Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, MAY 23, 1905. MILKING COMPETITIONS.
Now that the poultry enthusiasts have got an egg laying competition under weigh, it has been suggested that a milking corapetitien should be established on similar lines. The suggestion is undoubtedly a good one, and it ia to be hoped that the variouo Agricultural and Pastoral Associations throughout Canterbury and the colony as a whole will give the proposal their favourable consideration. The farmers in this province do not go in much for dairying, as they are at present doing so well out of other departments of the farming industry. The indifferenoe of our farmers towards dairying is to be regretted for several reasons, the chief of which is that they are thereby depriving themselves of a very valuable source of revenue, and one that would be a fine stand by in time 3 when the other branches of farming might not be so remunerative aa they happen to be at present. The supplying of milk for daily consumption within the colony is, of course, a steady source of income to a large number of farmers ; but the supplying of milk to dairy factories for the manufacture of butter and cheese is a still more profitable occupation. It ia, therefore, unfortunate that there are no dairy factories in the Ashburton County. It will be remembered that a while back we endeavoured to indues the Ashburton people to take up this matter seriously and erect a dairy factory in this district. However, after being brought almost to a successful issue, the proposal was dropped, owing to the promoters failing to agree as to the basis of the proposed company. Possibly when the prosperity of the wool grower and the mutton raiser is not so unmistakable as it ia at the present moment, the proposal to add systematic dairy farming to the resources at the command of our farmers may have a better chance of receiving the consideration it deserves. In the meantime, we hope to sco the suggested milking competition shortly become an established fact. The results that would be gained in the shape of information relating to the various breeds of cows would be of immense practical value. It would enable the dairy farmers to discover what strains of milkers are the most productive, and this piece of information would be of the greatest utility to them. It is stated that the average yield per head among New Zealand dairy herds is about. 500 gallons a year, while in Britain it is calculated to b,e about 450 gallons. Some herds, however, have been knowa to produce as muoh a3 750 or 800 gallons per head in a year, a fact which would appear to indicate that by careful selection and breeding on the part of herd owners, the average yield for each cow is capable of being increased by anything from 100 to 200 gallons a year. The dairy industry has proved itself one of the richest sources of revenue to our agriculturiats, and the figures we have quoted go to show that it is quite possible to Btill further increase the profits derived from the industry. Tor, if the owners of herds can increase the . ayerage yield of of each cow from 500 to 700 gallons per year, the amount of butter and cheese exported from the colony annually could be correspondingly increased. The quantity of butter exported from- New Zealand in a year totals over 24,000 tons, and if this was augmented by an addition of about forty per cent., the dairy farmers would benefit proportionately. If a scientific test was to bo instituted with the object of discovering which strains of dairy cows are the beat milkers under ordinary and average conditions the knowledge could be put into practice at once, and the effect on the colony's milk supply would be bound to make itself fult before loDg, when once our farmers had been breeding for a few years only from those strains which had been proved by a reliable test to be the best milk producers. This ia the age of experiments in every sphere of life, and the application of scientific knowledge to farming among other pursuits has had some highly beneficial results. The holding of a test such aa the one indicated above has everything to recommend it, and it is likely that steps will shortly be taken with a view to sounding the Government as to what assistance they are prepared to afford such a scheme. They granted a subsidy to aid the eg^ laying competition, and there is every probability that they will do the same in the case of. a milking competition.