Cyclopedia of American Agriculture

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THE third volume of this important “Cyclopedia of Agriculture”—the volume dealing with animals —reflects in a remarkable manner the varying standards to which agricultural knowledge has attained in individual sections of the subject. In the sections hitherto most amenable to experiment and research a vast amount of information of an accurate and trustworthy character has been accumulated. Much of this information may be beyond the farmer's capacity to utilise; some of it may have been developed on lines which were not always as useful as the experimenters expected and claimed; but time and experience always tend to bring the experimenter in the laboratory and the operator in the field into closer and closer touch, and so to rub off the eccentricities of each. On the other hand, in the sections concerned with breeding and selection, and with the evolution of different types of stock, our knowledge is still in a very nebulous condition, even though in these sections agriculturists have operated with, perhaps, the greatest apparent success. In dealing with such subjects, writers are still too apt to lay the foundations of their work in unquestioned beliefs and unsubstantiated opinions. Such expressions as “it is supposed,” “it is believed,” “it is said,” “it has been thought,” appear in this volume, as in most other books upon the same subject, with too great frequency. It is unfortunate that, instead of emulating the patience and thoroughness of such authors as Youatt and Low, our recent writers on live stock have taken to a style that may be descriptively interesting, but is often inaccurate, sometimes even slip-shod, and leads to no abiding result.

Cyclopedia of American Agriculture.

A Popular Survey of Agricultural Conditions, Practices, and Ideals in the United States and Canada. Edited by L. H. Bailey. Vol. iii., Animals. Pp. xvi+708. (New York: The Macmillan Co.; London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1908.) Price 21s. net.

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WILSON, J. Cyclopedia of American Agriculture . Nature 78, 657–658 (1908) doi:10.1038/078657a0

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