MR. JOHN GRIGG’S PAPER.
To the Editor.
Sir, — I ha\ e perused with considerable interest the paper read by Mr. John Grigg last Tuesday at the meeting of the Ashburton Agricultural and Pastoral Association, entitled, “ Will Farming Pay ? ” which was published in the Guardian of Thursday’s date. Mr. Grigg deduces a very satisfactory result from the system he advises, and owns that he is “ most agreeably surprised, he may say astonished, at the result of his own figures, ” and I am sure that his ideal farmer would have far greater cause for surprise and astonishment if he netted L 292 16s. Bd. per annum. I will not say more about the rotation of crops that Mr. Grigg advocates than that the land would require a great deal more labor than that of two men to keep it free from weeds. I think that such a farm would require at least two laborers to keep it in proper order. To begin with, in a farm so subdivided there would be at least 500 chains of gorse fences, which represent no inconsiderable item in the year’s work—especially' on first-class laud. I assume the fences to be gorse, as wire fences, especially where the paddocks are so small, would not hold cattle and cross-bred sheep. While on the subject of labor, I think that before coming to the net profit the farmer should charge his own labor in the account, and also his wife’s—as, although Mr. Grigg does not mention that they have to work, I take that for granted, as even with two farm laborers I do not think the farmer would have a great idle time, with ten cows to milk, pigs to feed, etc. Then, again, is it fair to charge no interest against the farmer’s own capital of L 471, which is worth, say L4O per annum? Mr. Grigg allows only L2O for “ blacksmith and wear and tear of harness.” Where is the allowance for deterioration of farm implements, horses, cows, etc., which represent in his capital about L 320, and on which ten per cent, would be a very moderate allowance to cover wear and tear and loss by death, etc.? Extra labor at harvest for 100 acres of heavy crop is estimated at L 5 (exclusive of cutting), being one shilling per acre. To say the least of it, this is very moderate where there is only one regular hand allowed for, and even ho would expect good wages through harvest. Oats are fetching one shilling per bushel this year, and Mr. Grigg has put them at that price—but I should say 2s. 6d. was a fairer average, which would make a difference of L 22 10s.; and where no oats are grown on the farm, and therefore no oaten straw for chaff, I think 300 bushels a short enough allowance. To proceed to “Annual Return.” The yield of grain estimated is a large one for an average, but as the land is supposed to be first rate, of course a large yield would be expected. Next comes “ clover—s head of cattle fed each year,” L4O, or L 8 per head for two-year-olds. Mr. Grigg must take current prices for his stock if he buj'S his oats at the same—and I see in Friday’s Christchurch papers two-year-old stock are quoted at L 4 ss. to L 4 15s. The next item I should like to call attention to is—“ three-year-old colt sold, at L 25.” On referring to 41 Capital,” I.fiud two young horses are allowed for at that figure. I suppose that is at the com-
mencemenfc of the year, and the sale at the end, so that estimating the yearling at LlO and the at Ll 5 (Mr. Grigg lumps the' 4 -two at L 25), the colt pays LlO for his‘year’s keep, which is very handsome, as he can’t expect many bushels of oats from the 300 allowed for the year’s consumption. In fact, would it not be more profitable to devote the whole farm to the rearing of colts ? From 200 acres of good land a man should be able to sell 25 colts, which at L 25 would realise L 625, and with a little in the pig and poultry line (which seems very profitable) he might make it up to L7OO, with very trifling annual expenses beyond rent, especially if I may be allowed the same privilege as Mr. Grigg— i. e. , to suppose mares that do not die or deteriorate, and to get the services of an entire for nothing. But to proceed. I think Mr. Grigg estimates the returns from the three next items —pigs, potatoes, &c., and poultry—very highly. Lastly, where does the farmer get his fifty sheepskins from? I refer to his list of stock, and I find twenty-five sheep. Does Mr. Grigg wish the man to skin his sheep twice a year ? I have heard that somewhere the old henwives pluck their geese twice a year, but I never heard of sheep being skinned more than once, and then, I believe, they are generally killed about the same time, so that Mr. Grigg, in his yearly estimate of expenditure should allow for the purchase of fresh sheep. To conclude, Mr. Grigg has allowed nothing for incidental expenditure, which always comes to a good sum—such as insurance on stacks, oil, nails, medicine for stock, blue stone for wheat, &c.,- —which cannot bo pot* less cnan L2O, Leaving Mr. Grigg’s annual returns (even inducting the sheepskins) as they stand, I think the following items should be added to the annual expenditure, and deducted from net profits. I will not add another farm laborer, though I feel sure that one could not do the work : Items not included in yearly expenditure. £ s. d. Extra labor at’haivest, Lao—less L 5 allowed ... ... ... ...15 o o Oats —300 bushels at 2s. fid. instead of is.—extra cost ... ...22 10 o Farmer’s and wife’s work ... ...80 o o Service of entire, say... ... ••■3 3 0 Deterioration of live stock and implements, 10 per cent, on L 320 ...32 o o Inteiest on farmer’s capital, say ...40 o o Incidental expenditure ... ...20 o o £212 13 o £212 135.. deducted from L 292 10s. Bd. leaves LBO 3s. Bd. , which I consider is all that the poor farmer can claim as net profits.—l am. So , A Country Subscriber. June 2G, 1880.
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