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in favour of AGRIMOTORS
The Inexpensiveness of the Tractor, as Regards Both Purchase Price and Operating Costs, its Speed, Efficiency and General Usefulness are Factors Leading to the Increased Popularity of Power on the Farm
EARLY spring is an extremely important part of the year for the majority of farmers, for it Is the time when most of the plans are laid for the year's cropping. In another week or so, everybody will be as busy as possible in starting to carry out those plans. New machines that are needed will by then have been bought.
Farmers are bound this year to use more agrirnotors in order to carry out their policy of arable-crop production. Whether there will be any marked extension this spring of the arable area, remains uncertain, but if this should not take place, there will most assuredly be a big increase brought about in the arable area by summer and autumn ploughing.
The main factor pointing definitely to a substantial increase during the year in the amount of land devoted to arable crops is the expectation of better prices all round.
Apart altogether from fruit, vegetables and. miscellaneous crops, three crops are competing for an *extensive area of arable land. These are wheat, potatoes and sugar-beet. The Government's proposals for the compulsory use of a quota of English wheat in making flour for bread, and a guaranteed price, have already caused farmers to sow much more than usual of that grain, and it is anticipated that a further big in'crease in the area will be made next autumn.
The expectation of Government action to prevent dumping and the present high price of potatoes, together with what the Government u6 has already effected in bringing early imports .under the abnormal imports regime, have increased the anxiety of the growers to produce as large as possible an acreage of this crop.
• As regards sugar-beet, it is most essential that all the existing factories should be kept in operation and many farmers who found that, in the past, the crop paid them, are desirous of sow ing. Last year the crop was not successful, but it was the first really bad season experienced since the industry was started in this country.
As, however, it is not usual for two unsatisfactory seasons to run consecutively, growers are anxious to give the crop another ,chance. The factorieso too, realize the possible danger of being unable to persuade sufficient growers to make contracts, and they have offered better terms and higher prices than they did last year.
It will be seen that competition for The necessary arable land on which to grow these crops, all three of which show prospects of being profitable, must inevitably lead to a fairly substantial increase in ploughing.
Additionally, a tremendous effort is being made by vegetable and fruit growers to increase the output of their crop, as it is expected that the Government will deal with any dumping of foreign imports that would seriously depress the price of the home-grown commodity.
In all this, every class of farmer and vegetable grower will realize the value of the agrimotor, because without its assistance he cannot produce these increased crops. The agrimotor is essential, both for maintaining the present arable acreage and for breaking up new ground. In fact, without the tractor it would be folly to attempt to break up new ground, and in its absence, none but the smallest acreage can be maintained under the plough and kept in the condition necessary to grow profitable crops. Yet there are large numbers of farmers with arable land, who are still trying to carry on without a fractor. In this position there is little hope of their success, but it is inspiring to meet a few farmers who say that they have bought an agrimotor for the first time—better late than never. Most of them will admit, after ihey have used it for a little while, that they cannot now imagine how they managed so long without it.
There need be no difficulty in selecting a tractor of the type suitable for almost any condition. The general-purpose light-weight four-wheeled tractor and the track-laying type are the most popular ; they vary in price and capacity to meet the conditions prevailing on every arable farm. The latter type is much valued now that the difficulty created by undue wear of the tracks has been overcome.
• Those farmers who have not before operated an agrimotor should not imagine that it is expensive either to purchase or to work. The tractor is the cheapest power unit that the farmer has ever had at his disposal for land duty.
• If it be carefully handled, an agrimotor will last for many years —possibly 10 or 12—but if the cost price be spread over four years to six years, its value will be understood. It Should be remembered that an agrimotor does not depreciate so quickly as a road vehicle.
As indicative of the low costs, it may be said that the expense of performing an arable operation is about two-thirds less than when effected by horses. Ploughing heavy .land by horses costs at least a per acre; the tractor's figure is is. 6d,
its great advantages are, however that the work is superior in quality and is more quickly carried out. The success of a holding depends upon good crops, and these can be produced only by good cultivations carried out at the right time and in suitable weather, which is rarely possible with horses.
Much of the land work, nowadays, has to be rushed, needing at certain seasons, to be kept up day and night. Only mechanical power suffices.
Lastly, one is sometimes asked what is the smallest farm on which an agrimotor will be profitable. This depends on what crops are grown. For ordinary farming purposes 100 acres of arable is, perhaps, the safe minimum. Even here a light one would be helpful. But when it comes to intensive cultivation of vegetables, where it is necessary to get two or three crops on and off the land in a year, it may pay on 25 acres and certainly on 50 acres.