Open Story

Introduction of Fertiliser

By Kenneth Campbell - Added 15/04/2014

Kenneth Macleod re-counts the arrival of 'modern' fertilisers.


At the time of the 1st World War, when the boys had to enlist, there were many houses left without men which made it particularly hard in this village as it was very difficult to get loads of seaweed round Rudha Reibinis for using as fertiliser. There was one man in the village and all his helpers had gone away but he somehow got his hands on guano. He turned his land and many people wondered what it was going to produce without having been manured. He was seen going out with what looked like a large bucket of salt in a bag on his back and after spending no more than an hour on his land he was back home having fertilised it.

That evening, at the gathering in Roderick the postman's house, the talk turned to the guano. The man who had used it for the first time and another old man who favoured seaware for his oats started discussing the merits of both. The man who had introduced the guano was so articulate in his argument that he left the other fellow speechless. It ended, however, with the one who favoured seaweed on his land saying, "Well, if I was a cow I'd prefer fodder grown from langadal!"
When harvest time came the people who had used fertiliser from the byre and from the sea saw their oats and potatoes ripen at the usual time. The man who used guano was concerned as his crop was still green and hadn't ripened so he was worried that it would be too late to get it dry. However, it did ripen, he got it dried and that was the start of using guano in the village. Once the others saw how little work was involved, in comparison with hauling manure or getting wet collecting seaweed, they preferred the manufactured fertiliser.