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(From our Chi istchurch Correspondent. )

1 have again to congratulate the farmers and all who benefit by their prosperity, upon another day or two’s rain. The effect upon the spirits of all concerned must be most cheering, and no doubt will impress new-comers with admiration of the solid advantages we possess over the old country in the quality of the soil, and the salubrity of our climate. This subject leads me on to one I consider has been lost sight of by many persons whose interests should have induced them to give the matter some amount of cousi leration, viz., the supply of fodder to the different mining districts, and notably the West Coast.

Some eight or ten years hack an extensive trade sprung up in the supply of baled chaff. At that time the demand far exceeded the supply, and hardly a vessel left Lyttelton for the Coast that did not carry at least 70 to 100, and in some cases 300 bales of chaff, to either Hokitika or Greymouth, where our best brands realised, landed, up to £l3 per ton, Melbourne chaff at the same market realising about the same price. Since then, Melbourne has done her best to cut us out and has so far succeeded, with the assistance of the cheap freight, and a knowledge of what was required; I consider this state of affairs never should have been allowed to transpire. I will endeavor to shortly give a few of the reasons why this came about, and the cause of our failure to take advantage of our immense natural resources, and point out the superiority of Canterbury over almost any other part of the Southern Hemisphere to supply the raw material for its manufacture.

Like every new industry started, it must labor under the disadvantage of requiring some treatment different to what the tillers of the soil had been accustomed to. It interfered with old-fashioned ideas, and did not fit in with farmers’ preconceived notions as to what was the proper thing to do. However, in this, as in all other first attempts, a gentleman who now occupies a position in the foremost ranks of the agricultural community, stepped out of the beaten track and showed what might be done by planting about 300 acres of oats for special purpose. The result would have been a splendid success, had we not experienced a very wet harvest, which partially spoilt a crop averaging at least four tons per acre, and prevented the highest market price being obtained. There was, however, quite sufficient evidence to prove that with an ordinary season the venture would turn out an undoubted financial success.

The plan adopted was to sow on fair soil about 3| to 4 bushels of Tartarian oats per acre, and it has been proved that being sown thick, when once out of the ground all moisture in the air is more rapidly absorbed and retained than with thin sowing, and a quicker growth of straw is induced, as in the case of trees closely planted. This, coming in earlier than the ordinary crops, from the fact that it should be cut just as the sap is set, gives ample time for the proper turning and drying, before it is necessary to tie and stack. lam quite prepared to meet with many objections on the part of cultivators whose farms are distant from centres of population. This, of course, must militate against every industry until necessity brings the remedy in the shape of branch lines and cheap transit. What is required is the material of as good quality and at as cheap a rate as our neighbors can produce, and our merchants will soon find an outlet in those markets most suitable for its consumption.

I may here remark that shipowners are not altogether blameless in this matter as the rates of freight hitherto charged on baled chaff to Hokitika and Greymouth, viz., 90s per ton dead weight, if not prohibitory is certainly a bar to business, and has resulted in driving the trade to Melbourne, whence, I understand, it is carried and delivered on the wharf at about 13s per ton. These facts only go to prove that a direct route to the West Coast by rail is most urgently needed, and deserves more attention from the commercial community than it has hitherto received. I have no change to report in values of general produce. Wheat is still firm at last quotation, and any good parcels offering are eagerly bought up for local use. Barley stocks in farmers’ hands appear quite exhausted, and only very small inferior parcels are now offering. Oats are, if anything, easier, with no disposition on the part of the trade to operate beyond immediate requirements. Potatoes for shipment and seed purposes meet with ready buyers at full rates.

QUOTATIONS. s. d. s. d. Wheat, milling, per bush 4 3to 4 8 ~ inferior & fowl feed ~ 3 6,, 3 9 Barley, feed „ 3 0 » 3 6 ~ malting ' 5 6„ 0 o Oats, feed ». 2 3» 2 4 ~ seed ~ 2 511 2 7 ~ milling ~ 2 5 » 2 7

Rye Grass, ~ 4 0 » 5 0 Flour, best £l3 per ton, less trade discount. Sharps, £$ 10s. Bran, £5, sacks in. Cheese, prime, 6d to6j£d. Potted Butter, nd. to is. Meadow Hay, £5. Straw’, £z 15s. Salted Hides, 3d. Butchers’ Fat, 1 Pearl Bailey, £z6 per ton, less discount. Cocksfoot, 6j£d per lb. Cow Grass, ioj£d to nd. Rape Seed, SJ4d to dd. In Com Sacks nothing doing.

Messrs H. Matson and Co. report on the live stock market, &c. for the week ending Thursday, October 16, as follows : Yesterday’s weekly market at the metropolitan yards was fully supplied with all classes of stock, 406 head of cattle, 5950 head of sheep, and 32 pigs being penned for the week’s requirements. In fat sheep we have seldom seen a better display, both of point of numbers and quality, as out of the total entries not more than six or seven hundred were storer. Shorn sheep ai« now being brought largely to hand, and judging from what we have seen they come out of their wool remarkably well, Messrs J. Grigg, C. Hurse, J. Bell, a id others being the chief contributors in this class yesterday. In woollies, Messrs Gould and Cameron carried off the palm with their first draft of the Springfield wethers, and it will be sufficient to say that both in weight and quality they fully maintained their past reputation, topping the market with crossbreds at 15s 3d, jnermos at 12s.

There was an average attendance of the trade, and sales opened brisker than was anticipated, considering the large supply, most of the lines being quitted as the auction progressed. Towards the middle and close of the sale, however, prices gave way, and became irregular, and to effect a clearance salesmen had to accept a decline of the extent of last week s rise, leaving the quotation at 2W per lb. for wood quality mutton in wool, or l|d per lb. shorn. In store sheep there is very little doing for want of supplies, the few sent to hand being mostly culls and odd lots, but for anything like sound young healthy sheep there is an active enquiry, and high rates ruling. . Fat lambs are a scarcity in the market. There are plenty to hand, such as they are, but of any that really deserve the name, there has not been more than one or two small lines penned this season. The general quality of the beef on offer was very inferior and second rate, and with full markets of good cattle for several weeks past, at which butchers had bought heavily, they are in a position to decline such as was offered them yesterday, which they did, except at reduced rates, a dull and unsatisfactory sale being the result. Store cattle are in slightly better request, but there is still plenty of room for improvement in prices, and not more than half the number yarded were disposed of. Fresh condition two-year-olds, to be put on for immediate grazing, are, perhaps, the most in demand and ready for sale. Money is still very difficult to collect, and there is considerable tightness in commercial circles, but still the trade bills are very well met. There are large sums seeking investment upon mortgages, but satisfactory securities are difficult to obtain. The procuration fe3s upon this class of investment have been greatly reduced.

The following is the report of the Com Exchange for the week ending Friday evening, October 17th, 1879 : The grain crops all through the provinces are reported as looking well. During the week the weather has been favorable. The late copious rain, winch has ’been general, will prove very beneficial. The accounts from all the Australasian colonies speak well of the prospect of the com crops, with a promise of double the yield of that of last year. The corn market in London shows signs of great firmness. The wheat shipments afloat for the United Kingdom are considerably above the average. Wheat—The market is barely supplied, with an increased demand. Holders are firmer in their demands, and asking advanced rates. The tone of the market is in favor of the seller. First-class milling wheat is worth 5s ; medium, 4s Gd to 4s lOd ; chick wheat, 3s 6d to 3s lOd per bushel. Oats.—The demand is only local. Holders are anxious to sell at reduced rates. These is little demand for export. Good milling oats cannot be. quoted at over 2s 3d to 2s Gd ; feed, 2s Id to 2s 3d per bushel. Barley.—The inquiries for malting barley are not brisk. The market is bare of good samples. The maltsters seem not disposed to operate. Prime barley is worth 5s 3d to 5s 9d ; medium, 4s Gd to 5s per bushel. Potatoes.—The demand has increased ; rates have consequently advanced. There is a good inquiry for export and for seed purposes. Stocks are reported as being very light. Derwents in good shipping order have a ready sale at £4 to £4 10s per ton ; prime seed samples have been sold at £4 per ton. Grass seed. —There is no inquiry ; rates are nominal.

Cheese and Butter. —Good cheese is in demand for export at 6d to 6|d per lb. Butter at 8d to 9d per lb. [By Telegraph.] Dunedin, Oct. 17. Wheat, 4/9 to 5/ ; fowls’ wheat, 3/6 to 3/9; milling wheat is firm at present prices. Oats, 2/ to 2/2. Barley, 5/ to 5/6 ; feed do., 3/ to 3/6. Potatoes, £4 15/ to £5 ; round white do., £5. Chaff, £4. Pollard, £5. Flour, large sacks, £ll 10/ to £l2. Oatmeal, £l3. Pearl barley, £6. Onions, 20/. Cheese, 8/. Bacon, rolled, /B£.

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COMMERCIAL REPORT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 10, 18 October 1879

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COMMERCIAL REPORT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 10, 18 October 1879

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