We harvested the crops in the autumn of 1896, and were thankful for the bountiful yield. Nearly sixteen hundred bushels of oats and twenty-seven hundred bushels of corn made a proud showing in the granary, when added to its previous stock. The corn fodder, shredded by our own men and machine, made the great forage barn look like an overflowing cornucopia, and the only extra expense attending the harvest was $31 paid for threshing the oats.
Three important items of food are consumed on the farm that have to be purchased each year, and as there is not much fluctuation in the price paid, we may as well settle the per capita rate for the milch cows and hogs for once and all. At each year’s end we can then easily find the cash outlay for the herds by multiplying the number of stock by the cost of keeping one.
My Holstein cows consume a trifle less than three tons of grain each per year,—about fifteen pounds a day. Taking the ration for four cows as a matter of convenience, we have: corn and cob meal, three tons, and oatmeal, three tons, both kinds raised and ground on the farm, and not charged in this account; wheat bran, three tons at $18, $54; gluten meal, two tons at $24, $48; oil meal, one ton, $26; total cash outlay for four cows, $128, or $32 per head. This estimate is, however, about $2 too liberal. We will, hereafter, charge each milch cow $30, and will also charge each hog fattened on the place $1 for shorts and middlings consumed. This is not exact, but it is near enough, and it greatly simplifies accounts.
As I kept twenty-six cows ten months, and ten more for an average of four and a half months, the feeding for 1896 would be equivalent to one year for thirty cows, or $900. To this add $120 for swine food and $25 for grits and oyster shells for the chickens, and we have $1045 paid for food for stock. Shoeing the horses for the year and repairs to machinery cost $157. The purchased food for eight employees for twelve months and for two additional ones for eight months, amounted to $734. The wage account, including $50 extra to Thompson, was $2358.
A second hen-house, a duplicate of the first, was built before October. It was intended that each house should accommodate four hundred laying hens. We have now on the place five of these houses; but only two of them, besides the incubator and the brooder-house, were built in 1896. As offset to the heavy expenditure of this year, I had not much to show. Seven hundred cockerels were sold in November for $342. In October the pullets began laying in desultory fashion, and by November they had settled down to business; and that quarter they gave me 703 dozen eggs to sell. As these eggs were marketed within twenty-four hours, and under a guarantee, I had no difficulty in getting thirty cents a dozen, net. November eggs brought $211, and the December out-put, $252. I sold 600 bushels of potatoes for $150, and the apples from 150 of the old trees (which, by the way, were greatly improved this year) brought $450 on the trees.