The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1880.
Our morning contemporary essays in its issue of Thursday last to review “Farmers and prices of wheat,” and although our attention has only just been directed to the article, we cannot allow this opportunity to pass without pointing out a few of the more prominent inaccuracies it contains. In the first place, we think it a little premature to congratulate ourselves upon an “ abundant yield of well fed grain harvested in splendid condition,” but we sincerely hope it may soon be our gratifying office to confirm the assumption of our contemporary. We pass over the remarks which treat of the rise on freights ; suffice it to say that the advance is an accomplished fact, and if the demand for tonnage reaches present anticipations, there is little doubt the higher rates will be maintained. Our contemporary, with some minuteness, furnishes the cost of sending a bushel of wheat from Lyttelton to London, and summarises the whole as follows :
s. d. Baying price ... ... ... 3 9 Freight and charges ... ... 2 3 Loss on bags ... ... ... o 3 Loss on difference in bushels... o 3 Insurance against damage ... o 3 Total ... ... 6 9 The item 11 freight and charges ” is about the mark, 2s. 2i-d being the correct amount, assuming the freight to be the current one—viz., 50s. per ton. We fail to comprehend how the loss on bags can possibly reach 3d. per bushel, as the original cost of full sized bags is only 9d. each, and if they were totally lost it would only be a matter of 2|d. per bushel ; but as a matter of fact they readily realise 4d. in the London Corn Exchange, and the loss from this source cannot exceed l£d. per bushel. In calculating the “ loss on difference in bushels,” it is obviously incorrect to value the 21bs. difference between the English and colonial bushel at an extreme price such as 7s. 6d. must be regarded. We should take the cost of the 21bs. up to this time—i.e., ss. 11-id. per bushel, or say 2jd. for the 21bs. The sum for “ insurance against damage ” also appears a little excessive. Last season 2i per cent, would have been an ample allowance for damage, and this would only amount to l|d. per bushel. Summarising our figures, we have : s. d. Buying price ... 3 9 Freight and charges ... ... 2 2, l /z Loss on bags ... ... ... o 2t( Loss on diffeience in bushels o 2j/ Insurance against damage ... o 1% Total ... ... ... 6 4% This shows our contemporary’s estimate of net cost at 6s. 9d., and our cwn at 6s. 4}d. —a very appreciable difference ; but the former by an ingenious application of the laws of compensation, considerably adjusts matters, by assuming that 565. per English quarter represents 7s. per colonial bushel. Our contemporary concludes its figures by affirming that a bushel of wheat, costing 6s. 9d. (per bushel of 601b5.) in London, will show a clear profit of 3d. if sold at the rate of 565. per quarter. The difference in measurements, which was so liberally allowed for on the other side, is here ignored, and a profit shown which would really not exist —565. per English quarter being only equal to 6s. 9jfd. per bushel of 601bs. So that our contemporary's estimate actually shows a margin on wheat purchased in Lyttelton at 3s. 9d. per bushel, of only £d., and our estimate sd. —little enough in either case, but we will return to the discussion of this interesting matter in a later article.