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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Breeding of the Most Profitable Cattle and Sheep for Freezing Purposes

page 23

Breeding of the Most Profitable Cattle and Sheep for Freezing Purposes.

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.

Conveyance of Poison.

The Revising Committee's remarks were a follow:—"From accidents which have already occurred during the transit of poison the attention of the Conference is against drawn to the necessity for a more careful system of carrying the same."

Mr Buchanan said he had been asked to move, "That in view of recent accidents the Railway Commissioners be asked to have more care taken in the transit of poisons." He remarked that poisons brought out from Home were often so badly packed that they could mix with other articles, and he thought they should ask the Government to place restrictions on the import of poisons, which should begin at Home. Fatal consequences had arisen from carelessness in this respect, and he thought they would quite agree with the necessity for doing something in the matter He would not move the resolution that had been placed in his hands, but as follows:—"That the Government be asked to introduce and pass an Act which shall deal with [unclear: thi] question."

The motion was seconded by Mr Mai thews.

Mr Lowes thought the question short have been left to Chambers of Commerce.

Mr Grigg did not agree with that, and thought farmers were primarily interested in the matter.

Mr Bradey said he had seen on the wharf in Wellington, arsenic and sugar and currant all mixed together.

The resolution was then put and carried.

Rabbit Fencing.

Mr Stuckey moved, "That this Conference suggest to the Government that a clause be inserted in the Fencing Act of 1893, makin[unclear: g] wire-netted fence of dimensions a legal fence and compelling adjoining owners to particle pate in the cost of construction and maintenance, and that no larger mesh than 1? in be recognised." He thought anyone of experience in this matter would agree as to the necessity for this resolution. He had netted a plac[unclear: e] about 3500 acres, and now one man coul[unclear: d] page 25 keep the fence in repair, and there were virtually no rabbits on the land. Most of the settlers in his district were in favour of such a clause being inserted in the Act, because at present a man who tried to keep the rabbits down was at the mercy of a careless neighbour. He thought also the railway carriage of wire-netting was too high, as compared with the carriage of other commodities.

Mr Rhodes seconded the motion, saying that the small settlers in Canterbury were now of opinion that wire-netting fencing was a necessity. It should also be made known that such fences should be allowed as improvements at the termination of the lease.

Mr Buchanan opposed the resolution, as he thought they would inflict injury on settlers in New Zealand by passing it. Where the roads were few and far between such a resolution could be given effect to without injuring anybody, but what would be the ultimate result of it where the country was intersected by roads? All the roads would have to be rabbit-netted on both sides, which in many cases would only be erected with difficulty; frequently a settler would try to force a neighbour to put up such a fence when he had no necessity for doing so, and as farmers had but little money to spare they should be left to choose their own way of expending it within certain limits. If the staff of rabbit inspectors was any use, then there was no necessity for the resolution, and if not then let them be got rid of. If an Act could be passed which would be confined to certain localities, there would be some good in it, but an Act of general application he did not think would be productive of any good.

Mr Hare also objected to the passing of any Act compelling neighbours to fence one with another. In his neighbourhood the rabbit inspectors had done splendid work, and the country was perfectly clear. The settlers had borne the stringent measures pluckily and well, and some had even been ruined by them, and the farmers who had spent all their profits by killing the rabbits would feel it very much if they had to re-fence all their land.

Mr Fisher thought such a clause as proposed would be very hard, but he was of opinion an Act could be passed which could be brought into force in districts by the request of the settlers in those districts and not otherwise.

Mr Gray objected to the general application of the clause, but saw no objection to inserting a clause compelling mutual fencing in proclaimed districts. They knew some of the fences erected by rabbit boards had been partially effective, and he thought the time was coming when a farmer should have power to recover from his neighbour part of the cost of fencing.

Mr Grigg supported the motion, which he thought was based on common-sense and fair play. If Mr Gray's suggestion was carried out, there could be no objection to it whatever. It was evident the small occupier would be protected as much as the large occupier, and the most effective way of getting rid of rabbits was to fence first and then kill them inside the fenced area. If it was necessary that adjoining settlers should pay for boundary fences, it was certainly as necessary they should do so in the case of erecting rabbit-fencing

Mr Borrie said he had been told that rabbit-fencing was not much more expensive than a good sheep-fence.

Mr Pattullo said the difference was that the rabbit fence cost £72 10s per mile and a sheep-fence £50 or £55 per mile.

Mr McLaren said it was only fair they should be enabled to ask their neighbours to join in helping them to keep pests off their land.

Mr McDonald asked if sheep-fences would have to be removed to make way for rabbit-fences. If so, many small farmers would be ruined.

Mr Williamson said a man who was infested with rabbits had quite enough to do in fighting them without having to erect a fence to keep them from his neighbour who had not got them.

Mr C. Orbell said the Government runs were in many cases the breeding-places of rabbits, and they must see what was to be done with those lands.

Mr Chaytor said this clause would be in favour of the small settler, and he thought any fence erected ought to be passed by the local sheep inspector.

Mr Roberts supported the resolution, which he thought would be of great assistance to many settlers in his district, where as many as five and six rabbits to the acre had been killed. He knew of men in his district who had to fight against an influx of rabbits from adjoining lands, on which no steps wore taken to keep down the pest. He might say that during the coming session, Mr Fraser, the newly-elected member for Wakatipu, would move in this matter in the House, if Government did not take up the question. North Island people did not really know what a rabbit pest was. The configuration of the country in the North Island was not so adapted to the spread of rabbits as the flat land in the South Island. He felt sure that the rabbit difficulty could be successfully handled by a system of wire-netting.

Mr M. C. Orbell was convinced that the time would soon come when every small settler would have to wire-net his property.

Mr J. Macfarlane thought the difficulty in the North Island was that the land was more rotten and that the fences would not be much benefit, especially if they were compelled to keep to road lines and boundaries. He should vote against the resolution, as he thought it would bear hardly on some small settlers.

Mr Pashby said he would support the resolution if the mover would insert "in rabbit-infested districts" after the last words.

The Chairman said the mover agreed to that. The resolution, he continued, was rather sweeping, but he was sure the interests of the smaller settlers would be carefully looked after. He spoke in terms of high praise of the rabbit inspectors, but, notwithstanding that, he said he would rather have a few miles of rabbit-netting than the whole lot of them. (Applause.)

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Mr J. Anderson thought the small settlers would be the ones to benefit by this proposed clause being added to the Act.

On being put to the Conference, the resolution was carried on the voices.

Promotion of Irrigation Works.

The Revising Committee's remarks on this subject were:—"It is a source of regret that our Government has not seen its way clear to make any progress in the way suggested at our last Conference in the improvement of the work of irrigation, and it is now thought that our county councils with the assistance of the Government might do something to encourage the promotion of irrigation works, not losing sight of the importance of working on a comprehensive plan."

Mr Grigg moved, "That the Government be asked to appoint a competent engineer who may be consulted and requested to report on any districts requiring water for irrigation, regard being had in all eases to the present or future requirements of the adjoining districts." More would be thought of this question, he said, before long than now. The settlers were very slow to avail themselves of the advantages of irrigation in the Ashburton district, but in one portion a company was proceeding to irrigate, and if that was successful he was sure the county would be inflamed with a desire to follow suit. The works should in every case be undertaken only after consultation with a competent engineer, and he thought therefore they were quite justified in asking Government to appoint such a person, seeing that so great a benefit would be gained by the introduction of water to large areas of land in all parts of the Colony.

Mr Williamson seconded the motion, thinking that the increase of produce would be more than one-half if irrigation was properly carried out all over New Zealand. Nothing would advance the interests of the Colony so much as irrigation, and nothing would pay the Government better than to expend money in that direction.

Mr Wilson agreed with what had been said as to the benefits of irrigation, but reminded the Conference that the mere irrigation of land was not sufficient. Irrigation only would quickly exhaust the land in many cases, and they must supply manures also and see carefully to the drainage. In Hawke's Bay he thought they could grow anything with proper irrigation, and he hoped the Conference would derive some benefit from passing the resolution.

Mr Buchanan spoke from personal experience of the wonderful results obtained by proper irrigation in various parts of America, and he thought that irrigation would play a most important part in the future of Canterbury.

Mr Hall said he had seen a good deal of irrigation in Australia, and was convinced that irrigation was not yet out of the experimental stage, and was still very expensive.

Mr Barnett said the question was, what was to be done with the water placed on high and poor land, when it came to pass over heavy, good land?

Mr Grigg said the application of irrigation to gardens, as in Australia, as referred to by Mr Hall, was not in his mind when speaking to the motion. As to its damaging the low land after passing over high land there was very little danger of that in a large part of Canterbury, and in other parts the rivers were so close together that there would be no difficulty in passing the water into then Let them help at first where there was no obstacle to begin with, and then the other districts could be dealt with in due course. As to the deterioration of land by the growth of crops, he said there was a great delusion on that subject. If the land could bear [unclear: gors] seed for so many years without [unclear: deteriorsation] did not that upset the idea that land could be so quickly exhausted He had himself irrigated some of his [unclear: wors] land, and he found one man was able to irrigate hundreds of acres, and lambs put on the irrigated grass did as well as on rap[unclear: e] course they must be put on thin, and not to soon after the water had been taken off, as it required the sun to restore the saccharin matter to the grass. There was no reason to fear exhaustion of land in consequence of irrigation, for the growth of grain crop[unclear: s] irrigated land in New Zealand, he maintained was impracticable, but in grass land [unclear: the] must be a continuous addition to the fertility of the soil if fed off by stock. The exhaustion of the soil by weeds is what the agricultural have most to fear.

Mr Murphy spoke of the great benefit that had been obtained in Ireland by mean of irrigation, by which the rental value of land had been in some cases increased from 8s to £2 an acre.

The resolution was then put and carried.

Sale of Live Stock by Weight.

Mr R. Reynolds moved, "That inasmuch as all the vegetable products of the farm an sold by weight it is suggested that fat cattle fat sheep and fat pigs should be sold in the same manner, and that all auctioneer selling at their own yards and every registered saleyard company be compelled to pa vide the necessary means for weighing animals at their yards, if requested to do a by a majority of stockholders selling in sue yards." He pointed out that the [unclear: practi] was largely in vogue in America, and was satisfactorily reported upon.

Mr Buchanan was in favour of the practice but did not think it should be made compulsory. However, the gain would be [unclear: enmous] if they effected the revolution propose He seconded the motion.

Mr Grigg said he would vote for the [unclear: moti] if the compulsory clause was left out, bu[unclear: t] thought there was not so much in the proposal as some seemed to think. The question of judgment and the question of the price per pound were very nearly the same, and it would only benefit those people who knew nothing about the weight of an animal, and who [unclear: ma] arrangements for selling their stock with a consulting a competent authority.

Mr Henderson thought scales would be [unclear: ve] useful in selling outside the yard, but [unclear: insi] the experts knew practically the exact weight and no more money would be got for a [unclear: be] page 27 even if it was accurately weighed, than under present circumstances.

Mr Pattullo said the buyers and sellers would simply have a little more guidance than at present.

Mr C. Brown remarked that the system would prove useful if the buyer said his steer was 8 cwt and the butcher contended it was only 6 cwt. (Laughter.)

Mr Fisher said the matter had been brought before the Conference simply to have it ventilated.

Mr Kirkbride favoured the principle contained in the resolution, but he did not like the compulsory clause.

Mr May said he had always found it most satisfactory to buy by weight.

Mr Reynolds said he had no objection to strike out the compulsory portion of the resolution.

The resolution as amended by substituting the word "requested" for "compelled" was agreed to unanimously.

Deputation to Railway Commissioners.

Mr Grigg detailed the result of the interview held between a deputation from the Conference and the Railway Commissioners on matters affecting the farming community. He said the deputation had been received in a very kind and business-like manner, and the Commissioners had gone thoroughly into all the matters brought before them. He moved, "That inasmuch as the Committee appointed by this Conference to wait upon the Railway Commissioners with a view to a reduction in freights upon produce finds that such reduction must largely depend upon the funds available for additional rolling stock, this Conference therefore urgently requests the Government to grant the necessary funds as soon as possible."

The motion was seconded by Mr M. C. Orbell, and carried.

Foot-Rot in Sheep.

The Revising Committee reported as follows:—"The exclusion of all sheep suffering from any contagious disease from public sale-yards would in many ways be advantageous, but it is one of those things which, even though desirable, would be most difficult to accomplish."

Mr Bedford moved, "That this Conference affirms the desirability of excluding from public yards all sheep suffering from foot-rot."

Mr Chaytor seconded the motion, thinking it was very desirable they should take steps to prevent the spread of foot-rot, which they had heard was of an contagious nature. He did not believe it was spontaneous, and his experience had always been that the disease was caused by contagion. They ought to have some regulation to prevent it spreading, and it was quite worth while in districts where it did not exist to take measures to prevent its introduction.

Mr Matthews thought foot-rot was very much dependent on the condition of the season and the condition of the land at the time. Cold, wet land with very little grass was much better than dry land with much grass. He believed the disease originated in too much feed, from the ground not being perfectly consolidated, and from the warmth of the season.

Mr Henderson said he thought it would be very cruel to pass the resolution, as he believed that this year nine out of ton flocks were infected with foot-rot owing to the wet season and the quantity of grass.

Mr Buchanan spoke against the theory of the spontaneity of foot-rot proper, which he said was further proved by the fact that Professor Brown had discovered the actual microbe of the disease. He hoped the vote against the resolution would be unanimous simply because of its impracticability.

Mr Gray remarked that the theories of spontaneity and contagion were not at variance, and gave instances of the disease being apparently spontaneous and of others originating by means of contagion. As to the proposal before the meeting, he thought it was rather too groat an interference with the liberty of the subject, and would bear hardly in some cases.

Mr Grigg said he hoped this resolution would not be passed, as it was too strict in its nature, and they might be forging fetters for themselves by passing it.

After some further discussion the motion was put to the Conference, and lost on the voices.

At 5.30 p.m. the Conference adjourned until 10 a.m. next day.

Fourth Day.

The Agricultural Conference sat at 10 o'clock. Mr W. H. Beetham occupied the chair.

The Chairman said he had received letters from Mr H. Crawford, Miramar, and Mr Meredith Smith, Stratford, dealing with subjects that had been disposed of by the Conference. He wished to know if it was the wish of the Conference that the letters should be read. It was decided not to read the letters.

The Business of the Conference.

Mr Roberts then moved a resolution to define the number of delegates that each society should send to the next Conference, and to provide for the appointment of special visitors. After discussion, some amendments, the chief of which was the limitation of the number of invitees, were made to the resolution, which then read as follows:—"That each agricultural and pastoral association in New Zealand be entitled to send not more than two delegates to the next Conference; that the Arranging Committee be empowered to invite gentlemen who have special knowledge of subjects bearing on the business of this Conference to attend the same and take part in the proceedings; that the number of invitations be limited to ten." He said the opinions of such men would be extremely valuable to the Conference. He did not think that if such a resolution were carried it would actually increase the number they had got. Many of the small associations would not send more than one delegate.

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Mr Buchanan said he would like to make a suggestion to Mr Roberts to the effect that some arrangements be made that the proceedings of the next Conference be reported fully and brought out in pamphlet form or in the Country Journal. They were much indebted to the Wellington papers for reporting their proceedings at such length, but it was evident that in such reports many matters must be curtailed. It would be well to have a complete shorthand report of the Conference which could be submitted afterwards to some expert—say Mr Murphy. He did not think the question of expense need stand in the way of such an important matter being carried out.

Mr Grigg, in seconding the resolution, supported Mr Buchanan's suggestions, as such a report would be found very useful for the guidance of the various agricultural and pastoral associations of New Zealand.

Mr Overton said that before the report was published in pamphlet form it should be edited.

Mr Barnett considered if the suggestions were carried out the Conference would become too large, and so much more time would be required for the proceedings that a number of members could not afford to spend the necessary time at the Conference.

Mr Forster-Pratt was prepared to support Mr Roberts' resolution.

Mr Gray said that if the number of representatives included more than one-half of those engaged in farming these gentlemen might swamp the agricultural delegates.

Mr Anderson thought the number of delegates should be two for the larger and one for the smaller societies.

Mr Pashby would vote against the motion.

Mr Kirkbride was of opinion that they should not object to a number of invitees being present and giving their opinions, but they should not be allowed to vote.

Mr Roberts did not think it would be proper treatment to allow those delegates to be present and then prevent them from voting.

Mr Buchanan pointed out how valuable the opinions of gentlemen connected with shipping would be to the Conference. The information imparted by Mr Reynolds was of very groat value to the Conference.

Mr Grigg said that the admission of invitees to the Conference was not a question of figures at all; it was a question of principle. He considered that the presence of those gentlemen would be a disturbing element at the Conference. He would withdraw from seconding the motion if they were to vote.

Mr Buchanan then seconded the motion.

Mr W. Wilson moved an amendment that such invitees should not have the power of voting at the Conference.

Mr Overton said if they were to get useful information from these gentlemen it would be only right to allow them to vote.

Mr Lowes opposed the motion. If it were intended to have only one delegate from the small societies it would be manifestly unfair, and the question would arise what were small and what were large societies.

Mr McDonald thought it might be quite safe to leave the matter in the hands of the Otago Association.

The amendment on being put to the meeting was negatived.

Mr Roberts said that he had no doubt the Otago Association would take note of the suggestions made, and have the proceedings of the next Conference embodied in book or pamphlet. He was sorry that Mr Grigg had made an objection to members of the Chambers of Commerce being invited.

Mr Grigg asked to be allowed to explain. If they had half a dozen men present interested in shipping, there would be dust thrown in the eyes of the members.

Mr Roberts replied that he was not one of those conspirators.

Mr Grigg: Not conspirators, but natural enemies.

Mr Roberts said he had not spoken of shipping since he attended the meeting. If the question of selecting those gentlemen to be invited were left in the hands of the Otago Society they would be careful to ask only members of agricultural societies, men who were interested in furthering the interests of agriculture in their districts.

The motion was then put and carried.

Fresh Markets for Agricultural Produce.

The Revising Committee's remarks on this subject were:—"However desirable it may be to open fresh markets for wool and frozen meat, the Committee are of opinion that it would be extremely difficult to do. The question is one perhaps worthy of the consideration of the Conference."

Mr Dunlop moved, "That continuous efforts should be made to extend the markets for our agricultural products, especially wool and frozen meat and dairy produce, and that reports be published thereon as frequently as possible."

Mr Murdoch seconded the motion.

Mr Hall said they would find a very good market in Western Australia, where prices ruled higher than in any of the other colonies. When he was in that colony, some time ago, they were importing potatoes from other countries. He saw New Zealand horses fed there with New Zealand oats, and they had also New Zealand butter. Anyone who knew anything of the climate and soil, and the small amount of rain that fell there, must know that it was necessary that the people of Western Australia must continue to get many products from other countries.

The resolution was agreed to.

Keeping Stock on the Quarantine Station.

The Committee referred to this subject as follows:—"The present system of the Quarantine Island caretaker being allowed to keep stock of his own is considered by many importers in every way most objectionable."

Mr Ritchie explained that the Agricultural Department had taken over the management of Quail Island from the Customs Department, and that in future no stock would be allowed there.

The explanation was deemed satisfactory, and the matter was allowed to drop.

page 29

Government Inspection of Public Dips.

Mr Barnett moved, "That it is desirable that all public dips should be subject to Government inspection for the purpose of ensuring that proper dipping material be used." He said that sheep which were exposed for sale were often ordered by the inspectors to be dipped before being removed. The seller did not trouble himself much about the matter, but the purchaser often found that the sheep were not properly dipped. A person who took his sheep to a public dip often found, too, that the liquid was not strong enough to kill the insects. He considered there should be a standard for such dips.

The motion was seconded by Mr Allen.

Mr Lowes said his experience of sheep inspectors was that they were very careful in seeing that sheep were dipped properly.

Mr Bradey knew of one small flock that was not dipped for three years.

The motion was carried.

Illustrated Agricultural Reading-Books for State Schools.

The Revising Committee remarked:—"That Government be asked to encourage the introduction of reading-books such as are used in the State schools of other countries, devoted to descriptions of stock, crops and implements and plants, illustrated with the best types of the above."

Mr Overton moved, "That the Government be encouraged to introduce into our public schools reading-books more descriptive of agriculture." He pointed out that they did not want that all the masters should engage in teaching agriculture. What was asked was that books descriptive of agriculture, stock and plants should be introduced into the schools, and as far as possible be used as reading-books. He read a letter from the Education Department, in which it was stated that Professor Thomas, of Auckland, was engaged by the department to prepare a book on botany and agriculture for use in the primary schools of the Colony. The idea is to use the book in the country districts where agriculture is the prevailing pursuit, and another book on geology to be used in the mining districts. The study of one of these books is to be the elementary science required in the schools in which the book is used.

Mr Hare, in seconding the motion, said that farmers had not taken sufficient interest in education up to the present. There were splendid opportunities for taking University degrees, but there were none for taking degrees in veterinary science.

Mr Chaytor said it was very desirable that children who were to make their living by agriculture should have some idea of matters which interested them.

Mr Kirkbride had much pleasure in supporting Mr Overton's motion. He considered it a step in the right direction.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr Hare moved, and Mr Borrie seconded, "That this Conference wishes to impress on the Minister of Agriculture the necessity of facilities being given for the study of veterinary science in New Zealand by cholarships, and to enable the winners to study at Lincoln College and in Britain, and that as an incentive to study, some vacancies, as they occur, be open to competitive examination for the appointment of stock inspectors."

The mover and seconder spoke briefly in favour of the motion, which was carried.

Wheel Tax.

Mr Ward moved, "That this Conference recognising the injustice which the vehicle tax, in force in the Counties of Westland, Grey, Inangahua and Buller, imposes upon farmers, recommend to the Government the advisability of its taking the necessary steps to have the tax removed from vehicles the property of bona fide farmers and used solely for the conveyance of produce to market and in the ordinary work of the farm." Mr Ward said the farmers of Westland were subjected to a tax on the vehicles used for carrying produce to market, and in the general work of the farm. The tax is imposed by the West-land County Council, who had been requested to reduce it, but without avail. The farmers have no representative on the council, the mining population and the business people being in the majority. He was requested to bring this resolution forward, so as to get an expression of opinion from gentlemen engaged in agriculture on the injustice of this tax.

Mr W. Wilson said this was a matter which affected the local bodies.

Mr Grigg said the fanners of Westland were entitled to the sympathy of the Conference.

Mr Buchanan explained the circumstances which led to power being given to local bodies to make such by-laws when the Bill was before the House of Representatives.

The motion was agreed to.

Cultivation of Beet-Root.

Mr Bradey moved, "That, with a view to encouraging the cultivation of beet for sugar manufacture, there be an extension of the Act of 1881, offering a bonus for a further period of fifteen years."

The motion was seconded by Mr Murdoch.

Mr Grigg said the whole thing was folly. They grew beet in France and Prussia for sugar-making merely that the English labourer might have cheap sugar. He disagreed altogether with the system of giving bonuses.

Mr Gray did not think that the production of sugar from beet would over be a success in this Colony. He believed the system of granting bonuses was a mistaken one.

Mr Stuckey did not think, at the present price of labour in the Colony, there would be any chance of successfully engaging in growing beet for sugar-making.

Mr Buchanan did not think that some parts of New Zealand would grow beet that would contain sufficient saccharine to make them suitable for sugar-making.

Mr Brown said the industry was tried in Hawke's Bay some years ago, and it was a failure.

The motion was negatived.

Duty on Agricultural Implements.

Mr Kirkbride moved, "That in the opinion of this Conference all machinery, tools, and page 30 fencing wire and appliances used in the cultivation of the land should be admitted free of Customs duty." Mr Kirkbride said that as the prosperity of the country virtually depends on the farming industry, the farmer should receive every encouragement at the hands of the State. The speaker then went on to quote statistics showing the value of the agricultural exports of the Colony. As representatives of the cultivators of the soil, the Conference should do all in its power to remove any restrictions which might hamper or increase the expenses of the farmer.

Mr Hall seconded the resolution, and pointed out that it was obvious that agriculture was to be the mainstay of the Colony, and that manufacturers would have very little chance of competing with those of the old countries. Our agricultural products were sold in the open markets of the world, and it was therefore necessary that they should be produced as cheaply as possible.

After some remarks from Messrs Buchanan and Kirkbride, the resolution was carried.

Autumn Shows.

Mr Barnett proposed, "That the Conference draw the attention of the metropolitan agricultural and pastoral associations to the desirability of holding an autumn show of dairy and agricultural produce."

The recommendations of the Revising Committee were:—"The Conference should consider the desirability of holding an annual autumn show, to be peripatetic, to include stock, agricultural produce, fruit, &c., commencing at Christchurch, Easter, 1895."

The mover said this was a wide subject to deal with. He considered it would be an advantage to bring the agriculturists of both islands closer together.

Mr Hunter seconded the motion.

Mr Pattullo suggested that shows be held in both islands. He considered such a show would be productive of much good.

Mr Hunter said there would be some difficulty in arranging the date for such a show, as the time in one place, say Christchurch, might be too early for a place further south.

Mr Grigg did not think it would be possible to get the Christchurch people to take any interest in an autumn show.

Mr Henderson said they had attempted to get up such shows in his district, and they were failures.

Mr Buchanan would vote against the motion.

An amendment, proposing that the question be left to the consideration of the committee appointed to assimilate the rules of shows throughout the Colony, was lost on the voices, and on the original motion being put it was negatived.

Mr Barnett called attention to the fact that miles of gorse fences in his district were dying off, and hoped the Agricultural Department might suggest a reason.

Clothing and Housing Sheep.

The Chairman said it seemed that through an oversight of his the question of clothing sheep was left in an unsatisfactory position, and he would like to bring the matter forward again.

Mr Murdoch said he wished to bring this question of clothing and housing sheep again before the Conference, and asked permission.

It was pointed out that as the question had been expunged from the order paper, the matter had been finally disposed of, consequently permission to re-open the question was not granted.

Exchange of Judges.

Mr Fisher proposed, "That with a view to promote an exchange of judges between the different associations, this Conference requests the various agricultural and pastoral associations throughout the Colony to compile a roll of the names of the residents in the district capable and willing to undertake the duty of judge at shows held by agricultural and pastoral societies outside their district, and that copies of the rolls should be forwarded to the metropolitan agricultural and pastoral associations."

Mr Cliff seconded the motion, which, after some remarks from Messrs Grigg, Hall, Buchanan, Henderson and Borrie, was negatived.

The Secretary.

Mr Pattullo moved, and Mr Kirkbride seconded, "That Mr Murphy be asked to act as permanent secretary to the Agricultural Conference while sitting, and that a suitable remuneration be voted for his services by the Committee for the next Conference; such remuneration to be allocated amongst the different societies." The mover referred in flattering terms to the manner in which Mr Murphy carried out his duties, and said that the Conference was especially fortunate in having such a gentleman as secretary.

The resolution was carried with acclamation.

A Potato Moth.

The secretary exhibited some potatoes, en-closed in a box with a glass top, which were badly infected with the grub of the Lita Solenalla, a species of moth which has caused considerable damage to potatoes in New South Wales and Tasmania. The exhibit was brought from Canterbury. It appears the moth attacks the exposed potatoes in the drills, and that a means of prevention is to keep the tubers properly covered with earth.

Mr Gray said he had seen a moth which had attacked potatoes many years ago.

Hooker's "Flora."

The Secretary reported that he had a communication from the Inspector-General of Schools, to the effect that the matter of the issue of a new volume of Hooker's "Flora," bringing it up to date, would be considered by the Cabinet at an early date. It would be a disgrace to the Colony were the work longer delayed.

Government Assistance.

Mr Gray moved, "That it is desirable that future conferences should be independent of Government aid towards travelling expenses of its members." Mr Gray, in moving the resolution, said that the agricultural associations had always abstained from the discussion of politics, therefore he thought the conditions imposed by the Government in granting the page 31 delegates their travelling expenses was humiliating, if not insulting, to the Conference. The societies had an undoubted right to discuss politics, and they had never abused that right, but the emergency might arise when it was absolutely necessary that politics should be discussed, and they must have a freehand. It was not unnatural, perhaps, that the Government, in granting the travelling expenses, should make the conditions they had done, but he thought it better that the associations should pay the travelling expenses of their own delegates, which did not amount to a large sum, and could be paid without unduly straining the resources of the respective associations.

Mr Kirkbride seconded the motion. He said the present arrangement was an exceedingly inconvenient one. It had been found that many important subjects had to be struck off the list for discussion, because they trenched on politics, or were likely to lead to politics. The agricultural interests were so often interwoven with politics that it was sometimes impossible to deal with the one subject separately from the other.

Mr Pharazyn agreed with the principles of the motion, and thought it would be better that the Conference should be independent, but he regretted that the word "insult" had been used by the mover in speaking to the motion.

Mr Grigg agreed with the motion. He did not see any reason why the Conference should refrain from discussing political matters any more than the Chambers of Commerce.

Mr Overton said that he had been forestalled in his intention of seconding the resolution. He thought the Conference should be independent of the Government, though, in justice to that Government, he must say that they had been applied to for the grant, and consequently they were perhaps justified in making the stipulation that politics should not be discussed.

Mr Anderson said he would be the last one to discuss political matters in the Conference, but at the same time, he thought they should have liberty to do so if they wished. He preferred to pay his own expenses.

Mr Buchanan said they might be mistaken as to the intention of the Government in excluding political discussions from the Conference.

Mr Chaytor agreed with the motion.

Mr Gray, in replying, said the word "insult" might appear a strong expression. He did not charge the Government with intentional insult; nevertheless, the fact remained that an insult was conveyed to the Conference by the condition imposed. He felt that the position in which the Conference was placed was, at any rate, humiliating; and, speaking for himself, he strongly objected to be shackled by a slip of paper representing £ s. d.

The resolution was unanimously agreed to.


Mr Cartwright Brown proposed that a vote of thanks be accorded to the Chairman, to the Wellington Agricultural and Pastoral Association for their kindness to the delegates, and to Mr Murphy, the secretary.

The votes were passed with acclamation.

The Chairman referred to the temperate manner in which the discussions were carried on. He hoped that the Conference would be followed by many others which he expected to see increase in usefulness, and help in drawing settlers together. He then reviewed the many questions which had been discussed by the Conference, none of which was of more importance than the dairying industry, the discussion on which was of sufficient importance for calling the Conference. The colonising influence of the dairy industry was very large, greater than that of any other pastoral pursuit. A small holder could find employment for all his family by engaging in the dairy industry, which would not be the case if he devoted himself to sheep-farming. They were much indebted to Mr Reynolds for the information he had given them. Among other matters they discussed was the question of dealing with noxious weeds, and if they were to succeed in eradicating those they must not be like the sluggard who allowed the thistles to grow high.

On the motion of Mr Hare, seconded by Mr Overton, a vote of thanks was passed to the Minister of Lands.

Votes of thanks were also given to Mr J. D. Ritchie, Secretary of Agriculture, for his assistance; to Mr H. Overton, president of the last Conference; to the Canterbury Association for their services; to the Museum authorities, and to the press, after which the Conference closed.

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