Evidence of Dr. William Saunders, Director, Dominion Experimental Farms

Evidence of Dr. William Saunders, Director, Dominion Experimental Farms

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Excerpt from Evidence of Dr. William Saunders, Director, Dominion Experimental Farms: Before the Select Standing Committee in Agriculture and Colonization, 1900

By Mr. Rogers:

Q. What was the nature of the soil on which you made these experiments?

A. The soil of the 8 plots to which I referred is a mixed sandy and clay loam, the sand predominating, and the four acres referred to in the other experiment had a dark sandy loam without any appreciable amount of clay.

Q. Have you tried it on clay?
A. Yes, we have tried the sowing of clover with grain on clay soil and it works very well. We had some 10 acres last year ploughed under of such land.

Q. The trouble is to get a good growth the first year in a clay soil?

A. We have not found any difficulty on the Experimental Farm, but none of our land would be regarded as very heavy clay.

By Mr. Sproule:

Q. When was this clover ploughed under? about what time of the year?

A. About the middle of October.

Q. The year it was seeded down?

A. Yes, the same year.

Q. In both cases?

A. Yes, in all cases.

By Mr. Erb:

Q. Was it pastured?

A. No, sir. It was not convenient to pasture this land, but we invariably recommend farmers to pasture such clover crops in the autumn if they can, because it is more profitable to do so.

Q. The pasture would pay for the seed?

A. I have met with a number of farmers during the past season who have adopted this plan and they have found the results to be very satisfactory. In my recent visit to Nova Scotia I met several farmers who have adopted this practice, and they are so thoroughly convinced of its value that they are going into it on a large scale.

Ploughing Under Of Other Green Crops.

By Mr. Featherston:

Q. Have you made any experiments with the ploughing under of such crops as rye?

A. Yes, but we have made no comparative tests of it alongside of clover. I may say that all green crops ploughed under, improve the land for crop the year following, but rye does not improve it in so marked a way as clover does.

Q. I noticed a farmer ploughed rye 5 or 6 feet high into his orchard, and I observed that his orchard is improving all the time?

A. All green crops used for this purpose are of value when ploughed under, as they convert during their growth more or less food existing in the soil in unavailable forms into available plant food, and this is stored up in their substance and gives a large amount of food which can be easily appropriated by the next crop, which will add very much to its vigour and productiveness.

By Mr. Cargill:

Q. Did you succeed in getting a good crop of clover here?

A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Sproule:

Q. You have sown clover with oats as well as barley and wheat.

A. Yes, with oats, barley and wheat.

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