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I have just received an enquiry from Kaitaia which suggests this article says the Editor of "N.Z. Dairyman". The letter reads as follows :—"Dear Sir, — Could you tell me the cost of erecting and setting up a bacon factory, Or tell me the right place to enquire for same? We want a factory capable of dealing with about 2000 pigs." Now this is a subject about which we reckon we know something, having had a somewhat intimate experience of a small bacon factory. There are difficulties in the way of the bacon business which only become apparent after you have commenced operations. Almost any fool knows how to cure a pig. You can Quickly learn how to cut the "gintlemin" up, rub him with so much salt and sugar with a touch of saltpetre, turn him now again, and in a few weeks you can invite your friends to tea, and your cold boiled ham is delightful, far better than you buy in the shops, and so on. Therefore why not do the same with 2000 pigs and make a nice little profit ? Quite so. It seems as easy as taking a drink. You figure it out perhaps like this :— A pig weighing 1501b, dressed weight at 4|d per lb costs £2 16s 3d. Well then, from this pig you will get about 1001b. weight of bacon and ham, which you think you ought to sell at 9dper lb, which is £3 155., and then in addition you have the head, value Is., the bones, value Is., the lard value Is., and the cuttings, value Is.; a total of 4s. to add to the £3 155., which gives you £3 19. Now, your-pig cost you £2 16s 3d.; therefore it looks as if you would have a gross profit of £1 2s 9d a pig. If you multiply this by 2000 you have the nice little sum 0f£2275 sterling. Now of course, from this figure you have todeduct all your expenses, and surely they could not amount to more than 12/9 a pig, so that the total on 2000 would be £1275, which would leave you a net profit of £1000 for a dividend. Now this looks very nice in print, but it won't wash in actual practice. And I will tell you why.

The first difficulty you will have will be to buy the pigs. You must remember that so soon as you start buying the present buyers in your district will not quietly stand by and allow you to have all your own way. The cockatoo enjoys competition for his stuff, and is quite "cute" enough to sell to the man who gives him most. And consequently you will find that your pigs will cost you say, at present prices, 5d per pound. To this figure you may have to add perhaps id or even |d, for killing and railage; but we will call it id: so that your dressed pig now costs you—lsolb. at Sidsay, £3 ss. Now you will find, when you put your bacon on the market, that the buyers will not purchase it unless you can convince them that it is at least as good as the other fellow's, and in order to get his business you will have to give it to him at a less price; otherwise he would probably see no reason why he should give you a trial. In short you will find that to get on the market you will have to sell your bacon somewhere about B|d net, so that your 100 lb. will realise the sum:of £3 8s 9d. Of course you will still'have the head, lard bones, and cuttings; but you must bear in mind that unless you are near a large town'it will not perhaps be an easy matter to dispose of 2000 pigs' heads or 2000 sets of bones. You must also bear in mind that bacon is distinctly perishable stuff, and if you want to be sure that it will keep for a long period you must salt it well, in which case it will be hard to sell, I ] m w——————————————————————————w Or^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H ?■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm]

but during the summer it is quite impossible to make a success of curing unless you can regulate the temperature. Now refrigerating plants are expensive, and at a low estimate £400 might easily be sunk in this detail. Another difficulty is to secure a really good cureij They are mighty scarce, and £t> a week would be required to satisfy this gentleman. Then there are the other gentlemen to be paid in connection with the business, and you must remember that everybody is looking out for high wages with as little work as possible. Don't forget also the commissions to selling agents and buying agents, also a substantial sum for unforseen contingencies which arise m every business. . You must also bear in mind that there is no export trade in bacon, and that therefore the prices are regulated entirely by the local demand and supply. When the supply is satisfied the prices come down with a "wallop," and the small bacon factory men are left in the "soup." Of course the stronger firms can stand the strain and make up for it as soon as prices improve again. It is in this particular respect that the small bacon factory differs so essentially from the small butter or cheese factory. Every single pound of butter and cheese, pro vided the quality is right, is easily sold, but it is very different with bacon, and until an export trade is established any bacon proposition is an exceedingly speculative venture. Now I have no desire to pour cold water on the scheme of our friend from Kaitaia, but I would be sorry if through my advice he were to launch out and lose his money. If he sees the way clear to overcome the little difficulties which I have tried to set forth in the course of this article then he probably ought, to proceed without delay. The cost of erecting a small factory capable of dealing with 2000 pigs annually, complete with receiving room for cutting up, curing room, drying room, smoke houses, and store, room and a refrigerating plant, would be in my opinion somewhat about £1200. I have not taken into account anything for the erection of killing plant. My estimate assumes that the pigs arrive at the factory dressed and ready to cut up.

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NOTES FOR FARMERS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3532, 31 March 1916

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NOTES FOR FARMERS. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3532, 31 March 1916

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