TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p.m. ] The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalebit. TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 1881. New Zealand Grain.
The staple product of our county being grain, and agricultural produce of all kinds the most essential export from it, any suggestions we may from time to time point out, which are gleaned from reliable sources, should be of some interest to our agriculturists. Those who make the grain trade their particular business are the most qualified to give suggestions that prove of value. We have before us a copy of the latest circular issued by the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and from this we have taken some extracts, showing as they do the necessity of shipping home none but the best samples, in order to keep up the name of New Zealand grain in the Home markets. If New Zealand wheat can only be managed to be sent home in good marketable condition, the good returns will be sure to follow. The Company state that the wheats received from New Zealand throughout the past season (1880) have been most disappointing, and of a progressively inferior character in the order of their arrival. “ This inferiority has been not only a matter of condition, for which, perhaps, growers were not entirely responsible, but of quality, proving that in far too many instances, old and worn-out seed had been employed, when new and more healthy varieties were required.” Now this is a question which requires the serious consideration of our farmers. But, first of all, it must be found out whether this is the cause, and the only one. As far as Canterbury grown wheats are concerned we should say, decidedly not. The most serious cause—and one that will.be felt yearly —is the way in which so many farmers treat their land after cropping. Year after year the land has been cropped and no return given it, by way of manure, for what has been taken out. Is it not a fact that, in this county especially, large acreages of land are found comparatively unproductive at the present time ? The answer is an easy one, and any real farmer with his eyes open can ascertain the cause. New Zealand wheats attained at one time—in 1878 and 1879—a fair, and even a high standard, but on giving a glance at the imports of 1880, in comparison, we find that a serious deterioration has taken place. The Company state “ That the large proportion of New Zealand wheat has passed into consumption, but with difficulty; and frequently at rates which importers were sadly inclined to accept, and the stocks then on hand, though moderate in extent, were in a worse case than those which preceded them, and are still the subject of anxiety tt) their holders. The fine bright Pearl* and tbe strong welldeveloped Talevera, for which the previous years’ shipments were noted, have come to hand in very small and even 1 then mixed with oats and other objectionable grains, and clean, dressed samples have been a
rare exception, etc ” Those of the farmers who are sending home this season will do well to examine carefully the sample of the grain as it comes from the threshing machine. The condition of the soil has nothing to do with the sample of grain being badly threshed. A good marketable sample of grain can only be made so, of course, by care in growing it and care in dressing it. Both are essential, and must be studied by the careful farmer. With regard to the shipment of oats, we find also that the first few consignments which reached London were of a very fine quality, heavy weight, thin skinned, and sound, and were bought eagerly at extreme prices, and on trial were found to be very valuable to a class of buyers who could afford to pay an outside price for a first-rate article. But what about the succeeding shipments ? These, we find, were, to quote the Company’s circular, “ With few exceptions, of a lower type, both in quality and condition, and, as a natural consequence coming into competition with the plethoric supplies with similar inferior sorts which reach this market from a number of other sources, they yielded a proportionately lower range of values, and that they were only saleable upon urgent requirements.” It is to be hoped in the interests of all concerned that this will not be the rule with further shipments ot this cereal. 1 hen again, taking barley, that from New Zealand has proved to be very irregular. Some of the finer samples were tested and found to be eminently suitable for malting purposes, but others then on show, exhibited an unfortunate diversity of quality, thus giving to New Zealand growths a name and character, much to be deprecated. It behoves all those who have the interest of their adopted country at heart, to prevent, if possible, the growth, and more particularly the shipment of all inferior kinds of grain, in order to foster a lucrative trade with the Old Country. At the forthcoming Exhibition we hear that a number of entries of grain have been made. We hope that the sampler exhibited will be found good and marketable ones for shipment Home, for if Ashburton is behindhand in its display of grain and produce, in what districts of the colony are we to find a greater interest at stake ?