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ning on July 1 in the years indicated. Thus, the exports set opposite the year 1895 are not for the calendar year 1895, nor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1895, but for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1895, and ending June 30, 1896. In this way the exports are placed on the same line with the crop out of which they are mainly drawn. As the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1890, is incomplete, the corresponding space in the column of exports is necessarily left blank. The official figures on exports have, however, been issued for the six months ending on December 31, 1896, and it appears that the corn exported during that period amounted to 72,954,096 bushels, while the wheat, including flour reduced to its wheat equivalent at the rate of 44, bushels to the barrel, amounted to 94,017,622 bushels. The exports of these two cereals for the corresponding months of the preceding year amounted to 38,331,098 bushels of corn and 65,029,819 bushels of wheat. It will be seen that the exports of corn for the first six months of the current fiscal year amounted to 34,623,000 bushels more than those for the same period of the fiscal year preceding. During December, 1896, they amounted to 15,039,329 bushels. It thus appears that the low price is stimulating the foreign demand, which in turn has a lendency to stiffen the price.
Corn, wheat and oats are by far the most important of our cereal crops. The production and exports of the two former have been given year by year from 1880 to 1896, inclusive. The production of oats is given in the following table for each year from 1S90 to 1896, inclusive, together with the averages for those seven years and the two preceding decades. The crop of 1895 was the
largest ever gathered, while that of 1896 was exceeded only by those of 1891 and 1895, the area of 1896 being larger than in any preceding year except 1895.
Our exports of oats (including oatmeal reduced at the rate of 18 pounds to the bushel), rarely exceed 1 per cent, of the total crop, the highest ratio, 2 per cent, for the fiscal year 1889-90, having followed a crop of 751,515,000 bushels in 1889, the largest recorded until 1895. The export of oatmeal during the six months ending December, 1896, exceeded that of any entire fiscal year since 1886.
NOTES OX FARM TRICES.
The price per bushel was unprecedently low in 1889, when it fell to 28.3 cents on the average; the 1895 price fell still lower, reaching a minimum for that year of 25.3; the average for 1896 shows a further fall to 21.5 cents, nearly 4 cents below the lowest previous figure on the records of the Department. The more than usual concentration of the production in the great surplus states, where price is always lowest, the enormous total product, immediately following the heavy crop of 1895, both are added to the business depression unfortunately still continuing, and bring the value of the crop to a discouragingly low figure. An increased demand for wheat is not having the desired sustaining effect on the market for its sister cereal.
Price in 1896, 72.6 cents a bushel, the highest since 1891, when it was 83.9 cents. The rise comes partially from a reduced supply, accompanied by smaller exports from Argentina, a poor crop in Europe (particularly in Russia, the most important source of supply), and a disastrous deficiency, with widespread famine and famine prices in India. It is feared that the wheat growers of the country will not profit so much by the better price as might have been wished for them; for the continued unfavorable weather conditions prevailing through the season and throughout the country, deteriorating both quality and quantity, finally left many who often have wheat to sell without sufficient for their own needs, and a large number of farmers were compelled to dispose of what surplus they had before the rise came. As usual, it is observable that the wheat price is far more dependent upon foreign supply and demand and less exclusively dependent on domestic supply than that of corn.
As in the case of corn, the average price for 1895 was the lowest on the Department's records until 1896 came with a yet lower figure. The general movement of prices since 1889 is seen in the following table, which shows for each grain the ratio of each year's price to the mean of the eight years, that mean being taken as 100:
The order in which the grains are placed, that of increasing relative price for 1896, is that, for the eight years generally, of increasing divergence from the corn price, by which most of the others appear to be regulated. Rye is the only minor cereal whose price is nearer to the wheat than the corn scale; and its percentage is in six cases out of eight intermediate. All prices were high in 1890 and 1891, and low in 1895; wheat was the only exception to prevailing low prices in 1889 and 1896, and high prices in 1892; while high and low percentages for ls93 and 1894 were equally distributed.
The greatly reduced product of 1896, as compared with 1895, is attended by a slightly increased price, from 26.6 to 28.7 cents a bushel, both prices being lower, as both crops were larger, than ever before 1895.
The average price in 1895, $8.35 a ton, was lower than any before recorded, except $8.21 in 1883, $8.17 in 1884, and $7.21 in 1878. Tho figure for 1S96, §6.55, is 21£ per cent, lower than 1895 and 9 per cent, lower than the lowest before it. A largely increased crop shows, therefore, a diminished total value. This is the natural consequence of the generally greater production in states where the price of hay is always comparatively low, accompanied by a general falling off where higher prices prevail. It is noteworthy, however, that in states where the fall in price was most marked, such as Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan (where the percentage of decrease ranged from 35 to 40), the crop was so much larger that its total value exceeded that in 1895.
The average price in 1896 is 1 cent lower than in 1895, but 2 cents higher than in 1894, in each case following a reversed change in the total crop amount. Some states report the price reduced by planters crowding their cotton on the market.
The lowest price heretofore recorded, with two exceptions, was in 1894, when the average was 6.8 cents. In 1877 and 1878, however, when it fell to 5.6 and 5.S, respectively, it was even lower than this year's average of 6 cents.
WINTER GRAIN CROP OF 1897.
The acreage sown in winter wheat shows a decided increase upon the 1895 returns, this increase being, except in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and a few states of less importance as producers, general throughout the country, and in some states quite large. Tho better price for this grain, particularly in contrast with the fall in corn, is assigned as a reason, though many reports speak of the higher price as having come too late for this effect.
The condition of both wheat and rye is set down as excellent in all parts of the country, almost without exception—wheat 99.5 and rye 99.8, on the average, against 81.4 and 94.9 in 1895—soil and weather conditions having been unusually favorable. Such complaints as come from scattered counties in different sections of the country name the Hessian fly and other insects, persistent dry weather or soaking rains as causes of inferior condition.