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ating the patching and resultant changes in tare at compress points, removing the most common grounds for claims, and reducing to a minimum the city crop, which is a needless tax on the industry.
Through the gin the entire crop must pass and at that point the cotton first comes within the reach of official or trade regulation. From the gins can come the only conclusive statistics of the crop. Through the ginner alone can the careless, ignorant, or dishonest producer be effectively reached. The gin plant is, in short, the vital point in the cotton-handling situation and offers an effective agency through which to bring about improved conditions. Well-organized, responsible cooperative growing and handling associations, acting in concert with the other elements of cotton trade, can ultimately bring about improvements that will save millions of dollars.
DAIRYING AND ITS RELATION TO AGRICULTURE IN
By A. K. RISSER,
Senior Dairyman, Dairy Division, Bureau of Animal Industry.
Agriculture in the semiarid sections, or dry farming as it is generally called, in its early development was devoted almost exclusively to the production of crops. A doubting public had to be convinced of the possibilities of this group of lands. So all thought and energy was concentrated on the important subjects of tillage, conservation of moisture, cropping systems, and the discovery, breeding, and selection of drought-resistant plants. So much attention has been given to the growing of wheat on the dry-land farm that, in the minds of many, dry farming is synonymous with cereal production.
The pioneer work of demonstrating that crops can actually be successfully grown on these semiarid lands has been well done. So well, indeed, that few desirable locations remain to be homesteaded. The problem now presenting itself, and it is a serious one, is how to make this dry-land farming a permanent and enduring agriculture.
The present practice of exclusive grain growing is leading to sure failure. History fails to record an instance where a soil was so fertile that it could indefinitely support a one-crop system. The soil of the semiarid lands is quite fertile in mineral plant food, but is deficient in humus, and so is ill fitted in the first place to support continuous cropping to wheat. Frequently a decline in yield can be noted in the third crop following sod.
The weakness of dry farming lies in the fact that too little attention is given to maintenance of fertility. Before we can legitimately consider these semiarid lands a permanent addition to the agricultural area of our country the present one-crop system must yield to a system of handling which will restore to the soil most of the fertility that is removed in the harvested crop. In addition to this restoration the supply of humus must be augmented. No system of agriculture, dry farming included, can hope to survive under methods which gradually but surely are impoverishing the soil.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE SOIL.
One way to supply humus to a soil is to plow under green crops, particularly legumes, such as clover and alfalfa, but this is not economical, even in humid sections, and on the dry-land farm is not generally possible. One of the very best as well as most profitable ways to maintain fertility is to feed the bulk of the crops to live stock on the farm and apply the manure to the field. It seems a fundamental principle that for the highest development of either farming or stock growing they must be carried on together. The experience of the dry-farm settler, and the results of investigation as well, indicate that successful dry farming needs the cooperation of live stock. Such cooperation will insure the permanence of dry farming.
As to the kind of live stock to be used, that depends upon the preferences of the farmer, adaptability to locality, and the markets. In the semiarid section of the Great Plains dairying is becoming popular and is being urged by the various experiment stations. Its rapid development is due to several things, but chief among them is the fact that it provides a reliable income.
WHEAT RAISING UNSUCCESSFUL.
A strenuous effort is being made on the Plains to establish permanent farm homes. The prospect that prompted the early settlers to plow up the range was the hope of quick wealth growing wheat. But it has been demonstrated that wheat growing is a failure about two seasons out of five. Some sections of eastern Colorado and western Kansas and Nebraska have been settled as many as three distinct times. The proceeds of many valuable corn-belt farms have been invested in the Plains area. A settler would bring with him the latest in machinery for farming on a large scale, but would boastingly admit that he had not brought even one cow to supply the family needs. Instances are on record where in as short a time as four or five years these same settlers have accepted charity to enable them to leave the country. In favorable years the returns from wheat farming are big, but averaged over a series of years the income is most unreliable. When several poor years succeed one another, as is often the case, bills have to be carried over, and there is the real pinch of hard times.
ADVANTAGES OF THE DAIRY HERD.
Compared with the precarious returns from wheat farming the dairy herd yields an income every day in the year. The season is frequently too dry to mature a grain crop, but seldom is it so dry that crops of forage can not be grown. Kafir, milo, sorghum, and
[The main house and barn are the third set of buildings erected. The small house and barn in the right of picture were the second. The original claim house and stock shelter have disappeared.]