The greatest fruit-growing county, however, is Perthshire. It had long to take a second place; but it has been steadily pulling up on Lanarkshire, and has now definitely taken the lead. There are 3037 ac. under fruit: 506 ac. of orchards and 2477 ac. of small fruit. The principal orchards are in the Carse of Gowrie, between Perth and Dundee, where Apples are the main crop. The trees are a fine sight in the springtime, when in flower. It is questionable whether the abundant promise is ever fulfilled. Spring frost plays havoc with fruit trees on the low-lying lands of the Carse. The best-known small-fruit district is the Blairgowrie district. Blairgowrie, the centre of the industry, is situated on the lowest slope of the Grampians, looking down on the fertile valley of Strathmore. In the early days of last century it was a village of handloom weavers. In the fullness of time the handloom was laid by and factories were erected on the banks of the River Ericht. They too had their innings. The competition of the towns, with their better railway facilities, and of the jute mills of India, with cheap labour and raw material on the spot, outweighed the attractions of a country life and the advantages of cheap water power, and the manufacture of jute and linen fabrics has for many years been a decaying industry. In the days of its manufacturing prosperity Blairgowrie was famed for Strawberry culture, not because of the extent of the acreage under Strawberries, or the heavy crops - for the acreage was never extensive, and the crops were never heavy - but because of the scarcity and the quality of the fruit. The rapid development of the fruit industry, however, did not take place until twenty-five years ago, when Blairgowrie had ceased to be a thriving town, and Raspberries had become the principal fruit crop. A few years later the Blairgowrie and Rattray Fruitgrowers' Association was formed. It is one of the landmarks in the history of the trade, and the precursor of other associations of a similar kind throughout Scotland. The object of the Association was to eliminate the middleman as far as possible and get into direct touch with the preservers. A secretary and a salesman was appointed with this object in view. At the formation of the society there were only a few members, and the total output the first year was under 20 tons. The association grew with the years, until to-day it has control of hundreds of tons of fruit. Prices were good in those early days, and the enormous crops of Raspberries grown showed that the climate, or the soil - which is light, and not what would be considered good for ordinary agricultural purposes - or both soil and climate, were well suited for the production of this particular fruit. A multitude of men went back to the land - cobblers, bakers, grocers, masons, joiners, manufacturers, lawyers, clergymen. It is significant that, while craftsmen of various kinds became fruit growers, few ploughmen took advantage of the movement to secure for themselves a more permanent position on the land. The reason was, no doubt, in part at least, due to the fact that a ploughman has not usually money enough to enter the fruit trade. The expense of laying down a Raspberry plantation is heavy. The following are normal figures: -

s.

d.

Preparing the land, which includes ploughing, grubbing, harrowing, drilling, etc....

1

6

0 per acre.

10 tons farmyard manure at 10s. per ton...

5

0

0 „

Carting manure to fields...

0

6

0

8000 Raspberry canes at 1 per 1000.........

8

0

0 „

Spreading manure and planting canes ...

1

8

0 „

16

0

0 ,,

In Scotland, larch posts are inserted, not when the bushes are planted, but the following year, along every drill, at a distance of 20 yd. from each other. Wires are attached to the posts, and the canes are spread out and tied to these wires. The cost of this has to be added to the foregoing figures: -

200 posts at 5d. each...

4

3

4 „

5 cwt. wire at 12s. per hundredweight ...

3

0

0 „

Labour connected with the posting and wiring...

0

13

0 „

Total..................

23

16

4 „

There are, of course, other items. There is the cleaning of the plantation during the years the fruit bushes are coming into bearing. There is the cost of implements and barrels. There are rent and taxes. By the third year - the year in which the bushes will have become profitable - the grower has expended between 50 and 60 per acre. Every year afterwards the working expenses, apart altogether from rent, taxes, and manure, are a severe strain on a poor man's resources. Manure is put on by a specially constructed horse cart. The manure is covered, and the surface of the ground between the drills, which are 4 ft. 8 in. to 5 ft. apart, is ploughed with a small Oliver plough. Most of the labour, however, is manual labour. The following are the details of the cost per acre of a year's working. The different items vary in different circumstances. Sometimes more work is done by horses and less by men. But the total does not vary much.

s.

d.

Cutting strings...

0

6

0 per acre.

Cutting out canes

0

15

0 „

Taking out and carrying off canes

0

7

0 „

Tying canes...

1

2

6 „

Cleaning ground in autumn ...

1

0

0 „

Putting on farmyard manure ...

0

8

0 „

Ploughing in autumn ...

0

5

0 „

Cutting tops of canes ...

0

7

0 „

Ploughing back furrows and cultivating in spring ...

0

5

0 „

Cleaning twice in summer

1

10

0 „

Picking fruit - 3 tons at 5, 10s. per ton

16

10

0 „

Odd jobs ...............

0

5

0 „

Total ............

23

0

6 „

Despite the inability of the ploughman to take advantage of the experiment, and the large capital needed to enter the trade, there was no lack of prospective fruit growers. Land sold at 100 per acre. It let at 12. The industry went forward by leaps and bounds. The following figures show the net tonnage dispatched from Blairgowrie every year since 1903, and the prices obtained therefor. They include Strawberries, but this crop has become so insignificant that differentiation is unnecessary.

Year.

Tons.

Price.

1903 ...

... 1112 ...... at 30s.

per cwt., 33,360

1904 ...

... 1254 ...... 28s.

,,35,112

1905 ...

... 1412 ...... 21s.

,,29,652

1906 ...

... 1807 ...... 23s. bd.

,,42,313

1907 ...

... 1871 ...... 20s. 7d.

,,38,511

1908 ...

... 2006 ...... 13s.

,,26,078

1909 ...

... 2664 ...... 10s.

,,26,640

1910 ...

... 2492 ...... 13s.

„ 32,396