DAY OF SMALL HOLDINGS.
" ONE FAMILY ONE FARM "
MR. J. A. YOUNG'S IDEA.
A resident of the Waikato for nearly 30 years, and its representative in Parliament for 11 years, Mr. J. A. Young, has watched its development from a. land of large holdings and relatively small production to the foremost dairying district in the Dominion. He has seen bushland, fernland, and swamp change from their natural state to pastures of plenty, which in many districts the aspect of which now call to mind the quiet beauty of favoured counties in England. During bis Waikato career, which has brought him the most honourable civic responsibilities j and the confidence of his fellow men, i hinterlands have become regions of vast j production, from which, in addition to 1 the output of butterfat, beef, wool, and ! mutton, timber is being cut from plantai tions of exotics and rafted down the I great river which will yet be acknowj lodged as the Waikato's greatest natural ! asset. When be speaks of trie district j in which he has so much pride, he speaks I with authority, and his observations and , forecasts are of the highest value. " The Waikato has won for itself the I distinction of being the premier dairying I ditriet of the Dominion," said Mr. Young I in tho course of an interview given for this supplement. Its natural advantage i has been climate. Discoveries of tho past 115 to 20 years in regard to the treatI ment of pastures have made good any soil I deficiencies, chemical fertilisers having I played a leading part in the wonderful j changes brought about. The use of cold storage and the provision of insulatedshipping have been outstanding factors in the march forward, and the advent of the cream separator on the farm, combined with the application of principles of hygiene and science, to the manufacture of butter, cheese, and other milk products has built up the industry, and organisation in the highest degree carries it on. The day is not far distant when Now Zealand' will lead tho world in export dairy production,, both in quality and quantity, and Waikato bids fair to contribute no small part to that end. Smaller Areas. During the past 10 years, continued Mr. Young, the increase in dairy production in the Waikato had been phenomenal, the average increase being at least 15 per cent, over each preceding year's output. Yet there was room for tremendous .. extension in the industry along the lines of improving pastures, raising the standard of thojherds, and the subdividing of land to bring about the ideal of the "one farm, one family," which, according to the locality and quality of the land, should be anything from 50 to 150 acres. " In the earlier days of settlement In tho Waikato," said Mr. Young, " sheep and cattle were the main sources of wealth; in fact, throughout the greater portion of tho Waikato and Thames Valley basins, sheep played an important part in the evolution of pasture. Many areas which from 10 to 20 years ago were suitable only for sheep, are now, with good farming, carrying one cow on anything from two to three acres. I speak of the countryside generally. There are exceptional areas such as the rich swamp lands of Aka Aka and Otaua, where it is possible to carry 0110 beast to the acre, but they are rare instances, unless one forgets about the necessity for wintering stock. Methods Revolutionised. "A point I want. to. emphasise, however, is that Whether a man occupies poor or good land, it' i s intelligent farming which counted. In no department of life was success obtained without industry. The organisation of the dairy industry largely on a co-operative scale, the activities of the stock and Agricultural Department, aided by the research and practical work of such institutions as the Ruakura Farm of Instruction, have, within the past decade, revolutionised methods of farming increasing the quantity and improving the quality of the products of the soil. But I do- not think that tho settlers have lost any opportunities for progress at any stage of tho district's history. When we take into consideration the resources of the earlier settlers, with their limited markets and innumerable difficulties, I do not think that they have reason for anything but pride in what they accomplished. They were blessed with stout hearts, and dealt with the bush and fern and the swamp, and while bush and fern lands in the main have long since been settled, and tens of thousands of acres of swamp lands 'reclaimed, and brought into first-class pastures, carrying thousands of happy and prosperous homes, there are still within the bounds of the Waikato district. 100,000 acres or more of swamp yet to be brought into profitable use. The chief difficulty in regard to the swamp lands of the Waikato now in the course of reclamation, is the great depth of surface' peat that has to be consolidated before a bottom of hard clay or' soil is reached. By the digging of drains and persistent maintenance over a period of years, large areas of have consolidated to a remarkable depth, and are now being sown with English grasses, so that stock may bo used to expedite the process of consolidation in preparation for tho removal of timber where it occurred, and the advent of the plough. Conquering 'the Swamp. There were large areas of swamp land which will take at least 10 year, yet to be brought into profitable use, that wero being dealt with by enterprising settlers. Some of these men were classed as ' speculators, but they were not. They ! were social and public benefactors, carryI ing out a most important work in naI tional development. Land of the char--1 acter he had in mind would spell nothing ! but ruination to the " small man " who did not have tho resources of labour and capital necessary, because such land was best dealt within large blocks. By tho organisation of drainage boards in many parts of the district, much useful work was being done by small settlors as a corporate body. Tho prosperous towns of Hamilton, Cambridge, To Awamutu, Morrinsville, Ngaruawahia, and Matamata, and of Te Kuiti and Otorohanga, in the adjacent King Country, were depending entirely upon the industries of the soil for their existence. All of them were advancing in population and wealth, which was a clear indication of the capacity of the land and tho industry of tho people. With the greater increase in wealth which awaited the Waikato by the advance of the rural industries, one could easily foresee the growth of Hamilton into a great city with relative expansion of the other centres. Mineral Resources. Apart from its agricultural resources, the Waikato was richly endowed by nature with valuable minerals, particularly coal and limestone, which was found in abundance all along the ridge of country commencing at the Waikato Heads, and following the south-western bank of the river to Ngaruawahia, and thence run- \ ning it) a direct line southward through j the districts bordered by Raglan and j Kawhia on tho one hand and the main j trunk railway line through the King j Country on the other. A number of coal | mines were pouring forth supplies, not I only for local needs, but also for the City of Auckland and towns .along the line to "Wellington. Although limestone i deposits were frequent, it was a strange i physical feature of the Waikato soil that it was. deficient in lime. Thus tho highest I importance attached to the lime-crushing j>laats, some owned by proprietaries, and I
some by small companies of farmers, that hv'% were in operation in various parts of the f? ! > territory. The powdered limestone played ~'• an important part in sweetening the soil . " which was essential to the establishment and maintenance of good pastures, for it was the only medium by which the original acidity of the earth could be neutralised. Huge quantities were used an. nually, and the demand must necessarily increase. Coal and gold mining had produced enormous wealth for the province, but, said Mr. Young, its real "_g<">ld mine" was its agricultural industries. Every ton of coal and every ounce of gold won from th© earth meant that there was one less to win, but for every pound of but-ter-fat and every fleece of wool produced, there was another to bo got each sue. ceding year, and a great deal more, for nowhere had maximum production heen reached. Indeed, no one could say what limits that were to production in such favoured territory as the Waikato. But the bests results cannot be brought about, and the economic strength of the district built up, unless there is generous aid to the man on tho land. Roads and Finance. Among tbe many pressing .problems confronting the whole community wag that of roads. It was supremely important that good roads should link up every corner of the district with the towns and railways, and the problem called for the. best ingenuity of the trained engineer and the users of the land to devise means for the economic construction of permanent roads that would be equal to the traffic which modern industrial conditions imposed. Another problem of vital importance to the development of the country was that of finance, which concerned not only the individual settlor, but also the Wai governing authorities. Apart from its general application, it could not be forgotten that many men were passing through a period of painful financial stress brought about by the inflation of land values that reached its peak a couple of years ago. It was inevitable that those who traded in inflated values, mortgagors and mortgagees alike, would have to readjust their values and writ© off their losses. During the past 12 months quite a number had done so, and with the readjustment holders were making good. This phaso was merely incidental to an abnormal period, and it would pass. The all -important thing was, that the district remained absolutely sound, and it had the assurance of a great future. Trading concerns were again on tho road to showing profitable returns, and local bodies \ eie now not finding difficulty in collecting their rates. Every day was a m.vitot day in Hamilton, and a glance at the shops! which were second to none in any city in the Dominion, and the extent and quality of their goods afforded striking proof of tho general prosperity. Regarding buttor-fat production, Mr. Young stated! that the latest official figures gavo the average yield per cow at under 1701b per year. This was very low, but, from his observation, he was convinced that tho Waikato average, was over 2001b, and he believed that, by herdtesting and culling, now extensively practised, tho averago could bo raised to over 3001b; in any case, that should be the aim set for "attainment by the average farmer. Light Railways. Discussing tho question of; a light railway to Raglan and Kawhia, Mr. . Young expressed grave doubts .as to its feasibility. He said ho had seen tho narrow gauge railways of the Colonial Sugar Company in Fiji. They vers eminently suitable for* the sugar can* belts of that country, which were all adjacent to the sea coast. Some of tho light railways proposed for the Waikato, however, would have to traverse steep and mountainous country. That, ho considered, presented a real difficulty in tho matter of haulage, but, wherever the country was open and tho grades easy, such lines no doubt would prove useful. Where the country waa steep, 'necessitating heavy gradients and sharp curves, good roads, he thought, were the best means of opening it up. Even where standard gauge branch railways had been h'uilt as feeders to main lines, it wag Teing proved every day that motor transport could compete if roads were in good condition. Tn the light of present knowlodge, lie felt sure that the country, most of which was sparsely settled, lying between the Tfain Trunk lino and the coast, would lie developed by good roads an'd motor transport.
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WIDENING HORIZON., New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18411, 29 May 1923, Supplement
WIDENING HORIZON. New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18411, 29 May 1923, Supplement
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