SOUTH OTAGO NOTES.
The weather is still the all-absorbing topio, and really the October storms of 1897 will be long remembered. Snow, rain, sleet, and ha 1, with a little frost thrown in, at the end of October, for a period of three weeks' continuance, ia rather too much even for South Otago, and all the good people are praying. for fine weather. Live stock out in the open ar-j suffering terribly. L'.mbs and weak sheep arc r)yiuf» wholesale, whilst horses and oitlle suffer terribly, as their warm winter hiiry coats are gone, and they have little protection from stormy blasts. Owing to over-stocking and scarcity pf feed the condition of live stock is deplorable, and they are far worse off than in midwinter. For the last two years the winter seasons have been fine and the spring bad,* and really the seasons have changed, fine autumn weather being experienced in July and August, with winter in October and November. Such seasons ure bad for fanneis, and decrease yields for every class of produce. . There is an all-round drop in the price of farm products, excepting wheat, since Jubilee time, and oats are steadily falling. Mutton, lamb, and potatoes are going down, and the prospects for Southern fatmcrs are none too bright. The wool market is fair, but the carcass returns from sheep are not encouraging. Fat Bne'ep are several shillings below last year's quotations, and this week's cables from London indicate a further drop. It is Siid that Nelson Bros, have now ceased buying for the season, at any rate at recent prices.
The frozen meat trade arrangements are still as faulty as ever, and at one of the southern works thousands of sheep have been starved this year before being slaughtered, thereby spoiling the mutton. Day after day and week after week thousands of sheep were poured into the receiving paddocks, where there was not a bite of feed, and in some cases the unfortunate sheep were a month off the turnips before being slaughtered. The whole system of railing from grazing districts to the freezer is a mistake, and every grazing discriot should have its abattoirs, and the carcasses should be railed to the refrigerating works. The mutton is rendered tasteless and tough by so much handling, trucking, and starving, and the sheep become fevered, hence the complaints of the bad quality of the mutton. There is as much difference between an animal killed straight off its pasture and one that has been trucked and knocked about as between "chalk and cheese." Reirigeruting companies want to slaughter everything at headquarters, but from a producer's point of view it is a great mistake. This year, in one small consignment of lambs from a southern station, seventy - nine were killed and bruised, and in every lob sent to the works there is more or less loss. Another advantage of trucking " dead" to the freezer is that the load is 120 carcasses, against an average of sixty alive. Graziers are very blind to their own interests to have continued sending their sheep alive to the refrigerator for the past fifteen years, but the average grazier cannot get out of a groove.
The railway table that comes into force in December should be a boon to travellers. The Dunedin Jockey Club and Agricultural Society should try and get the accelerated service in time for their carnival week.
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SOUTH OTAGO NOTES., Evening Star, Issue 10458, 30 October 1897
SOUTH OTAGO NOTES. Evening Star, Issue 10458, 30 October 1897
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