[Aerial top-dressing demonstration in Ohariu Valley, 1949]

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A series of unedited recordings made at a 1949 demonstration of the new method of aerial fertiliser dropping, or top-dressing, in Ohariu Valley near Wellington. The demonstration took place with the Governor-General and Ministers of the Crown in attendance.

- From D3673 s2 Tk 02
Broadcaster Pat Earnshaw introduces the recording of the aerial fertilisation demonstration, which will be taking place on the Ohariu Valley property of J. C. Reid. He introduces Mr Reid, who explains that this will be the first time the property has been fertilised as it is too steep to use any other method.

- From D3675 s1 Tk 02
Group captain Sheehan explains the work of the party of men who can be seen on the hill-side. The men will be directing the aircraft, via radio. He explains the load and how it will be distributed over the land. Five runs will be made during the demonstration, at 15-minute intervals. He explains the use of super-phosphate fertiliser, and then asks the directing party to bring the first aircraft over. Broadcaster Pat Earnshaw describes the public-address system, used to relay messages from the work party. He also describes the crowd, and says the weather is pleasant.

- From D3674 s1
Broadcaster Pat Earnshaw describes the effects of the wind on the drop, and the preparations for an aerial topdressing run of super-phosphate fertiliser. He says they can hear the noise of a plane approaching – it is coming from Paraparaumu, which is "about 17 miles from here". It will be directed by the party on the ground. Group Captain Sheehan [Sheen?] is heard over a loudspeaker, saying they are ready to start.

A second plane is seen moving along the coastline, the commentator is unsure if this is the next plane to make a drop, or if it is a “normal South-bound plane”.

An electronic tone or beam [like Morse signals] is heard. This will guide the pilot to the correct position to drop the fertiliser. Radio communications between the pilot and the directing party are heard. Captain Sheehan explains the procedure to the gathered spectators as the drop begins.

- From D3675 s2
Poor quality radio communications are heard between the aircraft and ground.
Pat Earnshaw describes the second aircraft approaching to make its drop. The plane appears to go off-course.

- From D3674 s2
The sound of the beam guides the plane in for another run. The commentator describes the approach of the plane, which has some difficulty getting 'on-beam'. The signal to drop is given and the sound of the plane passing overhead is heard. One ton was dropped in 17 seconds, covering an area about 50 yards wide and half a mile long.

- From D3673 s1 Tk 01
The sound of the beam guides the plane in for another run. The commentator describes the approach of the plane, and the drop of the fertiliser.

- From D3673 s1 Tk 02
An unidentified man introduces Mr Doug A. Campbell, Senior Soil Conservator and Organising Secretary of the Aerial Topdressing Committee. He speaks about the response of hill country land to aerial top-dressing. He says the future of New Zealand farming is inextricably bound to the top-dressing of hill country land. Mr Len T. Daniell, an enthusiastic supporter of aerial topdressing [Federated Farmers President in Wairarapa] also says a few words.

- From D3676 s1
Mr Len T. Daniell's speech continues. He says senior farmers from every corner of the Dominion are present for today's demonstration. He talks about the need to improve fertilisation of the land and provide more food for Britain. He also talks about the future defence of New Zealand which will rely on aircraft, and this means the need for airfields all around the country.

The Honourable Robert Semple then speaks about the need to improve high country land. He says that aerial topdressing is the solution to “the high-country problem” – that all is being taken out, and nothing put back. Consequently, the forest starves, the stock starves, and eventually people will too. He says aerial fertilisation is the answer, for ‘putting back’ into the land. Trained personnel and appropriate aircraft are required for the job to be done effectively.

Robert Semple then acknowledges Alan Pritchard, the pioneer of aerial top-dressing work and a public works pilot.

- From D3673 s2 Tk 01
Mr R. G. Buckleton [Makara representative for Federated Farmers] is interviewed. He has just returned from a tour of the United States and Canada. He addresses 'farmer friends' about novel ideas he learnt about during his trip, which he says the farmers paid for. He recommends a technique for farrowing pens to safely protect piglets from being rolled on by their mothers.

- From D3676 s2
Mr Alan M. Pritchard is interviewed by Pat Earnshaw. He describes his first top-dressing experiment, sowing lupin seed in the dunes of Ninety Mile Beach in Northland. He explains how a piece of down-pipe in the bottom of a sugar sack was used, and gave a good result. He says today's demonstration is a dream come true.

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Year 1949

Reference number 150126

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Radio interviews
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits RNZ Collection
Semple, Robert, 1873-1955, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Daniell, Len T., Speaker/Kaikōrero
Buckleton, R. G., Speaker/Kaikōrero
Reid, J. C., Speaker/Kaikōrero
Pritchard, Alan, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Campbell, Doug A., Speaker/Kaikōrero

Duration 00:54:57

Date 30 Aug 1949

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