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THE
CLIFTON PARK SYSTEM
OF FARMING

and laying down land to grass

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a guide to landlords, tenants
and land legislators

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by
ROBERT H. ELLIOT

 

with an introduction by
SIR R. GEORGE STAPLEDON

 

:

ROBERT H. ELLIOT of Clifton Park

 

 

 

FABER AND FABER LIMITED
24 Russell Square
London

 

 

First published under the title 'Agricultural Changes'
in October Mdcccxcviii
Second edition November Mcm
Third edition October Mcmiv
Fourth edition (under the present title) January Mcmviii
Fifth edition May McmXliii
Second impression October Mcmxliii
Third impression July Mcmxliv
Fourth impression March Mcmxlv
published by Faber and Faber Limited
24 Russell Square London W. C. 1
Printed in Great Britain by
Latimer Trend & Co Ltd Plymouth
All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Introduction by Sir R. George Stapledon

Author's Prefaces

CHAPTER I:
INTRODUCTORY

Author's opportunities for forming so-and conclusions as to thechanges required by the times; Remodelling our agricultural system; The writingsof Arthur Young; The importance of local experience; New system of farming suitableto the habits of gentlemen; New system of farming provides deeply tilled, humus-fedsoil, ensuring good crops; British agriculture will revive if suitable changes ofsystem are made; Proposed changes are to the mutual advantage of landlords and tenants;Similar principles laid down by M. Porcius Cato 2,000 years ago; Why farmers opposeagricultural changes; Falsity of the old saw as to 'making a pasture breaking a man';Agricultural changes adopted in La Manche Agricultural schools and experimental farmsaid the Normandy farmers; Great Britain requires Government agricultural schoolsand experimental farms

CHAPTER II:
GENERAL PRINCIPLES

The dominating principle as regards the change of system; The cheapproduction of a good turf-the solution of all our agricultural difficulties; Worthlessnessof Bi-metallism and Protection as remedies for agricultural depression; Land legislationno cure for our agricultural difficulties; Farming was more profitable when rentswere higher; Turf is the best manurial agent; A mixture of deep-rooting plants willat once till, manure, and clean the land; Crops less liable to disease, and weedsabolished; Locke's Conduct of the Understanding; Lord Leicester's system offarming light lands; Seed mixture used by Lord Leicester; Author's mixture will providea better turf in less time; A green crop should follow pasture

CHAPTER III

ON DISINTEGRATING THE SOIL AND PERMEATING IT
WITH VEGETABLE MATTER

Sir John Lawes' opinion on the importance of good Physical condition.of soil; Mr. Faunce de Laune's opinion on the same point; The physical conditionof the soil is of even more importance than the, strictly speaking, chemical condition;Laying down land to permanent grass; Deep-rooting plants are the best cultivatingand fertilizing agents; Illustrations of soil disintegration by the agency of roots;Laying down two high, poor land, exhausted fields; The Inner and Outer Kaimrig fieldexperiments; Remarkable results obtained after relaying one of the fields; Takingturnips after grass; Practical illustrations of the value of drought-resisting plants,such as Chicory, Burnet, Kidney Vetch, and Yarrow; The value of Burnet and Yarrowfor keeping sheep in good health, and especially in diminishing diarrhoea; Deep andstrong-rooting plants extinguish couch grasses, and lessen moss; Turnips grown withoutmanure; The Clifton Park system of farming explained; Farmers are not aided by Governmentschools and farms as are agriculturists abroad; Losses resulting from want of propermeans of instruction; Efforts of County Councils of little practical value to farmers

CHAPTER IV

ARTHUR YOUNG, AND SOME OF HIS AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCES
WITH REFERENCE TO CHICORY, BURNET, AND OTHER FORAGE PLANTS

Brief account of Arthur Young's life and works; His great unpublishedwork--The Elements and Practice of Agriculture; Chicory introduced into Englandby Arthur Young in 1798; The great value of Chicory; Advantages and disadvantagesof Chicory; Burnet, its uses and value; The excessive use of turnips undesirable;Rouen, or aftermath preserved for spring use; The use of fog, or the growth of thewhole year preserved for winter and spring use; Arthur Young on laying down landto grass; Browsing; Arthur Young's remarkable personality

CHAPTER V

LAYING DOWN LAND TO GRASS, AND THE TREATMENT
OF THE PASTURE

Dr. Keith's Agriculture of Aberdeenshire; Dr. Anderson'sremarks on Ryegrass; 'Observations of British Grasses'; Various methods of layingdown land to grass; The after-management of permanent pasture; Importance of rollingthe land after grasses have come up; Pastures should not be overstocked the firstyear; Clifton Park Seed Mixtures may be grazed throughout the first year, and hayedthe second or subsequent years; Importance of re-seeding vacant patches in pastures;Moss in pastures; Treatment of the pasture in the third and fourth years; How toobtain greatest amount of winter and spring keep from pastures; Rouen, or preservedaftermath; 'Fogging the land' in South Wales; Shutting-up a pasture at Sharsted Court;Fine pastures may be formed from the largest grasses; Advantages from letting upa pasture as regards re-seeding and prevention of moss; Hill pastures might be improvedif treated on the Welsh fogging system

CHAPTER VI

FORAGE PLANTS

Danger of regulating present practices by previous customs whichmay not be founded on a sound experience; Cause of the preference for Ryegrass; Mr.James Hunter's note thereon; The Ryegrass controversy; Sinclair's opinion as to Cocksfootbeing superior to Ryegrass; The effect of plant roots on the soil; The grass mixturesusually sown not founded on sound principles; New grass mixtures used by author;The value of deep-rooting plants for breaking up hard pans; Chicory, Burnet, andKidney Vetch as subsoilers; Chicory superior to Parsnip as a deep-rooter; Opinionsof a well-known farmer as regards two poor land fields; Probable results had sheepbeen fed with oilcake; Importance of careful tillage and seeding; Liberal seedingessential to success; The number of germinating seeds required to sow an acre; Qualityof seed of great importance; The Lake field laid down with seeds from two differentsources, and the results; Differences in plants grown from seed produced in variousclimates should be further investigated; Remarks on Cocksfoot, the most valuableof grasses; The management of Cocksfoot; Tall Fescue grass; Tall Oat grass; The threemost important grasses; Grass mixture of hardy, drought-resisting, health-preserving,and deep-rooting plants; Timothy grass; Italian Ryegrass; Perennial Ryegrass, MeadowFescue, and Meadow Foxtail grasses; Fertile, or Late-flowering Meadow grass; Rough-stalkedMeadow grass; Golden Oat, Smooth-stalked Meadow, Hard Fescue, and Sweet Vernal grasses;Crested Dogstail, Wood Meadow, Fine-leaved Fescue, and Nerved Meadow grasses; Late-floweringRed, White, and Alsike Clovers; Kidney Vetch and Yarrow; Lucerne, Sainfoin, BirdsfootTrefoil, Sheep's Parsley, and Cotton grass

CHAPTER VII

WHY GOVERNMENT EXPERIMENTAL FARMS ARE SO SPECIALLY
NEEDED, AND THE LINES ON WHICH THEY SHOULD BE LAID

Aversion of agriculturists to intellectual exertion; The mentalcondition of landlords, tenant farmers, and factors in regard to agricultural matters;Need for experimental farms for the instruction of those connected with land; Visitorsto Clifton-on-Bowmont farm; The Board of Agriculture and its policy; 'Can the blindlead the blind?'; Experiments at Cockle Park, Morpeth; Exhaustion of humus not remediedby use of artificial manures; Manurial experiments with hay and potatoes at CocklePark; Experiments with potatoes at Clifton-on-Bowmont; Experiments with sheep atCockle Park; Two sets of experiments required on experimental farms; The Governmentasked to take lease of Clifton-on-Bowmont experimental farm; Central seed-testingstation not yet established

CHAPTER VIII

THE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH A LANDLORD SHOULD FARM,
BOTH FOR HIMSELF AND HIS SUCCESSORS

Indian proverb--the three great desires of man; The American Constitution;Landlord's rights in Ireland; The landlord should farm with a view to least risk;Clifton-on-Bowmont farm yields rent, interest on capital, and shows a steady increasein fertility; Landlords should themselves farm the inferior portions of their property;System of farming at Clifton-on-Bowmont described; Sheep stock at Clifton-on-Bowmont;Cattle at Clifton-on-Bowmont; Poultry; Landed Improvements; Agriculture our biggestindustry; Foreign. Competition; The stock of this country might be greatly increased;What is a true rotation of crops?; Nitrogen collecting crops; Agriculture on a soundfooting; Extreme economy of production; Leguminous crops absolutely essential tomaintain the fertility of the soil; Increase of rural population; Climatic effectof woods and shelters; Recent land legislation; Nationalization of land; Nationalized,and permanently settled lands in British India; Irish Land Act of 1881; Letter toAuthor's Agent in King's Co.; English foresight; Threatened legislation

APPENDIX I

PAPER CONTRIBUTED BY MR. JAMES HUNTER, AGRICULTURAL
SEED MERCHANT, CHESTER

Grass seeds commonly used for laying down land to grass greatlydiffer in appearance, etc.; The germination of seeds; The weight of the seed as atest of quality; The number of seeds in a given weight of the different species ofgrasses varies greatly; The cost per million germinating seeds; Standard of qualityof seeds for grass mixtures; The quantity of grass and clover seeds sufficient tosow an acre; The average price of seeds for the years 1898 to 1907; The relativeproductiveness of various grasses; Grasses arranged in the order of their cost forseeds to sow an acre; More seed required when land not in fine tilth; The mixingof grass and clover seeds

APPENDIX II

ON SOME NOTES ON THE SEED TRADE AND GRASS SEEDS SUPPLIED
BY MR. JAMES HUNTER, AGRICULTURAL SEED MERCHANT, CHESTER

Mr. Faunce de Laune's Paper on 'Laying down land to Permanent Pasture',and its important results; Condition of the Grass Seed Trade in this country; Aneasy and safe method of obtaining good seeds; The excessive use of clover

APPENDIX III

THE LATEST EXPERIENCES, UP TO THE END OF NOVEMBER 1907,
HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE EXPERIMENTAL AND OTHER NOTES
IN THIS APPENDIX

The Inner Kaimrig experiment; The Outer Kaimrig experiment; TheBank Field experiment; Experiments in Alghope field; Difference between five-courserotation and that on Author's farm; Experiments of the Cambridge University Departmentof Agriculture at Abbotsley with Permanent Pasture on poor clay soil; Success ofthe Clifton Park System in growing potatoes without manure; Turnips grown withoutmanure; Causes of young pastures failing; Mixture of drought-resisting plants forbare rocky surfaces; Importance of drought-resisting plants; How most cheaply tore-seed pastures; The grazing of pastures; Aftermath must be lightly grazed; Effectsof haying land the first year; Importance of rolling land; Effects of the Systemin preventing loss from wash; Moss, important result in Outer Kaimrig; Moss, lettingup fogged-up, or mossed-up, hill pastures; Safety of the system as regards hay andpasture; Effects of the system in abolishing weeds; Comparison of the results ofthe new system with those of an adjacent farm; Grass inoculation; Success of thesystem as regards crops, stock and cultivation; Effect of system after ploughingthe second turf; Filling up vacant spots in first year's grass; Success of the systemas regards turnip disease; Advantage of deep-rooted plants; Dew ponds; Manures usedfor turnips at Clifton-on-Bowmont; Why land on my system increases in fertility;Decomposition of vegetable matter; On the quantity of clover seed that should beused; The downward penetration of Chicory and Burnet; Experiments with differentvarieties of chicory; Importance of laying down foul land at two operations; Theagreement of plants and trees in nature; The excessive use of ryegrass; General successof the system; Financial results; Professor Barnes' communication; The purchase ofgrass seeds; Comparison between turf from old pasture and that from deep-rootingplants; The mixing and sowing of grass seeds at Clifton-on-Bowmont; The work of theBoard of Agriculture; Concluding remarks

APPENDIX IV

Note by Dr. Voelcker on comparison of the soils of old Cheviotturf and five-year-old pasture; Second note by Dr. Voelcker on the composition andcharacter of the soil of the Bankfield; Third note by Dr. Voelcker

APPENDIX V

Shelters; Hop shelters or 'lews' in east Kent

APPENDIX VI

Notes of the Stock kept at Clifton-on-Bowmont Farm; Rotation ofCrops at Clifton-on-Bowmont

APPENDIX VII

Tenant farmer's letter on Clifton Park system, and method of takingturnips after lea; The opinion of a well-known Border Agriculturist about the farmingand stocking of Clifton-on-Bowmont farm

APPENDIX VIII

Suggested Changes of Farming System : Paper read at a meeting ofBorder Union Agricultural Society, October 1902

APPENDIX IX

The Clover Mystery, a probable solution of it: Paper read at ameeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at Cambridge,19th August 1904; Postscript to paper read at the meeting of the British Associationat Cambridge, 1904

 

ILLUSTRATIONS*
*Note: All illustrations from these links open in a "new window".

ROBERT H. ELLIOT OF CLIFTON PARK (frontispiece, above)

A VIEW OF CLIFTONPARK HOUSE, ROXBURGHSHIRE

JAMES HUNTER

MICRO-PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SEEDS OF THE VARIOUS GRASSES AND CLOVERS USED IN THECLIFTON PARK SYSTEM (note: four lithographic glossy plates in the original; theseare reproduced within the text where relevant).

A MAP OF CLIFTON-ON-BOWMONT EXPERIMENTAND DEMONSTRATION FARM (note: a rather large download)