Another field experiment of singular interest is that relating to the mixed herbage of permanent meadow, for which seven acres of old grass land were set apart in Rothamsted Park in 1856.
The trees and herbage at the edge of the desert.
This it leaves at nightfall to seek fields of young wheat and other cereals whose tender herbage forms its favourite food.
The upper Mississippi and some of the Ohio basin is the prairie region, with trees originally only along the watercourses; the uplands towards the Appalachians were included in the great eastern forested area; the western part of the plains has so dry a climate that its herbage is scanty, and in the south it is barren.
So much, indeed, does the character of the herbage vary from plot to plot that the effect may fairly be described as kaleidoscopic. Repeated analyses have shown how greatly both the botanical constitution and the chemical composition of the mixed herbage vary according to the description of manure applied.
The young (which, as in other marsupials, leave the uterus in an extremely small and imperfect condition) are placed in the pouch as soon as they are born; and to this they resort temporarily for shelter for some time after they are able to run, jump and feed upon the herbage which forms the nourishment of the parent.
Farms were divided into infield and outfield; corn crops followed one another without the intervention of fallow, cultivated herbage or turnips, though something is said about fallowing the outfield; enclosures were very rare; the tenantry had not begun to emerge from a state of great poverty and depression; and the wages of labour, compared with the price of corn, were much lower than at present, though that price, at least in ordinary years, must appear extremely moderate in our times.
Many of the mineral plant food-constituents locked up in the coarse herbage and in the upper layers of the soil are made immediately available to crops.
Wet land, if in grass, produces only the coarser grasses, and many subaquatic plants and mosses, which are of little or no value for pasturage; its herbage is late in spring, and fails early in autumn; the animals grazed upon it are unduly liable to disease, and sheep, especially, to foot-rot and liver-rot.
On the high veld, where green herbage is found all the year round, large numbers of sheep and cattle are pastured.