A Shilling a Bushel.
The year 1880 will be remembered unpleasantly in future by the farmers — especially those of them who had a heavy crop of oats, and the recollection of crop 1880 will perhaps cause many of the bitten ones to make a wry face. Men having no oats to sell in a bad market could afford to joke over the low price the chief element of porridge and horse-flesh brought this year, and to say that every “ drink ” a farmer took was the liquidation of half a bushel of oats. The joke was a grim one, and there are those, we dare say, who may enjoy it; but to the man who had toiled all the season through. and had to sell his oat crop at such a terrible sacrifice, the joke meant really “ laughing at his calamity.” But there are two sides to every picture, and this picture of calamity has fortunately shown itself to have a bright side as well as a dark one. The exceedingly low price of oats in New Zealand tempted some experimental exportation, and, we are glad to say with the best results. Private letters received by the last mail speak in most glowing terms of the popularity of New Zealand oats at Home, and the comparatively small quantity that has reached the old country has already established a name for the colony that- must tell on future exports. Both growers and mealmillers have opened their eyes in wonder at the splendid samples of New Zealand oats that have been put into their hands, and one correspondent writing from Scotland, the great country of “ aitmeal,” says he never saw more “sonsie aits” in all his life. Information like this comes like balm to a wound, for it points to a new, wide, and profitable outlet for a cereal that has hitherto been a drug in the market here; and an abundant crop, meant a loss. The loss on oats will be a thing of the past, for that corn will now be exported as regularly as wheat, and if care is taken to send home only good samples, and thus retain the good name gained, a ■ price as high as that obtained for wheat may easily be secured for oats.
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