CONVERTING CORSE COVERED WASTE LAND
STRIKING VALUE OF FERTILIZERS
The visitor to Taurauga seems invariably to -be impressed with the excellent climate that this district enjoys. Having passed that laudatory stage—l«r which man can claim no c redit —he nest inquires “What is your land like?” Cun anyone answer him truthfully, or should wo say correctly? because one may give an answer quite believing it to bo true, but far wide of the mark. Generally speaking the man who has farmed in this ’district for any number of years has been sorely tried and bought bis experience dearly, if to-day he is on a fair road to prosperity ho has earned it and deserves it, for there is probably no country that wc know of that would so try the patience and determination of the farmer as what we might terns this ‘iron deficient country’—and practically the whole of the land in the vicinity of Tauranga is that.
Ten years ago the traveller along the rye’s Fa Road. alter a little cultivated land in the vicinity of ‘Springfield,’ passed through a wilderness of fern and gorse, anything from 0 to 12ft high. Much of it is still in that state but much of it has been won over to excellent pasture, and provides a striking example of what can be done with these lands. The arable land along the Pyo’s Pa road like that in practically all other parts of the district is on comparatively narrow plateaus lying ‘between deep" gorges. Travelling up the road one sees on the left the homesteads on the Oropi Road but a short mile away, and on the right the Omanawa holdings—but they _ are very far apart by road. This in itself presents many problems, in watering, in reading, for telephonic communication and in other directions, with all of which the settler has to contend apart from the actual task of working his farm. But notwithstanding all , the difficulties one cannot but feel convinced that ultimate success is assured for the capable, determined farmer who takes up this land at a nominal price, who goes in fully alive to the fact that he is in ‘iron deficient country.’ and is walling to be guided and to' profit by the experience of others. The object of this journal m the visits its representative is making to the various parts of the district is to find out first hand what has been and is being done, how the land is being worked, and what the prospects are for the profitable settlement of the vast unoccupied area that surrounds us. We desire neither to underrate or overrate, to hide nothing that should : be known, to present the facts as we find them and leave the practical farmer seeking a place to settle to juhge whether the possibili- | ties are attractive enough for him to throw in his lot with the pioneering band . now settled ITere, for after all the oldest settled Tanner is yet hut a pioneer. When all the waste and idle land that now surrounds him is settled, then, and then only, can he feel that the pioneering days are over.
The Pye’g Pa district is interesting in many respects. The land there curries not only plenty of the usual fern, but great areas are smothered with gorse., According to tradition a soldier with a 50 acre grant, planted u gorse hedge. A dweller in Tauranga cast »uch envious eyes on the new hedge plant that he stole it and carted it down to town and planted it round his section. The Pyo’s Pa hand raided the town and carted the gorse back to stay ami to flourish. And so when Mr \V. Lowe courageously took up some 600 to 700 acres a little more than eight years ago, he entered on a domain that presented for the most part impenetrable fern and gorse. He has done excellent pioneering work. In his earlier days Mr Lowe was a Canterbury farmer. Some years were spent in Canada, and then lie turned again to New Zealand, choosing T aura nga as offering a climate which afforded a pleasant change after the rigors of the Canadian prairies. Mr Lowe came well equipped with machinery for tackling the laud and the result to-day is that he has well over 100 acres ploughed and grassed arid on the greater portion of this there is not a vestige of gorse or fern. Last year was the first year Mr Ixiwe did ' any top-dressing and ho is at present milking only a small herd. Higher up the road the first settlor was visited. This is Mr A. J. McFadgen on the Akc Ake Hoad just after crossing the Tautau Stream. Around the house is a small area of ten acres or so in grass and across the road on a plateau overlooking the Jiouse is the main portion of the farm. Mr McFadgen was away harvesting, but a look over the farm showed that in the short time he has been there Mr McFadgen has done splendid work. He' has harvested a good crop of hay, and is milking a good herd. A year or two will find this an ideal holding. Coming back towards town the first farm on the rfght is that of Mr T. N. Fletcher. He has 153 acres, the great bulk of it steep hillside and gully, unfit for ploughing, but on the roadside surrounding the house are 36 acres of good land. This land had been, previously under cultivation, but -I years ago Mr Fletcher went on to it with fern and gorse 6ft high all over it. This was cut. allow'ed to dry and then 'burnt. No grass has been sown, the land has been top-dressed. 16 tons of hay has been cut this year from 51 acres—-last year’s stark has lately disappeared— and the 36 acres are carrying 25 head of cattle. Mr Fletcher is doing some useful experimental work .with skim milk. Having no piga he gets rid of the skim by pouring it on a patch of gorse near the cow shad. The gorse is unquestionably being killed, and the grass is thriving. Oh the piece now lieing treated everything looks dead'and withered, blit adjoining is a pier© similarly treated without a sign of gorse. but a luxuriant growth of grass. The farm is .watered from a small Torkjof the Walorohl by a rani lifting IHe water
Excellent Work on the Pye’s Pa Road in Transforming Waste and Useless Lands into Useful Dairy Farms Giving Excellent Returns
130 ft. Adjoining Mr Fletcher’s is Mr W. H. Poole’s farm of 100 acres. Mr Poole practiced in Tauranga as a dentist for some years. Following his war service he was compelled for health reasons to relinquish the profession and get outdoors. Six years ago he took over from Mr Lowe 100 acres of fern and gorse. This Mr Lowe cleared and ploughed—or rather some 80 acres of it—ft was grassed, and to-day is a picture r" Coming on to Mr Poole’s farm from the top end is a nine acre paddock from which 17 tons of hay were cut the first week in December. It is shut up for a second crop and is expected to yield 11 to 12 tons more. It certainly looks as if it would. Au adjoining ten acres lias been down three years. List year it carried 28 head of big stock from October 7 to March 11. and in addition thirteen tons of hay were cut off it. At some stage of hi.s earlier life Mr Poole was well taught the value ol system. Since the day ho went on to the farm he has kept careful note of all that lias ’been done. This is proving invaluable not only to himself but also to Mr R. O. Aston, the Chief Chemist of the Department of Agriculture who looks to Mr Poole for much valuable information concerning the treatment of cattle and pastures in this iron deficient country. Another twelve acre paddock has 30 head of stock in it. They have been there since October Ist and are in splendid condition. The paddock has been mowed once. On the edge of the farm towards Oropi is five acres of wheat in stock. The crop is good —in fact excellent— and is for feed for some 500 head of poultry, the special rare and attention of Mr Winton Poole. Adjoining the whea’t is about 5 acres of millet. An interesting paddock is one of 44 acres. It was put down in oats and twelve months ago last July was fed off. It was then top-dressed with 1 cwt of super and 1 ewt. of White Island manure to the acre. With the top-dressing was sown 51b of clover seed to the acre. Just over ‘6 tons of oaten chaff was cut and then the clover provided good feed until October last when the paddock was shut lip, and five tons of clover hay has just been harvested. Mr Poole’s practice is in accord with that of other farmers in the district. His paddocks are mostly ten acres, to be ultmately cut in half. In every paddock is a concrete trough holding 150 gallons of w ater. The water is rammed from the WaTorohi some 366 ft to a central tank on the highest point of the farm, and from there is gravitated to the house and the various paddocks, “If anyone' tells you,” says Mr Poole, “that this country is not ‘iron deficient’ don’t believe them. The first year I was here I didn’t rear a single calf. This year I lost none.” Another paddock of seven acres has yielded 14 tons of hay and it is again almost ready for cutting. Another useful object lesson is provided hy a 6 acre paddock. Two years after it was in impenetrable gorse it yielded 14 tons of hay. It had previously been fairly heavily top-dressed with 2 cwt. of basic slag and 2 cwt.’ of super to the acre. As soon as the first cut was made it was again dressed with 1 cwt. of basic slag and 1 cwt. of super and peg harrowed. Another crop of 14J tons was then cut. Asked as to whether he had overcome the iron deficiency trouble. Mr Poole said Tie was confident he had. For two months during the spring, once a fortnight, he dissolves 41b ammonium iron citrate in water and pours this into a 150 gal. trough. This is repeated in the autumn, except that only about half that amount is used. Do this, said Mr Poole, and once the permanent pasture is down, there should be no more trouble. It should be noted that tbei iron crystals can lie obtained from Mr Watt, the local Stock Inspector, at cost price, which is purely nominal. On July 19th next. Mr Poole will have been milking six years. Today ho is milking a mixed herd of 32 giving excellent returns, and this winter will cany sixty-eight head of cattle and three horses. In addition ho has 25 pigs. Mr Poole is building up his herd from a milking Shorthorn knU—Matangi—purchased from Messrs Ransted Bros, of Matangi. If this be a record of Mr Poole’s achievementsix years of farming in a wilderness after many years in a c >4y profession—remember that it is an achievement possible 'by everyone who takes np this land. “Come and see,” says Mr Poole, “and here are my records of all that has been done, available for anyone interested enough thread or copy them.” . Opposite Mr Poole’s is Hr '*. Bellve who unfortunately, was also away harvesting. He has a holding of 200 acres. Eighty acres of this are already broken in. He is milking a mixed herd of 30 cows, including a number of pedigree Ayrshires. In March last Mr Bellve put down a paddock of 7 acres in clover with 2 cwt. of super and 2 cwt.of basic slag to the acre. He has just harvested 30 tons of clover hay. The paddock is now Ixsiiig allowed to come away for a while, antT will then be ploughed and put down in permanent pasture. Another six acres has yielded 14 tons of hay. This is permanent pasture and was top-dressed last year with 2 cwt. of super.per acre. Adjoining is a paddock of seven acres from which an excellent crop of hay was harvested. It has been closed three weeks and already shows an amazing growth. This paddock also was top-dressed with 2 cwt. of super, to the acre. Mr Bellve has three brood sows and about 25 pigs, all in excellent condition. Coming out on to the road Mr Lowe was met returning from harvesting a fine crop of oats. In his waggon a journey was made down a by-road, cut through a Government section and across a deep gully on to a plateau on which there is a considerable area of plougliable land, Mr Lowe has Ead
to do some pioneering work here. He and his i|jrother-in-law cut the roadin one spot a 25ft side cutting was necessary, with the aid of an insignificant Government grant. This road, in addition to Crown land, serves 100 acres recently sold by Mr Lowe to Mr B. Candy of Mauugatapu. Mr Lowe’s son is now ploughing this with a tractor, and at no distant date it will look as promising as the surrounding cultivated land. Further down this ridge Mr A. Norris has 50 acres, mostly in grass, and lower down still, Mr H. Whitworth has a small holding of 50 acres, mostly in permanent pasture, now leased to Mrs Pearson. Time would not permit a run down, nor in fact to many other farms on the road, but a later opportunity is to ho taken to visit them all. Below Mr Lowe on the same side of the road is Mr Edmund Taylor, with some 50 acres, and adjoining him Mr Dick Merriman .is busy winning a farm from gorse and fern, with every appearance of success. Opposite Mr Merriman is Mr S. R. Sworder. Between this farm and Mr Poole’s is a large area of unoccupied Crown land —at least wo are assured that It is Crown land. Mr Poole endeavoured to secure an area of Crown land on which’ his sons could ultimately settle. His failure indicates something wrong somewhere, and is a matter that might well be represented to the Hon. Mr Atmore while he is here this week as the representative of the Minister of Lauds and Agriculture. Below' Mr Sworder’s are the holdings of Mr Gordon Mason and Mr Norman Covell, and then 150 acres held by Mr Hafry Taylor. There is much more to tell of the good work being done by these setters. and in due course the information' to be gained will be recorded.