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an equivalent of ten pounds of corn, with roughage, to produce one pound of beef, and five pounds of corn, with roughage, to produce one pound of mutton. Hogs are still more efficient and on the average will return one pound of pork for every four and one-half or five pounds of grain. Moreover, fattening hogs require so small a proportion of roughage that we may ignore this item entirely in the above comparison. When roughage in the form of clover or other pasture is employed for hogs, less grain than that indicated above will be required. It is not ordinarily wise for the general farmer to produce only one kind of animal. While hogs are undoubtedly one of the most profitable animals, they can not be depended on to utilize roughage in the form of hay or straw, and only a comparatively small amount of pasture.
Equipment for a 240-ocre farm.
A well-managed farm of the above size should carry the following equipment of live-stock: A flock of two hundred breeding ewes, fifteen brood sows, five cows and six work-horses, at least four of which should be heavy mares capable of producing good draft colts or mules. The young stock should all be fattened before selling. The annual sales from such a farm, barring disease, accident or unusually bad crops, would be approximately the following: Fifteen hundred pounds of wool, two hundred fat lambs, one hundred and ten fat hogs, weighing two hundred pounds each, five fat yearling cattle, weighing nine to eleven hundred pounds each, and four draft colts. There should also be sales of eggs, poultry and butter amounting to a considerable item. In addition, if the above cropping plan is followed, there will be for sale annually 1,000 bushels of wheat. The plan here contemplated, however, involves the purchase of concentrated foods, as cottonseed meal or linseed meal, of a value not exceeding the sales of wheat.
The progressive and successful farmer must have the best labor-saving machinery. It economizes labor and insures saving the crops when labor cannot be secured at any price. The expense of such machinery is large, but is justified on a farm of the size here contemplated. The machinery should include one gang plow (two fourteen-inch plows), one walking plow, one four-horse disc harrow, one smoothing harrow, two corn cultivators, one grain drill, one self-binder, one corn binder, one mowing-machine, one side delivery rake, one hay loader, one hay fork with pulleys and rope, one farm wagon, one low-down platform wagon, and small tools, as forks, shovels, hoes and so forth.
The most important general principles that govern the above system are: farm sales exclusively of animal products, thus conserving soil fertility; extensive use of labor-saving machinery and of horse power instead of hand labor; producing the animals on the farm and finishing them with the products grown on the same farm; handling carload lots; continuous large areas of corn and clover, and a definite area of permanent pasture.
THE LAYOUT OF A FARM IN AN ARID REGION
By W. M. Jardine
The methods of farming in an arid region show considerable variation within the same section of the country; and of course a very great difference obtains between the methods employed there and in a humid region. When it is remembered that the word arid means dry, sun-scorched, destitute of moisture as opposed to the moist, damp atmosphere of humid regions, it is not difficult to conceive of the vast difference in the treatment required for crops.
A region is considered arid when the total annual precipitation is fifteen inches or less. Time and experience have demonstrated that in such localities farming cannot be practiced successfully without artificial application or conservation of water. This, then, is the vital, fundamental consideration in farming arid lands, namely, the storing, by scientific methods, of all precipitation, and the effective utilizing of this on the land under cultivation. In many instances, communities resort to the storage reservoir or the mountain streams for their supply, and this constitutes simple irrigation.
There are'three main types of farming in an arid region : (1) by means of irrigation; (2) by socalled " dry-farming"; (3) by ranging. These types may be briefly discussed with reference to the layout of the farm area. It is not intended to enter into any discussion of the methods and special practices of these types of agriculture.
Layout of an irrigated farm.
In Fig. 170 is shown the layout of an eighty-acre irrigated farm. The water enters the field at the northwest corner. The main irrigating ditch continues along the east side, two parallel laterals intersecting it at right angles. One of these laterals extends along the north side ; the other crosses the center of the field. With such a system, it is possible to distribute the water equally over the field with the least number of ditches. It is important that the slope of the surface be smooth and uniform. The best possible grade will vary considerably with the character of the soil. One to three feet drop per hundred feet will probably be the most effective. When the field is laid out properly, as in Fig. 170, very little labor will be necessary in distributing the water. This plan can be considered as representative of an irrigated farm, particularly as regards the scheme by which it is divided into lots and planted to satisfy the requirements of rotation, and to enable the farmer to distribute his work throughout the year to the best possible advantage.
The annual crop harvested from such a farm should be about as follows: Ten acres of orchard should average about $150 per acre; twenty acres of alfalfa, at the rate of six tons per acre, $4.50 per ton; five acres of wheat, at sixty bushels per acre, seventy-five cents per bushel; twenty acres of sugar-beets, at twenty-five tons per acre, $4.50 per ton; five acres of oats, at eighty-five bushels per acre, forty cents per bushel; potatoes at the
rate of 300 to 500 bushels per acre, thirty cents per bushel, and other miscellaneous crops comparatively high. In some parts of the arid country yields and prices are higher.
An eighty-acre farm in Utah, Colorado, Idaho or Montana, would possibly incur a greater expense
Fig. 170. Plan of ungated farm in the arid region,
in its operation than would a 320-acre farm in Iowa, Michigan or Wisconsin. When men work the entire year they are paid $25 to $40 per month, according to the man. Day-laborers demand $1.50 to $2 per day. Since there is work enough on the farm described to keep two men busy throughout the year and additional help during the harvesting season, July, August, September and October, the annual expense for labor will approximate $1,200. The farmer estimates that his dairy products, marketable animals, wheat, oats and miscellaneous crops will yield cash sufficient to cover the entire expense incurred in running the farm. This leaves, as clear gain, the entire orchard and sugar-beet crop, giving a net profit which may be estimated at not less than $3,000.
It will be seen from these results that, with irrigation in an arid climate, where the soils are among the best in the world, and the sun hot dry and scorching, it is possible to do farming of the most intensive kind. It is no longer a question of land, but rather of water. In other words, it is $10-acre land and $100-acre water. This makes intensive farming necessary if the greatest
possible profit is to be realized from a water-right. As a result, the expense is correspondingly high and becomes an item of first importance.
The fact that the supply of water is so limited as compared with the immense tracts of land that might otherwise be brought under irrigation raises at once the vital question of its economic distribution. When the farmer knows that every acre that can be irrigated is to increase in value a hundred - fold, he exerts himself to the utmost to realize the greatest utility of water.
There are two methods of applying water,— the flooding method and the furrow method, either of which is equally good so far as present investigations indicate, varying only with the difference in character of soil, crops or local conditions. In the first, or flooding method, the water is allowed completely to cover the land, the extent to which a field can be flooded depending on the levelness of the surface. This is the method used on the large farms, especially on the alfalfa fields. The second, or furrow method, is used when the land has been run over with a marker, making shallow furrows or rows, twelve to eighteen inches apart, through which the water can pass nearly unobstructed. This method is practiced to a considerable extent on grain-fields, but very seldom in an alfalfa field.
The methods of maturing and handling the farm crops in an arid region vary little from those employed in a humid section, except, possibly, in the case of alfalfa. Two to four cuttings of alfalfa are taken from the land during the year. For this and other forage crops silos are seldom used, since the crops can be cured easily on the field.
Up to the present time, very little attention has been given to the rotation of crops, owing to the fact that arid soils are usually very fertile, and as yet they are comparatively virgin. Progressive farmers, however, are beginning to adopt a system of rotation. On the farm described, or a typical farm of this region, the rotation would be about as follows: wheat, sugar-beets, sugar-beets, wheat and alfalfa. This rotation might be four, five or more years with these same crops, but whenever sugarbeets follow themselves barnyard manure is applied to the land, not particularly to add fertility but rather to improve the physical texture of the soil. The "dry farm."
Although it is considered that irrigation forms the basis of agriculture in an arid region, yet it is estimated that less than two per cent of the arid lands are under irrigation, and it is further estimated that after the art of storing and applying water has been perfected, there will still be insufficient water to irrigate ten per cent of the total area. Recent investigations of dry-farming, or farming without irrigation, have demonstrated that paying crops can be produced in regions where the annual precipitation is as low as ten inches, thus bringing under cultivation millions of acres which up to the present time have been considered useless, except for range purposes. [See page 398.]
A typical dry farm would be about 320 acres, devoted almost exclusively to the growing of drought - resisting crops, such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, native grasses, alfalfa, and the like. Such farms are usually divided into two main fields of 150 acres. One field is summer-fallowed while the other is producing a crop. In this way, one-half the land is lying over every year in order to store up two years' moisture to produce a crop. The main product of a dry farm is wheat, other crops being grown principally for feed. Fall-plowing is practiced whenever possible, so that the soil will be in better condition to hold the moisture from the winter snows and early spring rains. The plowed ground is cultivated during the summer with an ordinary disc harrow or smoothing harrow, the purpose being to hold moisture in the soil and prevent the growth of weeds. The average yield of wheat per acre is about fifteen bushels. Very seldom is one of these farms inhabited the year round. The owners usually have a few acres with a water-right where they live in the winter months, and on which sufficient hay is raised to feed a few head of animals. This kind of farming will always be one of the leading phases of agriculture in an arid region.
This kind of farming has been practiced for many years, but it is only since 1904 that the system has developed into a profitable industry. Thousands of bushels of wheat, barley and oats are being produced on land that five years ago was thought to be less than worthless, and as yet this method of farming is but in a primitive state. The system adopted and followed by the most successful farmers is one that will admit of the operation of large tracts of land at a minimum expense. The importance of such a system will be appreciated when we consider the gross receipts of one acre. With an average yield of 15 bushels of wheat worth not to exceed $10, it is evident that all farm operations must be done on an extensive scale in order to be profitable. To do this, especially adapted machinery must be used, machinery that will enable one man to handle many acres of land in a
single day. On the larger farms, steam power is taking the place of horse power to a great exent. When it is the object of the farmer to grow dry farm crops only, it becomes necessary, and is the custom, to increase holdings to 640 acres or more. In dry-farming the practice of rotating crops with any system is practically unobserved, unless it is among a few of the most successful farmers. The following plan illustrates common practice:
1. Wheat; summer fallow; wheat.
2. Wheat; summer fallow; oats; wheat.
Fig. 171. Sheep-pens, for feeding range stock, in the farther West.
A system of cropping that would answer the requirements of a rotation for the dry lands would be about as follows:
Wheat; field-peas; wheat; corn or potatoes; barley or oats; alfalfa for a series of years.
With such a rotation a permanent agriculture could be established for the unirrigated lands of the far West.
Aside from the irrigation and dry-farming of the West, the "range" should also be mentioned. The range is the open, unfenced country, typically that belonging to the government, on which stock is pastured in large flocks or herds. Range-farming is dependent to a considerable extent on irrigationfarming. The open range no longer provides sufficient pasturage for the flocks and herds during the entire year. Three months of the year, during the most severe winter weather, all live-stock must be fed, except in a very few localities; hence it is that range-farming becomes dependent on irrigation.
The range stock is usually shipped from the range directly to eastern buyers, but a better practice, and one that is becoming recognized as such by the stock-growers, is to finish the animals on the alfalfa and grain produced in the West before final sales are made to the eastern markets.
Range-farming in the past has been poorly organized, and is so yet; but since the national government began the establishment of forest reserves through the entire West, a gradual change for the better is becoming evident, and the present indications point to a better organized system.
THE CAPITAL REQUIRED IN FARM OPERATIONS
| OR THE GREATEST EFFICIENCY as a business and economic enterprise, the average farm is no doubt under-equipped and under-supplied with moving capital; or at least it is not so equipped as best to adapt it to its particular conditions. The farmer, in such cases, is not able to make the most of his original land investment and of his commercial opportunities. There must be some proportionate relation between the first or foundation investment, the working capital and the extent of equipment.
In the past, the farmer was not able to make the most of human labor, and farming was menial. In proportion as labor is cheap, meniality is likely to persist, with conseI quent social stratification. As labor increases in price, it is economized and made more effective by better organization and by equipment that will utilize it to the full and multiply it. The great development of machinery in the Middle West of the United States, for example, is a means of making human labor effective. Whatever develops farming out of meniality raises it into the plane of managership: herein lies the fundamental demarcation between poor farming and good farming. The proportion of working capital to original investment is likely greatly to increase, and this will influence the labor problem. The kinds of capital used in agricultural operations may be classified into three somewhat distinct groups: (1) permanent or immovable capital, comprised in the general term real estate, which brings certain but small earnings; (2) the movable inventory or equipment, tending to wear out and disappear with use, belonging either to the landowner or renter, subject to more risk than real estate and therefore to be made to pay a greater proportionate return on the investment; (3) the more temporary, annual or even seasonal capital, comprised in ready cash or what it buys for present needs, as labor, seeds, fertilizers, feeds and current supplies, the earnings on which must be large and usually in a different form from that in which the capital was invested. Capital in agriculture may be otherwise classified, however, for purposes of special discussion. The utility of a classification is to enable one to arrive at safe conclusions in regard to the nature and extent of the earning power of the different parts of the investment.
Working capital and equipment provide the facilities by which the man can utilize the forces and opportunities that lie at his hand. There are certain generalizations that will be useful, or at least suggestive, and these we may now consider. Having mastered some of the principles involved in the consideration of capital, and having acquired a point of view, the enquirer will then consult one or more reliable and thoughtful farmers that pursue the kind of enterprise in which he is interested. Examples of what such farmers would be likely to say are given in several articles. These articles are chosen without any desire to cover the field of agriculture or to represent all parts of the country, or even to make a connected presentation, but only to illustrate how the principles work out in special businesses or in concrete cases. Such articles necessarily raise the question of the general organization of the business.
In the articles that follow, the point of view is to record the judgment of thoughtful men as founded on experience; and since the whole question of the necessary investment in a farming business and the most effective division of this capital is of the greatest practical importance, particularly to the beginner, it has seemed best to give the discussion rather free and wide scope. There are fundamental theoretical questions that these articles do not pretend to discuss and which, in fact, are not relevant in this place (they may be considered in the fourth volume). Some of these are questions that have to do with the normal proportion that exists between the various kinds of capital in the most effective enterprises, as proportion of capital in land and land improvement, buildings, classes of equipment, labor and cash. There are no data in this country for the adequate study of this and other problems of applied economics in agriculture.