Home' Straight Furrow 70th Anniversary : Dec 19 2011 Contents Straight Furrow • December 19, 2011 17
1941 -- 2011
FARMERS are masochists", pro-
claimed a Straight Furrow headline
Reading it now shows some things
never change, especially in the world of
one Sir Robert Jones.
In a fascinating article based on an
excerpt from his book New Zealand The
Way I Want It, he goes to town on the
economics of farming at the time.
He said it was vital for the viability of
farming that each unit had a ready nego-
"This way the tired, bored, the old and
the dead farmers can be quickly
replaced by the young and enthusiastic.
"But not if the economic do not stack
up. The current downturn in farm net
income through adverse weather condi-
tions and rising costs has brought the
chickens home to roost.
"The old, established farmer can
weather the storm largely because his
purchase debt is either paid or so nomi-
nal as to be disregarded.
"It is the young farmer who is threat-
ened and not because he is silly but
because his purchase is recent and he is
up to his ears in debt with no equity
strength and insufficient net income to
service his mortgage.
"Retiring farmers selling up at the
ridiculous and irrational price levels
currently prevailing are deluding them-
selves if they think they are winning."
He said insofar as a large part of capi-
tal profit was tied up in low yielding,
fixed interest vendor mortgage neces-
sary to facilitate a sale, the retiring
farmer lost out.
"His capital is being slowly eroded by
inflation while his loan security is dimin-
ished as the young, financially-strapped
purchaser is forced to neglect the farm
and allow its development level to be
"Furthermore, should my expectation
for a radical fall in farm values eventu-
ate [and I will bet both my arms on it]
the retiring farmer may well find his
mortgage security of questionable value.
"New Zealand farmers are financial
"By their eagerness to get on to the
land they have disregarded financial
commonsense through a combination of
ignorance and sentiment.
"Nevertheless, we urban dwellers
ought to be grateful for their altruism.
"Their true value as an investment of
New Zealand farms is either near to nil,
nil or liability in which case a vendor
ought to pay the newcomer to take
AN aura of secrecy and strict licensing rules were to
surround the release of the Woolblendmark sym-
bol of New Zealand in 1972.
Two factors had hampered progress since the
Woolblendmark's international debut the year before.
One was the Wool Board's immediate lack of finance.
The other had been the research and technical require-
ments that had to be met. When the scheme was to be
released technical standards were to remain confidential.
Commercial director of the Wool Board Maurice Higgins
told Straight Furrow blended products seeking a licence
would be chosen on a simple "accept/reject" basis and
that would not be made public.
In this way, the board intended to bring a new element
of competition into being which would stimulate the use
of wool in the blend manufacturing industry.
The purpose of the whole marketing
concept was to achieve a significant
over-all gain for wool. Therefore, only
blend products which showed a big
performance, price or manufacturing
advantage over their virgin wool
counterparts would be considered
for the new licences.
Because of the emphasis on large improvements
through blends, no competition would arise in the market-
place with original Woolmark products.
At any particular time either a blend product or a virgin
wool product would be retailing on the market but not
both. Certain segments of the market would remain tradi-
tionally wool-based like the production of carpets, hand-
knitting yarns and knitwear but other would change to
mixed fibres quite rapidly.
From the public's point of view the symbol would pro-
vide extra consumer protection with wool-rich blend
IN June 1975, Straight Furrow was concerned
that dairy farmers were faced with milking in
the dark for 12 months of the year.
Internal Affairs Minister Henry May "made
sure of this" with his final daylight saving
announcement. Dairy farmers saw this as a
severe penalty on their industry.
"It bites hard as they find themselves produc-
ing such a large share of our export receipts.
"And harder still as they realize the desperate
dependency all New Zealanders share at present
in such a large share of our export receipts."
Mr May proved completely inflexible to
Federated Farmers' submissions on daylight sav-
ings the previous month.
Only days before he announced his final deci-
sion, the minister met a delegation of represen-
tatives of Federation Dairy and Agriculture
Produce sections, the Women's Division and the
Town Milk Producers.
They put to him the social and financial prob-
lems imposed on the rural community by day-
light saving. Loss of production and increase in
costs were forecast among those.
"But the minister was not moved."
The early June Dominion Dairy Section confer-
ence delegates continued to be unanimous in
their resolution: "That the dairy industry is com-
pletely opposed to daylight saving in any form."
Straight Furrow commented: "But you know
that brick wall bashing exercise.
"Dairymen are still in the dark."
Daylight dilemma for dairy farmers
Secrecy over wool symbol
Bob Jones questions worth of farming
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