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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62


In March, 1892, there were 7,403,881 acres under artificial grasses, being an increase of 437,063 on the corresponding acreage of 1891. Of these 3,327,755 acres had been previously ploughed and, presumably, under grain or other crops, and 4,076,126 acres had not been ploughed, a large proportion consisting of what had been bush or forest-land sown down to grass after the timber had been felled and burnt, or partially burnt.

The following shows the acreage in sown grasses in each of the Australasian colonies:—
New Zealand 7,403,881
New South Wales 333,238
Victoria 174,982
Queensland 20,921
South Australia 17,519
West Australia 23,314
Tasmania 208,596

It will be observed that the area of land under sown grasses is considerably more than nine times greater in New Zealand than in the whole of Australia and Tasmania combined. When compared in size with the colonies of Australia, New Zealand is relatively small—about one-thirtieth of their total size—but when the grazing capabilities are compared, the relative importance of New Zealand is much altered.

Australia is generally unsuitable, owing to conditions of climate, for the growth of English grasses, and the amount of feed produced by the natural grasses throughout the year is very-much less per acre than that obtained from the sown grass lands in New Zealand—so much so that it may be stated that the average productiveness of the grass land in New Zealand is probably about nine times as great as that in Australia; so that the land of this colony covered with artificial grass may be considered equal, for grazing purposes, to an area of Australian territory about nine times as great.

The number of each kind of live stock, according to the census of 1891, is as follows:—
Sheep 18,128,186
Cattle 831,831
Horses 211,040
Pigs 314,644
Goats 9,055
Poultry 1,790,070
Ostriches 179
page 11

It will be noticed from the decennial export table that wool is still the largest article of export, and with the increase in the number of sheep consequent on the development of the frozen meat trade, this export is likely to considerably increase. A large amount of wool is now used in local manufacture.