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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/411

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407
THE ROTATION OF CROPS

PSM V73 D411 Third year preparing the field for wheat.png

Third Year. Wheat. Preparing Land for Wheat. The last harrowing is being given. A fine tilth has been obtained as evidenced by the cloud of dust which obscures the horses' feet, the harrow and the man. Certain crops permit the disintegration of the soil particles by tillage.

since become known as the Norfolk four-course rotation, consisting of turnips, barley, clover, wheat, and yet, in spite of the most gratifying results, it took seventy years of demonstration before this system of rotation spread over the county of Norfolk. Dickson, of Edinburgh, Scotland, wrote a treatise on the rotation of crops in 1777 and in 1788 Marshall, of England, stated that a common rotation was: first year, wheat, barley or bigg; second year, oats, beans or pulse; third year, fallow. Although the value of a rotation of crops was known to Camillo Tarello, who urged the adoption of such a system in agriculture in 1566, before the senate of Venice, it was little understood elsewhere. Tarello was far in advance of his time and gave a list of the advantages of a rotation, somewhat similar to those known to-day. Yet his careful experiments remained unknown and little used until similar facts were discovered elsewhere. In Great Britain, previous to the translation of Tarello's article and the issue of other works during the eighteenth century, the subject of rotation was generally passed over by reciting courses which might be good, bad or execrable, as though their arrangement were devoid of principle and had absolutely no relationship with the economical management of a farm. That poverty in an agricultural community might be due to a poor rotation •of crops and success due to a good one never occurred to the minds of those who ought to have been interested. The value of carrying live stock to consume part of the crops grown had not been recognized, and