Volume 65: Macarthur-Onslow correspondence, 1846-1929: No. 406
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authority of the secretary of the Silk Supply Association of England, an association formed to meet the difficulties caused by the insufficient supply of silk to meet the demands of manufacturers, and the large adulteration in consequence.
We do not, however advocate this kind of culture, for 500 to the acre would mean bushes, not trees. About 130 trees to the acre is a better way to plant, and (given best silkworms and best methods of rearing) returns depend on the amount of leaf per tree which can be produced.
There are trees in Lombardy bearing each 400 lbs. of leaf; some have been know to produce even 500 lbs. This weight is too exceptional to be taken as a standard, and it will be some years before we arrive at even 200 lbs. of leaf to the tree; but, taking 200 lbs. as the weight per tree to be aimed at, the return would be from 130 trees, reckoning 12 lbs. of leaf to produce 1 lb. of cocoons (and it should by best methods), and cocoons at 1s. 6d. per lb., about £156 per acre. Let us summarize:-
200 lbs. of leaf per tree.
130 trees per acre.
12 lbs. of leaf to make 1 lb. of cocoons.
1s.6d. a lb. for cocoons.
Result: £156 per acre.