25 JULY 1931, Page 12


The cornfields suffered less than might have been feared. It was astonishing (in the course of a long journey by road just after the storms) to see how very flat were some fields, and how very erect others. Oats that had been encouraged by the season to grow a very long and sappy straw, were perhaps the worst victims. To hold up a heavy head of ripening grain on a five- or even six-foot straw was too much ; but even some heavy oat crops survived. Our scientific selectors and hybridizers have done a great deal lately to produce " stand-up " varieties of wheat and oats ; and I hear, though I have not yet seen it, that a stand-up oat is the latest triumph of that genius in hybridization, Sir Rowland Biffen, the creator of the Yeoman wheats. Those are technically called " strong" because of the chemical quality of the grain. The new oat has a not less valuable strength, mechanical rather than chemical, in its straw. * * * *