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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 1881. Our Agriculturists and their Interests.

TOWN EDITION. {lssued at 4.35 p.m.]

Will our farmers never be brought to recognise the importance of a rational rotation of crops, or to understand that such a possibility as the exhaustion of the soil? Up to the present, appearances in this direction are anything but satisfactory. Year after year we see them growing the same grain in the same locality, and in return for this call' upon the productive resources of the land giving absolutely nil. A bad crop comes, and is immediately attributed to the drought or the extreme, wet, the rust or otherwise ; but in no single instance is it put down to the real cause—-the total ignoring of this great agricultural principle. Only recently we referred to the unsatisfactory character of the reports on New Zealand grain from foreign markets, anfl from one of which we quoted a remark to the effect that this was probably caused by the employment by our farmers of eld and worn-out seed. This error in attributing; a cause is easily understood, for the fact that. New Zealand agriculturists; are wantonly impoverishing their land

is possibly undreamt of at home. Keverthless, such are-the facts: of -the case. In years gone byjon greater number of old estates,, the rotation yielding the best returns was a study for centuries, the results, when discovered, being handed down from father to son; but even in this a variation was found necessary to prevent the exhaustion of the land. The best rotations for adaptation are of course greatly influenced by the surrounding industries and market demands, and the difference of soils, &c. Putting consideration of these aside, for the time being, we would point out a facility in this direction which up to the present has, we believe, received scant, if any, attention at the hands of those whose interest it more particularly is. We refer to the cultivation of beet, and the manufacture of its sugar. That we have surrounding us everything favorable to the growth of this root, none will deny; therefore, why is it that we have hitherto been so apathetic regarding our own interests? Unison of action in the matter is all that is needed. We hear of capital, to an almost unlimited extent, awaiting a favorable opportunity of investment, and what more lucrative opening presents itself than that of the establishment in our midst of factories for the production of beet sugar? Let but our agriculturists exert their influence in this direction and the capitalists, we venture to say, will not be far behind in the matter. Nearly one-fourth of the sugar consumed in the world is the product of the beet; in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden and Munich, none other being used. We expend hundreds of thousands annually upon the importation of this article, which sums would be, in the event of the starting of such an industry, spent in the colony. Not alone will the shareholders and farmers feel the benefit; the artisan and laboring classes will share, for the works will absorb a large amount of unskilled labor. Of the adaptability of the country for beet growing purposes, no doubt can exist after reading the favorable report from Professor Bickerton on the samples grown in the district, and submitted to him for analysis by Mr Hugo Fricdlander. In these we find a per centage of sacharine matter far in advance of the average yield obtained in Germany, and equal to that of France. From the growers of these plants, we learn that no particular care was taken in their growth. Possibly had any great care been bestowed upon them, the yield of sugar would have been greater. Another fact is, that two of the specimens were from what is concidered by experts only a second-class seed; viz., white silesian, green top. Both these only gave about 50 per cent, of sacharine matter as compared with the return obtained from the other sample—grown from Imperial seed. In 1876 Sir Julius Vogel communicated at length with the New Zealand Government on the subject of beet growing in this colony. A Mr. Neville made application for assistance at the hands of the Government in the shape of a grant of 10,000 acres of land aiid an exemption from an excise duty for a period of five years; in return for which he volunteered to erect a factory at a cost of 25,000, After humming and hawing for some time, a negative answer was sent to Mr Neville, and his project consequently fell through. In May of the same year the Government distributed to the Superintendents of the provincial districts of the colony quantities of seed, which were being planted by public officials and private persons, and of eight reports on result of such planting, only two were of a favorable nature. Of that sown in Canterbury the Domain Board reported that it had been destroyed by pheasants and quail. Thence, to the time of offering a bonus some time back, the matter remained in abeyance. And it is quite clear, without interest is displayed by the agricultural communities, it stands a very good chance of being still further shelved. If, however, these take it in hand, we have little doubt of its success. In Germany we learn that a factory was started some two or three years ago on a co-operative principle, each of the shareholders contributing a sum of 100 dollars, and in addition supplying a yield of five acres of beet annually to the commonwealth. As a result, the factory is now paying a dividend of 15 to 17 per cent. Why cannot some such system be inaugurated here? Our farmers will run little risk by experimenting as growers of beet, lor even in the event of their finding no market for their crops, it can be utilised as cattle feet, being 50 per cent, in advance of the common mangold in its nutritive qualities. Added to this, thefact exists that it,in the capacity of a rotation crop, so prepares the soil as to improve the wheat yield thereof from onefourth to one-third more than before beet preceeded it. The samples of sugar locally manufactured from this source, which were exhibited at our Industrial Exhibition, clearly prove the feasibility of the project, and we ivould suggest the calling of a meeting of farmers and the public generally in this district to discuss thereon. We are unable to publish statistics as to the necessary outlay, but these would doubtless be forthcoming if such action were taken. In conclusion, we quote the following from a communication on the subject at the hands of Sir Julius Vogel, received by the Premier during last year : Every part of the country anti every class of the population in New Zealand would benefit by the beet industry. Large tracts of land would be devoted to its cultivation. The fanner and farm laborer, the artizan and town laborer, the railways and the shipping, would each in turn benefit. The refuse of the. beet would be valuable for cattle-feeding, and the time is coming when there will be a demand in this country, for colonial meat. I’erhaps one of the largest advantages will be that, like beer, colonial sugar will gradually become

cheaper than the imported article. Cheap sugar will mean other industries. For example, with cheap sugar, look at the enormous work open to New Zealand in the way of preserving fruits in tins—an industry which, in the United States, has grown to colossal proportions. ■<-.

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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 1881. Our Agriculturists and their Interests., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 315, 9 April 1881

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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 1881. Our Agriculturists and their Interests. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 315, 9 April 1881

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