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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

The Dairy Industry

The Dairy Industry.

A consideration of these facts and figures leads us up very naturally to consider one most important side of the grazing industry, that of the dairy. Twenty-two years ago I found this department in an embryo condition. Settlers in all parts of the colony had an enormous produce of butter and cheese, but were dependent on local markets only, and the result was most unsatisfactory, as the prices obtained for a long time during the summer months were highly unremunerative. With the development of modern science, however, a change has rapidly been evolved, until now, by the aid of machinery, co-operation, and the splendid means of transit to the vast markets of Britain, the trade is assuming something like permanance. The growth of this important industry may be realised by comparing the produce of the year 1881 with that of 1891; the former resulted in 3,178,694lb cheese, and 8,453,815lb butter, while in the latter year the totals were respectively 6,975,698 and 16,310,912, being in the aggregate quite doubled in the decade. It may also be specially noted that of last year's total 1,969,759lb butter, and 4,390,400 cheese was made in factories, thus ensuring uniformity as well as superiority.

As to value of our exports in the year 1880, butter and cheese of the value of £1,033 was exported, while in the year ended March 31, 1892, no less than £287,102, viz., butter £189,102, cheese £98,000, was entered outwards, and these figures show an increase of £80,000 on the previous year. So that in this industry alone, and with a practically unlimited market, we have a colony specially adapted to supply or assist in supplying the same. By our co-operative factory system, with cream separators and machinery to do all hand work, we get the best possible results in quality and quantity, with the least possible labour to the farmers. It is only necessary for the settler to feed his cows well and milk them regularly, delivering his milk at the factory, when the cream is extracted by centrifugal process. In some cases these page 22 factories use the skim milk to feed pigs, but in many cases the farmer gets a price for his new milk and a return of the skim milk after passing through the separator, so that it is available for feeding calves and pigs on his own homestead. As to the quality of our dairy produce, the fact that both cheese and butter from our sunny land has realised the highest quotations in the London market speaks for itself. There are doubtless immense possibilities in store for this grand industry, and thus the door is wide open for those who are prepared to follow a farmer's life "to go in and possess the good land" which is before them.