Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/167

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155
UNITED STATES' WHEAT-GROWING CAPACITY.

duction of our principal crops for the year 1897 is given in the table below. If miscellaneous crops be added to these principal crops, the cultivated land of this country does not now exceed, and in fact does not reach, twenty per cent of the arable land, while from the cultivated portion a progressive increase in product may be expected under the impetus of improved methods of farming on lessening areas in each farm.

 
Acreage. Yield. Product. Price. Value.
Per acre. Bushels. Cents
Maize 80,095,051 23.8 1,902,967,933 26.3 $501,072,952
Wheat 39,465,066 13.4 530,149,168 80.8 428,547,121
Oats 25,730,375 27.2 698,767,809 21.2 147,974,719
Barley 2,719,116 24.5 66,685,127 37.7 25,142,139
Rye 1,703,561 16.1 27,363,324 44.7 12,239,647
Buckwheat 717,836 20.9 14,997,451 42.1 6,319,188
 All grain 150,431,005 3,240,930,812 $1,121,295,766
Hay 42,426,770 1.43 60,664,876 6.62 401,390,728
Cotton 23,273,209 8,532,705 6.78 291,811,564
216,130,984 $1,814,498,058
 

The area under wheat in 1897 was a fraction under forty million acres, or a little less than sixty-two thousand square miles. The high price secured for that crop has led to an increase in land under wheat in 1898 to a fraction under seventy-one thousand square miles (nine thousand square miles added), on which the largest crop ever known has doubtless been raised, variously computed at the present time from 620,000,000 to 700,000,000 bushels. The area now under wheat is therefore less-than four per cent of our arable land.

In order to develop our potential in wheat it will be best to limit our present consideration to three States only—namely, Minnesota, North and South Dakota—from which we derive the greater part of our spring wheat. The area of these three States is two hundred and thirty-two thousand square miles, disregarding fractions. The land which is deemed to be suitable for wheat growing is estimated by the officials from whom I have derived reports at one hundred and sixty