Professor Rennie has well said—“Next indeed to the knowledge of what is best to be done in practice, is the knowledge of the reasons why one mode of agriculture is better than another mode. Now these reasons are in fact the science, and the farmer who does not know a good and satisfactory reason, beyond the use of wont or hap-hazard experience, for adopting certain rotations of crops, for liming one sort of soil and not liming another sort, for planting or sowing thinly rather than closely, and in short for all the various processes and operations, must be pronounced to know little more than half his own business. I think, therefore, (says he) no more important subject can occupy the attention of the agriculturist, than an inquiry into the reasons why the chief processes of agriculture are more successful in some circumstances than in others; for if these reasons are once discovered, and the facts connected with them established beyond controversy, like many of the facts in practical chemistry and practical mechanics, then the farmer will have a sure guide in his operations, and will be as superior to the old farmer of hap-hazard experience, as the modern mariner with his compass is to the mariner of olden time, who dared not advance out of sight of land, for fear of losing himself in the pathless ocean”.
In order, however, to discover the reasons why one mode of agriculture is better than another, it will be necessary to ...
- © Yorkshire Geological Society, 1839-42