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Volume 46 pages 259-264: Letter from James Atkinson to Alexander Berry, 4 June 18294 June 1829

by Berry, Alexander, 1781-1873

I fear you will find your produce deteriorated both in quantity and quality every year. The land is certainly extremely fertile but you must recollect that no land whatever is perfectly inexhaustible, unless [indecipherable] annually like the banks of the Nile by annual inundations and depositions. You have now sufficient land in cultivation to enable you to fallow a portion every year, which I should by all means advise, and you could easily effect it without at all interfering with your usual operations. I should begin by thoroughly cleansing the surface by two or three ploughings, and harrowing, with sufficient intervals to allow the seed weeds to grow, and then give it a deep furrow with 4 or 6 oxen, after which shallow tillage with light ploughs, harrows, and perhaps once stirring with your truly formable scarifier would be sufficient. This land I should sow with turnips and feed them off with sheep, which you can buy in from the upper country for the express purpose, and sell off or kill in the spring.  

I am persuaded this plan would thoroughly cleanse the oil from both seed and root weeds, and cause it to produce plentiful crops of clean grain for at least 4 years, not the least among other benefits would arise from the treading of the soil by the sheep, which it much requires; the growing crops of wheat also would be greatly benefited by feeding off. I should certainly never think of keeping breeding sheep as a permanent stock, but a quantity bought in in the Autumn and sold in Spring, after shearing, would b