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proposes to receive new and proved varieties, grow them on an adequate scale, and put them on the market, so that it will become the recognised source of supply for all pedigree seeds. It is hoped that the Institute, after a period of self-support, will make considerable profits ; these are to be devoted to the extension of research work.

The efforts of the National Institute are not limited to the domain of cereal seed. Potatoes are a crop of the first importance, to which in this country we do less than justice. Our home production is just about enough for home consumption, i.e. some 5,000,000 tons a year.

In Germany the pre-war production (1914) was 50,000,000 tons; and this, after supplying the national needs, left a vast residue for spirit, flour, corn-starch, sago, and the rest. The potato-spirit residues, rich in carbohydrates, were fed to the farm-stock in place of the maize upon which we spend upwards of 20,000,0001. a year. But then, in England, seventy acres of every hundred are under grass, much of it poor, and only thirty are in corn, legumes, and potatoes; in Germany, sixty-eight acres in the hundred are given to cereals, potatoes, roots, and vegetables, and only thirty-two to grass. Such potatoes as we do grow will come in a fashion) under the survey of the National Institute, for it will carry out tests for the establishment of varieties immune to Wart Disease—a trouble that threatened only a few years ago to destroy every potato plant in these islands. The late Mr John Snell, an inspector of the old Board of Agriculture, will long be remembered, for it is largely due to his work that immune varieties, discovered by Mr Gough, also an Inspector, were developed ; and to-day they can be grown in perfect safety on soil saturated with infection. Sooner or later it is probable that only immune varieties will be grown in these islands; at present, trade interests are permitted to stand in the way.

The breeding of fodder crops (grasses, clovers, lucerne, oats, etc.) is studied at Aberystwyth College, while research in fruit-growing is carried on at Long Ashton near Bristol on upwards of sixty acres. Here cider and perry are made, and the quality as well as keeping powers are investigated. It is hoped, with the knowledge gained, to discover the most valuable varieties of apple and pear trees for this special production, and to bring

about the renovation of the neglected orchards in the west of England. Fruit-tree stocks are studied on some sixty acres of land at the East Malling Station in Kent; and there too experiments are leading to the production of a highly resinous variety of hop that may enable this country in time to produce the light beers that are so popular on the Continent.

The commercial preservation of fruit and vegetables, canning, bottling, drying, crystallising, jam-making, and the rest, are considered at the station in Gloucestershire (Chipping Campden); and classes, for which the charge is very modest, are held at intervals throughout the year, not only for those who wish to take up the work as a business, but for the house-wife who desires to return to the pleasant still-room of our grandmothers. A feature of the classes is that they train in their special work the teachers in domestic economy sent by the Board of Education. At the Waltham Cross Station near London, the questions arising out of cultivation under glass are surveyed; it has been found possible partially to sterilise the soil of green-houses on commercial lines, and so obviate certain diseases and also the constant renewal of soil which was necessary under ordinary conditions. The Imperial College of Science has investigated the action of electric current upon plants; it is believed that small electric currents of very high intensity will increase growth by as much as 50 per cent. At present these currents are available only under special conditions; but, in days to come, when railways are electrified and the current along the track can be tapped to reach the village and the farm, we may find that the new power will change the whole condition of modern production.

At Oxford, where Dr William Somerville, one of the most eminent of our agriculturists, presides over the School of Rural Economy, there is an Institute for research in the Economics of Agriculture, of which Mr C. S. Orwin is the head. It has established certain principles of farm accountancy, by which the average farmer, for the first time in his life, may be able to distinguish between his profitable and his unprofitable ventures. The mixed farm may have half a dozen branches ; some make a profit, one or two may make a loss ; if he can distinguish between them by a reliable and yet simple system of account-keeping, the farmer can mend or end the undertakings that do not help him. At Reading, the Institute of Dairying is investigating the factors that make for the economic production of milk and a much-needed improvement of the standard of purity; it is inquiring also into the processes that affect the ripening of cheese.

In a country that has a business in live-stock of estimated value of 3,000,0001. a week, animal diseases must claim and receive constant attention. A Commission was investigating Foot and Mouth Disease, but the investigation has been abandoned as hopeless. A serum invented by Sir Stuart Stockman has brought a remedy for contagious abortion in cows; louping-ill in sheep, fluke, swinefever, tuberculosis, and other diseases are being handled in fashion justifying the hope that, in no distant future, epidemic troubles will be brought under control. Even the rat, which penalises every man, woman, and child in these islands by wasting tens of millions of pounds' worth of food and spreading disease among mankind and animals, is nominally under surveillance. Unfortunately, although we have on the Statute Book a Rat and Mice (Destruction) Act, its administration has been neglected. In theory every tenant is responsible for the vermin on his premises and must destroy them under penalty ; in practice penalties are seldom or never invoked or enforced. There is a small Government Laboratory at Mount Pleasant; and it has proved that in carbonate of barium and Red Squills (Scilla Maritima) we have two very valuable and inexpensive toxic agents which can be offered in small and tempting baits, the dose that is fatal to a rat being harmless to a cat, dog, or chicken. We lose enough by a rat depredation in the course of a year to endow agricultural education and research on a scale undreamt of; we have the machinery to end the loss, and fail to apply it.

There are other aspects of agricultural endeavour that can claim only a brief reference. By a system of inspection, an effort is being made to check the trade in diseased fruit-stocks and seed-potatoes. Co-operative cheese schools are being established ; stallions that ply for hire are being examined and registered; premiums are given to improve the breed of cattle and pi gs; and Recording Societies are bringing many a dairy-herd into repute, by enabling the owner to weed out unthrifty cows. The whole live-stock position is improving, not before it was time, because this country produces some of the worst animals to be seen in farm land, as well as the best. Experiments are being made in the production of sugar-beet, the growing of tobacco, the reclamation of light lands. The sternest critic of a Department which has no basic policy left, and lives from hand to mouth, must admit, in common justice, that much good work is being done to-day, throughout the length and breadth of England and Wales. Scotland and Ireland control their own agricultural problems and are not considered here.

There remains only one general question that calls for answer. Is the rate of progress high enough? Are we likely, without further effort, to reach the rank and file of farmers and small-holders and speed-up production to the point that our national welfare requires ? The answer is, briefly, that the effort is in no wise equal to the emergency. We are faced by the truth that our organisation is behind that of our leading competitors, and that we are paying 700,000,0001. annually for food that might be produced at home. The English farmer does not care for, and is not cared for by, the State. In cases past counting he farms an uneconomic unit with insufficient capital, farms for Friday night' as they say in the Eastern counties, Friday being paypay. He raises less corn than his grandfather raised in 1840, when 'artificials,' motor ploughs, pedigree wheat, and economic seeding were unknown. His corn is taxed so heavily by the miller and the baker, his meat by the dealer and the butcher, and his garden produce by marketmen and grocers, that the public supports in affluence those who take no risk, and pays prices that the cost of production does not warrant. Agricultural co-operation is in a sickly infancy; it cannot attract the best brains to its service. Control has failed, largely because it was administered by men who know nothing of farming and markets. Labour has been sacrificed, in the first place, by the maintenance of the grass area, and secondly, by the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board. Had the Board of Agriculture

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retained a reasonable standard of wages, farmers would have been compelled to farm better in order to pay

Finally-and this too is a very serious matter—the best results of research are not reaching the rank and file of farmers. There is not and never has been efficient machinery for propaganda at the Ministry of Agriculture; and the little money allowed is not spent to advantage. In short, the chief defects

. of the Intelligence work are that it has ignored the farm-worker and that it has not reached the rank and file of farmers. If the Journal of the Ministry were handled on popular lines it would not be run at a loss, and it would appeal to more than 5 per cent. of the farmers and small-holders of this country. The profits would enable more extensive propaganda to be conducted without cost to the State.

Had there been no world-war to reduce the national wealth and multiply the national needs, it would be possible to hail the progress of education and research in agriculture with a satisfaction that would minimise criticism. The splendid efforts of men and women, who work with tireless diligence and single aim' in our Colleges and Institutes, could be held to safeguard a remote future. Unfortunately our needs are immediate. Advocates of our present drifting policy point out that grass-land accumulates stores of nitrogen that enable it to be ploughed with advantage. They forget wireworm; they forget also that our war-plough policy, carried out with fine, ruthless insistence by Lord Lee, was hampered by lack of ploughs, drills, and other machinery that no grass farm carries. Another war, with a perfected submarine blockade, would starve us out; another generation must arrive before the present teaching has been assimilated and brought into practice. This is why our progress, excellent of its kind though it be, leaves the agricultural problem much where it stood before the Agricultural Act, now in main part repealed, reached the Statute Book.

S. L. BENSUSAN.

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