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with the losses to individuals, will see that this is a small estimate. But even this loss should be provided against. The expenditure of five thousand dollars, in a commission to investigate the causes, establish a rational treatment, and furnish means of prevention, must receive the hearty commendation of every one.
Horses are, in the main, better cared for than any other farm stock. Cattle and sheep and hogs may shiver in the cold or scorch in the sun, but the horse must have shelter and shade, food and care, and every element necessary to preserve his health and develop his powers. Diseases, therefore, are less frequent among them. But four counties report epidemics that have proved disastrous. The diseases are called “ Lung Fever,” and “ Blind Staggers ;" and perhaps even here the causes and treatment are not so well understood as they might be, in spite of the learned disquisitions of veterinary surgeons, and others claiming to krow all about the horse and his management.
Cattle have suffered from disease supposed to be induced by eating smutted corn. In Jasper and Harrison counties many died, and so in Story county a year ago. All the recorded experiences are of little practical value, not being sustained by careful dissections and comparisons of results in the several localities.
Sheep have sustained greater losses than any other farm stock, from diseases of varoius kinds. The scab and foot-rot have done incalculable damage. The number of sheep in 1868 was 2,370,106, or an increase of 661,148 over 1866; but the average wool clip of 1868 falls far short of that of 1866, being in the latter 3 1-9 pounds to the fleece; and of the former a fraction less than two pounds.
; The remedies for the maladies of sheep are mostly empirical. It is not necessary to enumerate experiences in this place; but it was not long ago announced that "foot-rot could not exist on the prairies of Iowa,” that flocks infected with it were healed by a brief sojourn here. These propositions seem to be fallacious; for so great
:as been the destruction that sheep husbandry has been well nigh abandoned; thousands of sheep have been killed for their pelts and the small modicum of tallow which could be distilled from their carcasses, and for the third time in the history of the State can be heard the shibboleth, “ Iowa is not suited to wool growing.”
It is within the memory of every one of your honorable body, that the United States government has expended large sums of money to investigate the Texas cattle disease; that the New York State Agricultural Society called to its aid the highest order of talent to study the cause of, and furnish a remedy for, abortion in cows ; that a mass of facts and figures was collected from all parts of the country, and that from these have been deduced certain generalizations of inestimable value to the public; that the Connecticut State Agricultural Society has memorialized Congress, asking for a commission to examine into the nature, causes, cure and prevention of the Pleuropneumonia of cattle in that region, that in all these cases, every facility in money, time, talent, and opportunity, has been afforded to make researches that would result in practical conclusions. All these, and many similar instances, are a precedent justifying and urging the institution of requisite means to study the diseases affecting farm stock and causing the loss of millions of dollars annually to the people. Let your honorable body furnish the means, and appoint a scientific commission, who shall investigate the causes of these diseases, and make public what remedies may be suggested by scientific observation, careful analysis, and well defined generalization.
Marked improvement has been made by the introduction into numerous localities of approved breedy. Much of the premium stock from abroad, which was on exhibition at the last State fair, was purchased by Iowa farmers, and will prove a valuable acquisition, The indications are that more attention will be paid to raising cattle and as a necessary consequence, the cultivation of tame grasses, and the lessening of the area of wheat.
The subjoined table shows the number exported for the years named:
1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869
Burlington & Missouri River.
13522031630 31308/24518 2484928711 22470 21591 21500 20021 22515 25267 8250 7680 4706 2540 4523 8206
19265 19698 14375 28996 13851 2400 990
3392 1910j 2026
10241 165940182566178202 64846/82821 90141
Receipts in Chicago, 1867, 326,826; in 1868, 323,850 ; in 1869, 399,913. Prices, 1867, from $2.50 to $7.00; in 1868, from $3.00 to $7.50; in 1869, from $3.50 to $7.623.
Diseases have caused heavy losses in hogs. Yet there is no kind of farmi stock which has received so large a share of attention during the year. In every county there are reported numbers of farmers who have made it a specialty, and who have paid large prices for fancy breeds. And among the general agriculturists, there must be very few who have not secured Berkshire, Magee, Chester White or other varieties that have achieved a name and reputation for points of excellence.
It is only necessary here to compile a few figures to illustrate the importance of this product; and first, the following shows the state of the case in Chicago, for 1868 and 1869, being the receipts at that place :
Hogs 1,688,1891 270,860 11,667,0851 205,4161
Lard, (pounds) 10,053,521 6,732,892 3,320,629
Or a falling off of nearly two millions of dollars in this branch of trade, the prices ruling much the same as in the previous year.
The following shows the exports for several years, by the railroads in Iowa, of live bogs, lard, dressed pork, &c.
1864 | 1865 | 1866 | 1867 1868 1869 148,246 45,442 90,510 115,400 144,386 182,943 84,600 44,220 54,181 131,802 131,944 125,965 26,715 18,480 12,950 7,200 17,300 42,437 41,340 56,075 64,470 126,385 61,258
15,393 6,957| 12,324
145,367 259,561 149,482 213,716 334,265 431,734 580,907
Pounds of dressed hogs, lard and pork carried eastward by the several roads named: In 1865, 10,882,631; in 1866, 17,273,884; in 1867, 21,164,888.
Allusion has been made, in another place, to the diseases affecting sheep; and to the effect of these distempers in decimating the flocks, dispiriting the owners, and discouraging the increase and care of the fold. We have reports from sixty-one counties ; twenty-one county agricultural organizations make no mention of sheep at all; only two speak any words of cheer, and thirty-eight report sheep husbandry as “ decreasing," as
as “abandoned,” as “unprofitable,” as “receiving little attention," &c. It is a mournful fact that many thousands have been slaughtered for their pelts; it is impossible to estimate the number, but Jackson county reports 4000, Henry and Jefferson and others indefinite quantities; and Marshall, Dubuque, Madison, Scott, Mahaska, &c., have a clear decrease of fifty per cent. Several counties send up the customary wail concerning the ravages of dogs; and there appeared the usual number of accounts in the local press, of canine incursions upon the folds. Once more we come to figures. In 1866, the value of sheep killed by dogs was $82,612. For some reason there are no official figures of the losses in this direction in 1868; but in 1866 there were 125,207 dogs; by the wisdom of the Census Board, we have the number in 1868 at 147,623, an increase of 22,416, or one dog to each 7.52 inhabitants in 1866, and one to each 7.20 in 1868; or the dogs have increased more rapidly than the population. Now if 125,207 dogs in 1866, killed $82,612 worth of sheep, how many dollars worth would 147,623 dogs kill in 1868, other things being equal ? In round numbers $125,000 worth. But in 1869, sheep were, if possible, more neglected; owners considered them more unprofitable ; fancy prices both for wool and sheep had failed; the flocks were not protected, and of course the dogs would have a better opportunity to do their work. Allowing for the decrease in number and value from the depression of the wɔol market, from diseases, &c., it is not an exaggeration to state that the dogs killed in 1869, $150,000 worth of sheep.
There is a decrease of nearly one million pounds between the wool clip of 1868 and 1866. In the former year it reache 4,478,934 lbs, and the decrease in 1869 is certainly greater, so that the whole product will not exceed three million pounds.
The following tables are added to show movements of sheep, and wool by rail for the years named :
1863. 1864. 1865. 1866. 1867. 1868. 1869.
6,2891 16,585 20,755 52,589 30,461 48,464
70,118 159,519 33,116 5,972 4,368 3,688