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Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
On Raising Improved Varieties of Oats


By Mr Peter Archibald, Champfleurie, near Linlithgow.
[Premium, Silver medal.]

On practical experience for four years, I find it consistent to nature, that improved varieties of oats may be obtained from amongst the crops of oats sown in the fields.

They may be gendered by impregnation by different kinds of oats sown in the same field, or sown in fields adjoining to one another, where the pollen may be carried by the action of the wind.

From the beginning of August 1841, I collected 25 distinct varieties of oats, from amongst the fields of oats in their progress towards ripening, all of them differing from the crops sown in the same fields.

Out of the 25 specimens I selected 8 for culture; and from them I make this report.

Names of the Oats —

1 Hangingside or yellow
2 Blue early
3 Hopetoun brown
4 Champfleurie
5 Small fly
6 Peter's
7 White wild
8 King's Cavel

April 1842.—Having but a few seeds of each kind, I sowed them on a small patch of ground in my garden. The blue oat was first ripe, the fly next, the Hopetoun brown third; the Hangingside rather later than any of the others. All produced good grain and straw; but owing to the small quantity of seed, and the soil not being of good quality, I could not decide on their good or bad qualities the first year.

April 2, 1843.—I sowed the same eight kinds of oats on a north situation, after turnips. The manure used for the turnip crop was dung from the court-yard. They followed one another in nearly the same order of ripening, as in the preceding year, only the Hangingside was some days earlier, and of very fine grain and straw. I cut them all on the last week of August and the first one of September.

April 6th, 1844.- Sowed them for the third season on a"piece Of ground after lea. Sowed the seeds in drills, from four to five inches between. This field not being in a high state of culture, with a north situation, and cold loamy soil, it afforded me an opportunity of observing which would answer best on such a soil. The blue oat throve best both in grain and straw, and was first ripe. I consider it a profitable oat, as it seems to do well on poor and late soils, and is very prolific, and yields fine straw, though its grain is not of fine quality. The white wild oat did also remarkably well on the same ground. The Hangingside did very well as to grain, hut was a little deficient in straw. The other five kinds lost both in grain and straw. They were all cut in the last week of August.

March 1845.—On the last week of this month I sowed all the eight kinds, for the fourth season, in drills across the ridges, on part of a field after turnips; the manure for the turnip crop being from the court-yard. The rest of this field was sown with the early Angus oat. Its situation is partly south and north, in a high state of culture, and drained in every furrow. At the same time I sowed a little of the Hopetoun oat, and early red oat, along with my own eight varieties, that I might better judge of them with other well-known kinds.

As spring 1845 was a very severe one for the vegetation of seeds, for some time after the braird came above ground, in consequence of the cold rains and frosty atmosphere, I paid every attention to their progress in growth for two months.

The Hangingside or Yellow Oat had always the advantage over the other kinds in the brairding season, the plants having a strong, dark, healthy appearance ; it appears to be a very hardy oat, and productive in grain. It requires a strong dry soil to bring it to maturity, and ripens nearly with the Hopetoun.

The Blue Early Oat is a very free grower, and by what I have seen of it, is well adapted for the worst of soils, yielding abundance of straw and fine oats for horses. Ripens with the early Angus oat Hopetoun Brown Oat.—A very prolific bearer, and yields strong straw ; has a great resemblance to the old Hopetoun oat, and ripens with it.

Champfleurie Oat—Yields a fine straw, though a little deficient in grain in comparison with the above-mentioned kinds.

The Small Fly Oat is a good bearer, and appears to do well on light soil, but is liable to shake before being perfectly ripe. I always cut it when it has the appearance of being half ripe; it grows fine straw.

Peter's Oat yields most excellent grain, and strong straw It requires to be grown on strong, loamy, and well manured soil to bring it to perfection. Ripens with the potato oat.

White Wild Oat yields very fine straw, and appears to do well on poor light soils, and is early. The grain of this oat is of coarse quality.

King's Cavel Oat is very like red oat in the grain, but was four days longer in ripening, and requires a dry early situation to bring it to full perfection.

Red Oat is earlier in ripening than any of the kinds I have mentioned, but very deficient in grain and straw to any of them.


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