The Prairie Farmer 7(5): 141 (May 1847)
WHEAT—BRINE AND LIME—EARLY CUTTING.
H. B. HAWLEY
Aztalan, Wis. March, 1847

Messrs. Editors: Last year I promised you some of my experience in farming. I do not expect to put forth any thing new, but would wish to sustain all good practice in agriculture from repeated experiments already advised in the Prairie Farmer. I have adopted a course for the culture of wheat which I shall pursue until something better offers. Economy is necessary for all; and many are deterred from brining and liming wheat or seed—some by the want of means to soak 15 or 20 bushels for 4 to 12 hours, as many recommend, others by fear of change of weather and loss of seed if soaked. I will give my mode, as I am satisfied from repeated experiments that it is all that is necessary or beneficial. One tub and barrel, if no more are handy, are all that is necessary. I prepare each day the quantity I wish to sow. I put the barrel half full of strong brine, then pour in one bushel or more of wheat, slowly, and take off what floats, often, so that the heavy wheat will not carry it down; I then stir up well to give all a chance to rise that will, and take off all that floats; then pour the brine into the tub, drain the wheat well, and poor it on the floor; pour the brine into the barrel again and put in another batch, adding brine as often as necessary, and let it stand until I have limed the first batch. I put on a shovel full of slaked lime and shovel it up well, or sufficient to keep it from sticking together, and put a bushel into each bag, that there may be no mistake in sowing the proper quantity per acre, as the wheat will be increased in bulk one fourth or more. I sow one bushel and a half per acre, and endeavor to have all well got in before the 10th of September.

For the satisfaction of those who may think the practice not worth the trouble, I will say something of my last season's crop. I sowed 30 acres on new breaking, the seed for which was prepared in the way I have stated, except two casts in width across the field, which was sown with seed not so prepared, for the sake of experiment; the consequence was, it was very smutty; any stranger could have found and followed the strip by the smut and chess. That which was brined and limed had a little chess but no smut in it. My other wheat, sown on stubble, without being brined or limed, was smutty and had much chess; so was all the wheat in this vicinity. Mine that was brined and limed yielded 20 per cent. more than that which was not, and brought 10 cents more per bushel than the other; weighed 64 lbs. per bushel, although the 4 pounds was gained in part by cutting early. "There is a right and a wrong time to do all things," says Mr. Hardup. Yes, and the right time to harvest wheat is, when it will yield the most. I will give you my views of when the right time arrives. I do not look at the first nor second joint; they may vary in appearance by the effect of the season or soil: as soon as the bulk of the crop has got its brown color, and the berry is doughy and soft, I consider the right time. I then commence cutting, and let it lie in the swath one day if the weather is good; and do not wait for the small wheat to grow larger, for it never will—and thus lose the best of my crop by shelling, to say nothing of the shrinkage in weight. I let three acres of my best wheat stand until dead ripe, for seed; it weighed only 61 lbs; the wheat alongside, cut one week earlier, weighed 64 lbs.

Now sirs I am convinced, if no one else is, that by brining and liming, and cutting in what I think the right time, I have gained enough to pay for the salt and lime, and the Prairie Farmer for several years in the bargain.