Experimental farm needed

The new Alexandra Ward at Dunedin Hospital, devoted to military and orthopaedic cases. - Otago...
The new Alexandra Ward at Dunedin Hospital, devoted to military and orthopaedic cases. - Otago Witness, 4.6.1919
The suggestion by the Minister of Agriculture that the farmers of the South have not taken the same interest in experimental farming as those of the north have done admits readily of explanation.

The farmers of the South have simply not had the opportunity which has been offered to the farmers in the North. They have been hammering at the Government more or less persistently for several years in the hope of inducing it to establish State farms in the South Island.

The Government, has, however, concentrated its efforts in the past upon the creation of experimental farms in the North. The most successful achievement in this respect is represented by the Ruakura farm which Mr MacDonald claims to be as good as any other mixed farm in the dominion and to which, he says, visits are paid every year by as many as 10,000 farmers, all of whom, we take it, derive benefit from their observations of the methods that are employed there.

But farming methods in the North Island are not necessarily the same as those in the South Island. The conditions for farming are, indeed, much easier in the North Island than they are in the South. There are, however, farming problems of distinct complexity that await solution in the South Island.

Particularly may this be said to be the case in Central Otago, where regrassing and rehabilitation of the soil present difficulties that can only be adequately overcome as the result of scientific experimentation.

The immense gain which would accrue to the dominion through the restoration of the lands of Central Otago to their state of thirty or forty years ago constitutes a sufficient argument in favour of the direction of the energy of the Government to the maintenance of an experimental farm in that district.

St Clair erosion

Sir, I see that the new road is being blamed for the destruction of the sandhills. Years before the road was built there was always a heavy swell towards the sandhills at St. Clair. This accounts for the destruction of the sandhills. Instead of throwing stones over the bank from the Ocean Drive the committee should have continued the present esplanade from the St. Clair end, when a lasting job would have been done and that weak spot would have been strengthened.

I was somewhat amused at a Government engineer being asked to report on the road with the result that he said it was the cause of encroachment. I should like to ask how it is that on the East Coast of this island there is this encroachment going on all the time.

In Oamaru thousands have been spent to save the Government railway yards, and the Woollen Mills rebuilt away from the sea coast. I think the time has arrived when a competent engineer should give us some idea whether this waste of valuable land can be prevented. I am, etc., William Fleming.

Phenomenal shorthand speed

At a recent test of the Isaac Pitman Shorthand Writers' Association (states Pitman's Journal), Mr Herman J Stich, an American court reporter, wrote under most rigorous rules at the rate of 300 words a minute for five consecutive minutes, and then presented a transcript that, with only two immaterial errors, almost reached perfection, the percentage of accuracy being 99.9. Mr Stich's performance is described as the finest in the history of shorthand.

- ODT, 6.6.1919


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