Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62



Mr. Mechi was not far out when he said that "muck was the mother of wealth." The condition of things in this Colony renders the manufacture of farm-yard manure (the best of all) in anything like appreciable quantities impossible. The demand for auxiliary manures must, therefore, go on increasing in proportion as our maiden soils become exhausted, and the culture of turnips extends. Already the demand has reached some hundreds of tons per annum, and as the raw material cannot be procured in anything like sufficient quantity within the Colony, we shall have to import largely to make up the deficiency.

Perhaps there is no form of imposture from which the British farmer has suffered so much in the past, as that practised on him by the vendors of spurious manures, worthless seeds, and feeding stuffs. Hundreds of tons of worthless rubbish used to be pawned upon unsuspecting farmers to their serious loss, until at last the evil became so serious that the Royal Agricultural Societies of England, Scotland, page 18 and Ireland took the matter in hand, and employed competent chemists such as Voelcker, Way, Cameron, and others, who undertook the analysing of manures, feeding stuffs, and soils, at a nominal charge, and large numbers of frauds were detected and ruthlessly exposed in the Journals of the Societies referred to.

The result is, that the great bulk of manures now offered for sale are genuine, and worth the money demanded for them. Colonial farmers will have to take the matter in hand and take care that the growing demand for manures does not lead to a spurious trade which may be attempted as soon as the demand becomes great enough to attract the attention of unscrupulous traders.

The remedy is in our own hands. Refuse to purchase manure except on guaranteed analysis. No honest trader will object to supply this, but it may be replied that few farmers know enough of chemistry to understand an analysis. My reply to this is, that the Laboratory at Lincoln College is always open to receive and to test, free of cost, any samples of manures sent there. It will thus be seen that we can protect ourselves against fraud. I must in justice add, that so far as I have ever heard, the manures imported to this Colony from Home manufactories have proved to be of high quality. Dealing with firms of long standing is an additional safeguard.

The following extract, from a Home Agricultural Journal just to hand, bears me out in what I have already stated, as to the necessity for caution on the part of farmers. Speaking of superphosphates, the writer says: "In the case of superphosphate, a practice has recently come to light, which, in the interests alike of the consumer, the broker, and manufacturer should be exposed. It appears that an unusual strength, showing, say only 24 per cent, of soluble phosphates, is being freely sold by certain dealers in Lancashire, &c., as the standard quality, viz., 26 to 28 per cent.; of course, at a slightly, though not sufficiently, reduced price. By analysis, the inferiority is at once detected, and, therefore, every purchaser should not fail to adopt this obvious precaution against imposition. The chemical reports of the Royal Agricultural Society have abundantly proved that it is not alone sufficient to purchase with a guarantee; the article should be analysed, for of what use is a guarantee unless means are adopted to verify the quality. Quite recently we heard of superphosphate guaranteed 30 per cent, soluble turning out on analysis 22 per cent."

page 19

The application of artificial manures requires much consideration. The majority of our soils, however, are deficient in lime, so that, generally speaking, superphosphates will meet most requirements. However, this is too large a subject to do more than refer to in a paper like this. Speaking of manures reminds me of the story told of the Scotch farmer, who, when he was on his death-bed, called his son to him, and said, "Andy, my boy, never go in debt, but if you do, let it be for dung."