Clifton Park System
of Farming

and laying down land to grass

a guide to landlords, tenants
and land legislators

Robert H. Elliot

with an introduction by
Sir R. George Stapledon

Robert H. Elliot of Clifton Park

Faber and Faber Limited
24 Russell Square

First published under the title 'Agricultural Changes' in October Mdcccxcviii
Second edition November Mcm
Third edition October Mcmiv
Fourth edition (under the present title) January Mcmviii
Fifth edition May Mcmxliii
published by Faber and Faber Limited
24 Russell Square London W.C. 1
Printed in Great Britain by
Latimer Trend & Co Ltd Plymouth
All rights reserved


Introduction by Sir R. George Stapledon

Author's Prefaces

Chapter 1: Introductory

    Author's opportunities for forming sound conclusions as to the changes required by the times
    Remodelling our agricultural system
    The writings of Arthur Young
    The importance of local experience
    New system of farming suitable to the habits of gentlemen
    New system of farming provides deeply tilled, humus-fed soil, ensuring good crops
    British agriculture will revive if suitable changes of system are made
    Proposed changes are to the mutual advantage of landlords and tenants
    Similar principles laid down by M. Porcius Cato 2,000 years ago
    Why farmers oppose agricultural changes
    Falsity of the old saw as to 'making a pasture breaking a man'
    Agricultural changes adopted in La Manche Agricultural schools and experimental farms aid the Normandy farmers
    Great Britain requires Government agricultural schools and experimental farms

Chapter 2: General Principles

    The dominating principle as regards the change of system
    The cheap production of a good turf-the solution of all our agricultural difficulties
    Worthlessness of Bi-metallism and Protection as remedies for agricultural depression
    Land legislation no cure for our agricultural difficulties
    Farming was more profitable when rents were higher
    Turf is the best manurial agent
    A mixture of deep-rooting plants will at once till, manure, and clean the land
    Crops less liable to disease, and weeds abolished
    Locke's Conduct of the Understanding
    Lord Leicester's system of farming light lands
    Seed mixture used by Lord Leicester
    Author's mixture will provide a better turf in less time
    A green crop should follow pasture

Chapter 3: On Disintegrating the Soil and Permeating It with Vegetable Matter

    Sir John Lawes' opinion on the importance of good Physical condition. of soil
    Mr. Faunce de Laune's opinion on the same point
    The physical condition of the soil is of even more importance than the, strictly speaking, chemical condition
    Laying down land to permanent grass
    Deep-rooting plants are the best cultivating and fertilizing agents
    Illustrations of soil disintegration by the agency of roots
    Laying down two high, poor land, exhausted fields
    The Inner and Outer Kaimrig field experiments
    Remarkable results obtained after relaying one of the fields
    Taking turnips after grass
    Practical illustrations of the value of drought-resisting plants, such as Chicory, Burnet, Kidney Vetch, and Yarrow
    The value of Burnet and Yarrow for keeping sheep in good health, and especially in diminishing diarrhoea
    Deep and strong-rooting plants extinguish couch grasses, and lessen moss
    Turnips grown without manure
    The Clifton Park system of farming explained
    Farmers are not aided by Government schools and farms as are agriculturists abroad
    Losses resulting from want of proper means of instruction
    Efforts of County Councils of little practical value to farmers

Chapter 4: Arthur Young, and Some of His Agricultural Experiences with Reference to Chicory, Burnet, and Other Forage Plants

    Brief account of Arthur Young's life and works
    His great unpublished work -- The Elements and Practice of Agriculture
    Chicory introduced into England by Arthur Young in 1798
    The great value of Chicory
    Advantages and disadvantages of Chicory
    Burnet, its uses and value
    The excessive use of turnips undesirable
    Rouen, or aftermath preserved for spring use
    The use of fog, or the growth of the whole year preserved for winter and spring use
    Arthur Young on laying down land to grass
    Arthur Young's remarkable personality

Chapter 5: Laying Down Land to Grass, and the Treatment of the Pasture

    Dr. Keith's Agriculture of Aberdeenshire
    Dr. Anderson's remarks on Ryegrass
    'Observations of British Grasses'
    Various methods of laying down land to grass
    The after-management of permanent pasture
    Importance of rolling the land after grasses have come up
    Pastures should not be overstocked the first year
    Clifton Park Seed Mixtures may be grazed throughout the first year, and hayed the second or subsequent years
    Importance of re-seeding vacant patches in pastures
    Moss in pastures
    Treatment of the pasture in the third and fourth years
    How to obtain greatest amount of winter and spring keep from pastures
    Rouen, or preserved aftermath
    'Fogging the land' in South Wales
    Shutting-up a pasture at Sharsted Court
    Fine pastures may be formed from the largest grasses
    Advantages from letting up a pasture as regards re-seeding and prevention of moss
    Hill pastures might be improved if treated on the Welsh fogging system

Chapter 6: Forage Plants

    Danger of regulating present practices by previous customs which may not be founded on a sound experience
    Cause of the preference for Ryegrass
    Mr. James Hunter's note thereon
    The Ryegrass controversy
    Sinclair's opinion as to Cocksfoot being superior to Ryegrass
    The effect of plant roots on the soil
    The grass mixtures usually sown not founded on sound principles
    New grass mixtures used by author
    The value of deep-rooting plants for breaking up hard pans
    Chicory, Burnet, and Kidney Vetch as subsoilers
    Chicory superior to Parsnip as a deep-rooter
    Opinions of a well-known farmer as regards two poor land fields
    Probable results had sheep been fed with oilcake
    Importance of careful tillage and seeding
    Liberal seeding essential to success
    The number of germinating seeds required to sow an acre
    Quality of seed of great importance
    The Lake field laid down with seeds from two different sources, and the results
    Differences in plants grown from seed produced in various climates should be further investigated
    Remarks on Cocksfoot, the most valuable of grasses
    The management of Cocksfoot
    Tall Fescue grass
    Tall Oat grass
    The three most important grasses
    Grass mixture of hardy, drought-resisting, health-preserving, and deep-rooting plants
    Timothy grass
    Italian Ryegrass
    Perennial Ryegrass, Meadow Fescue, and Meadow Foxtail grasses
    Fertile, or Late-flowering Meadow grass
    Rough-stalked Meadow grass
    Golden Oat, Smooth-stalked Meadow, Hard Fescue, and Sweet Vernal grasses
    Crested Dogstail, Wood Meadow, Fine-leaved Fescue, and Nerved Meadow grasses
    Late-flowering Red, White, and Alsike Clovers
    Kidney Vetch and Yarrow
    Lucerne, Sainfoin, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Sheep's Parsley, and Cotton grass

Chapter 7: Why Government Experimental Farms Are So Specially Needed, and the Lines on which They Should Be Laid

    Aversion of agriculturists to intellectual exertion
    The mental condition of landlords, tenant farmers, and factors in regard to agricultural matters
    Need for experimental farms for the instruction of those connected with land
    Visitors to Clifton-on-Bowmont farm
    The Board of Agriculture and its policy
    'Can the blind lead the blind?'
    Experiments at Cockle Park, Morpeth
    Exhaustion of humus not remedied by use of artificial manures
    Manurial experiments with hay and potatoes at Cockle Park
    Experiments with potatoes at Clifton-on-Bowmont
    Experiments with sheep at Cockle Park
    Two sets of experiments required on experimental farms
    The Government asked to take lease of Clifton-on-Bowmont experimental farm
    Central seed-testing station not yet established

Chapter 8: The Principles on which a Landlord Should Farm, Both for Himself and His Successors

    Indian proverb -- the three great desires of man
    The American Constitution
    Landlord's rights in Ireland
    The landlord should farm with a view to least risk
    Clifton-on-Bowmont farm yields rent, interest on capital, and shows a steady increase in fertility
    Landlords should themselves farm the inferior portions of their property
    System of farming at Clifton-on-Bowmont described
    Sheep stock at Clifton-on-Bowmont
    Cattle at Clifton-on-Bowmont
    Landed Improvements
    Agriculture our biggest industry
    Foreign. Competition
    The stock of this country might be greatly increased
    What is a true rotation of crops?
    Nitrogen collecting crops
    Agriculture on a sound footing
    Extreme economy of production
    Leguminous crops absolutely essential to maintain the fertility of the soil
    Increase of rural population
    Climatic effect of woods and shelters
    Recent land legislation
    Nationalization of land
    Nationalized, and permanently settled lands in British India
    Irish Land Act of 1881
    Letter to Author's Agent in King's Co.
    English foresight
    Threatened legislation

Appendix 1
Paper Contributed by Mr. James Hunter, Agricultural Seed Merchant, Chester

    Grass seeds commonly used for laying down land to grass greatly differ in appearance, etc.
    The germination of seeds
    The weight of the seed as a test of quality
    The number of seeds in a given weight of the different species of grasses varies greatly
    The cost per million germinating seeds
    Standard of quality of seeds for grass mixtures
    The quantity of grass and clover seeds sufficient to sow an acre
    The average price of seeds for the years 1898 to 1907
    The relative productiveness of various grasses
    Grasses arranged in the order of their cost for seeds to sow an acre
    More seed required when land not in fine tilth
    The mixing of grass and clover seeds

Appendix 2
On Some Notes on the Seed Trade and Grass Seeds Supplied by Mr. James Hunter, Agricultural Seed Merchant, Chester

    Mr. Faunce de Laune's Paper on 'Laying down land to Permanent Pasture', and its important results
    Condition of the Grass Seed Trade in this country
    An easy and safe method of obtaining good seeds
    The excessive use of clover

Appendix 3
The Latest Experiences, up to the End of November 1907, Have Been Added to the Experimental and Other Notes in this Appendix

    The Inner Kaimrig experiment
    The Outer Kaimrig experiment
    The Bank Field experiment
    Experiments in Alghope field
    Difference between five-course rotation and that on Author's farm
    Experiments of the Cambridge University Department of Agriculture at Abbotsley with Permanent Pasture on poor clay soil
    Success of the Clifton Park System in growing potatoes without manure
    Turnips grown without manure
    Causes of young pastures failing
    Mixture of drought-resisting plants for bare rocky surfaces
    Importance of drought-resisting plants
    How most cheaply to re-seed pastures
    The grazing of pastures
    Aftermath must be lightly grazed
    Effects of haying land the first year
    Importance of rolling land
    Effects of the System in preventing loss from wash
    Moss, important result in Outer Kaimrig
    Moss, letting up fogged-up, or mossed-up, hill pastures
    Safety of the system as regards hay and pasture
    Effects of the system in abolishing weeds
    Comparison of the results of the new system with those of an adjacent farm
    Grass inoculation
    Success of the system as regards crops, stock and cultivation
    Effect of system after ploughing the second turf
    Filling up vacant spots in first year's grass
    Success of the system as regards turnip disease
    Advantage of deep-rooted plants
    Dew ponds
    Manures used for turnips at Clifton-on-Bowmont
    Why land on my system increases in fertility
    Decomposition of vegetable matter
    On the quantity of clover seed that should be used
    The downward penetration of Chicory and Burnet
    Experiments with different varieties of chicory
    Importance of laying down foul land at two operations
    The agreement of plants and trees in nature
    The excessive use of ryegrass
    General success of the system
    Financial results
    Professor Barnes' communication
    The purchase of grass seeds
    Comparison between turf from old pasture and that from deep-rooting plants
    The mixing and sowing of grass seeds at Clifton-on-Bowmont
    The work of the Board of Agriculture
    Concluding remarks

Appendix 4

    Note by Dr. Voelcker on comparison of the soils of old Cheviot turf and five-year-old pasture
    Second note by Dr. Voelcker on the composition and character of the soil of the Bankfield
    Third note by Dr. Voelcker

Appendix 5

    Hop shelters or 'lews' in east Kent

Appendix 6

    Notes of the Stock kept at Clifton-on-Bowmont Farm
    Rotation of Crops at Clifton-on-Bowmont

Appendix 7

    Tenant farmer's letter on Clifton Park system, and method of taking turnips after lea
    The opinion of a well-known Border Agriculturist about the farming and stocking of Clifton-on-Bowmont farm

Appendix 8

    Suggested Changes of Farming System: Paper read at a meeting of Border Union Agricultural Society, October 1902

Appendix 9

    The Clover Mystery, a probable solution of it: Paper read at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at Cambridge, 19th August 1904
    Postscript to paper read at the meeting of the British Association at Cambridge, 1904

A Map of Clifton-on-Bowmont Experiment and Demonstration Farm

Next: Introduction by Sir R. George Stapledon

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