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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

The Grain Statistics

The Grain Statistics

The next subject was the question of obtaining earlier publication of agricultural statistics, and the remarks of the sub-Committee were as follows :—"The present system of collecting the grain statistics is considered utterly unreliable. As an illustration of what we mean, take the past season; the enumerators (who, to say the least, should be practical men), made their calculations when everything looked most promising. Previous to that time (speaking for Canterbury) there had been a fine growing season, and the grain crops gave promise of the heaviest yield experienced in Canterbury for several years; unfortunately, however, immediately after the enumerators had made their last round a parching drought set in, and as the previous moisture was only surface deep and the evaporation was so great, the crops, especially on the lighter lands, suffered very severely, so much so, that at one time it looked as though they would be a total failure. Crops which were doubtless estimated at from thirty to forty bushels per acre were reduced to twenty, fifteen, and ten bushels. Then, again, a wet harvest was a further cause of diminished yields. It will, therefore be seen how unreliable under such circumstances the returns must prove. It is therefore suggested that all threshing machines should be licensed, requiring the owners to make returns of all grain threshed by them during the season. This method, page 13 coupled with the employment of expert enumerators, would lead to more reliable results. You will, therefore, be asked to give your opinion on the matter, with a we to arriving at a better system than that at present prevailing."

Mr D. Thomas moved—"That Government be asked to have the agricultural statistics published at an earlier date, and that all threshing machines should be licensed by County Councils, and required to furnish a record on 31st May and December 31st of all grain threshed by them, in order that a more accurate record of the grain in the colony might be obtained."

Mr McLaren seconded the motion.

After some further discussion, in which Messrs Fitzroy, Pashby, E. T. Rhodes, Brown, Macfarlane, Kyngdom, Waby, and Olson took part, the motion was put and carried on the voices.