The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62
Analysis of Manures
Analysis of Manures
The next subject taken up was that the Government undertake the analysis of manures, with a view to prevent fraudulent transactions, and the remarks of the Sub-Committee were as under :—"The manure trade is rapidly assuming large dimensions, and must ultimately become a very important one in New Zealand. Perhaps there is no trade from which the farmers of Great Britain have suffered so much as from that of patent manures and feeding stuffs. The Royal Agricultural Societies of the United Kingdom, recognising the importance of the question, have for some years past engaged the services of analytical chemists, and we have only to peruse their periodical reports to see how important their office is by their exposure of wholesale imposture upon farmers, in spurious manures. Last year Mr Channing, M.P., introduced a Bill in the British Parliament having for its object the prevention of the nefarious trading in spurious manures and feeding stuffs. If such a measure is deemed necessary after twenty-five years of close supervision by the Royal Agricultural Societies of the three Kingdoms, surely some such measure is likely to be required in New Zealand. Some of the Farmers' Clubs passed the following resolution in support of Mr Channing's Bill—"That legislation to prevent the sale of adulterated manures and feeding stuffs is urgently needed, and that the Board of Agriculture be requested to take steps to protect the British farmer in this matter.' We are not without evidence that spurious manures have been placed upon our own markets already. The late Director of Lincoln College, in his report on the analyses of manures, showed this very page 16 clearly, quoting a case of two samples of superphosphate, one showing 9.3 per cent., the other 24.93 per cent., of soluble phosphate, their relative values being £4 7s and £8 per ton, and yet they were offered and sold at the same price. The report goes on to say that samples of bone dust which came under notice were adulterated in various degrees as compared with the genuine article, showing the extent to which farmers are at times fleeced.
"You are aware that Mr T. Mackenzie, M.H.R., for Clutha, prepared a Bill entitled 'An Act for the better prevention of Frauds in the Manufacture and Sale of Artificial Manures for Agricultural Purposes." A Sub-Committee of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association spent much time in considering this Bill, and offered suggestions for its improvement, but nothing came of it. Some measures should be taken in the matter. In making the above remarks we are, of course, conscious that there are manufacturers whose goods are what they are represented to be, and against whom we do not want protection."
Mr T. Mackenzie moved—"That this Conference is of opinion that adulterated manures are sold in New Zealand, and that legislation is necessary to protect agriculciuturists from fraud."
Mr Allison seconded the motion.
Mr D. McLaren mentioned a case in which he had sent manure for which he had paid £6 per ton for analysis, and it was found that it was only worth £1 16s per ton. He suggested that manures should be graded into first, second, and third classes.
Mr Kyngdom said there was no doubt, without analysis, farmers were unable to discover adulteration.
In reply to a question from Mr Brown,
Mr Mackenzie said what was intended to be done was that all vendors of artificial manures should append to the packages an analysis of the manure. If the purchaser was not satisfied then three samples were to be taken out of the package—one for the purchaser, one for the vendor, one for the Government Analyst, whose analysis was to be final.
Captain Willis could not see why they should not have a public analyst, whose services would be available at a small charge for farmers to have their soils, &c., analysed.
Mr Sinclair suggested that Mr Mackenzie's Bill of last session be reintroduced with the amendments proposed by the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association.
Mr Fitzroy could not see why they should need the Government to interfere. It would be the survival of the fittest, because if a man sold adulterated manure his trade would fall off.
Mr D. Thomas thought that the proposal of Mr Mackenzie would protect the sellers of manure as well as the farmer. What the farmers should do was to refuse to take any manures without a certificate of analysis, and then the sellers would soon do this.
The motion was then put and agreed to.
The Conference adjourned to 10 a.m. on Friday.