The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72
The Frozen Meat Trade
The Frozen Meat Trade.
Account sales lately received by some of the Australian shippers of frozen crossbred lambs I have noticed are recorded as giving a net return of 13s 2d per head, plainly showing that from Australia we may expect very keen competition in the frozen meat trade, and more especially so seeing that they have, practically speaking, an almost unlimited and never-failing supply of large-framed, well-bred merino ewes to fall back upon for the purposes of breeding their crossbreds. It is page 7 therefore most important that we New Zealanders, seeing that no country in the world has better advantages for doing so, should once and for all make up our minds to only export meat of the first quality. However, at this point we must be careful, because we cannot afford to make too great a sacrifice of our clip, for it must be well kept in mind that wool is one of our products which brings in the most money in proportion to what it takes from the land and its cost of production. The fictitious prices ruling for freezing sheep last year, caused doubtless by the very wet season and the spirited competition, had, it is feared, a tendency to lower the high standard of our New Zealand frozen meat, and as same of these shipments had unfortunately to meet a heavy supply of Home-killed meat, this caused not only very low quotations but heavy loss to the shippers. From cards carefully compiled by Mr Peter Cunningham, of Christchurch, I find that New Zealand has exported during the two years of 92-93 162, 173, 937lbs mutton, equal to 2,494,972 sheep at an average weight of 65lbs per head and 773,416 lambs which averaged 38½lbs per head. The returns of sheep for the year of 1892 showed an increase of 809,617, and it is estimated that the returns of 1893 when complete will show about the same increase. These figures show plainly that we need neither fear any exhaustion of our supply nor need of deterioration in quality.