The Akaroa Mail. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1914. THE COCKSFOOT INDUSTRY.
Thk correspondent signing himself "Fanner" in this issue baa raised a very important; question, and one that Peninsula cocksfoot growers might readily consider. Wβ have on several ocoaeions advocated something upon the lines that our correspondent has set out. The arguments he uses are certainly convincing, and should commend themselves to grass seed farmers of thi3 district, There is no doubt that the free lance bartering for the beet price by farmers results in some obtaining good prices and others bad but we are sure that, if an association of cocksfoot growers was formed, and they Combined and sold theu , seed Jo'
lha merchants upon a graded scale of prices that would pay the farmers and (he merchants, who , would handle the peed and clean it then, the farmers could be sure that thpy received a price for their product , , which iokfcpiog with the price paid on i>. by consumers. Our correspondent speaks of the high price paid by North Is'and buyers, and compares the farmer 5 selling price 3of per lb. hero as having a big margin of profit for the middle man, It must be remembered that the merchant has to machine dress the seed and pay freights to the seed's destination, and in most cases it passes through a North Island mer [chant's hands before reaching the consumer. Thus the seed passes through two middle men before it reaches the ultimate buyer. We advocated a year or two ago that the Peninsula cocksfoot growers should combine and buy a cleaning plant of their own. If this had bsen done and the seed bad all been dressed to the requirements of the consumer, then no doubt the Peninsula farmer would have the profits earned by the machine, and could probably, by establishing distributing centres in the North Inland, have done away with one middle man. Any sarpiu? c*f seed could also have been disposed of in Australia and at Home, and the scheme would, no doub\ have resulted in a profitable nvestmenfc for the Poninsnla farmers who took the scheme up. The Peninula farmers could also then guage the uißiki'i: more thoroughly 'ban they do now, but, of course, to b9 a success the whole Peninsula crop would hive had to gone through the Penin sula growers' hand?, 90 that they could command some authority in the market. But even if tbe farmers combined now, the merchants would no doubt meet them in a way that would prove both satisfactory to the merchants and growers. There is no doubt that the merchants' profits have been precarious, owing to a ye y un certain demand during the past two seasons. The improvement in the demand for cocksfoot seed fcim year should mean an improved price to growers, as both the North Island and Home markets seem to have improved considerably. The cost of harvesting, owing to the high wages paid for labour, makes a heavy demand upon the cocksfoot growers' crop, and on the best Peninsula land the return, if the seed sells ac &i per lb., is between £2 and £3. This, with the grazing during the wieter, makss a fair re turn, but unless 4d per ib. Ib , obtained the cocksfoot fartneis can scarcely bs said to be making a fair profit out of their cocksfoot land Wo hope the suggestions advocated in our correspondent's letter will receive tbe serious consideration of tbe cocksfoot growers of Banks Peninsula, as we are sure that a great deal of good would accrue if they took combined action in the disposal oi their cocks foot crops.