THE POULTRY INDUSTRY.
"Much 'diversity of opinion—mainly "traceable to political sources—has been I expressed regarding the grading of Boultry by Government. It has been I . tg Se rted that this function of G-overn- -- mental activity is unjustified by results. ' --"he reply-is that public control of other '.jlflttstries has likewise been unsuccessful, if iramediate commercial results are to 5e accepted as criteria of success, v • [Severtheless, the grading of poultry at ' .tie partial expense of the State is as jira'ch to be commended as is experiI . mental fanning, or public control of the dairy industry. The profit in either | case" is indirect rather than direct, and, as experience shows, indirect profits are often, from the State point of view, of i greater value than direct profits. Arguments against State control based exclusively upon immediate commercial .considerations miss the right point of Yesterday a Mar man had an interesting conversation with Mr. T. P. jßurke (the Government grader of poultry). who, possessing an extensive knowledge of the industry, at once inspires ' 'ids interviewer with a sense of power and efficiency. He at once admitted that | jhb hands were tied in the sense that he could not divulge the subject matter j f of his annual report to the Minister. "But without doing that," Mr. Burke said, "I may tell you that the prospects I of the poultry industry are better to-day than they ever were. The high price of - feed during the last season and that pre- i reding it has had the effect, of inducing | people engaged in the industry to go anore thoroughly into it. They have I made more businesslike arrangements, and, in that sense, the high price of feed has been in the nature of a bless- ■ jng in disguise to the industry. The quality of poultry sent forward has greatly improved, arid poultry farmers Jiave now realised that it only affords them a. good profit to keep superior ibirds. Formerly it was possible to .' make a fair return out of inferior stock, / Ibut no*w such birds hare been culled ':. (out, because farmers have discovered ithat more profit is to be made out of ibetter birds. The justification for the Government grading, based on absolute jjuality, is to" be found in the improved facilities for marketing. In our grading depots the farmers possess a guarantee that they will get a better price, fine grader is independent of the farmer and the merchant alike. He is responsible to the Government only, and, as a result, the farmer discovers that his returns depend upon the absolute quality of his birds. The whole cost of receiving, grading, and one month's cold storage to the farmer is only on an .average 4d. per fowl or duck, and Sd. Jor geese and turkeys." Particularly referring to the class of poultry received •in Auckland at the Government depot, Mr. Burke said that the class of stuff jeomimj in now was very good. The farmers Jiere go in principally for purebred birds, and they send their birds in et the right age. ".Sometimes," Mr. Burke said, "farmers are apt to keep their poultry too long, and then they are on the tough side. Four to . five months old is the proper age at which to consign them, and farmers should get poultry as far forward as possible at -that age. In the South, farmers do not understand the Government system so well as they do here. They sell to storekeepers who forward large lines to the depots." Asked as to the future prospects of the industry, Mr. Burke .rethat in his opinion ducks were "going to be a big thing. "My reason for saying that," he explained, "'is that ducks can oe marketed so much earlier than other birds. They are ready for market, eight or ten weeks after they are hatched, whereas, in the rase of poultry, the time is from sixteen to twenty weeks. Ducks consume a lot of feed, it is true, but they are far less trouble as regards brooding-; they can be run in three-foot runs; they are very inexpensive to house, and, therefore the profit on them is very good. Ducklings ' ■fetch Bd. a pound liveweight less fea- I thers, and cockerels fetch the same price deadweight. So there you have it.'' Mr. ■Burke stated that turkeys do very well in the fine, dry climate of Central Otago. As regards geese, the position is not what it ought to be. People are too fond K>f merely leaving them to graze. The Pressman mentioned the question of export. Mr. Burke said he did not seriously think there would he considerable export for some time, local demands being too considerable to make export - tlvofEli -consideration.
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