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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 44

'II.—Green Crop

'II.—Green Crop.

'Where it is found expedient to refresh the soil by a change of crop, or when extra feed is desirable for the sheep, abundant crops of turnips are grown by simply having the land once ploughed and sown broadcast, the expense of ploughing, sowing, and harrowing only costing 16s. per acre. Last year 400 acres on Elderslie estate managed in this way maintained 9000 sheep for three months in good condition. The eating-off was done by subdivisions of the field, one being in use at a time. This year there are nearly 2000 acres in turnip and mangolds.

'Rape has also been sown broadcast, producing excellent crops at a cost for ploughing, 9s.; harrowing, 2s. 6d.; sowing, 9d.; seed, 1s. Total per acre, 13s. 3d. Upon the rape as many as 12 store sheep to the acre have been fattened off in a good season.

'The average return from grain crop, after deduction of cost of realising, may be estimated as follows:

'Charges on wheat: Railway charges are at present 3d. per mile per ton. Taking 40 bushels of 60 lbs., equal to 10 bags to the ton, the grain can be placed on board a vessel for London for—railway carriage, 3s.; harbour dues, 2s. per ton—say 5s.

'The total charges to London, including the cost of putting on board at Oamaru, amount to 1s. 8d. per bushel. If wheat in London brings 45s. per quarter, this allows the grower 4s. at the station on the land. Forty bushels to the acre is an ordinary good crop, but 65 have been reaped. Assuming 30 bushels as a low average, this at 4s. per bushel gives a return of £6 an acre. Deducting £3 an acre as the expense of cultivation, harvesting, &c., a free profit of £3 an acre is left at low prices. In some seasons, £15 an acre has been cleared by settlers. This last year a farmer adjoining Elderslie has threshed out the crop of barley from a field of 60 acres. The yield was 80 bushels an acre. The market price is from 6s. to 6s. 6d. per bushel. He will gross, say, £25 an acre, and after deducting all expenses, will net of clear profit at least £21 an acre.

'An agriculturist possessing moderate means, may do well page 47 on a good farm of 500 acres. The following is a fair statement of the annual average profit:

'The tenant should have a capital of £3 per acre; or, in all, £1500. This is a full allowance for stocking. Divide the farm into 10 paddocks of 50 acres each. Keep 150 acres in white crop, 50 acres in roots, and 300 in grass. The flock of sheep should consist of 1000 Lincolns or Leicester ewes. The tenant may begin with three-quarter bred for the ordinary flock, which may be obtained at 8s. a head. Improve the stock by keeping 15 pure rams, which may be got at £5 a head.

These sheep would average 10 lbs. wool per head. This, at the low average price in the colony of 9d. per lb., would yield 7s. 6d. each. This gives a total for wool of £375
The usual average increase is 120 per cent.; but, say, only 100 per cent., or 1000 lambs. One-third of these may be used to replace a third of the flock culled and fattened. This leaves 700 lambs to sell fat, after using the roots, say, 700 lambs at 10s 350
300 ewes sold fat at 12s 180
Average profit of 100 acres wheat, at £3 per acre 300
50 acres oats, at £2 100
All straw and part of the turnips to be used for fattening off 40 head of cattle to yield an average profit of £3 120
Total yearly income £1425
Deduct Expenses—namely:
1. White crop: Only the profit on this crop has been credited.
2. Root crop: If sown broadcast, say 15s. an acre; but if drilled it may be stated thus: 50 acres at 40s £100
3. Sheap-shearing: At the high cost of £20 per 1000; say with extras 25
4. Wages: The cost of the white crop has been already allowed for.
The cost of the root crop is charged above.
Cost of one shepherd—£60 wages, £25 rations 85
5. Repairs to fences, &c 50
6. Rates and insurances 20
Total expenses £280
page 48

'This sum, deducted from the receipts (£1425 – £280), leaves a net balance of £1145. In taking the cost of the cropping, it has been estimated as if it were all outlay, but if the occupant acts as his own ploughman, he will increase his gains. The above calculation is below the average which may be expected over a series of years. In good seasons, the expenses being fixed, the margin of profit is greater.

'The foregoing estimate is based on a fixed flock, but an active tenant can enlarge his profits by another line of action—namely, studying the market and buying stores favourably, then feeding them off and selling them fat. A constant local market exists for fat stock. The yearly consumption of Dunedin alone is 7600 fat cattle, 100,000 fat sheep, and 15,000 lambs.

'The sum of £1145 being left as the balance, after paying expenses, is chargeable with rent or the interest of the capital expended in purchasing the land. Estimating the cost of the land at £14 an acre, this at 7 ½ per cent, gives a charge of 21s. an acre, or £525 on the farm. Deducting this from the net profit, a balance is left of £620 for the tenant's income, being 40 per cent, interest on his capital invested in stocking the farm. He would have besides, his milk and butter, eggs, poultry, potatoes, and other produce for his family consumption. To those who make the rearing of poultry an adjunct of the farm, another source of profit arises. The market price of turkeys is from 15s. to 20s. a pair; fowls, 5s. to 6s. a pair; and ducks, 7s. a pair. Cheese-making can also be carried on to advantage.'