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jj WORK AND PRODUCTION
THE "BETTER FARMING" TRAIN.
SCHOOL ON WHEELS..
Mr. R. A. Block, of the Tasmanian Dc- j
partment of Agriculture, who recently re- | turned from a visit on furlough to Vic-I loria and New South \Vales, supplies fur.- j ther particulara of his experiences at the I request of a representative of "The Mer- cury" who waited upon him yesterday. Mr. J. M. Ward, the Victorian Super- intendent of Horticulture, secured for Mr. Black an eleven days' trip on what is known as the "Better Farming Train" during its itinerary on the Mclbournc Castlemaine.Kooloonong line, which ends on or about the New South Wales border.
Mr. Black said that thc train was paint- ed a bright yellow, and consisted of 16 care and trucks, and was nearly 700 feet long, equipped with wonderful exhibits, and. accompanied by trained agricultural and educational demonstrators to help the fanner and farmers' wives.
? lu January, 1924, following on the re- turn from a visit to the United States of - Mr. M. J. Canny, of thc Victorian Rail-
ways, he presented a report upon Farm- ers! Instructional Trains. That report was considered .by Mr. H. W.' Clapp, Chief Commissioner of Railways, and Dr. S. S. Cameron. Director of .Agriculture, and as ti ' result of conferences nt which the. major requirements of the' project were'determined, a . committee represen- tative of both departments and of. thc : Chamber of Agriculture was appointed
to arrange details. After much labour, and effort the equipment was assembled ami the rolling stock converted to suit thc needs of thc department on wheels.
The tour here noticed wae the fifth, and it was under the direction of Dr. W.,A. N. Robertson, the Victorian Chief Veteri- nary Officer. Thc centres visited wore Castlemaine, Raywood. Kictiamo, Kerang, Nyah, Kooloonong, Piangil, .and Swau Hill. These placen were, selected as re- presenting those in which thc rural popu- lation was densest, or in which railway . junctions enabled large numbers of farm-
ers with, their womenfolk to assemble.
"The morning on which the train moved out of Melbourne for Castlemaine (thc first stop)," said Slr. Black, was wet and ? .wintry, but it made a striking figure in
thc murky background, for ail but the engine was painted yellow, lt held . thc attention of all spectators, and inquiries were numerous as to what it all meant. Thc country folk were, however, expect- ing it, because its advent had been judi- ciously advertised by large display posters in thc various townships to bc visited.
Mr. T. Philp, the Tasmanian Chief Veterinary Officer, happened to be in Victoria on leave, and he was invited to join us. Mr. Philp., like myself, was much impressed with thc outfit and up-to-date means of bringing thc work of the Agri- cultural Department so prominently before the farming community.
The train was made up of tho following cara and trucks, which wero numbered and boro printed notice boards indicating the particular division of the department represented:
1. Victoria car for the accommodation of tho staff of lecturers.
2. Louvre truck in which electric light was generated, and fodder for the live-stock carried.
3. 4, and 5. Cattle trucks specially fit- ted and divided into three padded com- partments for cattle.
C. A truck divided into six compart- ments by wire mesh fence for pigs, with outside hinged flap to let down and form a platform on both sides.
7. A truck, one. end of which was utilised as a lecture platform, thc remain- der fitted with poultry requisites and models of buildings and appliances.
8. A. corridor carriage from which all Beats had been removed and fitted' with tables on either side, leaving a 4 foot . passage down the centre with exhibits of
good and' bad dairy utensils, honey, bacon and testing outfits. This carriage con- tained many practical home-truths and from observing thc remarks of thc farmers as they inspected these exhibits, it was evident that their telling messages were IJB| sinking deep into their mind.
fj i To my mind, a study . in contrasts 2 I graphically depicted is a sure and quick J . means of imparting knowledge.
§ ' Thia waa vividly instanced in a coltcc = tion of dairy utensils condemned by in = , spcetors and of those officially ap
jj J Interior of Truck Showlna Pistura Plots.
s I proved as being sweet and clean and
S highly acceptable for use in thc dairy. Í ' An excellent exhibit wa» ono to show that J a given quantity of milk alone docs not î I indicate its value. Tho illustration poi'nt I j ed, amongst other things, to the fact that
= ¡ low-yielding cows made longer working § ] hours as well as unprofitable. Around' thc 3 i sides of the carriage were slogans neatly y I displayed, each in a few pithy words, ex 3 pressing home truths, such as: "Don't keep Mi cows, make tho cows keep you." "The Bj cow is an engine; she wont work without
gi fuel;" "Kitagc spells success;" "Chaff alone K. ivout make milk," and so on.
r 0. An A.15. carriage fitted' with a fine
selection of veterinary exhibits illustrated all the common diseases of stock. For instance, in suitable specimen glass jars bots from stomach of horse, tuberculosis in a lymphatic gland, actinomycogis of thc tongue of the ox (commonly known ai wooden tongue), pleuro-pneumonia, lung
with advanced lesions, pleuro-pneumonia lesion, a carrier; also specimens showing heriditary unsoundness in horses, such , as ring-bone, side-bone, bone-spavin, etc. This carriage was of particular interest to stock owners and thc officer in charge (Mr. T. Talbot) was much sought after by in- quirers who had stock troubles to con- tend with. This carriage also had an ex- hibition of suitable stock foods and feed- ing rations.
10. The carriage was fitted with potato exhibits, manures for better crop produc- tion, etc. Mr. .1. T. Ramsay, thc potato expert, was in charge and being interested in potato growing myself, I was much taken with his exhibits. In the display of potatoes the one which took my fancy was thc Earliest of All, a potato which, ac- cording to thc experience of Mr. Ramsay, will grow almost anywhere and in many cases will yield up to 13 tons to thc acre. As all crops arc intimately associated with fertilisers, a collection of the varions kinds now found an the market waa neatly ex _»v hibitcd in special show bottles. The cor-
rect, method of storing potatoes was ex-
plained and illustrated. How the sub-soil . moisture rises to the surface of neglected j fallows and escapes by evaporation was 1 excellently shown with the aid of a suit- j able apparatus, as well as how thc loss 1 ' may bo prevented by careful mulching. i
ll exhibited wool, and various weeds and grasses growing, and also dried speci- mens and the mechanical analyses of pastures from top-dressed land.
A carriage, fitted np in a most attractive [ style, illustrated the fruit industry, under j
uc management of Mr. J. M. Ward, thc . fcorticnltrrral gupcrinti uaViit, aol his in- ¡ api fal nr -who were, kept inj Vnj an-' I J
iug questions. ' The carriage was most at- tractively "got np" with highly coloured fruits'. On the sides of the carriage were tastefully designed display cards and pos- ters bearing apt and telling slogans, which hung on to the tongue like Mark Twain's famous "Punch, brothers, punch, punch with care!" etc. Thc fruits selected for tlie exhibition were of the very best, free from all disease and mechanical blemishes. They were of such a high standard that the spectators were amazed at their excel- lence, and pertinently asked why such splendid samples did not find their way into shop windows. Thc fresh fruits dis- played consisted of oranges, lemons, apples, pears, . grapes, and tomatoes. All these fruits were graded, packed, and wrapped or unwrapped for export, enabl- ing the onlooker to sec the methods of packing. The cases containing thc fruit i in some instances were shown in sections.
Thc fruit was of tfich high elsi« and BO temptingly displayed that the officials vere much, exercised in mind at- the possibility of losing tho lot through its seductiveness being too strong for the spectator«!
Now, this is.the way in which 'fruit ¡should bc presented to. the public, and if ] the price be right there should be no pauc I itv of sales. Mr. Ward, like our own
fruit expert (Mr. V. H. Thomas'), is throw- ing the whole of his energies iuto - the herculean task of educating the growers to produce the highest quality fruit free of all disease, and to get it up ia the most" attractive style for local and over-
I was much impressed with an exhibit of tomatoes wbich had been graded and ¡Kicked as though they were apples. Mr. Ward informed me that tomatoes graded in this way were very attractive to buyers and fetched higher prices than ungraded and unpacked tomatoes.
In glass cases were shown specimens of insect and fungoid, diseases and samples of the various spray materials and par- ticulars of .how to use them; also an ex- hibit of .the various grafts practised in orchards, such as whipgraft, Btropgraft, cleftgraft, barkgraft, «iud wbiproot graft. Special attention was directed to
OBJECT OF THE TRAIN.
On the arrival of the train at Castle- maine, for instance, the experts, with their fine »how. were welcomed by the Mayor and a large gathering. In ac- knowledging the welcome, Dr. Robertson, chief veterinary officer, said they had not arrived .for the purpose of teaching men how to conduct their business, but were there to show them certain things which would bo to their advantage, and that they showed thc result of work and methods that were ho- ting carried out successfully in dif- ferent parts of the State. They could no longer turn their stock out on ordi- nary pasture and expect to get thc best returns by employing haphazard methods. Tlie keynote of the train was to increase efficiency, and they were endeavouring to show the people hov/ to do that and decrease the cost of production. All the people could n»it take trips to other parts of the State and to other part» of the world to see how things were being done elsewhere, consquently the departments having accumulated the experience and knowledge from other parts of thc State and from abroad were conveying it to farmers in various parts of the country. Every man on thc train was an expert in his particular line, and he asked the public to bear in mind thc slogan in one of the cars, namelv. "Every man knows some- thing; get it from him." The train was . like a big rolling stone, going around the
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country increasing efficiency amongst th* j primary producers and they felt that the ! result would he a much more prosperou» ' Í
«tate of affaira ia "Victoria.