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A praotlcal farmer, resident In the Oamsra dlitriot, recently took a trip to Melbourne to Bee the Exhibition, and while In Vlotoria he went into the oountry districts. He returns with the opinion that the farmers there hare not had anyihing like their fair share of the boom, and that, compared with the New Zealand farmer, they are a quarter of a century behind (be time. Land there Is valued *t different prices up to £20 pcs acre, but these values are very muoh too high considering the yields. The land there Is acquired by eelection, and the selectors •re runoh the same class 'of men es the deferred payment Bettlers of New Zealand, but they do not improve their holdings. He saw cambers of farms, situated from 30 to 100 miles from Melbourne, which bad been settled 15 or 20 years, with the originally' erected lean-to hut still atandlng upon them and not a sign of f artbet Improvements. This was the case with those In comparatively easy circumstances *• veil as with those struggling fur ft bare irving. No one appears to wish to advance. There is no taste displayed m laying off the land, no live hedges, not «ye& gorsa. The fenoei In most instances ftre composed of logs placed one upon another. Here and there he saw t> wire fenoe, bat wire Is very uncommon. The firmer there li not so prosperous as the KTew Zealander, and the orops this year «rUI be exceedingly poor. The selectors are men who started with very little money and appear to have very little now. Their home f ls on the land, tut they go to work at shearing or aDy thing that is offering to earn a few pounds, The method adopted for farming Is to take np land, orop It while anything can be got ont of It, and then, Instead of sowing down In grass as m New Zealand, they turn fiftttle on to it and leave It for a. few years. They then plough It op, rammer fal/ow It to kill the weeds and crop It again as before. This, he says, will give farmeri here a corset idea of the miserable way land is worked In Victoria. Tttey have to pay very blgh for protection ihete. He asked the price of a very olamsf looking doable-farrow plough which would not satisfy farmers here at £17 10j. The price was £24 there. The lowest cash pricce paid for a reaper and binder 1s £65. Tf ttla taken on terms, as is generally done, the price is £70 or £75, according to the length of time over whloh the payment Is arranged for. nearly «11 payments lor machinery there extend to three fears. There are do maker! of these machines, all are Imported. Formerly the farmers stripped the corn and bornt ofl the straw, bat they find now that they require the ■trair, io that they are by degrees adopting the more modern method of reaping, A threthlDg mill and engine costs fully 4150 more than m New Zealand. On the larger holdings of 2000 to 3000 acres and upward! they feed bollocks, which oome down ii fltoreu, three tnd fonr yean old, from Queensland. They are very big ones, and they thrive splendidly on the native grass, which is very rich, and muoh •nperlor to New Zealand. They are fed op to lOeirt or 12owt for the Melbourne mtrket. At one place visited there were SCO of them being fattened, and at this plftae no attention was paid to agriculture. The farmers breed very tew oattle, If any. There Is no cultivation within 30 miles of Melboorne, the land thero" being all Id gnu which looks very dry, but not io dry there as It is farther away. He weot to a countryside agricultural show, bat was not favorably impressed with the horses. They would not do for show anlmnla In New Zealand. The common dairy «sttle seen are only very ordinary colonial bred ones, pure bred cattle are ftept by the upper classes. In the Gonlturn district the water dams had begun io dry op, and when these have dried up fteck owneri will have to drive their stock as much aa twelve miles for water, The better part of the country, especially tbat on tfce river frontages, was Uken up In large blooks of from 3000 to 4000 sores before the poor selectors had a chance to make their selection. Onr correspondent was very mnoh impressed with the' greater accommodation provided en the Victorian railways for the public. On the broad gaage the trains travel at a hlgb rate of speed, and their eeeond-olas* carriages are epaal to the first-class on the New Zealand railways. The fares are alto very much lower. He noticed that olotblDg was muah dearer, bat eatables considerably cheaper than In New Zealand. While wheat is from 5a 24 to 6a 6d per bushel, the 41b loaf la ■old at from 4jd to 5d — nothing over 6d. In Melbourne he was band ad a bill, issued by a baker desirous cf pushing trade, which announced that the price of .the 4lb loaf, delivered, was 4d.—(Oamaru "M»iL") -

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Bibliographic details

AN OAMARU FARMER'S IMPRESSIONS OF VICTORIA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2016, 18 December 1888

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AN OAMARU FARMER'S IMPRESSIONS OF VICTORIA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2016, 18 December 1888