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The Frozen Meat Industry.

Speaking at Dunedin last week on the Frozen Meat Industry, Mr Gilbert Anderson dedfc with a nutr.ber of important aspects of that subject. The following extracts may be of interest : — KEEPING UP OUR FLOCKS. As re|?ari3s the problem of tho numbers of our flocks, and wheth-n- we can reasonably expect to keep them up and increase these quantities, I may at onco Bay that I have no fears whai.nvdr oa this question, I do not for one moment think that we are exporting more than we are warranted m doing. I believe that we have only commenced this frteziaj; industry, and that we sh ill soo m the near future much larger exports and, at tho same time, considerable increase, m the number of sheep held m the country. To start; with the vexed question of the* we lamb: I consider that it i 3 neither wiso nor profitable for toe small farmer to keep back his ewe lambs or any lambs. By the email farmer I mean the man wbose land is worth over £8 to JBIO per acre. Tho business of that man m to cultivate his land to the greatest intensity, and 60 turn off as much fat Btock as he can. He ehould buy ewes which will give htm a good percentage of lambs ; the broad does nofc matter so much provided ho ua«B a ftujtable purebred ram. For Marino, half, and three-quarter bred ewes, preferably u?,o an ICnglish or Border LeiHC«Ktor; for coarse wool ewes, Leicester and Komn«y, UKea Down ram. The aim of a small farmer should be to obtain lambs o£ «arly maturity, and fatten them off and sell thfttn avory year fco tho freezing buyer. If bits <)Y/Q h ol<l, (nbUrti her also, and send her i/j the murkest*. Ho cannot afford to keep back tivi'i lambs and hold them for breeding; hia I»H'J fa &» valuable for that, and fchr? tima lokt is too #rett. His land can be uwA mum profitably for fattening, and by havirj^fi variftfcy of fattening feed coming on of different norta, according to the seaKon, he can turn off all his stock fat, if not an latnb'4, then ixa hoggets. Having done this, ho goes to tho market again to replenish hia ewea. The lamb which the Bmall farmer grows ia the lamb to selli We want something of not such a mixed breed if we are to keep up the standard of oar flocks. Having dealt with the fattener and breeder of freezing lambs, we are naturally confronted with the problem, where is he to get hia owes and store sheep from P I have already stated that land over the value of .£8 to £10 is better used for fattening. We therefore must look to the cheaper land and the back country land for supplying these. And hero I think it necessary to repeat the protest against the manner m which the back country ia dealt with. And for fear I may be misunderstood it will also be necessary for me to repeat that the very highest praise is due to the late Sir John M'Kenzie for his administration of our land laws, and for the policy which he carried out of acquiring for closer settlement blocks of good land near railway communication. We require breeding stations m fair-sized blocks, with a fair proportion of both summer and winter country. On these blocks or runs the owner will maintain a standard flock, and a* he will use it for breeding and growing wool, he is not likely to be tempted by the rise and fall of the market to reduce his numbers. The runholder, realising that he has a regular customer for his ewea, will gradually work hia flock into a ewe flock. If his country is suitable he will find that it will pay him much bntterto grow hia wool on wet sheep rather than dry sheep. He may not be able to carry quite so many sheep, and the weight of his clip may not be so heavy, bat he will have a large draft of wether lambs to sell to the farmer and fattener every year, as also a big surplus of ewes. He will; keep for himself sufficient young ewes and ewe lambs to maintain his flock. This process has already set m. By the sheep returns of 1904 there were 12,727,170 ewes out of a total of 18,280,808 sheep. I will not be surprised if the sheep returna which are now being compiled show that the number of sheep m the country m 1905 has considerably increased, and that vce have pulled up a great deal of oar shortage. ' ■ " . HOW TO GROW PAT LAMBS. To grow fat lambs for freezing it is necessary to start with a ewe with a good constitution. It is not necessary that; tho ewe should be young—the mosb profitable ewe to a small farmer is a station owe which. has bred already one or two lambs. He requires a ewe which will give him a good percentage—not loss than 100 per cent; if up to 120 per cent, so much the better. But to get good lambs it is necessary above all 10 use good rams. The next consideration is to see that the ewe is not starved during the winter months. Then, when the lambs are dropped, there should be an abundance of feed ready for the ewe. If the ewe does not get a good start, so as to give an abundance of milk right off to the lamb, there would not be a large percentage to go to the freezing works off their mothers, and the more fattening will be required afterwards. When I remind you that it is the early lamb which pays and makes room for stores, you will sea the force of my remarks. In the north the feed that is waiting for the ewes is frequently barley—Cape barley or Sea of Azov; others put them ori oats, and some leave a portion of the previous year's rape which oomes away m time. For fattening lambs it is no use trusting to grass unless the grass is new pasture. Rape must be grown ; but with rape it is necessary to have a ohange—either Italian rye, or a run out on grass. Thousand- headed kale is giving excellent results, and does not have the disadvantages of rape. Turnips must be grown, not only to finish off the last of the lambs, but also for the stores which should be bought. lam not; hereto give a lecture on farming, but only to point oufc that if a farmer wants to make money out of growing fat lambs and sheep, it can only be done by keeping the plough and the drill constantly going, and having a succession of fattening feed from the time the lamb is dropped until the lambs come again. The freezing industry has been a great success m many parts of New Zealand—some more than others—but it is only have laid themselves out for growing feed that the full advantages have been derived. THS BEST LAMBS AND SHEEP FOB EXPORT. What is required for the trade is prime, well grown lambs, under 421 b m weight. They must be prime—that is, well finished. Many farmers keep their lambs until the last of the feed is gone, with the result that the stocks when killed show signs of having gone back. There are the " rimy backs " that you hear of from Smithfield market. Some make the mistake of keeping their lambs until they are too heavy. They might have turned off two medium weight lambs which would have paid them better than one hsavy lamb. The Home trade wants lambs under 421 bs, and the demand for these exceeds the quantity produced. There is only a limited trade for tegs— that is, lambs over 421 b. At one time farmers made the mistake of breeding too early, with the result that the losses m lambing were very great. Now I farmers can choose their own time for I lambing, according to the season m their particular district. Farmers can 'arrange so that their lambs can start to come to the works at the beginning of the year, and they can continue sending lambs as late as August and September. With such a wide range, everything is now possible to the fanner. For sheep the demand is for well bred prims crossbreds of light weight—under 641 b. The season for these is from February to October. There is not now the demand for heavy weights which existed at the beginning of the trade, The consumer of our frozen meat at Home is the large middle class. They have found by experienoe that ours is the best meat they enn got, and they have created the demand. Huh what they ask for is the small useful joiufr, which means little waste. They do aofc want fat, wasteful meat. You must boar ia mind that their meat costs them much uure than our family supplies j and as they have not so much money to spend, they waut to spend it to the very be6t advantnge. The secret of all modern success ia business is to find out the market and what your customers require, and give if to them. Wo grumble at the old fashioned ways of British trade, and think the American way better, and this because the American gives us what we want and the British merchant what he has. I fear that we here m New Zealand are not like the Americans. For instance, we want to send tegs when our buyers want light, well finished lambs, and will buy all we like to send. We want him to take big, ooarsd mutton, when he wants a small joint. We will find it much better and more profitable to ourselves if we alter our way to his, and give the buyer what he wants, so long aa he will pay for it.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6600, 20 June 1905

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The Frozen Meat Industry. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6600, 20 June 1905