THE REAPER AND BINDER CONTEST.
G The clerk of the weather must be a bosom friend of the Secretary of the A. A. and Pastoral Association, the weather being made to order for the occasion of the Reaper and Binder Contest. Mr. Jameson, who has been untiring in his efforts to make everything go off well, deserved the success he achieved for the Association. The contest took place in a paddock of Mr. Hay T. Smith’s, close to town. The crop was wheat, and each machine was allotted two sections, the first experimented on being a fine crop of purple tuscan wheat, and an acre and a quarter was measured off for each machine. The second trial being in a field of Hunters white, both crops being equal in growth, and about 50 bushels to the acre, and standing very evenly about sft. 3iu. in height throughout. At 10 o’clock a start was made, and the following is a programme of the competitors, and the officers of the Association, who superintended the arrangements. Committee—Messrs. H. T. Smith, Joseph Hunt, F. T. Mayo, E. Saundeis, and W. J. Silcock. Judges—Messrs. H. W. Parsons, F. B. Passmore, and T. Black. Consulting Engineer—E. G. Wright, Esq. Machines entered—Wire Binders—The Osborne, 2 horses, Mr. Grace, the American agent for the machine, driver ; the Wood, 3 horses, Mr. Henry Hunt, driver; McCormack, 2 horses, W. H. Town, driver. String Binders—The Wood, 2 horses, Mr. Freeman, driver ; the Marsh Harvester, with Beering string binder, 2 horses, Mr. O. S. Ellithrope, American agent, driver: the Johnston, 2 horses, Mr. Wilson, driver. The old Wood wire binder had a large number of admirers. Many of the Ashburton farmers having used this machine for three seasons have obtained a thorough knowledge of its capabilities, and appreciate its simplicity of working and its nonliability to get out of order. It has also the recommendation of being cheaper by L 25 than any other in the market. The one on the ground yesterday was in the hands of a local man (Mr. 11. Hunt) who knew his machine, his horses, and the work he had to do, and as a consequence he cut his plot in a workmanlike manner. The McCormack was a great favorite here last year from the case with which it could bo converted from a wire binder, by attaching a platform, into a hand binding machine, and in this contest it proved itself capable of doing good work in a heavy crop. The Osborne, which was yesterday piloted by the agent of the makers, is a machine which, from its simplicity and easy management, combined with a very light draught, lias been by many looked upon as the best of the wire binders extant. It performed the allotted work in a most satisfactory way in the first block. Of the string binders, it is bard to say too much in praise of the ingenuity displayed by the Yankee in providing for the farmers a want which has only manifested itself since the advent of the self-binder. That the want has been supplied by no less than three manufacturers, was abundantly evident at the trial yesterday, and we honestty give our opinion that the perfection of machinery now been arrived at, when such ingenuity is shown as is done in these machines. The Johnstone, which took first prize in the contest near Christchurch on Monday, was unfortunate yesterday, one of the arms breaking when about half her first section was operated on ; and before the broken piece could be repaired, all the others had finished. The knot made on the string by the Johnston is an ordinary overhand one, and the tension on the band can bo altered to give either a slack or a very tight band, at the option of the driver. This is, however, a feature in all the string binders. The only perceptible difference in the knots of the different machines is that the Marsh and Wood tie with a loop, while the Johnston pulls the loop through, and cuts it so as to make it into an ordinary knot. The time occupied by each machine on the allotments was as follows : On the first section, in the purple tuscan wheat, the allotments being one and a quarter acre— STRING BINDERS. hrs. mins. Johnstone ... ••• 1 16 Bcering ... ... ... 1 17 Wood 1 20 WIRE BINDERS. hrs. mins. M'Cormack ... ... ... 1 8 Wood ... 1 17 Osborne ... ... ... 1 23 On the second trial in a very similar
field of Hunter’s white measured ott m acre blocks, the time was— STRING BINDERS. lira. mins. Peering ••• 1 20 Wood 1 26 Johnstone ... ... ••• 1 29 WIRE BINDERS. hrs. mins. Wood 1 11 M'Oonnack'... ... jB.. 1 12 Osborne ... ... "'•••. 1 I^. The judges had great difficulty in awarding the honors, as the work done by all was beyond anything we can say in praise of the various machines. The Johnstone was unfortunate throughout, a small, and to the uninitiated apparently insignificant part of the binding gear, giving way early in the first trial, that caused a delay by which the machine was compelled to remain idle whilst the others were finishing their work, and during the second trial a large number of untied sheaves were delivered, the cause being, so far as our reporter could see, not from any intrinsic fault in the machine, but from the haste the driver displayed in trying to finish in good time. The mechanism which ties the knot is intricate, but at the same time, from its slow motion and smooth manner of working, is not, we should consider, liable to derangement. The Johnston took first prize in Christchurch, as we have mentioned, and must have done better work there than it did in the Ashburton. I’he Marsh Harvester, -with the Deering string binder attachment, was throughout the day the centre of attraction. The work it did was the perfection of agricultural work in the shape of harvesting, and every farmer on the ground was delighted to see that there was a machine in the market for next year’s harvest capable of saving his grain in good time, and leaving the straw so as to be utilised in the winter without the danger of killing his horses and cattle from the effects of taking a dose of wire. We consider the Marsh Harvester, with the Deering twine binder, is to be the machine of the future. In these days, when improvements and invention are so rapid, it is hard to say what the ingenious. Yankee will supply us with when we want a new labor saving appliance, but we fancy that the top rung of the ladder was very nearly reached in binding machines when this one was invented. The Judges in arriving at a decision between the Johnston and the Marsh were of opinion that the work done by both machines was excellent, and the workmanship of them was equally good; but they gave their decision on the ground that the Marsh-Deering was the simplest, its draught the lightest, and the tying was also in its favor. r' It may be interesting to our local farmers to know that Messrs. Friedlander Bros., of this town, have been appointed agents for the Marsh-Deering machines, and will take orders for next year’s harvesting operations. The Wood string . binder did good work, but was not to be compared ' with the other machines, and the tying was slacker and as a whole the machine did not seem to be so reliable a farming implement as the other two. In the wire binder the old competitors of last, year again did battle, and of the three the McCormack had a long way the best, of it, and the, Osborne as much the worst of the trial. Wood coming in midway. This result, however, cannot be looked upon as a final decision as to the qualifications of the three machines. All have been tried in the district and all have tludfefdmirers and champions, and for part we have a sneaking kindness , towards the much despised Osborne of yesterday, for . the simplicity of machinery, and the absence of any gear likely to puzzle a farmer not well up in engineering. The Wood lias also any number of farmers in the Ashburton ready to swear by it as the most reliable, and to cost less for extras and repairs during harvest. But the M‘Cormack was not to be denied, and, barring the wire objection, the work done by this machine well deserved the gold medal it gained. Among other implements shown on the ground was a Yankee gang plough, by Carr and Hobson. It was not by any means the kind of tool we see produced in prints of “Hums at the plough,” or the sort of article shown to us in pictures, intended to give the schoolboys of the present day an idea of how the Israelites of old used to do their breaking up. This now plough is in fact a comfortable kind of a vehicle, upon which the ploughman perches himself and drives his pair, enjoying a drive, and doing the farm work at the same time, and it does its work well, that is, on ground to suit it-light stubble land, which only wants tickling. But we do not for one moment believe that, in the matter-of-fact work of breaking up tussock land,, especially on stony ground, the gang plough will become a farming implement in Ashburton. One feature ; .n the day’s performance we are proud - o record —the unanimous opinion of all pi isent on the superiority of the Hew Zealan ; twine made from native fibre. This is, if course, another inducement towards meal industry, as we have plenty of flax in this district to encourage the starting of works for the conversion of the raw material into marketable rope and twine, to say nothing of what might follow in the shape of sacks, matting, &c. The proprietor of the crop, that genial old soul Hay Smith, was so delighted with the day’s work, that he offered to give the Association another paddock at Greenstreet’s in a fortnight’s time, and give them a ton pound note to go there. Slay his shadow never be less. Creature comforts were dispensed during the day by that best of providores : Mr. T. Quill, and the heat of the day appeared to influence the lemonade market to a considerable extent,’ but stocks were forthcoming to meet all demands. A first class luncheon was also provided for the Committee by the same purveyor.
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