Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image
Page image

Pages 1 to 20

Pages 1 to 20

Pages 1 to 20

Pages 1 to 20

H,— 29

1937. NEW ZEALAND.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1936-37.

Presented to both Houses of the General Assembly by Command of His Excellency.

Office of Minister of Agriculture, g IR; Wellington, N.Z., 19th October, 1937. I have the honour to forward herewith, for Your Excellency's information, the report of the Department of Agriculture for the financial year ended 31st March, 1937. The report provides a summary of the principal farming activities of the year and outlines the comprehensive and numerous activities of the Department in its work of maintaining and fostering the growth of the rural industries. That work lias for its objective the improvement of both the quantity and the quality of the Dominion's agricultural products, and once again the report records achievements in several important directions. In spite of somewhat adverse seasonal conditions, production has been more than maintained, and the quality of our products continues to attract an increasing number of buyers in available markets. Phenomenal prices have ruled for wool, and the various classes of meat have continued to bring a profitable return for the producer, but the butter-market is still subject to disturbing fluctuations. For the purpose of sheltering the dairy-farmer from the vicissitudes of world prices the Government has inaugurated a system of f.o.b. purchase at fixed prices, and the price for the coming season has been designed to give the farmer of reasonable efficiency a fair standard of living. As yet it is impossible to forecast either volumes or prices daring the coming export season, but it will be the objective of the Department of Agriculture by research and educational and instructional work to maintain the reputation which has been won in past years for the products of the Dominion. The farmer's problems are the Department's problems, and by blending science with practice we have made steady progress. One gratifying feature of the production-year has been the increase in the number of sheep in the Dominion. The total number of sheep in New Zealand on 30th April last was 31,305,818, as against 30,113,704 at the corresponding date last year. This is the highest number ever recorded, the previous record being 30,841,287 in 1930. Particularly significant is the further increase in the number of breeding-ewes. Tlie total on 30th April last was 19,332,077, an advance of 663,116 on the previous year, and the Dominion record. These figures give every reason to expect an increase in the mutton and lamb exports during the coming season.

I—H. 29.

H,— 29,

There lias been a slight decrease in the number of dairy cows, but a gratifying rise in the average butterfat returns. The total number of cows in milk and dry in 1936-37 was 1,935,524, as against 1,951,507 for the previous season, while the totals for cows in milk were 1,805,405 and 1,823,358 respectively. The average butterfat returns per cow for the season just ended were 228-56 lb. for cows in milk and dry, as against 217-93 lb. for the previous season. The cows in milk averaged 245-05 lb. last season, as compared with 233-25 lb. for 1935-36. Year by year pig-raising is becoming an increasingly valuable adjunct to dairying, and to provide for the orderly expansion of the industry the Government has sponsored the setting-up of national and district pig councils, whose duty it will be to provide instructional service in pig-production and safeguard the quality of exports overseas. The question of live-stock research has become a pressing one in recent years, and, although the health of our animals is good in comparison with other countries, the increases in our flocks and herds consequent upon improved pastures bring in their train problems of disease and nutrition. To meet this situation the Government has agreed to extend the research and instructional activities in connection with live-stock management. The erection of a new laboratory at Wallaceville, costing £15,000, has been authorized, and increases in the staff will be made when suitable men can be secured. At the beginning of the year the Government purchased Flock House and station from the trustees of the New Zealand Sheep-owners' Acknowledgment of Debt to British Seamen Fund, and is now offering facilities to New Zealand boys to take up farming. The boys taking advantage of this scheme spend a year at Flock House, and then three years' apprenticeship on approved farms. By this means the Government is endeavouring to assist the farmer in obtaining a supply of skilled labour. The Flock House activities are supplementary to the Ruakura Training Farm. The accompanying statement by the Director-General of Agriculture and the reports of the heads of the various divisions of the Department cover a wide range of subjects which have been dealt with during the past year. The staff of the Department as a whole has done excellent service, of which I record my full appreciation. I have, &c., W. Lee Martin, His Excellency the Governor-General. Minister of Agriculture.

2

H,— 29

REPORT OF DIRECTOR-GENERAL. Wellington, 18th October, 1937. The Hon. the Minister of Agriculture,— Herewith is appended the annual report of the Department describing in detail the various activities carried out during the financial year ended the 31st March, 1937. In the past it has been customary for the Director-General in his annual statement to review certain of these activities, but, as they are all covered in the main report, it is proposed here to outline certain generalizations with regard to New Zealand agriculture and to focus attention on the functions of the Department in relationship to the general agricultural structure. The farmer's objective is a permanent, comfortable livelihood brought about by his own efforts. When this objective is attained our national economy is buoyant, as the wealth of New Zealand is more closely linked with primary production than is the case in any other country of importance. Whether the farmer secures a reasonable livelihood or not depends entirely on whether there is a sufficient margin between his outgoings and incomings. Up to the present this margin has been determined by the price he receives for his goods. When prices are high his standard of living can be high, and when prices are low his standard of living must be low. In the past violent movements in prices have been conspicuous, and the farmer's standard of living has had no stability ; in fact, he has felt the full impact of these fluctuations perhaps more seriously and more immediately than has any other member of the community. The philosophy of the present Administration is that the peaks of prosperity and the valleys of adversity should be eliminated by the maintenance of a reasonable price-level which, translated into farmer's terms, means a payable price for his goods, and he would be perfectly prepared to produce permanently at an anchored price-level, provided costs were also anchored. Where the agriculture of any country is fully developed there are few effective counters to rises in costs whereby equilibrium in farmers' returns may be regained. In such countries rising costs, unless accompanied by rising prices, must depress the farmer's standard of living. In a country where farming development both nationally and individually is far from complete, where serious leakages often in themselves brought about by development are apparent, the position is very different. New Zealand agriculture is in that position. It is far from full development and has many of the consequent inherent weaknesses. On the other hand, it has the overwhelming advantage of possibilities of greatly increased farm and unit-labour efficiency. These possibilities are easily attainable and tend to offset rises in unit-costs, provided such costs do not take place too rapidly. If rising costs are absorbed in this way the farmer's standard of living is not affected. In New Zealand, therefore, the anchoring of costs is not the only essential whereby the stability of the farmer may be safeguarded. As stressed above, improvement in efficiency of the farm, be it along the line of either quantity or quality, is a factor of equal importance. Such endeavour is likely to be more effective, both nationally and individually, than any anchoring or lowering of the actual costs of goods and services that the farmer has to buy. The primary function of the Department of Agriculture, by regulation, investigation, and extension, is to guide New Zealand farming along those trends that will bring about an increase in efficiency. It has done much in the past. The field for its future activities is wideband the possibility of its influence is as incompletely developed as farming itself. Labour-costs. Labour-costs, are frequently mentioned as those which must be reduced in order to bridge any gap between costs and returns. Reducing the actual price paid for labour is, however, no solution either individually or nationally. Particularly must this be true in New Zealand with its preponderance of farm-owner labour. The same labour-price, be it to employee or employer, may be cheap or dear, depending on its efficiency. This efficiency is not alone connected with the individual: it is equally connected with the farm, depending on a variety of factors, but particularly on the stage of development that the farm has reached. Labour at the same price may be many times dearer on one farm than on another. This only emphasizes the wide variation in efficiency, or perhaps better development, in all phases of primary production. The gap to be bridged is not so much brought about by the cost of labour, the cost of materials, and the cost of land, but the relative wide variation in the efficiency with which production instruments are used.

3

H.—29,

The actual efficiency of farm labour itself is important and is linked with adequate training. In this respect New Zealand agriculture is sadly hampered. The adequate training of our farming youth is one of the weakest links in our farming structure. Colleges, training farms, and the like represent no adequate solution. The main body of the future farmers of New Zealand must be properly trained on the farms of New Zealand by farmers themselves. Until this is arranged in some adequate way the first essential towards development on a steadily progressive level will be wanting. The young farmers' club movement being fostered by the Department can play a quite important part, and it is suggested that all farmers should encourage their youthful employees to join such clubs. Maintenance and Increase in Fertility. Development is essentially concerned with the maintenance and increase in soil fertility. The intensification of practices bringing this about are therefore of prime importance. The Steady drain of fertility, represented by the export of goods from the farm, more intense with crops than with live-stock, must be made good with fertility management if advancement and not retrogression is to take place. The full exploitation of fertilizers, a proper balance between clovers and grasses, a proper balance between cattle and sheep, better crop rotation in the arable districts, and irrigation in districts of low rainfall are the main factors in fertility maintenance and increase. Of these practices perhaps the most important is that of top-dressing with artificial fertilizers, one that is, fortunately, steadily on the increase. It is significant that the top-dressing districts of New Zealand show the most striking progress, whereas those where fertilizers are little used or where it is not practicable to apply them are on the decline rather than the rise. In this respect there are great areas of mountainous tussock country steadily declining in carrying-capacity, and wide areas of high rainfall country, originally in forest and now unploughable, where nature rather than the farmer has control of future development. These two types of country, aggregating as they do nearly 16,000,000 acres, or nearly half the area devoted to production, represent the most serious agricultural problem in New Zealand, as any rise in production costs on them or any depression in prices brings them within the sub-marginal range. A certain amount of research on fertility management of these areas has been carried out during recent years, but it is essential that such work should be steadily prosecuted in the hope that practical methods may be evolved to arrest the steady deterioration now taking place. The Use or Inferior Breeding-stock. An important factor m the quality and quantity of production and m the raising of farmingcosts is that of inferior breeding-stock. Whether or not regulatory action to improve the position would be advantageous, as has been adopted in certain countries, is worthy of the closest investigation. The remedy generally advocated is stock-importation, and this no doubt is essential in a number of directions. More important, however, is a proper genetical study of the various breeding-strains already in the country, and from it the standardization of type leading towards the elimination of inferiority and the development of superiority. Up to the present the Department of Agriculture has played little part in developing methods of stockimprovement as it has in the development of many other farm practices, and until it is properly equipped in this respect its full function as the national guiding agent in progressive agricultural development cannot be realized. Animal Health. It is customary to congratulate ourselves on the absence of many serious animal-diseases rife in many other stock-producing countries. This, however, does not mean the leakage and consequent increased cost of production brought about by animal-disease is not serious. The position is far from satisfactory, and intensification of production brings in its train an intensification of the problem. Many of our most serious diseases are intimately connected with degrees in the plane of nutrition. Our grassland management and research has been more from the agronomic than the veterinary angle, and at present is quite unbalanced. Proper orientation from both angles is essential, but this will come about only by extensive research in problems now almost unexplored. On the one hand stock losses each year are costing us some millions of pounds, while on the other hand research aimed at their avoidance runs into a thousand or so annually. It is urgent that this position be rectified. In the dairy industry alone a reduction in the replacement of stock

4

H,— 29

lost through disease to a satisfactorily low percentage would reduce dairying costs, or, rather, raise labour-unit efficiency to a point where fertilizer-costs, the main maintenance expenditure of the dairy-farmer, could be offset. In sheep-farming, also, if the vitality of young and breeding stock were brought to a satisfactory point, farming-costs would be appreciably reduced. The maintenance of animal health is so vitally concerned with reduction in costs of our two great primary industries that the means to an end —namely, research into all phases of diseases under conditions existent in New Zealand —should be vigorously prosecuted by the best brains procurable. The Department has already moved in this direction by improving the research facilities at Wallaceville, and the action of the Dairy Board in being prepared to subsidize extensively research into cow diseases should enable real progress to take place. Average Efficiency. The average efficiency of our farming is being seriously lowered by the percentage of low efficiency farms involving high unit-production costs brought about by a variety of circumstances, such as low stage of development, insufficient working capital, and non-standardization of farming methods. The non-standardization of farming method, with its variants and modifications that must exist, dependent on soil, climate, topography, size, transport, and marketing, represents one of the main reasons for our very wide divergence of efficiency. Non-standardization is largely due to the lack of endeavour that has been devoted in the past to a real study of what should constitute scientific farming under our conditions or, better, what are the factors that must be directed and controlled whereby high efficiency is realizable. High farming efficiency in most cases results in high production efficiency per unit of labour employed, and this combination is the essential in lessening production-costs. The raising of the average to a higher level than at present will therefore tend to stabilize the farmer and thereby stabilize the Dominion economy. Standards representing real efficiency are urgently required to be defined and attained throughout the whole range of agricultural products. The Department has already efficiency standards in dairy production, and dairy-farming progress has been largely influenced by these standards being used as regular measuring-rods that the dairy-farmer applies to check up his practices. Regulations. In the earlier stages of the history of the Department regulatory measures were invoked to protect others from the consequences of the inefficient farmer or to protect the inefficient farmer himself. Agricultural legislation, however, may be directed either to the products of farming or to the processes of production. The first has in most cases reference to the quality or type ,of product, and the other to what the farmer should or should not do in the production of his goods. Agricultural legislation directly relating to products can be viewed in general as of great value, inasmuch as it can be made generally applicable, and can be satisfactorily and successfully administered. Enactments compelling the farmer to observe regulations at the production end often fail to achieve their objective, due largely to their having been enacted in advance of the standardization of farming method that would enable such legislation to function satisfactorily. The most notable example on our statute-book is the Noxious Weeds Act. An intensification of regulation governing farm products would appear to be desirable, leading to standardization at a high level, and at the same time the development of standardization at as high a level as possible of the products the farmer buys, such as stock, seeds, fertilizers, and labour. On the other hand, regulation of what the farmer should or should not do in the actual production of his goods should be avoided until such time as the real standards of farm-management are accurately determined by organized research. There is, however, already available a large store of knowledge on the problem of farming efficiency, and it should be one of the main objectives of the Department, by intensive extension work, generally to promulgate better farming methods in every direction where they can be applied. At the production end the objective must be educational. Steady improvement can be brought about by the amassing and dissemination of knowledge based on accurate farm-management study, rather than by regulation, and the administration of the Department of Agriculture is gradually being moulded along these lines. A. H. Cockayne, Director-General.

5

H.—29

LIVE-STOCK DIVISION. REPORT OF W. C. BARRY, M.R.C.Y.S., DIRECTOR. The year just closed has been a particularly arduous one for this Division of the Department, attributable largely to the increasing animal population of the Dominion, the rapid expansion of the swine industry, and the more intensive efforts for the suppression of ragwort. Thus, obviously, officers have had their activities increased in the field, laboratory, meat-export works, and at headquarters. The satisfactory position as regards animal-diseases is being maintained, and the Dominion is still free from the more serious diseases. It is recognized, however, that the present ailments of stock, particularly of dairy cattle, call for still more intensive investigation, and the intention is to increase the staff of veterinary research officers as soon as suitable officers can be secured. Health of Live-stock. horses. The position in regard to the contagious diseases of horses is a very satisfactory one. With the exception of the occurrence of some cases of strangles, no contagious disease of horses is reported. About forty horses were affected with this disease in one outbreak, but no deaths occurred. The breeding of draught horses, mainly of the Clydesdale breed, continues to be a feature of farm-stock production in the South Island, principally in the Otago, Southland, and Canterburydistricts. The introduction of a number of stallions of the desired type has stimulated the breeding of this class of horse in some of the North Island districts. It is a fact, however, that a tendency to discard teams and replace them with tractors may give breeders a setback in that the prospective demand may not be sustained. Good prices have been obtained for draught horses throughout the year, the export of breeding stock to Australia being of considerable importance to the Dominion. The breeding of horses suitable for remount purposes is much neglected. Of the lighter class of horses the presence of hunt clubs in several districts tends to encourage the breeding of hunters and hacks. Some encouragement would appear to be necessary before any marked improvement in the breeding of horses suitable for remount purposes can be expected. CATTLE. Tuberculosis. —In the administration of the Stock Act, 7,706 cattle were condemned on clinical grounds or as a result of the application of the tuberculin test, compensation being paid in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The total number of cattle, exclusive of calves, examined at the various abattoirs and meat-export slaughter-houses was 417,706, a decrease of 61,257 on last year's figures. Of these, 28,427, or 6-805 per cent., were found to be affected with tuberculosis in varying degrees, a large percentage being only slightly affected. During the year the tuberculin test was applied to 20,577 cattle, of which number 970 reacted, 4-7 per cent. Actinomycosis.—The number of animals condemned for this disease and for which compensation was paid totalled 972. The Department continues to supply, through its various offices, the farming community» with potassium-iodide tablets for the treatment and cure of suitable cases, and many cured animals continue to produce. Malignant Growths.—The number of animals condemned and for which compensation was paid was 427. Blackleg. —The position in regard to the control of this disease remains satisfactory. A small increase in the number of outbreaks occurred in the Auckland district, but the disease did not appear in new territory. The total number of calves vaccinated in the blackleg areas of Taranaki and Auckland during the year was 28,969. This figure shows a considerable increase in the vaccinations as compared with last year's figures, the increase taking place in both districts. The increase in the period following vaccination, when calves may be removed from an affected area, is much appreciated by the farming community and by the officers carrying out this work. Anthrax. —The freedom of the Dominion from this disease is pleasing to record. Johne's Disease.—The evidence accumulated throughout the year shows that this chronic disease of cattle is being reported on several fresh farms from time to time. In the Waikato the disease was confirmed on seven fresh farms during the year, and in Taranaki the disease was shown to exist on ten further farms. Although on many of these farms the actual number of cattle affected with the disease is small the increase in the number of farms affected, together with the difficulty of knowing the exact extent of the disease in any one district, makes the problem of control of the disease a serious matter. The chronic nature of the disease, with the long period of incubation before clinical symptoms are shown, is a feature of the disease which handicaps the most enthusiastic worker in any survey as to the exact incidence in any district. In the control of the disease the Johnin test is being availed of by veterinarians in the Taranaki and Waikato districts. In the Waikato district this work is being carried out by Mr. Marshall, assisted by Mr. McDonald. In the Taranaki district Mr. Stephens, Stratford, carried out the intradermal Johnin-testing. The South Taranaki district work in connection with Johnin-testing is now being carried out by Mr. Alexander, Hawera. The slow and exacting nature of this work being carried out and recorded reflects credit on the officers concerned.

6

H. —29,

A semi-annual Johnin test is being applied to a number of herds, and reactors are being slaughtered. It is hoped in this way to eventually eradicate the disease from such herds. The draining or fencing of swampy areas and subsequent heavy dressing with lime are measures adopted with a view to eradication of the infection from contaminated farms. A series of semi-annual tests must be applied, and some time must elapse before any definite statement can be made. In order to prevent the spread of the disease it is now necessary to have all dairy cattle intended for shipment to the South Island tested by the double intradermal Johnin test prior to shipment. Although a limited amount of testing in this connection has been done, it is gratifying to know that so far no reactors have been found. This is evidence that the disease is confined to definite areas. Mammitis.—The position in regard to mammitis during the year would appear to be less satisfactory. The larger number of cases in many districts can be attributed to the very variable season with the higher rainfall in the spring and throughout the summer. Under such seasonal conditions the sanitation measures necessary in and about many milking-sheds cannot be maintained, and an increasing number of cows show mammitis as a consequence. In wet seasons there is an increase in the number of cows affected with pox on the udder and general abrasion of the teats, resulting in more cases of mammitis. A high standard of hygiene in the shed is difficult to attain in such a season. The facilities provided by the Wallaceville and Hamilton laboratories in the examination of milksamples for farmers are still being availed of and are much appreciated by owners desirous of a means of control. The mammitis-control scheme of the laboratory should be taken more advantage of by farmers as the value of hygienic measures in prevention cannot be given too much importance. Contagious Abortion. —This disease of cattle is in the same position as in former years. It would appear that a reduction in the number of outbreaks as compared with the previous season is to be recorded. The control of the disease must be based on hygienic measures adopted in the management, of the dairy herd, the isolation of affected animals, and the furtherance of the principle of selfmaintenance in regard to replacements in dairy herds. The testing of blood-samples by the application of the agglutination test is of considerable importance to the owner of the herd and also to the officer who is investigating the disease on affected farms. The control measures to be adopted depend largely upon the result of the blood test showing the extent of the disease in any herd. Temporary Sterility.—This trouble has been on a level with previous years. The investigations in regard to the several aspects of the aetiology of the condition of delayed conception in dairy herds are being continued. There is no doubt that delayed conception, as a breeding problem for the farmer, is not due to any specific cause, the female factor, the male factor, the disease factor, and the nutritional aspect all requiring to be further investigated. After investigation of the history of the trouble on many farms at the present time suitable remedial measures can be suggested. Cattle-tick. —The cattle-tick parasite was reported during the year to be present in some districts not previously infected or on farms where eradication measures had previously been adopted. It is difficult to understand the importance which is attached to this parasite in the light of present knowledge. The control measures of dipping and spraying affected stock and the burning of roughage so as to destroy the cover for the tick are effective measures so far as they apply, but it is a very difficult matter to control such disseminating agents as birds, hares, &c. Many owners in affected areas are now inclined to treat the presence of tick as of no consequence. Climatic conditions are, no doubt, a major factor in the limitation of the spread of this parasite. Grass Staggers in Cows (Grass Tetany).—The cases of this disease which occur in diary cows after calving have been seen in the Auckland district, mainly in the Waikato territory. Two cases are reported from the Wanganui district. The use of magnesium sulphate as a hypodermic injection to affected animals has given good results in a great many cases. Dolomite was used on fourteen farms as a preventive, and the results are generally favourable, reports Mr. Collins, District Superintendent, Auckland. Tympanitis (Bloat) in Cattle. —This condition did not cause any serious trouble during the year. It is remarkable that it has not been reported to the same extent as in previous years. A significant inference which might be drawn from this fact is that the incidence of the trouble was considerably lessened by the particularly wet spring and summer when the feed was remarkably soft and of a laxative nature. Much scouring took place in dairy herds during the spring and summer owing to feed conditions, and the production was not as high as expected on this account. " Foul Foot " in Cattle. —This condition, as was to be expected, was prevalent on many farms throughout the year. Farmers who had no trouble in previous years were confronted with the disease during the past season. The climatic conditions favouring muddy surroundings in and about the yards and paddocks are undoubtedly the cause of the increase in the number of cases. The use of a concrete walk-out from the shed and the more general use of concrete to control the muddy conditions associated with the movement of dairy herds will lessen the incidence of foot-troubles. Much advice in regard to the treatment of affected animals and also in regard to the prevention of the condition has been given by field officers. Ergotism and " Fescue Poisoning." —In districts where tall fescue is liable to become a rank growth and allowed to form seed heads there is always the danger of animals being affected with ergotism when the farmers use such growth for stock during the winter months of scarcity. There is not the same danger when the fescue growth has been controlled by suitable grazing throughout the season. Parasitic Disease in Young Cattle. —Parasitic gastro-enteritis and bronchitis still continue to be a problem for the producer who raises young stock. Many calves on dairy-farms are lost annually from this disease, and many more are of weak constitution following a severe attack of worms. In many cases weaning takes place too soon or supplementary feed is not supplied to make up for the deterioration in the feeding-value of pasture during the autumn and winter. Better-developed

7

H. —29,

calves with stronger constitutions would result from, a more prolonged feeding with milk or other reasonable substitute, and in the rearing of good calves better feeding is the basis of success. The production of stronger, better-constitutioned yearlings would improve the disease position generally in many herds in the course of a few years. SHEEP. A very satisfactory year has been experienced by the sheep-farmer in the matter of prices for wool, lambs, and fat sheep generally. Wool commanded very good prices throughout the season, and this, no doubt, largely influenced the good returns from lamb and mutton. . From a production point of view, the season commenced well with an improved lambing percentage, but, unfortunately, the wet spring and summer made it difficult to fatten and finish the lambs as early as usual. Although the lambs grew well they lacked finish early and many " seconds " were seen at the freezing-works in the early part of the season. In some districts an improvement took place later and the high prices ruling have resulted in a marked increase in the killing of sheep and lambs for export. Increased slaughtering figures are given for many works as compared with the previous season. At the same time there is a considerable carry-over of hoggets in poor condition and heavily infested with parasites. This is very general this year on account of the heavy rainfall and luxuriant growth of unsuitable feed for sheep, factors which favour parasitic propagation and infestation of stock. Some considerable loss of sheep from pneumonia in Otago and Southland was under investigation during the year, but generally no serious outbreak of sheep disease has occurred during the year. Photo-sensitization (Facial Eczema). —No major trouble was experienced during the year due to this condition. The climatic and feed conditions did not favour the onset of this disease. In the Gisborne district a small number of sheep were affected to a slight extent, as evidenced by the condition of some livers examined when stock in this district was slaughtered. During the months of January and February inquiries were made in regard to the condition in the Poverty Bay district. No cases of the disease came under notice in the Mackenzie Country or in Otago Central, although species of hypericum were seen in both districts. Parasitic Disease. —The control of parasitic disease in sheep during the past season has again proved to be very necessary if heavy losses are to be avoided. The unseasonable feed conditions for sheep throughout have made it difficult to carry over hoggets with any degree of immunity from loss. Hogget feeding and wintering is a more or less specialized branch of sheep-farming and unless farmers give special thought and attention to it the results are at times very discouraging. The provision of supplementary feeding in the way of hay, roots, ensilage (and in some cases oats and peas are available) reduces the risk of loss to a very marked extent. It is necessary also to provide a balanced ration wherever possible, as too much watery feed such as roots alone prove of doubtful value. Too much emphasis is often placed on the use of drenches of worm preparations without due attention to the feed conditions. In other cases, although the feed conditions are reasonable, drenching is totally neglected or left until the hoggets become weak and scouring takes place. The instructions given by field officers to drench early and repeat at intervals with a reliable drench such as the copper sulphate-nicotine mixture, and attention to the feed conditions are most satisfactory, and where carried out give very satisfactory results. It is pleasing to record that this drench is being quite generally used in the eradication of worms from infested stock. Infectious Enlero-toxwmia of Lambs (Pulpy Kidney). —Reports indicate that in the Otago district the losses from this disease were generally below the average of the last two years. In a few instances, however, lambs of an older age were affected with the disease, and this also applied to some losses recorded in the Nelson district. An extension of the vaccination of the pregnant ewe with a view to conferring immunity on the lambs through the colostrum, was organized and carried out by Mr. Dayus, District Superintendent, Dunedin. Mr. Dayus reports : "In all, 2,608 ewes were vaccinated with a vaccine prepared at the Wallaceville Veterinary Laboratory. In addition, observations were maintained on a group of 1,14:1 ewes, which were vaccinated by farmers, in some cases without help, with a commercial enterotoxsemia vaccine purchased from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Royal Park, Victoria. In all cases a suitable number of control ewes were reserved, which, with the vaccinated ewes, were depastured together. The results briefly show that in the group of 2,608 vaccinated ewes the losses of lambs from pulpy-kidney disease were eight, whereas in the control group of 2,500 unvaccinated ewes the losses totalled eighty-four, or in other words the losses of lambs from vaccinated ewes were 0-306 per cent., whereas the loss of lambs from the control unvaccinated ewes was 3-36 per cent. In the second trial, using the commercial vaccine, the losses of Jambs from 1,141 vaccinated ewes were 22, or 1-92 per cent., whereas the losses of lambs from 2,275 control ewes were 84, or 3-68 per cent." Lymphadenitis.—Although the incidence of this disease in sheep is not so high in New Zealand as in some other countries, it is, nevertheless, a disease which, from a carcass and meat inspection point of view, requires to be kept in check to enable the export of these products to be carried out without any undue restrictions. It has been clearly demonstrated that the regular annual palpation of live sheep will detect affected animals and a continuance of this practice on infected properties over a few years leads to a marked reduction of the disease in infected flocks. Furthermore, the precautions, previously outlined, at shearing-time should be more seriously adopted by farmers in order to reduce the incidence of the disease in the carcass to a minimum. The chronic nature of the disease which allows it to remain undetected in many cases until the carcass is examined for export may account for a lack of interest. Affected carcasses are rejected for export.

8

H.—29,

Mycotic Dermatitis. —One case of this disease was recorded from Canterbury, the badly affected pelt being forwarded to the Wallaceville Laboratory. Pregnancy Toxcemia of Ewes. —There was no increase in the incidence of this trouble during the year. In many cases the deaths followed a shortage or check in the feed-supply of the pregnant ewes, and the cases were more numerous after severe weather conditions, heavy frosts, or snow. In a rather severe outbreak in the North Island following several severe frosts, the mortality ceased with the additional feed provided, combined with a few days' regular slow exercise. Contagious Ecthyma (Sore Mouth). —Some vaccination in regard to the prevention of this condition in lambs has been tried, and so far the results are encouraging. No cases have been seen in the lambs previously vaccinated. Sheep Blow-fly. —A preliminary survey with a view to more intensive research work in regard to this pest has been carried out during the year. Further work will be executed during the coming year with the increased staff now available. Liver-fluke.—The presence of this parasite is mainly confined to the Hawke's Bay district, where its association in the causation of black disease has been previously recorded. It was also found on another farm in the Auckland district, where control measures are being taken. Foot-rot. —There has been an increase in this disease of sheep in some districts. The feed conditions and wet season favour an increase in the number of sheep affected. Lice and Ticks. —The previously recorded system of inspection of flocks inaugurated in the Poverty Bay district has continued to give good results and has reduced the prevalence of lice-infested sheep exposed for sale. More care in dipping is being exercised, and more interest is being taken by the farmer. The number of prosecutions for exposing lice-infested sheep for sale during the year shows clearly that much improvement is still desirable. There may be some excuse for men with small lots of sheep and no dipping facilities, but, generally speaking, the offenders are not confined to this class alone. PIGS. The number of pigs slaughtered for the season 1936-37 at registered premises was 1,062,510. Those slaughtered on holdings and examined at butchers' shops numbered 25,488, making a total of 1,087,998 carcasses, an increase of 63,008 over last year's figures. In addition, approximately 20,000 pigs are slaughtered annually on farms and consumed thereon, bringing the total estimated slaughterings to approximately 1,107,998. Of 1,060,835 carcasses coming under direct inspection, 194,517 carcasses were found to be affected in varying degrees with tuberculosis, the percentage infection being 18-33 per cent, (the majority of these showing only slight head lesions). The year's killings of pigs (minus those referred to for farm consumption) are as follows : Meat-export works, 807,041 ; abattoirs, 170,063; bacon-factories, 58,243 ; ordinary slaughter houses, 27,163 ; shops, 25,488 ; total, 1,087,998. Pasteurellosis and Suipestifer Infection. —These infections are responsible for a large number of the deaths in young pigs after the weaning-stage, where the major lesions are either pleurisy and pneumonia or enteritis, or occasionally the infection is of a septicemic nature. The experience of field officers in dealing with the above infections undoubtedly shows that much of the mortality in pigs from these causes can be prevented by improved methods of swine husbandry, with special reference to better feeding and housing and better sanitation and hygiene of pig houses and runs. Sarcoptic Mange. —This disease of pigs has been well under control during the year, no outbreaks being recorded. The practice of dressing pigs with oil to eradicate lice is a factor also in the control of sarcoptic mange. Necrotic Ulceration of the Skin.—This condition still remains on too many pigs sent forward for slaughter and is the cause of rejection of many carcasses. Where the standard of swine husbandry on a farm is reasonably good, no cases are seen, so that improved hygienic measures would eradicate the condition from many farms. Owing to the greatly increased interest in pig-keeping and the growing importance of this aspect of farm economy, Mr. M. J. Scott, M.A., B.Sc., of Lincoln Agricultural College, was appointed to the position of Superintendent of the Pig Industry in order to organize and co-ordinate the various activities necessary for swine husbandry along sound lines. Mr. Scott has submitted a report as under: — " The development that has taken place in the pig industry during the last ten years is displayed by the following figures : —

2—H. 29.

9

Year. J Number of Sows. Total Pigs killed, j As Baconers. As Porkers. 1927 .. .. .. 69,487 380,954 268,075 112,879 1928 .. .. .. 83,103 476,828 237,960 238,868 1929 .. .. .. 74,692 518,025 247,292 270,733 1930 .. .. .. 61,706 515,428 255,758 » 259,670 1931 .. .. .. 64,981 525,286 212,206 313,080 1932 .. .. .. 75,409 474,094 207,096 266,998 1933 .. .. .. 87,686 635,282 243,820 391,462 1934 .. .. .. 98,299 784,952 313,135 471,817 1935 .. .. .. 111,793 936,700 346,948 589,752 1936 .. .. .. 116,058 1,077,883 427,178 650,705

H.—29

" This table displays more strikingly than it can be said in words the increase that is continuing to take place in the industry. A little calculation shows that pigs killed per sow have increased from about 5J in 1927 to just over 9in 1936. This represents an increase in efficiency of sow-management of close on 100 per cent. The gradual change over from bacon to pork and back again in the last two years to bacon-production is also shown in this table. While our porkers have acquired a reputation for excellence on the English market that makes them wholly acceptable, our baconers are not so favourably received. Those interested in the industry realizing the difficulties ahead, and anxious for the welfare of a rapidly-developing bacon export trade, have been anxious to establish an improved national pig service in the Department, and as a result a number of developments have taken place, as follows : — " National Sow Recording : In response to frequent requests from the New Zealand Pig-breeders' Association and other interested organizations a national system of sow recording was instituted in December of last year. Under this scheme the Department undertakes, through its Stock Inspectors, to weigh the litters of any pedigree sow at three weeks and again at eight weeks. The owner then receives a copy of his sow's record after the details of breeding and mating have been checked by the Pig-breeders' Association. This seivice is an initial step in the selection of the better strains of breeding stock, a goal that will be attainable only when there are established a number of testing stations where the ability to grow with a, minimum of feed, plus the ability to produce a carcass of suitable quality, could be ascertained. " National Instructional Service : As from the Ist May Cabinet has given its approval for the application of a levy of 2d. per pig on every pig killed for the purpose of establishing a national instructional service for pigs. The organization for the administration of this levy is at present under consideration. It is hoped to establish a National Pig Council, representative of every section of the industry, whose business will be to determine the national policy and allocate the expenditure of this levy. An instructional service in both the Waikato and Manawatu districts controlled by the pig-recording clubs has achieved excellent results in both these places, and it is hoped that on a Dominion-wide basis similar results will be obtained. The specialized quality of both pork and bacon pigs calls for the active dissemination of all available information in order to have the right type of pig produced. By this same means there should be a tendency to improve the conditions under which pigs are kept, and so to remove the major causes of rejection and degrading that are now the chief source of losses in the industry. " Grading of Pigs : It has been felt for a long time that a similarity of price for pigs of both high and low quality has been discouraging to the producer of high-quality pigs and inimical to the best interests of the industry. In an attempt to introduce some improvement in the present grading of pigs a meeting of those interested was convened, and from this meeting a committee of ten was appointed. Their findings will be given careful consideration with the object of ultimately devising a plan that can be put into operation with a minimum of upset to an already well-established trade. The introduction of stricter grading at this stage may have repercussion on producers, exporters, and in the industry in general that would never have eventuated had grading been in operation from the beginning, and it is of considerable importance that a minimum of disturbances should be caused at this stage. It will be only by the whole-hearted and active co-operation of all interests that successful grading will ultimately eventuate." Dairy Inspection. In the safeguarding of public health through its milk-supply an important feature is the inspection by this Division of herds and dairies supplying milk for household use. During the past year, in cooperation with the Department of Health, special attention has been given to the recently-instituted scheme of milk for schools, ensuring that the milk for scholars is obtained only from approved premises. In the Dominion there are approximately five thousand dairies registered for the supply of raw milk. These are under strict supervision as regards sanitary conditions, and all the equipment is inspected periodically to see that it is maintained in a clean state, while, in addition, the herds themselves come under observation for inspection for disease. Many structural improvements have been carried out during the year, and a number of new sheds have been erected. Substantial improvement is noted in dairy premises generally. Live-stock Statistics. The 1936 sheep returns, collected as at the 30th April, showed that sheep flocks in the Dominion increased by 1,036,950 to a total of 30,113,704. An increase of 856,544 occurred in the number of breeding ewes. The number of sheepowners has increased by 352 to a total of 30,590. The number of cattle in the Dominion as at the 31st January, 1936, decreased by 39,421 to 4,254,078. The number of dairy cows within the total shown decreased by 1,587 to a total of 1,951,507. The number of pigs in the Dominion revealed in the 1936 enumeration was 808,463, being an increase of 45,708 on the previous year's figures. Horses show an increase of 3,184 to a total of 276,170. Slaughter of Stock. The total numbers of stock slaughtered at registered premises were : Sheep, 2,901,315 ; lambs 9,294,722 ; cattle, 506,141 ; calves, 1,045,827 ; swine, 1,062,510. .

10

H,— 29

The following table shows the stock slaughtered during the past year at freezing-works only, the previous year's figures being shown for comparison : —

For further purposes of comparison the following table is given, showing the killings of sheep and lambs at meat-export slaughterhouses over four periods, Ist October to 31st March in each year, as indicative of the slaughterings from the beginning of each season to 31st March : —

These figures show a decrease of 11,097 sheep and an increase of 266,714 lambs compared with the same period last year. Following are the numbers of each class of animal slaughtered under direct inspection during the year ended 31st March, 1936 : Cattle, 417,706 ; calves, 1,043,855 ; sheep, 2,687,518 ; lambs, 9,274,839 ; swine, 1,035,347. The following table indicates the respective classes of premises at which these animals were slaughtered : —

Stock slaughtered at ordinary slaughterhouses during the year ended 31st March, 1935, was as follows: Cattle, 88,435 ; calves, 1,972 ; sheep, 213,797 ; lambs, 19,883 ; swine, 27,163. Carcasses of pork killed and dressed by farmers, sent into butchers' shops and small factories, and examined by Departmental officers, numbered 25,488. In connection with the animals shown in the above tables as slaughtered at meat-export slaughter houses, the following numbers are returned as having gone into consumption within the Dominion : Cattle, 34,754 ; calves, 99,772 ; sheep, 187,810 ; lambs, 91,300 ; swine, 139,894. Compensation paid for Stock and Meat condemned. Compensation to the amount of £12,944 was paid out during the year for animals condemned m the field for disease under the provisions of the Stock Act, and £26,281 foi carcasses, or parts of carcasses, condemned for disease on examination at the time of slaughter at abattoirs, meat-export slaughterhouses, &c., under the provisions of the Slaughtering and Inspection Act. Importation of Stock. The following stock was imported during the year : Cattle, 40 ; sheep, 414 ; pigs, 5 ; horses, 24 (draught). Of the above animals, the following were placed in quarantine for the respective periods required : Cattle, 41 ; sheep, 7 ; pigs, 5. Exportation op Stock. During the year under review the following animals were exported : Sheep, 6,113 ; cattle, 15 ; pigs, 52 ; horses, 22 (draught). There was the usual movement of thoroughbred horses to and from Australia. Poultry. The poultry industry of the Dominion is one that presents very great difficulties in the attempts at bringing about a better system of organization, as in spite of the activities of the Poultry Board and the Producers' Federation, which it set up, the progress has not been as satisfactory as one would wish. Throughout the year the health of flocks has generally been good, but several instances of coccidiosis, especially in the North Island, came under notice.

11

c<x i Ye&r ended Ye£tr ended j T~)ppt*p?1iRp, st0ck - j 31st March, 1937. , 31st March, 1936. , InCTease " j decrease. Cattle .. .. ■■ 244,834 305,868 .. 61,034 Calves 957,141 986,145 .. 29,004 Sheep .. .. 2,121,925 1,882,446 239,479 Lambs 9,180,482 8,564,482 616,000 Swine .. .. 807,041 768,976 38,065

stock. I 1933-34. 1934-35. : 1935-36. 1 1936-37. ! ! ! Sheep 1,293,617 1,735,237 1,287,331 1,276,234 Lambs .. .. 6,030,575 6,626,315 6,269,694 6,536,408

. Meat-export Bacon Stock. Abattoirs. Slaughterhouses. Factories. Cattle 172,872 244,834 Calves .. •• 86,714 957,141 Sheep .. 565,593 2,121,925 Lambs .. .. .. 94,357 9,180,482 Swine . .. •• 170,063 807,041 58,243

H.—29,

The following is the report of Mr. C. J. C. Cussen, Chief Poultry Instructor " While it cannot be claimed that a great deal of advancement has been made during the year, it would appear that the industry is gradually settling down to a more solid basis and that the true possibilities and real needs of the industry are becoming better known. " The production of eggs and table poultry is an important branch of agriculture that warrants encouragement, and the assistance that is being given by the Government to those engaged in the production of these essential and valuable articles of food is fully justified. However, it may be advisable to remind those who may think of taking up the business as a means of livelihood that poultrykeeping on a large scale is a highly specialized business that should not be undertaken without first gaining some practical experience, if possible, on a successful poultry-keeper's plant, that there is a limit to the quantity of eggs that can be profitably marketed in this country, and that the prospects of building up a large profitable egg-export are not encouraging. " It is not desired to infer that the industry has reached the limit of its profitable expansion in this Dominion, for when it is considered that in Canada since the introduction of a system of egg-grading for local marketing, controlled and supervised by the Government, the average consumption per head of the population has increased from 202 to over 400 eggs per annum, it would appear that there is ample room for improving our industry by a better system of local marketing. " Census of Poultry, 1936—A census of poultry was associated with the census of population taken for the 24th March, 1936, and the following is the principal result, including fowls, ducks, geese, and turkeys : North Island, 2,316,058 ; South Island, 1,703,018 : total, 4,019,076. The proportion of poultry to population is higher in the South Island than in the North Island by about one-third. " Movement in the number of poultry over the last three censuses, including Maori flocks, has been :—

" The average number of birds per head of population has been as follows, Maori flocks not included : 1921, 3-3; 1926, 2-8; 1936, 2-6. The number of householders maintaining poultry numbered 166,354, an increase of only 242 on the 1926 figure. The size of the average flock is some 23-3 birds. The great majority of flocks are small, 81 per cent, of the total containing less than twenty-five birds. While the figures show a fall in the proportion of poultry-keeping householders to total householders, the returns also show that there were 504 flocks of 500 birds and over, as compared with 214 flocks of 500 birds and over in 1926, which would indicate that a larger number of poultry-keepers are specializing in the business and depending upon their poultry as a means of a good deal of their livelihood. •' Export— During the past season some 11,281 cases—33B,43o dozen—eggs were shipped to the United Kingdom, as compared with 11,915 cases—3s7,4so dozen—shipped the previous season. This shows a decrease of 19,020 dozen over the previous season's export. "It is regrettable to have to report that owing to the low price of eggs on the London market, and the fact that a number of the eggs shipped from Christchurch reached the market in a poor condition, the export was not a financial success as far as Christchurch and Otago provinces were concerned. Investigations are still being made, but up to the present it is difficult to account for the eggs arriving in poor condition. " It may be mentioned that though Christchurch is the largest egg-exporting centre in the Dominion the facilities for the grading, packing, and holding of eggs before shipping are inadequate, and the matter of providing better facilities for this work needs serious consideration if the export business is to be successfully continued from Christchurch. " Chick-sexing Examinations—Examinations were conducted by the Department at Wallaceville and at Christchurch at the end of August. In all, eight students undertook the examination, and two were successful. One qualified for a second-class certificate, and one who held a second-class certificate qualified to have his certificate renewed. If there are sufficient candidates offering the Department is prepared to undertake further examinations at the beginning of this hatching-season. " Disease. Intestinal coccidiosis caused some heavy losses in various parts of the Dominion during last year, especially in the Wellington, Foxton, and Manawatu districts. In order to protect the industry against the spread of the disease it was found necessary to place restrictions on the sale of stock from four large plants. Extra service was rendered by the instructional stafl to owners of these plants, and by a general cleaning-up of the plants, heavy culling of stock, and special care in the selection of breeding birds it is pleasing to be able to report that conditions have so much improved that the restrictions imposed have now been removed from three of the plants concerned. Poultry-keepers cannot be too careful to guard against disease, and the best preventive measures to employ are extra care in the selection of breeding-stock, rearing the birds on fresh ground, avoiding overcrowding, afid keeping houses as clean and dry as possible. " Wallaceville Poultry Station. —This plant continues to render good service to the industry. The quality of the stock is being maintained, and the introduction of the fresh blood from New South Wales is proving beneficial. The demand for eggs for hatching-purposes, and breeding-birds, by both

12

Census. Fowls. J Ducks. | Geese. j Turkeys. | Total. 1921 •• •• 3,491,567 379,988 46,234 73,220 3,991,009 1926 3,308,384 352,030 43,879 76,825 3,781,145 1936 •• •• 3,415,793 351,608 61,418 82,896 3,911,715

H.—29

large and small poultry-keepers is on the increase. Five feeding-tests with some two hundred adult pullets were carried out during the year, and five similar tests with a different lot of birds are being carried out this year. The result of these tests should prove of interest and value to poultry-keepers. " Chilled Eggs (Marketing) Regulations.—Visits of inspection to the various cool-stores showed that those concerned have complied with the regulations. Less eggs were cool-stored during last flush season, owing, it is said, to the fact that some difficulty was experienced last season in selling eggs marked ' chilled.' " In order to avoid trouble by persons who may be inclined to evade the regulations, I would recommend that the regulations be amended so as to prodide for the stamping of all cool-stored eggs. " Egg-laying Tests. —The four laying-tests at Auckland, Taranaki, Massey College, and Christchurch were again well supported. The birds and eggs were judged three times during the year by the Department's Poultry Instructors, and, generally speaking, the birds were found to be up to standard, while those competing at Christchurch were a little better than usual. " Three Khaki Campbell ducks did well at Christchurch in laying 935 eggs in fifty-one weeks, and six White Leghorns in laying 1,500 standard weight eggs in fifty-one weeks. " At the Auckland test one Khaki Campbell duck produced a standard weight egg on each day of the fifty weeks of the test, while a second duck only missed two days during the same period. " Instructional Staff. —The reports of the three instructional officers show that, in addition to other duties, some 1,398 visits of instruction were paid to poultry-keepers during the year. " The Instructors have had a busy time and are doing good work, which is much appreciated by poultry-keepers. " The improved facilities of motor transport provided by the Department have enabled the Instructors to get in touch with more poultry-keepers and render greater service to the industry, which is much appreciated." Wool. A good season was experienced by woolgrowers, as will be seen from the following report of Mr. J. E. Duncan, M.Sc., Live-stock Husbandry Officer and Wool Instructional Officer for the Department :— " The wool-selling season recently closed has seen the best returns to growers for nine years. From sales in the Dominion of 663,798 bales £14,903,257 was realized. Exact figures for the number of bales sent direct to London by farmers for sale are not available, but a fair estimate is about 80,000 bales which will fetch in the vicinity of a further £2,000,000, making the handsome total of somewhere in the region of £17,000,000. " A brief comparison of statistics for the last three years is interesting : —

"Wool sold at Public Auction.

" Another interesting feature this year, quite apart from the generally high trend of values, has been the abnormally small difference in price between the finest and coarsest lines of wool. Usually the former types of wool are worth about double the latter —e.g., at the first Wellington sale the previous season average Merino was fetching 14d. and average low crossbred 7d. This year at the last sale of the Wellington series both Merino and low crossbred averaged about 19d. It is often difficult to explain the vagaries of the wool market, but it appears that the strong demand and excellent prices for wool have been brought about by several factors, — " (a) With brighter economic conditions and greater spending-power vast numbers of people have been replenishing their wardrobes and furnishings. " (b) Stocks of wool in consuming countries were low, and there was very little carried-over wool at auction this season, so that current supplies were quickly absorbed and barely met the demand. " (c) There can be little doubt that huge rearmament policies overseas have had a great influence on the demand for wool, particularly the coarser sorts. " (d) Fashion in the dress trade also played a part. " On the whole this season the wool opened up well, in many cases being somewhat lighter in condition than usual, due to the abnormally wet season. There were complaints from the Wairarapa district that there had been a disastrous and mysterious drop in the weight of the local wool clip. However, taken over a number of properties, this reduction in weight averaging about 11 per cent.

13

1936-37. j 1935-36. 1934-35. Ofiered (bales) .. .. .. 668,397 768,933 527,283 Sold (bales) .. .. .. 663,798 737,454 471,512 Sold (lb.) .. .. .. 226,089,994 258,270,784 162,538,056 Total proceeds .. .. .. £14,903,257 £9,840,427 £4,401,010 Average price— Per bale .. .. .. £22 9s. £13 6s. lOd. £9 6s. 8d. Per pound . . .. .. 15-82d. 9-144d. 6-498d.

H.—29.

could be adequately explained as due to purely seasonal conditions without incorporating any mysterious causes. In any case, the light condition of the wool helped to enhance its value. There was a fair amount of stain and water-rot in evidence, as was to be expected due to the wet season, and some wools exhibited a break, but as is always the case when prices are high there were no complaints from buyers. These high prices for the lower-quality and inferior wools are not an unmixed blessing, for they invariably deal a serious blow to any progressive movement for woolimprovement, and lead in some cases to a slipshod preparation of the clip for sale, a number of growers pressing their wool ' all-in ' —i.e., not even bothering to skirt or remove the bellies —in the erroneous belief that during a period of high prices such practices will pass unnoticed. " When a farmer can get as much, or more, for his coarse, inferior, and often hairy wool as he can for his super lines, a state of affairs which happened quite frequently this last season, he sees no incentive to improve his wool, blissfully forgetting previous experience and what will inevitably happen again. There is no shadow of doubt that in the long-run it pays to grow good wool and get it up attractively for sale. " I have during the past season done all that 1 could to drive this point home to farmers and young farmers' clubs by demonstrations, lantern lectures, and exhibits at shows. There is no doubt that the Dominion organization of young farmers' clubs is an excellent medium for the dissemination of knowledge, as the members are nearly always alert and unbiased and keen to make use of any new knowledge they receive. " Correspondence on a large variety of subjects has been dealt with, including requests for reports on wool samples. During the year a number of special reports have been compiled, and a fair amount of data has also been collected on the subject of woolscouring in New Zealand. A complaint from Bradford regarding raddle-stained wool was investigated and the matter cleared up satisfactorily. While in Wellington I have attended meetings of the Wool Pack Committee of the New Zealand Standards Institute and of the Sheep Dip and Wool Scouring Committees." Rabbit Nuisance. The destruction of rabbits has proceeded satisfactorily throughout the year, and, with the exception of some areas in the South Island, most districts are able to report a decrease in the incidence of this pest. Rabbit Boards continue to do excellent work in their respective districts, and a large area of country is now under the control of these Rabbit Boards, with the result that several parts of the Dominion are now practically free of rabbits. For purposes of destruction strychnine is now being more generally used in combination with carrots, oats, or jam. Other methods are used as circumstances warrant —viz., phosphorized pollard, cyanogas, trapping, and shooting. The improved position as regards rabbits may be attributed to, firstly, the high prices ruling for skins and carcasses, secondly, the wet season in many localities resulting in the drowning of young rabbits ; and, thirdly, the enthusiastic work of Rabbit Boards. Noxious Weeds. The eradication of noxious weeds continues to be a difficult problem. Owing to suitable climatic conditions ragwort in particular made strong growth during the past season. The control of this weed was taken in hand by a good number of County Councils, particularly in the North Island, under a scheme approved by the Government and largely assisted by subsidized labour made available by the Employment Division of the Department of Labour. The luxurious growth and spread of ragwort during recent years has caused considerable concern, and from experience it would seem that local administration by County Councils is the most promising method for effective control. In the course of their operations these bodies also attend to the clearing of the weed on unindividualized Native land and unoccupied Crown land in the district, and altogether the work carried out by these Councils and their officers is most commendable. In dealing with ragwort in the South Island the judicious grazing of sheep is practised. Variegated thistle is still causing concern in east coast districts of the North Island, all classes of land being infested. In many parts good work has been done by landowners, but the large area of infested land makes eradication a serious problem. Some fairly good work has been done with blackberry, gorse, and broom. Much of the clearing is done during the months of winter,, when farmers have more time to give it attention. The flame-thrower is being more widely used and has proved effective in destroying heavy stands of these weeds. In portions of the South Island sweet brier is still proving a difficult weed to control, but some satisfactory work has been done in the clearing of Californian thistle. Some County Councils are now stocking weed-killer as a convenient source of supply for ratepayers. StAPF. Acknowledgment is made of the loyal service of the staff throughout an arduous year, also of the co-operation of those not actually attached to the Live-stock Division.

14

H.—29,

VETERINARY LABORATORY, WALLACEVILLE. REPORT OP C. S. M. HOPKIRK, D.V.Sc., OFFICER IN CHARGE. It is pleasing to be able to report that Wallaceville, which has been mainly a diagnostic laboratory, is assuming the rôie of a Veterinary Research Station. There have been additions to staff and additions to the outbuildings, where experimental animals can now be kept under more sanitary conditions than hitherto. Permission for the building of a new laboratory to be staffed and devoted to research has been obtained from Cabinet. Co-operation with field officers is availed of whenever possible, and it is believed that the diagnostic service of the laboratory to the field is improving. The development of the use in bulk of several types of vaccine has made it necessary to import material from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories at a minimum cost to the farmer. The production of large quantities of vaccine is at present beyond the facilities of the Laboratory, and to be able to supply the country heavy expenditure would be required. " Animal Health Notes," commenced several years ago under the editorship of Mr. D. A. Gill, followed by Colonel H. A. Reid, and now in the hands of Mr. L. W. N. Fitch, carry on as a medium whereby results of experiments and abstracts from journals not readily accessible to field veterinarians are placed in the hands of field officers. It is believed that this quarterly review is of practical use in departmental routine. In making this report I should like to acknowledge with gratitude the excellent work carried out in their respective spheres by the whole staff of the Institute. Staff. —Changes, by resignations and additions, have taken place during the year : — (1) Lieut.-Colonel H. A. Reid, 0.8. E., F.R.C.V.S., D.V.H., F.R.S.E., left the Laboratory in August, 1936, to take up the position of veterinary officer in the New Zealand High Commissioner's Office in London. (2) Mr. J. Evans, Farm Overseer, was retired as from Ist May, 1936, and was replaced by Mr. P. McMillan from Winton. (3) Dr. I. J. Cunningham returned from Sydney Veterinary School for the long vacation and carried out his usual work on male sterility. (4) Mr. V. G. Cole, B.V.Sc., was appointed as Parasitologist to the Department and is stationed at Wallaceville. (5) Mr. I. G. Watt, M.Sc., was awarded a bursary to study veterinary science at Sydney Veterinary School and is on leave from Wallaceville. (6) Mr. J. G. Peddie, B.Sc., has been recalled from Samoa to take up duties at Wallaceville as Senior Laboratory Assistant in Bacteriology. (7) Mr. B. A. Reynolds resigned to take up a similar laboratory position in Massey Agricultural College. In order to place the laboratory work on a better footing, Mr. L. W. N. Fitch has been given the responsibility of all routine diagnostic work, with the designation of Veterinary Bacteriologist. There are still many additions required to build the staff up to a standard which might be considered satisfactory. More particularly, research workers are needed in poultry, swine, and sheep diseases, and also in such subjects as sterility and mastitis of dairy cows. Diagnostic Work. —The work of both Hamilton and Wallaceville Laboratories has been well sustained over the year. There has been an increase in milk examinations under the mammitis-control scheme at Wallaceville, and an increase in poultry specimens received. The appointment of an officer to investigate the position of disease in the poultry industry is becoming urgent, for many deaths have occurred from leukaemia and coccidiosis, both of which, with our present limited knowledge, are difficult to control. The following material has been received for examination : —

15

Wallaceville. Hamilton. Mastitis milk-samples— Routine— Positive .. .. .. .. 306 2,792 Negative .. .. .. .. 322 2,315 Control Scheme — A Group . . . . . . .. 3,852 —60 per cent. 21,139 —63-5 per cent. B Group .. .. .. .. 2,220 —34 per cent. 9,385 —28-0 per cent. C Group . . .. a. .. 384 — 6 per cent. 2,828 — 8-5 per cent. Quarter samples .. .. .. .. 1,971 Biological test for T.B. . . . . .. 69 Contagious-abortion milks .. .. 7 Contagious-abortion wheys— Positive .. .. .. .. .. 140 Negative . . .. .. .. .. 296 Ewes' milk .. .. .. .. 9 Blood-samples— Contagious abortion — Positive .. .. .. .. 224 115 Negative .. .. .. .. 496 445 Pulpy-kidney ewes .. . . .. 107 Specimens from cattle (other than Johne's 188 disease) Johne's disease — Positive .. .. • • • • 133 Negative .. .. .. .. 184 Specimens from sheep . . .. .. 299 Specimens from pigs .. . . .. 196 Specimens from horses .. .. .. 16 Specimens from poultry .. .. .. 341 Tumours . . .. .. .. 59 Miscellaneous specimens .. .. .. 93 Biochemical Section .. . . . . 743 Total .. .. .. 10,248 41,426

H.—29

Cattle Diseases. Johne's Disease.—There has been some increase in the numbers of Johne's specimens examined. The majority of specimens have been from positive reacting animals which have been slaughtered under the Stock Act following test with Johnin. A large number of such reactors do not appear to be voiding Johne's bacilli, and scrapings from the mucosa of the alimentary tract in many cases fail to show the presence of the organism. Many reactors to the test are not clinical cases. We are still much indebted to Mr. Dunkin, of the Mill Hill Laboratory, England, for the supply of Johnin used in New Zealand. Using a culture also supplied by him, we have made Johnin at Wallaceviile which has proved on field test equally as satisfactory as that issued by Dunkin. With the advent of half-yearly testing of those herds from which cases of Johne's disease have been isolated from time to time, there is now some indication of the numbers of cows which one may find on initial testing of a herd. It is too soon to have had many herds retested since culling of reactors has been carried out. However, the primary test on twenty-five herds consisting of 1,458 head of cattle yielded 127 reactors or suspicious reactors—B-7 per cent. —whieh have been slaughtered. Mastitis.—The numbers of milk-samples being examined under the mammitis-control scheme show no diminution. The percentage of cows placed in C group has risen somewhat in the Wallaceviile examinations over last year. This may be due to the entry of new herds. Hamilton figures are much the same. In his report from Hamilton, Mr. Kidd, the officer in charge of milk examinations, stresses the fact that in dealing with 41,000 samples, 33,312 of which belong to the mammitis-control scheme operating in seventy herds, he and his limited staff are working under pressure for the greater part of the year. An attempt was made to get a useful statistical perspective of the results of the scheme, but for several reasons the figures obtained gave no indication of general improvement. This is due to entry of new herds from time to time, to the fact that a number of very large herds where milking of cows in strict order is not carefully controlled, are amongst the number examined, and also to the fact that farmers in the scheme cull fewer cows and milk more as a result of their knowledge of the state of the udder health of individual cows, thus making it appear that their herds are showing no improvement, whereas the farmers themselves are very well satisfied with the position. Very little original work on the mastitis problem was accomplished during the year at Wallaceviile, but a routine bacteriological test of the Laboratory herd was kept going. Mr. T. A. Blake, Veterinarian at Hamilton, has, however, given attention to treatment. He reports that 128 clinically affected quarters were treated—ll with chlorine, 24 with Entozon, and 93 with ammonia. All of these quarters were examined microscopically, but no cultural tests were made. Improvements, which in some cases appeared to be complete, occurred, and about sixty quarters were giving secretion normal in appearance following the treatment. The quarters are to be re-examined after calving to decide whether the cure has been permanent or merely temporary. Mr. Blake is inclined to approve of the ammonia treatment as being cheaper and possibly more efficacious than other methods, He stresses, however, the necessity for persistent attention over a period of a week or more with any treatment adopted. An abortion-free herd of forty-six cows shows eight dry quarters upon microscopical examination. Sterility.—The bulk of sterility work on bulls has been carried out in the Waikato by Mr. T. A. Blake. He has classified bulls by seminal examination this year into —Good, 24; fair, 29; poor, 37; bad, 19; sterile, 0. Two bulls entirely unable to serve were noted this year, similar to those recorded by Professor Lagerlof, in Sweden. An important finding late in the season was the presence in a herd of cows in the Waikato of the Protozoan parasite (Trichomonas bovis). This parasite has been associated in other countries with temporary sterility in dairy cows, the infection being carried by the bull from cow to cow. In view of this a careful watch is being kept for it by field officers. Treatment of the infected herd is being carried out by Mr. Blake with lactic acid. Male rat sterility work is reported upon fully by Dr. I. J. Cunningham in his attached report. Grass Staggers (Lactation Tetany, Hypo-magnesaemia). —The use of dolomite in prevention of hypomagnessemia was reported upon by Mr. D. Marshall in December. Thirteen farms were included, and where dolomite-treated ensilage or dolomite-licks were fed out, very little grass staggers was encountered, whereas cows on neighbouring farms not having access to dolomite or magnesium sulphate were frequently affected. After several seasons' use on farms where tetany had previously been observed it would appear that dolomite in ensilage acts as a preventative of the condition. Recently the theory has been advanced in England that tetany results from a high intake of manganese which temporarily depresses the intake of magnesium. Tables were given of farms where grass staggers occurred and farms which were free. Analysis of pasture in New Zealand has shown no such relationship between magnesium and manganese, but a method for estimation of manganese in the blood of cows is being perfected for use in the coming season so that the theory may be checked up. Sheep Diseases. Photosensitivity.—The Southdown lambs previously mentioned as having been obtained by crossing a photosensitive male with apparently non-sensitive females have this season been mated brother to sister. Lambing will occur in August, 1937. A photosensitive Southdown ram lamb has been kept perfectly healthy on hay, chaff, and crushed oats, but readily becomes sensitive to light if placed on cut green rye-grass or clover. The rye-grass acts rather more quickly than does clover in producing irritation. Circling Disease. —Numerous cures have again been reported, and specimens of heads and of live sheep have been received. While in all true cases of circling disease Listeretta can be found present, yet the suspected carrier— the small 0. ovis larva—has not been found present on every occasion in the nasal cavity. Where live sheep have been received at the Laboratory suffering from the disease the spinal fluid has been found turbid with cells, and on occasion organisms have been obtained on culture. There appears also to be an increase in roundcell content of the livers of sheep, particularly in relation to the small afferent blood-vessels. Further brain inoculation experiments in mice and spine inoculations of sheep have failed to create a typical case of the disease and have failed to suggest the presence of a virus as a primary infection. The mode of entry of the organism is therefore still obscure. Pneumonia. —A lobar type of pneumonia with considerable effusion of fluid into the pleural cavity has been noted in the Southland district. Many farms were affected and the disease had every appearance of being epizootic. The percentage of sheep affected on any one farm at one time was, however, small.

16

H.—29

Laboratory examination revealed a definite gram negative organism constantly present. Lesions could not, however, be set up by any experimental means with this bacterium in healthy sheep, although temperature reaction occurred. Intravenous injection produced an arthritis from which the introduced organism was recovered. No sign of parasitic damage of the lungs was observed, nor was the organism present similar to that described in New South Wales as causative of pneumonia in sheep there. Arthritis and Stiffness in Lambs. —Further spraying of docked tails of lambs with culture of a sheep strain of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae has resulted in typical post-docking stiffness at six to nine days following the operation. Also, in lambs which have been received with, stiffness as a symptom following docking. Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae has been recovered from joint cavities and enlarged bursa;. The organism E. rhusiopathiae- is not at fault on every occasion where paralysis or stiffness occurs, for lambs can be found showing spinal abscesses as a result of navel or docking infection, and due to a variety of organisms. It would appear, however, that the usual temporary stiffness results from docking infection with E. rhusiopathiae and only a small percentage of such cases become chronically infected to show enlarged joints. P-ulpy Kidney.—Vaccination experiments carried out by Mr. Dayus with a formalinized culture prepared at Wallaceville have again proved satisfactory for lambs when the ewe has been vaccinated prior to parturition. Preparations have therefore been made to import quantities of vaccine from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories of Australia, the dosage to be used being 5 c.c. and 10 c.c. for adult animals. Mr. Fitch is attempting to assess the degree of immunity conferred on the ewe and the lamb by vaccination, but has met with considerable difficulty because of the few healthy mice available. Results have not yet been finalized. Contagious Ecthyma.—Quantities of dried scab were prepared and sent out to the field, principally Otago, to be applied to hoggets to prevent the condition known as stomatitis. The vaccine was standardized by sheep scarification methods before being issued. The final optimum dilution was found to be 1-500 in the material issued. Parasites. —Various observations were made on round worm infestation of hoggets and the effect of drenching, but as the appointment of a- Parasitologist (Mr. V. G. Cole) has been made, no report will be issued on the work until the results have been confirmed by the appointee. Blowfly-control.—Mr. V. G. Cole has made valuable observations on the state of Blowfly Strike in Marlborough and is to continue this investigation next spring and summer in co-operation with Dr. I). Miller, of the Cawthron Institute, who is desirous of carrying out the biological work. Liver-fluke. —Mr. W. V. Macfarlane, who had been temporarily attached to Wallaceville, but who recently was permanently attached, has worked on the intermediate host of the New Zealand liver-fluke. He has demonstrated successfully by rabbit-feeding of cercarise that the intermediate host is a pulmonary snail known as Myxas ampulla. The exact type of swamp in which this snail may live has also been defined. It seems probable that- the spread of sheep liver-fluke has been limited by the inability of this snail to live in all types of swamp. Ragwort-feeding.—Four sheep and one cow have been fed since August with the green and fresh leaves of the rosette stage of Ragwort (Senecio jacoboea). The sheep have received 1 lb. each per day and the cow 2 lb. to the end of March, without ill-effect. The experiment is to determine whether fresh rosette stage ragwort is toxic in prolonged feeding. Cobalt Trials.—ln the attached report by Mr. Josland on biochemical work of the Laboratory reference to cobalt experiments will be found. In addition to his report an experiment carried out in the Arohena district of the King-country has shown very conclusively the benefit which sheep and lambs derived from drenching at three days and weekly intervals as against a monthly interval. After several deaths amongst control sheep die remainder had finally to be drenched with cobalt. This drenching had the effect of stopping the mortality and keeping the sheep alive until the end of the experiment. A report on this experiment has appeared in the departmental Journal. Enzootic Icterus. —Further cases of this disease have been examined, particularly for the Welch type of organism. Numerous attempts have now been made to isolate B. Welch or its variants, or to show the presence of a toxin in the gut by mouse inoculation, but without success. It is claimed in New South Wales that a type of B. Welchii is responsible for the condition of haemolysis. Pig Diseases. Specimens received, from pigs during the year have been largely from mortalities of animals of the porker stage. Sudden death in fat porkers has been found associated very frequently with serious Salmonella infection. In fact, Salmonella suipestifer would appear to be the most serious organism in swine disease in the country. Streptococci also have, on occasion, been considered to be causative of mortality, but not to the same extent as Salmonella. Zinc Poisoning.—Following upon the finding of excess zinc in the organs of pigs which died with symptoms of unthriftiness and stiffness, feeding experiments were commenced in conjunction with the Chemistry Division using zinc lactate as the most likely zinc salt to be found in the pig's food-supply. Zinc gains entrance by way of zinc lined iron pipes which are frequently used to run skim-milk and whey to the pig-yard. The zinc lining becomes converted to zinc lactate. Experimental groups of pigs became stiff and then seriously lame and unthrifty. Post-mortem examination showed the epiphyses of bones to be softened and the cartilage to be separating from the bone in places, There was a collection of sterile fluid in affected joints. Apparently the zinc had partly replaced calcium in the bones, leaving the bones softened and porous. Muscle insertions were found to be torn from the bone in places causing extensive haemorrhages. An article has been published in the Journal on the subject. Poultry Diseases. The main specimens during the year were cases of coccidiosis and lymphomatosis in its various forms. Loss from these two diseases has been increasing. Lymphomatosis.—Fowl paralysis and leukasmia have been common in the young birds of many flocks. Following the suggestion that fowl paralysis could be passed to clean birds by inoculation, numerous attempts were made by intravenous and subcutaneous inoculation of affected nerve tissue to pass the disease on to healthy birds. Affected birds have also been kept with healthy birds, but on no occasion has any trouble been caused by experimental means. Cultural work on leukemic birds has yielded no definite evidence to incriminate Salmonella types of organisms, as was suggested by previous work in that direction.

3—H. 29.

17

H. —29,

Histomonas Infection of Export. Eggs.—Experimental trials are under way to attempt to produce Histomonas infection similar to that found present in London in eggs shipped from New Zealand. Tuberculosis.—Evidence has been obtained and confirmed that pigs are becoming infected with tubercle bacilli of avian origin where fowls and pigs are run together. This is the first definite case of avian tuberculosis recorded in the country. Salt Poisoning.—Salt poisoning has been frequently suspected in the past in sudden mortalities amongst fowls, and feeding trials with salt in increasing percentages were carried out by Mr. Josland to find what amounts the fowl could stand. His report will give details. General. No experimental work has been performed on dogs, horses, cats, or goats. Arrangements were made, however, for a shipment of serum virus from Messrs. Burroughs Wellcome and Company for use in Napier to protect fifty dogs against distemper. The result of the trial has so far been good. One dog died— it is assumed from distemper—six dogs showed a rise of temperature following vaccination, but the remainder remained normal. Several months following the inoculation the dogs were reported well. No controls have been kept under identical conditions, the test being entirely a field trial, but many dogs unvaccinated live on the same and adjacent sheep-runs. Distemper is common in the district. Publications. (By Laboratory officers or resulting from Laboratory work.) " Tuberculosis in Farm Animals " —T. A. Blake, M.R.C.V.S. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 52, 226-231. " Dosing of Sheep for Control of Parasites " —C. S. M. Hopkirk, D.V.Se. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 52, 254. " Vaccination of Ewes against Pulpy Kidney (Infectious Entero-Toxaemia)" —C. V. Dayus. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 52, 289-292. " Deficiencies known or suspected in Live-stock Nutrition in New Zealand " —C. S. M. Hopkirk. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 53, 200-4. " Paspalum Staggers " —C. S. M. Hopkirk. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 53, 105-108. " Johne's Disease " —E. H. Stephens and D. A. Gill. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 54, 1-7. " Vaccination of Ewes against Pulpy Kidney " —C. V. Dayus. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 54, 65-70. " Dipping Mortality associated with Vibrion Septique Infection " —C. V. Dayus. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, 54, 170-1. " Treatment of Bush Sickness with Cobalt in the Arohena District " —C. S. M. Hopkirk. N.Z. Journal of Agriculture. ■ (In press.) NUTRITIONAL RESEARCH WORK. Dr. I. J. Cunningham, Research Officer in Animal Nutrition, supplies the following sub-report:— For the greater part of last year the writer was absent on leave and the activities of the section were under the direction of Dr. Marion M. Cunningham. Work has been continued on the relation between dietary protein and sterility, on magnesium metabolism, on vitamins A and D, and in other directions. Dietaby Protein and Male Sterility. In last year's report reference was made to the production of sterility in male rats by feeding proteins of poor biological value. This effect is produced by a diet containing 70 per cent, of maize, the remaining 30 per cent, being made up of minerals, vitamins, &c., necessary to complete the ration for the purposes of growth. When wheat completely replaces maize in this ration all the rats are fertile. The hypothesis was formed that the different effect of these two rations was due to the different biological value of the contained proteins. Further trials during the last year have been made with cereals other than maize or wheat. It has been found that when rye or barley is substituted for maize the rats fed these modified rations are fertile, whereas when oats is used as a substitute sterile rats are produced. From these results it Appears, therefore, that wheat, barley, and rye are favourable foods for the male reproductive system, while maize and oats are unfavourable. The question whether the differences between these cereals in respect to their capacity to provide nutriment for the testes is due to differences in the quality of the contained protein has also been investigated. Such investigation is possible since the degenerated state of the testes is the only apparent abnormality of male rats fed the maize and oats diets. The plan followed in the experimental work is to feed the maize diet modified by the addition of protein-rich supplements and to determine the influence of these supplements in preventing the testis degeneration which invariably results from use of the unmodified maize ration. Such a plan permits the effect of the supplement to be related directly to the development of the testes. Supplements employed so far are dried bull testes, dried ripe unstripped salmon testes, dried yeast, and marmite. With dried bull testes alone or with salmon testes plus dried yeast or marmite as supplements to the maize ration testis degeneration was entirely prevented. The conclusion has consequently been reached that the quality of the protein is of prime importance for the nutrition of the testes. A detailed account of this work is being published in the New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology. The work is being continued and expanded as rapidly as facilities of staff and accommodation permit. It is hoped to keep its application to domestic animals at the same stage by parallel experiments on large animals and by chemical investigation of the proteins of foodstuffs and other materials. Magnesium Metabolism. Grass Staggers.—Pasture samples from areas set aside in the Waikato district have been analysed regularly in order to collect further information and confirmation of previous results concerning the seasonal variation in the magnesium content of such pastures. The results are similar to those dealt with in the previous report. More extensive trials with dolomite as a preventive treatment against grass staggers were instituted last season, and Mr. Marshall reports a very considerable measure of success. In spite of these hopeful results, however, it would seem desirable to continue the free distribution for at least another year before recommending its general use in the Waikato district. The additional experience will enable field officers to give a more authoritative statement regarding its value.

18

H.—29

Dietary Magnesium and Urinary Calculi. —From work with rats on low magnesium diets the interesting observation has been made that bladder and renal calculi are found hi rats fed diets with high calcium content but with abnormally low magnesium content. Addition of magnesium so as to bring the content up to normal prevents the formation of these calculi. Vitamins. Assays of the vitamin contents of New Zealand fish-liver oils and of pig-foods have been made in continuation of the general plan to investigate these classes of material. Results of the assay for vitamin D in livers of various fish form the subject of a paper published in the New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology. The vitamin A content of meatmeal has been found to be 19 international units per gram, while that of groper-liver oil is in the region of 30,000 units per gram. This high vitamin A potency of groper-liver oil and the high vitamin D content already mentioned show that groper-liver oil is an extremely valuable vitamin concentrate comparable with some of the halibut-liver oils. It would seem desirable to encourage the commercial development of this oil. In this connection contact has been made with an overseas firm which reports that groper-liver oil could profitably be employed in the vitamin industry. Quantities up to several thousand gallons could be absorbed annually. It seems a regrettable fact that the groper harvest is small and that it is not so organized as to enable advantage to be taken of this profitable sideline. Miscellaneous. Analysis of pastures and of such materials as nicotine sulphate have been conducted in connection with inquiries received from field officers. Further work has been carried out 011 the toxicity of smuts. Samples of smut-infected materials and of pure cultures have been supplied by the Plant Research Station, but the work has not yet reached the stage where a report can be made. The toxicity to rats of neutral lead acetate was investigated. Amounts of | per cent., 1 per cent., and li per cent, of the ration were fed for a period of six months without loss of weight or death occurring. The lead was found to be stored in liver, teeth, and bones in amounts increasing with increased percentage of lead in the diet. Publications. " The Distribution of Magnesium in the Animal Organism and the Effect of Dietary Magnesium"—l. J. Cunningham. N.Z. Jour, of Sci. & Tech., 1936, 18, 419. "Grass Staggers and Magnesium Metabolism" —I. J. Cunningham. N.Z. Jour, of Sci. & Tech., 1936, 18, 424. " Further Data on the Vitamin D Content of New Zealand Fish Liver Oils "-—Marion M. Cunningham. N.Z. Jour, of Sci. & Tech., 1937. " Further Evidence of the Relation of Dietary Protein to Sterility"—l. J. Cunningham, C. S. M. Hopkirk, and Marion M. Cunningham. N.Z. Jour, of Sci. & Tech. (In the press). BIOCHEMICAL LABORATORY. Mr. S. W. Josland supplies the following sub-report: — The volume of routine work continues to increase, the total number of specimens dealt with for the period under review being 743. The experience in experimental procedure gained at Adelaide in 1935, and a brief period of hematological study with Dr. C. J. C. Britton of the Christehurch Hospital Pathological Laboratory staff, has proved invaluable in application to some of our animal-health problems in New Zealand. During the past year liaison has been established and maintained with those Cawthron Institute research workers who are engaged in animal-health problems. The following problems have received attention : — Bush Sickness. At Glenhope, Nelson, in co-operation with the Cawthron Institute, periodical hematological blood-examinations oh experimental sheep are being made. From a limited number of observations it is evident that the anemia associated with bush sickness does not appear until the condition is very advanced. At Mamaku a comprehensive experiment has been instituted to determine the following points : — (1) The nature of the anemia of bush sickness. (2) The curative efficiency of various mineral supplements. Groups of sheep are being treated as follows : — (a) Control group, on untreated pasture. (b) Cobalt-drench group, 0-1 mgm. cobalt per sheep daily. (c) Cobalt-salt lick, 1-6 drams Co. Cl 2 6H a 0 per hundredweight salt. (d) Limonite lick. (e) Untreated animals on a paddock top-dressed with limonite. The animals are being weighed and examined for blood histological changes at regular intervals. In addition, sheep at Wallaceville are being fed hay from Mamaku in an endeavour to produce and study the condition under laboratory conditions. Cobalt Metabolism. The observation by overseas workers that the feeding of cobalt to rats produces a polycythemia has been confirmed so far as massive doses are concerned, but in an experiment in progress where rats have been receiving 1 mgm. Co. daily each, over a period of ten months, only one out of eight receiving Co. has so far developed a polycythemia. The reason for this unexpected result is being sought. When four healthy sheep were drenched with cobalt sulphate equivalent to 1 mgm. Co. per 200 gr. body-weight daily, only one developed a polycythfemia. Two became anaemic, while one remained unaffected. Two hoggets drenched daily with 5 mgm. cobalt as sulphate became anemic after a period of ten months. In all treated animals there was small but definite storage of cobalt in the organs, the organs mostly affected being the liver and the pancreas. The experiments showed that the toxicity of cobalt even in massive doses for sheep is not acute, and provided farmers keep to the small doses recommended, then no danger is likely to ensue.

19

H.—29,

Rate of Excretion oe Cobalt. Experiments conducted in conjunction with Dr. H. 0. Askew, of the Cawthron Institute, have shown that when sheep are drenched with 4 mgm. cobalt only 2 per cent, of the cobalt administered appears in the urine, the remainder, beyond an indeterminate amount stored in the organs, being excreted in the faeces, the greater bulk being excreted during the first forty-eight hours. It follows, therefore, that drenching should be carried out every three or four days in order to maintain the absorption of cobalt at as high a level as possible. Mineral-deficiency. A series of ash.determinations on the bones of sheep of varying ages showed that there is considerable variation in the total ash content of the various bones in the skeleton of the sheep. The ash content of the head of the femur and proximal epiphysis of the humerus was found to be a reliable index of the degree of calcification. The ash values of a series of healthy lambs aged four to nine months indicate that calcification is relatively complete in the lamb at the age of four months. Bone-ash determinations, when supplemented by blood analysis, are of great assistance in the diagnosis of mineral-deficiency diseases. Calculi. Calculi submitted for identification from the Gore (Southland) area proved to be composed essentially of Xanthin. A'anthin calculi are common in the Moutere Hills district, but it is believed that this was the first occasion on which their occurrence had been demonstrated outside the Moutere Hills district in New Zealand. Salt Poisoning in Fowls. From time to time extensive mortalities in fowls have occurred in which there has been reason to suspect poisoning due to common salt. In some cases investigated it has been difficult to incriminate salt owing to the very small amounts recovered from the digestive tract of the birds. Experiments have confirmed Suffran's (1909) findings that the lethal dose of common salt for fowls is about 4 grams per kilo of body-weight. Hameatological Technique. The use of corpuscular constants in the classification of blood devised by Wintrobe has been applied to all histological examinations. Some normal variations established are :— Sheep. Rats. Mean corpuscular volume in cubic microns .. .. .. 32-40 40-49 Mean corpuscular haemoglobin percentage . . .. .. 31-38% 31-37% Total Number of Specimens Analysed. BloodSheep .. .. .. .. 345 Bone samples .. .. .. 44 Cattle . . .. . . 28 Urine samples .. .. .. . . 9 Rats . . .. . . .. 268 Miscellaneous .. .. .. 32 Horses .. .. . . .. 2 Bigs . . .. 2 Total . . . . . . 743 Eowls . . . . .. 13 Publications. The following articles have been published during the year :— " The Effect of Feeding Cobalt to Rats " (1936) —S. W. Josland. N.Z. Journ. Science and Technology, Vol 14 No. 5, 298. " A Note on the Colorimetric Estimation of Cobalt in Solution by Means of Nitroso-R-salt " (1936) —S. W. Josland and J. W. H. Lugg. Aust. Journ. of Experimental Biology and Medical Science, Vol. 14. " Total Ash of Sheep's Bones as an to Calcification " (1937) —S. W. Josland. N.Z. Journ. Science and Technology, Vol. 18, No. 8, 665. The following articles are in the press : — , New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology— " The Effect of Feeding Excess Cobalt to Healthy Sheep " —S. W. Josland. (Paper read at Auckland Science Congress, January, 1937.) " Rate of Excretion of Cobalt by Sheep after Drenching with Cobalt Chloride " —H. 0. Askew and S. W. Josland.

20

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1937-I.2.3.2.30

Bibliographic details

H-29 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1936-37., Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1 January 1937

Word Count
16,422

H-29 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1936-37. Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1 January 1937

Working