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MURCHISON DISTRICT.

IMPROVED POSITION.

_ t,

Drought Pasture Survey.

"Conditions Jn the central Murchison area are now better than they were a few months ago," said Mr. P. Lefroy, of Boolardy station, yesterday. Mr. Lefroy is paying a periodical visit to Perth. The improvement, he said, had been consider- able since rain was recorded on April 17, when 171 points fell at one end of the station property and 109 points at the homestead. The Murchison area had had a very bad time, and conditions on Boo- lardy were only fair at present. Sunday's rain was the best recorded for three years,

the highest previous fall during that' period being 45 points.

Mulga Feeding1 Research.

Enthusiasm was expressed by Mr. Le- froy for the work being carried out by the department of agriculture of the Uni- versity of Western Australia to determine the value of mulga as a drought fodder for sheep. That investigation, which was made possible by a grant from the Pas- toral Research Trust, was started at Boo- lardy "station,. where Mr. Melville, an honours graduate in agriculture, made his headquarters last season. "We have been cutting mulga for our sheep very successfully," said Mr. Lefroy. "Our losses on the cut mulga have been very slight. The work carried out under the supervision of Dr. Nichols has been most valuable. As a result of the information which the survey has revealed, we know how to handle sheep at shearing time in future droughts, as we know that sheep are well provided for by cutting mulga. The feeding of cut mulga to sheep is not

a new departure, but until the nreliminary results of the University workers were made known, pastoralists were not aware of the full value of mulga as a drought pasture. A large number of people are still prejudiced against the hand-feeding of mulga. Success lies, however, in the way mulga is cut and fed to the sheep. The results of the research done so far show that" half measures are useless."

Excellent Comparative Results.

"The old idea that sheep fed on mulga for more than three months would die has been exploded. A large number of the sheep we fed on cut mulga had no- thing else for twelve months, and the remainder were fed on it for six months. Their condition advanced from very poor to quite reasonable in six months, and they were then equally as good as the sheep we had had on chaff" and oats. Our results prove the absurdity of remarks made recently by people in an Eastern States publication that the experiments with mulga cutting were a failure. The standing of one of the critics can be gauged by the fact that he said that Boolardy station was ideally situated for these experiments because it extended from the Murchison River to the de Grey River. This would mean a distance of about 1,500 miles, whereas the station on I its longest side is only 85 miles. A neigh- bour, Mr. A. Lloyd, of Kalli station, stated i that had it not been for mulga cutting he would have had no sheep left at all. With the rains we have been able to turn out all our sheep now."

The need for the research work being continued was emphasised by Mr. Lefroy. "We are very anxious for the University to go on with its research," he said. "A lot more remains to be done, especially in some of the other districts. The pas- toral areas where mulga exists vary so much that research will need to be under- taken in each district."

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