6 SEPTEMBER 1919, Page 11


THE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—In your issue of August 23rd there appeared a very interesting article, " A Practical Exanrple in Arable Farm- ing," that followed after a "leader" on "Speed the Plough." Now the present writer is all for increasing arable farming. and he himself hopes to continuo to be a oorn-producer, yet he feels bound to point out that, so far from arable farming proving a gold-mine, it may easily involve a small farmer in disaster. Your correspondent makes out no balance-sheet of

profit and loss. gis'es the gross product fresa hiS sit acres of arable as £140, but says he cannot give his figures of cost. Well, perhaps he will permit me—greatly daring—to draw out a balance-sheet for him, for I have just double the number of acresi.c., twelve—under plough, and can roughly estimate the cost by dividing my expenses by half.

Thus ploughman's wages plus house, oil, and coal are 50s. a week, or .2130 a year. Then let us employ only half his time on the six acres—that will come to £65. Add £12 for seed corn and potatoes; add manure 210; add hire of plough, harrow, reaper and binder, and thrasher, £5. Total costs, £92. Deduct this amount from his gross product figure of £140,and the result is £48. On the other side, take the six acres of meadow or hayfield producing, say, six tons at Al, or .t42. Add pasturage for his four ponies at 3s. per week for four months, .t9 12s. Add rent of field during winter at ..t3, which should suffice to pay cost of the haymaking, leaving return from grass field of six acres, .t51 12s., which is £3 12s. better than from the arable land. Further, one must bear in mind that a second season's corn may be ruined,by;the depredations of wire-worm and leather-jackets, and that bad weather will spoil corn more than hay.

I may say that my own home farm is fifty-two acres and is assessed at £52. I showed one of our agricultural experts and professors over it the other day, and he was pleased to express his pleasure at the food-production obtained. Then I asked him if he would take it over at the rent of £52—whereat he replied with a smile: "My dear Sir, I'd stoner give that to be out of it." I think he was somewhat pessimistic, for T. consider, on the capital involved, I make a respectable dividend ever the whole fifty-two acres.—I am, Sir, &c., A NORTHERN SQUIRE.