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Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Report on the Agriculture of Perthshire


By John Dickson, W.S., Greenbank, Perth.
[Premium—Thirty Sovereigns.]

PERTHSHIRE has been called the Yorkshire of Scotland; and if great extent, central position, diversity of soil, and variety in the characteristics and configuration of the county, and the existence of a large body of influential resident proprietary, are the distinguishing features of Yorkshire, the suggestion of a correspond-inn position for Perthshire, in Scotland, is not without foundation.

It contains 1,596,160 imperial acres, and extends in length from east to west 67˝ miles, and in breadth from north to south 61˝ miles. Its rental by the last valuation is L.777,294; and though the per acreage rental of some other counties in Scotland is higher, that circumstance is attributable to their mineral and manufacturing wealth, for no county in Scotland, with the exception of Aberdeen, yields so large a purely agricultural rental as Perthshire. There is no coal in the county north of the Ochils, and the only limestone within its bounds is found in the far Highlands to the north of Len-y-Vrachie, in Glen Goulandie, and in the mountain ranges surrounding Lochs Rannoch, Tay, and Earn, places where, hitherto at least, it has been of no commercial use or value, except for enriching the pasture of a few spots in their immediate neighbourhood. Neither is the richness of its foliage marred by hot-blast furnaces, for blackband ironstone is unknown within its borders. The shaft of a steam-engine is here and there visible, but in most cases they are attached to thrashing mills on large farms, and to thriving bleach-fields of old standing, within a few miles of Perth on the Tay and the Almond. The county, from these causes, forms a great contrast to its next neighbour, the kingdom of Fife, teeming with treasures and industries, which, while they augment its wealth, do not enhance its natural beauties.

From some, or all of these causes combined, there has been much competition for property in the county, and the price of land is, consequently, as a general rule, very high,—many estates having been sold at prices 50 per cent, higher than they would have realised in other counties in Scotland, when the intrinsic value, or value estimated by produce instead of by rental in both cases, is taken into consideration.

The principal part of the arable land of Perthshire lies on the cast side of the county. The climate is comparatively dry in these districts, as it is well known that the humidity of the climate of Scotland decreases, and its rainfall rapidly diminishes, as we leave the west coast and approach the east; and it is equally well known that the quality of the grain is greatly influenced by the dryness or humidity of the climate in which it is grown; in proof of all which we need only refer to the yearly fiars, which rise from Wigtownshire eastward till they attain their maximum in East Lothian and the other counties on the shores of the German Ocean. The soil, also, of a great part of Perthshire is naturally dry, sharp, and fertile, and was capable of profitable cultivation before thorough drainage was dreamt of and these two circumstances, viz., the hygrometric position of the county and the quality of the soil, pointed it out as a grain growing county, when grain was more the staple agricultural produce of the country, and land that would ;row it was scarce, and when both cattle and sheep were greatly less valuable than at present, and so much of the rest of Scotland was capable of producing nothing else. The Perthshire idea was, therefore, the successful growth of grain; land that would grow a "a true boll" was the Goshen of a Perthshire farmer; and although now "good grass land" is more frequently spoken of with favour, it is quite a modern notion, not older certainly than the railroads. So long as land was farmed for the production of grain only, when plough and sow was the rule, as it was much too long the rule in Perthshire, a farm could be stocked with very little capital, compared with what is required where a proper stock of cattle and sheep is kept; and if a man could buy one, two, or three pairs of horses, and implements in proportion, with seed to sow the first crop, and offer some sort of security to the landlord that he would do so much and pay the first year's rent, there was nothing to prevent him with these limited means from starting in a Perthshire farm; and many a mall with good luck and fair weather at starting, that is to say, with good seasons and good crops, combined with good prices, has pulled through wonderfully in the times that are gone. To increase the facility for men of small capital taking farms, the terms of payment of rent in the best districts of Perthshire are postponed to Candlemas and Whitsunday, or Candlemas and Lammas, or Whitsunday as the sole terns, all after reaping the crop, so that there is ample time for realising the value of the produce before the payments of rent, wages, and the current expenses of the first year fall due.

It is not difficult, however, to understand, that where the entry to land is so easy as regards the amount of capital required for the undertaking, there have always been a number of people who considered themselves able for every farm that has been advertised. An old foreman on a farm, who may have saved a little money, thinks he can take a holding requiring a pair or perhaps two pairs of horses; or a tenant leaves his farm,—leaves it, probably, for one of two reasons, either that lie is ruined, or has pulled through the lease with a hundred pounds or two in hand, and is not content to go on and do better where lie has prospered already, but must have a farm of twice the size; or perhaps he keeps the small one and takes another as big. The same ruinous system of large land holding, with inadequate means, prevailed very generally on all sizes of fauns, and as the demand for farms was generally greater than the supply, the inevitable result was high rents in Perthshire, as compared with the rest of Scotland, before they received the shock of the abolition of the corn laws. And although at that time the land was badly farmed, and often in an exhausted state, rents did not fall in proportion ; and so long as the price of grain kept up during the Peninsular war, rents were maintained at very high rates. Since that period, however, with the exception of the three years' endurance of the Russian war, the times have not been prosperous for either proprietors or tenants. When the price of grain fell after the close of the war in 1815, it was impossible for tenants to pay money rents computed on an expectation of 80s. per quarter for wheat, with barley and oats proportionally high ; and to meet the emergency a system of grain rents was introduced, the tenant paying a fixed quantity of grain, converted yearly into money according to the fiars of the county for the year. As we have twice within the last twenty years seen the fiars prices of the triple boll of wheat, barley, and oats reach four guineas, and twice within the same period seen them fall to nearly forty shillings, it will be readily understood that this system produced great fluctuation in rents, and whilst it afforded a certain relief to tenants, it has been productive of a rather uncomfortable state of things to proprietors, as an average rental of L.3000, while it has risen to L.4000, has also fallen to L.2000.

During the last ten years the hopes of farmers, and still more of people who were not farmers, have been excited by a revival in the prices of grain, potatoes, stock, and all other farm produce, and at the same time by agriculture becoming fashionable anion, all grades of society, and land being for several years in greater demand than ever; but the bad season of 1862, coupled with a low range of prices for grain, have again caused a depression, and land can now be taken at a lower rate than in 1862. The system, therefore, that has been pursued in Perthshire, is one more for the encouragement of industry than for inducing men of capital to embark in farming, and the result is that a large proportion of the farmers who had barely capital for their farms during the prevalence of the old grain growing idea, have never had capital at all equal to the advanced requirements of the present day, when L.10 per imperial acre is a moderate estimate. Moreover, several of the seasons subsequent to 1862 have been most disastrous to the grain growing farmer; his capital has been seriously diminished in consequence, and precisely at the time when he required double the capital he ever possessed to enable him to take from stock the profits which he formerly took from corn. No doubt, there are farmers possessed of large capital in Perthshire, and of fortunes greatly exceeding the sums invested in their farms, but they are the exceptions. There are large farms in Perthshire, but Perthshire is by no means a county of Large farms or large farmers. This remark had still greater truth in the last generation, the size of farms having since then been much increased by joining small possessions together. Two causes have contributed to the enlargement of farms—First, the more substantial and expensive buildings which are required in the present day for small farms. A small tenant, paying from L50 to L.100, must have a house and steading as complete and substantial of its size as a tenant paying L.1000; but as the expense of putting up dwelling-houses and steadings for ten farms, each of L.100 rent, is much 'greater than the cost of erecting similar buildings for one farm of L.1000 rent, there is a general attempt to save building by amalgamation. Secondly, the other consideration which has led to the enlargement of farms, and which applies to the pendicles and crofts, is that Band-loom weaving, which chiefly employed and maintained the families on these pendicles, and left all the produce, after paying expenses, as rent for the land, has failed as a lucrative branch of industry, and the produce, which formerly went for rent, has now to support the occupant and his family. But in addition to this, it is manifest that all the parts of a proper system of mixed husbandry of grain growing and cattle feeding cannot be advantageously carried on upon a very small scale. While, therefore, the old farms of moderate size in Perthshire remain very much in status quo, there is a general inclination to raise the smaller farms up to a size equal to keeping three pairs of horses, or, at all events, to give a tenant as much land as would have been wrought with three or four pairs of horses twenty years ago, leaving him to increase the proportion of pasture, and reduce the force of men and horses according to his own views.

Having made these general remarks on the past and present condition of land occupancy in Perthshire, which apply more or less to all parts of the county and to all the varieties of land, it may now be advisable to consider the subject under three subdivisions or classes; and the classes into which they seem to divide themselves are-

1. Hill grazings and pasture lands, in which a great breadth of land that has been and is at present under arable cultivation may be included.

2. Light or easy lands, which are suitable for the growth of oats and barley, turnips, potatoes, and grass.

3. Clay and carse land, being the wheat and bean lands of the county.

There is a considerable extent of the best land in the county that may be placed in either of the last two divisions, being suitable for and capable of growing any kind of crop, having all the advantages of both without the disadvantages of either. The black land in the Carse of Gowrie is wrought with the ease of turnip land. It dries rapidly, does not suffer from drought, and while it brows as good wheat, beans, clover, and tares as the best clay lands, it also produces as heavy crops of turnips and potatoes as any land in the country, and when laid down to permanent pasture it equals any land in Scotland for feeding. From its quality this black land in the Carse of Cowrie should be considered with the lighter lands, as being the best class of such soils, but from its locality and production it is more convenient to consider it with the Carse lands.

While, however, the lands of the county may be properly divided into these three great classes, it must not be supposed that every farm within each class is worked in the same way, as there are infinite varieties of management; but this diversity of practice arises not so much from difference in the rotations of cropping, and crops grown on the various classes of land, as from the mode of disposal and application of the crops produced. The leases under which land is held seldom attempt to regulate the disposal of the produce; for while on the light lands they provide for a five, and on the Carse or clay lands for a six or seven shift, they have never done much towards providing for the proper use of the crops grown, or considered that part of the subject as having as much to do with the condition of the land as the rotation of the crops grown from it. Most leases have carefully and painfully prohibited the growth of two white or corn crops in succession, and prohibited the disposal of straw—both very good stipulations so far as they go—but no provision is made for the brass that intervenes between two white crops being used in a manner that will tend to restore the land; and as the sale of hay is usually authorised and provided for, hay being quite as exhaustive of the land as any grain crop, it may be fairly said that these leases, while prohibiting two white crops in succession, are in truth permitting three to follow each other. And while it is provided that the straw shall be kept on the farm, no provision is made for its receiving those enriching matters from the consumption of other crops and substances, which alone can make it of value as manure in maintaining or improving the condition of the soil to which it is applied in compensation for what is sold off and lost to the land. It is from the latitude allowed to farmers on these points iii their leases that the great difference in their practice arises; and while many, from old-fashioned ideas, want of skill, and want of money, avail themselves to the utmost of the abstracting and selling off powers contained in their leases, others who know that the direct profits from stock sold, and the indirect profits from the improved condition of their farms, by the feeding of such stock, are infinitely greater than any that can be obtained by growing hay and potatoes, not for feeding but for sale, manage their farms accordingly, and thrive upon them. The different degrees of good farming in each class are marked by the extent to which the tenants have

left the first mode of practice just indicated, and approached to or entirely adopted the other. The farming in Perthshire, in both classes of arable land, is at present in a transition state from pure grain, potato, and hay growing, to a proper combination of brain growing, with s, due proportion of turnips, pasture, and soiling brass for raising and keeping a stock of cattle and sheep; and while such transition has during the last ten years made very great and marked progress in the lighter lands of the county, it has not made the same advance in the Carse districts.

To proceed, however, with time consideration of the three classes of land in the order in which they have been put clown; we shall take up.

1. Hill Pasture.

It must not be supposed that this class of land in Perthshire is at all equal to the grazings in time south of Scotland or in Sutherland. The scenery in Perthshire is too fine, and the bags of grouse made on the 12th of August too heavy, to expect such to be the case. But while the rugged grandeur of the generality of the mountains of Perthshire does not present to the shepherd's eyes those green hirsels of less pretentious form so common in the south of Scotland, there are, nevertheless, iii various parts of Perthshire large sheep grazings of a very superior description for blackfaced sheep, which, from the system of breeding with Leicester tubs and growing cross-bred lambs, are paying the occupants proportionally as well as grazings of a higher class. Besides those Highland grazings in the Grampian range, are the sheep farms of the Ochils in the south of the county, which resemble the hills in the south of Scotland. More than those in the north of Perthshire; these contain, on both their northern and southern slopes, and in the recesses and glens by which they are intersected, many graziugs of good quality. In these uplands the land is in many parts too much subdivided, and too much cropped; small farms—each with all the paraphernalia of houses, steading, &c., erected originally at no little cost to the proprietor, and adapted to arable farming—are much too numerous in these districts, where the altitude of the land and the quality of time soil are most unsuitable for constant cropping; and when we add to these disadvantages the present high and increasing price of labour, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that these high lands cannot long be kept in cultivation, and yield a rent to the proprietor and living to the tenant such as can be realised from them if properly laid down to pasture ; and that some such re-appropriation of this class of small farms is inevitable at no distant time, the outlay in buildings for arable culture notwithstanding, seems more than probable. This has taken place during the last fifty years in some parts of the south of Scotland, where the holdings were more moorland farms under mixed husbandry than large stock farms. The traces of cultivation on the hill sides, and the ruins of old crofter huts and hamlets, now numbered among the things that were, are still observable in many parts of these southern uplands. All agriculture in the present day on high altitudes must be regarded as only a means to an end, that end being grass; and when the end is attained, sheep must take the place of men, women, and horses, since it is found that their labours can be turned to better account in localities at a lower level. Land of this sort, if laid clown to grass, with no annual expense in its management but the wages of a shepherd, may pay rent to the landlord and a profit to the tenant; but if kept under the plough, there can be no prospect of great profit, even in favourable seasons, and a chance of there being little beyond payment of expenses in unpropitious years.

With regard to the large grazings in the Highlands and mountains of Perthshire, much improvement has taken place, both in the lands themselves and the stock that is produced on them. A great extent of surface drainage has been executed, with the sure result of improving the quality and soundness of the pasture, and thereby the stock fed upon it. With the exception of the winters 1859—60 and 1.864—65, the recent seasons have generally been of a mild character, and favourable for the sheep stocks; but in occasional years, such as 1859, the hill graziers have suffered heavy losses from deaths of stock and the expense of supplying food at high prices to the survivors, having no preparation for such contingencies within themselves. They might protect themselves in many cases from such disasters by forming water meadows on suitable spots on their farms, and raising yearly a crop of hay, which, if not required in open seasons, would accumulate for those in which it was needed. There is not a water meadow in Perthshire except a small one at Glendevon; but those who wish to see them, and learn the advantage derived from them, will find them in Peeblesshire and the upper ward of Lanarkshire, in a higher and colder climate than most of the grazing lands of Perthshire.

Where ewe stocks are kept the blackfaced breed are still maintained, and when the altitude and quality of the grazings are considered, they are the best and hardiest breed for the purpose. Twenty years ago, all these farms bred only pure blackfaced lambs, and the only cross-bred lambs then produced were got from the old ewes of these farms after being sold to time low county farmers and served with Leicester tups; but of late years, in ninny cases, in consequence of the advance in the price of wool, the young ewes are crossed with Leicester tups, and cross-bred lambs got from them yearly. This, of course, necessitates the purchase by such farmers of lure blackfaced ewe lambs from other fauns, which accounts for the advance in price of that stock, as well as of the better classes of sheep.

The rents of all sheep grazings in Perthshire that have come out of lease during the last ten years have advanced greatly; but, nevertheless, the present occupants have been making much more profit from them than their predecessors did at lower rents. It could not be otherwise, when the price of mutton has risen 50 per cent, and the price of wool 150 per cent. We may, therefore, close these remarks on the hill lands with a hope that something like the recent times and prices may he vouchsafed to them; and although these prices should go back considerably, it would only Lea loss in the degree of profit.

The next class of land that claims attention is

2. Light Arable Land.

As already stated, under this head are included all the lighter arable lands not connected with hill grazings.

When the present condition and management of this class of land is compared with what it was thirty years ago, it is evident that generally there has been a very great and marked improvement. This improvement is the result of a very large proportion of these lands having been thoroughly drained ; of the erection of large additions to the farm buildings, especially in adding to the accommodation of cattle, and in many instances of entirely new steadings; also, in the erection of fences of various kinds; and in the adoption of a much better system of management by the tenants.

Thirty years ago, and on many farms up to a later date, the rotation of cropping for lands of this class, prescribed by the leases and practised by the tenants, varied little from the rotation in the clay lands as to the proportion under grain crop, except that the wheat crop taken before the barley sown out for grass on the latter was omitted on the light lands. The rotation was —1st, oats; 2d, beans, and latterly a large proportion of this division was potatoes; 3d, wheat; 4th, fallow, latterly turnips; 5th, barley; 6th, grass, cut for hay. It is impossible to conceive how second-rate land could be maintained in any sort of condition under such a system of cropping, more especially when the brass division was made into hay, the potatoes sent to London, and as little of the produce consumed oii the farm, and as much as possible converted into cash by sale. With the exception of farms occupied by enterprising men, who carted dun; from Perth and Dundee, or got it by sea from London, or used bones for their turnips, the land was generally in poor condition, always becoming poorer, and the tenants keeping pace with their farms, and going; to ruin along with them—in many cases unable to finish their leases without reduction of the rent, and too often not able even with that. What rent the same men would have been able to pay by this time, under the continuance of such a system, it is impossible to say—probably none at all; but fortunately for proprietors in Perthshire, however badly one tenant succeeded in a farm, there have always been abundance of others ready to take it at no great reduction of the rent.

Had, therefore, the farming of these lighter lands in Perthshire remained to the present time as it was, without improvement on the old system, its case would have been poor indeed ; but it has wonderfully improved, and we shall now consider the steps and occurrences which have led to its improvement—both what has been done with that view by the proprietors, and also the manner in which the tenants have seconded their efforts. The first in elate and in importance was the introduction of tile draining, which before 1847 was executed by the tenants themselves; but the Government loans to proprietors after that date enabled them to relieve the tenants of the expense, and enforced a deeper and more effectual system of drainage. The drainage, after the broken stone epoch, was executed with horse-shoe tiles, and sometimes sores; but it was too shallow, rarely exceeding 2 feet in depth. The drainage executed under loans from Government has been done with pipes and collars, and at greater depth, and it has been found to be both more effectual and permanent. The sum spent on drainage in the county has been fully in proportion to the other counties in Scotland of similar quality of land.

Besides the thorough drainage of the greater part of the arable lands of the county, a great work in the way of arterial drainage was executed about fifteen years ago. The pow of Inchaffry, running to the Earn from the west end of a large peat morass situated south of the village of Methven, through the estates of Bachilton, Balgowan, Gorthy, Abercairny, and others, was deepened and straightened, at the expense of L.15,000, under an Act of Parliament obtained for the purpose, and the improvement on the district has fully warranted the expenditure. The arterial drainage in the Carse of Gowrie has also been improved by a similar process, but on a less scale. The "Pows" in that district are susceptible of further improvement, and the thorough drainage cannot be complete or permanent until they are deepened to a greater extent.

Next in importance have been the additions to the farm stead lags, on which large stings have been expended. They were rendered necessary by the greater quantity of stock both wintered and fed, and the progress in to e ideas of farmers as to what was required in the way of houses in order to do their stock justice. The landlords have responded to this demand. They saw the necessity; that their own interest was involved in meeting it; and that by supplying their tenants with the means of feeding stock and of keeping the produce on the farm ,the condition of the land would be maintained and improved. This accommodation for cattle has been given in different ways, by feeding byres and by sheds with open courts for wintering younger cattle, and also latterly by covered courts, which can be used either for wintering cattle or by subdivisions as boxes for feeding. There can be no doubt that these covered courts have considerable advantages. They are the cheapest anode of getting a covered area applicable to the keeping of any kind of stock, whether cattle, horses, sheep, or pigs; and if made on a proper plan, without too great draught of air, they afford a well-ventilated and lighted shed for cattle, contributing to their health and progress, while the manure made in them is saturated only with animal liquid, and protected from rain, which would wash away the more valuable ingredients. They certainly in this respect offer t great encouragement to the high feeder, who calculates for repayment of a part of the oilcake in the dung, that it shall not be washed down to the nearest burn ; and these reasons must have had their weight, from the number of such covered courts that have been lately erected. It has been objected to them, that cattle do not get the sun heat and light as when kept in open sheds; but if there is any force in this objection, it can be remedied by having a small part uncovered on the south side; and some have been put up on this plan. The feeding byres for cattle have also been greatly improved, both as regards the number of cattle that can be accommodated and the space for each, with better ventilation. Another great improvement is the erection of straw barns or sheds for keeping the thrashed straw protected from the weather. Good sweet, dry straw contributes to the success of feeding and wintering cattle as much as turnips or any other food, and much loss was sustained by the damage it received from exposure before such expedients for its preservation were adopted. Besides these buildings, all recently erected or improved, steadings are supplied with turnip houses, implement sheds, and other necessary accommodation; and the proper arrangement and combination of all these houses are well understood and applied in practice. The thrashing-mill is regarded as the heart of the steading, and the straw as the blood to be diffused without interruption or exposure to the air ; and as it is the most bulky material, its easy transmission is of primary importance. The arrangements may be varied, but the general principle as regards the straw is sought to be carried out, and the fatal error of old times of erecting the granary and cart. shed between the barn and stable avoided. On this class of land in Perthshire there is now little to complain of as regards steadings, and it is fully on a par with the best districts elsewhere in proportion to the size of the farms.

During the last twenty years a great deal has been done in fencing. Before that period there were probably fewer fences in the arable lands suited for pasture than in any part of Scotland; and as long as the system of farming that has been described was the rule, there was little necessity for them, for the single year's brass was cut for hay; and if it was kept two years in grass, and grazed during the succeeding year, it was enclosed with temporary paling or flakes for young cattle, or a boy was engaged to herd the stock. When stone must be quarried and carted some distance, a dyke is an expensive fence, and some of the stone in Perthshire is not durable; but where good stone was to be had, there are dykes, or rather walls, not to be surpassed. To hedges also there was the same objection, as they required double palings to protect them when young; and wood is gold in this county. Had no cheaper system of fencing been discovered, it is doubtful whether much progress would yet have been made in that matter. Wire fences, however, were introduced about twenty years ago, and since that time they have been adopted to a great extent. They answer very well for sheep, and also for cattle when a bar of paling is put along the top ; and though a (rood horse now and then gets his legs into them, and is taken out more dead than alive, the trade of erecting wire fences goes on and prospers, and many people have adopted it as a means of living.

having thus noticed that class of improvements in draining the land and erecting houses and fences, which it is the province of the proprietor to supply to the tenant, it remains to advert to the improvements and changes that have taken place in the farm management by the tenants themselves.

The first step in the right direction for this class of land was the desertion of the six-shift, with three grain crops, to the five-shift, with two white crops, a green crop, and two years of grass, which now may be considered as the prevailing rotation, as none more severe is allowed or practised on lands of this class. Some farmers prolong it by introducing another green crop and brain crop, and some leave the land three years in grass. Before the appearance of the potato disease in 1845 that crop had for many years been the great prop of the Perthshire farmer. The I'erthshire reds were then in their glory ; they yielded enormous crops, which made up for low prices, and a great business was carried on in exporting them to London from the port of Perth. The disease, however, altered all this. The Perthshire reds suffered more, and rotted faster than any other kind; and they now hold a position in the vegetable somewhat analogous to the fossil fishes of the old red sandstone in the animal kingdom. Regents and hens' nests became the hinds that were cultivated; but a crop of 20 bolls (the big Perthshire loll, four to the ton) was considered a good crop, while the old reds ranged from 40 to 80 bolls per acre. This diminished production, further reduced in some years by the continuance of the disease, made potatoes an uncertain, and, on the whole, an unremunerative crop, and the attention of farmers was turned to turnips, and stock to eat them. As long as potatoes were the rage, turnips in Perthshire never got fair play; for the best dun; and much the largest proportions, went to the potatoes, and the turnips only got the longer spring-made dung, or none at all; for bones were grudged, and the light manure era had not dawned on the agricultural world. Fifteen tons of turnips were then thought a very fair crop. About this time guano made its appearance from abroad, and (rave for the time a great stimulus to agriculture, and probably saved Perthshire for several years, between 1848 and 1853, from a total collapse. Nothing could be blacker than the prospects of the Perthshire farmer at that period; the price of grain ranged between L.2, 2s. 6d. and L.2, 13s. for the triple boll; his old friends the red potatoes gone, and their places supplied by others yielding a niggardly and uncertain crop; while fat cattle only realised 7s. per Dutch stone. At this time many farmers were induced to go more into stock and the growth of turnips instead of potatoes, and all who did so have done well. They were right to desert the potatoes, for they are the sure type of an exhausting style of farming when grown to such an extent as to exclude the possibility of keeping a proper quantity of stock. Potatoes and hay, unless with compensatory application of extra manure, may fairly be styled illegitimate profits; for grain and stock are the only legitimate exports from land.

Those men who had bone into stock farming were agreeably surprised to find the price that they received gradually rising in their favour, and this circumstance induced an extended growth of turnips, and tended to reduce the proportion of the green crop division under potatoes. As a consequence of this change, the manure made was of greater value, and the land was improved in condition, as shown by the crops and grass produced from it. More recently, the enormous advance on the returns from sheep, in both wool and mutton, have led time 'great hull, of farmers of this class of laird to turn their attention to that branch of stock keeping, and it has done them more good where it has been adopted, both in direct profit to their pockets, and in the less direct but equally important profit of improving their farms, than anything else that has happened during the last twenty years. It had at least one good result, in leading many of their to pasture their young grass, instead of cutting it for hay. Ten years ago there was scarcely a sheep to be seen within ten miles of Perth, except those from the highlands, sent down for wintering; while now, on farms u to the very suburbs of the town, every farmer must have his proportion of sheep. Some buy lambs, cross-bred, half-bred, or pure, as they can get them, or as the price suits their funds, and sell them fat as bogs ; others buy eves, take a cross of lambs, and fatten them after the lambs are weaned, and sell the lambs fat, or keep them on for hogs. Another indication of the progress of stock growing is afforded in the sale of young short-horn bulls. Ten and fifteen years ago, the few noblemen and gentlemen who had stocks of good blood could not sell the young stock in the county at prices at all in proportion to their value; but now there is a yearly sale of young short-horn bulls, which are bought up by the farmers of the county at from L.20 to L.30; not that the stock to be bred from them is pure short-horn, in all or most cases, but the tenants are aware of the value of a good sire on the quality of calves from cross-bred cows, and are willing to pay something for the advantage. Breeding, however, in the better districts had been but little attended to, but it has now begun, in consequence of the difficulty of getting good stock in the markets, and the high prices paid for it. A great deal of the stock brazed and fed in the county has been Irish, and as these have been improving in quality, many farmers have been contented with them. Cattle of pure short-horn breed, or those approaching to lure, have been preferred; but next to them the Ochil doddie (a deep-barrelled animal) is much liked by feeders.

The railways in this county have given, no doubt, a large assistance to agricultural improvement and farming, in the carriage of tiles for draining, lime for the land, and all building materials, also in the transport of fat cattle and sheep, grain and potatoes, to the Edinburgh and Glasgow markets; and these advantages are permanent and progressive in their character.

Guano, and light manures which have been introduced since guano rose in price, have also had their share in pushing forward the improvement of the lighter lands in the. county. Where they have been judiciously used, where they have been added as assistants to farm-yard manure for growing turnips, or where applied alone, the turnips have been chiefly eaten off with sheep, the crops grown, and manure made from them, have been greatly increased, acid the condition of the land correspondingly improved. But, on the other Hand, wherever these principles have been neglected, wherever these lighter manures have been trusted to supply the place of farm-yard manure, where turnips and potatoes have been grown with them, and carried off, and, at the same time, the grain crops have been stimulated by similar applications, the land has been reduced, instead of improved in condition.

It would be a mistake to suppose that if a change in the relative prices of grain and stock took place, which is very unlikely, at least to the extent of a transposition, that the farmers of the light lands of Perthshire could go back to the system of thirty years ago—pure grain growing. Though grain rose to double its present price, and beef and mutton fell to 7s. per stone, instead of nearly 12s. as at present, they have learned so much to look on stock as a necessary means of keeping up the condition of their farms, that they can never desert it. The large direct profits on stock have induced there to adopt it as a part of their business, but they have, at the same time, cone to know that the indirect profit is not to be despised ; and if the farmers of this class of land lay out, as they are proposing to do, a greater proportion of their farms in pasture than in the five or seven shift, they will have it in a fit condition for grain cropping, if from some unexpected cause the price of grain should be such as to tempt them. At the sane thee, it should be remembered that, except for sheep, the duration of the pasture season in Scotland is very short. in comparison with Ireland and the south of England. There they have good grass from the 1st of April to 1st January, whereas in Scotland it may be set clown as from 1st May to 1st October, nine months against five. The Scotch fanner has thus to feed in the house seven months out of the twelve, and it is difficult to see how he can materially extend his pasture, and reduce his crops that supply winter food, if lie is to keep any considerable proportion of cattle. Even with sheep of the fine breeds suited for arable land laid down in pasture, they must have turnips and grain in winter, as there would be little good in the mere fomage of the pasture fields. Time causes that induce them to lay clown a greater breadth in pasture, besides the high return from stock and the low prices of brain, are the high price of labour, and scarcity of hands, especially (lay labourers and women, and the trouble of managing farm servants, who know the difficulty experienced in supplying their places. Thirty years ago ploughmen's wages were from L.10 to L.14, with meal and milk, but now they run from L.20 to L.24. Then, again, it is notorious, from the census returns, that the population in rural parishes is, except in villages, gradually being reduced, where the improvement of land and its proper cultivation and cleaning require an increase, and farmers feud it difficult to get hands for out-door labour, such as planting potatoes, gathering the weeds out of the land after harrowing, singling turnips, harvest, and potato-lifting.
The cause of this state of things may be found in men and women now having difficulty in earning a living, when not working on the farms, which they formerly obtained, in land-loom weaving or needlework of various kinds, now superseded by the power 'loom and the sewing-machine. They find that the wages at the factories in Dundee, Perth, Blairgowrie, or in places out of the county, are better and more certain than the hard labour and uncertain wages of out-door work. Emigration also has tended to thin the population, and must do so the more it proceeds, because when people find that they have as many friends and relations in New South Wales or New Zealand as at home, much of the aversion to a new country is removed, and they come to regard it as a new home prepared for them, with better prospects than the old one they are to leave behind. The tendency also on the part of proprietors to endeavour to check the increase of the poor-rates, since the Poor Law of 1845 was passed, by not rebuild-in, or repairing cottages, has also had its share in contributing to the reduction of the rural population. If thrashing-machines, reapers, horse-rakes, and various other agricultural implements had not been invented, farming operations would long ere this have come to a dead lock. Those proprietors only who farm part of their own estates can be fully aware of the hardship entailed on their tenantry from this cause, and if it continue, landlords will find that a policy which, in the first place, affected the tenants, will ultimately affect themselves, and that they had better have met the obligation imposed on them, than attempt to relieve themselves by extraordinary expedients. In places where there are too many people and too many horses, and the labour of both is misapplied and wasted, they may well be reduced in number; but in those districts where all the present population and more are. wanted, it is a great mistake, from a terror of poor-rates, to thin their numbers.

To prevent the further desertion of their native land by the labouring class of this country, it is not too soon that the movement for the improvement of their dwellings, both cottages and bothies, has been originated. The best means for checking the reduction of the necessary rural population, would be by a more general employment of married ploughmen, who would rear families on the farm early accustomed to and suited for farm work. Farmers in the county prefer them, both on this account and because they are steadier than bothy lads; but of course married men with families require cottages, and all farms have not cottages sufficient. To prevent the expense of separate cottages on farms requiring a number of ploughmen, young unmarried men were employed, who were not housed in the farmers' dwelling; as in other more primitive districts, but in a separate cottage, too often a sad hovel, where they lived and cooked for themselves in a way that is now better known by the discussions which have taken place on the subject. These have had a good effect in increasing the disposition to employ married men, and to improve the bothies by separate accommodation, and many comforts which neither masters nor men seemed to have considered necessary. The bothy men used to be worse lodged than any animal on the farm, but there has been of late a very general improvement in this respect.

Some of the farmers of the lighter lands in Perthshire who are thriving by stock keeping, try to supplement the want of extent in their farms by taking grass parks in the neighbourhood, and it would appear that the increase and improvement of the pasture on their own farms have by no means diminished their desire to have them. If they have sheep, they graze them at home, and take parks to summer their young cattle ; and the more they become stock farmers, the greater becomes the desire to have that which will keep it. The demand for grass parks is consequently great in proportion to the extent at present existing, and the rents are consequently high. Good grass parks fetch a higher rent than the land could bear under an agricultural lease. But except at Balgowan, where there are about 600 acres annually let at a rental approaching L.2000, there has been no great addition to the extent of brass parks in the county for a length of time. Where proprietors have land suitable for grass parks, there is no more profitable application of it, for the expense of building and repairing steadings is saved ; and it would be a great boon to the tenantry of the county if good grass could be got at somewhat easier rates, which an extension of the acreage under grass might possibly but not certainly lead to.

Having thus fully considered the history and present state of agriculture in the light lands of Perthshire, the next branch of the subject that claims attention is that of-

3. The heavy or Carse Lands.

These lie chiefly in the Carse of Gowrie, situated on the north bank of the Tay between Perth and Dundee, and in the lower part of Strathearn above and below the Bridge of Earn; they consist of deposits of alluvial clay of comparatively recent formation, occupying naturally the lowest and flattest parts of the districts named, and throughout the Carse of Gowrie they are interspersed by slightly elevated mounds or ridges of an older formation, consisting of dark brown clay-loams of greater fertility, locally called "black land," and which formed islands or "inches" in the flat muddy waste that extended from Kinnoull Hill to Dundee Law, whilst the clays were in course of slow accumulation. The quality of this heavy land varies greatly, from the finest clay to a poor whitish "end clay," as it is called, which has the double disadvantage of being very difficult and expensive to work, and very uncertain in its produce, both as regards quantity and quality; and not being suited for green crop and grass, it has less chance of improvement, though the deep draining of late years, coupled with a more liberal application of manure and lime, may ultimately improve its condition.

In order to come to a proper consideration of the agriculture of carse land at the present day, and to indicate the direction in which improvement may be hoped for, it is necessary to take a retrospect of the past, and the changes or progress that have been made. It will not be necessary, however, for this purpose, to go to a very distant date. About forty years ago potatoes were first taken to the London market, and up to that date no very great alteration had been made on the mode of farming in the carses for a great length of time. Previous to that date the land had long been worked on the same rotation of crops, the ruling principle being to take as much out of it in the shape of grain crops, and to put as little restorative matter back as would save the land from utter exhaustion. In those days, though the same perfection in implements of husbandry had not been arrived at, the tillage of the land, it is believed, was fully equal to that of the present day ; and it seems to be admitted on all hands that the results, in the shape of grain crops, were often, if not generally, superior to ours. How far this inferiority in the present day is attributable to the success of our predecessors, and the system which we have been too ready to follow them in, will be the subject of the following remarks.

Forty years ago the carse rotation on fair clay land was generally a seven-shift, consisting of four brain crops, two of them being wheat, and the intervening quasi restorative crops consisted of beans, fallow, and brass, the latter cut for hay, except what was cut green in summer for the horses on the farm; and on the better class of black land a four-course was generally practised, or a five-course, if, after the wheat, barley was taken sown out with grass seeds. In those days there was no guano or nitrate of soda, and perhaps it was all the better for the former occupiers, and for us who have succeeded them, that there were none of these appliances; but worse than that, there was really no good manure made, anywhere. The manure of the present clay is not all that can be desired, but certainly it must be better than it was in these times, when, in windy weather, it required to be tied to the carts with straw ropes. Then cattle were never regarded as a source of profit, from which any appreciable part of the rent or expenses was to be paid, and scarcely as necessary for maintaining or improving the condition of the land. If the farmer got his straw well wet, it mattered not much to not whether that end was attained by rain from heaven or cattle urine. There was a show of effecting the object by the latter process, for a score or two of cattle were bought at some of the autumn trysts and kept on Bridewell fare—straw and water—all winter, and their temporary proprietor was well satisfied, on parting company with them in spring, if he had a pound a-head from the transaction. He was all that sum to the (rood, besides the aid they had. given to the rainfall, in wetting his straw to a condition that entitled it to be called dung. On a purely clay farm in those days, before tile-draining came into vogue, there was no attempt at growing turnips; and feeding the unfortunate scarecrows of the strawyard with oil-cake, hashed grain, or any modern food now daily given by ordinary farmers, was never thought of. All that went back to the land was straw and water; a part of the straw leaving been eaten and passed through the animals as dung, and the rest of the straw watered with urine of animals fed on straw and water alone, and perhaps in some measure benefited by its connection with their interiors, but it could not contain any ingredients beyond those supplied by the articles it was produced from. It speaks volumes for the natural fertility of the Carse clay, that it maintained a certain degree of productiveness against such merciless exhaustion from generation to generation; for sure enough, there are few soils that could stand it long without being reduced to absolute sterility. This exhaustion, However, arose not from the frequent repetition of grain crops, but from the total absence of any sufficient means to sustain the land under there; for the intermediate crops intended to be restorative were not worthy of the naive, according to the conditions under which they were ,grown and the purposes to which they were applied. To the four grain crops in the old rotation—oats, wheat after beans, wheat after fallow, and barley after the wheat, sown with grass seeds—there is no objection, provided the barley after wheat is well lunged. Turning to the alternate restorative crops, first, beans, if well manured and drilled, they also cannot be objected to for clay land—they are a crop that is thoroughly ripened on the ground, the seed or grain being carried off the farm and sold, but the straw or haulm is consumed on the farm. In those days, however, beans were sown broadcast, and therefore little could be done in the way of cleaning them; and if dung was applied, which was not the practice, its enriching qualities were but slender. Beans, therefore, whether as regarded the field from which the crop was taken, or the farm generally, were far from having a restorative effect. The next alternate restorative was the fallow. In those days fallow was believed to be, and seems to have been, the keystone of the whole rotation. There can be no doubt that, in consequence of this strong faith on their part, they bestowed much care in the working of their fallow, and they manured it heavily with such dung as they had, and which has been already described; and they further gave it frequently a good dressing of lime, a practice which, we may observe, has ,-one sadly out of use in the Carse. For the purpose of growing a good crop of wheat on land in an undrained state, it is hard to say whether a liberal supply of this extremely long under composed dung may not have had as good effect as richer and shorter dung. The latter would no doubt have fed the land better, but the long unrotted straw kept the heavy clays opener than the other would have done, and it thereby admitted the heat and air to the roots of the plant. The benefit was more of a mechanical nature to the land than nutritive to the plant. It enabled the land to give off a heavier crop, but did not supply it with much that that crop was to be fed by. Be that as it may, a well-wrought and well-dunged fallow not only got a good crop of wheat, but told on many of the subsequent crops. The last of the series of restorative crops was the grass; and with regard to that our predecessors had fallen on better times than ours, or their success in growing grass may have operated to our disadvantage; for it is notorious that at that time farmers seldom failed in growing a heavy crop of clover with the ryegrass, and in getting a good second cutting to keep their horses and milk cows after the hay was gone. These rich crops of clover, and the bulbous roots they produced and left in the land, had more to do with maintaining its fertility than all the dung that was applied throughout the rotation. The value of a good crop of clover in the grass has been known at all times, and it has always been regarded as the precursor of good crops throughout the whole rotation that succeeded it. Such being the case, it is difficult to estimate the loss to farmers by the failure of clover, as they lose not only in the weight and value of their hay crop and the aftermath, but in time condition and productive power of the land in the succeeding years. The farmer had no fear of what is now called clover sickness, and he could calculate on an abundant crop of clover with the ryegrass. He cut both for hay, and seems never to have thought that his doing so was exhausting the land to the prejudice of a succeeding generation.

Since that date, forty years ago, potatoes began to be shipped extensively from Scotland to the London market, and the twenty years succeeding were the epoch of the Perthshire reds. They were soon largely brown on the black land of the Carse, and generally throughout the county. It was found, of course, that to grow them successfully, more and better dung was required than the long wetted straw that had hitherto passed under the name of clung, and supplies were obtained from London, Dundee, Perth, and anywhere they could be got; heavy crops of potatoes were grown, often amounting to from fifty to eighty bolls an acre, aid being all driven off the land, took most of the good out of all the dung that was applied to them; and though they may have paid the ;rower at the time for his expense, and left a handsome immediate profit, the condition of the land over which they were grown was not improved by their introduction.

The next important change in the Carse was the general introduction of tile-draining. As there are no stones to be had in the Carse, no drains of that kind had been attempted; but the clay of the Carse was suited for making drain-tiles, and, when made, they were admirably suited for draining it. Draining in the Carse thus only commenced about thirty years ago, and was carried on with great activity, and was further stimulated by Government loans for drainage, which began in 1846. The neater part of the first drainage was defective in two respects—want of depth and want of soles; but the Government demanded a four feet minimum, and pipes and collars were eventually substituted for horse-shoe tiles with and without flat soles.

The consequences of this general drainage on the Carse farming were important, for it enabled the tenants to grow turnips on land which formerly was quite unsuited for them, and they were substituted for the bare fallow, which up to that time had been considered essential to good farming. Bare fallow could not stand against a crop of turnips worth from L.8 to L.12 per acre; and, besides that advantage in favour of the turnips, it was found that the wheat sown on bare fallow, Bunged and drained, was very liable to be thrown out in winter. The consequence of increased crops of turnips was, that the feeding of cattle took the place of the mere wintering on straw and water.

Moreover, about twenty years ago we entered on the epoch of guano, nitrate of soda, sulphate of ammonia, phosphates, and super phosphates. These were found to be important auxiliaries to farm-yard manure in the increased growth of turnips, and necessary to bet the weight of grain crop that had been grown twenty years previously, and it was found advisable to give the grain crops and grass assistance from the same stimulating applications. That benefit has been derived from these substances on many farms where liberal applications of more solid manure have also been given, and where a large stock of cattle have been kept, cannot be denied; but in other instances, through their use, a great deal of land is at this moment in a poorer condition than it has ever been since it was created.

Having given the sketch of the past history of Carse farming, can it be said for certain that any great improvement has taken place in it? To judge by the results in the appearance of the crops for many bears back, it may be said that the improvement is not in the same ratio as it has been on the lighter lands of the county, and while the rent of the latter has increased, on the clays it has stood still or declined. And, if it is admitted that such is the case, it may be asked, Who or what is to blame for it? Is it the management of the present possessors, or is it that of their predecessors, or is it the result of unfavourable seasons, or low prices consequent on the free importation of corn, by which the resources of the tenants for maintaining their land in condition are crippled? The true answer to the query would be, that it is not attributable to any one or two of these causes, but to every one of them, and perhaps in pretty equal proportions. It has been shown that the land has been subjected to heavy brain cropping, both by the present tenants and their predecessors, and that no adequate means have been taken in the management and application of the so-called restorative crops to effect the object for which they were intended.

Twenty years ago there was a general impression that the fertility and productiveness of Carse land was yielding to the treatment it was receiving, and from the idea that this should be remedied by a modification of the proportion of drain grown, the seven-shift was changed into a six-shift, by preventing the tenants from taking wheat and then barley before grass. At the time this was generally supposed by proprietors to be an improvement; but, with all submission, it may be fairly doubted. It would not pay to lose the -wheat crop and sow out with barley; so that the result was, that the wheat was kept and the grass was sown in it in spring, instead of with barley, at great disadvantage, after the wheat had been six months in the ground and the surface battered by the winter rains. Every farmer knows that the nearer to the dung the better will the grass be; and under the old seven-shift, as the barley and grass seeds were always dunged, the exhaustion by the grain crop was counteracted, while the chances of a good crop of grass and clover were increased, both from that cause, and in consequence of the grass seeds being sown in spring-wrought land, instead of a bed scratched for them in the battered surface occupied by wheat.

It is needless to enlarge on the other two causes of the present depression of agriculture in the Carse, as they are much in the minds of all concerned with it; and, doubtless, they will be more readily and cordially admitted than the others to which allusion has been made. The season of 1812 was so unmistakably ruinous, that much of the present distress and necessities of Carse farmers, for years to come, may be ascribed to its operation.

So standing the case, what is to be done to mend it? Any one can see at a glance that of the two branches of agricultural husbandry, viz., grain-growing and rearing and keeping of stock, whether cattle or sheep, the former has been exceedingly depressed, and the price of produce much below the average, or the rates in prospect of which the land was taken, and that in the latter profits have been realised far beyond the most sanguine expectations. No doubt the Carse farmers have of late years taken up stock-feeding more seriously, as already alluded to; but it may be doubted whether they have done it on the best principles. The light-land farmers—rho thirty years ago in Perthshire kept little more stock than their brethren in the Carse, and grew corn on still more exhausted land—began to lead the way into stock-keeping. The Carse farmers, as a class, have followed them, and have done what they could in ;rowing turnips for cattle; and they have fed cattle in winter, instead of the old plan of wintering old cattle very poorly. In this feeding of cattle they have laboured under great disadvantages; they had to go, as formerly, to the autumn trysts, and buy lean cattle at double the price their predecessors did, with a very considerable risk of not getting a sound article, and of losing the whole from pleura within a month or two. So great have been the losses from this cause, that if the Carse farmers have not gone so deeply into cattle-feeding as was desirable, they may well point to their risks and losses as their justification. Another disadvantage arose from this, that they bought in the cattle to eat a certain quantity of turnips ; and when these turnips were eaten, according to their system, the cattle must be sold ; and as all their neighbours were in the same position, an excess of cattle, and many of them not prune fat, were yearly thrown into the market in the month of April, and prices were therefore lowered when they wished to sell. The Carse farmers get the lowest price for the fattened stock after having paid the highest price for them when lean. They buy dear and sell cheap; and the balance of profit is often less than they would like to confess. This year an ox of forty-five stones was in July worth L.3 more than one of the same weight was two months previously. Scarcely any of the Carse farmers have ever thought that it would pay them to keep these cattle on by small potatoes, cake, or such means, till the cutting grass came, about the 20th of May, and so have them good fat at mid-summer, although by these means they might have done so. The misfortune has been that the Carse farmers have been forced into a new business when they undertook stock-keeping,—into a business, in its details of buying, feeding, and selling, much more difficult to be learned than grain-growing, and not to be learned to any perfection by every man. The Carse, with a permanent reduction on the value of its staple crop--wheat, offered little inducement for men, who thoroughly understood stock, to come into a district supposed not to be suited for cattle, and to set a better example, which they could only do by a deliberate study of the subject as applicable to it, and not by the introduction of the system with which they were themselves already familiar on a different soil. The Carse farmers have therefore contented themselves with imitating the light-land farmers. They saw them feeding cattle fat with turnips, and they thought they would feed cattle fat with turnips also, and within the same time of the year, thus having; all the light-land cattle to compete with theirs. All this, however, is a fatal mistake. Turnips are by no means a crop specially suited to carse land. No doubt there is much black land in the Carse that grows them well; but in the stiffer soils there is much additional labour and uncertainty in getting a crop, and at best it is generally a very second-rate one.

On the other hand, no land in the world can grow finer summer green crops than the Carse clays. Clover and tares, provided the land is in fair condition, are crops peculiarly suited to the Carse; and if such be the case, is it not reasonable to expect that they should be largely grown, and that stock should be fed with them? Does not the whole matter resolve itself simply into this, that the Carse farmers should feed cattle in summer instead of winter?

And is not Summer feeding of cattle, in one word, the panacea which the Carse farmers have it in their power to adopt, in order to restore and maintain the condition of their land for grain crops? Would not such a system of management enable them to make a handsome profit, both on grain and stock, and to pay their rents "without inconvenience"? By such a system it is not proposed to reduce, but rather to increase the portion of land under grain, adopting the seven-shift with four grain crops in place of the six-shift with three; but there must be little hay cut—none for sale—and no more made than is required for the horses on the farm. The breadth of potatoes or beans must be reduced, and turnips and tares substituted for them. And with regard to the division in grass, the ryegrass should only be sown at the rate of two pecks per acre, in place of a bushel, as hitherto, with ten pounds of red clover. Moreover, the young brass should be cut as early and rapidly for the first cutting as possible, and thereby the second cutting will be good and early, soon after the time that the first cutting is completed. For this purpose a much larger stock will be required than most people have any idea of. It was found, in the summer of 1865, on a home farm in the Carse, that the first cutting kept four two-years' old cattle per Scots acre, and lasted for two months. Four Scots acres kept eleven two-year olds, five cart horses, and half fed eight much cows. The proportion applicable to the feeding cattle was about a quarter of an acre each, and when sold in August, L.2 per month was got for the soiling of each of them, while fifty tons of first-rate manure were made by them. But this is quite a new thing in this district. There is scarcely a farm in the Carse that has any cattle upon it during; summer, except the few cows for supplying milk to the family and servants; whereas, if it were raider proper management, every cattle reed and feeding byre should be as full of cattle as they are during winter in the stock-feeding districts; and there is no district in Scotland capable of turning out the same number of fat cattle. It may be asked, how is this to be carried out? what is to be (lone with the, turnips and straw with which we fed in winter? and where are we to ;et straw for the littering of cattle during such extensive summer-feeding? To this it is answered. Instead of cattle to be fed off in the limited time afforded by the turnips, good two-year-olds should be bought for wintering, and as many of them as justice can be (lone to, as a heavy stock is required to eat down the clover crops, between the 20th of May and 1.0th of July, by which time the whole crop should, if possible, be cut once. But in wintering these cattle there must be great economy of straw, as nearly a third of the whole stock of straw must be reserved for litter in summer, when the cattle are soiled in the house ; and as no cattle will be fed fat in winter for sale in spring, there will be less difficulty in giving the «winterers fair play, and they should be in good order for the cut clover, which, in a favourable season, may be ready by the 20th of May. When cut so early, the second cutting will be grown by the time the end of the first has been reached; and as a succession of tares will be ready from that time, there could be no lack of food to carry theirs on. The queys may be fat by midsummer, and the stots before the end of the grass. The Carse farmer will have two great advantages by such a plan,—he can both buy and sell at any time that he can do so to most advantage, and lie will hold the cattle for such a time, and sell them when the markets are not over-supplied, that he may expect a handsome profit. But the principle on which the growth of clover mixed with ryegrass, in a greatly reduced degree, is urged, is, that while the latter is truly a cereal, and exhausting in its effects to a greater or less degree, clover grows with a bulbous tap-root, which, when ploughed up, enriches the land and supplies it with decomposing; vegetable matter, so essential to the fertility of strong clay soil. Such being the case, it is clear that the intervening crop of grass in the Carse rotation is restorative only as the clover preponderates over the ryegrass. When, as is too often the case, there is little or no clover, and the crop is mainly ryegrass, it must be most exhaustive to the soil; for wheat or barley followed by ryegrass, and then broken up for oats, is as severe a sequence as any three white crops that can be put into land. In England, clover is grown without ryegrass, and attempts to do so in Scotland have been attended with equal success in favourable seasons but in others, from severe winters and bleak springs, the clover plants suffer from the want of shelter that ryegrass affords them; and it is found safer to sow two pecks of ryegrass with clover, and not trust the clover alone. To get the advantage of clover, it must be cut and cattle soiled in the house. Were cattle pastured on it, the same number could not be kept, probably not more than one-half; but, in addition, the land will not derive the same benefit from the clover, if pastured. This assertion may seem strange, almost paradoxical, to those whose attention has not been directed to the subject; for it is natural to suppose that the land must be more enriched by the manuring of the cattle than if it does not receive that advantage; but the truth is, that red clover is a plant that draws much of its nourishment from the air, and its tap-root fed and increased greatly through the leaves. It must, therefore, be allowed to grow up with a certain foliage before it is cut; and after being cut it must again be allowed to throw out leaves, and acquire a vigorous second growth before it is again cut; and by such treatment the root, which is the source of fertility to after crops, will grow to perfection. By pasturing, on the contrary, the leaves are being constantly cut over, and the plant nibbled and injured, so that the root attains only very small size, and imparts a correspondingly less degree of vegetable admixture to the soil when broken up for a grain crop. On the other hand, the clover should not be allowed to grow too old and woody and go much to bloom, for its vigour will be impaired, and it will start much more slowly for its second growth. As to the straw for summer. At present there can be no doubt that straw in the Carse is much wasted, and with proper attention there should be abundance for clover summer soiling. Under the present system there are only five months for breaking it down into dung, and as it is more than the cattle are able to do, it is left about the passages and roads, where it will at least become wet, although it may not be much the better of its wetting. Straw by itself is poor manure; it truly should be regarded as a sponge or medium for containing and accumulating enriching animal matter, to be rotted by the action and heat of the animal substance; but many Carse farmers have believed the contrary, and certainly they have been encouraged in the belief by their landlords and factors, and by the leases they have been called on to sign. If they ever read these sometimes rather lengthy documents, they would find that they lay themselves open to all the penalties of the law by the abstraction of a stone of straw, while there is no provision made for the application of the crops that could make the straw into valuable manure by consuming them along with it. One would suppose, from reading any ordinary lease, that both landlord and factor thought that if they bound the tenant to keep the straw on the land, they might defy him to deteriorate the farm. Low as the farming in the Carse undoubtedly is, it is not to any provisions in the leases, as they are at present drawn, that we can loot, for any improvement. They are all framed in accordance with the low system that has prevailed, and wherever good management does prevail in this district, it is attributable not to the provisions in the lease, but to the energy and enterprise of the tenant. It is undeniable, that to meet the requirements of the land for keeping it in condition under the Carse system, L.1 an acre per annum, for every acre of the farm, must be laid out in good solid farm-yard or stable and byre dung beyond what is made on the farm ; but though there are exceptions, few men of the present day who sell hay and potatoes off the farm, think of making such an expenditure, and those who do confine the application to the earlier part of their leases, and suspend it toward their conclusion. Farmers in general would be more disposed to buy good manure, if they reflected that the addition of L.1 per acre to the rent and expenses, which, taken together, may be put on good land at L.7, is in reality only a seventh, while the increase, if produced, may eventually, by perseverance in the system, reach 50 per cent. With the coarse of cropping allowed in the Corse, and the permission to sell hay and potatoes, the protecting clauses in the present leases are utterly inadequate for the purpose ; and instead of giving in to the cry from certain quarters, that there should be greater latitude given as to cropping, a system of management should be prescribed and enforced that would not leave the matter to the mere chance of getting a good man, especially if there should be a general change of system. By low farming is meant the opposite of high farming, which is a common expression in the present day. If it is a fact that there are farmers, and not a few, in the Carse who plough and sow, and apply no more manure than what is made on the farm, while they sell off all the grain, except a little given to their horses, all their hay, with the same exception, and all their potatoes, except what the pig gets, it may assuredly be called low farming, and lower farming than probably in any other district in Scotland. The farmers round Edinburgh, and all large towns, sell as much off their farms as in the Corse, but they bring back enormous quantities of manure to supply the place of the abstractions. They are, and act much as market-gardeners, who sell off all the produce, and who don't expect the pig they keep in the corner for consuming the "blades," to supply the manure required for their garden; but after all, this pig and the blades would manure it nearly as well as the sort of farmer first alluded to, who manures his greater extent with his slender stock. We repeat, the only legitimate exports from a farm are (,rain and stock. If they are confined to these, the land well managed may maintain itself in fair order, but if the illegitimate exports of hay and potatoes are made, its condition can only be maintained by heavy applications of foreign manure—that is to say, manure not made on the farm; and as this manure must be solid stable or byre manure brought from the towns, where, of course, the straw that stakes it is not grown, the country at large is only having returned to it the material it has yielded, and, as already said, the lowest estimate of this is at the rate of L.1 per acre per annum. These remarks will explain what is meant by low farming, and also what is meant by fair farming, and the alternative forms of the latter, neither of which, however, are in the least degree entitled to be called high farming. When high farming is spoken of (and there is none of it in Perthshire), it is something in excess of either of the two last. If, in the one case, instead of selling all the grain, except what is required for the horses, a farmer bruises it and feeds his cattle and pigs with a large proportion of it, selling only the best, and if he feeds his stock with oilcake or other bought in material, such as corn and straw bought at roups, and feeds with them to help his own manure heap, also gives his turnips guano and bones besides, while he eats his brass with sheep, or soils it with his cattle in the courts, that system is worthy of the name of high farming; or if, on the other hand, the man who sells off everything, buys back manure, partly dung, and partly bones or other light stuffs, to the value of L.2 or L.3 per acre for every acre of the farm, in place of the L.1, which is the lowest estimate of what is necessary, he in like manner may be said to farm highly. And if the question is put, Which is the best, and which is the worst plan for a tenant to follow? it may safely be said that there can be no surer road to ruin than low farming, though it is one that many a poor Carse farmer has travelled, without apparently convincing that portion of his neighbours whose position is nearest his own, that they are treading hard on his footsteps, and must shortly come to the same end as he. To follow successfully either of the systems of high farming requires a degree of experience, ability, and skill in principles and detail, that is not possessed by all or many who are professional farmers; and it may be better for a man to follow one of the middle courses specified as fair farming, until he finds himself possessed of these requisites of character, and the not less important requisite of cash, which will justify him in adventuring upon the advanced and higher scale of farming now indicated.

There is one point with regard to potato growing, as to which many farmers have been greatly to blame, and lost sight of their own interest. Ever since 1846 the disease has more or less prevailed, and often when the crop was large. The diseased potatoes are worth about 7s. per boll or 28s. per ton for feeding cattle, but in too many cases they have been sold to the farina mills at prices from 5s. to 7s. per ton, and when the labour and expense of carriage is deducted, the actual price was little more than half their feeding and manurial value. The existence of these farina mills in such a district is an unfavourable feature in regard to its farming. If the diseased crop were so applied, and if a part of the high price obtained for a sound one were spent in , purchasing manure required for their cultivation, it would make a great difference on the condition of the land; and potato growing will never be put on a proper footing with relation to that condition and the interest of the proprietor, until both these points receive more attention than they do at present.

While, therefore, bad seasons and low prices of grain, over which the Carse farmers had no control, have acted most prejudicially upon them, it appears that the system so long persevered in has reduced the condition of the land generally, and that they and their predecessors have themselves to thank for this; when, if they had adopted a more liberal treatment of their land, and availed themselves more of stock-feeding, they might have been in a condition as flourishing as any class of farmers in Scotland, notwithstanding the high rents paid; and if such a system had been followed, these rents would have been found to be proportionally lower than those paid for worse land. They are regulated by the price of grain, and cattle have been paying well, while the -rain rents have been low; but the tenants have had but slight relief from that circumstance, as they still trusted to the grain, and had little hope from cattle. They have been waiting for the tide to rise and float their ship, instead of taking assistance that was available, and the cargo has rotted while they have been looking on.

A small beginning has, however, been made in the right direction, and it is to be hoped that it may extend and be generally adopted.

In justice to the farmers in the county, whether on carse or light lands, it must be allowed that much of the deficiency and want of progress in their agriculture and condition of their land arises from the feeling that their connection with it is limited to the duration of the lease. They enter to a farm in low condition, and spend ten years in improving, and nine years in tearing it down. If they could carry on, during; the remainder of the lease, the system some of them begin with, the farm would be in really good heart at its termination. But they dare not do this, because if they did, the farm may be advertised and let, in consequence of the condition it is in, at a rent they, from their own experience, could not promise to pay, to another, who would take out all the condition that had been put in, and then get the rent reduced, or be allowed to go, having made his own of it. Farms in the hands of even the best men are always rising in condition during the early part of the lease, and falling towards its close, not from miscropping, but by cropping according to the lease, and by not applying such extra manure as such a course of cropping necessitates. It is the same thing as if horses were jobbed for six months, and kept on four feeds of corn per day in the first four months, and on two feeds, with the same work, during the two last. It is probably not very distinctly seen in this light by many landowners, for if it were, surely some plan would be adopted to correct the evil. The best remedy, and the one most likely to lead to steady advancement in the condition of land, would be by a renewal of leases when the land is in good fair condition before the wearing down has begun, and it -would pay a tenant then better to give an advance for a fifteen years' lease, after the expiry of the current lease, than to take it at the old rent, or even less, at the termination of the lease. Until some such plan is 'generally adopted, and tenants feel more security than they have at present that the money they spend in putting and keeping their land in condition will not be lost to them at the end of their leases, we cannot expect any great improvement. At present the English tenant-at-will from year to year feels much safer of a permanent connection with his farm than the Scotch tenant with his nineteen years' lease. The English tenant knows that if he votes with his landlord, and stands a little game damage, he will never have any question raised about the rent he pays. The Scotch tenant, with his lease, may have the luxury of quarrelling with his laird for the whole term of the lease, if so inclined, and whether he quarrels or not, he knows that the bargain ends at its termination, and he must then go or make a new one, under stiff competition, with men perhaps very inferior to himself. It may be doubted, in short, whether the state of agriculture in Scotland is so much consequent on the system of letting on lease as is generally believed, and whether it is not mainly due rather to the perseverance, energy, and frugality that mark Scotchmen in all occupations and in all countries. If the English system had prevailed in Scotland with the same confidence between owner and occupier, it may be argued that the same, or even greater, improvement would have been made, and that Scotchmen in England have farmed on yearly tenure as well or better than even they did in Scotland. On the other hand, in Scotland it is well known that good farms, held on favourable leases by successive liferents, have been badly farmed ; but these cases were probably exceptions, and there will always be bad farmers under the most favourable circumstances. There can be no doubt, however, that good farmers would farm much better if they felt greater security in regard to renewal of their leases on fair terms; not that this is not clone, or that it is the exception, but if one case among twenty farms occurs where the lease is not renewed on fair terms to a good tenant, every man thinks the case may be his own, and he must protect himself against such a result.

When referring to England in contrast with Scotland on this matter, it may be observed that in England it would seem that the question " rent" enters too little into consideration, while in Scotland it is nude of undue importance. Were it more so in England, it might act as a healthy stimulus to exertion on the part of the tenants; while if good farming and good tenants were more practically appreciated in Scotland, the advancement of agriculture, and the relation between landlord and tenant, would both be improved, and there would be no desire on the part of the tenantry to agitate for a serious alteration on the Law of Hypothec.

Notice should be taken of the steam cultivation introduced by Lord Kinnaird. His lordship had half a dozen farms at least thrown on his own hands by the failure of tenants, and the impossibility of getting others at the rent which they formerly paid, and which his lordship believed the farms to be worth if properly managed. Being well aware of the drawback to clay land, in the difficulty and expense of working it wholly with horses, he has had a steam-plough at work during the winters 1863-64 and 1864-65, and the results have been very satisfactory, as the crops have been above the average, while the expense of letting them has been reduced. The steam-plough cuts up the clay into enormous cubes, which the smart frosts of these winters have reduced into a friable state, but after an open winter they might not be so easily managed. It may suit very well for the large concern in which Lord Kinnaird finds himself for the present involved, or for a few of the largest farms in the district; but if the steam-plough is to be more generally adopted, it must be by a party working it for ordinary fanners by the acre, and in the meantime the farmers are watching Lord Kinnaird's proceedings with interest.

These remarks on the past and present state of agriculture in Perthshire may therefore be summed up in few words. The hill and pasture lands are in a highly flourishing condition. The lighter arable lands have made great progress, and are yearly improving in the system of management and condition; but the carse lands have not shared in that advance as yet, and stand much in need of a change of system to one more suitable for the present times. It is more than doubtful whether any change on the law of hypothec would conduce to that. From what has been stated, the Perthshire system has grown under the law of hypothec, and few parts of Scotland would feel a serious change on the law more. No doubt skill and experience in firming are of little use without capital, but capital without the other is not much better. What is wanted is a tenantry with both skill and capital, and as it may be safely averred that not one-half of the tenantry have these in combination, while the rest have not more than one of them, and often neither, there is a good deal to be done before agriculture is on a right footing. The most hopeful class of farmers are those with skill, who may be a little weak in the requisite capital. Such men will thrive and soon make capital under a fair or rather moderate rent; and there is no surer way to advance the agriculture of a district than by keeping the rents at fair rates, provided the men are good. Sup- posing the rent is a little easy, the difference between that and a rack rent, or a rent that cannot be racked out of the land, is not lost to the proprietor, for such a tenant applies all his surplus to the improvement of his farm and to the accumulation of stock upon it. It is almost as necessary to the proprietor that his tenant should have capital as to the tenant himself. If capital, therefore, is the desideratum among the tenantry of this county, as it is of many districts in Scotland, it is hard to see how they are to be benefited by a change that would involve them in a diminution of the capital at present applied to their business, which would be the practical result of the abolition of the security which the landlord at present holds.


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