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some of the provinces, such as South Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania, show averages which surpass those of the leading agricultural countries. This may be partly seen from the following table, which gives approximately for 1891-95 the value of agricultural production in the principal countries of the world, with the average amount per head of population

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AREA UNDER CULTIVATION. The following figures, giving the total extent of land in cultivation in each of the Commonwealth States and New Zealand at different periods since the year 1861, will serve to illustrate the progress which agriculture has made. In this table, and in the others which follow, the years 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 embrace the period from the 1st April in each of those years to the 31st March in the following year :

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acres.

acres,
acres.

acres.
New South Wales... 265,389 390,099 578,243 816,383
Victoria

410,406 851,354 1,435,446 2,116,654 Queensland.

4,440 59,969 117,664 242,629 South Australia.

400,717 837,730 2,156,407 | 1,927,689 Western Australia

24,705 51,724 53,353 64,209 Tasmania

163,385 155,046 148,494 168,121 Commonwealth ...... 1,269,042 2,345,922 4,489,607 5,365,685 New Zealand

68,506 337,282 1,070,906 1,424,777

acres. 2,276,628 2,965,681

483,460 2,236,552

216,824 232,550

8,411,695

1,545,683

Australasia ......

1,337,548 2,683,204 5,560,513 6,790,462

9,957,378

Taking Australasia as a whole, it will be seen that the area under crop is now over seven times as large as it was in 1861. If, however, the land artificially grassed be included, the total will come to 22,592,000

acres, or nearly seventeen times the area in cultivation in 1861. A comparison of the acreage under crop on the basis of population, may perhaps best serve to give an idea of the progress of agriculture, and this is shown in the table given below. South Australia still holds, as it has done for many years, the first position, followed at a long interval by Victoria and New Zealand.

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For the whole of Australasia the increase of agriculture as compared with population is shown in the following table :

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Although during the period of forty-one years the population of Australasia was nearly quadrupled, the area of land devoted to agriculture increased almost eightfold, and the rate of agricultural progress was more than twice that of the population. The chief progress was made during the twenty years from 1861 to 1881, and the ten years from 1891 to 1901. During the intervening period fronu 1881 1891 the population increased nearly twice as rapidly as the agricultural industry.

The progress in the seventies is what naturally might be expected, as the gold fever had altogether subsided about the end of the first period, and a large portion of the population was seeking employment of a more settled nature than was afforded by the gold-fields. It was not to be anticipated that the same rate of progress could be maintained, and the comparative decline in the eighties may be accounted for by the fact that most of the best land had been taken up. The earnest attempts of the State to assist the agriculturist in obtaining land on easy terms, however, together with the satisfactory advance in the price of wheat during the three years 1896–98, have enabled the industry to show a substantial rate of progress during the last ten years.

In the following table will be found the proportion of land under crop to the total area of each State, and the same with regard to Australasia as a whole. In instituting comparisons between the several States, however, it must be borne in mind that circumstances other than the mere area in cultivation require to be taken into consideration. It would not be fair, for instance, to compare Tasmania, which has 6:57

persons per square mile, with Western Australia, which has only 0.19 inhabitant to the square mile. The table has & value chiefly because it shows how each province has progressed in cultivation of the soil during the periods quoted :

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The subjoined table shows the proportion of cultivated area devoted to the principal crops in each province. It will be seen that wheat forms the greatest percentage of the total tillage in Australasia as a whole, and in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. Maize and sugar-cane are the principal crops in Queensland, and oats in New Zealand. In Tasmania only 18:9 per cent. of the land cultivated was under wheat, the area cut for hay forming 26.5 per cent. of the total acreage.

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per cent. per cent. per cent. per cent. per cent. per cent. per cent. per cent. per cent. Wheat

612 59-2 18'4 77.9 43.2 18.9 60-8 102 52.7 Maize 8:4 0.3 24.2

0.2

3.8 008 3:3 Barley

0.3
1:1 24 0.7

1.3 26

09 17 10 Oats 1.4 11:1

003
1.6
4.5 23.3

5.5 25-2 87 Potatoes

1:1
104
2.8 0:3 0.8 10-9 13

1.9 1.4 Hay

19.4 22.6 13.0 16.5 42.9 26.5 20-2 8.9 176 Vines

04
0.9
0:4
0-9 17

0.8

0-6 Sugar-cane 23.2

1.6

1.3 Other crops..

0.9

6.9
3.4 15:3 2:1 5.4 178

5:1

563 13.4

Total

1000

100.0

100.0

1000

100.0

100.0

1000

100.0

10000

The position in which each of the principal agricultural products stood in relation to the total area under crop in Australasia, at various periods since the year 1861, may be ascertained from the following table. The figures should, however, be taken in conjunction with those giving the actual areas cultivated, for a decline in the proportion of land under any particular crop does not necessarily mean a falling-off in the area devoted to that product; on the contrary, in few instances has there been any actual retrogression. It is satisfactory to observe that there is a greater proportionate increase in the cultivation of the more valuable

crops,

and that, despite checks from causes due to unfavourable seasons, the area devoted to vines, sugar-cane, and “other crops” formed 15•3 per cent. of the whole in 1901, as compared with 8.6 per cent. in 1861 :

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With the exception of Queensland and Western Australia, all the States now produce sufficient wheat for their own requirements, and in good seasons there is a large and steadily increasing balance available for export, which finds a ready market in Great Britain, where Australian wheat is well and favourably known. For the season 1901–2, although a larger area was sown than at any previous period, protracted drought, coupled with unseasonable rainfall, had the effect of greatly curtailing the production. Taking Australasia as a whole, there was a net export of breadstuffs, during 1901, equivalent to 24,770,592 bushels of grain, valued at £3,096,000.

The subjoined table shows the progress of wheat-growing during the period of the last forty-one years :

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It will be seen that, during the twenty years extending from 1861 to 1881, all the States, with the exception of Tasmania, made considerable additions to the area under wheat, the increase for the whole of Australasia being 2,634,423 acres, or an advance of 359 per cent. From 1881 to 1901 the extension of this form of cultivation has not been so general, most of the increase in area having taken place during the last few seasons, in consequence of the rise in the prices of wheat which was taken advantage of by the agriculturists of all the States, excepting South Australia and Tasmania, where there were decreases in acreage, although this was partly due to the unfavourable seasons. In New Zealand, the adverse weather conditions were responsible for a falling off in the area cut for grain amounting to over 200,000 acres. In Australasia, as a whole, the increase in area since 1881 amounts to 1,910,645 acres--but while New South Wales shows an extension of cultivation during the period amounting to 1,170,182 acres, and Victoria an increase of 827,688 acres, the total increase was considerably reduced by the falling off mentioned above. At present more than one-half of the land in cultivation is devoted to wheat-growing, and in an ordinary season the produce of 750,000 acres is available for export to Europe.

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