Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, JUNE 19, 1905. THE FROZEN MEAT INDUSTRY.
A very fine paper on the Frozen Meat Industry was read at th» Dunedin Winter Show last week by Mr Gilbert Anderson* under the auspices of the Otago A. and PAssociation. Mr Andereou's position as managing director of the Christchurch Meat Company gives him opportunities to obtain a special knowledge of the subject, and we propose to publish some extracts from his paper on this subject. The inception of the frozen meat industry in thu colony date 3 from 1881, when the N.Z. Refrigerating Company started operations. There are now fifteen Freezing Companies and 22 Freezing Work 3 in New Zealand. Some remarkable figures are quoted to illus • trate the growth of this industry. In the first year the exports of mutton totalled 8,839 carcases, while in 1903 the total reached 4,636,537 carcases. The rotal quantity of mutton and larub exported up to the end of March of the present year amounts to the remarkable figure of 47,875,510 carcases, the value being about thirty-two and a half millions sterling. Mr. Anderson also points out that the rise of the frozen moat export trade has increased the shipping facilities of the colony in a way nothing else would have done, with the result that freights in general have been reduced, and frequency and regularity of call secured. In view of the fears that are felt as to the depletion of the flock 3of the colony, it is interesting to note that ia 1881, when the industry started, there were 12,190,215 sheep in the colony, while in April, 1904, there were 18,280,806, which means, an incrpise of one half. 'Ihe fact that our sheep are not bo numerous now as they were a few years ago, Mr Anderson ascribes firstly to a succession of unusually severe winters and bad springe, secondly to the high prices offered for second class mutton during the South Af rir can war, and thirdly to the faqt that breeders had not awakened to the fact that there was a large demand for breeding ewes. It is pleasant to learn that so high an authority as Mr Anderson has no fears as to the farmers not being able to keep up and increase the numbers of their fiockp, and that he has every confidence in the future of the trade. The profitable portion of the freezing industry to the farmer is, of course, the raising of fat lamb 3, which gives a quick, return to producers, and Mr Anderson has some useful remarks to make on this subject, which we shall make some extracts from in a subsequent issue. He also puts in a good word for the Shipping Companies, who have been subjected to a good deal of abuse in connection with freight charges. The Companies have estab lisked lines of fine steamers and steadily reduced freights, doing so sometimes before £heir existing contracts with the freezing Companies had expired. It is flattering to Canterbury 'farmers to see it stated that of the total stock exported from the colony, 35 per cent was shipped from Canterbury. It is the feed which the Canterbury farmer puts into his stock that gives it tbe quality. In chooaing ewes and rams f he picks them short in the legs, and remembering that the best part of a sheep jia its hindquarter, he aims at getting a good ham. Speaking of the Argent jne • Mr Anderson deuUres that that country does not look on Now Zealand as her rival, and does not come into competition with our class of meat. It is Australia that the Argentine looks on as her competitor, and any fight that is destined to ocourin.the future in connection with the trade will be between' these two. Mr Anderson considers that evon in the United States there is little for New Zealand to learn in the direction of the construction of Freezing Works, their machinery and methods. The one thing lacking ia New Zealand that exists in America is that spirit of loyal support and association in working together to exploit new markets, and a belief that we should support our own institutions and our own men. Great as has been the expansion of the trade already, jt will probably be still greater in the not distant futu'ro,