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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Expert Teaching in Dairy Matters

Expert Teaching in Dairy Matters

"The rapid development of this industry in Victoria is mainly due to expert teaching in connection with travelling dairies. The butter export from that colony has been increased during the past three years by this agency from 400 tons in 1889-90 to 2000 tons in 1891-92. It may therefore be fairly argued that the establishment of one or more peripatetic dairies would lead to the same results in New Zealand. The Government might, with great advantage, encourage the building of central factories to be fed by creameries situated in all suitable positions; that is to say, in districts where there are a sufficient number of cows to warrant the expenditure. To give a local illustration:—If a factory capable of manipulating the cream of three or four thousand cows was built in a central position—central as regards the convenience to the greatest number of outlying districts in the matter of railage, say at Addington—with creameries at Southbridge, Leeston, Oxford East and West, Rangiora, Fernside, Kaiapoi, Ashburton and elsewhere, by proper train arrangements cream could be sent from these creameries to the central factory once a day. The cow owners would take their new milk to the creameries, and have the skim milk foe consumption on the farm. In Victoria, where the climate is much hotter than in New Zealand, cream is sent by rail hundreds of miles to the great central factory in Melbourne. It is estimated that each creamery would cost from £350 to £400. A grant in aid of each would stimulate the dairy farmers to action. The money required for this purpose would be infinitesimal as compared with the great amount of good it would bring about to the small farming industry. It is reported that the Government have been advised to establish one or more dairy schools, for the instruction of young men and women in the art of butter and cheese making. The establishment of central factories (on the co-operative principle), would probably answer all the purpose. They would be on such a scale as to warrant the employment of the best experts which could be procured, who would have constant employment for half a dozen or more students at a time, to be thoroughly trained in the most modern methods of butter and cheese making. The dairy expert should pay periodical visits of inspection to the various creameries, and give occasional lectures on the breeding, feeding, milking, and general management of dairy stock, tor it is well known that all the care and skill which can be brought to bear on cream cannot secure the best results, unless the strictest attention in the above subjects is exercised. An address from the general manager of the Central Factory (who, it will be seen, must be a practical, as well as a theoretical expert), would have more effect than if given by an itinerant lecturer. Another great advantage to be derived from having fewer factories and a greater number of creameries is that those which were built would be sufficiently large to warrant the addition of a cool chamber, when the butter could be stored till the steamers were ready to take it on board. The matter of grants in aid of the dairy industry cannot be too strongly urged, when it is considered what money is being spent in other countries for the purpose of furthering that industry. In England a regular system of lectures upon dairying prevails throughout the country. There are twenty-one societies connected with the dairy trade. There are four dairy schools as well. The efforts made in England are comparatively small as compared with those made in Sweden and Denmark. In 1863 the first lot of butter, comprising only one hundredweight, was exported from Sweden to England and was sold for 90s per cwt. In 1890 the Swedish Government granted a large sum of money for the establishment of page 11 additional dairy agents, dairy instructors, dairy high schools, and two intermediate and eighteen lower dairy schools for the education of dairymaids. In 1891 that country exported 16,650 tons of butter, and the quotations for the finest Swedish butter in December last was about 142s per cwt. We submit that we have here an instance of the marvellous development of an industry when judiciously fostered by the Government of the country. The rise which has already taken place in the price of dairy stock is due to the partial development of the dairy industry. The decline in the potato and onion markets renders it imperative that other sources of income should be opened up, and no better presents itself than that of dairying. We must have less potatoes and more grass, corn, and roots. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the dairy industry should be fostered in every possible way."

Mr Olson said he represented one of the largest dairying districts in the colony, and he proposed first to move a resolution with regard to the establishment of peripatetic dairies. Nothing would tend to aid the industry more than this. He moved—"That two peripatetic dairies be established, one to be for each district."

Mr Murphy explained the system of peripatetic dairies in Victoria. When a district wanted the services of the dairy expert, application was made to the Department, when the Government expert and plant was sent up, the only condition being that the district should provide milk.

Mr T. Mackenzie, M. H. R., said he had prepared a motion to propose as follows :—

That with a view to the further development of the dairying industry in New Zealand, this Conference is of opinion that the Government should consider the propriety of at once establishing two or more peripatetic dairies of instruction." He would ask Mr Olson to accept that as more explicit.

Mr Olson agreed to accept the motion as suggested by Mr Mackenzie.

Mr Mackenzie would then second the resolution. He thought they must have the best men imported either from the Old Country or from Denmark, where butter making was really worked out to a science.

Mr Brydon drew attention to the fact that numbers of factories had been successfully started without any Government assistance whatever. They would all remember also that at the Dunedin Exhibition there was a model dairy in full work and lecturers, but the attendance was very small indeed. With regard to the Victorian system of giving bonuses for butter, he was of opinion that this was greatly abused. Another result of this system of bonuses, he might mention, was that the stocks of butter in Victoria were now so short that they were cabling over every day to the Edendale factory for supplies, and they were getting 1s 3d per lb for their butter. Now as regarded dairy experts, he might say that there are dairy factories now spread all over the colony, and anyone could get instruction at these better than by a peripatetic dairy or from dairy experts; that Mr Sawers might have done much good in the North Island, but in the South many of the cheese makers thought they knew quite as much as he did, and objected to him entering their factories as an inspector, and he did not think any more experts were wanted.

Mr Coleman Philips was of opinion that the establishment of peripatetic dairies would be found to be of the greatest possible value to the country. He knew that in the North Island the dairy farmers wanted educating badly.

Mr Sinclair said that they wished to so make their butter as to reach the London market. They had tried the experiment of engaging a Danish butter maker who had never done anything else, but they found that the system used in Denmark was not applicable here. The Danish market was so close to England that the butter was in the hands of the consumer in a short time, but here it was altogether different, and they had had to change the system. He would not oppose the resolution, but he did not think the establishment of peripatetic dairies would result in any good to the colony.

Mr Olson, in reply, took occasion to pay a high tribute of praise to Mr Sawers, the Government expert.

The motion was then carried on the voices.