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(f.) Profits to be Derived from Wattle Cultivation.

Wattle cultivation is in its infancy, and, as far as I know, no wattle-grower has favoured the world with a peep at the item “Wattle Cultivation” in his ledger. We are, therefore, chiefly dependent on estimates in lieu of statements of results attained, but those which follow are as trustworthy as can be supplied. Wattle conservation and cultivation have been little taken up in our own Colony, but we are already taking steps to remedy this.

Following are the opinions of gentlemen in the several colonies on the prospect of profit in wattle-planting. They are culled from the reports of the Victorian Royal Commission on Vegetable Products.




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New South Wales.—Mr. Charles Moore, F.L.S., Director of the Botanic Gardens, Sydney,—“They are a very profitable crop indeed.”

Tasmania.—Mr. F. Abbott, Curator of the Botanic Gardens, Hobart,—“I have not the shadow of a doubt that they are a valuable crop to any farmer; they come on in a very short period, and there is always a revenue from them.”

South Australia.—Mr. J. E. Brown, F.L.S., Conservator of Forests, Adelaide,—“With regard, however, to the wattles, there can be but one opinion as to their cultivation being the means of a large and most valuable source of revenue both to individuals and to the State.”

Victoria.—Mr. I. Hallenstein, tanner, currier, and leather merchant, Melbourne,—“I do not think a farmer or anyone with the means could produce any crop more valuable than the wattle-bark. We have got faith in it, or we would not have gone to the expense of putting 800 or 1,000 acres under cultivation.”

The following evidence was given by Mr. W. Ferguson, Inspector of State Forests, Victoria:—

“I calculated that from the time the seed was sown at the Majorca plantations, Ballarat, in seven years we should get about 10 tons to the acre of bark. That is, off the trees that were fit for barking at that time, and at the rate—of the present rate of bark—it varies from £8 to £10 per ton.

“You would get 10 tons to the acre? Yes.

“From trees that have been how many years growing? Seven years.

“That would average £10 a ton? Yes, at the present,—and it is likely to be more.

“That is, £90 per acre? Yes.

“That will be about £13 per acre per annum? Yes.

“Would that take all the trees, or leave a portion remaining? No, only the first thinning out.

“How many thinnings would that plantation admit of year after year? For years and years to come, because you will find them in all stages of growth. But I calculated that from the first thinning-out.

“And would that yield as much each succeeding year? It would yield as much each succeeding year.

“So that you might get 10 tons per acre in each succeeding year? Annually for years to come, if they are judiciously thinned, but not as they are thinning (destroying) them in the forest. If they are properly cultivated—cultivated for profit.

“Can you mention any other crop grown in Victoria more profitable than that? No; and it is grown on such poor land, where neither grass nor anything will grow. In Rodney, where I mention, there is not a bit of grass to be seen, and there the wattles come up thick.”

At the irrigation farm at Islington, near Adelaide, Mr. J. E. Brown planted 40 acres in wattles. “The seed was simply soaked in hot water and broad-casted, and the soil afterwards harrowed with a brush harrow; altogether, the whole expense of seed preparation of the ground, and


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putting the seed in cost about £15. Four years afterwards the wattles were simply thinned, and the bark of the thinnings realized £25, thus more than refunding the original outlay. Next year I hope the thinning will realize something like £3 per acre. In three years time from this we purpose stripping the whole crop, when I am certain it will realize at least £50 per acre.”

Detailed Estimates.

1. The following statement showing the profit to be derived from the systematic cultivation of wattles, was complied from the evidence given before the Board of Enquiry on Wattle Cultivation, Melbourne, 1878, and forms an appendix to their report. (The Board recommend A. decurrens note and A. pycnantha).

Receipts derivable from a Wattle Plantation of say 100 acres, planted in the manner proposed.

       
Each acre planted with wattles, 10 feet apart, would carry 400 trees; at the end of fifth year, trees would yield say 56 lb. matured bark; stripping only every third tree 333 tons would be obtained off 100 acres; this, at £4 per ton, would give at first stripping  £1,332 0 0 
In the sixth (or following) year, a similar number of trees would be stripped, the bark having increased in weight say 14 lb., the increased yield of second stripping would therefore be 400 tons at £4, making  1,600 0 0 
In the seventh year the remaining trees would be stripped, from which a still greater increase would be obtained, say 480 tons at £4, maknig  1,920 0 0 
The aggregate yield of bark during the first eight years, 1,215 tons, amounting in value to  £4,852 0 0 

Estimate of Expenditure on a Wattle Plantation of 100 acres during eight years.

                         
Rent of 100 acres for eight years, at 6s. per acre per annum  £240 0 0 
Ploughing 100 acres in drills 10 feet apart  25 0 0 
Sowing wattles and actual cultivation, including cost of seed  37 10 0 
Supervision for eight years, say, £10 per annum  80 0 0 
Pruning the trees, taking off useless wood, &c. (only necessary for two years), 10s. per acre  50 0 0 
Incidental and unforeseen expenses  27 10 0 
Interest on the whole amount expended during eight years  240 0 0 
700 0 0 
Actual cost of stripping and carting, as shown belownote   £1,515 0 0 
1,515 0 0 
noteProfit balance, exclusive of improvements or supplementary sowings  £2,637 0 0 
2,637 0 0 
£4,852 0 0 




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2. The following estimate is by Mr. J. E. Brown, and is taken from a report by that gentleman to the South Australian Legislative Council in 1884. (Mr. Brown recommends A. pycnantha):—

                             
REVENUE  £  s.  d.  EXPENDITURE.  £  s.  d. 
To value of property increased and improvements, say  400  By purchase of 100 acres, at £3 per acre  300 
To value of 500 tons of bark, at £5 per ton  2,500  By cost of substantial fence all round, say, 1½ mile at £50 per mile  75 
By ploughing 100 acres, at 8s. per acre  40 
By of 30 lbs. of seed, at 1s. per lb.  10 
By labour, sowing the seed in rows, say, at 5s. per acre  25 
By scarifying between the rows twice, at 4s. per acre  20 
By thinning and pruning for two years, at 10s. per acre per annum  100 
By forming fire-breaks during the third to seventh year, say, £5 per annum  25 
By sundries  50 
By interest on money expended during the seven years, say  280 
By cost of stripping 500 tons of bark, at 25s. per ton  625 
By cost of carting same to market, at 10s. per ton  250 
Balance, being clear profit  1,108 
£  2,900  £  2,900 

Notes on above Estimate.—At the distances apart which I recommend the trees to be grown, namely, 4 to 6 feet, there will be an average of 1,200 trees to the acre. In order, however, to make due allowance for blanks, I base my calculations upon there being 1,000 only to each acre. £5 per ton is only two-thirds of the present selling price of bark. I give 5 tons as the probable yield per acre. That this is a low estimate will be admitted, when it is considered that this only allows for 10 lb. of bark to be taken from each tree. (J. E. Brown).

3. Estimate of expenditure upon and revenue from a wattle plantation of 100 acres, during a term of seven years, by Mr. G. Perrin, Conservator of State Forests, Victoria, 1889.

He recommends the cultivation of the broad-leaf wattle (A. pycnantha); broadcast sowing.




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EXPENDITURE.  £  s.  d. 
To rent of land at 4d. per acre, under Wattle Cultivation Bill, at £1 13s. 4d.  11  13 
To fencing, say, 1 mile and 3 quarters, at £40 per mile  70 
To ploughing (and harrowing twice), at 14s. per acre  79 
To purchase of seed, 1 lb. per acre, 100 lb., at 1s 
To ploughing and burning off fire-breaks, four blocks of 20 acres each, with 20 feet roadway between each block, three furrows on each side, at £10 per annum  70 
To vermin destruction, and unforeseen expenses, say  50 
To first pruning and thinning at end of second year after sowing, say 10s. per acre  50 
To final pruning about fourth year (superficial only), at 5s. per acre  25 
To interest on seven years' rental  £3  15 
To interest on expenditure, say  206  10  10 
210 
To stripping 100 acres of wattles (1,200 trees to the acre), producing 12lb. of bark per tree, or 602 tons in all, at 25s. per ton  807  10 
To cartage to a railway station, say 5s. per ton  165  10 
£1,534  18 
RECEIPTS. 
By 100 acres of wattle-bark from 1,200 trees to the acre, each producing 12 lb. of bark—642 tons, £7 10s. per ton  4,815 
Less expenditure  1,534  18 
Profit  £3,281  18 

TABLE to aid in the comparison of the more important items contained in the three foregoing estimates.

A.—OUT-GOINGS.

                           
Victorian Board.  Mr. Brown.  Mr. Perrin. 
Cost of land per acre  ......  £3 
Rent per acre per annum  6/-  ......  4d. under Wattle Cultivation Bill. 
Fencing, per mile  ......  £50  £10 
Ploughing  £25  £40  £79 (includes harrowing). 
Scarifying, per acre  ......  4/-  ...... 
Fire breaks  £25  £70 (fuller specification). 
Seed and sowing  £37/10/-  £26/10/-  £5 (seed only). 
Pruning, &c., per acre  10/-  10/-  10/- 
Stripping, per ton  15/-  25/-  25/- 
Carting, per ton  10/-  10/-  5/- 
Supervision for eight years  £80  .....  ..... 
Interest on money  £240 (8 years)  £280 (7 years)  £210 5/- (7 years). 
Contingencies  £27/10/-  £50  £50 

B.—INCOME.

           
Victorian Board.  Mr. Brown.  Mr. Perrin. 
Yield of 5th year trees, each  56 lb.  10 lb. from each 
Yield of 6th year trees, each  70 lb.  tree, admittedly  12 lb. 
Yield of 7th year trees, each  84 lb.note   a low estimate. 
Value of bark, per ton  £4  £5  £7/10/- 
Total yield in tons  1,215 (8 years)  500 (7 years)  642 (7 years). 

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