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THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 55, 31 January 1880
AMONG THE FARMERS. Wakanui this, year can cry “ To triumphe,” the wish of a certain plains farmer for a shower of rain every day, and shower of muck on Sunday, having been gratified as nearly as Dame Nature would permit. The old woman who presides over natural arrangements, such as rain and caterpillars, has been particularly kind this season, pouring forth plenty of the former and giving the latter to NewSouth Wales, as a sort of addition to its particularly' payable Exhibition, which we understand is likely to be a loss to that colony of something approaching a quarter of a million of money. We, in this economical country, can’t afford that kind of extravagance, as all the energies of our farmers are exercised in the direction of making both ends meet, and it is gratifying to us to observe that farming operations for the present year are likely to return something to the agriculturist. Having taken a round turn about the country, we are able to report on several of the farms, and will select WAKANUI, to begin with. The portions of this district we are at present able to describe from personal observations are confined to the Dromoro, Ohertsey, and portions of the Wakanui Creek districts, but by next Saturday’s issue a full account of all the other farms in the district will be supplied by this journal. ' To go into particulars of the various holdings, we will commence as near town as possible, and that out and out good old soul Joseph Hunt is the first wo drop in on. He don’t farm to any great extent, but what he does, he does well, and he is appealed to by all the country side when any difficulties occur in the iiway ofi agricultural pursuits. He is always in the front rank when anything in the shape of a ploughing i match or a reaper and binder contest is on ; but when a meeting of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association is held,- why, then, Joseph Hent is indispensable. When he takes it in his head to “shulile off this mortal coil,” —.may the day be far distant, —we do not know where to look for his successor in public exhibitions appertaining to agricultural avocations. However, talking about crops, Mr. Hart and his sons have no great extent in grain, but what they have is good, as all crops are whore knowledge and experience are brought to bear on good land. This “ family clique,” in this
instance, seem to have rubbed through the preliminaries of colonisation.tolerably well on what is now considered a very small block of agricultural land, and the example shown by this “ clique ” is worthy of imitation by ail the successors of the pioneer farmer of the Wakanui. To use an old Scotch saying, he is as “weol kent an rospeckit,” and we cansay nore no more, better of him. After a long gossip with the ols man, we journeyed onwards. The proportions of Mr. Thomas met our eye on the road, and when Tie neared us lie kindly informed us that he felt very well, but owing to the sultry state of the weather he was particularly thirsty. We condoled with him, having the same complaint ourselves, but did not, unfortunately; possess the wherewithal to quench it. Mr. Prendergast gave us an ad libitum ticket to investigate liis crops, and after a careful inspection on arrival at Ins place it was unanimously decided by all tho visitors that he was a particularly well-off farmer, and that it was his duty to his family to start a carriage and pair forthwith on tho strength of his present prospects. He has 135 acres wheat which would cause any grain buyer to speculate at the rate of 45 bushels to the acre ; and a paddock of oats of some 36 acres looks all a farmer could wish. But the owner will very likely beselfish enough to keep the lot for his own use. He has also some grass and it is grass of suck a kind that the land on the banks of the creek can grow, and no other land in the district can match for quality and quantity. Just on the opposite side of the road is the Elgin' farm, the property of Mr. J. Stanley Bruce, but, with the exception of about 20 acres, laid out in plantation and lawn, leased to 0. P. Cox, Esq., who has about 35 acres in oats, which look equal to threshing out 60 bushels per acre. His barley is not so good as it ought to have been, considering the amount of trouble iaken over the preparation of the land ; but I suppose Mr. Cox knows by this time, as well as wo can tell him, that the most unreliable crop both for yield and price that a farmer can go into is barley. In fact barley-growing is about equal, as a money making pursuit, to “Yankee grab’ or “ blind hookey.” Some 320 acres on this farm are in permanent English grass, and some good looking stacks of hay seem as if the cattle on the farm will not starve during the coming winter. Following the Wakanui creek from this point towards the sea is a journey of some magnitude. The distance in a straight line from the township to the ocean is about ten miles ; but if a pedestrian of ordinary travelling powers undertook to follow the windings of this erratic watercourse, wo are prepared to give him a week to do the journey in. Anyhow, by following its sinuosities, we get in the,, long run to the best guide post in thfj whole district —Moffat’s mill—and here we found plenty of improvements to investigate and report on. As this report is purely an agricultural one, and the mill having been previously described in these columns, it must be left in the lurch on this occasion ; but Mr. Moffat kindly invited us to visit a farm of his some five miles lower down the creek, if we took the road, but about five thousand miles away if the creek route was adopted. We took the road, and found one of those kind of fields which make a man, especially a farming man, feel on good terms with himself and all his neighbors. Mr. Moffat paid a long figure for this block about two years ago, when Mr. G. H. Moore sold all the land on the Wakanui run, and the purchaser of this farm was not far wrong when he bid so high a figure as LlB 10s. an acre for this land. Hisjttjjforaent has proved to he as good the quality of laud as it is known to be ' in his better known capacity as a buyer of grain. Mr. Moffat’s next neighbor, Mr. P. Innes, don’t believe in neighbors. He has fenced himself in on a sort of peninsula, to which no one can gain access except through a gate and roadway sacred to himself. But Peter is a comfortable sort of a man. If he and the creek fence people off, he is none the less ready to make visitors welcome when they give him a look in, and the look of his crop and the substantial concrete house, is a sufficient evidence that this fanner is, or ought to be satisfied with his lot. A new school just here, now nearly finished, is a feature of the district, and the manner in which the residents turned up at the annual meeting the other evening, : isa very good criterion of their ability to raise a crop of scholars for the new institution. Mr. J. Stanley Bruce has, we understand, been the moving spirit in the matter, and he deserves the thanks of all possessors of olive plants for his exertions. Still further down the creek we arrive at the comfortable homestead of Messrs. Earle Bros., who have a block of firstclass land fronting on the Beach road, and extending northwards across and including the creek. They have a small paddock in wheat, which ought to give a return of 45 bushels, and perhaps a handful over ; 130. acres of oats with a promise of, we should say, 50 bushels. Notwithstanding that there is a considerable quantity of self-sown crop among it, their barley has been a miss this year, and will not return more than 14 or 15 bushels at the outside. There are about 100 acres of pasture which is equal to anything in the shape of a paddock to bo exhibited anywhere, that is, if a paddock can be exhibited. But my experience of the whole of the country teaches me that the best pasture land in it is on the banks of the creek or river. There is no denying the assertion. To take all the farms in detail would occupy too much space in the present issue, hut. we may mention the pasture crops, beyond those mentioned, of Messrs. J. Jamieson, M. Miller, Brown Bros., John Black, Mrs. Gibson, and Meredith Wilson, as being specially noticeable for the extreme growth of grass and clover' this year. Weregret that our space will not allow of our describing the farms' we visited, and as a matter of course our readers must wait for further news till Tuesday’s issue.
THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 55, 31 January 1880
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