Pastures and their improvement in relation to the management of foot-hill farms in Canterbury
The foothill areas of Canterbury consist of a large portion of the province, extending from the Conway River in the north to the Waitaki River in the south, a distance of some 230 miles. This same area varies in width from a few miles behind Methven, and Mayfield to some 80 miles in a part of North Canterbury, with much variation between these limits. Except in parts of North Canterbury, the climate generally is more severe and the rainfall higher than on the Plains. There is, of course, much variation. The soil, in general, is second class, but much variation exists, so that good rich pockets and small flats are not uncommon. Large areas of tussock and also of third-class land-poor, clay, scrub country-are prominent in certain districts. A rough estimate of the area of ‘the foothill, farms in Canterbury is 2,000,000 acres. A typical farm or small sheep-run in this area consists of some medium flat land, a fair proportion of rolling downs with steep gullies, and possibly, an unploughable tussock or scrub area. The total ploughable area varies considerably between properties, but on an average might be one-half to three-quarters of the area of the farm, the total area of which might be 1,200 acres. The average carrying capacity would be one to one and a half sheep per acre, and a few cattle would be carried. The sheep, in the main; are half-breds, but in many of the wetter and colder districts and on the sour, clay soils Romney sheep are preferred. Corriedales constitute a fair proportion of the sheep of North Canterbury. Ewe hoggets are kept each year for flock maintenance. Surplus four and five year old breeding ewes, fat and store lambs, some fat ewes, store wethers, cull ewe lambs, and cull two-tooth ewes, together with wool and some cattle, constitute the main source of farm income. In recent times a few specially favoured properties with some suitable land have grown small areas of wheat and rye-grass seed. The production of these crops, however, is a precarious undertaking on account of the risks of winter flooding and strong winds and wet weather at harvest.... [Show full abstract]
TypeConference Contribution - Published (Conference Paper)
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