Ackermann’s Repository of Arts/Series 1/Volume 1/January 1809/Agricultural Report


An agricultural report at this season, can neither embrace a great variety of objects, or those of much interest; and we are not disposed to supply the appetite of our readers with novelty at the expence of accuracy. The information we have collected from our correspondents, enables us to state, that the wheat crop does not rise to the flail so well as it generally does; but although it is not so defective in produce as was at first supposed, the price of that article has increased about six shillings per quarter, during the month of December. Oats have continued much the same, but the fen samples are light. There has been little variation in the price of barley. Beans and peas have been a defective crop, and will probably bring still greater prices when the demand for seed begins. The young wheats look very promising, and the ground is well covered; a considerable breadth has been sown this year, and the season has been generally so favourable, that little land has been left for spring wheat; upon early dry soils this plant is too luxuriant. Rye, cabbages, cole, and winter green crops in general, are very good, except turnips, which are represented, from different quarters, as generally deficient, and likely to disappoint those who depend upon this article for the spring; indeed, should the winter prove severe, sheep food will certainly be scarce. The operations usually carried on at this season of the year, are represented as proceeding with great spirit notwithstanding the high price of agricultural labour; indeed the present rent of land, as well as the price of its produce, contributes to urge the farmer to the best exertion of his knowledge and abilities. Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well, and the appearance of a farm will very soon discover whether the work is done slovenly or effectually. At the late fairs, cows and calves have generally sold well for lean cattle and store sheep the sales have been dull; fresh horses sell well. There is a great disproportion in the price of small pork and bacon hogs; the latter must necessarily continue to fetch great prices, if the farmer is to be reimbursed the expence of feeding them at the present prices of grain. It must likewise be remembered, that a want of the usual great supplies at this season of the year and the spring, from the distilleries, will sensibly affect the market for this article, and may probably encourage the farmer to consume his stained barley at home. Potatoes, although a deficient crop, prove very good; but the demand for this as well as other articles of grain and provision for the supply of our own troops and those of our allies in Spain, will probably exhaust our markets at an early season; and it is very probable this country alone can be depended upon for that purpose, a supply from the Mediterranean being uncertain, the ports of the Baltic shut against us, and the prospect of a removal of the American embargo distant and problematical.