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TO THE EDITOR., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6569, 13 May 1905
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir—ln the Ashburton Guardian of April 25th, there appears what claims to be some good advice to intending investors in land. It is a good thing for the editor's reputation that he disclaims responsibility for the opinions expressed by correspondents. It is equally so for the writer's that he hides his identity under anom deplume. It is seldom that suoh a libel upon Southland is permitted to pad the columns of a newspaper. While we do not ask anyone to believe that every acre in Southland is first class land, we are prepared to advance that land at a price in this district from which " Ex-Canterburyite" sends his epistle will produce as much revenue for any given number of year 3as land of similar value in any part of Canterbury. It is folly for any man to expeot that he can oome down here and buy land at M per acre and grow from 60 to 100 bushels of pats the first year. The writer's complaint is that land broken up in early winter and cultivated did not yield 15 bushels per acre. How many such plots can he mention, and what was their previous condition 1 Were they broken up oat of the native state or was it a farm given away because it had been cropped out by a bad tenant ? Is it not true that land that had been left severely alone by local people bacause there was so much better procurable at a little higher figure, was snapped, up by Canterbury men because it was so much cheaper than anything as good in their own province. I can tell the writer of a farm ! within half a mile of a school, and just six miles by good road from the railway station, all broken up and fenced, with buildings, that will grow more than his 15 bushels right away, and all for £& per acre. Can he show me a similar opportunity in the Aahburfcon 'district ? " There ia a farm adjoining what is now known as the Friedlander block that was cropped 12 consecutive years, averaging over £20 bushels, and never once failed, and that without the assistance of any lime or other food. I would not have any reader think that all our land i 3 20 bushel land, for our average, taking good and bad seasons, is quite 50 bushels. A hundred bushels have beea reachod on both sides of the river, and that without lime. The writer's chief cause of grumble is that he cannot get a farm at a low figure to do the work of a high priced place without manure. If a speculator's chief capital is his labour, then he must be prepared to spend that freely to get as good results as his rival who can afford to buy the pick of the land. Having been throughout the whole of New Zealand from Stewart Island to the Auckland Peninsula, I state confidently that the laud of the Wyndham, Edendale, Mataura, Gore, Biversdale, Waikaka, and surrounding districts is as fair to look upon, and will give as good a return for reasonable capital and labour invested, a3 any district of a similar area throughout the whole colony. There are better dairying districts, better crop-, ping, or better grazing districts than this but no better all round land and climate for mixed farming. While in the famed Waikaka district, I found men who could not pay 2s 6d per acre rental and live, yet within five miles of Mataura there are tenants paying 15s and doing well. I cannot call to mind one single farmer in this district during the past 20 years who has been compelled to seek the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. One of the ' greatest surprises of the ex-Canterbury | men is the climate of Southland, especially j those who have had a taste of tha terrible i nor'-westers that make such havoc on the I dry, arid plains. There is no wind from any direction that comes so fiercely and inopportunely, and with such disastrous results to the Southland farmer. This adviser complains that rain fell on 46 days in a period of over seven months. Listen, ye Canterbury men, and next time you see your sparrows going down on their knees in harvest time to get a feed, remember that Southland has been averaging a day and a half a week, winter and summer, and has filled her oats and grown her straw per usual once again. Yes, we must admit you excel in climate. You have keener frosts —lemember your dead bluegums-—stronger winds-and your buried fences—and longer droughts, which bring fewer harvests. The worst season in the memory of a Southlander does not carry with it a 1 <->st harvest. In writing of lime, he states that adjoining sections limed and unlimed produced 70 and 30 bushels respectively. Did it require the two tons demanded by our continual rain, or was 6owt of ground lime not sufficient to produce this result ?■ A word as to stock. I would advise any would-be selector to inspect all stock at the Gore and Invercargill shows for condition and see if they do not compare farou- ; rably with those of father north. Our feed is a little later in starting in the spring, | but when Canterbury and the North Island are burned up like a sandbanV our cows are flush and stock fattening. Within2o miles we have five dairy factories and one freoz- , ing works, and two other freßzing works less than 50 miles away. And yet we manage to grow a few truck loads of " prime Canterburys " for Fairfield Freezing Company, and about 1£ million rabbits tor local use. If after you read this you are still a doubter of Southland's capacity, take a look some morning at the well favoured set of horses with their gear and vehicles at any of the aforesaid dairy factories, and they will put you to shame. He asserts as one of his reasons or arguments that butter fat was cheaper this year than last. Now you Canterbury men, you must stay away because last year we had a boom in butter fat, and lo ! this rainsodden district has dried up the milk yield 20 per cent, by its overmuch—dry-—and we have just discovered that our dairying industry has been a painful failure. I am sorely afraid that " Ex-Canterbury ite " has spent too much of his time in his own corner. I conclude by advising him to have a look at Borne of our magnificent orchards and not to forget the flower and vegetable shows next time he writes of climate. And any Canterbury farmer who wants more land than he can get at home I advise him to come and have a look at some of our £1 grazing and £12 cropping areas, and lam sure he will find at the end of 10 years he has. done himself a good turn by settling in Southland. J. Lowdbn% Jun. Mataura, May 11.
TO THE EDITOR., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6569, 13 May 1905
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