Germany - A German Crop Rotation
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Herr Schlange told us that his land was so fertile that he could disregard a regular rotation, but more or less he would have about the following crops : two fields in clover or alfalfa, two in peas, four in winter wheat, as many in beets or potatoes, and four in oats and barley. He uses large amounts of basic slag, and limes with care. He uses also much acid phosphate and also nitrate of soda. He learns that on his soil kainit or crude potash salt is useful and uses it liberally, especially for beets.
Herr Schlange had a whole village full of people who were employed by him, all living in the center of his place in good brick houses. He feels a paternal or patriarchal pride in caring for these people in many little ways, so that their wages are by no means all that they receive. Farmers in his region were making money, especially in recent years when prices for farm products have been good. Here as in France there are money lending associations, and farmers get their needed capital for 4 per cent, giving mortgages, however, as security for the loans.
I nearly forget to tell of the white pigs, of which they had a great number; all were well cared for. In that part of Germany there are streaks of sand running through the farms, just as near -Berlin there are wide stretches of sandy plain. Herr Schlange's farm had a sandy ridge, impossible of cultivation, and his pigs ran in part of it. What Herr Schlange has that would be of great benefit to our sheep breeders is a magnificent type of Soissonais Merino sheep. Some day I hope we can import them. At the time of my visit, Germany was reeking with foot-and-mouth disease, so much so that on some farms we were not allowed to go because the owners were seeking to prevent infection.
It was Sept. 6, my assigned work was done, al-though most imperfectly. I had spent the last day at the stock yards in Berlin, seeking there mainly white pigs and then more white pigs, for the sausage is the national bird of Germany. I had packed my bags once more, tipped again for the last time the small army of hotel employes, and was ready to take a train for Vlissingen, where would await me a boat to England. I was sorry to go without having seen and studied more, yet I was so glad to start homeward that I quivered in every nerve. I recall that as usual I had the upper berth in the sleeping car, and that I endeavored long and faithfully to open one of the little transom windows in the roof of the car close to my head. My good German fellow-traveler had tightly closed the window and locked the door, the compartment as tiny as could be and containing two berths. At last, due to my strong knife, I got my little transom window opened and breathed a sigh of relief, but, what was wrong, no air came in. I examined once again and found that back of this transom was yet another pane of glass, solidly set in a fixed frame. It was a puzzler, but happily I had a copy of an American magazine at hand which I placed close to the pane that cut me off from the good, sweet air of night. I struck it one hard blow with an American fist, there was a splintering of glass, which fell outward, and a rush of cool, sweet air inward. I was saved. Laughing like a naughty boy I lay down then and slept the sleep of the man who breathes fresh air.