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I PRODUCER'S POINT OF VIEW, i IMPORT DUTY WANTED. • [Special to the Stab.] | T.TMARU, January 18. ! Addressing a meeting of tho South CanI terbury executive of tho Farmers' Union, j the Chairman (Mr Jolin Talbot) made a very interesting speech regarding the ! wheat supply. He said that it was necessary to consider the prospects of the yield and tho possibility of a shortage in the supply for the ensuing year, also the question as to whether the 'State shoidd interfere in tho way of regulation, of prices, and whether the State should take steps j to encourage increased production. Every farmer knew that estimates of yields were unreliable, and often differed widely from the threshing returns. Bearing this in mind, it must he admitted that the prospects had been improving steadily since the end of October. " There, will be," he I said, "'a very wide variation in the yields, some crops having responded to tho better weather conditions to a much greater extent than others. The. larger proportion of tho wheat area may,, however, be estimated to yield from 20 to 30 bushels per acre, and I am inclined to increase tho most optimistic view I have yet seen token—namely, an average yield of 25 bushels to 27 bushels per acre. Oats have benefited to an even greater extent than wheat, though depreciated in several instances by smut. 1 think the oat crop may be expected to average a vield of 35 bushels per acre, or even a little higher." Coming to the question as to whether there would be a shortage of wheat to meet the current year's needs, he was of opinion that a very considerable shortage was unavoidable. To meet requirements a yield of nearly 40 bushels per acre would "be needed, a'result that was, of course, quite, impossible. Mr Anstey's estimates recently published would, after allowing for importations now being made, leave them with supplies completely exhausted by the end of February, 1916, or sooner, whereas there should be at least 1,000.0G0 bushels in stock in one form, or another at that time to meet contingencies. Although he was inclined to expect a larger yield than Mr Anstey did when writing his article, he thought the shortage to be expected was not overstated bv him — namely, 2,500,000 to 3.000,000 "bushels. " With regard to the question Should tho .State interfere between, the buyer and seller of wheat in the matter of price ?" he continued : "I hold very strongly to the opinion that there should be no interference. I can see no justification for doing so, except that it was shown that sufficient supplies were available but were held back for speculative purposeß. This has clearly not been the case hitherto, nor is it likely to be in the immediate future. I have no doubt that as soon as the new wheat is available farmers will sell freely enough at a price, if offered, of a fair margin below what it can be imported at, and I can see no just reason why it should be sold for less than this. Wo must import a. considerable part of our requirements this year, and the cost of doing so must approximately fix tho market value." Tho wheat imported by the Government was being sold at a loss of probably 6d per bushel, which meant that consumers were supplied with an article below cost at the expense of the general taxpayer. Was this justified in the case of bread any more than it would be in many other nousekeejyni; requisites 2

The attempt that had already been made to fix the price of wheat had proved abortive, besides being annoying, vexatious, and hampering to trade, and its effects in the future, if persisted in. ■were not likely to be any le.«s mischievous • both to producer and buyer. Jt was i therefore to be hooed that the statement I recently made by tho Prime Minister that j probably tho price of the incoming wheat. j crop would be allowed to adjust itself I according to the law of supply and demand would be given effect to. That the ! price of bread had rise'rT at the present ! juncture was to bo regretted, and probably tho consumers' vexation was added \ to because the farmer v. oulrl to some ex- | lent benefit by the ri>e. Tt- should not be ! forgotten, however, that the piesent posii tioii was brought about by the past indifference of the community to the fact that while they were getting cheap bread wheat-growing was being crushed out oi existence bv' the importation of cheap ! wheat from' Australia, and that protest* and warnings as to what must eventually happen had passed unheeded. As to the Government encouraging growers to increase the area sown, meat people would agree that the Dominion should try tc provide- for its own needs, and also tc help the Mother Country. With a view to giving this encouragement, the Government might be asked to reinstate the import duty, if not immediately, then as soon as the price of wheat to the grower should drop to 5s per bushel, and. further, an assurance should be given that not only should the duty be reinstated, but that consideration should be given to the repeated request of tho past few years ! that it should be increased to a. similar j amount to that imposed against New Zealand bv Australia. I After a. brief discusfrion, in which rnemI hers endorsed the chairman's remarks, Mi I Talbot moved— That the Prime Minister be respectfully urged to entirely remove the restriction now imposed on tho free salt of wheat in respect of the new crop now about to be, harvested, either bv the fixing of prices or otherwise, as such restriction will, if the price is fixed at below market .values, place our farmer; at a disadvantage compared with othei countries, besides isevercly hampering and restricting the trade in wheat, ami also tend to-discourage the increase ir production during the season, that hj so much needed at the present June t-ure. This was unanimously carried. The question of the duty on wheat, wa: also discussed. Mr C. J. Talbot. M.P., and Mr J Paterson favored 4s being set as the price for the duty to come into operation, one held that the meeting must support this as farmers stated that 4s a bushel was i paying price. The Chairman said that the duty woulc mean an increase in acreage in this coun try, and they should do everything t< bring that about Ho felt sure tha whatever duty they ask*d for and go would improve the position. Mr A. G. Garland txpre??ed the opinio* that the Govsrnment should be asked t< bring in the reinstatement of duty ii February, 1916. The duty could b* th same as in Australia. It was decided to request the Govern ment to reinstate the duty on importei wheat, the duty to come'into operatioi when the price of wheat dropped belov ss, and that the rate oi be gorensex: . by that imposed on Wstft SSssJassL sfeea

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WHEAT PRODUCTION, Issue 15703, 18 January 1915

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WHEAT PRODUCTION Issue 15703, 18 January 1915

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