University of Tasmania
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Farming in Tasmania, 1840-1914

posted on 2023-05-26, 00:04 authored by Easteal, BV
Tasmania's easily cleared land was limited, and after the mid-1830's, when such land could no longer be had to support soaring sheep numbers and to replace land exhausted by continual cropping, pasture damage became widespread and wheatgrowing viable only on larger holdings where pasture could be \rotated\" with cropped land. Settlers and capital thereafter by-passed Tasmania for the developing colonies and large numbers of able bodied men were drawn away. Purely pastoral districts stagnated as did most districts in the south as the south's long cropped wheatlands were limited and broken and only a limited respite was gained by the shift to the larger unit. In the north natural conditions favoured the combination of wheat and wool on the larger scale and mechanized farming and districts within paying distance from Launceston emerged as the colony's leading cash cropping districts. At the same time the cattle runs in the outlying districts were broken up into mixed farms many of which were tenanted. By 1880 however yields in the north were declining. Fallowing and the use of guano were now possible but were expensive in relation to the market price. Exports of wheat ceased some farmers abandoned cropping and many tenant farmers were forced to shift westward into the pioneer districts. The north like the south was unable to retain its population once further expansions was impossible and yields declined."


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