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The value of any article is proverbially ] what it will fetch, which v to say that the true touch stone of excellence is to be found ia the market rate. And if that ba true, then we suppose it must be accepted as a fact that "Victorian butter is superior to New Zealand butter because, as a rule, the London quotation for the former is considerably in advance of that for the latter. Now this certainly ought not to be the case, for we can and do produce butter in New Zealand that cannot be beaten by any country in tho worlds and .now- and then quite as an exception New Zealand butter tops the market in London. The real cause of the inferior position taken generally speaking oven by tho very best of our export, is plainly indicated by the fact that large quantities are sent from this colony to tbe Home market of a quality so inferior that English merchants decline to regard it as butter at all, and quote it as "grease" at ridiculously (or —as the producer? should regard it—iat disgracefully) low prices. For that cause is disgracefully careless manufacture, the result of which is nothing short of woful waste. This in large part doubtless arises from the fact that in. New Zealand many persons are engaged in dairying who know literally nothing at all about it, not havingl learned their business in their youth, nor having taken the trouble to acquire any knowledge of it after actually engaging in it. Yet the business of dairying and of farming generally needs to be learned as thoroughly as does any other pro- ' fession or calling, and the success jof ether countries is directly trace- * able to a more general and practical recognition of this fact than is the I case in New Zealand. In Den- ! mark,, for example, which, tops the market in the matter of dairy produce, we read lhat " Young men are. apprenticed to'the best farmers all over the kingdom for twe or three years, under the oversight of the Royal Agricultural I Society. They work for good farmers for one year as learners, receiving a small sum besides their board and lodginia At the end of the year tho apprentice g. removed to a farm in another part of the kingdom, and his third year js spent on a still'different farm in a district where a different kind of agriculture is practised. Tho Society gives each apprentice a Lumber of agricultural books at the outset, which become his property upon tho completion of the three years I Tho apprentices report to tho Society at 'stated intervals, and from these reports 1 and other records where they" have worked, the Society judges of their progress end grants diplomas-accordingly. "Th^ young men thus get a thorough •"ktibw'ledge^of all'kinds "off practical farming, but they have to work for it, as they are at hard labor from four a.m. till seven p.m. except the meal hours, The Society has started the system cf apprenticing young men ia the best dairies for three months instead of three years. Nearly one thousand youths have thus ber-n educated and received diplomas,! To 3 system has far outgrown tho Society's control, and now nearly every large farm and dairy has several apprentices accepted and trained by private agree i ment." Among our ne;ghbors of Vie toria, too, the necessity of " learning your business" is appreciated, the Department of Agriculture, by means of travelling dairies and lectures by experts, having done much towards educating up the dairymen of the colony to a standard the practici-1 proof of which is sff irded by the position now commanded ia the London market by Victorian butter, C urown Government has done a little in this direction, but might do much more with advantage to New Zealand, while our Agricultural Societies might well take a leaf out of the _ book of the lloyul. Society oi Denmark. Still more may be achieved by our dairymen themselves, if only those ] who have had no practical experience of .scientific methods of production will japply't^emselvegtq-tho t&fk'of educ&t 1 ing tlismselyes therein—in a word will set themselves about learning their business, a study whi^h will certainly prove highly remunerative in its results. If. this were done we should see no more quotations of <' Kew Zieal&nd grease " in our market reports, and should find New Zoaland butter occupying a leading position in the produce quotations.

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Bibliographic details

LEARNING THEIR BUSINESS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XII, Issue 2392, 3 April 1890

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LEARNING THEIR BUSINESS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XII, Issue 2392, 3 April 1890