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Experiment in Orange-shipment by the Board

for Exports.

[Second notice, see page 716, Part 10.]

JAS, STEPHENSON,

Secretary,

The following correspondence, relating to the experimental shipment of oranges, will be seen to fully bear out the theory of the Board as to the possibility of our supplying the British markets throughout our flush season, thereby relieving the surplus stocks and securing better returns to the growers.

The full returns, now to hand, show even a better result than the cablegrams led us to suppose, and the general statement attached hereto gives a full account of the various lots and actual results from each.

Briefly summed up, the necessary precautions to be observed to ensure success are to be found in the previous notice on the subject, at page 716, of the October Gazette, and, as there explained, the whole of the work of grading and packing could, with care, be done in the orchard.

The fruit should be cut when fully matured and coloured, but not overripe, and the greatest care must be exercised in culling and grading, so that every case will contain exactly the same sized and equally coloured fruit. Two grades might with advantage be made, i.e., 3-inch and 21-inch diameters. Nothing under the latter size should be packed. Fruit in any way damaged by parasites, thorn-pricks, frost-bite, or otherwise, must be rigidly excluded, as well as any which have been in the least degree bruised. A fall of even 2 feet will render an orange quite unfit for packing.

The sweating process is a!so imperatively necessary to prevent damage in packing, by giving the necessary toughness and elasticity to the skin.

The same necessity exists for tight packing, and no injury will result from a good steady squeeze after the fruit is properly matured. A perfectly safe limit is to allow half the diameter of the top layer of fruit to project over the top of the case; then leave the case open for an hour or two, and press the lid firmly and steadily into position when nailing on. Loose packing, by allowing the fruit to shake about, is responsible for most of the damage occurring in transit.

The system of cool storage adopted in this instance solves at once the difficulty of long-distance shipping, and, as will be seen from the letters of the Agent-General and the salesmen, we have the British market practically to ourselves from August to October, so that oranges sent from here under proper conditions between the middle of June and the beginning of September are likely to meet a ready and remunerative sale.

The Board, with the sanction of the Government, hopes to have such freight arrangements made for the coming season as will allow a weekly despatch of from 2,000 to 5,000 cases, according to requirements. Orange growers should bear this in mind for next season, and notify the Board of their probable shipments in good time to allow all preparations to be made.

It is difficult to arrive at any corrrect estimate as to the actual returns from our orangeries, as only the fruit known to be marketed seems to have been included in our statistics. However, it may perhaps be within the mark to estimate that, from an orchard in good bearing, an average of two and a half cases per tree per annum should be obtained, and that ninety trees per acre will represent the average plantation.

Allowing twenty-five cases per acre for the extra culling required for this purpose, we have (say) 200 cases per acre fit for export. Even should the nett returns equal only 5s. per case-and there is no reason why this should not be exceeded—the returns from an acre would be, in round figures, £50 sterling per annum. This estimate, which may look too good to be true, is by no means an exaggerated one, but it must be borne in mind that to attain to such returns there must be no slipshod cultivation allowed. The trees must be treated with something like generosity in the matter of cultivation and manuring, and not left, like milestones, to look after themselves after they are once planted. Insect and fungus pests must be exterminated, and the trees must be kept in vigorous health, and fed with as much care as you would feed a milch cow, which no one would expect to give a good return if left in a stall all the year round and given nothing to eat.

The northern districts of the Colony, especially, where oranges thrive like weeds, have before them a splendid future, if people would but look on fruit-growing as a business, and give the same attention to it as they would bestow on any other industry.

The Government has now shown what can be done under proper conditions, and it rests with the growers themselves to take advantage of the object-lesson.

[Copy of letter from Agent-General.] Westminster Chambers, 9, Victoria-street, Westminster, S.W., Sir,

2 October, 1996. I have the honor to inform you, in reference to your letter of the 17th August last, advising me of the transmission to London per s. s. “Ophir” of 1,740 cases of oranges, that the consignment duly arrived, and the oranges were sold at Monument Yard, London Bridge, on Wednesday last, the 30th ultimo.

I obtained the insertion in the newspapers of notices regarding this experimental shipment, which I placed for sale in the hands of Messrs. Keeling and Hunt, leading fruitbrokers in London, having previously had a knowledge of these gentlemen, as in 1886 they kindly furnished me with a full report of the orange trade for the information of your Government, and gave me three cases of Valencia oranges to send to the Colony as a guide to the mode of packing the fruit. The sale was considered a great success, and, as I informed you in my telegram of the 30th ultimo, realised an average price of about 14s. per case.

The fruit arrived in excellent condition, and the No. 1 grade was much approved, and considered equal to any oranges coming to this market. The letter I enclose from Messrs. Keeling and Hunt will give full particulars as to the condition of the fruit on its arrival, and their opinion with regard to the packing, &c., and I beg to direct your special attention to their practical suggestions in this regard for future guidance.

I am pleased to say that a considerable amount of interest has been evinced in regard to this shipment; arriving, as it did, at a time when the English market is very barely

particularly satisfactory.

I have little doubt that a good market can be secured at this period of the year if the fruit offered is of good quality.

One fault of this shipment was its unevenness. Care should be taken, if possible, in large shipments, to have the fruit of the very best quality; the mixture of inferior sorts tends to lessen competition and injures the market.

I enclose for your information some of the newspaper comments which have appeared, together with fifty copies of the auction sale, giving the prices realised for each kind of orange.

I have just received from Messrs. Keeling and Hunt the account sales, which I enclose herein, showing nett proceeds of £1,111 158. 2d., for which I have their cheque, which I will pay to the credit of the public account of the Government at the London and Westminster Bank.

I have, &c.,

SAUL SAMUEL The Hon. the Minister for Mines and Agriculture, Sydney.

[Copy of letter from Messrs. Keeling and Hunt.)

Monument Buildings, Monument-square, London, E.C., 1 October, 1896. The Hon. Sir Saul Samuel, K.C.M.G., C.B., Agent-General for New South Wales,Dear Sir,

We beg to inform you that we landed the oranges ex “Ophir" in very good condition with very few exceptions.

The fruit carried in the refrigerators was fresh and full, some rather cold, with here and there a little waste.

Fifteen boxes were brought over in the hold. The five boxes marked "S.M. Cay." were fairly fresh ; five marked “ Parker ” were rather stale, spotted and flabby, and Ére marked " Pumice" were very stale, flabby, and bad. We condemn this style of packing.

Quality.-Good, especially the No. 1, which were excellent. The Nos. 2 and 3 of each mark showed very little difference. The prices realised give the best idea of our buyers' appreciation of the fruit.

Packing.-Good generally. We always recommend the use of tissue paper only. avoiding any soft shavings, sand, pumice dust, or other packing. Those that were well and firmly packed in the white paper only looked very nice when opened any addition spoils their appearance.

Boxes are very good, allowing a free circulation of air.

Freight is very high, viz. :-48. Id. per box, as compared with an average of Is. 3d., sometimes Is. 6d. per case for Valencia oranges. These latter cases are nearly three times the size of the Australians, and weigh from I cwt, 1 qr. to I cwt. 2 qr. gross.

The voyage from Valencia occupies from nine to ten days, and the oranges are loaded in ordinary steamers as general cargo.

Time.--In our opinion, the best time for Australian oranges to come upon this market is from the beginning of August to the middle of October, when supplies from other sources are scarce.

Denia and Valencia oranges form our chief supply, cominencing end of October and lasting till end of June, sometimes going into July. Last season from this district, London received 888,725 cases.*

The result of the sale of the 1,740 boxes ex “Ophir" is generally looked upon as very satisfactory,

Yours, &c.,
KEELING AND HUNT.

(F. KNOTT.)

* Equal to about 2,300,000 of our export cases.-J.S.

SHIPMENT of Oranges per s.s. “Ophir," 10th August, 1896.

Statement.

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Species and Varieties of the Honey-bee,

AND HER POSITION IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM.

BY ALBERT GALE.

All natural objects belong to one of three great divisions-mineral, regetable, or animal. In classifying any object of nature, the first thing is to find to which of these kingdoms its belongs. These kingdoms are cut up into groups, and are divided and subdivided for the better understanding of the group or division any member of either kingdom may occupy.

Nature is very fond of diversity. She has been very lavishing in the distribution of her infinite resources in all three kingdoms. In the animal world alone she has spread out before us nearly half a million of creatures endowed with life which inhabit land or sea. To better understand this vast army, of which the honey-bee is a member, each one is marshalled under eight or nine different heads. This splitting up is for the purpose of narrowing down or limiting any one of them to a known position in the kingdom to which they belong, so that in speaking, reading, or writing of them the meaning will be the more intelligible and comprehensive. Thus, a bee is as much an animal as a horse, cow, or fish, but in their classification there are many grades between them. A horse resembles a fish far more than it does a bee. The horse and fish have internal skeletons and backbones (vertebrata), but the honey-bee has neither. Again, the honey-bee resembles à spider, crab, or earthworm more than it does a horse or fish, but there is a very wide difference between a bee and the first three named. A bee is like a spider or worm in that none of them have an internal skeleton or frame. work of bones. The framework of bees, spiders, worms, &c., are of the same construction, i.e., made up of external rings. Animals whose bodies are made up of external horny rings are termed Annulosa. The organs of locomotion in spiders, worms, &c., are feet. Bees, also, although they fly, walk upon feet. But the feet of bees differ very much from those of a worm. There are joints in the feet of spiders and bees, but there are none in those of worms. Animals the framework of whose bodies are composed of horny rings and have jointed feet, belong to that division of the animal kingdom termed Arthropoda,

Bees have jointed feet, and are, therefore, separated from worms, &c., but she still keeps company with spiders. Arthropoda are divided into classes. The honey-bee belongs to the class Insecta. Here she leaves the company of spiders and crabs, and is joined with butterflies, ants, beetles, &c. The honey-bee is not much like a beetle, but more so than it is like a spider. Compare the body of a spider with that of a bee, you cannot but notice that the spider's body is made up of two parts only, head and body, and her eight legs are attached to the latter. The bulk of a bee's body is composed of three parts-head, thorax, and abdomen. Bees have but six legs, and these are attached to the thorax. Again, spiders lay eggs, and so do bees, but the young hatched from spiders' eggs differ greatly from those hatched from

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