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 72


In introducing this subject for the consideration of this Conference, I propose to treat it under three distinct headings:—

1. What class of mutton and beef brings the highest price in the English market, and is such meat the most profitable that can be produced by the New Zealand farmer? In considering this question it may be convenient first to state certain facts that do not admit of a difference of opinion, and afterwards take those points on which there may be a difference.

It is beyond dispute that comparatively small breeds both of cattle and sheep make the highest price per pound, and therefore we may conclude that it must be the small breeds that will best fufil this condition.

2. What are the Breeds as regards cattle? I submit that there can be but little doubt that the Devons best supply our want. Granting that carcasses weighing from 600 to 750lbs do sell at the highest price per pound, and that when over 800 lbs. there is a progressive relative depreciation, with the increased weight. There is also another strong reason in favour of the Devons, they are more easily kept in high condition until they are fit for killing than any other breed. In this country where stall-feeding cannot be adopted the main qualities of the Hereford and Shorthorn for which they are preferred in England disappear by comparison. The above remarks, if admitted as correct, clearly points to the Devon, also as a most valuable breed for crossing with other breeds. In determining which are the best sheep to breed in New Zealand, we may well go for some assistance to the farmers of Great Britain, and we shall find that the comparatively smaller breeds are leading, especially the Shropshire Downs and the South Downs.

With reference to the Shropshire, a recent writer uses these words, "Tenant-farmers in England have not been slow to discern the rent-paying attributes of the breed;" and "It is an undisputed fact that in the show yard as well as in the sale ring they have, both in numbers and prices, distanced all others." And he goes on to say, "My opinion is that when the true merits of the Shropshire are better known here by page 24 ping their first calves at about two and a half years old they were equal to four-year-old cows. For crossing purposes they were also admirable, as he had proved at shows at Christchurch and Melbourne. For butter-making they were also good, although for that purpose he preferred a strain of the Jersey. With regard to crossing, he had seen it stated that the Ayrshire was produced by a cross on the Devon and Jersey. In some situations he doubted whether there was a much better animal, but where larger animals could be kept he thought the Ayrshire was not so profitable, besides which, in consequence of their small teats, only four can be milked in the same time required to milk five Holsteins.

Mr Barnett said he had tried the Ayrshires with a cross of Shorthorn, and had found them really good milkers. After crossing once he had gone back to the Shorthorn, and now had a splendid strain of milking cattle which were also very saleable for meat.

Mr W. Henderson said the Shorthorn held the record of the world, and his advice was to get a good milch cow and keep on breeding from her.

Mr Murdoch thought the best way to get reliable information was from dairy factory managers, who were not interested in any particular breeds, and who were in a better position to give information as to which was the best breed than even the breeders themselves. They would also be in a position to speak of the quality as well as the quantity of milk to be got from the various breeds.

Mr Buchanan said he was not in a position to give expert evidence as to the best breed of dairy cattle, but the late Mr Fleming, of Port Levy, who was one of the pioneers of the dairy industry, had a pure Shorthorn cow for many years, which had a bull calf, subsequently sold to the Rev Mr Raven. He (Mr Buchanan) could without difficulty spot the progeny of that bull throughout the district, as they were so remarkable for their early maturity and beef-producing qualities, which bore out what had been said as to the good qualities of the Shorthorn.

Mr Overton said there were not in the Ellesmere district such good cows as they had in the old days of Shorthorns. He, like others, had gone into half-breeds, and, very much regretted to say, had, in a way, assisted in the terrible deterioration of the cattle of Canterbury, which were not equal to the former for the dairy or beef; and he would strongly advise those who had a good milking strain of Shorthorns to stick to them, and, if they were careful in the selection of a bull, would never regret it. Shorthorns were very hard to beat, although he had not a word to say against the Holstein, for he had no experience of them.

Mr Pattullo said in his district a favourite breed was a cross between the Shorthorns and Ayrshires.

Mr Pashby said his experience was that it was best to get a bull from a good milker and breed from that bull. It was more important to do that than to get a heifer from a milking family.

Mr W. Wilson said his idea of the best kind of cow was a halfbred Shorthorn and Jersey for butter, which was also a good butcher's animal, and for cheese he should suggest a Holstein and Shorthorn, or Ayrshire and Shorthorn.

Mr Gray said they should study the indications of milking qualities in cattle, as was carefully done in Jersey, not only with regard to giving a large quantity of milk, but also to the capacity for holding that milk. If they did that he believed it would result in great benefit.

Mr Kirkbride said the Auckland province was eminent for its dairy cows, and any cow which showed a cross of Jersey breeding was worth there from £1 to £2 more than any other breed.

Mr H. Reynolds said he had found that cows with a dash of the Jersey gave an extra 2 per cent, of cream. He also pointed ore that the cow which gave the most butter far was the most valuable animal.

The resolution was then put and carried.