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SOME OF THE REASONS A PLAIN BUSINESS PROPOSITION "WILD TALK IS NO GOOD" The shortage of New Zealand-grown wheat and a few of the reasons for the decline of wheat culture in New Zealand were discussed by the Prime Minister (the Right Hon. W. F. Massey) in an interview with a Dominion reporter. "I don't think the public as a whole realise the position we have got into with regard to the production of' breadstuffs in this country," said Mr. Massey. "There is a prevalent idea that wheat will grow well almost anywhere in New Zealand. That is not the case. Probably not more than one-third of our arable land will grow wheat successfully. Land for wheat must be naturally dry. or well drained, and .well cultivated, and cultivation for wheatgrowing must commence months before the seed is sown, in order to allow the land to 'sweeten.' There is probably no better land in the world for wheatgrowing purposes than in Canterbury and in North Otago, but in the North Island, though in many places good crops can be grown in favourable seasons, wheat-growing has been for years past more or less of a gamble. The consequence has been that farmers have gradually given up the growing ;of this cereal, and turned their attention to more remunerative and more rel'abla branches of farming, such as dairying or fattening lambs for the English nwrket. This is what has caused the shortage, though the war has undoubtedly increased the price. "This is the position with which we are face to face. We are not growing enough wheat for our own requirements, and have to make up'the deficiency by importations from other countries. And this state of tilings yill last with its consequences —high-priced flour and dear bread —until farmer's see their way to grow more- wheat than they have grown for the past two years. It is a plain business proposition for them: If the farmers see their way to get a fair profit, they will sow wheat; if not, they will produce something that ensures a better profit. "The wild talk that has been indulged in about coercion and commandeering the farmers' crop is no good; and will have, if continued, the very opposite effect to that which_ is intended. 1 am satisfied that with very little encouragement this coming season there will be enough wheat grown for our own requirements, and probably a fair margin for export. That is what I am' aiming at, and it will be a good thing for every individual in the community when we got back to that position. In a country like this it is not a healthy or a satisfactory state of affairs if we have to import even a small portion of the wheat we require from Canada or anywhere else. The wheat crops this season are turning out better than was expected, but tliere_ will not be sufficient , wheat to last until the harvest of next year, and I believe tjie who)o of the million -bushels of Canadian wheat over which the Government have an option will be required."

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Bibliographic details

OUR LESSENING CROPS, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2409, 15 March 1915

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OUR LESSENING CROPS Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2409, 15 March 1915