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THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 34, 13 December 1879
AGRICULTURAL PAPERS. “THE AGRICULTURALIST.” Part IV. THE CHIEF AND FORMIDABLE COMPETITORS AS AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND AGRICULTURALIST. The American may fairly be placed at fho li. a.d of the list of your competitors, and as (me destined to make almost immeasurably increased productive power. At present he is your great rival, and he is indeed a formidable one. I find I shall take up too much of your time were I to do other than refer briefly to his position in general terms. The following are the export values from the United States for the years 1873 and 1877, of live stock, moat, and broadstuffs, as taken from the “ Chicago Farmers’ Review,” and are worthy of having a place in this paper. This statement is only one of the many potent facts which I wish to bring under your notice, to show' that you have too many lions in the way for you to be dormant.
Export values of live stock, meat, and breadstuffs for the year 1878 and 1877 from the United States—
From the above itis clear thattheexports of the particular class of produce specified had increased in value in the year 1878 over that of 1877 by 72.2 per cent. A few remarks may be necessary to illustrate the ■nerease of her live stock, and dead meat trade with Great Britain since so recent a date as 1876. The entire quantity of meat imported into the United Kingdom in 1876 from the United States was 16,165,6321b5., the money value of which was L 389,395. In 1878 it had risen to 53,661,2161b5., with a money value of L 1,264,764, while from Europe the total money value of dead meat was only L 66,535. The value of imports of all classes of live stock into Great Britain from America and the Continent was L 7,454,482, and with dead meat added L 8,785,781. Of that sum nearly L 4,000,000 was from America. Every year, it has been pointed out, Europe can spare fewer cattle, and it is to America British consumers must look to make up the deficiency in the Home supply Sooner or later all these importations of meat must tell upon the consumers’ butchers’ bills ; but at present they remain, strange to say, as high as ever. To give you some idea of the prodigious resources of America, the following may be of interest to you.
THE LARGEST FARM IN THE WORLD. The largest cultivated wheat farm on the globe is said to be the Grondin Farm, not far from the town of Fargo, Dakota. It embi’aces some 40,000 acres, both Government and railway land, and lies close to the Red river. Divided into four parts, it has dwellings, granaries, machine shops, elevators, stables" for 200 horses, and room for storing 1,000,000 bushels of grain. Besides the wheat farm there is a stock farm of 28,000 acres. In seeding time 70 to 80 men are employed, and during harvest 250 to 300 men. Seeding begins about April 9th and continues through the month, and is done very systematically. The machines follow one another around the field some four rods apart. Cutting begins about August Bth, and ends in the fore part of September, succeeded by the threshing with eight steam threshers. After threshing, the stubble ground is ploughed with great ploughs, drawn by three horses, and cutting two furrows, and this goes on until the weather is cold enough to freeze—usually about November Ist . There are many other farms in the territory, and in the same neighborhood, and they are tilled in much the same way as the Grondin. The surface of the land generally is almost level, and the soil rich and black- The product of one field of 2,315 acres is 57,285 bushels, some 25 bushels to the acre. The average yield of the Dakota wheat farm is 20 to 25 bushels per acre, and the concurring testimony is that it is unequalled as a wheat region in the world. The estimated average wheat yield in the United States, from the highest agricultural authority, is put down at 13 bushels per acre. I cannot close with cousin Jonathan’s power of competition without bringing under your special notice the cheap railway carriages he is favored with. FREIGHT CHARGES ON AMERICAN RAILWAYS. The cost of railway transport of goods varies very much on different parts of railway systems ; but not so much on the main line of different countries. For instance, the lowest cost of carrying freight yet reported in America is found in the report of the Northern Central Railway for 1878, which gives the cost per ton per mile on the Susquehanna division, 47 miles long, as 8.35 cent, or 0.175 d (say about one-sixth of a penny) per ton per mile. On the whole road, however, the average cost is about twice as much, and on one of its branches (a distance of only nine miles long) the cost is nearly ten times as much —3.246 cents, per ton per mile. It is not often the companies report separately the cost on different sections of the same road. If they did, perhaps some of them would show a lower cost than this. Freight has been carried between Chicago and New York within the past two years at $0.4 to $0.44 or 2d. to is. lOd. per ton per mile, equivalent to 20 cents., or about lOd. x le, ‘ lOOlbs. from Chicago to New York.
The American lias been one of the foremost as an inventor of labor saving machines on the farm. He is one of those who have a natural inventive turn of mint!, it is very desirable to point out the forced necessity there is for the agriculturist to its** all such machines, as the farmer must now be on the constant watch for improvements to enable him to hold anything like his ground as a competitor in the general altered condition of agricultural matters. INDIA. India has been referred to as likely to become one of your competitors. The shortening of the distance between India and the United Kingdom, since the opening of the Suez Canal,;, has not only reduced the rate of freights, but found a market in England for the wheat produced in the former country. The climate of
India cannot as a rule he considered favorable or reliable for wheat growing, it bears no comparison to that of America. The following is some guage of what has been accomplished by one o f your new competitors already ; —The export of wheat from Calcutta during the past two or three years has reached as much as 1,149,667 maunds in some single months of the year. This is equal to 1,573,1-71 bushels. The freights are very favorable. By steamers to the United Kingdom, via the Suez Canal, LI 2s. 6d. per ton is about the ruling rate ; while by sailing vessels, via the Cape of Good Hope, 10s. per ton is the usual rate and as ruinously low as ss. per ton has only been paid occasionally during die period I have referred to. OTJR SISTER COLONIES —SOUTH AUSTRALIA AND VICTORIA. The former seems to hold her own, and goes on increasing her area of wheat growing, despite her low average yields, of 5 24.(i0tha bushels per acre in some^ of the worst seasons, notably that of 1876The highest estimated average wheat yield in South Australia, if I remember correctly, was about 12 bushels. The yield in 1877 was reckoned at 7 4G-00ths bushels per acre, and that of last year at equal to 7 bushels per acre—the average in many places in 1878 ranging from 23 to 12 a bushels per acre. Considering these light yields, and the proportion of seed used i.e., about H bushels per acre, to produce a return of 9 bushels, which seems to be a g*od average vield, and to analyse this further, it is clear one-sixth portion of the gross production is wanted every year for seed purposes. Or to put this important matter more forcibly to you, it takes one acre to produce the seed needed for sowing six acres. It is therefore only reasonable to conclude that unless some different system of agriculture is followed, South Australia cannot be looked upon to make much further advancement in wheat growing, considering year by year she will have her increased population to provide for. Her estimated total yield last year is returned at 9,007,624 bushels. After providing foxseed requirements for the same acreage as last year, 1,929,204 bushels will be needed, and at least 1,300,000 bushels for home consumption. This gives her an estimated surplus for export of 5,778,220 bushels. To carry this a little further, in 1864, fifteen years back, South Australia expoi’ted equal to 3,062,080 bushels of wheat, so that in fifteen years she has barely doubled her export of wheat and flour. It is true, the agriculturist of South Australia is fortunate in living in a country where a righteous policy of commerce is followed, by which he is enable to ob tain full value for the money he expends for his requirements. Under this natux-al state of trading he has thriven. With reference to the position of the Victorian agricultux-alist it can scarcely be said he has thriven, although he has been cultivating the soil under the flag of protection to native industry since its first agitation in 1865. As he is your nearest competitor, I feel satisfied that he has a more prosperous future in store, and with your indulgence I will make a few remarks respecting his position. He had by this policy in his favor a protection of Is duty on every lOOlbs of grain imported into Victoria. During all this time he has enjoyed the advantage of this duty over his inter-colonial competitors. The production there now is fully equal to her requirements, although the climate for wheat growing seems somewhat irregular. The area in wheat in 1870 was 288,514 acres, giving 5,697,056 bushels, or an average yield estimated at 19.8 bushels to the acre. In 1879 the wheat area was 691,622 acres, yielding only 6,060, <37 bushels, or an estimated yield of 8. t bushels to the acre. The general average wheat yield in Victoria extending over the past ten years may be put down at 13.2 bushels per acre. It is very striking that the increased area in wheat in 18 < 9 over 1870 was 403,108 acres ; yet the yield in 1879 only exceeded that of 1870 by 363,681 bushels, so that the 403,103 acres extra in wheat barely gives a return of • 1 bushel an acre upon the increased acres.
From tlie position of the Victorian agriculturalist, he now finds to his cost that the imposition of the protection duty put on to benefit him has had the very opposite effect. He frankly admits that while, on the one hand, he had the benefit of the Is duty on every lOOlbs of his grain grown, on the other he* has been so handicapped in having to pay, through the imposition of other protective duties, to such an outrageous extent for almost every implement and all other accessories essential for carrying on his calling, that he now finds he has not made the same progress as ho might have done had he been free to purchase his requirements at the cheapest rate. He instances now very potently the farmers’ real friend—the reaper and binder. This costs him L2O more in Victoria than it does his neighbor _ and follow agriculturalist who lives in a comparatively free commercial country. His voice is now loudly heard from one end of Victoria to the other in endeavoring to do away with protective duties altogether. In fact, as a rule, all the members of the numerous Agricultural Societies there have turned Unionists, and seem strongly bent upon making a compact to drive the noted leader of the late Embassy from power, if he does not repeal the iniquitous protection law, and follow a policy of righteousness. This leader is the present Premier. The determined action taken by the Victorian agriculturist has already had a cleansing effect. He also states with truth and frankness that although he has produced under the sweets of protection, he fails to obtain more for his products in the 'world s market than those who produce without being fostered, and who can grow for less than ho can. In one respect he has a great advantage over the New Zealand farmer. He has no export wharfage rates to pay. He has only to pay the minimum railway charges of Id. per ton per mile, with an additional terminal charge of Is. per ton. There is one only one more matter to which I should wish to refer. That is the Victorian consumer of agricultural produce during the past ten years. The Victorian consumers have had to pay for the wheat and oats they used, since the time I refer, to the enormous sum of L 2,046,707 more than they would have had to do if a natural course of commercial relationship had existed with other countries. It is clear and beyond doubt that the price for wheat and oats has been ruled by the Victorian producers to the extent of the duty added to the price of it would have coatto import, because the natural law of fre >
j niipt.ly ;m«l unrestricted commercial ex ‘ cnimumlitie-? did not exist oxp-'”ie v si i o c-t» ’ 1-0! il(;r OWn !!!’ ff ]>V:W
oiu'iige (;l Once she 1> not longer
and having ou-o reached the 1 o er i> - Linn, > ,MXto;i .til w.ie.t and «>.u» ffo id leitnei' enetit the producers nor would it ■pi-ress die consumers. During these ten years the agriculturists in Victoria have had the direct benefit of L 204,670 a year. So much for production. No wonder that many of the Victorian consumers are at the present time in a state of extremely straitened circumstances. To bring this matter dearer h me to you as New Zealand agriculturalists. In your present position, a protective policy here could not possibly ass:st you, as you are an exporting country of corn and other agricultural produce. Melbourne, the great port in Victoria, has been one of the best markets for the sale of your oats. After supplying your own local markets, you have shipped your surplus there, despite this duty of Is per lOOlbs., and you have been satisfied that the results gave you as good a return as you could realise from any of your other customers. The fact of the imposition of this Is. tax has compelled the Victorian consumer to pav this tax over and above the price this particular line of food would have cast him had free trade existed. The present fostering protection policy in Victoria clearly punishes its consumers; but it certainly does not affect you in any way. One of your recent political aspirants has put forth the following view, and no doubt he thinks in his particular light it would help you as New Zealand agriculturists. it is;—“That he would he in favor of say a tax of 3d. per bushel on grain, by way of rendering the farmer assistance in bad times.” Considering New Zealand is a large exporting grain country, and is certain to go on increasing, such views as these expressed, to my mind, are those that can only be compared to romances coming from the mouth of a fanatic, who makes a ridiculous exhibition of himself, in taking upon himself subjects he cannot fathom. [TO RE CONTINUED. ]
1S7S 1877 Increase £■ £. £■ Live stock, meat and breadstuff's, not includine; flour 15,266,816 9.759.448 5.507,36s Wheat ... 19.7S4.300 10,000,336 9,753,964 35,021.116 19.750.784 15,261,333
THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 34, 13 December 1879
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