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THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 37, 20 December 1879
AGRICULTURAL PAPERS. - “THE AGRICULTURALIST.” ’ No. VI. THE NEW ZEALAND AGRICULTURIST. .The first batch of your early settlers, I ' believe, arrived at Port Lyttelton (then better known as Port Cooper) in December, 1850. At that time the Province of Canterbury was a wild, uncultivated tract o- of country. Some time ago, I read with i t very mush interest the remarks made by .» one of the early settler, -in response to| a i ' "toast at soin (S' festivity. In effect-it was, r as well as I remember, that in those by gone days there only existed at Lyttelton - one baker and one butcher; and that the early settlers had to wait with patient for- ■ bearance in turn for a loaf of bread, which was handed to him hot from the bake-house. The sum of two shillings was paid for the 4lbs. '.loaf. A somewhat •Similar ■"procesv had to be undergone for obtaining a supply of mutton from the primitive ’-butcher at the cost of 6d. per db. Beefb w up not in supply in tire early ... days of your pioneers. The fresh water sup- • --ply was from a - well situated in a place ■ known in those days as Side’s Gully. This if source of supply was so over-taxed that f. • the truth «f the old proverb was well ill- ■ - ■ -ustrated, •“ the early bird gets the worm,” for th tee who were not early risers had to i; - wait until nature filtered the water through the sand before their ’ requirements were responded to,; and-some of the recipents in case of an extra supply being needed ■ for their requirements had to keep watch .over the night, waiting for nature to give : thera -their Wants. The subsequent arrivals- in the' sixth vessel, the Isabella i Hnrcus,: whoian led the following March, s 1851,' -did .not- fare much better. At a ■l7 later period Christchurch was not in a very progressive t state. The now- city could only in-those days' boast of its pioneer v ,• butcher, five sheep per day for a time met all. requirements. ' The rate of labor then , was only.four shillings j or-day. Flour i was L6O per ton, and for a time the supi, ■ plies come from' the older settlements, chiefly from that of Tasmania, better knowft then as Van Dieman’s Land. It was not until some 10 years after the < early- settlement days that you became .exporters of wheat,, for I notice .■» fharo..is, in. the second report of the • Lyttelton Chamber of Commerce, for 1861, i some .interesting cimmercial information —namely, the entire export of grain from . New. Zealand during that memorable year is set down at 55,684 bushels, valued at . 1/13,112, of which Canterbury contributes the major half, ■ 28,820 bushels, valued at 7. L 7634. The total wool exports from New Zealand during 11 that year amounted to (official value) L 443,392, to which Canterbury contributed L 189,498. Your money borrowing and lending institution at that time seemed to have been ...; confined to one banking house. The following extract may help to show how you , ? have progressed. ..It>is from the * 1 Lyttel- , ton Times ” of the 16th. July, 1861; ~ ~ 1858 - 1859 iB6O > "■ ~7~~2 Deposits. ... ...447,515 512,062 552,766 Note’ -Circulat.oh .. “4,519 89,136 99,161 Bills Payable ... 24.546 39,33» 40,022 . V 546,580 640,529 691,949 Discountanfi other . Advances ... ... 514,729643,604635,029 Com ‘ aftd Bullion; Bank Property, &c. 179,504208,706 159,765 “ The result shown on examination of these figures is this; that the Union Bank, during the last quarter of 1858, used hone of its own capital (not allowing it credit for " the coin reserves and fixed property), but on the contrary was indebted to the colony in the sum of 1/31,851. At the same period of 1859, when the restrictive action of the bank had commenced* we • find the colony indebted to that institution in the magnificent sum of L 3075, f while’ in 1860, when that action had borne its fruits, we again find the bank debtor to the colony in the amount of L 36,920. ” The compiling of the total wool and' grain exports from New Zealand in this creditable production seems to have been a good precedent. It is a pity it had not been followed out by the present Chamber if Commerce in Christchurch, so *• to : give at a glance the total value of exports ■ for the year from ' all the New ; Zealand ■ ports, arid comparative statements for past years; giving the total separate' Values of the chief articles of your New Zealand “ production. : From 1862 to 1866 you were in a dormant state ; as your, total value of grain exports during these years only reached L 3936. Your agricultural progress did not make much head-way until 1868. - ‘The values for this year were L56,120'; in 1870, or eight years after, the wheat exports had only doubled the grain exports of 1868—namely, 449,203 bushels of wheat;.value L 113,853. • In the next two gears 'you had more than • doubled both the quantity and value, as in 1878 for the year June; your 1 wheat iexpbrts " stood - thus bushels, value at L 234,853., I will now briefly rbfet tb your wheat exports, as it iseems clear to me that in-this description of corn ; you .may be expected to go on largely increasing your area—’because the dernand for both pats and barley must be f limited, for you will be confined to your - own local markets and to Some of the - ports " in the Australasian colonies, ahH . therefore there will pot be the induce<”lment*|oVyou to increase the production < ’• of wheat •; for i n the case of the latter the ' markStf ‘&t " thST*TJnited Kingdom will (,al|vsys be.open to you. The :important matter of having your statistics properly and care('r compiled is worthy of your, grave £. agricultural statistic returns for J. , wheat of New Zealand *for last year .'.that the following are the figures for the 4 .wheat area and yield : —2 . s . w s ’■ J 3 .S 12 U ~ Particulars. Acres. 2 "S to y A - ■•- *a*s s g •? g I/-. •• •• U , ,Wheat returns for .- all New Zealand. 264,577 6,070,599 22.94 ■ Wheat ret’u us (or ■ . province of . ; all other parts of ’’l s * 4 ‘‘*Ntffv ' Zealand, ’ fettSppting - Can- « Xerbu.>v ;; v | 90.682 2.348,779 25.89 •itfutin;-;•■!.) I'*■■■■■■ 261 ;«:•>■/ 6,070 400 Ufa. above, your , province is
credited with nearly two-thirds of the wheat growing area in New Zealand. The acreage I conclude there cannot be much doubt about, for it appears to be the universal opinion of the agriculturists that the estimated yield as above compiled is considerably in excess of the thrashing machines’, returns. The correctness of these yields is of the greatest importance, both to the agriculturists, the consumers, and others outside your colony. It is desirable that these records should be made as accurate as practicable, and more especially' so when the wealth of your country is computed from such information. They are often used as a means to place before the British public your wonderful productiveness,, and therefore should be made to agree with the actual thrashed yield ,as near as it is, possible to . do so, It is to :ba hoped that this most important duty will be performed by the Government statist, with the usual assiduity appertaining to his. department. If. the compiling of the particulars ‘of. agricultural; products were taheii at a latet period in the year, when the probable, results Of the. yields might; be arrived at with, greater accuracy, this information would then he more reliable. Besides these 'means.you have another most effectual one at your disposal—namely;—haying , an export free entry passed for all corn shipped at all the export, ports in New Zealand, the truth of which,, and the market export value, should 'be declared before the officer in charge of the Customs. By adding: to these exports the estimated quantity required for seed and home consumption, you have then not ’ an assumed but a real result ; at least you have one as reliable as can bo got at. These figures, divided, by the acres of your various kinds of corn will give you the average yield which might be compared with the returns of the agricultural statist, and by such means corrected. This is a matter of such vital importance that I would venture to suggest that you as agriculturalists ask your governing authorities to establish the system I have pointed out, to be made one of the stringent laws of the Customs department. , For the purpose of a further reference which I wish to make, I assume for the object of calculation, the general wheat yield all oyer New Zealand for last.year to be 20 bushels per acre (although J am informed on very good authority that 15 bushels would be a very liberal estimate). However, I propose giving your colony the benefit of the larger one. The statist’s returns give 22.94 bushels per acre as the' general average return. Taking the wheat area at 204,677 acres. at 20 bushels equals 5,291,540 . bushels; allow seed at one and a half ' bushels on ' the same acreage as last year,, seed requirements will be Say 396,865 bushels ; and home consumption, say on a population of 420,000 at the low estimate of 5 bushels each, 2,100,000 2,496,865 bushels. This gives an estimate available for export from all. New Zealand of 2,794,676 bushels. Add the estimated surplus available for export from South Australia say "5,778,220, which gives total available from the two colonies of 8,572,895 bushels. The county of Lincolnshire in England threshed last year 10,000,000 bushels. I refer to this to give you convincing proof of the insignificant position you hold, as a wheat exporting, country. Taking New Zealand and South Australia together the joint exports are not equal to the produce of one of the counties in England by one and a half millions of bushels of wheat.
_ ■ r~. g . 8i.1tT7.4L1, >cj I think it would be JJJ'g 51 © opportune now to offer g - 3 S id a few comments upon § c the value of rainfall records, if they are re- • Hi 77 lioiously kept, and published weekly at every £3 yj J 3 place in New. Zealand —— —— of sufficient importance £; 2 S to justify the publicaJS 55 Ss tiun of a newspaper. _s All important agriculg o g tural centres should S J «j have such records kept ■' • • ** —by the officer in charge *® So tk o Rbad Board So ci office. I »Jso propose *“* ■' w n to give you yearly •4! | o ® average of the rainfall fe I e 4 in Victoria as welL j N p From this statement 09 ’ a S2 ke seen g • " that the average rainS fall in is — ~ now that of Obrist.S S j>- church. In many * §? 25 parts of Victoria the rainfall is not so much rj ao as it is in her capital “J tj city. Thq atmosphere o g nearly so humid as it § ej oo is in your province, or ■; P S S coast line j of New Zealand being ■ w 9* go extensive, the * ' jg effect is renovating for oo S agrlciiltuFftl pursuits. ** -h Although; the-general n average of rainfall in 5 ® Victoria; may be conh sjdercd sufficient .as j a rule for growing, § ■e; 5* provide 4 the ebmate * S was not so parching, ————| and was free from the Jg j 35 continued droughts * \6 during the time the o result of the Victorian 6 wheat ; averages will ,*"* &__ give you the best test n 2) as to the suitability of § of her pjimate for corn $ average yield for wheat S © for the last ten years is *~i S 3 recorded, at . 19'8 bushels, the lowest as eo 8"7 bushels, and her * §5 average yield per o/jpe — over , this period has § co been only 13 bushels. 2 The cliinate of that part of the country in © S§ Victoria lately opened <» and settled upon, fop a grain growing district, oo g is aonie what similar to S tp the climate in some 1-1 parts of South . Aus* . tpaiia, and therefore « may be looked upon as S g likely. in the . most S 5 favorable season to jS ,g yield comparatively g Js light crops only,;
new Zealand’s producing power. The stability of the producing power of New Zealand as a corn growing country, cannot be more forcibly illustrated than to - instance the results of last yeai, especially in your Canterbury province, with the unfortunately low rainfall, and particularly that chronicled at Christchurch 13| INCHES—DURING THE WHOLE YEAR. With such an unfavorable season as you experienced, your wheat yield per acre was more than double that of Victoria, with her fair average rainfall for the season, and nearly three times that of South Australia for the same year. Your lowest yield, under - the extreme circumstances I have cited, was more than that of your sister colony in her very best years, and nearly double the highest yield ever reaped and thrashed in South Australia.
lx MAY BE WORTHY OF NOTE THAT THE! RAINFALL OF OVER. 2 INCHES IN JANUARY LAST SAVED YOUR CORN CROPS FROM ALMOST total ruin. So much for the value of a proper system :of gauging and recording the .rainfall. A country with such a humid climate as have most parts of New Zealand, is destined to be a favored field for settleing a large population, when the great natural producing advantages are better known. None of the other Australasian colonies can place on record such facts as are disclosed in this paper, the accuracy of which can be verified. These results should be very gratifying to you as agriculturists.
In this lottnr I referred to your competitors. Admitting that the United Kingdom is a great consuming country, it is also, on the other hand, one of immense producing power. The following will have a stimulating effect when I tell you that to meet the general depressed state of agriculturists the Duke of Bedford had generously remitted half a year’s rent to his tenantry in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and Devonshire involving the estimated deduction of receipts to His Grace of L 70.000. It appears that other abatements of rent have been announced in Eng’and, varying from 10 to 30 per cent. This points to a systematic general reduction in rents, which means the cultivator more competing power. I desire to point out to you a striking proof that you as agriculturists cannot look to high rates ruling for wheat, unless war or some other unforeseen calamity, takes place of a disturbing nature, and this would only have a temporary effect. Even taking the average price for wheat per quarter of the 16 years I have given you—i.e., 51s. per quarter—and during this period the Franco-Pruasian war extended from 1871 to 1874, or the effects of it, it seems doubtful if this average can be maintained. The high rates ruling in 1867 and 1868 may, I have no doubt, be traced to some calamity or other.
It is generally an acknowledged fact the farmer as a rule bears the general burdens, occasionally imposed upon him with forbearance, and is one not easily moved into taking an active part in measures even affecting his wellbeing. Although he is credited with possessing an ample share of shrewdness of a certain kind, still he has submitted, with what one might almost venture to call complacency, to the extremely high railway tariff rates charged for the carriage of his produce. Yet, strange- to say, during all the present political controversy in the country he has never put to the candidate aspiring to a • seat in Parliament, the following but nevertheless ail potent question ; Will you pledge yourself to advocate a substantial reduction in the railway rates ? The cost of the railway lines in New South , Wales and Victoria are put down at about L 14,586 per mile, while those in your country are put down as costing about L6OOO per mile. In the first named colony 1 ton of produce is carried a distance of 150 miles to an export port for 15/2, which in your country, to carry 1 ton only a distance of 50 miles to f.o.b. it costs 14»,, lid. The difference is striking. New South Wales, with her low railway rates, pays L 4 4s. sd. interest upon the capital expended on railways, with the ruinous rates charged, do not pay 3 per cent, interest upon the. outlay, while you have to pay interest on your public debt at about 5 per cent. Your Government has mismanaged your affairs, as compared with those of your neighbors. Before concluding, I trust you will not consider I am travelling outside the interest of the agriculturist when I make bold enough to tell you, that you will not only be helping your own interest, but that of every well wisher to the prosperity .of Nqw Zealand, by not countenancing the present lions which are threatning your course of success —namely, universal suffrage and what is termed protection to native industry. These two measures were carried into Victoria, and they have brought her to the very brink of, ruin. The following . instances I will name to you. A certain class of artisan (whose calling I will not mention) say they have prospered so well under the protective tariff of 50 per sent- duty iu their favor that they now publicly petition fop an increase up to 100 per cent. The chairmaker, wood-turner, furniture maker, and coach-builder are moderately petitioning for a 50 per cent, duty as well as to foster each, their particular trades, and from the curriers are petitioning for 15 percent, to prevent the importation of calf-skins into Melbourne. Onemore instance I wish to point out to you —that of the Victorian axletree maker. The following particulars I have gleaned from one of the d#b£f®£ in Parliament in that colony. Under tho i%tg tftPiffj $ n invoice of imported axles LlO4 18s. 6d, was subject to a protective duty of L 22 16s. 6d. Still the axletree maker did not prosper. If now proposed under the amended tariff to increase the spoliation from L 22 16s. 6d. to L 93 4 s - f° r th® object of fostering the Victorian natiyg industry of axletree making.
! To give another proof of the commercial position Victoria now liolds with the other Australian colonies, fchp following is recorded in the leading Victorian organ—namely, “ That on the Ist of June last, in London, there were 38 ships loading for Australia, with an aggregate of 48,758 tons, divided as under ;—For Sydney, 16 vessels representing 21,232 tons ; Adelaide, 14 vessels representing 16,936 tons j Melboupne, 8 vessels, representing 10,590 tons.'*
Victoria has lost her leading commercial position. She is now at the tfti} of the list in place of heading it. She occupied the leading place until the fostering and democratic Government took the reins in hand. These facts ought to be a warning to the people of New Zealand, Still, you find, in one instance within your own province, an ably conducted newspaper disposed at present (upon the very point
of fostering what is now a days termed native industries) to countenance such a ruinous policy' as that followed by the present Victorian Government. This policy now days is called “ Liberalism!” I have to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and you, gent’en..for jour patient endurance, as I am afraid I have almost imposed upon . beyond reasonable bounds. I have to acknowledge my indebtedness io the leading free trade organs published in your sister colonies for some of the facts I have used in compiling this paper.
THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 37, 20 December 1879
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