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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

Agriculture (Including Deparments of Agriculture, Scientific and Industrial Research, and Primary Products Marketing)

Agriculture (Including Deparments of Agriculture, Scientific and Industrial Research, and Primary Products Marketing)

The Departments of Agriculture and Scientific and Industrial Research have combined to portray the main characteristics of New Zealand's pastoral, agricultural and horticultural industries, which are the main source of our national income. Successive bays are devoted to soils, pastures and crops, animals, and assembly and marketing of products. There is a supplementary series of exhibits illustrating the application of science to agriculture with such examples as biological control of insect pests, plant breeding and selection, and animal breeding.

The exhibit is designed to show the geographical distribution of these various farming enterprises, and how their locations and characteristics have been determined by such factors as climate, soil fertility and topography. New Zealand is endowed with a particularly favourable climate for grass growth, i.e., a temperate climate with a well-distributed and plentiful rainfall, particularly in the western districts. Where topography and soil fertility, either naturally or artificially endowed, permit, there have been established permanent pasture-lands. In districts of high rainfall and on easy country, dairy-farming for the production of butter and cheese has become the staple farming pursuit. On the hill-country pastures, sheep-farming predominates, though on the flat, rolling country, particularly in the medium rainfall districts, fat-lamb production is also a highly-important industry. Only in the drier districts, mainly on the east coast of the South Island, where there is a relatively short growing season for pastures, is cropping of considerable importance. Good pastures, once established, are a very cheap and efficient form of stock food, and farmers are reluctant to break such land with the plough. Only in the provinces of Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago and Southland do we find grain-growing and forage-cropping to-be a leading feature of the farm programme. Elsewhere, crops are grown only where some supplement is required for pasture, which is highly seasonal in growth. The general practice in grassland farming is to conserve surplus spring and summer pasture as silage or hay for feeding out in the periods of deficient growth, such as mid-winter. Where grass derivatives are not sufficient for this purpose, special crops, such as lucerne, oats and turnips, are grown as supplements. By this means and by seasonal production (spring calving and lambing is the invariable practice in New Zealand), it has been possible for live-stock farmers to rely almost exclusively on home-grown fodder, especially pasture.

The importance of milk production in our farm economy is featured. There are nearly 2,000,000 dairy cows in New Zealand, producing annually some 250,000 tons of butter and cheese. The by-products of dairy manufacture (separatedpage 20milk, whey and butter-milk), fatten 1,000,000 pigs each year, while, apart from home consumption, we export annually 9,000,000 lambs which are mainly fattened while suckling their mothers.

The export marketing each year of £60,000,000 worth of wool, meat and dairy produce constitutes a tremendous programme which New Zealand accomplishes very successfully. The marketing exhibit shows how the produce is assembled, graded and transported to its markets with full guarantees of quality. The wonderful work of the Marketing Boards and the Primary Products Marketing Department in arranging dispatch of produce, securing favourable freight and insurance rates, is also depicted, as is the very valuable promotional advertising that these bodies have carried out in Great Britain to establish further consumer preference for our products.