1902 Encyclopedia > Agriculture > Harrowing, etc.

Agriculture
(Part 35)




VIII. TILLAGE OPERATIONS (cont.)

Harrowing, etc.


The hallow, cultivator, and roller, are all more simple in their action and more easily managed than the plough. Harrowing is most effective when the horses step briskly along. The tines are then not merely drawn through the soil, but, in their combined swinging and forward movements, strike into it with considerable force. It is with reference to this that a single application of this implement is called a stroke of the harrows. Rollers are used to aid in pulverizing and cleaning the soil, by bruising, clods and lumps of tangled roots and earth which the other implements have brought a-top; in smoothing the surface for the reception of small seeds, or the better operation of the scythe and other implements; and for consolidating soil that is too loose in its texture. Except for the latter purpose, light rollers are much superior to heavy ones. When it is wanted, for example, to bruise clots of quickens, that the after harrowing may more thoroughly free the roots from the adhering earth, a light cast-iron roller, say 5 cwt., drawn by one horse, effects this purpose as thoroughly as one double the weight drawn by a pair, --- and does it, moreover, in much less time, at less than half the expenses, and without injuriously consolidating the free soil. These light rollers are conveniently worked in pairs, the ploughman driving one horse and leading the other. With a pair of active horse, and such rollers, a good, deal more than double the space can be rolled in a day, than by yoking them both to one heavy one of the same length of cylinder. For mere clod-crushing, provided the clods are moist, the Norwegian harrow is superior to any roller; and for compressing a loose surface or checking wire-worm, serrated or smooth-edges discs, such as Crosskill’s or Cambridge’s, are better than smooth roller, requiring two or more horse to draw it, is superseded by better implements for all purposes where rollers are used at all, unless it be for the rolling of the grass-lands.

As a general rule, none of these tillage operations can be performed to advantage when the soul is wet. When rain falls inopportunely there is a strong temptation to push on the field operations, before the soil has recovered the proper state of dryness. When this is done the farmer almost invariably finds in the issue that the more haste he makes the worse he speeds. Soils a with a good deal of clay in their composition are peculiarly susceptible of injury in this way. Nice discrimination is needed to handle them aright. They require, moreover, a full stock of well-conditioned horses, that the work may be pushed rapidly through ion favorable weather. To manage such soils successfully, especially when root, crops are grown, tries the skill of the farmer to the utmost. So at least it has hitherto been, but with steam-power to aid him, there is now a probability that the clay land farmer, by being able to break up his soil without treading it, and to get through with a large extent of tillage when his land is in trim for it, may find it practicable to grow root crops on equal terms with the occupier of freer soil.






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