1865-1881

Highlights

Community-Driven discovery

1843 – The Ridley Stripper (Agricultural Engineering)
1865 – Goyder’s line (Agricultural Ecology) beyond which pastoralists received assistance (= arable agriculture should not proceed)
1868 – Mullenising the scrub
1869 – Eradication of sheep scab mite (Tobacco, Hg, S)
1876 – RB Smith invents stump-jump plough (Agricultural Engineering)

Government Policies and Acts

1869 – The Strangways Act provided Government loans to small–holders with 20% deposit to allow land purchase on credit (Agricultural Economics)
1869 – Government policy providing access by wheat-growers to a port or railway within 15 miles of their properties (Agricultural Economics)
1873/4 – Agricultural prosperity strengthened belief that “Rain follows the plough” (no science!)
1874 – University of Adelaide Act passed

Minister of Agriculture appointed

1875 - Ebenezer Ward appointed the first South Australian Minister of Agriculture
“Education should not be free as it would otherwise undermine family responsibility and encourage radical ideas”
1877 - Post of Minister of Agriculture abolished

Cropping in 1875

  • One man with 4-horse team ploughs 2-3 acres/day
  • One man carried out seeding with Adamson broadcaster, covering 40 acres/day
  • One man carried out harrowing with 6-horse team
  • Pests included rust, cockchafers and locusts
  • One man with 4-horse team strips 7-8 acres/day
  • One winnower was required for each 3 strippers (Payment to operators was 1d/bushel)

Farmer selection and breeding of cereal varieties

1860 - Purple straw wheat selected by an unknown farmer
1868 - Richard Marshall, farmer, Wasleys commenced wheat selections
1880 - Dr Schomburgk imported Du Toits from South Africa. James Ward, farmer, Nelshaby selected Ward’s Prolific from this

Marshall's contribution compares to Farrer

Marshall made crosses, selecting for:

  • rust resistance
  • liability to shake out the grain when ripe
  • quality and yield of grain
  • stooling and
  • strength and length of straw

Marshall's varieties

Marshall’s No 3 (Purple straw x Ward’s Prolific)
The Majestic, Gallant, Silver King (a white-grained selection from Marshall’s No 3)
Phyllis’ Marvel, Dart’s Improver
His most successful variety was Yandilla King (Silver King x Farrer’s Yandilla and half-sister to Farrer’s Federation)

Marshall’s No 3 and Yandilla King were the standard wheats until 1920s

Royal Commission into Agricultural education 1875

  • Create a Department of Agriculture (rejected)
  • Establish demonstration farms

1280 acres at Mannahill (Cereal farming finally abandoned in the drought of 1880)
1000 acres drained swamp, Millicent

(Overseer’s instructions “Do as well as you can”)

  • Appoint a Professor of Agriculture

Agriculture 1876

Extracts from South Australia: Its history, resources and productions, edited by William Harcus (1876):

Main aspects of the era

  • Settlement beyond Goyder's Line
  • Land speculation
  • Willochra Plain-Hawker
  • Railway, port and road transport facilities
  • Towns and communities established
  • Arrival of rabbits
Page Last Reviewed: 20 Nov 2017
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