The Agriculture of the Islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. By C.P. Le Cornu, Beaumont, Jersey. Price Essay.
The Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 1859 vol. XX.
Jersey. The Channel Islands in former times were very little known beyond the fact of their existence, but they may be said to have awakened as it were from a state of lethargy, and become a highly important although a small section of the British empire. Within the limits of these pages it being necessary to confine ourselves strictly to what appertains to agriculture, we shall now take each island separately into consideration; for however close may be their relative position with regard to each other, on many essential points there is a difference which claims special notice.
Jersey, the largest and most easterly of the group, lies in latitude 49º N., longitude
The island is computed to cover an area of 28.717 English acres, and is divided into twelve parishes, viz: St. Helier`s inwhich is the principal town and harbour, St. Saviour`s, St. CLement`s, Grouville, St. Martin`s, Trinity, St. John`s, St. Mary`s, St. Quen`s, St. Peter`s, St. Brelade`s, and St. Lawrence`s; the first six forming the eastern district, and the remaining six comprised in the western district.
The entire population amounted at the last census in 1851 to 57.155; of this number one half are inhabitants of St. Helier`s, the other half may be said to be evenly spread over the other parts of the Island. St. Helier`s holds a central and very advantageous postion for the sale of produce, whether it be for exportation of for home supply. There are also two smaller towns having each its harbour, St. Aubin and Gorey; the former is in St. Brelade`s parish, and the latter in St. Martin`s, but very little business is done at either comparatively with St. Helier`s. When we consider the large population living on so small a surface -that there are two inhabitants to every acre -we almost wonder whence they derive their resources; but we must bear in mind that, although situated on a rocky bed, the soil of Jersey is particularly rich and highly productive. The rock is of the primary formation, void of any organic remains, chiefly granite, syenite, gneiss, pophyry and schist, with other varieties belonging to this series. It might be supposed that the fact of the soil reposing on so rocky a bottom might produce meagreness, but it is not the case. The soil is a rich loam, varying in lightness, in accordance with the stratum bebeath it; if granite or syenite, it is lighter than where the other varieties of rock are found. The cause to which this difference is attributable is that immediately between the granite and cultivated soil is a layer of coarse gravel, which acts as constant drainage, whereas where the granite and syenite disappear no gravel is found, but a light clay forms the layer between the soil and rock. As a general rule the eastern district of the island may be said to belong to the latter formation, and the western to be more closely allied to the former, but in both cases there are exceptions. For certain kinds of produce the one is more esteemed than the other, but the universal opinion throughout the island is, that the eastern district is the richest and most productive. To bear this out it will only be necessary to state that the rent of land is considerably higher in this than than in the other; and by comparing the two closely it will be found that the calyey bottom is the most advantageous; being rententive of moisture it protects plants against drought; it also retains the properties of manure, which in thinner and more open soils are washed down by rain and lost; from this last remark it is not to be inferred that the soil of the island in any one part is altogether deficient of certain retaining properties; what is wished to be impressed is, that the varieties of soil are numerous, and differ, as has been said, in accordance with the strata immediately beneath. Here it will also be well to observe that certain localities in the vicinity of bays have through the violence of the wind from olden times become extremely light and sandy, but they nevertheless are tilled and have in many places become highly fertile, especially in the parish of St. Clemens, which may be termed the garden of Jersey, from its great and early productiveness. Jersey is well studded with trees, much more so tahn either of the other islands; the oak, elm, chestnut and ash are seen growing luxuriantly, but particularly the appletree may be noticed; formerly a large portion of land was devoted to the culture of this fruit-tree, but of late many have been destroyed, and replaced by the ordinary crops of grain, grass, roots &c.
Land is held in various ways, either as farms on lease paying annual rent, or as freeholds for ever. In the former ease the lease cannot extend beyond nine consecutive years; the conditions of leases are simple, generally commencing on Christmas-day; the tenant binds himself to pay to his landlord at a stated time the yearly rent, to till and manure the land well, observing the customary rotation of crops; on the other hand, the proprietor is bound to keep the house, farmbuildings, fences, and so on, in tenantable and good conditions. A freehold is acquired by various means, either by paying down the full amount agreed upon, or by what is commonly done, paying a part only, and converting the remainder into what are termed quarters of rent, it being a sort of mortgage due on the property; formerly these rents were paid in corn, but they are now commuted for specific sums into money; each quarter being estimated at 15s 5d English money per annum. In all cases of purchase the purchaser is bound to pay down at least one-fourth of the gross amount, either in money or in quarters of rent. In such a case, when only part of the price of purchase has actually been paid down, and the remainder is due in annual rents, the purchaser is, to all intents, as much the proprietor as if hed had paid down the full amount, and so long as he continues to pay the said rents regularly he is never disturbed, but he as well as his successors remain in perpetual possession of the property as freehold. The rents are guaranteed to the seller by the property as freehold. The rents are guaranteed to the seller by the property sold, as well as by all other real property free from encumbrance held by the purchaser at the moment of purchase. Rents being always a property much in demand and transferable, it follows that they can at any time be converted into cash readily. By this means the original owner reaps the income of his property, secured by the property itself, and which he can at all times re-obtain in case of non-payment; while on the other hand the purchaser, by regularly paying the rents charged, becomes the lawful and perpetual owner, and, moreover, he can at any time when his means increase get rid of his debt by purchasing rents of a similar nature, and assigning them to the original proprietor, though still continuing to be the lawful guarantee for the rents so assigned. This mode of tenure, complicated as it may seem, has proved good, for many persons without much means, but merely through industry and economy have sprung up and become more wealthy than former proprietors, who, after disposing of their estates, lived on the income derived therefrom.
The great subdivision of property has caused farms to be of very small extent. The law of the island does not permit land or rents inherited to be devised by will, but they must follow the law of succession; on the demise of a proprietor, the eldest son takes as his birthright the house &c., with rather more than two acres of land adjoining, also one-tenth of the entire landed property and rents; the remainder is then shared, two-thirds among sons, and one-third among daughters, but in no case can a daughter take a larger share than a son. Thus large estates become very much divided, but in most cases the eldest branch purchases some of the portions allotted to the junior members, who have commonly turned their minds to professional or mercantile occupations. Very many houses will be found to which only 2 or 3 acres are attached, whilst others have 20 or 30, but en estate which contains 15 acres is by no means considered a small one, and rarely do any exceed 50 or 60 acres; there may, perhaps, be 6 or 8 such in the whole island. However limited may appear the size of these farms, still their value is considerable. The following are the prices at which land has been letting of late years, viz: In the immediate vicinity of St. Helier`s 9 3 per acre; at a distance of 2 or 3 miles 6£ 10s. to 7£ 10s; beyond that 4£ 10s. to 6£.
Bearing these prices in mind, it will be observed that farming must be carried on with great care and attention, and that the farmers must be ever watching how to turn his occupation to the greates advantage, otherwise his business would prove a failure. In Jersey almost every family residing in the country cultivate some portion of land adjoining their house; if but a garden they grow fruit and vegetables for the markets, and if they have 1½ to 2 acres of land they keep a cow, two or three pigs, and some poultry, increasing their stock in proportion to the extent of their occupation.
The Jersey farmhouse is a comfortable granite-built dwelling, sufficiently large for any ordinary family: the outbuildings are also substantial and conveniently constructed, comprising a bakehouse, stable, cow-house, pigsties, cart-shed, barn, granary, ciderpress-house, store-rooms, liquid-manure tank, and various other conveniences, the whole on a scale suitable to the extent of land attached.
The cultivation of the soil is carried on in various modes; but there is one general
and almost universal system followed; the only difference being caused by position or some
striking change of soil. The rotation followed is this:
After turnips wheat is sometimes sown, but in this case clover is not added; the following year the land is again broken up for either potatoes, parsnips, or carrots, or perhaps oats may be sown with clover for the next year`s hay-crop; but this latter change rarely occurs.
To illustrate more clearly the courses followed, and the proportions of ground allotted
toeach crop, we shall, for an example, take an ordinary farm of acres, and distribute the
land as is customary. A farm of this extent will generally comprise six or eight fields,
including, perhaps, one or two orchards. The avergae size of fields throughout the island
is from 2 to 3 acres; they are divided by fences thrown up with soil, which take up an
extraordinary space; on the top, which is generally from four to five feet above the
level of the fields and three to four feet wide, is grown furze, or wood for fuel. The
land of late years having become of great value, the banks have in many places been
removed and replaced by quickset or other fences of a similar nature. This is a great
improvement as regards farming, for these banks are nothing more than a nursery for weeds
and vermin; in some parts of the island, in the neighboorhood of quarries, stone walls are
commonly seen; but although stone is abundant, walls of this description are expensive,
and therefore not general.
The stock usually kept will consist of
To manage the above, and keep the whole in proper order, will require the constant attention of 4 persons -2 men and 2 women. In most cases the farmer has not recourse to assistance beyond that of his own immediate household; it is, indeed, a rare occurrence for a tenant-farmer to hold a farm of tis extent unless he can rely upon his own family for assistance. The usual price paid for labour is 2s. per day for a man, and 1s. for a woman -if not fed in the house; but if they receive their meals, the pay is 1s. per man, and 6d per woman. There is also another class of servants who board and lodge altogether on the premises; in this case, the maid servants are paid from 83 to 10£ a year, and the men from 12£ to 14£. The former are in most cases natives, but many French and Irish are also found; the men are generally English or French; in the eastern district of the island the latter prevail, and in the western district English are mostly found.
Before entering into the modes of cultivation it will be well to understand the arrangement of the farmhouse, outbuildings, yards, &c. The most usual plan is for the dwelling-house to border upon the road-side, with only a small garden or yard intervening. If it be a garden, it is laid out with flowers and vegetables; if a yard, it is kept gravelled and clean, and through it is a path which leads to the principal entrance. On this side of the house (which usually faces the south) is frequently trained a wine, which adds considerably to its appearance. The interior contains, on the ground-floor, two kitchens, one parlour, and a room appropriated for the dairy; on the upper floor are four bed-rooms.
The farm-offices are built near the dwelling-house, in some cases actually adjoining to it; they are convenient and compact, and calculated rather for these objects than for appearance. The bakehouse is a small room, containing a bread oven, and a copper for boiling or steaming roots; this room is also frequently used as a wahshouse. The horse and cow stables are inelegant, but paved and divided into stalls. The pigsties are large and well constructed, entirely built and paved with granite; generally there are three or four of these sties attached to the outbuildings of a farm such as we are now describing. Near these is the manure-pit, which contains the whole of the manure made on the premises; and in the neighbourhood of the pit is the liquidmanure tank, sunk frequently in the form of a well and cemented. It is so constructed as to receive all the drainage from the different stables &c., as well as what may overflow from the manurepit in cases of heavy rain. This valuable liquid is emptied by menas of a pump, and applied to the grass-land in the spring. The barn is built in the ordinary way; in most cases it is floored with wood, which is considered by far the best flooring for threshing upon with flails, as is customary in the island. The granary is a small room above or near the barn, divided into partitions for the reception of corn when treshed and cleaned. Near the barn is always the stackyard.
The cider-press house is also another appendage of the farm offices. It is usually a large room, wherein is fixed a circular granite through, into which runs a stone wheel; this wheel is connected by an axle to a pillar, which stands upright from the ceiling to the centre of the ring, and turns round as it is moved. The apples are thrown into the through, and thus crushed into pulp. In some farms mills are used, as in England. The press for squeezing the pulp consists of a frame, about six feet square and nine inches deep, that rests upon a beam, through each end of which runs a large wooden screw. The screws are fixed perpendicularly, and are connected with a beam above the frame similar to that beneath it. The pulp is put up in layers, each being divided either by a horsehair cloth of a thin coating of corn-reed, and when done, by turning the screws the upper beam is lowered upon the pulp, by which means the cider is drawn; pressure is applied until nothing remains but the dry cheese. Other presses of more modern date have only one screw -a fixture -which acts upon the centre of the upper beam; these srews are generally of iron, and are more effective than the others. If much cider be made, immediately above the presshouse is a chamber, into which the apples are stored till they become ready for use. There are no means of ascertaining the actual quantity of cider made on the island; but it must be large, as it is the principle beverage of the middle and lower classes. SOme farmers are not sufficiently particular in assorting their fruit, but allow a mixture of different kinds, so that ripe and unripe meet in the mill or through - the result is, of course, an inferior article; there are others who pay proper attention to cider-making and produce it excellent.
The apples commonly grown for making cider are known in Jersey as Noir Binet, Petit Jean, Limon, Bretagne, de France, Romeril, Frais Chien, Amer, Pepin Jacob, Carré, with many other varieties. The entry of foreign cider into the island is forbidden by law.
In closing the description of the farm-offices we will mention the cart-sheds, which are used for general purposes, and sufficiently spacious and lofty to shelter the largest loads. There are also other rooms, such as store-rooms, but there is nothing peculiar in them.
We shall now turn our attention to the cultivation and cropping, and shall commence our operations with January, following the year through its difference seasons. The commencement of a new year signals the preparation of wheat-land and sowing. True it is that some sow their wheat a week or ten days before Christmas, but the generel months is January; it should never be sown later than the 14th. There is an old superstitious custom observed by many with regard to the exact time of sowing wheat; it is when the moon is in its third or its fourth quarter. In former times this was much more thought of than it is now; only those of the old school attend to it. As before observed, wheat is sown in most cases after potatoes, parsnips, or carrots; in this case the land is clean, and requires no preparation beyong manuring. The manure employed is generally vraic ashes, i.e. the ashes produced by the burning of dried seaweed. Seaweed is collected in great abundance on the coast and dried for the purpose of burning. If the land be rich, as in most cases it is, having beenhighly manured for the rootcrops, 2½ tons per acre of ashes will be deemed sufficient. A few days before ploughing these ashes are carted from a dry place (in which they are stored and kept as free as possible from the action of the atmosphere) to the field, where they are spread on the surface. If the sowing takes place before Christmas, it is frequently the custom to sow the seed on the furface before ploughing, and then plough it in with the manure about 5 inches deep; the mode is preferred by many. If sown in sown January -the usual time - the land will first be ploughed about 7 inches deep, then the seed be distributed broadcast, and, if properly done when the ground has been well harrowed lengthways, the seed will rise in drills the breadth of the furrows. Nothing more is done to it before the end of March, when it is hand-weeded, if required, prior to the clover and other grassseeds being sown in it, which takes places as soon as the wheat is 4 or 5 inches high; it is then altogether left until the harvest season, which we shall describe later. The varieties of wheat commonly sown are known in Jersey as Velouzé and Petit Blanc; the former is the best for rich soils on account of the strength of its straw, which prevents it from being laid by storms or continued rain, but the Petit Blanc is more esteemed for the quality of its flour. The Velouzé or Downy is the most profilic, yielding in the rich and wellcultivated parts of the island, 50 bushels per acre, but, as a general medium, 45 bushels may be taken. The quantity of seed sown varies; formerly, as much as 200 lbs weight was sown per acre, but now one-fouth less is used, and found be to sufficient. The only preparation that the seed undergoes before sowing is to steep it in bluestone and water for 8 or 10 hours. SOmetimes salt is used, in which case it is mixed with both water until it is strong enough to float a potato; when could the wheat is thrown into it, and left for 10 to 12 hours, after which it is taken out, and dried with a little unslacked lime.
The wheat being sown, the next object will be to attend to the parsnip and potato crops, which in due rotation follow turnips. For parsnips, the land is covered with a good coating of seaweed, which is gathered fresh and applied at once; that done, the whole is ploughed in 2 or 3 inches deep, and allowed to remain so until the end of February, and sometimes later. By this means the roots of the different plants which may have sprung up since the turnips had been removed are exposed to the air and killed, and their leaves rotted with the seaweed beneath. Here it may be observed that seaweed decomposes quickly, and leaves the soil in a pulverised and open state; it is well harrowed, and stable manure carted and spread at the rate of 20 to 30 tons per acre; then the ploughing takes place, in a manner which will seem singular to those unacquainted with the Channel Islands. Before describing this, it will be well to mention that, when oats are sown, it takes place in the early part of February. Only inferior land is tilled for this grain; it is ploughed in the same manner as for wheat, but no manure is applied. The quantity of oats grown in the island is so trifling as to unworthy of notice.
Returning to the mode of ploughing for parsnips, a trench is made from one end of the piece to the other, from 2 to 3 feet wide and 15 inches deep; then a common plough drawn by two horses, turns the manure, with a sod 4 inches thick, into the trench Following this plough, and immediately in its part, is another plough, of huge dimensions, drawn by six or eight horses, which works at such a depth as to throw up a thickness of one foot at least of subsoil over the crust and manure which the smaller plough has turned over; and thus they go round until the piece is finished, after which it is barrowed, and thee seed sown broadcast at the rate of 3 to 4 lbs. per acre; it is then slightly harrowed in, and left until the weeding season arrives. When the young plants have attained one inch or so in height they are hand-weeded; this was was formerly repeated three times, but has given way to hoeing, which, when carefully done, answers the purpose quite as well, if not better. When first thinned, the young plants are left from 5 to 7 inches apart, and the second time about 1 foot. In some cases they are hoed three times, much depending on the state of the soil; they are then left until the fall of the year, nothing more being done to them.
The potato land i sprepared in the same wasy as for parsnips, the only difference being that no seaweed is employed as manure; is it supposed to give the tuber a disagreeable taste. When the ground has been ploughed and harrowed, the plants being cut, the setting takes place. A small one-horse plought is used for the purpose of making drills, which generally are eighteen inches apart and five inches deep; following the plough, young people are employed to lay the sets, -these are placed at a distance of nine or ten inches from each other: on its second turn the plough opens a fresh drill, and with the mould raised covers the sets in the one just planted. The quantity of seed used is about 20 cwt per acre. When the young plants are about to penetrate the surface, the ground is harrowed lightly to loosen it, as well as to destroy any small weeds which may have sprung up since the planting. The harrow is very beneficial, so long as the young plant is not disturbed; but in order to avoid this, of late many farmers have used the fork. When five or six inches high the plants are earthed up with a small plough having a double mouldboard; in most cases horses are not employed for this work, but the plough is managed by two men, one drawing and the other directing it. Here ends the work before digging them out of the ground. The sorts commonly planted are -Early Shaws, Fortyfolds, GOld-finders, Crapaudines and Kidneys, for early produce; and the Regent, Scotch, Pink-eye and Jersey blue, for later crops. The Early Shaws and Fortyfolds come ripe the first; the Goldfinger is also a fine potato, but not quite so early: different varieties of Kidneys are planted, but only in gardens, never in any quantity, -they are not so much esteemed by farmers as the other sorts. The Regent is the best potato grown, be it for quality or quantity of produce; formerly the Scotch was the most esteemed, but of late years the return has been very small and poor: The Pink-eye is a worthless sort, which should never have been introduced into the island; it is very productive, but of a bad quality. The old Jersey blue, once universally grown, is now almost lost, very few seem to cultivate it. Jersey was once famous for the cultivation of potatoes. Before the visitation of Providence upon the plant, the enormous produce of 18 tons per acre was not uncommon, but now it is a good crop which yields from 8 to 9 tones on the same quantity of land. Some farmers prefer spade-digging to the large plough for potatoes. A trench is opened at one end of the field, then with the spade the crust is taken off and thrown into it in seams about 18 inches wide and 4 inches thick; over this is spread the manure evenly, then the subsoil is dug and put on to the surface; so that when the sets are planted they are almost on the manure itslef. This is considered the best mode to ensure a good return, for, in the case of ploughing with the large plough, the manure is frequently sunk too deep, and its properties lost. The parsnips it is very different; this root penetrates extremely low and arrives at the manure, but the potato unless planted very deep does not obtain the benefit. During the months of January, February and March the farmer attends to his pastures. The westerly winds prevalent during the winter months bring with them quantities of seaweed; this is an excellent dressing, producing grass of the best quality; cattle will feed wit avidity on pastures dressed with it; another top-dressing applied to grass is the liquid manure from the tank. Some years ago no attention was paid to this important manure, but of late, since the Agricultural Society has made known its richness, it is universally saved and applied to grass-land.
In April mangold-wurtzel is sown. The land is prepared and manured in the same as for potatoes; sometimes seaweed is added. The seed is distributed in drills - from 24 to 30 inches apart and 3 inches deep, and generally thick enough to admit of more than one-half of the young plants being removed or destroyed when hoed. The first hoeing takes place as soon as the rows are visible, the second when the plants are sufficiently strong to admit of thinning; and if in some places the seed has failed, some are transplanted to fill the vacanies; for the third time they are cleaned of weeds, when the plants have attained the size of carrots. The under leaves of mangolds are frequently given to pigs during the summer; some persons object to these being removed, on the ground that it injures the plant, but the detriment sustained, if any, is more than compensated by the benefit which swine derive therefrom. The produce of mangold averages from 40 to 50 tons per acre. To give an example of its enormous produce I shall quote a paragraph which I had occasion to notice in the last year`s Report of the Royal Jersey Agricultural SOciety.
"It is observable that the produce of the turnip crop has been gradually diminishing during the last five or six years, whilst that of mangolds has been increasing; whether this has arisen from improper culture, or ungavourable seasons, does not appear clear; that the latter root is more to be depended upon is evident from the fact of its increased produce in dry as well as in wet seasons; last year, for instance, has been dry, and notwithstanding the weight per vergée has not diminished. I St. Peter`s, Captain Balleine produced the enormous quantity of 32 tons to the vergée, free from tops, being upards of 70 tons per acre, in a field directly adjoining the marsh in that parish; and he asserts that, if the adjoining piece of land in the marsh had been similar cultivated, it would have produced a similar result. This produce, estimated a 15s per ton, is upwards of 503 per acre, 243 per vergée. This he obtained by breaking up an old pasture, carting to it 15 loads of old bank soil pre vergée, and manuring with fresh stable dung."
The long red and the yellow globe mangolds are both cultivated; in some instances the globes have been known to produce a heavier crop than the long red, but that is unusual; the latter are in almost all cases the most productive in weight.
Carrots do not occupy so large a space in the root crops as parsnips or mangolds, but they are deservedly prized by many. In the outline given at page 36 of the rotations followed, carrots are placed to succeed turnips; sometimes also they follow wheat, i.e. when the wheat has been sown after turnips and no clover-seeed added. In both cases the sowing takes place at the end of April; the seed is generally sown broadcast, and the young plants treated in the same manner as parsnips. Carrots thrive best in light or wellpulverised land; the soil is ploughed deep, and manured as for potatoes. The varieties chiefly cultivated are the Altringham and Belgian. The root is much esteemed as food for horses during the winter months. The produce, when a good crop, is about 30 tons per acre, and instances of 36 tons per acre are not uncommon.
When barley is sown, the common time i April; this grain as well as oats is only cultivated on poor soils, which are not calculated for wheat; but the mode of ploughing and sowing is the same: It is put in after turnips; if after potatoes, cloverseed is added for the next year`s hay crop.
When May begins, the farmer thinks of preparing his land for swedes. The pasture intended to be broken up will have been fed off closely; he will then scarily it, and at the end of the month pare it with his plough as thinly as possible, after which it is harrowed well with a heavy two-horse harrow; stable manure is then cated and spread on the surface at the rate of 25 tons per acre. SOmetimes seaweed is also used and found good; in short it may be said to be applied for all roots, especially in the immediate neighbourhood of the coast, where it most abounds. When the land has been made ready, it is ploughed with four horses, six or seven inches deep, or so that what may have been on the surface is entirely buried. If the seed be drilled the ground is harrowed, and then distributed in drills the ground is harrowed, and then distributed in drills 14 inches apart. When the young plants have three leaves they are lightly thinned and subsequently they are again hoed and left at a distance of 14 inches frome each other. Of late years the Swedish turnip has not answered well in the island; the young plants have been devoured by insects as soon as they made their appearance above ground, and consequently had to be sown a second time. It is the opinion of many that they should not be put in too early, nor yet immediately after the land is ploughed, but that a certain time should be allowed for all grubs, &c. to disappear. Two varieties of swedes are grown in Jersey, the purple and the green. A fair crop produces about 26 tons per acre.
About the middle of June the hay season commence by cutting the two years old clover, which is always ripe before the main or one year old crop. It is allowed to stand too long before cutting, for the rye-grass which is in it dries up, and stems become wiry and lose their nutriment; moreover the cloverleaves not near the foot, and the hay gets coarse and hard. The farmer, regardless of quality, thinks that by this means be obtains a heavier crop; he forgets that by cutting early he will have a better second crop, as well as a better chance of saving it without rain. When the grass is mown it is spread with forks, and so left for one or two whole days if the weather be fine it is again turned over, and afterwards made into small cocks to ferment; these are again put two into one, and the following day carted to the loft or rick. For hay to be properly seasoned it should not be put in before it has well fermented in cocks, otherwise it will get mouldy. A prevalent custom with many is to put the hay in lofts above the stables; it may be convenient, but it does not keep nearly so well as in ricks. When made, ricks are allowed to remain uncovered for some time for evaporation, then they are covered with thatch. On small farms the hay is sometimes made up into bundles weighing 10 or 12lbs each, and then stored. A good crop of one year old clover will yield upwards of 4 tons of new hay per acre, but the two years old will seldom reach more than 3¼ tons.
Early potatoes are dug and sent to Covent Garden market in June; the earliest forwarded are generally during the first fortnight of May; the produce averages about 71 tons to the acre. It must not be imagined that these are grown throughout the island, it is only in parts most favoured by nature. The potatoes are dug out with a plough, one row being taken at each furrow. When the furrow has been turned it is forked over, and the tubers collected. A crop of turnips is frequently obtained after early potatoes.
In the summer the fences are trimmed, i.e. the grass growing on the sides is cut and given to cattle in the stable. The early root-crops are also attended to.
Turnips for early use are sown in July. THe land is prepared in the same manner as for swedes; but little manure is applied.The red and the green tankard, the purple and the green topped Aberdeen, and the white globe are all grown; but the turnip does not thrive so well as formerly, although much more attention is paid to its culture; some years ago the roots attained one-third more size than at present, now the plants are blighted as soon as they attain a certain size. The produce of the Aberdeen is small, that of the white globe is heavier, and, as an early turnip, is the best variety known in the island. Cattle are fed on the small turnips first, and when swedes are not grown the largest and best of the other sorts are put aside for later use.
In an official capacity I had occasion last year to visit many of the best farms, and in one instance only did I see turnips free from blight; these had been sown much later than usual, and manured with seaweed, known in the island as vraic-de-mai; this seaweed is different from all other varieties, -it is of the colour of yellow ochre, and is washed on the beach at one particular season only, which appears to be its flowering season, for masses resembling flowers come in with it; no other variety is more prized for its ashes than this.
Towards the end of August the harvest becomes general. Oats and barley are first cut, then wheat. Grain of all descriptions is cut with the sickle, and is harvested very ripe; it is not considered ready to reap before the ear curls downwards; it is then cut within three or four inches of the ground, and packed up neatly in small sheaves. In the field the sheaves are made into small stacks, and left until carted into the stackyard. The mode of stacking on staddles is the same as in England. When the stacks are made, they are covered with small packs of reed; each pack is tied at one end, and spread out like a fan at the other; these are laid above each other like slates; if the stacks be in an exposed situation the covering is made fast by twisted bands of strawn thrown and ffastened across the top.
Wheat is threshed out cross a bench made for the purpose. When a man has threshed out 400 sheaves in a day he is considered to have worked well. Sheaves when threshed out are called sonbats; these, if reed is required for thatching, are combed out and packed up ready for service; but if used for fodder or litter, they are threshed with flails and made up into bundles. For cleaning wheat a winnowing-machine is used. THese are made in the island, and work perfectly well.
After the removal of the wheat, the young clover sown in it springs up at once, and becomes in a short time excellent pasture; it is fed down closely before winter, else it would be apt to perish: great benefit would result from rolling the ground heavily, for it has been observed that where the ground is hard in winter, the hay-crop will be good in the following summer.
In September and October the tops of parsnips are cut and given to cattle; they are found to impart great richness to milk, and cattle are very fond of them. The second crop of hay (i.c. clover) is generally cut and made in October. The late potatoes are also dug. The work is done as before explained; when the piece is finished, it is harrowed and left. In taking up potatoes the small ones are put aside for pigs, and the saleable ones stored in a close room appropriated for that purpose. The principal markets for this produce are the mining districts of Wales, the Bristol Channel, Gibraltar, Malta, and other ports in the Mediterranean; to these different places potatoes are sent throughout the witer, but of late years they form but a small item in the list of exports compared with former times.
In November and December mangolds (the tops having been cut and given to cattle) are taken up and stored in sheds. THe same with carrots, parsnips and Swedish turnips. Tankards, Aberdeens, globes &c. are taken up as required for immediate use. This is also the time for planting the large cow-kale. A piece of ground is selected in a sheltered spot, generally in an orchard close to the house; it is deeply dug and manured with seaweed, sometimes with stable-manure. The plants are put in at a distance of two feet from each other, and, when they have attained a certain height, the ground is hoed up against them, and then frequently more seaweed is added on the surface between the rows. Nothing more is done to them. As the leaves are required they are gathered (taking always the lower ones) and given to pigs. These plants grow up to an astonishing height, frequently as much as 7 to 8 feet. Here ends the farmer`s work as regards his fields and crops; we shall now consider the different implements in his possession, commencing by the most ancient and important of them all -the Plough.
The Jersey plough is clumsy and unwieldy in appearance, but that it suis the soil and
culture well is beyond doubt. The beam and handles are always made of wood, the latter
considerably shorter than those of Englsih implements. The mouldboard and share are large,
so that a furrow 14 inches wide can easily be turned. The plough rests upon a
two-wheel forecarriage, to which it is connected by the draught-chain, not altogether
unlike the two-wheel Berkshire plough with gallows. The depth and width of furrow are
easily regulated. The forecarriage is very important, making the plough much more steady
and manageable than it would be if the wheels were fixed to the beam, especially when the
fields are small, and consequently the turns frequent.
Several implements, such as winniwing machines, scarifiers, and harrows, are mostly made after Englsih designs. Chaffcutters, turnip-slicers, scythes, hay-rakes, &c., are imported from England. Drilling machines are not much in use as yet; some of Druce`s, Hornby`s and others, are occasionally to be met with.
The carts are simple, light and convenient. They are used for harvesting by removing the head and tail boards, and fixing on ladders.
The large plough used for subsoiling is made somewhat after the pattern described, but of much larger dimensions; that used for potato-planting is the subsoil plough on a very small scale.
There not being any great peculiarity in any of the other implements, we shall now consider the farmer`s stock.
In Jersey, horned cattle consittute the mainstay of agriculture; it is that upon which the farmer chiefly depends for money to pay his rents. Although the Jersey cow has been the subject of much notice in different publications, and is known to all who turn their attention to agriculture, still within these pages some remarks on the originality, value, and peculiarities of the breed are indispensable. The animal known in England and elsewhere under the name of Alderney cow is the same which is now under our consideration. The reason for the breed going under the name of Alderney is, that from that island the first were exported to England. At present but few are obtained from ALderney. In form the Jersey cow is deerlike, and small in size. the colours mostly prized are the light red and white, the brown and the fawn; brindled specimens are rarely seen; they are not at all valued, and may be purchased extremely cheap. The cow is naturally quiet, so much so taht a mere child can manage it. The form it should possess will be best understood by referring to the following points, which are those that guide the judges at the different exhibitions held under the auspices of the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society:
Scale of Points for Bulls.
Scale of Points for Cows and Heifers
"No prize shall be awarded to bulls having less than 25 points. Bulls having 23 points, without pedigree, shall be allowed to be branded, but cannot take a prize. No prize shall be awarded to cows having less than 29 points. No prize shall be awarded to heifers having less than 26 points. Cows having obtained 27 points and heifers 24 points, without pedigree, shall be allowed to be branded, but cannot take a prize. Three points shall be deducted from the number required for perfection in heifers, as their udders and milkveins cannot be fully developed; heifer will therefore be considered perfect at 33 points. NB Pedigree means the offspring of a prize or decorated male or female stock."
In order to derive the greatest possible advantage from his cows, the Jersey farmer endeavours to arrange for them to calve during the first three months of the year; that is, when vegetation speedily advances. In the winter cattle are always housed at night: when they come in (about four o`clock in the afternoon) they are milked, after which each receives about threefourths of a bushel of roots and a little hay; they are then left until eight o`clock, when a bundle of straw is given to each one. The following morning they are attended to at six o`clock, or even before that hour; having been milked, they again receive the same allowance of roots and hay as beforementioned, and at nine o`clock are turned out, if fine, in some sheltered field or orchard; then the stables are cleaned out, and the bedding renewed if required. Cows are dried one month or six weeks before calving; bran mashes are given to them about the time of parturition and continued for a fortnight after the calf is born; at no other time do they receive this food. Bull calves intended for the butcher receive the cow`s milk for about a month or six weeks, then they are considered fit for sale. A good calf will sell for about fifty shillings, some for more, but many for less. If the calf be a heifer she is always reared, and kept in the island until she is two years old; when, if not required, she is sold for exportation. Returning to the cow: two weeks or so after calving, if the weather be very fine, she is turned out to grass in the daytime: it is the custom in all the Channel Islands to tether cattle; the tethers are amde of small chain; a spike about one foot long is attached at one end and driven into the ground; the other end is tied to the cow`s halter, the latter being made fast at the base of her horns; the length of these tethers is altogether about four yards. During the day cattle are frequently moved, generally every three hours, and sometimes oftener; drink is given to them in the morning on leaving the stable, and at noon; if it be summer-time, they receive it also in the evening. About the month of May they are allowed to remain out at night, and continue so until the end of October, when the system of housing above described recommences. During summer cows are frequently milked three times a-day; and when the weather becomes very warm they are brought into the stable for a few hours, else they would be tormented by the flies. At this period (height of summer) a great diminution takes place in their milk; but as the heat ceases towards the fall, it rapidly springs up again to what it was in the spring: this is the time when butter is crocked for winter supply. A cow is in her prime at six years of age, and continues good until ten years old; many are kept that are much older, but then they begin to fall off. In general, cows have their first calf when much too young; at two years old is the usual time, but then their produce is small, and continues so for at least a twelvemonth, when it gradually increases until it arrives at maturity. A good cow on the average gives fourteen quarts of milk per day, or eight or nine pounds of butter per week: instances are common of cows giving twelve or even fourteen pounds of butter in one week, but that is above the average figure.
Two years old in-calf heifers sell in ordinary years at the rate of 12£ per head, but there is a great fluctuation at times in their value; last year the price was higher than had ever been known.
A great improvement has taken place in the breed of cattle within the last twelve or fifteen years, which is attributable to the formation of agricultural societies in the island; by this means the farmer has received instruction, and has had pointed out to him the real merits of his stock. It is a wellknown fact that before these societies existed cattle were sold for very little more than one-half of the sum that they now fetch. The value of a first-class cow, four years old, is at this moment 25£, of a two-year-old heifer 14£. Bulls are seldom kept after their second year for they become extremely wild and troublesome: they may be purchased at this age for 10£ or 12£; some of the best yearlings are frequently sold as high as 16 sovereigns: an ordinary one-year-old bull can be bought for 8 sovereigns. Very few oxen are fattened: the island is supplied with beef from France. A law exists in Jersey, by which the entry of all foreign bulls and cows is prohibited; this was passed by the States of the island a long time since, in order that the island breed should maintain its purity, which it has done hitherto, and no doubt will continue to do for a long time to come, if we judge from the tenacity with which every native adheres to it.
The horses used on farms do not form any distinct breed; some are imported from France, others from England, and some are bred in the island; the farmer generally selects for his purpose a small compact animal calculated for all work. In former times there did exist in Jersey a small breed of horse, which was extremely hardy; its colour was black, and until lately it was to be found pure, but now it has given way to animals of better symmetry. The horses are tethered in the same way as cows, and being accustomed to it by degrees get quite reconciled to their narrow limits. Their food in winter consists of hay, straw, oats, and carrots -it would be difficult to say what proportion of each; the animals that fornunately fall into good hands are well taken care of, but there are many that are comparatively ill provided for.
The pig commonly found in the Jersey farm is a large white animal, no doubt of French extraction, but greatly ameliorated by crossings which have taken place with ENglish breeds. SOws generally litter in the spring and in the fall of the year -the first litter about March. Young pigs are sold when six weeks old at 10s. to 15s. each. When young, pigs are fed on sour milk and cabbage-leaves; to this is added bran or pollard: when they have attained a certain age small potatoes, cow-kale, and mangold-leaves are given them, with any other green food which may be grown. When the period of fattening commences parsnips are given them, -they eat these raw for some time with their milk, &c.; then for six weeks or so before killing, the parsnips are steamed, and barley or oatmeal is added. A pig thus treated will, when killed at ten months old, weigh generally about or nine scores. The meat is cut up and salted, and becomes the staple food of the country people.
[Bemærkning: Ms ends here. På Société Jersiaise, Library findes original manuskript i Arkivkasse: Agriculture no. 20 HN]
The breeding of sheep is not attended to; a few are kept in some of the principal farms, but they are considered more ornamental than profitable. The Jersey farmer pays the greatest attention to his cows, which bring him a better return than any other stock in his possession. The dairy itself is usually a small room, having a northern aspect; it is paved with stone or brick, and shelves are fixed against the walls, whereon is placed the milk prior to skimming. The cows are milked into tin cans, linen strainers being first placed over the top to prevent anything falling into the milk. When the milk is brought into the dairy it is poured into coarse brown earthenware vessels, and left until the cream has set; the latter is then removed and the sour milk which remains is given to the pigs. Cream is seldom churned oftener than once a-week, except in the height of summer: the common box churn is generally used. The mean time for making butter is about thirty minutes, but it depends on the temperature. When the butter is made it is taken out and put into a large bowl, and worked with a wooden spoon until all the remains of milk have been removed; cold water is worked in at the same time to purify it: when finished, a small quantity of fine salt is added, it is then made up for sale into cakes of 1 lb weight. If it be kept for winter use, one pound of salt is mixed with every sixteen pounds of butter; it is then put into earthenware jars, and salt and water poured on the top. No cheese is amde in the island.
The cows and heifers exported during the last three years have been as follows:
Jersey containing at this moment a population exceeding 60.000, it cannot be supposed that the island can produce sufficient for its consumption. France supplies it with oxen, calves, pigs, sheep, and poultry, as well as eggs, and frequently flour, wheat, barley, oats; but when the French ports are closed against the exportation of grain, flour comes from AMerica, oats and barley from the Baltic. Jersey is chiefly supplied with cattle and grain from the foreigner: it is not to the injury of the Jersey producer, and much to the advantage of the consumer, for both are imported at a lower rate than that at which they could be produced, and the Jersey farmer is left to employ his time and capital in a way more profitable to himself and the island at large.
The population of Jersey may be classed under the following heads -natives, English, Scotch, Irish and foreign. The natives may be computed at 47.000; English, Scotch and Irish 13.000; French &c, 2000. The management of the island affairs is entirely in the hands of the native inhabitants: although many from the mother country sojourn here, still they rarely take any part in what concerns the island itself; they chiefly inhabit St. Helier, and principally concist of retired naval and military men living on their incomes; the French and other foreigners are for the most part artisans and servants.
The love of independence dwells in the heart of all Jerseymen, who may be said too be hard-working people, straining every nerve to better their position. The country-people in particular have a strong sisposition for the acquirement of money. The origin of this is easily detected; independence in worldly circumstances is absolutely essential towards independence of character and action; men therefore employ the means to secure this independence; with acquisition, too, grows the love for more. Thus we may easily understand how, in a small community like Jersey, its members, gradually enriching themselves and perceiving the yearly results of grugality, should acquire habits which border upon parsimony.
Limited as may appear the agriculture of Jersey, it has nevertheless attracted, in several instances, the atention of strangers. In the fall of 1856 the Agricultural Society of the Department of "La Seine Inférieure," in France, deputed two learned members of that society to the island, in order to report particularly on the process followed in the manufacturing of cider, and also to collect information on the general system of farming practised. The report appeared in the French language some time after, under the title of "Excursion Agricole à Jersey, par M.M.J. Girardin, Professor de Chimie à l`Ecole Départementale de la Seine Inférieure, et J. Molière, Professor d`Agriculture du Département du Calvados". In giving an account of their visit to Jersey, the writers dwell particularly on the varieties of apples used for cider-making, and the manner in which it is made, and observe that some of the cider which they had occasion to taste was far preferable to anything they had met with in France. On the rotation of crops they say:
1st. A great proportion of land is devoted to the cultivation of roots and grass, or what is necessary for the maintenance of cattle.
2nd. That only one sort of grain (i.e. wheat) is grown.
3rd. That by growing so large a proportion of root-crops the soil receives the greatest possible advantage it can obtain, either in manure from the extra number of cattle kept, or in cleanliness from the great attention which root-crops demand.
4th. That the great variety of food given to cattle tends greatly to keep them in a better state of health.
5th. That by the system followed, a larger proportion of cattle can be maintained than by that which is followed in the northern departments of France.
In conclusion , they speak of the Jersey cow in the highest terms, and admit its pre-eminence for richness of milk over the best of theirs; for whereas in Jersey from thirteen to sixteen quarts of milk are sufficient to make two lbs. of butter, they admit that not less than twenty-eight quarts of milk of their best cows are required to make the same quantity. Whether it be through delicatesse or otherwise, MM Girardin and Molière in their report throw out no suggestion on the art of farming which the Jerseyman might with advantage make applicable to himself: still I am led to believe that some changes might advantageously take place; for instance, among the list of imports is an item which formerly was one of the principal exports of the island, -I refer to the potato: of late years the farmer, anxious to grow varieties of this plant which would give a heavy return in weight per acre, forgot that it was necessary to maintain good quality, otherwise the sale of his produce would be lost. Now French potatoes are imported: true it is that as yet the qunatity is small, but within two years it has increased rapidly, and from all appearances it is likely to become important; these potatoes are sold at a cheaper rate than those grown in the island, and their quality is preferred by many. No doubt that France can outvie the island in the cheapness of produce, but it should not be so in quality; let the Jersey farmer cultivate only the good sorts, and look to Covent Garden for their sale; backed as he is by Nature in every respect, if he but study early productiveness he can dispose of his produce at prices which will remunerate him far better than growing later sorts for foreign markets.
Before the existence of Free-Trade the Channel Islands were privileged, inasmuch as their produce entered the British ports free from duty, but at present they have to compete against all the world; and whereas corn was formerly exported to Britain, now on the contrary corn is imported into the islands; there is no doubt whatever that they have all suffered from the change; but it is singular that the value of land in Jersey has not diminished, the population has increased, and the demands for the island itself are great. On the subject of corn it is possible that much benefit might be derived by the introduction of new sorts of wheat. The "Velousé" and "Petit Blanc" have been known in the island for a very long period, since which, no doubt, new varieties have been raised, that might with greater advantage be grown here; but on this, as well as on all that is connected with farming, the agriculturists is so bigoted and wedded to his ancient customs as to think improvement almost impossible.
Jersey Weights and Measures.
The Jersey measure for wheat, barley, oats, rye, potatoes, and apples is called "cabot" weighing as follows:
An English acre is equal to 2¼ Jersey vergées.
Jersey Market Prices.
The Jersey pound sterling is equal to 18s 5½d of English coin, so that one English shilling is worth 1s 1d. of Jersey Money.
[The Jersey gallon contains 246 cubic inches
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