Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Recollection

When Adolf graduated from Lincoln as a valuer and farm consultant he went off to Australia and, by accident, fell into commerce where he remained for forty or so years.  Many of my colleagues had come over and introduced Canterbury farming techniques.  Some did very well, others not so well

I well remember a crusty old West Australian wheat cocky remarking that 'those bastards charged us a fee for telling us when we would go broke.' 

After a while I realized that Kiwi farmers could afford to be innovative because if they buggered it up, a forgiving climate would dig them out of their mistakes whereas Aussie cockies had learned, to their cost, that if they stuck their heads up over the parapet, the climate would come long and kick their heads in.  The Kiwi advisers did not comprehend that it was possible to have five bad seasons in a row.

And so it was that distrust of NZ agricultural advisers was born.  They did not understand the reasons for the Aussies' conservatism and many of them did indeed charge a fee for telling their clients when they would go broke.

The first stark difference I noticed was that while NZ sheep farmers selected for high twinning rates, their Australian counterparts culled ewes which had twins.   Why?  There was only enough feed for ewes to produce sufficient milk to raise one lamb.  Of course, this was in the days when wool prices were strong, so they wanted to carry as many ewes as possible.

1 comment:

gravedodger said...

A good friend farming Merinos both standard and Saxons always gets a smile when he expresses delight in low numbers of twins at scanning. The target is lower numbers of 'emptys' or drys.