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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

To the Editor of the New Zealand Country Journal

To the Editor of the New Zealand Country Journal.

Sir,—In answer to "Enquirer," re Dartmoor Sheep, five rams and six ewes of that breed were imported to this province in June, 1864, by Mr. Charles Reed, and used by that gentleman on his station, Westerfield, Ashburton. The rams were put to Merino ewes; and, for some three or four years the cross was persevered with, and produced most satisfactory results. Although bred and fed on the native grass of the Canterbury Plains, they clipped unusually heavy fleeces, and the wethers, when three years old, were sold to West Coast dealers, by whom they were much appreciated—as, although often travelled in winter through the ranges along the West Coast road, they suffered but little loss in weight, and always met a ready sale when the breed became known.

As the Lincoln and Leicester sheep became more fashionable here, and Mr. Reed's estate became improved, he crossed the half and three-quarter-bred Dartmoor ewes with those sheep, keeping no Dartmoor rams, even from his pure-bred sheep. In a page 182 letter received from him a few days ago, he informs me that he has about 25 pure ewes, and these he would sell, not considering them so profitable for close farming as the long-woolled breeds before mentioned. The wool is not so valuable as the Lincoln or Leicester; but, on rough country, exposed to common treatment, the quantity would more than make up the deficiency in price; while the sheep would be more hardy, the ewes would give much larger increase, and a given acreage would feed a much larger number than could be carried of the heavier breeds. The old Dartmoor sheep has been improved by crossing with other long-wools—as stated in my paper,—and so rendered more valuable. Should "Enquirer" be desirous of giving them a trial, I shall be pleased to give him the address of breeders in Devonshire, by whom he could be supplied.

I remain, Sir,

Your obediently,

J. T. Ford.

Hereford-street, Christchurch,