2 MAY 1931, Page 14


A smallholder harrowing one of his two fields was glad to stop and talk. What he said seemed to me to add suggestive detail to the tale of present tendencies on the land. "I'm putting the field down to permanent grass, all except a little corner with Rivett's (bearded) wheat. The field was said to be the best in the county. Years back the farmer paid all his rent of 300 and more acres by a crop of wheat on these 18 acres. It was all corn then," and he flung his hand round the landscape. "Now it's almost all gone, so you can't get your stuff threshed when you want, and if you leave it the rats have it. Soon as they see a bit of wheat, all the birds from the neighbourhood come and eat you up. They didn't seem to matter when everyone had wheat." The grass seed—all " 'digenous sorts "—came from a farmer who had a surplus owing to the fact that his landlord refused permission to lay all the land down to pasture.