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BASIC SLAG: WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT ACTS.

AGRICULTURAL AND PASTORAL NEWS.

In their natural condition nearly all soils contain a sufficienc}' of most elements from which plants are built up, but there are three chemical fcubs-tances — nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash — which must, generally speaking, be added or restored to a soil if tlie maximum of fertility is to be maintained.

Many clay soils contain an abundant store of potash, and most soils freely treated with farmyard manure will need no direct application of potash ; whereas nitrogen must often be supplied in direct form, for which purpose nitrate of soda, sulphate of ammonia, and other ammoniacal combinations are found to be generally suitable. But, important as these two elements of fertility are, phosphoric acid claims more attention than either of them — perhaps than both combined — seeing that the activity and productiveness of the former two are largely dependent upon their being in the soil an adequate store of available phosphate.

Phosphoric acid does not exist in a free state in nature, but is usually met in combination with lime, this combination being known as phosphate of lime. In phosphate of lime it is generally found that three atoms of lime are combined with one atom of phosphoric acid, and this combination is, except the material be finely ground, insoluble both in water and in the coil. In such a state it is useless as a plant food, for plants can only assimilate matters that are soluble in water or in the carbonic and vegetable acids of the soil.

The earliest known application of phosphate of lime was in the form of bones ; these were originally broken up into small pieces on the farm by various means, and at a later date were ground by machinery ; subsequently their insoluble condition was remedied by treatment with sulphuric acid, and at a still later period mineral phosphates, such as coprolites, apatites, phosphorites, etc.. containing phosphate of lime, were finely ground, and also subjected to acid treatment. These mineral ptos phates are, however, but very slowly available, even under the most favourable conditions. The object of this acid treatment was to brepk down the cohesion of the phosphate lime. In the process emp'oyed two atoms of lime combined with the sulphuric acid, leaving one atom of lime in combination m ith phosphoric acid, and this monobasic phosphate of lime was soluble both in water and in the soil.

As is well known, bones contain two fertilising elements — phosphoric acid and nitrogen. Hence, when bones are used, nitrogen is of necessity applied to the soil, in addition to the phosphoric aclrl. But it will be readily conceived that tL* nitrogen may not be required by certain crops, eithei oil account of the nature of the crop« themselves or the chemical condition ot tl c soil. Thus in the eaiher history of iu-lirkidl manure, it Mas soon recognised thit superplir^plhitcs and '"dii. solved" mineral phosphate-* oii'ered to the farmer cheaper soime^ of phrsphoric acid tlnn d»<l bones, the latter commanding higher prices on account of tl'e'r dual composition. Not vpiy long aft=v tlioir intrcductio'i, howevei 1 , it iut. found tl.it <" idtieated m{<mue» utre not \rdl .-ui-lcl 10 «11 U. In anw > ,vo>. i di.cd. d. "ttjiu- resu t- Legan ro in,inn'"t th'n. olvi ■-. mo^t notably on 1 tnd prone to anbury n tin-nip*. where it v. as di&eovbiul tl at ""di^vohi.d ' monure had a strong Urdency to inuiu c or dgjMvaca thi-s disease.

feLience, however, again came to the aid of ft> i 'iig natire, meeting h-r requir moats m a pnitce'y manner, and tKi from an alto^eihor unexpected source. About 17 years »^o a newly-discovered and almost unlimited sto.T3 of plio&pkoixe acid suitable

for agricultural purposes was made known; to the farmer. In convert ng pig iron into steel it is necessary to ihminate or extract; the phosphorus tound in neailj all Bi-iti«shi iron ores — a result effected by the ThomasGilchrist process. The Be«.*cmcr converters are lined with magnesian limestone, and byl forcing air through the molten mass the phosphorus is converted into phosphoric ryid, which), combining with the lima added, forms phosphate of lime, this finally pas&ing into the slag as a by-product. Scientific investigation proved this phosphate ofi lime to be available, w hen the slag was finely ground, as plant food. The ground 1 slag -was called "Thomas's" plios-phate powder, oi basic «lag, and has gradually ba« come more and more recognised as furnishing the agriculturist -with an abundant! supply of clie-ip and effective phosphoric! acid.

In other forms of phosphate of lime three atoms of lime are combined with onei atom of phosphoric acid ; but in "Thomas's"phosphate powder the combination is different. In the latter four atoms of lima are combined v> ith or^e atom of phosphoric? acid, the result being that through this; super-saturation of the phosphoric acidß with the lime the combination is much lesa cohesive or stable, and it is in consequence far more readily soluble in water. Thus,, remembering that acid-treated manures aref to b& avoided in certain cases, it must bei evident to all that in the "Thomas" phosphate powder we have a manure of greati value, seeing ixs absolute freedom from all corrosive acid.

Thomas's phosphate powder contains from 12 to 20 per cent, phosphoric acid, which is equal to fr n m 26 to 45 per cent, of tribasic phosphate of lime. It is ground! to such a degree of fineness that 80 to 90 per cent, of the powder will pass through! a standard sieve containing 10,000 holes ta the square inch. In bones there may ba from 40 to 50 p r cent, and in superphosphate (dibs^'v.o coprolite, etc.) 25 to 28 per cent, of tnb,..-ic phospliate, although in! .he superphosphate the phosphoric acid is converted from 25 to 28 per cent, tribasio phosphate into about 15£ to 17 per cent, monobasic phosphate, w hich is readily soluble in the soil.

In the matter of pecuniary value it ia customary to purchase Thomas's phosphate powder on a guarantee of phosphoric acidi (or phosphates) and fineness of grinding j but it should not be forgotten that whea this powder is purchased there is obtained, free of cost to the buyer, frorr 40 to 50 per cent, of finely-powdered lime, in a free state — i.e., 7cwt to lOcwt in every ton of the powder. This lime cannot fail to ba of great value, in view of its mechanical action on the soil. It is of particular importance to a buyer that he obtain al guarantee of phosphates, as a safeguard against any slag not '"basic" — and therefore perfectly worthless — being foisted upon him.

Without going so far as to say Thomas's phosphate powder is specially suited (unaided) to all soils, it is certainly well adapted to meet the requirements of ai wide range of soils. In the United Kingdom, the results of its application to strong clays have been simply marvellous, clovers springing up in abundance where none had! been seen for years before, the quantity of the keep being much increased, and the quality of the herbage in innumerable cases improved. According to the agricultural journals, the results of its application to: peaty soils are but little, if at all, lessi marked ; while it has been abundantly proved that Thomas's phosphate powder is the manure par excellence for all lands ai wet and waterlogged land. Indeed, on almost every soil where phosphoric acid is al condition of successful cultivation, Thomas's phosphate powder seems to give a good account of itself. While the best results have been obtained with this now almost universally popular manure in the Home country, a little careful investigation into the probable causes of supposed failure, whether partial or complete, has always disclosed an explanation without any disparagement to basic slag. Foi example, it ia sometimes overlooked, oi not clearly recognised, that Thomas's phosphate powder is not a "complete"' manure, nor even al "compound" manure, comprising "phos.phat, potash, and pitrogen," or "phos? phate and potash," or '"phosphate and nitrogen," respectively. It is a phosphate manure alone, and excepting that it contains lime, it makes no pretence of being anything elss. Hence, if it be applied to soils that are destitute of, or inadequately, supplied with, say potash, and the crop desired to be grown demands potash for its full development, failure -vill certainly result either wholly or in part, but the failure will not be due. to any want of efficiency on the part of the basic slag, but to the absence of potash or the insufficiency of the 1 , potash present. These remarks would apply equally where there is an absence or insufficiency of nitrogen, or potash and. 1 nitrogen, according to the requirements of any particular crop.

Another cause of failure in some cases in respect to the crop immediately following an application of Thomas's phosphate powder is late application. It must ba borne in mind that basic slag does not in some soils act immediately, and it is better, whatever the nature of the «oil may be, to apply the phosphate ponder during thai autumn or cirly v inter where possible. Although tL s o« i^s; of action is by soina counted T^n.^t ba^ic slag, yet it is nob \V-i--oui rovupei"-ating advantages, for not only can the application be made at a timei when oMier work does not preis the farmer, b;;t there is no fear that the valuable prop n . tics of the slag vr"]l bs washed out; of the .«oil by rain. On the contrary, -the ae-tiMt-y and productiveness of the phosphatio manure &eem to be enhanced by ram.

The subject is dibcu.s.-cd here because if) i.s dearly important tliut farmers in thei e.-.lony should be fully ae^ui.'ni.ed with the) "ouiee, naturp, and action of a valuable fertih-er which, as> will be seen, is easily;

WADE'S WORM FIGS arc most effective and not unpleasant ; children tlirlve after talslni? the&a. Price, I/*

within their reach, and at a moderate price. To give assurance of this we give Liverpool Quotations of prices of basic slag in September of last year when demand for autumn application of the manure was at its Driskest. The report of the Liverpool market says : — "There is an increased demand experienced for basic slag, and it will be more so as the autumn draws nearer, so to save delay in despatch buyers find it to. their interest to now secure requirements. .The following are the various tests and prices of guaranteed percentages. Other fertilisers in no demand. Basic slag, prime quality, guaranteed 30 to 35 per cent, phos. (in bags), £4 11s to £1 12s 6d per ton ; do, 35 to 40 phos. (in bags), £1 12s 6d to £1 13s 6d per ton ; basic slag, finest quality, guaranteed 38 to 45 phos. (in bags), £1 16s to £1 17s 6d per ton." It must be borne in mind that these are the prices at the producing depots, and the question arises, at what cost could the fiighest quality — for it would be idiotic to order anything else — be landed in the -\ colony? Owing to the small compass "occupied by a considerable weight of Thomas's phosphate, and assuming that its delivery at a port of shipment would bring the highest quality price up to £2 2s 6d per ton, thß outward freight charge should be trivial because some ships come comparatively empty, and ground basic slag, in quantity, would provide excellent ballast. It may fairly be assumed that prime quality basic slag can be landed in ports here at from £2 10s to £2 15s pei ton to buyers, and at the price no other auxiliary manure in the market is half ac cheap or effective. Witli the enormous expansion of stieel manufactures, there is a corresponding production of manurial basic slag, so it- Trill be perceived that the question of the importation and utilisation by farmers in the colony has assumed -an importance beyond the ken of paragraph writers. ,

A short time ago Mr James Gait, of Slarairua, applied to the Department of Agriculture to have his well-known herd of Ayrshire cattle treated with tuberculin, and on August 20, 21, and 22 Mr H. C. iWilkie, F.R.C.V.S., Government veterinarian, assisted by Mr H. Turner, inspector of stock for the district, applied the test to 62 cows, 16 heifers, and 4- bulls. The result showed that none of these aaiimals (Were affected with tuberculosis — a fact vrhich emphasises the beneficial effect of careful selective breeding and the good management of young stock in the prevention of disease. It is matter for congratulation that we have so fine a dairy herd in the colony quite free from tuberculosis. In. Snowy River district (Gipp3land. Vie.) there are now hundreds of Hindus — ploughing, jnilking, scrub-cutting, etc., but mostly snaize-picking. They work interminable hours for the meanest wage, camp in squalid gnnyahs, and live on maize and damper till they've saved enough to start as hankers. An instance is given of a scrub-cutting contract for which the lowest " white " tender sPas £4. Eight Hindus came along and cleared the ground to the last leaf for 30s ! It is stated on good authority (says the Timaru Post) that a co-operative wool-scour-ing and feUmongery works will be started shortly in the vicinity of Timaru. i Rabbit poisoning is now being carried on extensively in the Clinton district, and the bunnies take it very readily, owing, it is eaid, to the scarcity of grass after the late fall of snow. j Owing to the severity of the weather, the , mortality amongst hoggets in the Poiigaroa and Alfredton districts is very heavy this year. , A fire at Pine Bush, Southland, on Moniday jnorning destroyed a stack of oat sheaves, consisting of about 20 tons, and being the (property of Mr Hugh CarswelL The fire .Was not noticed till the early morning. I The severity of the weather this year has largely checked butter production in Victoria. Before the first week in August last .year nearly 500 ton 9 of butter had been exported from Victoria, whereas for a simi- ! lar period this year the export was nil, and i .very little came to hand. ' A correspondent informs the Clutha lieader that the farmers in the Inchclutha district are now devoting more time to dairying and cattle-feeding than to grain-growing, as they find it pays better and improves the ground. j It is currently reported (says the Oamaru •Mail) that -a number of prominent horsetowners in the district have resolved to resent the action of the committee of the 'North Otago Agricultural and Pastoral 'Association in having endorsed the petition ipf the Government to establish a stud farm 5n NoTfch Otago. They are not pleased with the committee for having been in some deIgree responsible for the Agricultural Department having decided to send their stud jhorses to the district, and it is now asserted tb*s I6SW fif the largest exhibitors of

draught stock have entered into a bond not j to exhibit at the association's show in I . November. J Mr Menzies, manager of the Beaumont ; station, states that the past winter has been the severest he has experienced during the nine years he has been in the district, and he is afraid the result will be a lighter shearing. ! At a sale at Mangatainoka on Friday some ; splendid good springing heifers went, as high as £12 10s, the average being £8 2s. | Dufficulties have arisen between the ■ shearers and station-owners in the Hay and j . Deniliquin districts of New South Wales. | ' The steamer Knight Errant arrived at ' Melbourne on the 13th inst., from New York, with the large consignment ol 213.193 cases of kerosene, of which 100,000 cases are for Sydney. I Dutch cheese contains 41 per cent, of | water, against only 30 per cent, in Cheshire cheese. j Most of the dairymen in the North Wai- { rarapa absolutely refuse to have their dairy ' herds examined as to whether or not they are suffering from disease. > About 1500 sheep, chiefly hogget.<=, were ; trucked at Milton on Thursday (says the j Bruce Herald), for the Oamaru district. A , like number were to be trucked for the same place yesterday. The Wairarapa Daily Times states that there has been considerable mortality of lambs during the last few days round about Hawera, owing to the bleak wind followed j by a phenomenal fall of rain, with intensely ! bitter oold from the south. The purchase of the Taranaki Freeing j Works by the Taranaki Producers and Freez- j ing Works Company was completed on i Saturday, when a cheque for £15,263 was ! paid over to the Freezing Works Company. Hawera is making a determined effort to induce the Government to establish a dairy school, stud farm for horees and cattle, and a fruit and shelter tree nursery, at Waipapa, between Hawera and Manaia, the estate lately .purchased by the Government from Mr J. Livingstone. The locality is ' said to be an ideal spot for a stud farm, as I every convenience is at hand. j ' In Monday's North Ofcago Times the death ' : is announced of Mr Richard Orr, of Dun- . troon, who passed away on the . 17th. Mr ' : Orr had been a resident of Oamaru for over ] a quarter of a century, and during that time r i had done a great deal to improye the breed ' 1 of light stock, both by importing sires to the colony and by bringing to that district I horses of a good and serviceable stamp. ) According to the Wellington Post, the : Agricultural Department haa decided that ■ Danger Signal, one of the two Shire etal- ■ lions presented to the colony by Lord i Rothchild, is to stand at Oamaru during the ] 1 coming season. The other Shire stallion, '. Hertfordshire Boy, will' be located at the Government Experimental Farm, at Memo- I haki, where it is also intended to place one f of the light stallions purchased in Great * Britain by Mr Gilruth. S In an article dealing with the aims and j i objects of the New Zealand Farmers' "Union, j the Southland News appears to be doubtful ] as to the prospective benefits that farmers « in the southern portion of the colony would < derive from throwing in their lot with '< the union. The News says: — A movement, t the promoters of which may have ulterior i political objects, has taken definite shape in the North Island — namely, the New Zea- J land Farmers' Union. . . . Whether •< the movement will prosper in the South i Island is an open question. So far, at any i rate, a beginning has only been made to- t wards united action. Of farmers' clubs 8 and co-operative associations there are many, t but they work independently and without affiliation to a central body. The condi- r tions of elimafce, of settlement, "aid produc- (. ) tion as between the North and South t Islands differ so considerably as to render c a combination practicable in the one which 1 would be next to impossible in the other. I The farming of the south differs materially r i from that of the north — roundly s,peaking, ( . the latter i<« of the pastoral and "email \ culture" class, while the former goes largely c to grain -growing on an extensive scale. Generally speaking, the holdings are larger ft in the south, and there are greater dim- C culties in the way of intercourse with a view I to combined effort. The example of their 1 northern fellow colonists may, however, £ stimulate those of the south to more con- p joint action than has yet been attempted, a Isolated effort must, in the nature of things, d be fruitless, or, at be»t, beneficial only within t a very limited sphere. la Owing to the transitory condition of affairs c on Glenham estate, recently State acquired c (says the Wyndham Farmer), it is impro- a. bable that the local dairy factory will run t this season. MrR. W. Ballantyne, the well- p known manager, has secured a similar appointment to Dipton Dairy Factory. v The West Plains correspondent of the o Southland Times writes : — Our local g creamery is_ nearly completed, and will s>tart fl operations in a week or two. The owners, d the Invercargill Dairy Supply Co., have sent s out a revised price list, in which it is p intimated that they will take delivery at the ' h factory, or direct from the farmer, the latter of course at a slightly lower rate. No o 6kim milk will be returned to suppliers, «s g the company have ereoted extensive pig- ' f< geries, which will use up all waste material li from the factory. Messrs J. Ballantyne and Co. offer as tl special prizes *t the coming show of the o

i Canterbury A. and P. Association £3 3s for the best polo pony, £2 2s for the best pony ridden by a boy or girl, £2 2s for the ; best ]ady'6 hack, and £3 3s for the best L dog-cart horse. Special prizes have also > been, offered by Dr Levinge, £5 5b for the s beat three-hors© team, mares or geldings, the property of a farmer not owning or | renting more than 300 acres ; by the presij dent, Mr F. A. Archer, of £10 10s, to be i distributed among first prize-takers in the | classes for carriers' or tradesmen's horses i ' and traps. ; I The Townsville Star writes : — The direcj tors of Bovril, Limited, have always been 1 large buyers of bulk extract from the Queensland meat works, but il is said that , tie company will start a factorj on their own account somewhere in a cezitral disi trict, to which supplies of stock can easily ]be drawn. Possibly, if this decision is taken, the Northern Territory or the Gulf j country of Queensland will be chosen." The I Australian Meat Trades' Journal adds: — i ''Idiotic labour legislation has stopped this, and Bovril, Limited, go to Argentine in- , stead." | In the North Canterbury district a fair '< extent of ploughing for grain crop has ' been finished, and farmers are persevering 1 with the further area, that has to be planted. j It is anticipated, writes the Rangiora cor- ! respondent of the Christohurch Press, that, consequent on the heavy snow storm of last month, there will be good crops. Efforts have been begun in some parts of the j Ashley County to poison off the small birds, though in others the poisoned wheat bags j ! in the road board's offices uncalled for in- j j dicate that many of the farmers first of | i all require the birds to kill off the grubs ■ j which come out of the land whilst ploughI ing is in progress. Stock has wintered i very well, and while the new grass is in j danger of beiixg out by frosts there is a ' I good supply of last year's hay and straw, ! I as well as roots. Several Wairarapa farmers are experi- | msnting this season in the growth of black • barley. ! j Comparing the year ended June last with i J that ended June, 1900, the export of frozen ! ' meat from New Zealand shows a great fall- ' , ing off in all three classes — mutton, lamb, ' and beef; in mutton, nearly 32 million pounds, in lamb nearly three millions, and in beef over two millions ; the total of the ' three classes falling from 214-.8 to 178.1 millions. The falling off is chiefly in the South Island exports — nearly 34- out of 37 millions. Timaru's shipments fell off from nearly 28 million pounds of mutton and Ipmb to a little over 17 millions, say.« the Herald, the deficit being almost wholly in mutton, the weight of lamb being nearly | the same. These figures are. taken from the New Zealand Trade Review. The provisional directors of the South Canterbury Dairy Company are to meet i again shortly to select a site on which to erect a central factory. They have several good sites under offer, and expect to have no difficulty in selecting a suitable one. At Albury the settlers interested in thi.= movement have decided not to wait for the erection of a central factory before starting ■ operation*. They will eiect their creamery ' and make butter for sale til] such time as they can send the cream to the central fac- ' tory in Timaru. | At a sale of dairy cows recently near Hawera, says the local Star, high prices were realised, which fact shows that dairy farmers have great faith in the .future of the i industry. Bidding was very lively, and i the average price (£8 4s 6d) for the line of I 85 cows is, we believe, a record for the district, if not for the colony. Mr Gilruth, Chief Government Veterinarian, had a conference with the Mayor of Chipteriurch a few days ago with regard to the plans -which have been prepared for the city abattoirs, with a view to seeing whether lees expensive buildings than those proposed could not answer the purpose as well. The matter will now go before the Special Committee of the City Council again, and will afterwards be dealt with by the council. Another season's planting of marram grass on the hummocks and sand ridges at J Ocean Grove is now completed. The grass planted in previous years is doing well. This work has been done by the Bellarine Shire Council with a grant for the purpose from the Government. If the same , amount of money is spent in plnnting gi'ass during the next two years, says the Australasian, it is considered that the foreshore between the Barwon River and the Queenscliff boundary will be safe from the encroachment of the pea and the strong winds along this coast. Thib marram grass plantation has very satisfactorily answered the purposes for which it was intended. A fai'mer who lives very close to Timaru informs the Herald that farmers have another pest to deal with in the shape of seagulls, one of which he saw calmly fly on to a sheep which was down and pick its eye out. Though a similar incident had been previously reported in the north, the above is the first heard of about Timarur Mr R. Campbell, of Seadown, offers speoial prizes at next Timaru show for stock sot by Mambrino King, as under : — £3 3s for best two-year-old ; £2 2s for best yearling, and £2 2s for best foal. The Australian Meat Trades' Journal of the 13th inst. says »< — Mr W. Linton Millar, of Bovril., Limited, opened out at the annual

[dinner of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, and told vs that, under our present idiotic class legislation, wo are fast going down ; before the Argentine Republic; and he is ► quite right. What firm would be foolish i enough to start an industry where the Minis- , ters threaten to bring private employers tc 1 their knee 3 and force them to give 7e a day to scallywags? Mr B. R. Wise shewed ■ hie utter ignorance when he said the Argeni tine was a disturbed country. Surely he > forgets that only a few years ago the military had to be called out in this country to stop station burning, steamer burning, stock killing, etc., that arson, burglaries, bank sticking-up, garotting and murders are a* , plentiful here as anywhere in the world. Besides, if Mr Wipe \v<mld only study he would find that when our labour troubles began those of the Argentine stopped. The Scottish Chamber of Agriculture is circulating a statement calling attention to the evil effects of using pitch oil in sheep clips. It Eeoms not ui' common for northern , fiockowners to employ dips containing this ' material, and an investigation of tho ques- | tion has revealed indisputable depreciation of the wool to be an inevitable result. According to the report prepared by the expert deputed to investigate the matter, pitch oil cause* stains in the wool that are nearly as fast as aniline dyes, and the wool products of districts in which the use of pitch oil is common has fallen into disrepute with textile manufacturers in consequence. It 1 is said that Russian merino wool has simi- * larly lost its hold in the market as a result j of its liability to develop pitch oil stains ; in process of manufacture. I Pedigree cattle-breeding appears to be in 1 a highly prosperous state in the United States, and the confidence of breeders i stiong. The splendid prices obtaining at j lecent auction sales of all the principal , breeds afford ample proof of enthusiasm and confidence in the future >f cattle-breed-ins in that country. The latest testimony of"note is the sale of a Hereford cow and calf foi £1000, and of a Jersey bull for I £,700. The Hereford bull, Dale, was sola I a* Chicago for 1500gs. 1 While it can hardlj be disputed that 1 shewing, or, more correctly, the excessive feeding that it involves, is detrimental to the breeding or utilitarian qualities of cows, and appreciably increases the attendant , risks, it would be a grievous mistake to hold 1 j that a noted show career is necessarily in- ! compatible with success in the other directions indicated. Instances of famous show cowSr-having produced healthy calves 1 are far froir rare, their calves in turn having attnmed to distinction at leading exhibitions. To mention a few recent examples, the champion cow at the York Royal show last year was the dam of the most-admired, il" ■ not tLe most nighly-honoured, yearling buli in a huge cla=s, and few animals have undergone a longer or more searching career than Mr Hosken's superb Countess of Oxford KIT. The Hereford cow that has beaten all previous records by .realising £1000 in America, it is significantly and with a certain air of triumph emphasised, was accompanied by a promising calf, while Hereford owners at home arc xLoting with satisfaction that the unbeaten heifer of last year, Lem- , thall Beauty, has just produced a healthy 1 calf. | In a paper on "Waste in Agriculture," recently read at a meeting of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Agriculture and Farmers' I Club, the author, Mr R. Long, enumerate ! many common sources of avoidable waste I noticeable in farm economic. He pointed out, as one of the most grievous and conspicuous eiTors, the habit of keeping animals that do not make an adequate return for the food they consume and the labour they entail. - The widespread indifference or laxity as to the responsive character cf t\\e cattle, sheep, or pics kept is accountable for incalculable \va«te direct and indirect. As has bean said so often, and, apparently, cannot be too frequently repeated, a good aiiim-\l is as easily fed and tended as a bad doer, and when it comes to the realisation of ihe animal or what it yields, there is no comparison in their vhlups. Despite the constant insistence upon this truth, however, it is common to find farmer conte-ntly expending their attentions upon cows that will give tlipm, perhaps, lesb than 500 gal of milk in the year, when, by more judicious selection of an animal, the saaic amount of effort might' easily realise nearer double that quantity. It is pretty much the same with grazing cattle and sheep. As fco sources of waste in the field, the toleration of weeds, carelessness in cutting and stacking hay ami ccrn, failure to make proper selection of crops for soil and climate, and the want cf intelligence and thought in manuring wpre all duly cited and explained as contributing to poor results. ■ At a recent conference, Mr F. J. Lloyd, consulting chemist to the British Dairy Farmers' Association, stated that there was conclusive evidence that good Cheddar ' cheese could not only be made in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand, but ! it was put upor the English markets in such I a state as to equal, if not surpass, in quality all inferior produce of Great Britain. In the past there had been a confirmed belief that success in cheese-making was dua to skill in manipulation. This assumptionthey knew to be erroneous. Success depended no* merely upon skill, but on a knowledge of principles. With regard to I variations in the success of a cheesemake^ I

> he offered the explanation that they were 3 due to the fact that the weeds which sprang 1 up in one year in one locality differed from 3 those of tne next year or another locality. 1 He was convinced that trie flora or bacteria. " of milk differed in one year from that in the 5 next just ac it differed from month to month. [ Herein, he believed, lay the difficulties of cheese-making. To advance in cheese-mak- " ing three things were essential — skill, knowJ ledge, and research. The development and r control of the production of lactic acid, ) which they termed "acidity," was the key- : note to successful cheese-making. : The Tuapeka Times is in thorough accord 1 with farmers combining to conserve their 1 interests. The following extract is from ' the leading article of the Times in last ! Wednesday's li=sue : — The one and only objection made to the New Zealand Far5 mers' Union is that it is a political or1 ganisation antagonistic to the present Go- ' vernment. Whether this is so or not is L not at the present moment sufficiently ob1 vious or conclusive to permit of it being accepted as a fact or used as an argument against the union. The most that can be said is that some men have actively identified themselves with it who are known to be hostile to the Government. But against this it might just as fairly be said that there are also many oilers quite as active who are strong supporters of the Government. And, further, it if nonsense to assume that the rank and file of the union, the thousands of farmers who have enrolled themslves in it, have done so solely for the opportunity ifc gives them of injuring or embarrassing the Go\ernment. In order to be able to accept the statement that the union is a political organisation opposed "to the Government, we must first assume that the majority of the farmers of the colony .are Conservative©. ■\vhioh is entirely contrary to fact. If they were the Liberal Government would not ba in office. But even if we accept the statement that there are many active Oppositionists in it, as no doubt there are, as well as Liberals, la that any reason why the farmers of the colony should be deprived of the right to organise and protect themselvsa from aggression? The proposition is manifestly absurd and cannot be listened to for a moment. The duty as well as the policy of Liberals should be, not to attack cr denounce the union, but to become members of it, and endeavour to keep it on rigLfc lines, free from pai-ty polities, and direct its strength towards the attainment of such objects as fairly 'come within the industrial rights of farmers. Nor in this respect must it be assumed that politics can be excluded from discussion. A meeting attended by some 30 representative district farmers was held at Waikafea. Talley on the 19th inst. Mr P. T. Aitken, president of the Farmers' Club, was voted to the chair. Mr 0. Fisher, assistrnt organising secretary "to the New Zealand Farmers' Union, gave an exhaustive hintorv of the movement now going forward, jjoh-ting out the imperative necessity of farmer? combining throughout the colony so th.^t ihev ir<ie;ht be brought into close touch with each other. At the termination of Mi Fisher's address a motion was earned unanimously that a branch of the union be formed i at Waikaka Talley. Mr Jeremiah Finn, who has sold his farm at Wrey's Bush, was entertained at a social gathering by his friends previous to leaving for his new home in the Winton district. Air Finn and his good lady were the recipients of a purse of fco^ ereigns as a mark of the esteem iv which they are held by the settlers among whom they so lons resided. The Mandeville correspondent of the Matoura Ensign writes: — Grain is getting up in price (as is usual near sowing time), tempting the farmers to sow every 'acre available to sell ag;ain aftei harvest at the usual price of Is 2rt. Sh n «p are ha-\ ing a rou^ii time of it digging the turnips out of tli6 slush and mud. A few lambs are making their appearance, and are doing fairly well. The* Southland Farmers' Co-oprrative Association has entered upon a policy of expansion, and delegates hr>ve had successful meetings in the south. They are following up thfii" recent successes by visiting Tnpanui and surrounding districts, and, to all appearances, the association will be a decided power in tlio land. It is to ">c hop- 1 ilie farmers will turn ou* en masse at the annual meeting in September, and give the directors every encouragement Three Ok rectors, I believe, are to be >lrct>'r\, a\ct I hope Mr James Kelly, of Riversdale, will ptand and be elected, as he deserves the credit of putting the association in working form. My last word to the directors if : Increase your capital to £50,000, and go on and prosper. Notes from last jrepk'r Tapanui Courier: — . We notice that the Government contract? for oats are still worked through an Ashburton firm, instead of being divided up. "Why should Messrs Friedlander Bros., ol Ashburton, have the shipping of oats from the Bluff, for instance? Some member oi

Poor old China's gone to pieces ; Of her vast possessions reft, Day by day her power decreases— ' Soon there'll be but little left. She'll no longer be a nation, But for ever be obscure ; Coughs and colds have no foundation. Dosed with Woods' Gkeat PErPEEMixi Cube.

the House should ask (he Premiei this question. We have previously pointed out that Friedlander Bros, have had the bulk of the oat contracts froiSf the New Zealand Government for South Africa. — There is one item in the Financial Statement that grants a little light thrown on it — viz., the purchase of Earn-scleugh estafe, at Clyde, at about £3 an aero. We had not noticed that this old rabbit warren had become public property. We knew that the Agricultural department had thrown away £1000 Vorth of grass seed on the place, where no seed can grow. We knew, also, that Governmea. kept a large staff of rabbiters there — mostly Chinese cheap-labour — but the purchase of the freehold is jomethiug new t» report, although the actual transfer may be ancient history. A committee meeting of the Ashburton A. end P. Association was held on {.he 20th irst. ; Mr O. Reid (president) in -he chair. Coriespondence was read from Mr Murphy, late secretary to the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, stating that nothing further had been done in regard *o Mr Leadley's suggestion re the appointment )f judges at shows. Mr Murphyforwarded a list for the committee to peruse. It was decided to write to the Otago A. and P. Association for information. The secretary of the Canterbury Frozen Meat Company wrote, stating that the company -would give £10 10s to the prize fund. r lhe letter was received, and the thanks of the association ordered to be tendered. Nine uevv members were elected. The committee decided to close the entries on Tuesday. October 22, nine days prior to th* dale of ithe show. It was resolved that the milking test be carried out on the sa-ne audition as before. One well-known Taranaki dairyman has lately been converted to the Holstein-Jersey cross. This cross shows the characteristics of the two great breeds — the quantity of the Holstein and the quality of the Jersej r . An important fact r.oted in rli« cross is that the stamina of the cows is great, and they are capable of withstanding diseases to , which the Shorthorn- Jersey and Gtl.er crosses have succumbed in other neighbourhoods. The cross is -becoming very j-.i^mJar in certain districts of Taranaki. A general committee meeting of the Ellesmere A. and P. Association was held on the 20th inst. Mr A. It. Inwood, president, occupied the chair. A letter was received from Mr Glass, organising secretary for the North Island Farmers' Union, suggesting that la meeting should be held for the purpose of forming a branch of the union in the Ellesmere district, and it was decided that a public meeting of farmers be called at an early date ; that Mr Glass should be invited to attend, and that Messrs Inwood and Barnett, with the secretary, arrange details. It was decided to hold the horse parade on September 27, and a committee was appointed to arrange matters. Mr G. E. Rhodes presented his last year's prize money to the association, and was accorded a fciearty vote of thanks. Mr O. B. Pemberton, secretary to the Canterbury A. and P. Association, has written tc th* Secretary of Agiiculture asking Jiim to bring under the notice of the Government a motion passed by the committee of the association with regard to having placed on the Estimates an annual sum to be given as prizes at the summer shows for the beet troop horse. It is pointed out in the letter that this would encourage the breeding of horses suitable for remounts, and would induce buyers from India and other countries to visit the colony. It is specially urged that such a prize should be offered at the show on November 6, 7, and 8.

A return laid before Pai'liament last week, Bays the Timaru Herald, shows that the number of blocks of land acquired under the Land for Settlements Act during the years ended March 31, 1898, 1899, 1900, and 1901, is 4-1. The principal blocks opened in South Canterbury are: — Albury, 19,502 acres 3 roods 20 perches, at £3 7s 6d per acre ; 30 acres at £4- per acre, 6 acres 2 roods 4 perches at £4 16s 6d per acre ; Waikakahi — 48,266 acres 12 perches at £b 15s per acre, 36 acres 2 roods 22 porches at £10 per acre; Puneroa — 7029 acres 3 roods 5 perches at £4 10s per acre; Pareora No. 2—31322 — 3132 acres 31 perches af £8 15s per acre; Takitu— 97l3 acre» 37 ptrclies *t £? 7s per

acre ; Papaka — 1561 acres 2 roods at £2 7s 6d per acre. The work of erecting a creamery at Woodend (Canterbury) to operate in connection with the Sefton Dairy Factory has been commenced. It is situated in a position j to conveniently serve both Woodend and i Waikuku, and already a supply of milk from nearly 300 eow3 has been guaranteed. It is expected that the creamery will be in running order in about six weeks' time. A well-attended meeting of farmers from the Templeton, Prebbleton, Yaldhurst, Harewood Road and Upper Riccarton districts was held at Templeton on the 19th inst., when, after discussion, it was resolved to form a branch of the Farmers' Union. As showing the demand from outside the district for land in Poverty Bay, it may be stated, says the Herald, that of the 21 applicants for a property in the Hangaroa Block disposed of by ballot, only three of the applicants belonged to Poverty Bay, the remainder being selectors from other districts. A most important point in connection with the formation of a farmers' union, writes "Rustieus," in the Bruce Herald, is the absolute necessity of keeping it away from political influence of any kind. This eonnot be too strongly insisted upon. Throughout the colony there are many farmers who are loyal to the paity at prCSiit in power, while the political oreed of others (a majority, I daresay, in. this part of the colony) is strongly conservative. Now, if the New Zealand Farmers' Union is to be a power in the laud it is essential that it , should have the support of every farmer, no matter to what political party he may belong. If it begins to truckle to either the Liberal or Conservative party, dissension will at once arise within the ranks of the members themselves, and then good-bye to the usefulness of the union. While no doubt the union will watch closely the actions oi the party at present In power, it is difficult to see how it could advance its interests by acting in. direct antagonism to it. The union when properly organised will be strong enough to form a party of its own, and, as it will hold the balance of power between any two parties in the House, can depend with every likelihood of success on having its demands attended to. ! The Waikaka correspondent of the Mataura Ensign writes in a pessimistic strain on the prospects of those who are engaged in agricultural pursuits: — Farming work is a good deal in the background just now. Ploughing is late, as the ground is very wet and sloppy. I have not heard of any early bird having made a start to sow yet. Farmers, however, have had, and are having, a good lesson on wheat-growing at current pricep. How the production can be kept up is the mystery. Prices must go up, and when the price of wheat goes I up, there is no saying ho what length it will J go. The wheat-growing land of the world : is gradually being exhausted, as to grow and manure at current rates cannot be done at a profit. Oats have aleo been grown in this colony for years at a less price ! than they are actually worth, considering the exhaustion of the land, and other charges i that one should take into consideration. I Now that we are beginning to reckon up the cost, and to look arounel, we find the land in a good many districts practically exhausted, and given over to the growth of weeds. Farms (and there are many throughout the colony) are lying barren. No wonder the farmers are waking up. Oh, no, farmers, keep up the same old game, work anrf clave, have your wife and daughters held up t« ridicule when they go to "town" ; your sons dubbed clodhoppers, and yourselves laughed at by the Premier of the colony, as unfit to even think of laws by whioH you are to be generned. Yes, go on, farmers — work, work, 12, 16 hours a day ; give your men £1 a week, and your sons and daughters their bare food, and your own wagee to the mortgagee and the- town go-betweens. It is nothing but meet that you should do so, for, veiily, are ye not the asses that carry the master over the bad road! You have the sweet song dinned in your big lop-ears that ye are the backbone of the colony, and your big, jovial Premier tells you that it is a, just and right thing for the tradesmen and town labourers to form themselves into unions, but that you should not d>_ so 1 You aujjlit have to pay

your overworked ploughman by the_ day, your sons and daughters might call in the aid of the Arbitiation Court, and you might be stopped from getting up at 4 a.m. to milk your cows so as to get to the factory by 7 a.m. Yeo, yes, ye are fools — have always been fools, and the best thing for you is, according to the Premier and the other wise fellows, -to continue to be fools. The Waihemo County Council at its last meeting agreed to offer Is per 100 for birds' eggs during the ensuing season.

A consular report recently published gives a striking indication, of the enormous stockbreeding resources of Argentina. If not more vast in area than some of the countries with which it is compared, the South American Republic completely eclipses them in total numbers of live stock, and in the proportion of cattle and sheep per head of the population. On the whole, Australia offers the fairest comparison, and an examination of the respective statistics reveals the Argentine in extremely favourable light. With a population of only 4,200,000, compared with 4,800,000, Argentina has 28,000,000 cattle, against 10,000,000, and 110,000,000 sheep, against 70,000,000, which works out at 6.666 cattle and 2*6.19 sheep per head of population, compared with. 2.083 cattle and 14.584 sheep per head of population in Australia. New Zealand has 1.0 cattle and 22.5 sheep, and Uruguay 6.0 cattle and 18.00 sheep for every human being. The South Canterbury annual ploughing match wa3 held on Thursday last at Orari, in Mr W. Mason's paddock. The weather was splendid, and the attendance of farmers and others interested was large. The ploughing all-round was of a high order, and in fact was considered better than anything at any previous competitions in the district. Messrs Richard Irving (Albury), John Patterson (Totara), and Kennedy (Temuka) acted as judges, and gave every satisfaction. | There was very keen competition for the championship, Mr Norman Gray, of | Oamaru, securing the coveted honour. Class A: Norman Gray 1, M. Brophy 2, W. Brown 3. Class B : F. Donnithome 1, A. Cripps 2, F. Hawke 3. With two exceptions the ploughs used by the competitors were manufactured by Messrs Reid and Gray. From last Friday's Wyndham Farmer: — Oats are fairly on the rise. Yesterday Biorning, in Invercargill, the best offer was Is 9Jd; but in the afternoon a Wyndham | farmer refused a bona fide bid of Is lid. A contributor to tho Field of July 6 refers in favourable terms to Australian chickens in the London markets : — A few days since my attention was called by one of the first-cla9S London poulterers to a consignment of imported chickens. A ehallow box about 2ft long, securely nailed down, was opened for my inspection. In it, carefully packed in paper, were a dozen frozen chickens, plump, well-fed, and fattened, each weighing from 21b 3oz to 21b 4oz. They were not drawn, but carefully tilled when empty of food. They were of no special breed ; the feathers which were left on the heads indicated that some were white, and others barred like "Ply- ' moutli rocks. The legs of all were yellow, but the birds -were of good quality. They were sold at a price at which chickens of corresponding excellence could not at this time of the year be placed on the London market. We may assume that the shipment of Jiese birds took place six weeks ago, and that Ihey were killed in May, which would be, of course, th© autumn of Australia, and they come upon our markets at a time when chickens are dear. A public meeting was held at Hamptlen on the 19th inst., with a view of forming a branch of the New Zealand Farmers' Union. But a few knew that such a meeting was to take place. Mr Nicolson, mayor, was in the chair. After listening to Mr Glass, the organising secretary of the , union, who explained its working, and what had been done in the North Island, the meeting decided to form a branch of the union at Hampden. Mr G. G. Stead writes to the Christchurch Press defending the formation of the millers' "trust" on the following grounds: — The millers' trust or combine may or may not be justifiable, but there is no reason why the case should be misrepresented to the public when comparing the relative prices paid for wheat by millers in Australia and New Zealand. (1) Wheat quotations include sacks in Adelaide and ' Melbourne. In Christchurch wheat quotations exclude sacks for which the miners at present pay 6d each. To-day the Christehinch millers arc paying 2s 6^d to 2s 7d per bushel for prime wheat delivered at their mills, and as sacks are 6d eanli, it means that after allowing for weight of sack the Christchurch millers are paying 2s 7£d to 2g 8d per bushel, against 23 "9d to 2s 9^d paid in Adelaide. (2) It takeß about 1£ bushels more of Canterbury wheat to make a ton of flour than of Adelaide wheat. (3) The last Adelaide quotation for flour is £6 5s per ton net. In Christchurrh the millers sell at £6 15s per ton, Itss 5 per cent. — i.e., £6 8s 3d net. (4) Offal— i.e., bran and sharps, usually sells for about £1 per ton more in Australia than in Cbristchuroh, and a3 there is rather over onB ton of offal to four tons of flour, it practically means that by comparison the Australian millers are 5s per ton better off than the Cbrietchureh miller?. (5) The cost of manufacturing flour much depends upon the output of the mill. The large Adelaide and Melbourne flour mills manufacture two or three times the quDntity manufactured by the average flour mills in Canterbury, (6) The wage-earners are rightly en-coui-aged to combine by forming unions to sel l their labour to beat advantage and at ji uniform rate. Is there any reason why manufacturers should not form unions to errble them to sell their manufactures at a uniform rate?

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BASIC SLAG: WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT ACTS. AGRICULTURAL AND PASTORAL NEWS. Otago Witness, Issue 2476, 28 August 1901

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