Page images

TILLAGE AND METHODS OF CULTIVATION. — 650. Effect of Loosening the Subsoil on Yield.—

651. The Possibilities of Profitable Cultivation in the Dry Districts of Ceylon.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

LEGISLATIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES FOR THE PROTECTION OF PLANTS. tection of Plants in Egypt. — 752. Protection of Bananas in British Honduras.

[ocr errors]

751. Pro



[blocks in formation]

758. Control of Dodder.

759. Correlation between the Degree of Ripeness of the Seeds of Leguminous Weeds and the Rapidity of their Germination. 760. Effect of Alternate Periods of Humidity and Drought upon the Germination of the Seeds of Wild Plants.

[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]


761. Parasitic Fungi in the Control of the Larvae of Chelonia caja. — 762. Comparative Effects of Arsenic and Lead in Compounds used in the Control of Conchylis.—763. Control of Epicometis hirta in Hungary.


INSECTS AND OTHER INVERTEBRATES INJURIOUS TO VARIOUS CROPS. — 764. New Pest of Coconuts in the Philippines. - 765. Scale Insects Injurious to Orange and Lemon in Spain.

NB. The Intelligence contained in the present Bulletin has been taken exclusively from the books, periodicals, bulletins, and other publications which have reached the Library of the International Institute of Agriculture in Rome during the months of April and May 1913.

The Bureau assumes no responsibility with regard to the opinions and the results of experiments outlined in the Bulletin.

The Editor's notes are marked (Ed.).



The Problem of Irrigation in the South of Italy and in Sicily



Ordinary Professor of Rural Economy and Land Valuation

at the Royal Higher School of Agriculture of Portici.

The distribution of rainfall in the South of Italy and Sicily is characterized by a very low precipitation during the summer, as is the case in the whole Mediterranean region, to which those countries belong. During the summer the Adriatic slope of Apulia, Lower Basilicata, the west of Calabria and almost the whole of Sicily register a rainfall not exceeding 50 mm. (2 inches), while for the rest of the country it is between 50 and 100 mm. (2 and 4 inches). Throughout the whole region the small amount of rain that falls between April and the end of September takes the form of rare and violent showers. On the other hand, the autumn and winter months are very rainy, even cloudbursts occurring sometimes.

Owing to the summer drought, farmers must by preference keep to autumn sown crops, such as wheat and other cereals, beans, and a few other plants, when they cannot plant vines, almonds, olives and other fruit trees which are less exacting than herbaceous plant as to moisture in the soil. Sowing spring hoed plants would mean almost certain failure, and thus farming in those regions is deprived of the advantage which hoed plants bring into a rotation; the production of forage and consequently of stable manure are considerably limited, whence even now, notwithstanding the extended use of leguminous leys with chemicals, bare fallows frequently become an absolute necessity in the cultivation of cereals. The dryness of the air and of the soil sometimes cause the above fertilizers to give scanty or even negative results.

From the above it will be clearly understood of what immense advantage to farming even a small amount of irrigation water is. The possession of 6 or 8 inches, or 21 000 to 28 000 cubic feet per acre, of water signifies the success of wheat and bean crops in the frequent years in which the drought

begins in spring and continues throughout the summer. It represents, further, the possibility of growing hoed crops instead of resorting to bare fallow, of getting a great deal more out of the poor permanent pastures, and of doubling the produce from grass leys. Even the vine, the olive and other fruit trees, which in some years suffer from the persistent summer drought, may be greatly benefited by a moderate irrigation, and their crop ensured. Irrigation in southern countries, assisted as it is by the higher temperature, is much more efficient than under northern climates, and its effects are sometimes quite extraordinary. There are, for instance, irrigated market gardens in Campania which are rented at £12 10 s to £16 per acre, besides which all the expenses for irrigation are charged to the farmer. In Calabria and in Sicily a delivery of 13.2 gallons per minute, which is equivalent to 530 000 to 565 000 cub. ft. in six months, is sufficient for cropping 5 to 7 2 acres, which yield up to £240 income from the land, whence the geologist Comm. Baldacci was justified in saying that the above amount of water represented a profit of £120 a year.

This explains also the high prices paid for water in the South of Italy, namely 1⁄2 d, id, up to 1 1⁄2 d per cubic metre, (35 cub. ft.), while in the North of Italy the managers of the Cavour Canals sell their water during the summer at less than a twentieth of a penny per cubic metre. It is evident that in the South it is of capital importance to treasure up every drop of water flowing on the surface or hidden in the depths of the soil. In this direction a good deal has been done, but a great deal more remains to be accomplished, especially for the systematic and continuous utilization of the greater water supplies of the country, in spite of the great technical and economic difficulties due to the nature of the water courses and to the surface features.

The water courses, owing to the distribution of the rain as mentioned above, are generally of the nature of torrents: that is abundantly supplied with water during the autumn and winter, to the extent of being sometimes injurious, while in summer the amount of water conveyed sinks frequently to nothing. At the latter season only the Pescara, Sangro, Bifero and a few other rivers of the Adriatic slope of the Abruzzi convey a certain amount of water. Apulia to the south of the Ofanto river, which is also almost dry in summer, has no visible water course, not even in winter, as the rainfall disappears immediately in the subsoil through the mass of limestone fissured in all directions which is the prevailing formation in that region. On the Mediterranean slope there are important streams in Campania, such as the Garigliano, the Volturno, the Sarno and the Sele, some of which afford fairly good summer irrigation, but beyond the last of the above named rivers the features and hydrography of the country are very unfavourable to extensive irrigation works.

Indeed from the Sele to the extreme south of Italy all the country is mountainous and therefore unsuitable to the economic collection and distribution of irrigation water. Along the sea shore from Paestum to Reggio and from Reggio to Metaponto on the Ionian Sea the slopes are very short, sometimes only six or nine miles in length, so that they are cut

« PreviousContinue »