Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/113

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HOW SCIENCE IS HELPING THE FARMER.

mainly through rain leaching away the soluble plant food. Figures supplied from foreign investigation were used to prove the point. Finally, in 1889 the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station did some practical work to demonstrate how farmyard manure would deteriorate by leaching and fermentation.[1] It was shown that one ton of fresh horse manure had a valuation of $2.45, but exposed outdoors for six months its valuation was $1.42, a loss of 81.03 per ton, or forty-two per cent. Mixed horse and cow manure, after leaching for six months, showed a loss of 9·2 per cent, a less amount, no doubt, than occurs on the average farm.

At the present time, while there is a vast loss of plant food to the farms through the improper care of the manure produced thereon, there is at the same time saved to economic use an enormous amount of fertility through the careful husbanding of the materials as produced upon the farms of those who are intelligent and economical. We must give scientific investigation the credit for thus showing husbandmen how important farm losses may be prevented; the numerous devices at present used on the farm for conserving manures, such as manure sheds, pits, cellars, etc., are money-saving equipments.

In a somewhat different direction, yet in a line where the work of the chemist is of equal if not greater importance than in fertilizer control, is the inspection of milk. Milk is the most essential article of food for human consumption, for, properly used, it is as nearly a perfect food as is known. But milk is a fluid, and as such is easily adulterated. It consists of from eighty-five to eighty-eight per cent water, and twelve to fifteen per cent solid substance—as fat, casein (cheesy matter), albumen, sugar, and ash. On the percentage and purity of solids in milk is its quality mainly dependent. After the selling of milk became a recognized industry, adulteration came more or less to be practiced. The pump was brought into requisition. Flour, chalk, and other ingredients were used to thicken it. In 1872 Dr. C. F. Chandler, of Columbia College, stated[2] that, from long-continued investigation, the milk supply of New York and Boston receives on an average one quart of water to every three quarts of pure milk before reaching consumers. He further says, "With the addition of water in the proportion of one to three before delivering to consumers, we find milk-growers deprived of a business which would return to them 81,390,000 yearly, at an average first price of fifteen cents per gallon, city consumers, on the other hand, paying more than $3,700,000 annually for water."


  1. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 13, December, 1889.
  2. Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for 1872, p. 335.