After a long interregnum, the members of the Penrith Farmers' Club met on Tuesday in their room to hear a lecture by MR. LANCASTER, of Catterlen Hall, on "Our Farming Prospects".  MR. W. HESKETT presided, and there was a fair attendance of members.  Some preliminary matters having been disposed of ........
 
            MR. LANCASTER, after a few prefatory observations, said he was happy to say that farming prospects were by no means discouraging.  The value of all agricultural produce was high;  but the farmer had to complain of the seasons, and of the unfriendly summer and the bad harvest of 1872, and the unfruitful summer of the past year, the scarcity of grass and the scanty supply of fodder.
 
The seasons were ever varying, yet contracts between landlord and tenant had to be fulfilled upon commercial principles, and the farmer must submit to the disappointment and loss arising from the vicissitudes of the weather.  They could not see far into the future;  but he looked upon the scarcity and high price of labour, and the uncertainty as to the competitive ability of the foreigner, as adverse to agricultural prospects.  The introduction of free trade and the consequent competition of foreign produce had stimulated farmers to increased exertion, and the application of improved machinery and steam power to agriculture had within the past few years completely changed farming practice.
 
The farmer of to-day must possess much larger means than the farmer of twenty-five years ago.  Stock was now the farmer's main support, and his efforts must therefore, be directed towards improving the breed, and the general management of his herd.  The stock of the show-yard ought to be the rule and not the exception of the breed of cattle to be kept in the lowland districts of Cumberland.  He recommended one continuous breed of shorthorns;  but it was not his business to suggest what tribe was the best, whether the Bates, the Booth, or the Gwynne.  He, however thought that the tribe combining milking properties with beauty and excellence, ought to have the preference.  If pure bred shorthorn cattle be more profitable, come sooner to perfection, fatten quicker, and produce more beef than ordinary animals, surely it was the duty of every tenant farmer whose land was adapted to this kind of stock, to try and inherit the breed.
 
The same remarks applied to sheep, and with respect to soil and situation for particular breeds he ventured an opinion that Leicesters, owing to their propensity to fatten, would produce the most mutton and wool in districts in Cumberland suitable for their breeding.
 
There was another effort a farmer must make, and that was to improve his farm.  Wet poor land would not produce good stock, and for the successful cultivation of green crops, there must be liberal manuring and garden-like culture.  Green crops were peculiarly well adapted to the climate and soil of Cumberland.  But none of the things he had recommended could be accomplished on wet land.  There was nothing speculative in draining, for it was sure to pay when judiciously and systematically performed.  Draining was not confined to low-lying or arable districts.  Those who had crossed the mountain to Alston must have noticed the beautiful meadows and pastures which formerly formed part of the open fell in its primitive state, when the land was almost worthless.  But now, through the enterprise and industry of the owners, the enclosures were drained and limed, and produced excellent crops of useful herbage, rough, perhaps, and not so valuable as the herbage of ancient meadows by the side of the rivers.  It must, however, be a useful auxiliary to the farmers of that region, where frequently there are six months of winter and three months of cold weather.
 
Another instance of successful draining was afforded upon Shap Fells - a work which was vigorously prosecuted by the late Lord-Lieutenant.  The proprietor who held wet land, improvable but unimproved, did so to the injury of himself, to farmers, and to his country.
 
There was just one other subject to which he should like for a moment to refer, and that was with respect to covering in manure heaps.  Arguments might be adduced both for and against this system.  Science might advocate the affirmative proposition;  but experience recommended farmers to pause and consider the outlay.  The scheme was too speculative, and he could not recommend the adoption of a plan which he did not feel justified in carrying out himself.
 
After alluding shortly to improvements in farm buildings, and the probable high price of agricultural labour for many years to come, MR. LANCASTER concluded by thanking the company for the attentive manner in which they had listened to the remarks of a tenant farmer, and was loudly cheered on resuming his seat.
 
THE SECRETARY, alluding to a remark of the lecturer, said that soil and climate had a good deal to do with the rearing of cattle.  He believed his friend, MR. JAMES IRELAND, was a great advocate for the breeding of black cattle, by which he had made his fortune - [Laughter].  He suggested that at some future meeting, there should be more discussion of practical subjects, such as cattle rearing, horse training, &c., which might be briefly introduced by some member of the club.
 
MR. IRELAND said he had occupied the Hill Top farm for 46 years;  and his experience was, that no man could be a farmer unless he had served an apprenticeship to the business.  He strongly approved of a prime breed of Galloway cattle, and if he was to begin farming again on a large scale, he would go in for black cattle.  He could keep three of them as easily as he could keep three shorthorns.
 
MR. J. C. SMITH, in proposing a vote of thanks to MR. LANCASTER, disagreed with that gentleman in his remarks relative to liquid manure.  He maintained that liquid manure in its concentrated state, and not exposed to rain, was the most valuable fertilizing agent which the farmer possessed.  He stated that in his own experience he found it to be superior to guano.  He used it to manure a meadow of 1-1/2 acres, and he usually got from 7 to 8 cartloads from it.  The process for retaining liquid manure was simple and easy, and the cost of getting it upon the land was light.
 
MR. LANCASTER in reply said that MR. SMITH was only a small farmer.  If he had had experience upon a large farm he would find that the process he advocated would be attended with considerable difficulty and no little expense.  He found that the easiest and cheapest method of getting liquid manure upon the land was by means of open or closed drains or pipes.
 
The vote of thanks was seconded by MR. WM. LONGRIGG, and carried unanimously.
 
This concluded the business.
 
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