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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

The Canterbury Grain and Produce Market

page 211

The Canterbury Grain and Produce Market.

The three months which have elapsed since our last report have been very eventful as regards the Grain and Produce Market.

Wheat.—The rapid rise in the European markets—from various combinations, principally through the Eastern war and the partial failure of the Californian crop-lias had a very telling effect on this as well as all other wheat-producing markets, and it is to be regretted that our Canterbury farmers have been precluded from reaping the full benefit of the rise on the whole of their production of this cereal, in consequence of a large portion of it being of inferior quality. However, the result of the harvest will, on the whole, be far more satisfactory than was anticipated in the early part of the year. The moderate freights to London fixed by our various shipping companies have induced exceedingly large exports to that quarter; and it is now becoming very apparent that we are fast approaching the end of our available surplus; and, if care be not taken, we shall run ourselves short, as was the case at the latter end of last year. Our last quotations stood at 4s. 9d. to 5s., and 2s. 6d. to 3s., for milling and sprouted parcels respectively. We now quote the former at 6s. to 6s. 6d., and the latter at 3s. 6d. to 4s., with a firm market and brisk demand, especially for the former kind. We have reason to think that present rates will be sustained; indeed, we should not be at all surprised to see 7s. to 7s. 3d. touched in the spring. Stocks in farmers' hands are not heavy, and it is quite possible that millers will have to fall back on second-hand parcels. From all we can learn our wheat area for next season will show a very large advance on any previous year; and, in view of this, it is earnestly hoped that the Government will be prepared to meet the extra strain by providing a sufficiency of trucks and shed accommodation—which, this season, proved lamentably deficient. The weather of late, although seasonable, has been too wet to admit of sowing being carried on so vigorously as could be wished; but, with a few days of fine weather, we hope to see good progress made in this respect. Our neighbours in South Australia have enjoyed a splendid seed time, and, should they be fortunate with their harvest, it is expected that their available surplus for export will reach 300,000 tons, or nearly one-third more than any previous year.

Oats.—This crop has threshed out badly as regards yield, and our production falls far short of Government statistical returns. Our last quotations stood at 2s. 3d., but for some time past it has been quite obvious that this cereal was getting into low stock, and this was more noticeable in the Southern districts, particularly Oamaru, where prices have gradually advanced to 3s. 6d. for feed, and 3s. 9d. for milling. We quote the market very stiff at these quotations, and a great scarcity of milling parcels.

Barley is the only grain that has hung heavily, with little or no export enquiry. Our quotations for this cereal are nominally 3s. to 4s. 6d.; but, now oats have taken such an upward turn, it is quite possible that a good deal of feeding kinds will come into competition at an advance on our quotations.

Potatoes.—A very large business has been done in this article at 40s. to 45s. per ton, but the market is now quiet at the former figure.

Flour.—Millers are very busy, and all the mills, both here and in the south, are working full time, endeavouring to overtake orders. We quote first-quality at £17 in sacks, £17 7s. 6d. in 1001b bags, and £17 15s. in 501b bags. Bran, £4; Sharps, £5.

Dairy Produce.—Butter is in good supply, but enquiry from outside markets is very quiet. Cheese is likewise dull, stocks being unusually heavy. Our quotations are 9d. and 5d. respectively.