Nearly 50 members of the Institute of Stock Inspectors of New South Wales met this morning at the School of Arts to begin their annual conference. The president (Mr. E. A. Hamilton) presided. They inaugurated the proceedings by singing the National Anthem in honor of Empire Day.
Mr. G. Valder, Under-Secretary for Agriculture, in his opening address, stressed the desire of the Government to help the men on the land, and the opportunities that the inspectors had to help by gathering information and giving practical advice. He dwelt on the need to fight the drought by conserving fodder in times of plenty. During the recent drought, men anxious to save their sheep had paid up to £15 per ton in Sydney for lucerne. Special attention should he devoted to the eradication of the prickly pear, and the vote of £8000 per year should assist investigation.
Mr. S. T. D. Symons, M.R.C.V.S., Chief Inspector of Stock, also extended a brief welcome.
Mr. M. Henry, M.R.C.V.S., B.V.Sc., began an instructive lecture on poisonous plants by saying that many had been incriminated on insufficient evidence. Fir instance, sheep accustomed to a certain plant would thrive on it, whereas it would kill hungry travelling stock.
The collection of noxious plants by inspectors, with particulars as to under what conditions they were toxic, would be valuable work. The department would supply to each man particulars of the treatment to combat their effects.
Marshmallows were, said Mr. Henry, a feed standby, particularly in the basin of the Namoi and parts of the Gwydir. But on the Namoi extensive experiments proved that they undoubtedly caused staggers in sheep. He would like to know whether any other parts had had a similar experience.
It had been demonstrated that redwood and the fuchsia plant were at certain periods prussic acid containers, and regarding the former, further watching was necessary, to show for how long in the period of growth it was dangerous.
This afternoon the inspectors had an excursion to Taronga Zoo, where Mr. A. S. le Soeuf, the director, gave them an entertaining lecture.