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Passing now to the rise and development of the pastoral trade : In 1878 there were exported 230,000,000 pounds of wool, and a considerable quantity of hides (I have not been able to ascertain the exact amount); in 1902 Argentina's production of 511,521.920 pounds of wool was almost one-quarter of the total world's production, which is calculated at 2,231,000,000 pounds; and 103,306 tons of all descriptions of hides, together with 417,823 mares hides were exported. The freezing establishments first started an export business in 1883 with 17,165 wethers; thirteen years subsequently-in 1896–1,768,206 wethers and 7,092 steers were despatched; and in 1902 the total reached 3,429,275 wethers, and 207,755 steers.
Of the frozen meat consumed in England, Argentina supplied 59.50 per cent., Australia 21.60, and New Zealand 18.90 per cent.
The live stock trade, at first confined to Brazil and the West Indies, was augmented in 1891 by shipments to Europe, and in 1892 figured at 40,000 sheep and 125,458 cattle. The advance from that date has been truly phenomenal, the numbers in 1898 being 577,813 sheep and 359,296 cattle. The appearance of the “ Foot and Mouth disease in March, 1900, caused a sensible decrease in the exportation for 1900 and 1901, which, however, was partially compensated for by an increase in the amount of frozen meat, jerked beef, and preserved meats; the two latter items accounting for 454,000 tons in 1902, when the live stock trade made an effort to regain its lost prestige with a total of 112,501 sheep and 118,303 cattle. The last item I shall refer to is one of great interest, namely, butter, of which 8,765,625 pounds were exported in 1902.
Figures of such magnitude contain not only visible evidence of the great increase in wealth, but they also point to some titanic propelling force that has assisted Argentina to outstrip all competitors in pastoral exports, and this leads up to my main contention that alfalfa is the fundamental element supporting and giving activity to the pastoral industry. The explanation becomes still more intelligible when the meat trade is dealt with under its three primary divisions of live stock, frozen meat, and conserved meats. Of these three sub-headings the live stock trade is incomparably the most important, inasmuch as the animals exported must be of the highest quality, and able to compare favourably with the cattle received from the United States, Canada, and other countries, where every art and scientific method is made use of to produce a thoroughly finished animal and the first grade of beef. What farmers in those countries are accomplishing by the aid of artificial foods and stall feeding, the Argentine farmer is doing in the open with alfalfa. Moreover, an all-the-year round trade would be impossible if the old system of grazing had not undergone a distinct change, in that the most enterprising estancieros, possessing suitable lands, had these laid down under alfalfa, and by this means elevated their businesses from that of mere cattle raising to fattening and dairying establishments.
For freezing purposes the ordinary, rough Argentine "mestizo" (half-breed), of which a large majority of the stock of export cattle
is composed, is perfectly suitable for the trade when run for a short time on the alfalfa fields : and this is particularly necessary during the winter months, when the wild grasses are hard and indigestible. As regards live and frozen wethers, every practical farmer knows that it is much more difficult to breed and finish a good steer than a passable wether, but here again the quality of the mutton has its influence on prices; furthermore, it must be borne in mind that the grade and quantity of wool yielded is an item of supreme importance, and it is gratifying to know that a short time ago the State Department of Statistics announced that under normal conditions the yield of wool per sheep had increased from 34 to 51 pounds since 1880.
Now I have told you a little about the most important centres of the great pastoral industry, whose ramifications have spread and have made meat almost a drug in our home markets; but these by no means exhaust the potentialities of Argentina, whose resources are only commencing their course of development. Scattered over the northern provinces there are numerous extensive, well-watered valleys awaiting a population to carry on the cultivation of the land ; added to these there is the riparian province of Entre Rios, with its gently undulating plains capable of yielding almost any product, and in which, before many years elapse, alfalfa is destined to reign supreme. While south of a line drawn westward from Bahia Blanca, in the great arid desert of Patagonia, with its pebbly soil and innumerable unwholesome "salitrales" (saltpans), presenting a remarkable contrast to the calcareo-argillaceous deposit which constitutes the essential feature of the whole Pampean formation, there is no possibility that alfalfa can ever be cultivated, excepting in a few favourable patches.
We often hear it said now-a-days that the nineteenth century belonged to the United States, and that the twentieth century belongs to Canada. I hope and trust for the honour of the British Empire and the Anglo-Saxon race the prognostication will be verified, but I am constrained to think that in this great race Canada is carrying too much weight. Argentina for the most part enjoys a climate of surpassing fructuousness, the rainfall is abundant and comes at the right seasons, vegetation is growing all the year round, and the husbandman can work in the field three hundred and sixtyfive days out of the year. In the quasipolar atmosphere of the
Great North West the productive forces of nature lie dormant for more than six months out of the twelve, and the farmer, be he ever so industrious, must hibernate in much the same condition. But I rejoice to think that Canada has a rival in every respect worthy to compete with a people, whose grand old traditions and assiduous struggle against nature, have made them at once, the most sterlingly honest and lovable people it has ever been my fortune to meet, and I have travelled considerably.
In giving expression to these thoughts, I am not unaware that other persons may think I am indulging in a poet's dream, in an illusion that vanishes before the light; yet those familiar with what
I am talking about understand what I mean. Doubtless it can be
Since writing this paper “ The Statesman's Year Book " gives the official returns of exports and imports for Argentina in 1905 as : Exports, £64,568,500 ; Imports, £41,030,800.
35-LOCUST BIRDS OF THE TRANSVAAL.
By F. THOMSEN, ASSISTANT CHIEF Locust OFFICER, TRANSVAAL
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
The following birds were described, and their relation to locust destruction, and the movement of locust swarms, pointed out :
Published in the Journal of the South African Ornithological Union.
36-NOTES ON INSECT PESTS IN THE TRANSVAAL
DURING THE PAST SEASON.
C. W. HOWARD, ASSISTANT ENTOMOLOGIST, TRANSVAAL
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
This paper discussed the life history, destructiveness and methods of combating the following insect pests :
The Orange tree butterfly (Papilio demoleus.)
These accounts have been written up in more detail, and published in the “ Transvaal Agricultural Journal."