PRESS BULLETIN No. 103.
Floridd Agricullural Experiment Slallo0.
BY JOHN M. SCOTT.
The question of labor on the farm is of great importance, and has been
the subject of much attention and thought from the farmer and also from the
press. Nearly every farm paper contains articles with reference to the solu-
tion of the problem of farm labor; not only in Florida, but in nearly every
state in the Union.
INCREASED COST OF LABOR.
Within the last few years the farmers of Florida have found themselves
confronted either in one way or another with the problem of farm labor.
First, the cost of labor has increased from fifty or seventy-five cents a day,
to one or one and a half dollars. Also, even where the farmer was able to
meet the increase in wages, he was unable for various reasons to get the la-
bor; and if he did secure the services of a few men, he did not know whether
they would work one day'or one month. It was likely that at a time when he
was most in need of help, he either had no help, or only half enough to carry
on farm operations.
The question that is now troubling the farmer is how to manipulate his
farm operations so as to do away with much of the expensive labor. This can
be done to a great extent by the use of improved farm machinery. Nothing
shows the advancement of modern agriculture in a more striking way than
the rapid improvement in farm implements.
It is an undisputed fact, both among scientific investigators and practical
farmers, that in producing a good crop, whether of cotton or corn, the more
thorough the preparation of the seed-bed the better the crop may be expected
to be, and the less cultivation will be needed during the growing season; all of
which tends to reduce the expense of production, while at the same time in-
creasing the yield. This thorough preparation of the soil may easily be ac-
complished by the use of proper implements.
PLOW.-Do away with the little one-horse plow that does little more than
scratch the soil, and use instead a two-horse plow, or better still a riding sulky
or disc plow. With these implements the work can be done at least ninety
per cent. better, and with seventy-five per cent. less exertion on the part of
the plowman. With the riding sulky or disc plow and three mules, one man
November 14, 1908-
can plow two and a half or three acres a day. With the one-horse plow it
would require three mules and three men to do the same amount of work in
the same length of time. Here then is a case where the farmer would save
about $2 a day for every day's plowing, to say nothing about the increased
yield of his crop due to the better preparation of the soil.
PLANTER.--With the corn and cotton planter with fertilizer attachment,
one boy with a mule can distribute the fertilizer and plant six or eight acres
of corn or cotton a day. In other words it will cost from twenty to twenty-
five cents an acre to distribute the fertilizer and plant the crop. With the
out-of-date method of dropping by hand it costs from two to three times that
amount, and theA the work would not be as well done.
CULTIVATOR.-Another point to be considered in the production of a crop
is the cultivation. The old method, which is unfortunately the method still
most in vogue, is to use the one-horse cultivator, whether it be a sweep or
turn-shovel. With this implement one man with one mule can cultivate only
two and a half acres or possibly three acres a day; while the farmer with the
modern two-horse riding cultivator can ride all day, and at the same time cul-
tivate twice as many acres of corn or cotton, while doing the work better.
Here is not only time and money saved, but also much hard manual labor. In
the case of the modern cultivator the team does the hard work; while with
the old method, the farmer has much of the hard work to do.
NARROW MARGIN BETWEEN PROFIT AND LOSS.
It is just these little items that make the difference between a profit and
a loss on the crop. A few years ago, when labor was cheaper and prices of
farm products were good, the farmer did not miss a few dollars extra ex-
pense; but when the cost of labor advanced, the price of farm products did
not advance, in the same proportion. Now the farmer must figure closer, so
as to reduce the cost of production and increase the yield per acre. This can
be done best by the use of improved and labor-saving machinery.
State papers please copy.