments. Several gentle men in the State have shown their appreciation of the cause sought to be promoted, by proposing to donate to the College a limited number of animals of pure blood. These should now be procured. Very much of the expense attending the inauguration of such an enterprise will thus be saved.

FARM STRUCTURES.

The financial embarrassments of the State two years ago, induced the Legislature to withhold from the several Institutions under its fostering care, all the means for increasing their facilities ior operation. It is a source of gratification to the faculty that under the careful management of your honorable body, enough money has been saved to erect two very necessary structures on the farm. As a greater part of the farm is situated south of the Cedar river, while the buildings are North of said river, there was no access to the former ex. cept by means of a bridge. As the river is greatly swollen by heavy storms, and always in the spring of the year, bringing down also a large amount of food wood, it was necessary to make the bridge high and substantial. A structure every way answering the purpose was erected in 1861.

The past year a very substantial barn has been built which adds very

much to the conveniences on the estate. It was in. deed absolutely necessary.

Another building still, which would cost but a few hundred dollars is very much needed for horticultural purposes.

EXPERIMENTING.

While the farm was being prepared by subduing the soil, for its proper office as a part of the College, we have endeavored to perfect a system of experiments. This system which may now be put into operation, we have reported to you at a former meeting. We would also in addition suggest whether through the College series of experiments might not be prosecuted in different parts of the State. Could not the institution, having fixed upon the experiments it is expedient to try, and having settled the mode of trying the same, open correspondence with intelligent persons throughout the State, and secure their co-operation? Let the same experiments be prosecuted in different localities, thus subject to inequalities of climate or other special agencies, and then let the reports be made to the College where the results could be compared and generalized, and many questions important to the farmer might be settled.

In the mean time thy faculty would be glad to avail themgelves of any suggestions which intelligent agriculturalists might submit, and by such conjoint effort the usefulness of the institution might be greatly promoted.

SWAMP LANDS.

Of the swamp lands given to the College by the Legislature. two years ago, there are 3,000 acres in one tract; of this there are about 2,500 acres of clear, open marsh, covered only with grass. Since the last meeting of the Board, officers of the College have taken the level of that portion of the marsh situated west of the A. L. & T. B. R. R., and found a descent of about two feet in a mile towards the west. Over the whole marsh there is known to be a gradual descent westward, and there is a very good outlet through Prairie Creek, which empties into the Looking Glass river, rear the village of Dewitt.

We have examined the ditch made by the direction of the Board, and believe that in connection with the railroad ditches, it will remove the surface water quite effectually, from at least 1,000 acres, and to a great extent from the balance of the marsh. This being done, it is now in a condition to be thoroughly drained. As the scattered portions of land belonging to the College shall be sold, and the proceeds appropriated according to law, to draining and subduing the main body, it will be made one of the most valuable tracts in the State. This marsh can doubtless be drained sufficiently dry for a meadow or crops, to which the soil is adapted, for a sum less than one

[ocr errors]

dollar per acre, which is much cheaper than the clearing of aplands.

DONATION OF PUBLIC LANDS.

By an act of Congress, approved July 20, 1862, the several States and Territories received large grants of lands for the endowment of Agricultural Colleges. This State, by the acceptance of the grant made, acquires 240,000 acres. This amount of lands, if judiciously located, must in time create a large fund. Thus, financially the future prospect of the College are encouraging. These lands, in connection with the tract of marsh lands before referred to, must furnish a very staple basis for the institution, and in a few years the State will be entirely relieved of its support.

And by means of this grant, the State is not only enabled to promote agriculture and the mechanic arts, but it secures the additional advantage of the investment of the proceeds of the sales of these lands within her own borders, which is equivalent to the importation of this amount of capital. It adds so much directly to the wealth of the State. All of which is respectfully submitted.

L. R. FISK, Chairman of Facully,

T. C. ABBOT, Secretary of Faculty.

EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORT FOR 1862, 'OF T.

6. TIBBITS, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE FARM.

To the Hon. State Board of Agriculture:

GENTLEMEN-On the 28th of May last, the Board of Agricul. ture decided to build a barn. In less than fifty days from the time the first stroke was struck, the barn was ready for, hay and grain. It is a large, substantial, commodious building, erected upon a solid stone basement, which is designed for stabling cattle. The size of the building is forty-two feet by sixty-four, with twenty-two feet posts. It is covered entirely with pine, and finished off in the most workmanlike manner. The cost will not much exceed fifteen hundred dollars. * *

The crops upon the farm have been mostly very good. Twenty-four acres of wheat were harvested, yielding 648 bushels, of a superior quality; 300 bushels of oats were raised from 7 acres; 500 bushels potatoes from 2 acres; 50 bushels of buckwheat from 2 acres; 24 bushels of beans from an acre and a half; between 50 and 60 tons of hay were cut from 30 acres of meadow. Three acres of oats were raised, but as they were mostly fed out in the straw, no actual measurement was made of them. They however yielded well. * *

The stock upon the farm consists, at present, of twenty-nine head of horned cattle, six horses, twenty-three sheep and sixty hogs, large and small. The cattle are mostly grades and natives; the sheep, Spanish grades; the hogs Essex, Suffolk and Chester Whites. It will be the policy in future to keep less swine, and more sheep and cattle. It will also be the true policy, I think, to keep a few choice thorough bred animals, of different kinds, and breed them pure and distinct, so that per

« PreviousContinue »