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28   FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.

strong irritant. Its pollen is believed to cause hay fever. Ragwort (Senecio Jacobaa), which is common in some parts of the Atlantic provinces, has been shown to be the cause of the Pictou cattle disease. Like many other weeds poisonous to some kinds of stock and harmless to others, this is not injurious to sheep.

The objectionable flavour of weedy hay induces stalled animals, which have no option but to eat it or starve, to pick over their fodder and eat only the palatable part. To avoid this apparent waste, the cutting box is used to turn weedy fodder into cut feed. The feed so prepared is rendered unpalatable and often unwholesome by the weeds. Milch cows will eat only enough to allay hunger and will produce a gallon of milk of disagreeable flavour instead of three gallons of good milk per day. Chronic ill-health and a condition of unthrift in the live stock, particularly in the cattle, is often found on a weed-infested farm. The value of a fodder crop may be reduced or even destroyed by weeds. In establishing a meadow then, it is most important to suppress objectionable weeds before the fodder crop seeds are sown.

The duration of meadows and pastures depends on the kind of farming, soil and drainage. For naturally well-drained upland farms under mixed crops, short rotations with two years in Red Clover and grasses are recommended. As soon as the hay crop of the second year is removed, the meadow may be ploughed and fallowed for the balance of the year to suppress weeds. An application of farmyard manure, shallow ploughed or worked into the surface soil, should fit the land for spring planting with a hoed or other cleaning crop, which may be followed by a nurse crop of cereal grains, and again seeded to Red Clover and grasses for two years of meadow and pasture.

Because of the scarcity of farm labour, less intensive systems of farming are popular in some districts. Large returns are obtained from Alfalfa with much less labour. Hardy strains, particularly of Variegated Alfalfa, are available, and when farmers get northern grown seed from the best strains they can count on satisfactory crops for years, provided the land is well drained and not infested with perennial weeds. In districts where the crop is protected by snow the danger of winter-killing is reduced. In the Niagara peninsula fields of Variegated Alfalfa of more than thirty years standing still produce large yields of fodder. Unless well protected, pure Alfalfa is apt to be killed out by severe winters and few fields continue to give satisfactory crops for more than five or six years.

In wet, clayey soils and river flats it is often necessary or expedient to leave the land to permanent meadows or pastures for long


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