(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "United States census of agriculture: 1954"

^_ 







Given By 

DkS. SUPT. OF DOCUMENTS 



3* 



DLPCCITORY 



Vol. Ill - pt. 9 ch. I 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 
IN THE UNITED STATES 

(A COOPERATIVE REPORT) 



Wheat Producers and 
Wheat Production 




SPECIAL REPORTS 




1954 

Census 

of 

Agriculture 







U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 

BUREAU OF THE CENSUS 






U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 

AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE 

WASHINGTON • 7956 



U J 

v 






U. S. Department of Agriculture 

Eiro Taft Benson, Secretary 

Agricultural Research Service 

Byron T. Show, Administrator 



U. S. Department of Commerce 

Sincloir Weeks, Secretary 

Bureau of the Census 

Robert W. Burgess, Director 



United States 
Census 




Volume III 
SPECIAL REPORTS 

Part 9 

Farmers and Farm Production in the United States 

(A Cooperative Report) 



Chapter I 

Wheat Producers and 
Wheat Production 



CHARACTERISTICS OF FARMERS and FARM PRODUCTION • 
PRINCIPAL TYPES OF FARMS • 






BUREAU OF THE CENSUS 
Robert W. Burgess, Director 

AGRICULTURE DIVISION 
Ray Hurley. Chief 
Warder B. Jenkins, Assistant Chief 



AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE 
Byron T. Shaw, Administrator 

FARM AND LAND MANAGEMENT RESEARCH 
Sherman E. Johnson, Director 

PRODUCTION ECONOMICS RESEARCH BRANCH 
Carl P. Heisig, Chief 



Boston Public Library 
Superintendent of Documents 



JUL 1 7 1957 



^3I1J3HA3 




V' 3 

ft, f 



SUGGESTED IDENTIFICATION 

U. S. Bureau of the Census. U. S. Census of Agriculture: 1954. Vol. Ill, Special Reports 

Part 9, Farmers and Farm Production in the United States. 

Chapter I, Wheat Producers and Wheat Production 

U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. , 1956. 






For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. 
or any of the Field Offices of the Department of Commerce, Price 30 cents (paper cover) 



PREFACE 



The purpose of this report, is to present an analysis of the characteristics of farmers and farm production 
for the most important types of farms as shown by data for the 1954 Census of Agriculture. The analysis 
deals with the relative importance, pattern of resource use, some measures of efficiency, and problems of 
adjustment and change for the principal types of farms. 

The data given in the various chapters of this report have been derived largely from the special tabula- 
tion of data for each type of farm, by economic class, for the 1954 Census of Agriculture. The detailed 
statistics for each type of farm for the United States and the principal subregions appear in Part 8 of Volume 
III of the reports for the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 

This cooperative report was prepared under the direction of Ray Hurley, Chief of the Agriculture Divi- 
sion of the Bureau of the Census, U. S. Department of Commerce, and Kenneth L. Bachman, Head, Produc- 
tion, Income, and Costs Section, Production Economics Research Branch, Agricultural Research Service of 
the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

Jackson V. McElveen, Agricultural Economist, Production, Income, and Costs Section, Production 
Economics Research Branch, Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, super- 
vised a large part of the detailed planning and analysis for the various chapters. 

The list of chapters and the persons preparing each chapter are as follows: 



Chapter I Wheat Producers and 

Production 
A. W. Epp, 
University of Nebraska. 



Wheat 



and Cotton 



Chapter II Cotton Producers 

Production 
Robert B. Glasgow, 
Production Economics Research 

Branch, 
Agricultural Research Service, 
United States Department of 

Agriculture. 

Chapter III Tobacco and Peanut Producers 

and Production 
R. E. L. Greene, 
University of Florida. 

Chapter IV Poultry Producers and Poultry 

Production 
William P. Mortenson, 
University of Wisconsin. 

Chapter V Dairy Producers and Dairy Pro- 
duction 
P. E. McNall, 
University of Wisconsin. 



Chapter VI . . . Western Stock Ranches and Live- 
stock Farms 
Mont H. Saunderson, 
Western Ranching and Lands 

Consultant, 
Bozeman, Mont. 

Chapter VII . . Cash-grain and Livestock Pro- 
ducers in the Corn Belt 

Edwin G. Strand, 

Production Economics Research 
Branch, 

Agricultural Research Service, 

United States Department of 
Agriculture. 

Chapter VIII. _ Part-time Farming 
H. G. Halcrow, 
University of Connecticut. 

Chapter IX Agricultural Producers and Pro- 
duction in the United States — 
A General View 
Jackson V. McElveen, 
Production Economics Research 

Branch, 
Agricultural Research Service, 
United States Department of 
Agriculture. 



The editorial work for this report was performed by Caroline B. Sherman, and the preparation of the 
statistical tables was supervised by Margaret Wood. 



December 1956 



in 



UNITED STATES CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE: 1954 

REPORTS 

Volume I. — Counties and State Economic Areas. Statistics for counties include number of farms, acreage, value, and farm operators; 
farms by color and tenure of operator; facilities and equipment; use of commercial fertilizer; farm labor; farm expenditures; livestock and 
livestock products; specified crops harvested; farms classified by type of farm and by economic class; and value of products sold by source. 

Data for State economic areas include farms and farm characteristics by tenure of operator, by type of farm, and by economic class. 

Volume I is published in 33 parts. 

Volume II. — General Report. Statistics by Subjects, United States Census of Agriculture, 1954. Summary data and analyses of 
the data for States, for Geographic Divisions, and for the United States by subjects. 



Volume III. — Special Reports 

Part 1. — Multiple-Unit Operations. This report will be similar to 
Part. 2 of Volume V of the reports for the 1950 Census of Agri- 
culture. It will present statistics for approximately 900 
counties and State economic areas in 12 Southern States and 
Missouri for the number and characteristics of multiple-unit 
operations and farms in multiple units. 

Part 2. — Ranking Agricultural Counties. This special report will 
present statistics for selected items of inventory and agricul- 
tural production for the leading counties in the United States. 

Part 3. — Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, and 
U. S. Possessions. These areas were not included in the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. The available current data from vari- 
ous Government sources will be compiled and published in 
this report. 

Part 4. — Agriculture, 1954, a Graphic Summary. This report will 
present graphically some of the significant facts regarding 
agriculture and agricultural production as revealed by the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. 

Part 5. — Farm-Mortgage Debt. This will be a cooperative study 
by the Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department 
of Agriculture and the Bureau of the Census. It will present, 
by States, data based on the 1954 Census of Agriculture and a 
special mail survey conducted in January 1956, on the num- 
ber of mortgaged farms, the amount, of mortgage debt, and the 
amount of debt held by principal lending agencies. 

Part 6. — Irrigation in Humid Areas. This cooperative report by 
the Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of 
Agriculture and the Bureau of the Census will present data ob- 
tained by a mail survey of operators of irrigated farms in 28 
States on the source of water, method of applying water, num- 
ber of pumps used, acres of crops irrigated in 1954 and 1955, 
the number of times each crop was irrigated, and the cost of 
irrigation equipment and the irrigation system. 

Part 7. — Popular Report of the 1954 Census of Agriculture. This 
report is planned to be a general, easy-to-read publication for 
the general public on the status and broad characteristics of 
United States agriculture. It will seek to delineate such as- 
pects of agriculture as the geographic distribution and dif- 
ferences by size of farm for such items as farm acreage, princi- 
pal crops, and important kinds of livestock, farm facilities, 
farm equipment, use of fertilizer, soil conservation practices, 
farm tenure, and farm income. 

Part 8. — Size of Operation by Type of Farm. This will be a coop- 
erative special report to be prepared in cooperation with the 
Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agri- 
culture. This report will contain data for 119 economic sub- 

IV 



regions (essentially general type-of-farming areas) showing the 
general characteristics for each type of farm by economic class. 
It will provide data for a current analysis of the differences 
that exist among groups of farms of the same type. It will 
furnish statistical basis for a realistic examination of produc- 
tion of such commodities as wheat, cotton, and dairy products 
in connection with actual or proposed governmental policies 
and programs. 
Part 9. — Farmers and Farm Production in the United States. 
The purpose of this report is to present an analysis of the 
characteristics of farmers and farm production for the most 
important types of farms as shown by data for the 1954 Census 
of Agriculture. The analysis deals with the relative importance, 
pattern of resource use, some measures of efficiency, and prob- 
lems of adjustment and change for the principal types of farms. 
The report was prepared in cooperation with the Agricultural 
Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

The list of chapters (published separately only) and title 
for each chapter are as follows: 

Chapter I — Wheat Producers and Wheat Production 
II — Cotton Producers and Cotton Production 
III — Tobacco and Peanut Producers and Production 
IV — Poultry Producers and Poultry Production 

V — Dairy Producers and Dairy Production 
VI — Western Stock Ranches and Livestock Farms 
VII — Cash-Grain and Livestock Producers in the Corn 
Bell 
VIII— Part-Time Farming 
IX — Agricultural Producers and Production in the 
United States — A General View 
Part 10. — Use of Fertilizer and lime. The purpose of this report 
is to present in one publication most of the detailed data com- 
piled for the 1954 Census of Agriculture regarding the use of 
fertilizer and lime. The report presents data for counties, 
State economic areas, and generalized type-of-farming areas 
regarding the quantity used, acreage on which used, and 
expenditures for fertilizer and lime. The Agricultural Research 
Service cooperated with the Bureau of the Census in the prep- 
aration of this report. 
Part 11. — Farmers' Expenditures. This report presents detailed 
data on expenditures for a large number of items used for farm 
production in 1955, and on the living expenditures of farm 
operators' families. The data were collected and compiled 
cooperatively by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of the Census. 
Part 12. — Methods and Procedures. This report contains an 
outline and a description of the methods and procedures used 
in taking and compiling the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 



INTRODUCTION 



oo 

< 

< 
u 

o 

2 

o 

U 

w 

w 

H 

<: 
65 

Q 
2 
< 

(-0 

2 
O 

3 

a 

m 
D 

u 

1 

2 
O 
O 

w 




INTRODUCTION 



Purpose and scope. — American agriculture ia exceedingly diverse 
and is undergoing revolutionary changes. Farmers and their 
families obtain their income by producing a large variety of 
products under a large variety of conditions as well as from sources 
other than farming. The organization of production, type of 
farming, productivity, income, expenditures, size, and character- 
istics of operators of the 4.8 million farms in the United States 
vary greath . Agriculture has been a dynamic, moving, adjusting 
part of our economy. Basic changes in farming have been occurring 
and will continue to be necessary. Adjustments brought by tech- 
nological change, by changing consumer wants, by growth of 
population, and by changes in the income of nonfarm people, have 
been significant forces in changing agriculture since World War II. 
The transition from war to an approximate peacetime situation 
has also made it necessary to reduce the output of some farm 
products. Some of the adjustments in agriculture have not pre- 
sented relatively difficult problems as they could be made by the 
transfer of resources from the production of one product to another. 
Others require substantial shifts in resources and production. 

Moreover, a considerable number of farm families, many of whom 
are employed full time in agriculture, have relatively low incomes. 
Most of these families operate farms that are small when compared 
with farms that produce higher incomes. The acreage of land and 
the amount of capital controlled by the operators of these small 
farms are too small to provide a very- high level of income. In 
recent years, many farm families on these small farms have made 
adjustments by leaving the farm to earn their incomes elsewhere, 
by discontinuing their farm operations, and by earning more non- 
farm income while remaining on the farm or on the place they 
farmed formerly. 

One objective of this report is to describe and analyze some of 
the existing differences and recent adjustments in the major types 
of farming and farm production. For important commodities and 
groups of farms, the report aims to make available, largely from 
the detailed data for the 1954 Census of Agriculture but in a more 
concise form, facts regarding the size of farms, capital, labor, and 
land resources on farms, amounts and sources of farm income and 
expenditures, combinations of crop and livestock enterprises, 
adjustment problems, operator characteristics, and variation in use 
of resources and in size of farms by areas and for widely differing 
production conditions. Those types of farms on which production 
of surplus products is important have been emphasized. The 
report will provide a factual basis for a better understanding of 
the widespread differences among farms in regard to size, resources, 
and income. It will also provide a basis for evaluating the effects 
of existing and proposed farm programs on the production and 
incomes of major types and classes of farms. 

Income from nonfarm sources is important on a large number 
of farms. About 1.4 million of the 4.8 million farm-operator 
families, or about 3 in 10, obtain more income from off-farm sources 
than from the sale of agricultural products. More than three- 
fourths of a million farm operators live on small-scale part-time 
farms and ordinarily are not dependent on farming as the main 
source of family income. These part-time farmers have a quite 
different relation to adjustments, changes, and farm problems 
than do commercial farmers. A description of and facts regarding 
these part-time farms and the importance of nonfarm income for 
commercial farms are presented in Chapter 8. 



Except for Chapter 8, this report deals with commercial farms 
(see economic class of farm). The analysis is limited to the major 
types of agricultural production and deals primarily with geo- 
graphic areas in which each of the major types of agricultural 
production has substantial significance. 

Source of data. — Most of the data presented in this report are 
from special compilations made for the 1954 Census of Agriculture, 
although pertinent data from research findings and surveys of the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture, State Agricultural Colleges, and 
other agencies have been used to supplement Census data. The 
detailed Census data used for this report are contained in Part 8 of 
Volume III of the reports of the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 
Reference should be made to that report for detailed explanations 
and definitions and statements regarding the characteristics and 
reliability of the data. 

Areas for which data are presented. — Data are presented in 
this report primarily for selected economic subregions and for the 
United States. The boundaries of the 119 subregions used for the 
compilation of data on which this report is based are indicated by 
the map on page vi. These subregions represent primarily general 
type-of-farming areas. Many of them extend into two or more 
States. (For a more detailed description of economic subregions, 
see the publication "Economic Subregions of the United States, 
Series Census BAE; No. 19, published cooperatively by the Bureau 
of the Census, and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, July 1953.) 

DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS 

Definitions and explanations are given only for some of the more 
important items. For more detailed definitions and explanations, 
reference can be made to Part 8 of Volume III and to Volume II of 
the reports of the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 

A farm. — For the 1954 Census of Agriculture, places of 3 or 
more acres were counted as farms if the annual value of agricultural 
products, exclusive of home-garden products, amounted to $150 
or more. The agricultural products could have been either for 
home use or for sale. Places of less than 3 acres were counted as 
farms only if the annual value of sales of agricultural products 
amounted to $150 or more. Places for which the value of agricul- 
tural products for 1954 was less than these minima because of crop 
failure or other unusual conditions, and places operated at the time 
of the Census for the first time were counted as farms if normally 
they could be expected to produce these minimum quantities of 
agricultural products. 

All the land under the control of one person or partnership was 
included as one farm. Control may have been through ownership, 
or through lease, rental, or cropping arrangement. 

Farm operator. — A "farm operator" is a person who operates 
a farm, either performing the labor himself or directly supervising 
it. He may be an owner, a hired manager, or a tenant, renter, or 
sharecropper. If he rents land to others or has land cropped for 
him by others, he is listed as the operator of only that land which 
he retains. In the case of a partnership, only one partner was 
included as the operator. The number of farm operators is con- 
sidered the same as the number of farms. 



VIII 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Farms reporting or operators reporting. — Figures for farms 
reporting or operators reporting, based on a tabulation of all farms, 
represent the number of farms, or farm operators, for which the 
specified item was reported. For example, if there were 11,922 
farms in a subregion and only 11,465 had chickens over 4 months 
old on hand, the number of farms reporting chickens would be 
1 1 ,465. The difference between the total number of farms and the 
number of farms reporting an item represents the number of farms 
not having that item, provided the inquiry was answered 
completely for all farms. 

Farms by type. — The classification of commercial farms by 
type was made on the basis of the relationship of the value of 
sales from a particular source, or sources, to the total value of all 
farm products sold from the farm. In some cases, the type of 
farm was determined on the basis of the sale of an individual farm 
product, such as cotton, or on the basis of the sales of closely re- 
lated products, such as dairy products. In other cases, the type 
of farm was determined on the basis of sales of a broader group of 
products, such as grain crops including corn, sorghums, all small 
grains, field peas, field beans, cowpeas, and soybeans. In order to 
be classified as a particular type, sales or anticipated sales of a 
product or group of products had to represent 50 percent or more 
of the total value of products sold. 

The types of commercial farms for which data are shown, to- 
gether with the product or group of products on which the classi- 
fication is based are: 



Type of farm 
Cash-grain 



Cotton 

Other field-crop_ 



Vegetable 

Fruit-and-nut_ 



Dairv. 



Poultry. 



Livestock farms other than 
dairy and poultry. 



Product or group of products amount- 
ing to 50 percent or more of the 
value of all farm products sold 
Corn, sorghum, small grains, field 
peas, field beans, cowpeas, and 
soybeans. 
Cotton (lint and seed). 
Peanuts, Irish potatoes, sweet- 
potatoes, tobacco, sugarcane, sug- 
ar beets for sugar, and other 
miscellaneous crops. 
Vegetables. 
Berries and other small fruits, and 

tree fruits, nuts, and grapes. 
Milk and other dairy products. 
The criterion of 50 percent of the 
total sales was modified in the 
case of dairy farms. A farm for 
which the value of sales of dairy 
products represented less than 50 
percent of the total value of farm 
products sold was classified as a 
dairy farm if — 

(a) Milk and other dairy prod- 
ucts accounted for 30 
percent or more of the 
total value of products 
sold, and 
(6) Milk cows represented 50 
percent or more of all 
cows, and 
(c) Sales of dairy products, to- 
gether with the sales 
of cattle and calves, 
amounted to 50 percent 
or more of the total 
value of farm products 
sold. 
Chickens, eggs, turkeys, and other 

poultry products. 
Cattle, calves, hogs, sheep, goats, 
wool, and mohair, provided the 
farm did not qualify as a dairy 
farm. 



Product or group of products amount- 
ing to 50 percent or more of the 
Type of farm value of all farm products sold 

General Farms were classified as general 

when the value of products from 
one source or group of sources 
did not represent as much as 50 
percent of the total value of all 
farm products sold. Separate 
figures are given for three kinds 
of general farms: 

(a) Primarily crop. 

(b) Primarily livestock, 

(c) Crop and livestock. 

Primarily crop farms are those for 
which the sale of one of the 
following crops or groups of 
crops — vegetables, fruits and 
nuts, cotton, cash grains, or other 
field crops — did not amount to 
50 percent or more of the value 
of all farm products sold, but 
for which the value of sales for 
all these groups of crops repre- 
sented 70 percent or more of the 
value of all farm products sold. 

Primarily livestock farms are those 
which could not qualify as dairy 
farms, poultry farms, or livestock 
farms other than dairy and 
poultry, but on which the sale 
of livestock and poultry and 
livestock and poultry products 
amounted to 70 percent or more 
of the value of all farm products 
sold. 

General crop and livestock farms are 
those which could not be classi- 
fied as either crop farms or live- 
stock farms, but on which the 
sale of all crops amounted to at 
least 30 percent but less than 70 
percent of the total value of all 
farm products sold. 

Miscellaneous This group of farms includes those 

that had 50 percent or more of 
the total value of products ac- 
counted for by sale of horticul- 
tural products, or sale of horses, 
or sale of forest products. 

Farms by economic class. — A classification of farms by eco- 
nomic class was made for the purpose of segregating groups of 
farms that are somewhat alike in their characteristics and size of 
operation. This classification was made in order to present an 
accurate description of the farms in each class and in order to 
provide basic data for an analysis of the organization of agriculture. 

The classification of farms by economic class was made on the 
basis of three factors; namely, total value of all farm products 
sold, number of days the farm operator worked off the farm, and 
the relationship of the income received from nonfarm sources by 
the operator and members of his family to the value of all farm 
products sold. Farms operated by institutions, experiment sta- 
tions, grazing associations, and community projects were classified 
as abnormal, regardless of any of the three factors. 

For the purpose of determining the code for economic class and 
type of farm, it was necessary to obtain the total value of farm 
products sold as well as the value of some individual products 
sold. 

The total value of farm products sold was obtained by adding 
the reported or estimated values for all products sold from the 
farm. The value of livestock, livestock products except wool and 
mohair, vegetables, nursery and greenhouse products, and forest 



INTRODUCTION 



IX 



products was obtained by the enumerator from the farm operator 
for each farm. The enumerator also obtained from the farm 
operator the quantity sold for corn, sorghums, small grains, hays, 
and small fruits. The value of sales for these crops was obtained 
by multiplying the quantity sold by State average prices. 

The quantity sold was estimated for all other farm products. 
The entire quantity produced for wool, mohair, cotton, tobacco, 
sugar beets for sugar, sugarcane for sugar, broomcorn, hops, and 
mint for oil was estimated as sold. To obtain the value of each 
product sold, the quantity sold was multiplied by State average 
prices. 

In making the classification of farms by economic class, farms 
were grouped into two major groups, namely, commercial farms 
and other farms. In general, all farms with a value of sales of 
farm products amounting to $1,200 or more were classified as 
commercial. Farms with a value of sales of $250 to $1,199 were 
classified as commercial only if the farm operator worked off the 
farm less than 100 days or if the income of the farm operator and 
members of his family received from nonfarm sources was less than 
the total value of all farm products sold. 

Land in farms according to use. — Land in farms was classified 
according to the use made of it in 1954. The classes of land 
are mutually exclusive, i. e., each acre of land was included only 
once even though it may have had more than one use during the 
year. 

The classes referred to in this report are as follows: 

Cropland harvested. — This includes land from which crops 

were harvested; land from which hay (including wild hay) was 

cut; and land in small fruits, orchards, vineyards, nurseries, and 

greenhouses. Land from which two or more crops were reported 

as harvested was to be counted only once. 

Cropland used only for pasture. — In the 1954 Census, the 
enumerator's instructions stated that rotation pasture and all 
other cropland that was used only for pasture were to be in- 
cluded under this class. No further definition of cropland 
pastured was given the farm operator or enumerator. Per- 
manent open pasture may, therefore, have been included under 
this item or under "other pasture," depending on whether the 
enumerator or farm operator considered it as cropland. 

Cropland not harvested and not pastured. — This item includes 
idle cropland, land in soil-improvement crops only, land on 
which all crops failed, land seeded to crops for harvest after 
1954, and cultivated summer fallow. 

In the Western States, this class was subdivided to show 
separately the acres of cultivated summer fallow. In these 
States, the acreage not in cultivated summer fallow represents 
largely crop failure. There are very few counties in the West- 
ern States in which there is a large acreage of idle cropland or 
in which the growing of soil-improvement crops is an important 
use of the land. 

In the States other than the Western States, this general 
class was subdivided to show separately the acres of idle crop- 
land (not used for crops or for pasture in 1954). In these States, 
the incidence of crop failure is usually low. It was expected 
that the acreage figure that excluded idle land would reflect 
the acreage in soil-improvement crops. However, the 1954 
crop year was one of low rainfall in many Eastern and Southern 
States and, therefore, in these areas the acreage of cropland not 
harvested and not pastured includes more land on which all 
crops failed than would usually be the case. 

Cultivated summer fallow. — This item includes cropland 
that was plowed and cultivated but left unseeded for several 
months to control weeds and conserve moisture. No land 
from which crops were harvested in 1954 was to be included 
under this item. 

Cropland, total. — This includes cropland harvested, cropland 
used only for pasture, and cropland not harvested and not 
pastured. 

Land pastured, total. — This includes cropland used only for 
pasture, woodland pastured, and other pasture (not cropland 
and not woodland). 



Woodland, total. — This includes woodland pastured and 

woodland not pastured. 

Value of land and buildings. — The value to be reported was 
the approximate amount for which the land and the buildings on 
it would sell. 

Off-farm work and other income. — Many farm operators receive 
a part of their income from sources other than the sale of farm 
products from their farms. The 1954 Agriculture Questionnaire 
included several inquiries relating to work off the farm and non- 
farm income. These inquiries called for the number of days 
worked off the farm by the farm operator; whether other members 
of the operator's family worked off the farm; and whether the 
farm operator received income from other sources, such as sale 
of products from land rented out, cash rent, boarders, old age 
assistance, pensions, veterans' allowances, unemployment com- 
pensation, interest, dividends, profits from nonfarm business, 
and help from other members of the operator's family. Another 
inquiry asked whether the income of the operator and his family 
from off-farm work and other sources was greater than the total 
value of all agricultural products sold from the farm in 1954. 
Off-farm work was to include work at nonfarm jobs, businesses, 
or professions, whether performed on the farm premises or else- 
where; also, work on someone else's farm for pay or wages. Ex- 
change work was not to be included. 

Specified facilities and equipment. — Inquiries were made in 
1954 to determine the presence or absence of selected items on 
each place such as (1) telephone, (2) piped running water, (3) 
electricity, (4) television set, (5) home freezer, (6) electric pig 
brooder, (7) milking machine, and (8) power feed grinder. Such 
facilities or equipment were to be counted even though tem- 
porarily out of order. Piped running water was defined as water 
piped from a pressure system or by gravity flow from a natural 
or artificial source. The enumerator's instructions stated that 
pig brooders were to include those heated by an electric heating 
element, by an infrared or heat bulb, or by ordinary electric bulbs. 
They could be homemade. 

The number of selected types of other farm equipment was also 
obtained for a sample of farms. The selected kinds of farm 
equipment to be reported were (1) grain combines (for harvesting 
and threshing grains or seeds in one operation); (2) cornpickers; 
(3) pickup balers (stationary ones not to be reported); (4) field 
forage harvesters (for field chopping of silage and forage crops) ; 
(5) motortrucks; (6) wheel tractors (other than garden); (7) 
garden tractors; (8) crawler tractors (tracklaying, caterpillar); 
(9) automobiles; and (10) artificial ponds, reservoirs, and earth 
tanks. 

Wheel tractors were to include homemade tractors but were not 
to include implements having built-in power units such as self- 
propelled combines, powered buck rakes, etc. Pickup and truck- 
trailer combinations were to be reported as motortrucks. School 
buses were not to be reported, and jeeps and station wagons were 
to be included as motortrucks or automobiles, depending on 
whether used for hauling farm products or supplies, or as passenger 
vehicles. 

Farm labor. — The farm-labor inquiries for 1954, called for the 
number of persons doing farmwork or chores on the place during 
a specified calendar week. Since starting dates of the 1954 enumer- 
ation varied by areas or States, the calendar week to which the 
farm-labor inquiries related varied also. The calendar week was 
September 26-October 2 or October 24-30. States with the 
September 26-October 2 calendar week were: Arizona, California, 
Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, 
Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, 
Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, 



423018—57 2 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, 
Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, 
Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. States with the October 
24-30 calendar week were: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North 
Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. 
Farmwork was to include any work, chores, or planning necessary 
to the operation of the farm or ranch business. Housework, 
contract construction work, and labor involved when equipment 
was hired (custom work) were not to be included. 

The farm-labor information was obtained in three parts: 
(1) Operators working, (2) unpaid members of the operator's family 
working, and (3) hired persons working. Operators were consid- 
ered as working if they worked 1 or more hours; unpaid members 
of the operator's family, if they worked 15 or more hours; and 
hired persons, if they worked any time during the calendar week 
specified. Instructions contained no specifications regarding age 
of the persons working. 

Regular and seasonal workers. — Hired persons working on 
the farm during the specified week were classed as "regular" 
workers if the period of actual or expected employment was 150 
days or more during the year, and as "seasonal" workers if the 
period of actual or expected employment was less than 150 days. 
If the period of expected employment was not reported, the 
period of employment was estimated for the individual farm 
after taking into account such items as the basis of payment, 
wage rate, expenditures for labor in 1954, and the type and 
other characteristics of the farm. 

Specified farm expenditures. — The 1954 Census obtained data 
for selected farm expense items in addition to those for fertilizer 
and lime. The expenditures were to include the total specified 
expenditures for the place whether made by landlord, tenant, or 
both. 

Expenditures for machine hire were to include any labor in- 
cluded in the cost of such machine hire. Machine hire refers to 
custom machine work such as tractor hire, threshing, combining, 
silo filling, baling, ginning, plowing, and spraying. If part of the 
farm products was given as pay for machine hire, the value of the 
products traded for this service was to be included in the amount 
of expenditures reported. The cost of trucking, freight, and 
express was not to be included. 

Expenditures for hired labor were to include only cash pay- 
ments. Expenditures for housework, custom work, and contract 
construction work were not to be included. 

Expenditures for feed were to include the expenditures for 
pasture, salt, condiments, concentrates, and mineral supplements, 
as well as those for grain, hay, and mill feeds. Expenditures for 
grinding and mixing feeds were also to be included. Payments 
made by a tenant to his landlord for feed grown on the land rented 
by the tenant were not to be included. 

Expenditures for gasoline and other petroleum fuel and oil were 
to include only those used for the farm business. Petroleum 
products used for the farmer's automobile for pleasure or used 
exclusively in the farm home for heating, cooking, and lighting 
were not to be included. 

Crops harvested. — The information on crops harvested refers 
to the acreage and quantity harvested for the 1954 crop year. An 
exception was made for land in fruit orchards and planted nut 
trees. In this case, the acreage represents that in both bearing 
and nonbearing trees and vines as of October and November 1954. 

Hay. — The data for hay includes all kinds of hay except soy- 
bean, cowpea, sorghum, and peanut hay. 

Livestock and poultry. — The data on the number of livestock 
and poultry represent the number on hand on the day of enumera- 



tion (October-November 1954). The data relating to livestock 
products and the number of livestock sold relate to the sales made 
during the calendar year 1954. 

LABOR RESOURCES 

The data for labor resources available represent estimates based 
largely on Census data and developed for the purpose of making 
comparisons among farms of various size of operations. The 
labor resources available are stated in terms of man-equivalents. 

To obtain the man-equivalents the total number of farm opera- 
tors as reported by the 1954 Census were adjusted for estimated 
man-years of work off the farm and for the number of farm opera- 
tors 65 years old and over. The farm operator was taken to rep- 
resent a full man-equivalent of labor unless he was 65 years or 
older or unless he worked at an off-farm job in 1954. 

The man-equivalent estimated for farm operators reporting spec- 
ified amounts of off-farm work were as follows: 

Estimated 
Days worked off the farm in 1954 man-equivalent 

1-99 davs . 0.85 

100-199 days . 50 

200 days and over . 15 

The man-equivalent for farm operators 65 years of age and older 
was estimated at 0.5. 

Man-equivalents of members of the farm operator's family were 
based upon Census data obtained in response to the question 
"How many members of your family did 15 or more hours of farm 
work on this place the week of September 26-October 2 (or, in 
some areas, the week of October 24-30) without receiving cash 
wages?" Each family worker was considered as 0.5 man-equiva- 
lent. This estimate provides allowance for the somewhat higher 
incidence of women, children, and elderly persons in the unpaid 
family labor force. 

In addition, the number of unpaid family workers who were 
reported as working 15 or more hours in the week of September 
26-October 2 was adjusted to take account of seasonal changes in 
farm employment. Using published and unpublished findings of 
the U. S. Department of Agriculture and State Agricultural Col- 
leges, and depending largely upon knowledge and experience with 
the geographic areas and type of farming, each author deter- 
mined the adjustment factor needed to correct the number of 
family workers reported for the week of September 26-October 2 
to an annual average basis. 

Man-equivalents of hired workers are based entirely upon the 
expenditure for cash wages and the average wage of permanent 
hired laborers as reported in the 1954 Census of Agriculture. 

Value of or investment in livestock. — Numbers of specified 
livestock and poultry in each subregion were multiplied by a 
weighted average value per head. The average values were com- 
puted from data compiled for each kind of livestock for the 1954 
Census of Agriculture. The total value does not include the value 
of goats. (For a description of the method of obtaining the value 
of livestock, see Chapter VI of Volume II of the reports for the 
1954 Census of Agriculture.) 

Value of investment in machinery and equipment. — The data 
on value of investment in machinery and equipment were developed 
for the purpose of making broad comparisons among types and 
economic classes of farms and by subregions. Numbers of specified 
machines on farms, as reported by the Census, were multiplied by 
estimated average value per machine. Then the total values ob- 
tained were adjusted upward to provide for the inclusion of items 
of equipment not included in the Census inventory of farm 
machinery. 



INTRODUCTION 



XI 



The estimates for average value of specified machines and the 
proportion of total value of all machinery represented by the 
value of these machines were based largely on published and un- 
published data from the "Farm Costs and Returns" surveys con- 
ducted currently by the Agricultural Research Service, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture. 1 Modifications were made as needed 
in the individual chapters on the basis of State and local studies. 
The total estimated value of all machinery for all types and 
economic classes of farms is approximately equal to the value of 
all machinery as estimated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

Value of farm products sold, or gross sales. — Data on the 
value of the various farm products sold were obtained for 1954 by 
two methods. First, the values of livestock and livestock prod- 
ucts sold, except wool and mohair; vegetables harvested for sale; 
nursery and greenhouse products; and forest products were 
obtained by asking each farm operator the value of sales. Second, 
the values of all other farm products sold were computed. For the 
most important crops, the quantity sold or to be sold was obtained 
for each farm. The entire quantity harvested for cotton and 
cottonseed, tobacco, sugar beets for sugar, hops, mint for oil, and 
sugarcane for sugar was considered sold. The quantity of minor 
crops sold was estimated. The value of sales for each crop was 
computed by multiplying the quantity sold by State average 
prices. In the case of wool and mohair, the value of sales was 
computed by multiplying the quantity shorn or clipped by the 
State average prices. 

Gross sales include the value of all kinds of farm products sold. 
The total does not include rental and benefit, soil conservation, 
price adjustment, Sugar Act, and similar payments. The total 



does include the value of the landlord's share of a crop removed 
from a farm operated by a share tenant. In most of the tables, 
detailed data are presented for only the more important sources 
of gross sales and the total for the individual farm products 
or sources will not equal the total as the values for the less impor- 
tant sources or farm products have been omitted. (For a detailed 
statement regarding the reliability and method of obtaining the 
value of farm products sold, reference should be made to Chapter 
IX of Volume II of the reports for the 1954 Census of Agriculture.) 

Livestock and livestock products sold. — The value of sales for 
livestock and livestock products includes the value of live animals 
sold, dairy products sold, poultry and poultry products sold, and 
the calculated value of wool and mohair. The value of bees, 
honey, fur animals, goats, and goat milk is not included. 

The value of dairy products includes the value of whole milk and 
cream sold, but does not include the value of butter and cheese, 
made on the farm, and sold. The value of poultry and products 
includes the value of chickens, broilers, chicken eggs, turkeys, 
turkey eggs, ducks, geese, and other miscellaneous poultry and 
poultry products sold. The value does not include the value 
of baby chicks sold. 

Crops sold. — Vegetables sold includes the value of all vegetables 
harvested for sale, but does not include the value of Irish potatoes 
and sweet potatoes. 

The value of all crops sold includes the value of all crops sold 
except forest products. The value of field crops sold includes the 
value of sales of all crops sold except vegetables, small fruits and 
berries, fruits, and nuts. 



i Farm Costs and Returns, 19.i5 (with comparisons), Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 168, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, June 1956. 



CHAPTER I 
WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Introduction 5 

Classes of wheat 7 

Wheat -production regions 8 

Importance of major wheat regions 9 

The hard red winter wheat region 10 

Size of business 11 

Crop and livestock organization 12 

Labor used 13 

Farm mechanization and home conveniences 14 

Gross farm income 14 

Farm expenses 15 

Efficiency levels of farm operation 16 

Other types of farming in the hard red winter wheat region. 17 

The hard red spring wheat region 17 

Size of business 10 

( 'rop and livestock organization 19 

Labor used 21 



Page 
The hard red spring wheat region — Continued 

Farm mechanization and home conveniences 22 

Gross farm income 22 

Farm expenses 23 

Efficiency levels of farm operation 24 

Other types of farming in the hard red spring wheat region. 25 

The white wheat region (subregion 110) 25 

Size of business 20 

Crop and livestock organization 26 

Labor used 27 

Farm mechanization and home conveniences.- 27 

Gross farm income 27 

Farm expenses 27 

Efficiency levels of farm operation 28 

Recent changes by major wheat regions 28 

Soft red winter wheat 29 

Wheat production in other western regions 30 

Smile production problems of wheat farmers 30 



CHARTS AND MAPS 



All wheat threshed, acreage. Idol 

Acres of all wheat harvested as a percent of total cropland. 
Census of 1954 

Wheat: Disappearance, United States, 1935-1955 

Average annual precipitation. _ . 



Page 
5 



Cultivated summer fallow, acreage, 1954 

All wheat acreage, by regions, 1954 

The hard winter wheat area, subregions 93, 94, and 103,.. 
The hard spring wheat area, subregions 89, 90, 91, and 105- 
The white wheat area, subregion 110 



Pagt 

7 

8 

10 

17 

25 



TABLES 

Table 

1. — Total and per-capita consumption of wheat for food in the United States: 1910 to 1954 

2. — Acreage, production, and value of wheat in the United States: 1910 to 1954 

3. — Estimated supply and domestic use of wheat by classes: 1954—55 

4. — Number of commercial farms, percentage growing wheat, and percentage classified as cash-grain, major producing regions: 1954 _ 
5. — Percentage of farms reporting wheat sold and of the quantity of wheat sold for cash-grain and other farms for major wheat 

regions : 1954 

6. — Percentage of resources used and value of gross sales for all commercial farms represented by cash-grain farms for major wheat 

regions: 1954 

7. — Number of farms and resources used on cash-grain farms in the major wheat regions: 1954 

8. — Number of commercial farms and specified characteristics per farm, for major wheat regions and the United States: 1954 

9. — Size of cash-grain farms in subregion 93, by economic class of farm: 1954 

10. — Size of cash-grain farms in subregion 94, by economic class of farm: 1954 

11. — Size of cash-grain farms in subregion 103, by economic class of farm: 1954 

12. — Percentage distribution of cash-grain farms and of wheat production in the hard winter wheat region, by economic class of 

farm: 1954 

13. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 91!, by economic class of farm: 1954 

14. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 94, by economic class of farm: 1954 

15. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 103, by economic class of farm: 1954 

16. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 93, by economic class of farm: 1954 

17. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 94, by economic class of farm: 1954 

18. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 103, by economic class of farm: 1954 

19. — Labor force on cash-grain farms in the hard red winter wheat region, and for subregion 93 by economic class of farm: 1954. _ 
20. — Farm mechanization and home conveniences on cash-grain farms in the hard red winter wheat region, and for subregion 94 by 

economic class of farm: 1954 

21. — Sources of farm income on cash-grain farms in the hard red winter wheat region, and for subregion 94 by economic class of 

f arm : 1 954 

22. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 93, by economic class of farm: 1954 

23. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 94, by economic class of farm: 1954 

24. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 103, by economic class of farm: 1954 



Page 

6 

i 

8 

8 



9 
•I 
9 
11 
1 1 
11 

12 
12 
12 
12 
13 
13 
13 
14 

14 

15 
15 
15 
15 



4 CONTENTS 

TABLES— Continued 

Table Pw 

25. — Use of commercial fertilizer on cash-grain farms in the hard red winter wheat region, by economic class of farm: 1954 16 

26. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 93, by economic class of farm: 1954 16 

27. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 94, by economic class of farm: 1954 16 

2g. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 103, by economic class of farm: 1954 16 

29. — Acreage and production of grain sorghum, by States, in the major producing States: 1954 17 

30. — A comparison of the cash-grain farms in the hard winter and hard spring wheat subregions: 1954 18 

31 — Sj z e of cash-grain farms in subregion 89, by economic class of farm: 1954 19 

32. — Size of cash-grain farms in subregion 90, by economic class of farm: 1954 19 

33. — Si Z e of cash-grain farms in subregion 91, by economic class of farm: 1954 19 

34. — Size of cash-grain farms in subregion 105, by economic class of farm: 1954 19 

35. — Percent distribution of cash-grain farms and wheat produced, by economic class for the hard spring wheat region: 1954 19 

36. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 89, bv economic class of farm: 1954 20 

37. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 90, by economic class of farm: 1954___ 20 

38. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 91, by economic class of farm: 1954 20 

39. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 105, by economic class of farm: 1954 20 

40. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 89, by economic class of farm : 1 954 20 

41. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 90, by economic class of farm: 1954 21 

42. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 91, by economic class of faim: 1954 21 

43. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 105, by economic class of farm: 1954 21 

44. — Labor force on cash-grain farms in the hard spring wheat region, and for subregion 90 by economic class of farm: 1954 21 

45. — Farm mechanization and home conveniences on cash-grain farms in the hard spring wheat region, and for subregion 91 by 

economic class of farm: 1954 22 

46. — Sources of farm income on cash-grain farms in the hard spring wheat region, and for subregion 105 by economic class of farm: 

1954 22 

4". — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 89, by economic class of farm: 1954 23 

48. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 90, by economic class of farm: 1954 23 

49. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 91, by economic class of farm: 1954 23 

50. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms m subregion 105, by economic class of farm: 1954 23 

51. — Use of commercial fertilizer on cash-grain farms in the hard spring wheat region, by economic class of farm: 1954 24 

52. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 89, by economic class of farm: 1954 24 

53. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 90, by economic class of farm: 1954 24 

54. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-gram farms in subregion 91, by economic class of farm: 1954 24 

55. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 105, by economic class of farm: 1954 24 

56. — Acreage and production of flax in the three leading producing States: 1954 25 

57. — Size of cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 26 

58. — Land use on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 26 

59. — Livestock on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 26 

60. — Labor force on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 27 

61. — Farm mechanization and home conveniences on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 27 

62. — Sources of farm income on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954. 27 

63. — Specified farm expenditures on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 27 

64. — Use of commercial fertilizer on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 28 

65. — Selected measures of income and efficiency levels on cash-grain farms in subregion 110, by economic class of farm: 1954 28 

66. — A comparison of some items for organization, expenses, and home facilities for cash-grain farms in the hard winter wheat region : 

1954 and 1949 2S 

67. — A comparison of some items for organization, expenses, and home facilities for cash-grain farms in the hard spring wheat region: 

1954 and 1949 28 

68.- — A comparison of some items for organization, expenses, and home facilities for cash-grain farms in the white wheat region: 

1954 and 1949 29 

69. — Wheat production in selected States in the soft red winter wheat area: 1954 30 

70. — Changes in size of farm in counties which are typical of the various wheat regions: 1910-1954 — 30 

71. — Annual precipitation (inches of rainfall) at representative weather stations in the (ireat Plains wheat area: 1931-52 31 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 

A. W. Epp 



INTRODUCTION 

American wheat producers represent an important and distinct 
segment of ortr agricultural economy. Nearly a million of the 4.8 
million farmers in the United States produce some wheat. Some 
wheat is grown in all States (see fig. 1), and in 1954, it occupied 
51.4 million acres or 15.4 percent of the cropland harvested. It- 
relative importance in various areas is shown by the proportion of 
cropland occupied by wheat (see fig. 2). Total wheat production 
has approximated 1 billion bushels or more in each of the last 15 
years with a peak production of 1,359 million bushels in 1947. 
The 1954 crop of 909 million bushels had a farm value of $1,940 
million. This was approximately 8 percent of gross farm sales in 
the United States. 

Two-thirds of the wheat is grown on relatively specialized farms 
on which wheat is the major product. These farms are particu- 
larly affected by changes in weather conditions and in economic 
programs that affect wheat. Operators of cash-grain farms har- 
vesting wheat used 34 million acres of cropland or 10.7 percent of 
the United States total, in the production of wheat in 1954. They 
had invested $25.7 billion in land, buildings, livestock, and ma- 
chinery, or about 23 percent of the total capital investment in 
agriculture. These wheat farmers used 13 percent of the total 
agricultural labor force. 

In addition, many other farmers with diversified types of 
farming use a part of their resources to produce some wheat. 



; r 




ALL WHEAT THRESHED 

ACREAGE. 1954 








• 




\ m i^'(y* 


UNITED 
5 


STATES TOTAL 1 -'"""-.- 
.361.664 ;• •••'- V 

S 7 1 DOT. 10.000 ACRES 1 1 

5 """"'T'. ...... l 



Figure 1. 

Public interest in wheat producers is stimulated by the demand- 
supply situation in wheat and the difficulties of making necessary 
adjustments. The major concern in agricultural programs and 
price policy for wheat growers for more than 30 years has been the 
problem of adjusting the quantity produced to the quantity con- 
sumed (see fig. 3). 



ACRES OF ALL WHEAT HARVESTED AS A PERCENT OF TOTAL CROPLAND 

CENSUS OF 1954 

(COUNTY UNIT BASIS) 




, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 



UAP NO A54 44 



6UREAU OF THE CENSUS 



Figure 2 . 



423018 — 57 3 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



WHEAT: DISAPPEARANCE, UNITED STATES, 1935-1955 




1945 

year beginning july 
Figure 3. 



Food habits have changed over the years. The American people 
have reduced their consumption of the starchy foods such as bread 
and potatoes. The annual consumption of wheat has declined 
from 310 pounds per capita in 1910 to 173 pounds in 1954, but the 



increase in population has offset this decrease so that total con- 
sumption has remained rather constant. (See table 1.) 

Wheat is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. Ideal 
conditions for wheat production are a deep, fertile, fine-textured 
soil, cool temperatures and ample rainfall during the growing 
season, with warm dry weather during the final period of maturing 
and harvest. Wheat plants respond readily to favorable moisture 
conditions but will survive and produce grain with as little as 10 
inches of rainfall. Most wheat is grown in areas of less than 50 
inches annual rainfall. When wheat is grown in areas of less than 
20 inches of yearly precipitation, it is a common practice to 
summer-fallow at least a part of the wheatland. The purpose of 
fallowing is to kill weeds, to keep the surface in as permeable 
condition as possible for the absorption of water, and help to con- 
trol wind erosion. Many wheat growers in the low-rainfall areas 
have half of their cropland in wheat and the other half in fallow. 
A comparison of figures 1, 4, and 5 will show the relation of annual 
precipitation and summer-fallowing to the areas of wheat pro- 
duction. 

Table 1. — Total and Per-Capita Consumption of Wheat 
for Food in the United States: ' 1910 to 1954 



Year 


Total 


Per capita 


Year 


Total 


Per capita 




Million 
bushels 
478 
466 
506 


Pounds 
310 
259 
243 


1940 . 


Millions 

bushels 

484 

481 

474 


Pounds 

217 


1920 

1930 


1950 

1954 


186 

173 









Source: Agricultural Marketing Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 



100* 

I 









t\ 




AVERAGE ANNUAL PRECIPITATION 



,/, 










ZZ&X 




c' 



A~l 






7*"*%-^. 



A. 






Under 10 inchct 
10 to 20 ntehet 
20 to 30 tnchci 
30 to 40 mcha 
40 to SO inehta 
50 lo 60 
<0 to 80 inchM 
80 to 100 
Oer 100 inches 




EXPLANATION 



■~<£ n fr 

jTV^' Vj I 'J/? ]~ ~J Under 10 .nchn 

]Tj 10 to 15 'ncnei 

[ ] 15 13 20 'nchn 

^ TO to 30 >nct*t 

I ' /" ] 30 lo 80 inches 

gg£2 SO inclm and ove' 



eoCAKCD It 0URF.AU OF RCCLAHATtOM 

reoM «a» metiveo ■» tmc u » •mhh» 

•U»[AU, OCeAKTMCNT 0' AfiRlCULTUKI 



Ace r*> 3S-9 eta. 



Figure 4. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



CULTIVATED SUMMER FALLOW 

I, 1954 




Figure 5. 

The adaptation of wheat to a wide range of climatic conditions 
also contributes to the difficulty of limiting the supply. Acreage 
reductions in recognized commercial wheat areas may be offset by 
increases in wheat acreage in other areas where it can be grown 
fairly successfully. 

The lack of production alternatives in the major wheat regions 
intensifies the difficulty of adjusting supply to demand. There are 
few good alternative uses for the land. It is difficult to get grasses 
established, and if a shift to livestock production is undertaken, 
the income is often reduced and any increase in the total farm 
income may be delayed for several years. 

There is great variation in the acreage planted to wheat. It has 
varied from 50 million to S4 million acres during the last 45 years. 
The harvested acreage is somewhat less because of abandonment. 
Each year some seeded wheat acreage is abandoned because con- 
ditions are unfavorable for its growth. Winterkill because of 
drought conditions is the most frequent cause. 

The production fluctuates as well as the acreage seeded. The 
average yield in the United States has varied from 12 to IV) bushels 
per acre harvested. On a seeded-acre basis, yields dropped as low 
as 8 bushels during several years of the drought of the 1930's. The 
acreage harvested, yield, production, and value of the wheat crop 
during nearly 50 years are shown in table 4. Production has 
varied from as low as 526 million to a high of 1,359 million bushels. 
Obviously, the fluctuation in acreage planted and in yield per acre 
results in considerable variation in annual production. 

In recent years wheat supplies have been increasing. The supply 
of wheat in the United States by source is as follows, for the 5 
years, 1950-54: 



Item 


1950 


1951 


1952 


1953 


1954 


Production 


Mil. bu. 

1,019 

12 

425 


Mil. bu. 
981 
32 
396 


Mil. bu. 

1,299 

21 

256 


Mil. bu. 

1,170 

6 

562 


MU. bu. 

970 
4 




902 








1,456 


1,409 


1,576 


1,738 


1,876 







Stocks of wheat have accumulated so that we now have practi- 
cally 2 years' total requirements on hand at the beginning of 
each harvest. A part of the problem of oversupply rises out of the 
extent of the acreage seeded to wheat in response to wartime 
demand. During both World War I and World War II adequate 



supplies of food were essential. Prices of wheat and other foods 
increased rapidly. Farmers responded by plowing up grassland 
and increasing the wheat acreage by thousands of acres. The re- 
adjustment of this acreage to normal demands for wheat is more 
difficult than the expansion. In the Great Plains area it is difficult 
and costly to establish grass on cropland. A few years of good 
grain crops and high prices raise the hopes of farmers for high 
profits from wheat, and make them reluctant to seed the land to 
grass. 

In 1954 farmers voted in favor of marketing quotas. Carryover 
stocks of wheat had mounted from a quarter of a billion bushels in 
1952 to nearly a billion bushels in July 1954. Continued produc- 
tion at existing levels was not consistent with market demand 
conditions and price supports of more than $2 per bushel for wheat. 
Largely, as a result of acreage controls and marketing quotas, wheat 
acreage harvested was reduced from (i8 million in 1953 to less than 
55 million in 1954. Farmers again voted in favor of marketing 
quotas in 1955 and 1956. 

Table 2. — Acreage, Production, and Value of Wheat in 
the United States: 1910 to 1954 ' 



Year 


Harvested 
acreage 


Yield per 
acre 


Production 


Average 
price 


Farm value 


1954 

1953 

1952 

1951.-- 

1950 


Thousands 
53, 712 
67, 661 
Til, 926 
i.l. 192 
61,610 

75, 910 
65, 167 
53, 273 
62,637 
62, 358 
45, 793 


Bushels 
18.1 
17.3 

18.3 
16.0 
16.5 

14.5 
17.0 
15.3 
14.2 
13.5 
13.7 


Million 

busheh 

970 

1,169 

1, 299 

981 

1,019 

1.098 
1,108 
815 
887 
843 
625 


Per bushel 
$2.13 
2.04 
2.09 
2.11 
2.00 

1.S8 
1.50 
.68 
.67 
1.83 
.91 


Million 

dollars 
$2, 063 
2,385 
2,714 
2.074 
2,042 

2,062 


1949..- 

1945 


1940 

1930 

1920 

1910 


556 

595 

1,541 

568 







i Agricultural Statistics, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

CLASSES OF WHEAT 

Wheat is not the homogeneous product implied in some of 
the discussion of the problems of wheat farmers and farm pro- 
grams. Several distinct classes of wheat are produced in this 
country. Each class is grown for a specific use, and is used in a 
limited number of products. The classes vary in their charac- 
teristics. Although there is a considerable overlapping in pro- 
duction areas, the classes of wheat are grown in fairly distinct 
areas. To a large extent the class produced in an area is greatly 
influenced by the climatic conditions. 

Hard red winter and hard red spring wheats differ mainly in 
their habits of growth. In the areas where either kind can be 
grown, winter wheat usually produces a higher yield. These 
hard wheats are commonly used for the kind of bread flour that 
requires a high-protein grain. Flour from soft red wheat is 
especially suited for baking biscuits, pastry, and cakes, as these 
products require flour with a relatively low protein content. 

White wheat, grown in the western and northeastern parts of 
the United States, is a soft wheat; it is used for pastries and cereals. 
Durum wheat is a very hard wheat that is grown in the spring 
wheat regions. It makes a very tough dough used in making 
macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli, and noodles. Red durum wheat 
is grown mainly for livestock feed. The supply and distribution 
of wheat by classes is shown in table 3. 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



WHEAT PRODUCTION REGIONS 

Wheat production in the United States can be separated into 
two general production situations. In the western half of the 
country there are extensive areas of specialized cash-grain farm- 
ing where wheat is the dominant crop (see fig. 6). While some 
wheat is grown in all of the Western States, production is concen- 
trated in three major regions. These three major regions, char- 
acterized by specialization and large acreages of wheat, account 
for about half of the total production of wheat. Nearly all of 
this production occurs on commercial farms. In addition, some 
wheat is grown in other scattered areas of the West. 

In the eastern half of the United States wheat is generally a 
minor farm enterprise. Here wheat usually is grown in a diversi- 
fied type of farming where wheat typically is a minor source of 
income. 



ALL WHEAT ACREAGE, BY REGIONS, 1954 




HtTE WHEAT 
£ HARD RED SPRING 

3 HARD RED WINTER 

4 SOFT RED WINTER 



Figure 6. 

Table 3.- — Estimated Supply and Domestic Use of Wheat 
by Classes: 1954-55 > 



Class 


Supply 


Domestic 
use 




Million 

bushels 

1,018 

271 

338 

10 

254 


Million 
bushels 
225 


Soft rod winter 


159 




140 




8 


White 


55 







• 12 months beginning July 1, 1954. 

Source: Agricultural Marketing Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 

In this report, soft winter wheat production in the eastern 
half of the United States is covered in less detail. Very few of 
the producers there would be classified as wheat farmers and data 
are not available to show how much of the capital and labor is 
used on these wheat-producing farms. But these areas taken 
together produce almost a fourth of the wheat in the United 
States. 

Wheat production in the three major wheat areas in the western 
half of the United Slates can be described as an extensive, highly 
mechanized type of agriculture. 

Areas of production for the major classes of wheat are shown in 
figure 6. Along the boundaries between two of the areas, there is 
considerable overlapping in the classes grown. Winter wheat 
has been pushing farther north as more winter-hardy varieties 
have been developed. The boundary between hard and soft 
winter wheat is not a distinct line but rather a belt- in which both 
classes are found. 



The hard winter wheat area lies in the southern Great Plains 
extending from Texas to southern Nebraska and from the Corn 
Belt to the Rocky Mountains. Subregions 93, 94, and 103 com- 
prise nearly all the hard winter wheat area and the data for these 
three subregions are used to represent the total for this area. 
Practically all of the wheat produced in these three subregions 
is hard winter wheat. 

The hard spring wheat area extends from northern Nebraska 
to the Canadian border and from the Red River Valley in Minne- 
sota to western Montana. It includes subregions 89, 90, 91, 
and 105. The total for these 4 subregions is used to represent 
the total for this area. This area produces both winter and 
spring wheat, although the latter is far more extensive. This terri- 
tory lies too far north for winter wheat except on the southern 
border and in protected areas in Montana. 

The white wheat area is found in southwestern Washington and 
northern Oregon, extending slightly into Idaho. The data for 
this subregion are used as the total for this area. Here both 
spring and winter wheat are grown, but winter wheat predomi- 
nates. 

Table 4. — Number of Commercial Farms, Percentage 
Growing Wheat, and Percentage Classified as Cash- 
Grain, Major Producing Regions: 1954 











Cash-grain farms 






Number 


Percent 
of com- 






















of com- 


mercial 








Average 


Item 


mercial 


farms 




Percent 


Percent 


wheat 




farms 


growing 


Number 


of com- 


growing 


acreage 






wheat 




mercial 


wheat 


per cash- 






for sale 




farms 


for sale 


grain 
farm 


Major wheat regions: 














Hard winter wheat . 


127. 971 


79.9 


75, 544 


59.0 


93.7 


168.7 


Hard spring wheat.. 


104, 378 


90.8 


61,427 


58.9 


100.0 


150.4 


White wheat 


14, 551 


83.8 


9,109 


62.6 


100.0 


244.0 


Other regions: 














West of 98 th parallel- 


403, 703 


23.2 


48, 524 


12.0 


72.1 


140.8 


East of9S lh parallel. 


2, 677, 286 


18.3 


343, 370 


12.8 


46.7 


27.8 



Table 5. — Percentage of Farms Reporting Wheat Sold and 
of the Quantity of Wheat Sold for Cash-Grain and 
Other Farms for Major Wheat Regions: 1954 



Region and type of farm 



Major Wheat Regions 

Hard winter wheat: 

Cash-grain farms 

Other commercial farms 

Other farms 

Hard spring wheat: 

C ash -grain farms 

Other commercial farms 

Other farms 

White wheat: 

Cash-grain farms 

Other commercial farms 

Other farms 

Other Regions 

West of the 98 th parallel: 

Cash-grain farms 

Other commercial farms 

Other farms 

East of the 98 th parallel: 

Cash-grain farms 

Other commercial farms 

Other farms 



Percentage 
of farms pro- 
ducing wheat 
for sale 



93.7 
60.0 
15.3 



100.0 
69.6 
19.0 



72.1 
16.6 
2.4 

46.7 
14.1 
2.5 



Percentage of 

total wheat 

sold in the 

United States 



21.0 
4.6 
0.1 



( z ) 



13.2 
2.4 



m 



10.1 
0.3 



5.3 

0.1 

14.9 
17.3 
0.6 



z 0.05 percent or less. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



IMPORTANCE OF MAJOR WHEAT REGIONS 

The proportion of the agricultural resources of farmers on 
commercial farms used by cash-grain farmers in three western 
\\ heat-producing regions is shown in table 6. Cash-grain farmers 
are those who receive at least 50 percent of their income from the 
sale of grain. Other commercial farmers get more of their income 
from sources other than grain. Cash-grain farmers in the three 
major wheat regions have 54 percent of all land and 70 percent of 
all cropland. They use 62 percent of all capital employed in 
agriculture, 55 percent of all the farm labor force, and produce 
59 percent of all farm products sold in the three major wheat 
regions. 

The adaptation of the wheat plant to a wide range of soil and 
climatic conditions helps to explain why wheat is grown extensively 
in the three major wheat regions. In the more productive areas 
of the Corn Belt, farmers find corn more profitable as a major crop 
and give it first consideration, even though the yields of wheat in 
the Corn Belt are higher than the yields in the Great Plains. In 
the Corn Belt, wheat is grown only because it combines well with 
other farm enterprises. In earlier years, wheat was grown ex- 
tensively in the Eastern States and in the Corn Belt, but in recent 
decades corn and other feed grains have pushed wheat production 
into areas less favorable for corn production. 

Table 6. — Percentage of Resources Used and Value of 
Gross Sales for all Commercial Farms Represented by 
Cash-Grain Farms for Major Wheat Regions: 1954 



Region 


All land 


Crop- 
land 


Capital 
invest- 
ment 


Labor 
force 
(man- 
equiva- 
lent) 


dross 
sales 


Total, 3 major regions 


54 

50 
55 
72 


70 

67 
68 
92 


62 

60 
60 

82 


55 

55 
55 
62 


59 
53 


Hard spring wheat 


62 

78 







When examined in terms of total units and value, the resources 
used by the wheat farmers in these specialized wheat-producing 



regions loom large. The hard winter wheat region ranks high in 
number of wheat farms, acres of wheat, wheat production, and 
total investment. It leads all other regions in total production of 
wheat. The 146,000 cash-grain farmers in the three regions 
produced approximately 45 percent of all wheat raised in the 
United States in 1954. They used nearly $9 billion in capital 
investment and the equivalent of 190,000 men. (See table 7.) 

Table 7- — Number of Farms and Resources Used on Cash- 
, Grain Farms in the Major Wheat Regions: 1954 



Item 


Unit 


Hard 
winter 

wheat 


Hard 
spring 

wheat 


White 
wheat 


Total, 3 
regions 


Total farms 


Number .. 

Thousands . 

do 


75, 544 
30, 962 
12, 029 
183, 690 

371 
654 

3,768 
208 
696 

4,672 

91,041 


61, 427 
33. 493 
10, 132 
121,816 

231 
480 

1,900 
182 
717 

2,799 

82, 833 


9,109 

7,219 

2,586 

84, 065 

175 
238 

1,033 

27 

166 

1,226 

14, 755 


146. 080 

71.1.71 




24, 747 




Thousands of 
bushels. 

do 


389, 571 




777 




1,372 


Investment in— 


. do 


6.701 


Livestock 


do 

.... do 


417 
1,579 


Total 


do 


8,697 




Number. .. . . 


188, 629 







A comparison of wheat farmers among regions and with the 
average of all commercial farmers in the United States is shown 
on a per-farm basis in table 8. 1 Compared with the United 
States average, wheat farmers are large operators. They use 
2 to 4 times as much land and V,i to 5 times as much capital as the 
average farmer in the United States, but need only slightly more 
than the average of man-labor because of the high degree of 
mechanization. 

Marked differences among regions are found in the acreage 
and amount of investment in commercial cash-grain farms. The 
producers of white wheat have the largest farms and the largest 
investment per farm. The producers of hard winter wheat exceed 
those in the hard spring wheat area in amount of resources other 
than land. 



Table 8. — Number of Commercial Farms and Specified Characteristics per Farm, 

the United States: 1954 



for Major Wheat Regions and 





Number of 
farms 


All land 
in farms 
(acres) 


Total crop- 
land 
(acres) 


Labor foree 

(man- 
equivalent) 


Total in- 
vestment 

(dollars) 


Investment in 






Region and type of farm 


Land and 
buildings 
(dollars) 


Machinery 
(dollars) 


Livestock 
(dollars) 


Gross sales 
(dollars) 




3, 327. 889 
127, 971 
75, 544 
62,427 

104. 378 
61,427 
42, 951 

14, 551 
9, 109 
5,442 


310 
656 
558 

797 

821 
771 
892 

1,034 

1.188 

776 


138 
359 
410 
285 

471 
545 
365 

540 
793 

118 


1.5 
1.3 
1.2 
1.5 

1.4 
1.3 
1.6 

1.6 

1.6 

1.6 


32, 874 

53, 904 

54, 956 
52,388 

41,426 
42. 281 
40. 203 

92, 428 
120. 910 
45,514 


25, 429 
48, 593 
50, 038 
46, 422 

28, 646 
30, 979 
25, 262 

85, 481 
99. 206 
32, 523 


4.291 
8.818 
9,210 

8, 252 

11,212 
11,619 
10,632 

14,307 
18, 244 
7,718 


3,154 
4,046 
2,749 
5,914 

4,749 
2,964 
7,302 

3,853 
3,005 
5,272 


7,302 




9,600 




8,656 




10, 961 




7,469 




7,815 




6,974 




20,982 


Cash-grain farms . 


26. 088 
12, 435 







1 Comparison based on cash-grain farms in major wheat regions. Wheat is the principal cash grain produced on most of these farms. 



10 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



The wheat regions previously outlined are discussed separately 
on the following pages. When reference is made to other than the 
cash-grain farmers in the wheat regions the fact is indicated. 

The number of cash-grain farmers and the percentage of total 
wheat production of each major region are as follows: 

Percentage 



A rea 

Hard winter wheat 

Hard spring wheat 

White wheat 



THE HARD RED WINTER WHEAT REGION 

Wheat production is most highly concentrated in subregions 93, 
94, and 103 (see fig. 7). A similar area extends into southwestern 
Nebraska and northeastern Colorado where wheat production is 
specialized. The relative importance of wheat production in this 
region is indicated by the following data: 





of total 


Number of 


U. S. wheat 


cash-grain 


produced 


farmers 


in area 


75, 544 


20 


61, 427 


13 


9, 109 


9 



Item 


Subregion 


Total (3 




93 


94 


103 


subregions) 


Total wheat produced on commercial farms 
(1,000 bu.). . 


39, 200 

4 

74 

20 


78, 586 
9 
84 
16 


108, 129 
12 
82 
18 


225, 975 


Percent of U. S. total wheat produced on 


25 


Percent of region total wheat produced on 


SI 


Percent of region total wheat produced on 


19 







THE HARD WINTER WHEAT AREA, 
SUBREGIONS 93, 94, AND 103 




Wheat production in this region is largely the result of physical 
conditions. The soils and temperature are favorable for such 
production, and the precipitation very definitely limits the alter- 
natives to wheat. 

Most of the soils in this region belong to the Chernozem group; 
these are dark, deep, heavy prairie soils, which are excellent for 
wheat production. But obviously, there are variations in the 
soils and amount of rainfall in so large a territory. Not much 
of the occasional coarse-textured soil is used for wheat except on 
the fringes of the good wheat land where, stimulated by the high 
prices of the war periods, farmers have broken grassland not well 
suited to wheat production. 

Some of the most serious problems here have come from extend- 
ing wheat production to land unsuited for it. Severe wind erosion 
is not limited to the less favorable areas but occurs most often and 
is most severe in such areas. If winter wheat makes little growth 
in the fall the soil surface is exposed and wind erosion is likely to 
take place. Damage consists of the destruction of the wheat 
seedling and the loss of the topsoil. 

The topography varies from level plains to undulating and roll- 
ing land. The slopes are seldom so steep as to make the use of 
large machinery difficult. The limiting factor is rainfall which 
varies from 15 to 25 inches annually. About three-fourths of this 
falls during the growing season. 

Because of the limited rainfall and high rate of evaporation, 
much of the wheat is grown on summer-fallow land. In 1954, 
the wheat and summer-fallow acreages were: 

Subregion 





93 


94 


103 


Total 




1,418 


3,362 


7, 249 


12, 029 


} acres). 


609 


280 


4,608 


5,497 



Figure 7. 



Wheat (1,000 acres) 
Summer fallow (1,000 acres) 



The extent of summer-fallowing varies considerably in the hard 
winter wheat region and depends on the annual precipitation. 
Nearly all of the fallow land is used for wheat. Most of it is 
found in areas of less than 20 inches of rainfall. In dry periods 
the practice of summer-fallowing shifts considerably to the east. 
In years of above-normal precipitation the summer-fallow acreage 
may be reduced throughout the entire region. 

Transportation facilities and markets are generally adequate 
for these wheat growers. Local elevators are found in practically 
every town along the railroads. Considerable quantities of grain 
are transported by truck to the central markets. Farm-to- 
market roads have been improved but relatively few are hard- 
surfaced and many are not even graveled. This is not a serious 
drawback in marketing wheat since it need not be delivered at 
any set time. 

When yields of wheat are high, a very large quantity is harvested 
within a short period, approximately 2 months. Local areas usually 
complete their harvest in 10 to 20 days. Railroads frequently 
are unable to provide sufficient boxcars to ship the grain to the 
terminal markets as rapidly as harvested. It is usual to store some 
of the wheat on the ground in the fields until transportation and 
storage are available. This may seem a wasteful practice but in 
the western part of the region, where July and August rainfall is 
very low, it provides a very cheap temporary method and the 
risk of spoilage is not high. Storage capacity on farms and 
in local elevators is far from adequate for the quantity of grain, 
but it has been increasing very rapidly during the last decade. 
Tall elevators dot the landscape. Semiterminal elevators with 
capacities in the millions of bushels have been built at some 
of the larger shipping centers such as Oklahoma City, Okla. ; 
Wichita and Hutchinson, Kans. ; and Lincoln. Nebr., in the hard 
winter wheat territory. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



11 



The hard winter wheat production is extending northward. 
Mure hardy varieties make this possible. Generally, farmers 
prefer to grow winter wheat if it is well adapted as it is likely to 
produce higher yields because of its longer growing season. Seed- 
ing wheat in the fall reduces the fieldwork in the spring. Then 
too, fall seeding provides some cover for the soil through the 
winter and helps to prevent the soil from blowing. 

Hard winter wheat is also expanding into the soft winter wheat 
region. The Pawnee variety, developed in the early l'.MO's, is 
very well adapted to conditions in the western Corn Belt. In 
some years more than half of the wheat acreage in southern Iowa, 
northern Missouri, and west-central Illinois, is in Pawnee wheat. 
In this humid area Pawnee produces an intermediate-type wheat — 
it is lower in protein and has a weaker gluten than when grown 
in a drier area. This wheat can be used in blending flour for 
bread. 

In the hard red winter wheat region there is considerable varia- 
tion in size and organization of farms and production, and in 
efficiency levels. Analysis of the characteristics of commercial 
wheat farms by economic class in the three subregions will help 
to explain some of the more important differences. (In this 
discussion the term "wheat farms" in this region is used as synon- 
ymous with "cash-grain farms." 

Size of Business 

The size of business is important in wheat farming, as it is in 
all phases of agriculture and in business outside the field of agri- 
culture. A first, requirement of high returns in mechanized agri- 
culture is a volume of business large enough for effective use of 
machinery and labor resources. 

The size of business can be measured in several ways. In the 
1954 Census, farms were sorted by size on the basis of gross sales, 
and divided into six economic classes. (See Introduction for 
description of economic classes.) The size of farm business can 
also be measured in other ways. For example, by the area of 
land operated, or the capital invested, or the man-equivalent 
per farm. These measures of size are given for the three sub- 
regions in tables 9, 10, and 11. 

Classification of farms by the amount of gross sales was neces- 
sarily based on 1-year's data, 1954. In areas of specialized crop 
production gross sales in any one year are determined largely by 
the yields and prices of the major crop produced. Obviously, 
higher or lower wheat yields would have changed the classifi- 
cation of some individual farms. For example, an area may have 
a high percentage of farms in the low-income groups because 
yields were abnormally low in 1954, or if yields were much above 
average, the number of farms in the high-income brackets may be 
abnormally high. A comparison of yields in 1954 with average 
yields will give some indication of the effect of the 1954 growing 
conditions on the 1954 classification of the farms. 

S u bregio n 

93 94 103 

1954 wheat vields (bushels per acre) 20.5 19.7 12.2 

5-year average (1949-53) yields 17.0 13.8 12.1 

■\Yheat farming in this area is characterized by large acreages 
per farm, a high capital investment, and a family type of farm. 
The average cash-grain farmer has a total investment of $45,000 
to $70,000 in comparison with a national average of $26,000. 
Onh' a little more than the equivalent of one man is employed on 
the typical wheat farm here. 

Substantial variation in size of farms is found in the winter 
wheat region. Subregions 93 and 94 lie in the eastern part, in 



southern Nebraska, and in central Kansas, where production per 
acre is relatively high. Here the land can be farmed more in- 
tensively, compared with the western part, because of the high 
annual rainfall. Consequently, the farms are smaller in acreage 
farmed. The larger farms in subregion 103 (western Texas, Okla- 
homa, Kansas, and eastern Colorado) require a larger investment 
in land and in machinery than the smaller farms in subregions 93 
and 94. The livestock investment is rather uniform in all three 
subregions. Likewise, the labor required per farm is approxi- 
mately the same. 

Table 9. — Size op Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 93, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 




Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms. - 

Total acres per farm 
Crop acres per farm 

Capital investment per 
farm : 
Land and buildings 

dollars- - 

Livestock do 

Machinery do 


19, 859 
358 
258 

33. 745 
2,817 
8,023 


283 

1,073 

801 

97, 567 
7,509 
15, 820 


3, 868 
554 
403 

54. 577 

4, 385 
10, 665 


7, 768 
362 
264 

34, 659 
2,948 
8,218 


5,603 
257 
180 

22, 356 
2,003 
6,874 


1,910 
184 
125 

13, 827 
1,257 
5,143 


427 
132 

75 

10, 265 

778 

3,313 


Total do— - 

Man-equivalent per 


44, 585 
1.2 


120, 896 
2.1 


69, 627 
1.4 


45, 825 
1.2 


31,233 
1.1 


20, 227 
0.9 


14, 356 

0.8 







Table 10. — Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 94, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


11 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Total acres per farm .... 
Crop acres per farm 

Capital investment per 
farm: 
Land and buildings 

dollars- - 

Livestock do ... 

Machinery do 


23,140 
362 
264 

44, 520 
2.283 
7,949 


413 
1,163 

861 

147, 439 
6,486 
15,948 


5, 179 
580 
435 

75. 019 
3.544 

10.627 


8, 630 
353 
260 

43, 546 
2,290 
7,956 


6,294 
226 
157 

25, 563 
1,503 
6,496 


2,233 
166 

106 

17.290 
1.042 
5,086 


391 
122 

67 

11, 897 

617 

3,606 


Total.-. do 

Man-equivalent per 


54,752 
1.1 


169, 873 
2.1 


89, 190 
1.4 


53,792 
1.1 


33, 562 
1.0 


23. lis 
0.8 


16.120 
i) 8 







Table 11. — Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 103, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 




Total 


1 

1,928 
2, 163 
1,534 

158, 204 
7,933 
18, 943 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Total acres per farm 
Crop acres per farm 

Capital investment per 
farm: 
Land and buildings 

dollars- - 

Livestock do 

Machinery do 


32, 545 
820 
607 

55. 367 
3,040 
10, 832 


8,644 

1,076 

810 

77, 024 
4, 275 
13, 102 


10, 692 
713 
526 

47, 592 
2,794 
10, 389 


7,086 
519 
384 

31, 245 
1.805 
8,669 


3.353 
445 
331 

24. 516 
1, 033 
7,282 


842 
500 
395 

22, 145 

665 

6. 90(1 


Total do--- 

Man-equivalent per 


69,239 
1.3 


185, 080 
2.5 


94, 401 
1.8 


60, 775 
1.2 


41,719 
1.0 


32, 831 
1.0 


29, 710 
1.0 







12 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Farms in Classes IV, V, and VI have a small amount of land 
and capital for economic family farm operation. The man-equiv- 
alent per farm indicates that many of the smaller farms either are 
operated by older persons or that the operator performs only 
part-time farmwork, for the man-equivalent of labor on Classes 
V and VI averaged less than one. The average Class I farms in 
subregion 103 required 2.5 man-equivalent as compared with 2 
for subregions 93 and 94. In other respects, the labor require- 
ments of the average farm in the various size groups are similar 
for the three subregions. 

The size of farms as measured by gross sales is consistent with 
size determined by other measures. Size of business declines 
from Class I farms to Class VI farms regardless of the measure 
used. 

One-half to two-thirds of the cash-grain farms in these sub- 
regions were in Economic Classes I, II, and III. Farms in these 
classes had a volume of sales of $5,000 or more, each. Only a small 
percentage of the farms in subregions 93 and 94 were Class I 
farms. Less than 2 percent of the cash-grain farms in subregions 
93 and 94, and about 6 percent of the cash-grain farms in subregion 
103, had total sales of $25,000 or more. Even in subregion 103, 
however, many of these Class I farms would not be considered as 
large-scale farms. Labor used on Class I farms in subregion 103 
averaged only 2.5 man-equivalent per farm, in 1954. 

The larger wheat farms, Class I to Class III, have investments 
of $50,000 to $185,000 each. Differences in size were greatest 
in terms of capital investment. The number of workers averaged 
from 1.1 to 2.5 man-equivalent while the acreage of farmland per 
farm ranged from 350 acres for Class III farms to more than 2,000 
acres for the large Class I farms. Class I farms averaged more 
than 2,000 acres per farm in subregion 103. In the region as a 
whole, nearly three-fifths of the farms are in Classes II and III. 
The percentage distribution of farms by economic classes is shown 
in table 12. 

Table 12. — Percentage Distribution of Cash-Grain Farms 
and of Wheat Production in the Hard Winter Wheat 
Region, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item and subregion 



Number of farms: 

Subregion 93 

Subregion 94 

Subregion 103... 

Wheat production 

Subregion 93 

Subregion 94 

Subregion 103... 



Economic class of farm 



III 



IV 



Percent of the total in the subregion 



1.4 


19.5 


39.1 


28.2 


9.6 


l.S 


22.4 


37.3 


27.2 


9.6 


5.9 


26.6 


32.9 


21.8 


10. 3 


6.8 


36.0 


38.3 


15.9 


2.7 


7.5 


41.2 


35.3 


13.3 


2.5 


17.3 


41.8 


28.4 


9.7 


2.5 



2. 2 
2.6 



Crop and Livestock Organization 

Land use and crops grown. — There are differences among the 
subregions in organization of the cash-grain farms. Farms in 
subregions 93 and 94 are more diversified than those in subregion 
103. A higher percentage of the cropland is summer-fallowed in 
the western part than in the eastern part of the region. The 
northern part of subregion 93 produces more corn than wheat 
while the reverse is true in the southern part. Much of the corn 
throughout the area is sold as cash grain. The variations in yield 
from year to year are so large that farmers hesitate to keep enough 



livestock to consume the average crop of feed produced. In the 
southern part of subregion 103 (Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas) 
grain sorghum is the strongest competitor with wheat for the use of 
cropland. The acreage of grain sorghum has been increasing in 
the northern part of the subregion since earlier maturing varieties 
have become available. 

The most highly specialized wheat area is found in subregion 
94 where 59 percent of the cropland is in wheat. (See tables 13, 
14, and 15.) The very low summer-fallow acreage partly accounts 
for this but this subregion also has a small acreage in other crops. 
Subregion 93 emphasizes corn as an alternative to wheat because 
of fairly favorable annual rainfall, although here the corn crop 
frequently fails. The acreages of grain sorghum are increasing 
in this subregion. In subregion 103 the acreage of grain sorghum 
is large as grain sorghum is the best alternative for many of these 
farmers. The proportion of the farms that is in pastureland is 
quite uniform. 

Table 13. — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 93, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






19. 859 

358 
258 
71 
73 
21 
92 
64 


2S3 

1,073 
801 
286 
201 
76 
249 
122 


3,868 

554 
403 
122 
109 

31 
138 

56 


7,768 

362 

264 

71 

77 
21 
91 
29 


5,603 

257 
180 
46 
53 
15 
69 
18 


1,910 

184 
125 
26 
38 
11 
53 
13 


427 


Acres per farm: 
All land 


100 
100 
93 
92 
54 
92 
50 


132 




75 


Wheat 


13 


Corn 

Grain sorghum 


27 
6 
52 


Summer fallow 


8 



Table 14.- 



-Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 94, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Percent 
of farms 
report- 
tag 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






23,140 

362 
264 
145 
15 
11 
95 
12 


413 

1.163 

861 

497 

46 

51 

295 

36 


5,179 

580 
435 
254 
22 
18 
142 
21 


8,630 

353 
260 
142 
15 
10 
90 
12 


6.294 

226 

157 

80 

11 

7 

66 

6 


2,233 

166 

106 

47 

7 

6 

56 

5 


391 


Acres per farm: 
All land . 


100 
100 
100 
55 
24 
90 
28 


122 




67 


Wheat 


27 


Oats 


5 


Grain sorghum __ _ 


4 
54 




2 







Table 15. — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 
103, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






32, 545 

820 
607 
223 
115 
212 
142 


1,928 

2,163 
1,534 
569 
394 
639 
327 


8,644 

1,076 
810 
317 
158 
263 
186 


10,692 

713 
526 
199 
90 
185 
119 


7,086 

519 
384 
129 

66 
132 

93 


3,353 

445 
331 
94 
51 
114 
96 


842 


Acres per farm: 
All land 


100 
100 
(NA) 
68 
82 
71 


500 




395 


Wheat 


55 




37 




106 




143 







NA Not availahle. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



13 



Within each of the subregions, the land-use pattern tends to be 
similar for all economic classes, with a few significant differences. 
The smaller farms (Class V and VI) have a higher proportion of 
land in permanent pasture. They also have a smaller proportion 
of the cropland in wheat. The relatively low acreage in wheat 
on Class VI farms in 1954 in subregion 103 was probably the result 
of a complete failure of the wheat crop in some localities. Failure 
of the major crop resulted in many farms being classified as Class 
VI i less than SI, 200 gross sales). Crop failure also accounts for 
the larger acreage for Class VI farms than for Class V farms, in 
subregion 103. Some oats were grown in all parts of the hard 
winter wheat region but the oat crop was less important in sub- 
regions 93 and 103 than in subregion 94. 

Livestock. — Average livestock numbers per farm in the winter 
wheat region are more uniform among the subregions than is the 
land-use pattern. (See tables 17, 18, and 19.) Livestock is an 
additional source of income on many wheat farms. The typical 
livestock organization is to have enough cattle to utilize the native 
pasture and consume the available roughage. The cattle are 
mostly beef cattle but a few milk cows are kept to supply milk 
for the farm family. A small flock of chickens is usual. The 
:i\ erage number of hogs and sheep per farm is very low. However, 
because a small percentage of farms have hogs or sheep, the num- 
ber of animals per farm reporting is considerably larger than shown 
by the data in tables 16, 17, and 18. 

The pattern of livestock numbers by economic class of farm is 
similar for all subregions. The large farms have more cattle 
but about the same number of milk cows per farm. In subregion 
93, the large farms have more hogs than the smaller farms, reflect- 
ing the higher corn production compared with that in subregions 
94 and 103. In general, sheep are found on the larger farms, 
usually on farms that can carry at least 100 ewes. Many flocks 
are much larger. 

Table 16. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 93, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Percent 


Economic class of farm 




report- 
ing 


Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






19. 859 

26 
3 

10 

1 

113 

1,725 
2,817 


283 

71 
2 

22 

8 

102 

6,867 
7,509 


3,868 

40 
4 
17 
3 
123 

3,272 
4,385 


7,768 

27 
4 
10 

123 

1,736 
2.948 


5,603 

19 
3 
6 

111 

946 
2,003 


1.910 

12 

2 

3 

( z ) 

420 
1,257 


427 


Livestock, number per 
farm: 


87 
68 
43 
3 
79 

XXX 

XXX 






1 




2 




( z ) 




47 


Gross sales of livestock and 
livestock products per 
farm .dollars.. 

Investment in livestock per 
farm... ._ __ _. .dollars.. 


156 

778 



z Less than 0.5. 



Table 17- — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 94, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 

413 

77 
5 
6 

13 

77 

6,470 
6,486 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






23.140 

26 
3 
3 

5 
90 

1,551 
2,282 


5,179 

41 
4 
5 

10 
103 

2,832 
3,544 


8,630 

26 
3 
3 
4 

100 

1,469 
2.290 


6,294 

17 
3 
2 

2 
81 

782 
1.503 


2,233 

12 
2 
2 
2 

59 

404 
1,042 


391 


Livestock, number per 
farm: 
All cattle 


85 
59 
24 
10 
75 

XXX 
XXX 






1 




1 








48 


Gross sales of livestock and 
livestock products per 
farm dollars.. 

Investment in livestock per 
farm dollars. . 


144 
617 



Table 18. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 
103, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Number of farms. 



Livestock, number per 
farm: 

All cattle.. 

Milk cows 

Hogs 

Sheep 

Chickens 



Gross sales of livestock and 
livestock products per 
farm dollars. . 

Investment in livestock per 
farm dollars.. 



Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 



XXX 

XXX 



Economic class of farm 



1.682 
3,040 



6.147 
7.933 



II 



8, 644 



2.579 

1. 275 



III 



10,692 



1.340 

2, 794 



IV 



711 

1,SI 15 



3. 353 



329 
1,033 



VI 



842 



( z ) 
( z > 



110 
665 



z Less than 0.5. 



Obviously, some of the operators of the smaller farms have not 
increased their volume of business by producing more livestock. 
Probably the lack of capital and the uncertainty of feed production 
are major reasons. Some of the farmers have intensive livestock 
enterprises. A few farmers are able to take advantage of the lim- 
ited outlets for fluid milk and high-quality eggs in the area. 

Pasturing wheat is a common practice in the hard red winter 
wheat region. The wheat, seeded early in the fall, frequently 
makes rapid growth especially on summer-fallow land. Moderate 
pasturing is not harmful and some growers feel it increases the 
yields in years of very rank growth. Grazing is done in both the 
fall and spring; in years of little snowfall it may continue through 
the winter. Some wheat growers buy feeders for grazing, others 
take in feeders for grazing on a rental or contract basis. The 
cattle and lambs make good gains on the lush growth of wheat 
when weather conditions are favorable and many are brought in 
for the purpose. Most of these feeder cattle and sheep were not 
included in the Census data because they usually are brought in 
after October 15, the approximate date of the 1954 Census. 

Labor Used 

In spite of their relatively large size when measured in acres, 
gross sales, or capital investment, the wheat farms in the winter 
wheat regions are typically family farms. On many, the family 
provides nearly all of the labor; only the very largest hire a large 
amount of labor. 

For the purpose of showing the amounts of labor used on cash- 
grain farms, all labor was converted to an average man-equivalent 
basis. This was done in order that more meaningful comparisons 
might be made between the different sizes of cash-grain farms and 
between cash-grain farms in different subregions. In the discus- 
sion and tables that follow, an adjustment is made for operators 
over 65 years old and for those who reported they worked at an 
off-farm job during the year. Operators under 65 years with no 
off-farm work were considered as one man-equivalent, even though 
wheat production is a seasonal job. The expenditure for hired 
labor was divided by an annual average wage for the locality in 
order to provide man-equivalents for the number of hired workers. 
The number of unpaid family workers was adjusted to take account 
of women and children and elderly persons included in the total. 
The procedure for estimating labor on man-equivalents is explained 
in detail in the Introduction. 

Farm operators comprised slightly less than one man-equivalent 
per farm in each of the subregions, but made up the bulk of the 
labor force. (See table 19.) Hired labor was relatively unim- 
portant when cash-grain farms were taken as a group. Sources 
of labor were quite similar for the three subregions as a whole. 



14 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



When classified by gross sales, the Class I farmers depended on 
hired help equaling about as much as the operator's labor. Farm- 
ers'in the other size groups hired very little help, depending largely 
on the members of the operator's family. The sources of farm labor 
and the age of operators for the three subregions, and by economic 
class for subregion 93, are shown in table 19. Because of the simi- 
larity of distribution by economic class of farm among the sub- 
regions this detail is not shown for subregions 94 and 103. 

Table 19. — Labor Force on Cash-Grain Farms in the Hard 
Red Winter Wheat Region, and for Subregion 93 by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Subregion 


Economic class of farm for subregion 93 




93 


94 


103 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Total man-equivalent 


1.2 


1.2 


1.3 


2.1 


1.4 


1.2 


1.1 


0.9 


0.8 


Operator . 

Unpaid family help 
Hired. 


.9 
.2 
.1 

100 


.8 
.2 
.1 

100 


.8 
.3 
.2 

100 


.9 
.3 
.9 

100 


.9 
.3 
2 

100 


.9 
.2 
.1 

100 


.8 
.2 

( z ) 

100 


.2 
( z ) 

100 


.1 

( z ) 


Operators by age: 
All operators.. percent- . 


100 


Under 25years_do 

25-34 years do 

35-64 years do 

65 years & over do 


3 

19 

69 

9 


2 
16 
70 
12 


3 

18 
69 
10 


2 
19 
73 

6 


1 
22 
74 

3 


3 
22 
69 

6 


4 

16 
68 
12 


4 
13 
63 
20 


5 
6 
61 

28 



z Less than 0.05. 

Figures on the age of operators show that more of the beginning 
farmers and more of the farmers over 65 years were in Class VI 
than in any other income size group in 1954. If this is a typical 
situation, some of the young men in the lowest income group have 
been able to improve their situation, for in the 25-to-34-year group, 
the percentage in Class VI is the smallest. 

Farm Mechanization and Home Conveniences 

The degree of mechanization on the farm and the number of 
home conveniences reflect the financial situation of the farm family 
and the progressiveness of the farm operator. In a few localities 
it is impossible to obtain such modern conveniences as television 
or electricity, although electric lines are now available to most 
farmers in the wheat country. 

The degree of mechanization and use of home conveniences are 
indicated in table 20. Class I and II farms are more highly 
mechanized than the smaller groups of lower income. As their 
operators have a large acreage, they can use modern machinery 
efficiently. They also have enough income to allow the purchase of 
modern equipment which most Class I and II farmers now have. 
Many of the operators of smaller farms have neither the capital to 
buy modern machinery nor the acreage to use it efficiently. It is 
characteristic that many of the operators of Class V and VI farms 
hire the use of highly specialized, expensive machinery. For 
example, the number of farms reporting combines varies consider- 
ably by size of farm in the three subregions: 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Percent of farmers reporting combines: 
Subregion 93 .... . . 


91 

89 
80 

1.2 
1.4 
1.4 


S5 
86 
84 

.9 

1.0 
1. 1 


76 
80 
79 

.8 
.8 
.9 


64 
65 
67 

.7 
.7 

.8 


45 
48 
55 

.5 
.5 
.6 


25 




33 


Subregion 103 _ . 


47 


Number of combines per farm: 


.2 


Subregion 94. _. 


.3 


Subregion 103 


.6 







Table 20. — Farm Mechanization and Home Conveniences 
on Cash-Grain Farms in the Hard Red Winter Wheat 
Region, and for Subregion 94 by Economic Class of 
Farm: 1954 



Item 



Number of farms 

Number per farm: 

Automobiles 

Motortrucks 

Tractors 

Combines 

Percent of farms report 
ing — 

Automobiles 

Motortrucks 

Tractors 

Combines.-. 

Corn pickers _. 

Field forage harvesters 

Telephones 

Electricity 

Television sets 

Piped water in home_. 
Home freezer 



Subregion 



93 94 103 



19. 859 



1.6 
.7 



23, 140 



1. 1 
1.2 
1.7 



1.2 
1.5 
1. 



Economic class of farm for subregion 94 



1 ii 
2.3 
3.3 
1.4 



1.2 
1.6 
2.3 
1.0 



86 



. 1311 



1 1 
1.2 
1.7 



6,294 

1.0 

.9 
1.4 



2, 233 



1 ii 
.7 

1.2 
.5 



VI 



0.8 

.5 



73 
44 
76 
33 
1 
1 
54 
74 
17 
37 
12 



In subregions 93 and 94 the number of combines decreases with 
the size of farm. In subregion 103 the same general relationship is 
found, although a higher percentage of operators for Class II farms 
owned combines than for Class I farms, and Class III farmers 
averaged more combines per farm than the Class I farmers. In 
this area a number of the large farm operators depend entirely on 
custom combining. Notwithstanding their large acreages some 
believe that they can hire the work done more economically than 
they can do it with their own equipment. This hiring helps to solve 
their labor problem at harvest time for usually the custom operator 
furnishes operators for the machines. 

Most farmers own at least one automobile. The exceptions are 
usually farmers who use their trucks for family transportation. 
Not all farmers in any economic class own tractors as a few depend 
on having all of their work performed on a custom basis. Custom 
work is more common among those in the lowest income group than 
among those in the higher income groups. Cornpickers are more 
common in subregion 93 because much more corn is produced here 
than in the other subregions. 

Differences in farm income are reflected more in the conven- 
iences in the home than in the degree of farm mechanization. Farm 
families on the lowest income farms usually do not have enough 
capital to buy such items as home freezers, television sets, and a 
water system for the house. 

Gross Farm Income 

Average gross income per farm was considerably higher in sub- 
region 103, in 1954, where the farms are larger than in subregions 
93 and 94. 

The important sources of income vary among the three sub- 
regions. Subregion 94 specializes in wheat to a higher degree than 
the other areas as indicated in the following data: 



Item 




Economic class of farm 






I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Percent of gross sales from wheat: 


44 
74 
38 


39 

75 
57 


40 
75 
63 


41 

74 
61 


37 
73 
61 


41 


SuMvL'iun 94--_. -- ---. -- . 


74 
55 







WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



15 



In subregion 93 farmers had considerable income from corn but 
the relative importance of wheat as a source of income varied little 
among the economic classes of farms. (Table 21 gives the sources 
of farm income in the winter wheat region.) In subregion 103 
where grain sorghum is an important source of income, Class I 
farmers ranked lowest in percentage of gross sales from wheat and 
received more income from grain sorghum than from wheat. 
Farmers in the other five economic classes received more than half 
their income from wheat. Gross sales per crop acre are higher in 
the eastern part of subregion 103 because of the higher yields. 
Gross sales per crop acre (see table 21) indicate that the problem of 
the operators of the smaller farms involves not only the area of 
land farmed but also the level of production. 

Table 21. — Sources of Farm Income on Cash-Grain Farms 
in the Hard Red Winter Wheat Region, and for Sub- 
region 94 by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Subregion 


Economic class of farm for subregion 94 




93 


94 


103 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




19. 859 

2.947 

1.913 

88 

505 

178 


23, 140 

5,818 

19 

87 

73 

236 


32,545 

5,457 
51 
12 

2,421 
446 


413 

24,889 

69 

409 

538 

1.207 


5,179 

10, 808 
30 
138 
131 
513 


8,630 

5. 465 
20 
78 
54 
188 


6,294 

2,826 

8 

57 

39 

90 


2,233 

1,422 

9 

34 

36 

48 


391 


Sales per farm: 

Wheat _. .dollars. . 

Corn... __ do 

Oats do 

Grain sorghum. __do 

Other crops do 


584 

22 

24 

3 

16 


All crops do 

Livestock and live- 
stock products 

dollars.. 


5,631 
1,725 


6.233 
1,551 


8,387 
1,682 


-'7, 112 
6,470 


11,620 
2.832 


5,805 
1,469 


3,020 

782 


1,549 
404 


649 
144 


Gross sales.. .do 

Percentage of gross sales 

from wheat 

Gross sales per crop acre 
dollars. . 


7.356 

40 
28.57 


7.784 

75 
29.51 


10,069 

54 
16.60 


33,582 

74 
39.01 


14,452 

75 
33.23 


7,274 

75 
27.93 


3.802 

74 
24.28 


1,953 

73 
18.43 


793 

74 
11.83 



Farm Expenses 

Not all costs of operating farms were included on the 1954 Census 
Questionnaire, but the Census does provide data for some of the 
major cost items. These serve to indicate differences in cost of 
production by areas and by the size of business (see tables 22, 23, 
and 24). 

Table 22. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain Farms 
in Subregion 93, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 











Economic class of farm 






Item 




















Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 


















Cropland 


..acres.. 


258 


801 


403 


264 


180 


125 


75 


Machine hire 


dollars.. 


223 


593 


335 


227 


163 


131 


63 


Gas and oil... ... ._ 


...do.... 


575 


1.664 


905 


585 


412 


279 


171 


Hired labor .. 


...do.... 


161 


1,523 


354 


119 


69 


46 


11 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do.... 


228 


1.267 


527 


206 


80 


36 


25 


Feed bought 


do.... 
...do.... 


440 


1,240 


743 


449 


298 


170 


76 


Total 


1,627 


6,287 


2,864 


1,586 


1,022 


662 


346 


Average per crop acre: 


















Machine hire 


(lull.iis 


0.86 


0.74 


0.83 


0.86 


0.91 


1.05 


0.84 


Gas and oil 


...do.... 


2.23 


2.08 


2.25 


2.22 


2.29 


2.23 


2.28 


Hired labor 


...do.... 


.62 


1.90 


.88 


.45 


.38 


.37 


.15 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do.... 
...do.... 


.88 


1.58 


1.31 


.78 


.44 


.29 


.33 


Total 


4.59 


6.30 


5.27 


4.31 


4.02 


3.94 


3.60 



Subregion 103 has the highest specified expenditures per farm 
because the acreage farmed per operator is larger than in other 
subregions. However, costs per acre are considerably lower be- 
cause the land is farmed less intensively in this more arid of the 
subregions. 



Table 23. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain Farms 
in Subregion 94, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 











Economic class of farm 






Item 
















Totil 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 


















Cropland __. 


..acres.. 


264 


861 


435 


260 


157 


106 


67 


Machine hire 


dollars. . 


263 


996 


404 


252 


167 


148 


79 


Gas and oil 


...do.... 


525 


1,526 


827 


521 


345 


226 


123 


Hired labor 


...do.... 


241 


1,682 


489 


181 


103 


55 


26 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do... 


171 


761 


339 


149 


79 


49 


16 


Feed bought 


do.... 
...do... 


580 


1,690 


948 


570 


359 


256 


132 


Total 


1.780 


6.655 


3,007 


1.673 


1,053 


734 


376 


Average per crop acre: 


















Machine hire 


dollars.. 


1.00 


1.16 


0.93 


0.97 


1.07 


1.39 


1.17 


Gas and oil... _. 


...do... 


1.99 


1.77 


1.90 


2.00 


2.21 


2.13 


1.83 


Hired labor. 


...do.... 


.91 


1.95 


1.13 


.70 


.66 


.52 


.39 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do.... 
...do.... 


.65 


.88 


.78 


.57 


.51 


.46 


.24 


Total.... 


4.55 


5.76 


4.74 


4.24 


4.45 


4.50 


3.63 



Table 24. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain Farms 
in Subregion 103, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 

Cropland acres.. 

Machine hire dollars 

Gas and oil do 

Hired labor ..do 

Commercial fertilizer... do 

Feed bought do 


607 
473 
913 
504 
61 
400 


1,534 

1,867 

2.795 

2, 905 

427 

972 


810 
543 
1. 204 
713 
88 
552 


526 
341 

775 

272 

27 

373 


384 
246 
542 
176 
13 
246 


331 
225 
434 
107 
5 
169 


395 

121 
406 
125 

m 

86 


Total ...do.... 

Average per crop acre: 

Machine hire dollars.. 

Gas and oil do 

Hired labor do 

Commercial fertilizer . . .do 


2,351 

0.78 
1.51 
.83 
.10 


8,966 

1.22 
1.82 
1.89 
.28 


3,200 

0.79 
1.49 

.88 
.11 


1,788 

0.65 
1.47 
.52 
.05 


1,223 

0.64 

1.41 

.46 

.03 


940 

0.68 
1.31 
.32 
.02 


738 

0.31 
1.03 
.32 


Total do 


3.22 


5.21 


3.27 


2.69 


2.54 


2.33 


1.66 



2 Less than 50 cents or less than 0.5 cent. 

In subregions 93 and 94, the cost per acre for machine hire was 
about the same for all economic classes of farms. In subregion 
103 the smaller farms spent considerably less for this item; even 
for the smallest farms the average per acre of cropland is less than 
any other groups. In subregion 103 many of the Class VI farmers 
own a combine and spend little for machine hire. 

The smaller expenditures for gas and oil per crop acre for the 
smaller farms in subregion 103 may reflect less intensive operation. 
It is possible that the operators of Class V and VI farms did not 
summer-till the soil as often as the operators of other classes of 
farms. Since the Class VI farms were also lowest in machine 
hire per crop acre, it is not likely that the saving in gas and oil 
was due to more custom work hired. It may be that the lower 
fuel consumption per acre reflects less tillage of the soil. 

The amount of hired labor decreases with the decrease in acreage 
farmed. The smallest size groups hired only a little labor. The 
amount of feed bought is closely related to the number of livestock 
on ths farm. 

Use of commercial fertilizer in wheat production is a recent 
practice in the winter wheat region. Farmers in the eastern part 
have received a good response in higher yields. In the western 
part of the area the use of commercial fertilizer is not a common 
practice. In all three subregions commercial fertilizer is used 
more commonly on the large farms than on those with low gross 
sales. The figures for rate of application are not fully significant 
because the composition of the fertilizer was not known. The 
rate of application is rather uniform regardless of economic class 
of the farm. This may indicate that those farmers who use fer- 
tilizer are using the recommended quantities. (See table 25.) 



16 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Table 25. — Use of Commercial Fertilizer on Cash-Grain 
Farms in the Hard Red Winter Wheat Region, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




Subregion 93 


Percent of farms using fertilizer. . 
Tons used per farm .. _ ._ 
Rate of application, pounds per 


44.0 
2.3 

128 


73.0 
11.7 

108 


65.0 
5.1 

132 


48.0 
2.1 

200 


33.0 

.8 

122 


20.0 
.3 

113 


14.0 
.3 

162 








Subregion 94 


Percent of farms using fertilizer.. 


43.0 
2.1 

81 


62.0 
8.6 

78 


56.0 
4.1 

79 


45.0 
1.9 

82 


37.0 
1.0 

84 


28.0 

99 


17.0 
.2 


Rate of application, pounds per 


78 








Subregion 103 


Percent of farms using fertilizer.. 


11.0 

.7 

103 


31.0 
4.7 

125 


17.0 
1.0 

94 


9.0 
.3 

87 


6.0 
.2 

106 


3.0 
.1 

68 


1.0 
( z ) 


Rate of application, pounds per 


22 







z Less than 0.05 ton. 

Efficiency Levels of Farm Operation 

Efficiency in the use of resources is an important consideration 
in any business. It is important to the individual farm operator 
because efficiency is reflected in farm earnings. 

Census data do not provide all the information needed to make 
a complete analysis of the differences among economic classes or 
among subregions in efficiency of farm operation, but can be used 
to make comparisons which indicate general levels, even though 
the specific figures may not always reflect the precise relationships. 
The comparisons made in tables 26, 27, and 28 indicate wide 
differences among economic classes of farms in levels of efficiency 
in the hard red winter wheat region. 

Gross sales minus the specified expenditures do not include any 
fixed costs nor all operating costs. Net income would be much 
less than indicated by gross sales minus specified expenditures. 
Obviously, Classes V and VI farms with less than $2,500 gross sales 
each, cannot have a high net income. 

Measures such as gross sales per man-equivalent and crop acres 
per man-equivalent, indicate accomplishment per worker. In all 
subregions gross sales and crop acres per man decline rapidly from 
Class I to Class VI farms. Less than 150 crop acres per man do 
not provide full-time employment for a wheat farmer and gross 
sales of $1,000 per man cannot provide a high level of living for 
a farm family. 

The total investment per dollar of sales and per-man indicates 
that the farmers on the smaller farms do not have sufficient 
capital resources. Sales per dollar of investment on Class II 
farms are double those on Class V farms. Capital investment 
per man on Class V farms is about half that on Class II farms. 
Most of the difference in investment arises from differences in 
investment in land and buildings. Estimated machinery invest- 
ment per worker is about the same for the various classes of farms. 

The Class VI farmers in subregion 103 have a much higher total 
investment per man-equivalent and more crop acres per man than 
the Class VI farmers in the other subregions. In this subregion, 
it is probable that some large farms had a complete crop failure 
and abnormally low yields in 1954, and for these reasons fell into 
a low gross-income group. 



Table 26. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 93, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Gross sales per farm dollars. 
Specified expenses per farm 

dollars. _ 
Gross sales less specified ex- 
penses per farm dollars-- 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 

dollars.. 

Total investment per $100 gross 

sales dollars.. 

Total investment per man- 
equivalent . dollars,. 

Machinery investment per man- 
equivalent . . ...dollars.. 

Machinery investment per crop 
acre ... . dollars . 

Winter wheat yield per acre 

bushels. . 

Crop acres per man-equivalent. . 


7,356 
1,642 
5,714 
6,229 
610 

37, 083 

6,799 

31 

21 
218 


32, 815 

6,374 

26, 441 

15,740 

369 

57, 570 

7,606 

20 

24 
384 


14, 000 
2,891 

11, 109 
9,876 

497 

49, 734 

7,511 

26 

22 
284 


7,261 
1. 601 
5,660 
6,051 
636 

38, 187 

6,848 

31 

20 
220 


3,931 
1,027 
2,904 
3,707 
801 

28,394 

6,485 

38 

18 
170 


2,017 
667 
1,350 
2,179 
1,011 

22, 474 

5,530 

41 

16 
135 


857 

346 

511 

1,054 

1,794 

17, 945 

4,090 

44 

16 
92 



Table 27- — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 94, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Gross sales per farm dollars.. 

Specified expenses per farm 

dollars.. 
Gross sales less specified ex- 
penses per farm dollars.. 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 

dollars.. 

Total investment per $100 gross 

sales ... dollars.. 

Total investment per man- 
equivalent.. dollars. . 

Machinery investment per man- 
equivalent .dollars.. 

Machinery investment per crop 
acre ... _ . dollars.. 

Winter wheat yield per acre 

bushels.. 

Crop acres per man-equivalent.. 


7,784 
1.787 
5,997 
7,058 

701 

49, 775 

7,208 

30 

19.7 
239 


33,583 
6,665 
26, 918 
15, 997 
506 

80. 892 

7,597 

19 

24.2 

410 


14, 454 
3,024 
11,429 
10, 574 
619 

63,707 

7,774 

24 

20.8 
318 


7,275 
1,680 
5,595 
6,502 
747 

48, 902 

7,111 

31 

19.1 
233 


3,802 
1,056 

2,747 
4,084 

883 

33, 562 

6,977 

41 

17.6 
168 


1,953 
738 
1,215 
2,506 
1,232 

29, 272 

6,527 

48 

15.4 
140 


793 
376 

417 

985 

2,303 

20,150 
4,476 

54 

12.6 
83 



Table 28. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 103, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 









Economic class of farm 






Item 


















Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Gross sales per farm dollars.. 


10, 068 


42, 614 


15, 219 


7,404 


3,846 


2,044 


825 


Specified expenses per farm 
















dollars. . 


2,351 


8,966 


3,201 


1,788 


1,224 


941 


739 


Gross sales less specified ex- 
















penses per farm dollars.. 


7,717 


33,648 


12,018 


5,616 


2,622 


1, 103 


86 


Gross sales per man-equivalent 
















dollars- 


7,789 


16,846 


10, 130 


6,013 


3.704 


2,384 


857 


Total investment per $100 gross 
















sales dollars.. 


692 


434 


621 


821 


1,098 


1,642 


3,714 


Total investment per man- 
















equivalent ..dollars.. 


53, 261 


74, 032 


62, 933 


50,646 


41,719 


32, 831 


29, 710 


Machinery investment per man- 
















equivalent dollars.. 


8,379 


7,489 


8,721 


8,436 


8,348 


8,495 


7,163 


Machinery investment per crop 


















18 


12 


16 


20 


23 


22 


17 


Winter wheat yield per acre 
















bushels. . 


12 


14 


13 


12 


9 


7 


5 


Crop acres per man-equivalent.. 


469 


606 


539 


427 


370 


386 


410 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



17 



OTHER TYPES OF FARMING IN THE HARD RED 
WINTER WHEAT REGION 

Rarely do all the farmers of an area follow the same line of 
production. Differences in production conditions, available 
resources, and personal preferences lead to diversity of production 
within an area. Throughout the wheat regions are farms that 
have been classified as other types because cash grain did not 
provide the major source of income in 1954. Only the most 
common types of farming other than cash-grain will be described. 
A little more than one-fifth of the wheat produced in the hard red 
winter wheat region is grown on Uiese other types of farms. 

General farms are those which diversify their production to the 
extent that no one enterprise provides one-half of the gross income. 
General farms usually produce the same commodities as the more 
specialized farms in the same area but they are less dependent 
on a single farm product. The difference in farm organization is 
more in emphasis on particular enterprises than in types of enter- 
prises. Although cash grain is an important source of income for 
these general farms, it did not furnish one-half of gross sales in 
1954. 

In the northern part of the hard winter wheat region general 
farming is common. Here, general farms are organized much like 
the cash-grain farms in subregion 93 but more emphasis is given 
to feed grain and livestock production. 

Also, in this subregion are more than 25,000 livestock farms that 
emphasize production of livestock oilier than dairy or poultry. 
Here again, the land-use pattern is much like that of the cash- 
grain farms with less emphasis on wheat and usually a larger 
acreage of pasture. In subregions 93 and 94 the livestock farms 
are similar to those of the Corn Belt. Here, the emphasis is on 
roughage-consuming livestock, especially beef cattle. A few- 
farmers fatten cattle, some feed out only the cattle they raise, 
and many market their cattle as feeders. Farmers in subregion 
93 raise many more hogs than slice]) but the opposite is true in 
subregion 94. 

The livestock farms m subregion 103 are much like the smaller 
livestock ranches described in Chapter VI. These farms have a 
much larger acreage in pasture than cash-grain farms, and a much 
larger number of cattle per farm. The cropland is used largely 
for a rotation of wheat and fallow and forage crops for winter feed. 

Grain sorghum represents the other important cash-grain enter- 
prise in the hard red winter wheat region. Its production in the 
United States is limited largely to this region. Grain-sorghum 
production is closely associated with winter wheat production, as 
many farmers grow both crops. Some farmers use the sorghum 
as another cash crop whereas others feed the grain to livestock. 

The acreage of grain sorghum in the United States has 
fluctuated between C and 1 1 million acres per year. Grain 
sorghum is a drought-resistant crop and can be harvested with a 
grain combine which is common equipment in the wheat country. 
In earlier years, grain sorghum was mainly restricted to feeding on 
farms where grown, and as a basic ingredient in mixed poultry 
feeds but gradually it has become more widely accepted as a feed 
for fattening livestock. Grain sorghum is generally considered to 
have 90 to 95 percent of the feed value of corn by weight. 

The leading States in grain-sorghum production are Texas, 
Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. (See 
table 29.) In 1954, in these 6 States, more than 135,000 farmers 
raised grain sorghum on 10.9 million acres and produced 108 
million bushels for sale. Additional quantities were fed on the 
farms where raised. Few farms would be classed as grain-sorghum 
fat ins for usually the crop is grown on farms where wheat is a more 
important crop. Grain sorghum is well adapted to the conditions 
in the Great Plains and offers one of the more promising alter- 
natives to individual wheat producers. 



Tabic 29. — Acreage and Production of Grain Sorghum, by 
States, in the Major Producing States: 1954 



(Dat:i are est 


mates based on reports for only 


a sample of farms] 




Item 


Texas 


Okla- 
homa 


Kansas 


Nebraska 


Colo- 
rado 


New 
Mexico 


Number of farms in the 
State 


293. 152 

55, 950 

5, 610, 766 

IS. 495 
8.784 
11.118 
13. 603 
2,606 
1,344 

132, 342. 834 
117,546,674 


119,270 

11.867 
606, 407 

6. 196 
2,669 
1,584 
1,062 
230 
126 

6. 068. 530 
3. 667. 790 


120, 291 
46, 817 

3,551.408 

17,962 
10,777 
8,689 
7. 043 
1,315 
1.031 

49, 912, 097 
32, 375, 634 


100, 733 

16. 829 
514.706 

9,353 
4,497 
2,369 

577 
19 
14 

13, 998, 621 
8, 947, 772 


40, 672 

3,411 

387, 153 

872 
601 
799 
S16 
194 
129 

3,941,131 
2, 724. 378 


20,977 

1,953 

274, 949 

429 


Number of farms pro- 
ducing grain sorghum . 

.\ creage in grain sor- 
ghum 

Number reporting by 

acres harvested: 

Under 25 acres 


50-99 acres . 




100-299 acres 

300-499 acres... 


610 


500 acres and over. . . . 

Quantity produced 

bushels.. 
Quantity sold do 


96 

4, 491, OSS 
3, 539, 871 



THE HARD RED SPRING WHEAT REGION 

This region lies in the northern Great Plains. Its major wheat- 
producing areas are subregions 89, 90, 91, and 105 (see fig. 8). 
Although less wheat is produced in this region than in the hard 
winter wheat region, it is the major source of income to 61,000 
farmers and many other farmers here grow some wheat. The im- 
portance of wheat production in this region and the percentage of 
wheat produced on cash-grain farms are indicated in the following 
data: 



Item 



Total wheat produced on commercial 
farms (1.000 bu.) 

Percent of U. S. total wheat produced 
on commercial farms 

Percent of total wheat for subregion 
produced on cash-grain farms 

Percent of total wheat for subregion 
produced on farms other than cash- 
grain farms 





Subregion 




89 


90 


91 


105 


21,142 


36, 325 


16.002 


73, 936 


2 


4 


o 


8 


73 


S6 


60 


89 


27 


14 


40 


11 



Total (4 
subregions) 



147, 405 
16 
S3 

17 



THE HARD SPRING WHEAT AREA 
SUBREGIONS 89, 90, 91 , AND 1 05 




Figure 8. 



18 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



More than four-fifths of the wheat grown in this area is pro- 
duced on cash-grain farms. 

This is largely a spring wheat area because, in most parts, the 
winters are generally too severe for winter wheat to survive. The 
severity of the winters is the main distinguishing feature between 
the hard spring and hard winter wheat area. (In central Montana 
the Triangle Area in subregion 105, is mainly a winter wheat area. 
This includes the following counties: Teton, Chouteau, Cascade, 
Judith Basin, and Fergus. The counties directly north of this 
group also produce some winter wheat, but the spring wheat 
acreage predominates. The mountainous topography gives the 
Triangle Area enough protection to permit winter wheat to 
succeed.) 

The spring wheat area produces both the hard red spring wheat 
and durum wheat although the former predominates. For the 
10-year period, 1941-50, an average of 16 million acres of hard red 
spring wheat and 2.6 million acres of durum wheat were produced 
in the United States. 2 More than 80 percent of all durum wheat 
was produced in North Dakota, with South Dakota and Minne- 
sota contributing significant quantities. 

The soils of the hard spring wheat area are fertile and deep. The 
Red River Valley soils (subregion 89), are deep, fine-textured, 
alluvial soils. Most of the soils in subregions 90 and 91 belong to 
the Northern Chernozem group. These are dark, deep, fine- 
textured soils, well adapted for wheat. The soils in subregion 
105 belong in the Chestnut soil group which are not quite so heavy 
or so deep as the Chernozem soils but are, nevertheless, good for 
wheat production. As in the hard winter wheat region, wheat is 
produced mainly on the silt and silty clay loams that are fairly deep. 
In the World War periods, under the influences of high prices for 
wheat, the farmers extended wheat production into areas of 
coarser textured soils and shallower soils where yields fluctuate 
greatly. In periods of relatively low prices or in years of unfavor- 
able moisture, farmers in these marginal areas often find their 
costs exceeding their income. 

The topography in the spring wheat region is typical of the 
Great Plains — fairly level to undulating. The rainfall in the hard 
spring wheat area is slightly less but evaporation rates are lower 
than in the hard winter wheat area. Rainfall averages from 10 
to 25 inches annually. In subregions 89 and 91 the annual rain- 
fall varies between 20 and 25 inches. Subregion 90 is slightly 
drier, the average precipitation varying from 15 to 20 inches. The 
driest part of this region is subregion 105 where the annual pre- 
cipitation averages from 10 to 20 inches. In all of the hard wheat 
region, the rainfall and humidity are sufficiently low, especially in 
the maturing period, to produce a hard kernel. About three- 
fourths of the rainfall occurs during the growing season; the rain- 
fall is much heavier in the spring and early summer than during 
the harvest period in late summer. 

The low annual rainfall usually necessitates summer-fallowing. 
Considering evaporation and run-off, 10 to 15 inches of rainfall is 
not enough to produce satisfactory yields. In many instances, 
farmers can double the yields by summer-fallowing. But it is not 
necessary to double the yield to make fallowing profitable. Under 
this practice wheat harvesting is required only once in 2 years. 
The fallowing practices serve as seedbed preparation. Operating 
costs for the 2 years, 1 year of fallow and 1 year of wheat, will 
exceed the operating costs for 1 year of continuous cropping, but 
will usually be considerably less than the operating costs for 2 
years of continuous wheat. This is important to the wheat- 
farmer in the low-rainfall area. He increases the chance of pro- 
ducing a crop and at the same time reduces the cost of operation. 

= Source: Agricultural Statistics - 1953, U. S. D. A. 



The wheat and summer-fallow acreages on cash-grain farms by 
subregions for 1954 were as follows: 

Subregion 



89 90 

Wheat (1,000 acres) 1,063 3,875 

Summer fallow (1,000 

acres) 645 2,459 



91 
964 

206 



105 
4,229 



Total 
10, 131 



4, 462 7, 772 

Not all the summer-fallow land is used to grow wheat; some is 
used for other small grains. 

Marketing and transportation facilities are adequate here. As 
in the hard winter wheat area, mainline railroads and hard- 
surfaced highways transect the country and farm-to-market roads 
are adequate for hauling the grain to market. Storage and han- 
dling facilities are short of the needs during the peak harvest seasons, 
but storage space has increased sharply in the period following 
World War II. 

Many characteristics of the wheat farms in the hard spring 
wheat region are similar to those of the hard winter wheat regions. 
The farms in this region can be described as large family-type 
units with a high average investment per farm. 

But there are significant differences. A comparison of the hard 
winter wheat farms with the hard spring wheat farms shows that 
the spring wheat farms have a slightly lower average total invest- 
ment due largely to higher land values per acre. A considerably 
larger proportion of the farms had gross sales of less than $5,000 
in most of the spring wheat subregions. 

Farms in the spring wheat region have higher machinery in- 
vestment, more land, more available labor (see table 31), more 
tractors, trucks, and combines. The cash-grain farmers in the 
winter wheat area specialized in wheat, in 1954, to a higher de- 
gree than spring wheat farmers with the exception of those in 
subregion 105. Flax, barley, and corn are among the other im- 
portant cash and feed grains produced in this region. 

Table 30.- — A Comparison of the Cash-Grain Farms in the 
Hard Winter and Hard Spring Wheat Subregions: 
1954 





Hard winter wheat 
subregions 


Hard 


spring wheat subregions 




93 


94 


103 


89 


90 


91 


105 


Total acres per farm 

Crop acres per farm 

Capital investment per 
farm (dollars): 
Land and buildings 


358 
258 

33, 745 
2.817 
8.023 


362 
264 

44, 520 
2. 283 
7.949 


S20 
607 

55, 367 
3, 040 
10, 832 


435 
378 

31, 144 

1,710 

11,748 


696 
535 

23. 926 
2,856 
11,663 


569 
442 

25, 503 
3. 513 
10, 624 


1,304 
769 

45. 177 
3.927 




12. 220 






Total 

Man- Mjuivalent per farm 
Percent of gross sales 


44, 585 
1.2 
40 


54.752 
1. 1 
75 


69, 239 
1.3 

54 


44, 602 
1.4 
29 


38, 445 
1.4 
38 


39.640 
1.3 
31 


61, 324 
1.3 
74 







In comparing the subregions within the spring wheat region, 
and the farmers in subregion by economic class, it is again neces- 
sary to consider the influence of yields. The 5-year average 
yields of wheat were as follows: Subreqion 

5-year average vield (1949-1953) s ^ 90 91 105 

(bushels per acre) 16.5 11.2 9.8 18.0 

1954 yield (bushels per acre) 14.6 8.0 9.9 15.5 

The lower than average yields in 1954 for all but one subregion 
had some effect on the distribution of farmers by economic class 
of farm. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



19 



Size of Business 

Then- is a wide range in the size of cash-grain farms among parts 
of the spring wheat region. (See tables 31, 32, 33, and 34.) In 
the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, the farms 
average one-third the acreage in the wheat farms in subregion 105 
in Montana and are considerably smaller than those in the Dakotas 
(subregions 00 and 01). When measured by total investment, 
the Red River Valley farms rank lower than those in subregion 105, 
but higher than those in subregions 90 and 91. In terms of man- 
equivalent, the farms in subregion 89 rank highest , because of more 
intensive farming and greater diversification. 

The relationship of the size of farm business in subregion 89 to 
the economic class is fairly typical of the pattern in other sub- 
regions. The smaller farmers as a group are seriously handicapped 
by lack of resources. It is doubtful that the farm operator can 
use his time efficiently on the small-size units. 



Table 31. 



-Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 89, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 




Economic class of farm 








Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number ol farms 

Total acrrs per farm. ._ . 
Crop acres per farm .. .. 

Capital investment per 
farm : 
Land and buildings 
dollars 

Livestock dollars.. 

Machinery . . dollars. . 


13,280 

13.5 
378 

31.144 

1.710 

11,748 


363 
1.433 
1,324 

111,695 

3, 052 
30, 104 


2. 552 
678 
614 

52. 429 
2, 563 
16, 724 


4, 679 
131 
376 

30, 562 
1,893 
11,785 


3. .540 
300 
247 

19. 731 

1.288 
9,377 


1.678 
224 

171 

12. 965 

873 

7,002 


488 

167 
105 

6, S76 

3S3 

4,954 


Total .. ...dollars . 
Man-equivalent per farm. 


44. 602 
14 


144,851 
3 o 


71,716 
1 7 


44, 240 
1.4 


30.306 

1.2 


20, 840 
1.0 


12,213 
0.9 



Table 32. — Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 90, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 











Economic class of farm 






Item 




















Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 


24. 389 




101 


3. 151 


8,154 


8,617 


3, 3.58 


918 


Total acres per farm 


f>96 


2 


446 


1, 180 


785 


560 


382 


313 


Crop acres per farm. 


535 


1 


976 


944 


604 


410 


284 


220 


Capital investment pet- 


















farm ; 


















Land and buildincs 


















dollars.. 


23, 926 


88 


321) 


43, 480 


26, 619 


IS, 384 


12, 366 


1(1. 202 


Livestock dollars. . 


2, 856 


K 


4114 


4.912 


3. 520 


2, 251 


1. 16.5 


CIS 


Machinery. _ .dollars . . 


11,663 


_,,, 


415 


17. 957 


12, 957 


10, 430 


7. 819 


6,364 


Total dollars.. 


38, +45 


126 


139 


66. 349 


43, 096 


31,065 


21,350 


17,274 


Man-equivalent per farm- 


1.4 




3,0 


1.8 


1.5 


1.2 


1.0 


1 6 



Table 33. — Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 91, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Total acres per farm . 

Crop acres per farm 

Capital investment per 
farm : 
Land and buildings 
dollars 

Livestock dollars 

Machinery dollars 


8,687 
.569 
412 

2.5. .503 
3, 513 
10,624 


130 
2.097 
1.646 

S7. 190 
10. 253 
24. 323 


1,372 
930 

757 

44, 989 
6, 023 
15, 457 


2,922 
607 
469 

26, 995 
4,067 
11,197 


2,906 
426 
321 

17,930 
2, .54.5 
9,326 


1,086 
293 

218 

11,340 
1.338 
6, 343 


271 
234 
185 

8,915 

688 

4,474 


Total dollars. . 

Man-e'iuivalentpcr farm. 


.lo,.,ln 
1.3 


121. 766 
2.6 


66, 469 
1,6 


42, 259 
1, 1 


29, 801 
1,2 


10. 021 

III 


14.077 
10 



Table 34. — Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 105, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Total acres per farm 
Crop acres per farm 

Capital investment per 
farm : 
Land and buildings 
dollars 

Livestock dollars. . 

Machinery... .dollars . 


15.071 

1.304 

769 

45. 177 
3, '.127 
12, 220 


1.317 
3.281 

2, 077 

137, 276 

7,281 

23, 472 


3,609 
1,786 

1,0.54 

65, 182 
5.172 
15, 125 


4,173 
1,179 

668 

35, 546 
4.314 
11.515 


3,775 

761 
440 

22. 253 
2, 675 
9,476 


1,709 
.524 
291 

14,096 
1,410 
7,079 


488 
408 
202 

11, 335 

871 

5,636 


Total dollars 

Man-equivalent per farm 


61, 324 
1.3 


ins. iijo 
2.2 


8.5, 170 
1,5 


51, 375 
1.3 


34, 404 

1 1 


22, ,5s:, 
0.9 


17.842 
0.8 



The distribution of cash-grain farmers by economic class is 
shown by subregions in table 35. Also, the percentage of total 
wheat produced by cash-grain farms in each economic class is 
shown. The percentage of farmers in Classes IV, V, and VI is 
considerably higher than in the hard winter wheat region (see 
table 12). More than half of the fanes are in Classes III and IV 
while more than half the farms are in Classes II and III in tin- 
hard winter wheat region. In subregion 105, the percentage of 
lanes in Classes I and II is materially higher than in the other 
subregions in the hard spring wheat region. The Classes V and 
VI farms produce a small percentage of the wheat in the sub- 
regions because of relatively small wheal acreages and low yields. 

Table 35. — Percent Distribution of Cash-Grain Farms and 
Wheat Produced, by Economic Class for the Hard Spring 
Wheat Region: 1954 



Item and subregion 



Number of farms: 
Subregion: 

so 

90 

91 

105 

Wheat production 
Subregion: 

89 

90 

91 

105. 



Economic class of farnt 





Percell 


of total 


in the su 


bregion 


2.7 


19.2 


35.3 


26.7 


12.6 


.8 


12.9 


33.4 


35.3 


13.8 


1.5 


15.8 


33.6 


33.5 


12.5 


8.7 


23.9 


27.9 


25.0 


11 3 


12.2 


36, 8 


33.4 


13.9 


3.4 


4.5 


28.3 


38.3 


22.8 


5.3 


9.2 


33.8 


33.6 


18.8 


4.0 


35.6 


35 5 


18.0 


8.5 


2 1 



3.5 
3.8 

3 1 
3.2 



Crop and Livestock Organization 

land use and crops grown. — Although the Red River Valley 
and the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, and .Montana 
are generally recognized as comprising the spring wheat region, 
other crops are grown here. Cash-grain farms in subregions Si). 
90, and 91 are diversified. The fact that acreage allotments for 
wheat were in effect in 195-1 may have had a greater effect, on 
land use in this than in the hard winter wheat region. Notwith- 
standing an increase during the last 5 years in acreage of crop- 
land per farm in each subregion, the acreage of wheat in 1954 in 
each was less than in 1949. 



Suhregion 



Crop acres per farm : 

1954 

1949 

Acres in wheat per farm: 

1954 

1949 



S9 

:!7S 

358 

SO 
110 



90 

535 

504 

159 
212 



91 

442 

425 

111 

150 



10b 

To: i 
721 

281 
329 



20 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



This region is also the leading flax-producing area in the United 
States. Considerable acreages of barley and oats are produced 
also. At one time the Red River Valley was well known for its 
potatoes but the relative importance of this crop has declined. 
Land use by subregions and economic class of farm is shown in 
tables 36, 37, 38, and 39. 

In subregion 89, wheat was not the major crop in 1954; the 
acreage in wheat was exceeded by the acreage in barley. Wheat 
was relatively more important in 1954 in subregions 90, 91, and 
105, as these areas have fewer alternative opportunities for land 
use. Flax and oats or barley were dominant crops in subregions 
90 and 91. Some corn was produced, especially in subregion 91. 
Barley was the main competitor of wheat in subregion 105 bvit 
was less important than wheat in the other subregions. 

The relative importance of summer-fallowing declines from west 
to east in the hard spring wheat region. The acreage of pasture 
per farm and the percentage of the total farm area that is in 
pasture vary significantly among subregions within the region. 
The Red River Valley cropland comprises almost the entire farm 
acreage. In subregions 90 and 91 approximately one-sixth of the 
land is in pasture and in subregion 105 about two-fifths of the 
laud in cash-grain farms is in permanent pasture. 

Farmers in the various economic classes have approximately 
the same type-of-cropping system. In each subregion there are 
differences which may have affected gross sales. In subregion 89 
the Class VI farms were lower than the Class I farms in propor- 
tion of cropland in wheat and barley but much higher in the 
proportion of cropland in oats. In subregion 90 the Class VI farms 
were lower than farms in other classes in proportion of cropland 
in flax and higher in the proportion in oats. Class VI farms in 
subregion 91 were relatively lower in the percentage of the crop 
acreage in wheat and much higher in the percentage in oats than 
Class I farms. In subregion 105 the Class VI farms were rela- 
tively lower than other farms in the proportion of cropland in 
barley. These differences in the relative importance of various 
small grain crops may explain some differences in gross income. 

Table 36. — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 89, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






13, 280 

435 
378 
80 
46 
83 
40 
32 
33 


363 

1,433 

1.324 

307 

165 

328 

74 

101 

58 


2,552 

678 
614 
136 
81 
143 
52 
52 
40 


4,679 

431 
376 
80 
43 
82 
42 
32 
33 


3,540 

300 
247 
4S 
28 
51 
33 
21 
29 


1,678 

224 
171 
32 
20 
31 
26 
13 
23 


468 


Acres per farm: 
All land 


100 
100 
(NA> 
70 
88 
71 
42 
67 


167 




105 


Wheat 


13 


Flax.. 


10 




17 




21 




6 




24 







NA Not available. 



Table 37- — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 90, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






24, 389 

696 
535 
159 
70 
64 
34 
11 
101 
125 


191 

2. 446 

1,976 

570 

330 

276 

75 

58 

433 

359 


3,151 

1,180 
944 
275 
142 
121 
49 
22 
186 
185 


8,154 

784 

604 

180 

81 

71 

38 

14 

111 

143 


8,617 

560 
419 
127 

47 
49 
31 

7 
76 
108 


3,358 

382 
284 
83 
33 
30 
20 
3 
54 
73 


918 


Acres per farm: 
All land 


100 
100 
(NA) 
78 
74 
71 
32 
84 
82 


314 




220 


Wheat 


67 


Flax 


16 




23 


Oats . 


16 




1 




46 




67 







Table 38. — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 91 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






8,687 

569 
442 
111 
71 
55 
49 
24 
105 


130 

2,097 
1,646 
572 
168 
224 
li.li 
114 
341 


1,372 

930 
757 
208 
100 
110 
75 
44 
150 


2,922 

607 
469 
111 
77 
60 
53 
24 
116 


2,906 

426 
321 
74 
61 
35 
37 
15 
85 


1.086 

293 

218 
48 
44 
20 
27 
11 
60 


271 


Acres per farm: 
All land 


100 
100 

(NA) 
91 
77 
64 
40 
82 


234 




185 


Wheat 


44 


Oats 

Corn 


34 
14 


Flax 


23 




13 




36 







NA Not available. 



Table 39. — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 105, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Acres per farm: 
All land... 


15, 071 

1,304 
769 

65 
215 

65 
296 

512 


1,317 

3,281 
2,077 

381 
366 
225 
939 
1,169 


3,609 

1,785 
1.054 

101 
282 
97 
443 
696 


4, 173 

1.179 
668 

21 
228 

45 
228 

487 


3,775 

761 
440 

7 
155 
28 
132 
307 


1,709 

524 
291 

3 
103 

17 

86 

221 


488 
408 


Cropland 

Wheat: 


202 
1 


Spring... 


69 

13 


Summer fallow 

Land pastured 


61 
195 



Livestock. — The kinds of livestock kept on farms is fairly 
uniform throughout the spring wheat region. (See tables 40, 41, 
42, and 43.) The number of cattle on individual farms varies 
with the amount of pasture available. The typical poultry flock 
is small, kept mainly for production for home use. Average hog 
and sheep numbers per farm are small because many farmers do 
not keep them. However, the average number on farms report- 
ing sheep and hogs is much larger than that shown as the average 
for all farms. This is especially true for sheep. Even milk-cow 
numbers are larger on many farms that have cows for the pro- 
duction of marketable quantities of dairy products. Many wheat 
farmers in the more arid parts do not keep cows for family use. 
The percentage of farmers reporting each class of livestock and 
the number per farm reporting are shown in tables 40 to 43. 



Table 40. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 89, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Percent 




Economic class of farm 


























report- 
ing 


Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






13, 280 


363 


2,552 


4.679 


3,540 


1,678 


468 


Livestock, number per farm: 
All cattle. 


67 
56 
37 
9 
54 


13 
4 

6 
6 

79 


24 
3 
12 
11 
68 


20 
4 
10 
11 
93 


15 
4 

6 
91 


11 
3 
3 
3 

77 


2 
4 

44 


3 




1 




1 




1 


Chickens 


20 


Gross sales of livestock and 


















livestock products per 
farm ...dollars.. 


XXX 


1, 156 


2,852 


1,964 


1,304 


718 


367 


105 


Investment in livestock per 
farm dollars.. 


XXX 


1,710 


3, 052 


2,563 


1,893 


1,288 


873 


383 



NA Not available. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



21 



Table 41. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 90, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ins 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






24, 389 

25 
5 
5 

54 

1, 215 
2,856 


191 

74 
3 
15 
32 
47 

4,434 
8,404 


3,151 

43 
6 
9 
15 
66 

2,381 
4,912 


8,154 

31 
6 
6 
8 

64 

1,526 
3,520 


8,617 

20 
5 
4 
4 

53 

869 
2,251 


3, 358 

10 
3 
1 
1 

35 

363 

1,165 


918 


Livestock, number per farm: 
All cattle 


74 
64 

41 
9 
62 

XXX 
XXX 


5 




1 




1 




1 




18 


Gross sales of livestock ami 
livestock products per 
farm- dollars.. 

Investment in livestock per 
farm dollars.- 


155 
618 



Tabic 42. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 91, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Percent 

of farms 
report- 
ing 




Economic class of farm 








Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






8,687 

30 
4 

14 

9 

101 

1.698 
3, 513 


130 

78 
2 
50 
71 
94 

8,591 
10. 253 


1,372 

50 
3 
27 
18 
127 

3,326 
6,023 


2,922 

35 
4 
16 
10 
121 

1,935 
4,067 


2,906 

22 
4 
9 
5 

94 

1,001 
2,545 


1,086 

12 
3 
4 
1 

54 

439 
1,338 


271 


Livestock, number per farm: 

All cattle - 

Milk cows.. 


76 
56 
45 
Hi 
67 

X X X 
XXX 


6 
1 
1 




4 




37 


Gross sales of livestock and 
livestock products per 
farm dollars.. 

Investment in livestock per 
farm. - dollars.. 


126 
688 



Table 43. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 105, 
by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 



Percent 
of farms 
report' 

ing 



Number of farms 

Livestock, number per 
farm: 

All cattle 

Milk cows... 

Hops 

Sheep 

Chickens 



I Iross sales of livestock and 
livestock products per 
farm . - dollars . 

Investment in livestock per 
farm dollars- 



Economic class of farm 



XXX 

X X X 



Total 



15.071 



1,329 
3,196 



2, 749 
7.260 



1,840 
5,171 



III 



1,458 
4.316 



TV 



3.775 



805 
2, 665 



23 



341 
1.407 



488 



( z ) 



131 

697 



z Less than 0.5. 



It is significant that in each subregion the number of milk cows 
and chickens per farm is highest, in the middle economic groups, 
Classes II to IV. It is probable that some of the operators of 
these farms keep milk cows and chickens to provide some food 
for the family and to help reduce cash expenses for family living. 
Products not needed by the family are sold. Class I farmers 
probably feel less need for limiting cash expenditures for family 
living: but Class V and VI farmers who may have the greatest 
need for additional income and for limiting living costs, also have 



fewer milk cows and chickens. The large percentage of fanners 
in the youngest and oldest age groups may explain partly the 
small number of cows and chickens on the small farms. The 
beginning operators may be handicapped by a shortage of capital 
while the operators over 65 years may not wish to be burdened 
with livestock chores. 

Labor Used 

Most of the labor used on cash-grain farms in this region is 
supplied by the farm families (see table 44). With the exception 
of the relatively small number of Class I farms, the organization 
of most farms is planned around the farm family. (Many of the 
Class I farms would be classified as family farms.) Hired labor 
constitutes only a small part of the labor force on all except the 
Class I farms. 



Table 44. — Labor Force on Cash-Grain Farms in the Hard 
Spring Wheat Region, and for Subregion 90 by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 




Subregion 




Economic class of farm for 
subregion 90 




89 


90 


91 


105 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Total man-equivalent-.. 


1.4 


1.4 


1.3 


1.3 


3.0 


1.8 


1.5 


1.2 


1.0 


1.0 


Operator 

Unpaid familv help... 
Hired 

Operators by age: 
All operators. percent.. 


.9 
.3 
.2 

100 


.9 
.3 
.2 

100 


.8 
.3 
2 

100 


.8 
.2 
.3 

100 


.9 

.4 
1.7 

100 


.9 

. 5 
.4 

100 


.9 
.4 
_ o 

100 


.8 
.3 
.1 

100 


.8 
.2 

m 

100 


.8 
.2 
( z ) 

100 


Under 25 years, do 

25-34 years do 

35-64 years do 

65 years and over-do. . 


2 
17 
69 
12 


3 

20 
68 
9 


4 
24 

62 
10 


4 

20 
64 
12 


2 
20 
73 

5 


2 
19 

74 
5 


3 
23 
69 

5 


3 
20 
68 

9 


5 
15 
61 
19 


4 
10 
59 
27 



z Less than 0.05. 

On most farms all the operators' labor is allocated to the farm 
business as opportunities for off-farm work are very limited. 
There was considerable difference in the amount of labor hired on 
Class I farms in the four subregions. The man-equivalent of hired 
labor for Class I farms was by subregion as follows: subregion 
89, 2.3: subregion 90, 1.7; subregion 91, 1.5; and subregion 105, 
1.1. Labor requirements per acre are higher in the Red River 
Valley than in Montana, for Montana farmers use larger machinery 
than is generally used on more diversified farms. Subregion 89, 
with the smallest farms when measured in acres of land, had the 
largest number of workers per farm. The amount of family help 
used was about the same for subregions 89, 90, and 91, but was 
smaller for all economic classes in subregion 105. Less diversifi- 
cation and greater seasonality of the work may be the reason- for 
less unpaid family help per farm in subregion 105. 

The percentage of farm operators that are under 35 years of age 
is low relative to the percentage in other age groups in all sub- 
regions and is lower in subregion 89 than in the other subregions. 
This is true for all economic classes of farms. It indicates that in 
the coming years either the rate of decrease in number of farms 
will be abnormally high or that an unusually high percentage of 
the farms will be operated by older men. The percentage of 
operators of Class VI farms who are 65 is high especially in sub- 
region 105 where 37 percent of Class VI operators an' more than 
(15 years >>f age. 



22 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Farm Mechanization and Home Conveniences 

The cash-grain farms in the spring wheat region are highly 
mechanized. This has been true for several decades. Wheat 
farmers were one of the first groups to shift to motive power, for 
the large fields of fairly level land are excellent for the use of large- 
size modern machinery. The degree of mechanization and use of 
modern home conveniences is shown by data in table 45. 

Table 45. — Farm Mechanization and Home Conveniences 
on Cash-Grain Farms in the Hard Spring Wheat Region, 
and for Sub-region 91 by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



it™ 



Number of farms 

Number per farm: 

Automobiles 

Motortrucks 

Tractors 

Combines 

Percent of farms report- 
ing: 

Automobiles 

Motortrucks 

Tractors 

Combines 

Corn pickers 

Field forage harvesters 

Telephones 

Electricity 

Television sets 

Piped water in home- 
Home freezer 



Subregion 



13,280 



1.2 
1.2 
2. 1 



24. 389 



1.2 
1.1 
1.9 
.9 



S. GS7 



1.2 
1.6 
1.9 



Economic class of farm for 
subregion 91 



105 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


15.071 


130 


1,372 


2,922 


2.906 


1, 0S6 


1.2 


2. 1 


1.4 


1.2 


1.1 


1.0 


1.7 


2.4 


1.8 


1.0 


0.8 


0.5 


1.9 


3.9 


2.7 


2.0 


1.7 


1.2 


1.0 


1.6 


1.0 


.9 


.7 


.5 


HO 


97 


96 


92 


91 


85 


92 


94 


92 


83 


73 


48 


9fi 


98 


98 


97 


96 


84 


80 


95 


88 


SI 


69 


46 


4 


70 


60 


41 


29 


15 


7 


28 


19 


10 


4 


1 


30 


68 


67 


55 


50 


36 


85 


95 


96 


94 


89 


76 


10 


19 


25 


18 


15 


8 


51 


88 


82 


65 


46 


36 


52 


61 


55 


40 


28 


16 



271 



.7 

.4 

1.0 

.3 



63 
35 
82 
26 



23 

56 

7 

32 

8 



In subregion 105 a relatively high percentage of farmers own 
trucks and there is a higher than average number of trucks per 
farm than in the other subregions. Tractor numbers also varied 
by subregion and by economic class of farm. The percentage 
of farms in each class reporting tractors was fairly uniform but 
the number of tractors per farm varied by economic class of farm 
as shown by the following data: 



Subregion 


Number of tractors per farm by 
economic class 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


89 


4.4 
4.0 
3.9 
3.1 


2.8 
2.7 
2.7 
2.3 


2.1 
2.0 
2.0 

1.9 


1.6 
1.6 

1.7 

1.6 


1.4 
1.3 

1.2 
1.2 


1.1 


90 


1.1 


91 . 


1.0 


105 


1.1 







The more diversified areas (subregions 89 and 91) had the 
largest number of tractors per farm. On diversified farms more 
than one operation requiring power must frequently be performed 
on the same day, thus the operators of these farms need more 
power units. Typically the power units on diversified farms are 
smaller than on farms in subregion 105. 

The use of home conveniences is much more related to the 
economic class of farm than the particular part of the wheat 
region in which the farm is located. Almost without exception 
the lower a group of farmers ranks in gross sales, the lower is the 
percentage of the farmers having modern home conveniences. 
The small percentage of the lower income groups reporting tele- 
phones, electricity, home freezers, and piped water in the home, 
is a good indicator of the differences in levels of living among 
farmers in the economic classes. However, it may be expected 
that telephones and electricity would be less common in the 
sparsely settled parts of Montana and the western part of the 
Dakotas than in the Red River Valley. Home conveniences 



were more common in the hard winter wheat region than in the 
hard spring wheat region. 

Gross Farm Income 

The sources and amount of farm income indicate the farm 
organization and the relative importance of different enterprises 
(see table 46). In the Red River Valley where wheat was not the 
dominant crop, farmers had several important sources of income. 
In the central part of the Dakotas, wheat was the major source 
of income but livestock and livestock products were important. 
In subregion 105, in western North Dakota and Montana, wheat 
provided three-fourths of the gross sales. 

Table 46. — Sources of Farm Income on Cash-Grain Farms 
in the Hard Spring Wheat Region, and for Subregion 
105 by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Subregion 


Economic class of farm for 
subregion 105 




89 


90 


91 


105 


I 


II 


III 


IV 

3,775 

2. 650 
162 
342 


V 


VI 




13.280 

2.262 
1. 080 
3,260 


24, 389 

2,341 
1.165 
1,417 


8,687 

2,111 
739 

2,289 


15, 071 

8,251 

166 

1,395 


1,317 

34, 172 

108 

6,553 


3,609 

12, 393 

159 

2,157 


4,173 

5,261 
240 
699 


1,709 

1,388 

91 

203 


488 


Sales per farm: 

Wheat dollars. . 

Flax. ...do 

Other crops do 


590 
46 
122 


All crops do 

Livestock and live- 
stock products 

dollars.. 


6,602 
1.156 


4,923 
1,215 


5. 139 
1.698 


9,812 
1,329 


40,833 
2,749 


14. 709 

1:840 


6, 200 
1,458 


3.154 
805 


1,682 
341 


758 
131 


Gross sales 

dollars.. 

Percentage of gross sales 


7,759 

29 
20.54 


6.138 

38 
11.48 


6,838 

31 
15.46 


11,142 

74 
14. 49 


43,587 

78 
20.98 


16, 549 

75 
20.70 


7,658 

69 
11.46 


3,958 

67 
8.99 


2,023 

69 
6.96 


889 
66 


Gross sales per crop acre 

dollars.. 


4.39 



Gross sales per crop acre were highest in the more diversified 
area (subregion 89) ; here the yields are the highest in the area. 
The differences in sales per crop acre in the other subregions are 
the result of differences in crop yields, in 1954. In subregion 105, 
the Class I farmers (about 10 percent of all cash-grain farmers in 
the subregion) had gross sales exceeding $40,000. These were 
the large wheat farmers. 

The percentage of gross sales on cash-grain farms that came from 
wheat varied by subregions and by economic class as follows: 



Subregion 


Wheat sales as a percentage of gross 
sales by economic class 




I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


89 


29 
42 
40 
78 


30 
39 
34 
75 


29 
37 
30 
69 


29 
37 
31 
67 


26 
39 
30 
69 


15 


90 


42 


91 


33 


105 


66 







The importance of wheat as a source of income differs little 
by the economic class in subregion 90, but declines from Class I 
to Class VI in the other subregions. This was especially true in 
subregion 91 where Class VI farmers obtain a relatively small 
income from wheat 

Livestock sales are relatively important for farms in Economic 
Classes II, III, and IV but are less important for farms in Classes 
V and VI. The pattern of the source of income by economic 
class of farm was similar for all subregions in the hard spring wheat 
region and in the winter wheat region 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



23 



Farm Expenses 

As in other wheat regions machine hire was the highest in the 
subregions having the largest acreages per farm. (See tables 47, 
4S, 49, and 50.) Frequently operators of the larger farms own 
one or two combines but hire additional machines to speed up 
harvest. In the localities of high hail risk, the harvesting of 
wheat is completed as rapidly as possible. Some of the larger 
operators have found that they can hire the combining for less 
cost than if they operated their own machines. 

Expenditures per crop acre for gas and oil may be expected to 
decline with a decrease in intensity of operation. However, only 
in subregion 105 is there a correlation between size of farm and the 
cost of fuel and oil per acre. Here the larger farms had consider- 
ably lower costs per crop acre than the smaller farms. 

Ths amount spent per crop acre for hired labor was approxi- 
mately twice as large in subregion SO as in the other subregions. 
The amount spent per acre for hired labor was highest on the 
largest farms. This is to be expected for the operators of small 
farms do not have enough work to employ hired help. 



Tabic 47- — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain Farms 
in Subregion 89, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 











Economic class of farm 






Item 






















Total 


I 


11 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 


















Cropland 


..acres.. 


378 


1,324 


614 


376 


247 


171 


105 


Machine hire 


dollars 


198 


622 


287 


193 


144 


128 


86 


Gas and oil 


...do.— 


833 


2. 781 


1,302 


844 


575 


380 


236 


Hired labor - ... 


...do. .. 


49a 


4. 608 


1.021 


337 


144 


82 


14 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do... 


273 


1. 656 


537 


235 


122 


62 


34 


Feed bought 


.do.... 
.do.-.. 


286 

2. 080 


698 


542 


281 


186 


104 


37 


Total 


10. 365 


3. 689 


1,890 


1,171 


756 


407 


Average per crop acre: 


















Machine hire 


dollars- . 


0.52 


0.47 


0.47 


0.51 


0.58 


0.75 


0.82 


Gas and oil 


-do. .. 


2.21 


2.10 


2.12 


2.24 


2.33 


2.22 


2.25 


Hired labor- 


.-do.... 


1.30 


3.4S 


1.66 


.90 


.58 


.48 


.13 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do. . 
...do-.. 


.72 


1.25 


.87 


.62 


.50 


.36 


.32 


Total... 


4.75 


7.30 


5. 12 


4.27 


:; vi 


3.81 


3.52 



Table 48. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain 
Farms in Subregion 90, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 






Economic class of farm 








Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 

Machine hire dollars.- 

Gas and oil do 

Hired labor -do 

Commercial fertilizer., .do 

Feed bought - do 


168 
857 
322 

48 
172 


578 

2.702 

3.248 

593 

772 


259 
1,425 
872 
147 
314 


167 
963 
322 

47 
197 


150 
711 
174 
22 
135 


120 
473 

V, 
6 
79 


126 
342 

81 

5 

35 


Total do.- 

Average per crop acre: 

Machine hire dollars.. 

Gas and oil --do 

Hired labor..- ..do 

Commercial fertilizer. ..do 


1,567 

0. 31 
1.60 
.60 
.09 


7,893 

0.29 

1.37 

1.64 

.30 


3,017 

0.27 
1.51 
.92 
.16 


1,696 

0.28 

1.60 

.53 

.08 


1,192 

0.36 
1.70 
.42 
.05 


764 

0.42 
1.67 
.30 

.02 


589 

0.57 
1.55 
.37 
.02 


Total do.-. 


2.60 


3.60 


2.86 


2.49 


2.53 


2.41 


2.51 



Table 49. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain 
Farms in Subregion 91, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 











Economic class of farm 






Item 


















Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 
















Cropland 


. .acres- - 


442 


1,646 


757 


469 


321 


218 


185 


Machine hire 


dollars . 


244 


971 


388 


250 


184 


158 


97 


1 las :md oil 


...do... 


812 


2, 558 


1. 337 


862 


640 


388 


306 


Hired labor 


..do... 


293 


2,660 


735 


260 


113 


80 


66 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do . 


35 


289 


86 


33 


15 


4 


4 


Feed bought 


do ... 
..do . 


299 


1.019 


497 


353 


198 


152 


50 


Total 


1.683 


7.497 


3. 043 


1,758 


1,150 


782 


523 


Average per crop acre: 


















Machine hire 


dollars 


0.55 


0.59 


0.51 


0.53 


0.57 


0.72 


0.52 


Gas and oil 


..do... 


1.83 


1.55 


1.76 


1.83 


1.99 


1.78 


1.65 


Bired labor 


..do... 


.66 


1.61 


.97 


.55 


.35 


.36 


.35 


Commercial fertilizer 


...do... 

..do .... 


.07 


.17 


. 11 


.07 


.04 


.01 


.02 


Total 


3.11 


3.92 


3.35 


2.98 


2.95 


2.87 


2.54 



Table 50. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain 
Farms in Subregion 105, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 






Economic class of farm 








Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


A vci age per farm: 

Machine hire dollars. . 

Gas and oil do 

Hin-d labor do 

Commercial fertilizer do 

Feed bought— do 


386 

1,004 

579 

43 

142 


1,156 

2,129 

2,506 

181 

313 


472 

1,298 

862 

67 

195 


333 
974 
373 
27 
141 


213 
698 
156 
12 
86 


194 
459 

84 
4 

54 


144 
330 

48 
1 

28 


Total do.... 

A\ erage per crop acre: 

Machine hire do — 

Gas and oil ...do 

Hired labor do 

Commercial fertilizer. . .do 


2,154 

0.50 
1.31 
.75 
.06 


6,285 

0.56 
1.02 
1.21 

.09 


2,894 

0.45 
1.23 
.82 

.(16 


1,848 

0.50 
1.46 
.56 

.04 


1,165 

0.48 
1.59 
.35 
.03 


795 

it 67 
1.58 
.29 
.01 


551 

0.71 
1.63 
.24 
( z ) 


Total... do.... 


2. 62 


2.88 


2.56 


2. 66 


2.45 


2.55 


2.58 



z Less than 0.05 cent. 

Because of the decline in the importance of expenditures for 
hired labor, the total cost per crop acre for specified expenses 
decreases as the size of farm decreases in subregions 89, 90, and 91. 
However, the total cost per crop acre does not decline with the 
change in size of farm in subregion 105 where the lower hired labor 
per acre on the smaller farms is offset by higher costs for gas and oil. 

The use of commercial fertilizer is not common except in the 
Red River Valley where about half the farmers reported its use 
(see table 51). In the other areas, less than 15 percent of fanners 
reported the use of fertilizer. The percentage of farmers in the 
lower-income groups who use fertilizer is very low. Probably 
many do not have the capital to buy fertilizer and others probably 
lack information on which to make a decision to adopt a rela- 
tively new practice. The higher percentage of older farmers in 
these groups may be related to the small percentage of farmers 
reporting the use of fertilizer. The rate of application reported 
is rather uniform among the economic classes in subregions 89 
and 90. The use of commercial fertilizer in the other two sub- 
regions is not a common practice. 



24 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Table 51. — Use of Commercial Fertilizer on Cash-Grain 
Farms in the Hard Spring Wheat Region, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Percent of farms using fertilizer. . 

Tons used per farm 

Rate of application, pounds per 
acre 



Percent of farms using fertilizer . . 

Tons used per farm 

Rate of application, pounds per 
acre 



Percent of farms using fertilizer. . 

Tons used per farm 

Rate of application, pounds per 
acre 



Percent of farms using fertilizer . . 

Tons used per farm 

Rate of application, pounds per 
acre 



Economic class of farm 



Total I 



III IV 



VI 



Subregion 89 



52 


85 


70 


56 


45 


33 


21 


3.3 


19.2 


6.4 


2.8 


1.5 


0.8 


.4 


71 


74 


70 


69 


74 


79 


88 


Subregion 90 



14 


54 


31 


16 


9 


4 


0.5 


6.7 


1.6 


0.5 


0.2 


0.1 


45 


44 


45 


46 


44 


44 



3 
0.1 



Subregion 91 



11 


29 


22 


13 


8 


( z ) 


.4 


3.4 


1.0 


.4 


_ 9 


( z ) 


80 


112 


81 


77 


72 


53 



6 
0.1 



Subregion 105 



11 


27 


18 


11 


5 


3 


( z > 


0.5 


2.0 


0.8 


0.3 


0.1 


0.1 


( z ) 


40 


36 


37 


50 


54 


66 


22 



z Less thanO. 5 percent or less than 0.05 ton. 

Efficiency Levels of Farm Operation 

Gross sales minus the specified expenses per farm varied greatly 
from an average of $4,570 to $8,989 among four subregions. (See 
tables 52 to 55.) This measure does not represent net income 
because only some of the operating expenses have been considered. 
Other large items of cost to be considered in arriving at a net 
income include taxes, repairs and depreciation on buildings and 
machinery, supplies, and livestock purchases. Additional costs of 
production would include also the value of the operator's and un- 
paid family labor and interest on the investment. Also these 
data indicate returns for only 1 year and therefore may reflect 
abnormal differences in weather conditions in 1954. Although 
the importance ot specific expense items varies somewhat from 
one part of this area to another, these data do provide useful 
measures for comparing economic classes of farms and subregions. 

Table 52. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 89, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 



Gross sales per farm dollars. . 

Specified expenses per farm 

do.... 

Gross sales less specified expenses 

per farm do 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 

do... 

Total investment per $100 gross 

sales do 

Total investment per man- 
equivalent do 

Machinery investment per man- 
equivalent do 

Machinery investment per crop 
acre do... 

Wheat yield per acre. . . bushels. 

Crop acres per man-equivalent. 



Economic class of farm 
I II III IV V VI 



7,759 
2,080 
5,679 
5,581 

579 

31, 859 

8,450 

31 

15 

272 



36, 897 
10, 365 
26, 532 
10, 350 
394 

40,236 

8,445 

23 

17 

371 



14,610 
3,689 

10, 927 

8,508 

491 

42, 186 
9,735 



16 
357 



7,400 
1,889 
5,511 
5,430 



31,600 

8,647 

31 

14 

276 



3.929 
1,171 
2,758 
3,245 
779 

25, 330 

7,745 

38 

13 

204 



2, 037 
756 
1,281 
2.017 
1,042 

20,840 
,297 

41 

10 
170 



852 

407 

445 

932 

1,527 

13, 570 

6,018 

47 

8 

115 



Table 53. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 90, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 


Economic class of farm 




Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Gross sales per farm dollars . . 

Specified expenses per farm 

dollars.. 
Gross sales less specified ex- 
penses per farm dollars.. 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 

dollars. . 

Total investment per $100 gross 

sales ..dollars. . 

Total investment per man- 
equivalent dollars. . 

Machinery investment per man- 
equivalent dollars.. 

Machinery investment per crop 
acre dollars. . 

Wheat yield per acre... bushels. . 

Crop acres per man-equivalent. . 


6,138 
1,568 
4,570 
4,493 
530 

27, 461 
8,538 

8 
392 


34, 976 

7,893 

27,083 

11.478 

360 

42,046 

9,653 

15 

13 

648 


13,813 
3,017 

10,796 

7,561 

401 

36,861 

8,891 

17 

10 

517 


7,104 

1,697 

5,407 

4,898 

607 

28, 731 
8,933 

21 

S 
416 


3,908 
1,193 

2,715 

3,129 

797 

25,888 

8,351 

25 

7 

336 


2,081 

764 
1,317 
2,006 
1,017 

21,350 

7,539 

28 

6 

274 


989 

589 

400 

1,001 

1,727 

17, 274 

6,441 

29 

4 

223 



Table 54. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 91, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 



Gross sales per farm dollars.. 

Specified expenses per farm 

dollars.. 
Gross sales less specified ex- 
penses per farm dollars. . 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 
dollars.. 
Total investment per $100 gross 
sales.. dollars.. 

Total Investment per man- 
equivalent dollars. . 

Machinery Investment per man- 
equivalent dollars.. 

Machinery investment per crop 
acre dollars.. 

Wheat yield per acre, .bushels.. 

Crop acres per man-equivalent.. 



Economic class of farm 



Total 



6,838 
1,683 
5,155 
5,225 
583 

30, 492 

8,110 

24 

10 

333 



34,966 
7.498 
27,468 
13,609 
349 

46,833 

9,464 

15 

12 

640 



II III IV 



14,251 
3,044 

11,207 

8,823 

468 

41, 543 

9, 541 

20 

11 

469 



7,297 
1,758 
5,539 
5,364 

587 

30, 185 

8,233 

24 

10 

345 



3,953 
1,151 
2,802 
3,261 
764 

24, 834 

6,707 

29 

8 

265 



2,058 

783 

1,275 

2,015 

951 

19, 021 

6,219 

29 

7 

213 



VI 

954 
523 
441 



14, 077 

4,612 

24 

5 

190 



Table 55. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 105, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 



Item 



Gross sales per farm dollars- 
Specified expenses per farm 

dollars.. 
Gross sales less specified ex- 
penses per farm dollars. . 

Gross sales per man-equivalent 
dollars. . 
Total investment per $100 gross 
sales dollars.. 

Total investment per man- 
equivalent dollars . . 

Machinery investment per man- 
equivalent dollars. . 

Machinery investment per crop 
acre dollars.. 

Wheat yield per acre: 

Winter bushels.. 

Spring bushels.. 

Crop acres per man-equivalent.. 



Economic class of farm 



Total I 



11.142 
2,153 



552 

47, 172 

9,356 

16 

27 

12 

589 



587 
285 
302 
632 
385 

377 

572 

11 

29 

18 

936 



II III IV 



16,549 
2,895 
13, 654 
11,212 

518 

56, 986 

10, 247 

14 

25 

14 

714 



7, 658 
1.848 
5,810 
6,025 
667 

39, 519 

9,060 

17 



10 
526 



3,958 
1,164 
2, 794 
3,608 

860 

31,276 

639 

22 

20 

9 

401 



2,023 
795 
1,228 
2,192 
1,129 

25,094 

7,671 

24 

12 

7 

315 



VI 



549 

340 

1,053 

1,982 

22,302 

6,676 

28 

5 

6 

240 



Some of the more meaningful measures of levels of efficiency are 
not affected significantly by growing conditions in a single year. 
These include total investment per man, machinery investment 
per man, machinery investment per crop acre, and crop acres 
per num. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



25 



Farms in subregion 105 had the highest total investment per 
man, the highest investment in machinery per man, the largest 
number of crop acres per man. but the lowest investment in 
machinery per crop acre. These measures of level of efficiency 
do not vary greatly among the other three subregions, although 
for farms in subregion 89 the investment per man and crop acres 
per man are somewhat lower than for farms in the other two 
subregions. 

Comparisons of measures of level of efficiency by economic class 
indicate a decrease in total investment and crop acres per man from 
Class I to Class VI farms, whereas, machinery investment per acre 
Increased from the large to small farms. There was some decline 
in investment in machinery per man from Class I to Class VI 
farms but the decline was not nearly as sharp as that for total 
investment per farm or crop acres per man. This explains perhaps 
one of the more significant reasons for low net income (gross sales 
less specified expenditures) on these farms as a minimum amount 
of machinery is required even for a small acreage. A second 
significant reason for low incomes on the Class VI farms is the 
low yields per acre in 1954. In all four subregions, the farms 
with larger gross income had significantly higher yields per acre. 

OTHER TYPES OF FARMING IN THE HARD RED 
SPRING WHEAT REGION 

Other types of farming in the hard spring wheat region are of 
interest. In the Red River Valley (subregion 89), there were 
3,001 dairy farms and 3,21.3 general farms. On these farms, feed 
crops were emphasized more than wheat and more livestock were 
kept than on cash-grain farms. 

In subregions 90 and 91, there were 8,942 general farms. These 
were similar to the cash-grain farms in the same area. Wheat 
was the major crop on tilled land but the general farms had more 
pastureland and livestock than the cash-grain farms. No doubt 
some of these general farms would have been classified as cash- 
grain farms if wheat yields had been normal. 

In subregion 105 in southwestern North Dakota and Montana 
there is much land not suitable for cultivation. Farmers who 
have a large acreage of grassland keep more cattle or sheep than 
wheat farmers. In this subregion there were 6,336 livestock 
farms. Among these are many that are very similar to wheat 
farms but with enough income from livestock in 1954 to be classi- 
fied as livestock farms. Among the farm units classified as 
livestock are many ranches that have the same characteristics as 
those in the nearby range livestock areas. These units usually 
are characterized by large acreages in grass and little cropland. 

Although flax was once grown more widely, it is now produced 
mainly in three States — North Dakota, South Dakota, and 
Minnesota. In 1954, nearly 80,000 farmers reported a total of 
5 million acres with a production of 34 million bushels of flax 
in these three States (see table 56) . North Dakota is by far the 
leading flax-producing State. Acreage allotments for wheat un- 
doubtedly influenced the acreage of flax. As grain sorghum pro- 
vides a cash-grain alternative to winter wheat in the southern 
part of the Great Plains, so flax offers alternative opportunities in 
the northern Great Plains and Minnesota. 

Flax production is closely associated with wheat production, 
for many farmers grow both crops. Most flax is grown by 
farmers who raise only small quantities. In 1954, 92 percent of 
the producers harvested less than 1,000 bushels each; 20 percent 
harvested less than 100 bushels each. 



Table 56. — Acreage and Production of Flax in the Three 
Leading Producing States: 1954 

[Data arc estimates based on reports for only a sample of farmsl 



Item 


North South 
Dakota 1 Dakota 


Minnesota 




61,808 

42.171 

3, 126, 185 

8. 117 
11. 166 
12.437 
in, 451 

21), 032, 677 

7,239 
21, 155 
8,724 
5,053 


62, 350 

16.238 

944. 306 

4,444 
4.828 
4. 501 
2. 465 

5, 167, 435 

3,163 

9. 795 

2,443 

837 


165, 324 




29, 491 




978,315 


Number of farms reporting by acres harvested: 


15,368 




8,410 
4, 362 
1,351 


.V 1-99 awes _ 


Production —bushels. - 

Farms report Ing by number of bushels harveste 1: 


8, 228, 230 
7 317 


100-499 bushels 

500-999 bushels . 


17.922 
3, 362 




890 







THE WHITE WHEAT REGION (SUBREGION 110) 

This area, located in northwestern United States (see fig. 9), 
has long been known for its specialized, large-scale farming. 
Even before modern tractor power was available, it was known 
for its large farms and big machines pulled by large teams of 
horses. It has continued to have large farms and a labor-extensive 
type of farming. Although some hard winter wheat and some 
hard spring wheat are grown in the western, more arid part of 
subregion 110, the soft white wheat predominates. Small quan- 
tities of white wheat are also grown in Michigan and New York. 

THE WHITE WHEAT AREA 
SUBREGION 110 




Figure 9. 



26 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



The soils here include several types — the Northern Chernozem, 
Northern Dark Brown, and Northern Gray Desert. These are 
deep silt loams developed from loessal material; they have good 
moisture-retaining properties and are fertile and well suited to 
wheat. The topography varies from nearly level valley to hilly 
land. In much of subregion 110, rolling to hilly land predomi- 
nates. Many of the slopes are so steep that special machines 
have been designed to harvest the wheat. One is the self-leveling 
grain combine. Crawler-type tractors are commonly used for 
field work. 

The variation in precipitation influences the intensity of farm- 
ing. The rainfall varies from 25 inches annually to less than 10 
inches. In the eastern part where the rainfall varies from 18 to 
25 inches, the land is cropped each year and wheat is commonly 
grown in rotation with peas or with other small grains. The line 
of 18-inch rainfall is the approximate boundary of annual cropping. 
To the west, in the Big Bend part of Washington and the wheat 
areas of northern Oregon, where the annual rainfall is 10 to 18 
inches, wheat alternates with summer fallow. Summer-fallowing 
is necessary to accumulate the moisture necessary for a wheat crop. 
Some fallowing is done in the area of higher rainfall (18 to 25 
inches) but here the reason for fallowing is to control weeds or to 
turn under heavy stubble and give it time to decompose. The 
driest season occurs during the summer, and provides for ideal 
harvesting. Transportation and marketing facilities are ade- 
quate; both railroads and highways offer ample opportunity for 
transporting the wheat to market. 

The white wheat region ranks below the hard winter and hard 
spring wheat regions in total wheat production as it is the smallest 
of the three. In 1954, it produced 87 million bushels of wheat, 
or 10 percent of all wheat in the United States. Nearly all of the 
wheat is grown on commercial cash-grain farms. Only 3 percent 
of the wheat was grown on other than commercial cash-grain 
farms in 1954. 

Size of Business 

This region is characterized by a highly mechanized system of 
farming. Subregion 110 exceeds any other wheat area in crop 
acres per farm, gross income per farm, total investment, and 
investment in machinery. Yields in 1954 were approximately 
20 percent above the 5-year average. This affected the gross 
income and the classification of farms by economic class in 1954, 
but should not affect appreciably the relationships between 
economic classes in the acreage per farm or the investment in 
machinery and land and buildings. 

In 1954, more than 70 percent of all cash-grain farms fell into 
Economic Classes I and II while less than 2 percent were in Class 
VI. The range in size of farms is exceptionally large; Class I 
farms are 20 times as large in total acres as Class VI farms. Only 
the Class I and Class II groups average more than one man-equiv- 
alent per farm. Measures of size of farm by economic class are 
shown in table 57. 

Table 57. — Size of Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 110, by 
Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 




1 
Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 




9,109 

1,188 

793 

113. 412 
3.005 
18. 244 


3.346 
2.103 
1,462 

201, 798 
4.767 
25, 949 


3.303 
874 
566 

83,613 
2,476 
16,213 


1,233 
454 
243 

40, 576 
1,626 
11,994 


775 
325 
154 

27, 436 
1,173 
9,763 


325 
213 
100 

18, 593 

793 

8,176 


127 




110 




41 


Capital investment per farm: 
Land and buildings, dollars. . 

Livestock .-do 

Machinery do 


11, 747 

569 

6,306 


Total 


134, 661 

1.6 


232, 514 
2.4 


102, 304 
1.4 


54, 196 
1. 1 


38,372 
1.0 


27, 562 
0.7 


18, 622 


Man-equivalent per farm. 


0.7 



Crop and Livestock Organization 

Wheat, and summer fallow together use nearly three-fourths of 
the cropland in this area (see table 58). As indicated earlier there 
are important differences in the use of cropland within the area 
associated with the amount of precipitation. The farms in the 
eastern part of Washington and western Idaho receive more rain- 
fall and are more diversified. The production of dry field peas 
is an important enterprise on many of these farms. Other farmers 
rotate wheat with feed grains and green manure crops. In the 
remainder of the subregion, the cropping system is mainly wheat 
and summer fallow with varying acreages of oats or barley. In 
the more arid parts a straight wheat-summer fallow rotation is 
followed. 



Table 58. — Land Use on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 
110, by Economic Class of Farm; 1954 





Percent 


Economic class of farm 




report- 
ing 


Total 


1 


11 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






9,109 

1,188 
793 

253 

31 

87 

18 

328 

368 


3,346 

2,103 
1,462 

496 
43 

163 
34 

616 

615 


3,303 

874 
566 

166 
31 
61 
12 
235 
286 


1,233 

454 
243 

57 
18 
27 
8 
84 
175 


775 

325 

154 

30 
12 
16 
3 
47 
136 


325 

213 
100 

12 
10 
9 
2 
17 
71 


127 


Acres per farm: 
All land.. 


100 
100 

87 
30 
77 
16 
84 
71 


110 




41 


Wheat: 


9 




3 




3 




1 




9 




53 







For subregion 110 as a whole, other crops occupy a little over 
one-fourth of the land. Barley is more important than oats. 
The acreage of pastureland varies from farm to farm, and con- 
sists largely of land not suited for cultivation. The smaller farms 
have relatively less wheat and fallow and they are located mostly 
in the diversified area. 

The livestock system here is typical of the western wheat areas. 
Many of the large wheat-fallow farms with little pasture have no 
livestock. Some farmers keep a small flock of chickens, and 
enough cattle to utilize the pasture and roughage. Hogs are 
found on approximately 26 percent of the farms. Sheep are kept 
on a relatively few farms and the average size of flock for farms 
keeping sheep is much larger than indicated by data in table 59. 
The low-income farmers, as a group, have very few livestock, but 
this group is relatively much smaller in number in the white 
wheat region than in the other wheat regions. Many of the op- 
erators of the low income farms have other occupations or other 
sources of income. 

Table 59. — Livestock on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 
110, by Economic Class of Farm; 1954 





Percent 
of farms 
report- 
ing 


Economic class of farm 








Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 






9,109 

28 
1 
4 
4 

39 

1,449 
3,005 


3,346 

46 
1 

5 

7 

37 

2,344 
4,767 


3,303 

23 
1 
5 
2 

42 

1,196 
2.476 


1,233 

15 
1 
3 
3 

48 

794 
1,626 


775 

10 
2 
3 
2 

33 

447 

1,173 


325 

7 
1 
1 


127 


Livestock, number per farm: 
All cattle 


72 
52 
26 
6 
64 

XXX 
X X X 


5 




1 




2 








27 

209 
793 


19 


Gross sales of livestock and 
livestock products per 
farm. dollars. . 

Investment in livestock per 
farm dollars. . 


98 
569 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



27 



Labor Used 

For subregion 110 as a whole, the farm operators and their 
families comprise approximately GO percent, and hired workers, 
40 percent of the total labor force. Unpaid family labor is less 
important in this subregion than in the other major wheat regions. 
(See table 60.) 

Table 60. — Labor Force on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 
110, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 









Economic class ot farm 






Item 


Tula! 


1 


11 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


T"t:il nuin-eiiuivalent- 


1.7 

.9 
.2 

.6 

100.0 


2.4 


1.3 


1. 1 


0.9 


0.7 


ii 6 


Operator... 

Unpaid family help... 
Hired 


.9 
.2 
1.3 

100. 


.9 
.1 
.3 

100.0 


.8 
.2 
.1 

100.0 


. 7 
2 

100.0 


.5 
.2 

C) 

100.0 


.6 
C) 
(■) 


Operators by 
All operators percent. 


100.0 


Under 25 years.-do. 
25-34 years .do 

3.5-64 years do.. 

66 years and over do. 


1.0 

17.(1 
71.0 
11.0 


1.0 
19.0 
74.0 

6.0 


1.0 
18.0 

7:;.n 

S II 


1.0 
15.0 

69 o 
15.0 


1 

70. 
20.0 


3.0 

1.' il 
61.0 

24 


" 4.0 

37. 
59.0 



■ Less than " 05. 

The Class I farms average 1,462 crop acres per farm, and have 
a man-equivalent of 2.4 per farm. Actually several hired men 
are used during the period when field operations are performed. 
Many operators of farms in other economic classes have part- 
time work off the farms; one-third of the operators work more 
than 100 days off the farm and another 15 percent work 1 to 09 
days off the farm. Approximately half of the farmers on the 
smaller farms perform off-farm work. 

A very small percentage of the farm operators are under 25 
years of age. Compared with the other wheat regions, the per- 
centage of operators under 25 years old is small and the percentage 
in the 25-to-34-year group is relatively large. The percentage of 
operators 05 years of age for Class VI farms is the largest for any 
region. Many of the operators of these small farms may be semi- 
retired. 

Farm Mechanization and Home Conveniences 

Farms here are highly mechanized. Nearly all have automo- 
biles, motortrucks, and tractors. Most farmers have only one 
combine, yet relatively little is spent for machine hire. Many 
operators of small farms hire their combining performed. (See 
table 61.) 

Table 61. — Farm Mechanization and Home Conveniences 
on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 110, by Economic Class 
of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 


Item 


Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Number per farm: 


9. 109 

1.4 
2.2 
2.0 

1. 1 

93 
94 
96 
82 
4 
82 
96 
45 
92 
64 


3,346 

1.8 
3.3 
2.7 
1.5 

98 
99 
99 
96 
5 
91 
98 
54 
97 
80 


3,303 

1.2 
1.9 
1.9 
1.0 

95 
96 
97 
84 
4 
85 
96 
46 
94 
66 


1,233 

1.0 
1.3 
1.6 

. 7 

S8 
91 
95 
67 
1 
74 
95 
36 
86 
46 


775 

1.0 
1.1 
1.2 
.6 

81 
88 
89 
62 
2 
64 
93 
22 
83 
38 


325 

1.0 
1.0 
1.2 
.4 

86 
72 
89 
42 

59 
86 
24 
75 
26 


127 
7 








1 






Percent of farms reporting: 


72 






Tractors 


69 






Field forage haryesters. 


4 










Piped water in home. . 


75 







Modern home facilities are more prevalent in the white wheal 
subregion than in the other wheat subregion. This may be re- 
lated to the small percentage of farmers in the low-income groups; 
however, this area had power lines in rural areas at an earlier date 
than most other wheat regions and this fact has probably in- 
fluenced the proportion of farms with electricity. The Class VI 
farms rank much higher in percentage of farmers reporting modern 
home facilities than Class VI farms in other wheat regions. 

Gross Farm Income 

The average gross income for all cash-grain farms in the white 
wheal legion was the highest for any wheat subregion, in 1954. 
This would probably be true for most years, for the farms are large 
and the yields are relatively high. Livestock is a very minor 
source of income. More than half of the income is derived from 
wheat even on farms Inning the lowest gross income (see table 62). 

Table 62. — Sources of Farm Income on Cash-Grain Farms 
in Subregion 110, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 









Economic class of farm 






Item 


Total 


I 


11 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Number of farms 

Sales per farm: 

Wheat .dollars 

Other crops do 


9,109 

19, 161 
5.433 


3, 346 

37, 986 
10, 174 


3. 303 

12. 176 
3,575 


1,233 

4,264 
1,979 


775 

2,028 
1,250 


325 

1,038 
604 


127 

411 
274 


All crops. do 

Livestock and 
livestock 
products do 


24.594 
1,449 


48, 160 
2,344 


15,751 
1.196 


6,243 

795 


3,278 
447 


1,642 
209 


685 

98 


Gross sales. -do 

Percentage of gross sales 


26. ill:: 

74 
32.92 


50, 504 

75 
34. 58 


16, 947 

72 
30.02 


7, 038 

61 
29. 10 


3,725 

54 
24.33 


1,851 

56 
18.54 


783 

52 


Gross sales per crop 
acre dollars.. 


20.97 



Farm Expenses 

Specified farm expenditures merely indicate the level of some 
cost items; total cost of operation would be much higher. The total 
cost of operation for these large farms is high, but the cost per acre 
compares favorably with that of most other areas. Machine hire, 
and gas and oil costs per acre, go up as the size of farm decreases, 
but hired labor costs per acre decline with the decrease in acreage. 
Total costs per acre for the specified expenses are approximately 
the same for all economic classes of farms except Class VI (see 
table 63). 



Table 63. — Specified Farm Expenditures on Cash-Grain Farms 
in Subregion 110, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 









Economic class of farm 






Item 


















Total 


I 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Average per farm: 
















Machine hire. ..dollars 


369 


451 


393 


280 


171 


INS 


132 


Gas and oil do 


1,199 


2,039 


906 


549 


398 


285 


16,9 


Hired labor do 


1,638 


3,480 


862 


206 


190 


62 


66 


Commercial 
















fertilizer do 


953 


1,878 


545 


311 


221 


87 


72 


Feed bought... do 


455 


687 


393 


275 


170 


1S1 


113 


Total do... 


4,614 


8,535 


3,099 


1,621 


1,150 


803 


5S2 


Average per crop acre: 
















Machine hire, dollars 


0.47 


0.31 


0.69 


1. 15 


1. 11 


1.87 


3 22 


Gas and oil do 


1.51 


1.39 


1.60 


2.26 


2.59 


2.83 


4. 12 


Hired labor do 


2.07 


2.38 


1.52 


.85 


1.24 


.62 


1.61 


Commercial 
















fertilizer do 


1.20 


1.28 


.96 


1.28 


1.43 


.87 


1.77 


Total do.... 


5.25 


5.36 


4.77 


5.54 


6.37 


6.19 


in 72 



28 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



Gas and oil expenditures per acre increase with the deciease in 
size of farm. In other areas, gas and oil costs per acre do not vary 
with size of farm. Many of the operators of large farms have un- 
doubtedly invested in tractors that burn low-cost fuel, thus reduc- 
ing the fuel cost per acre. Machine hire costs per acre also are 
lower on the large farms than small farms. This is the opposite 
of this relationship for large and small farms in other areas. For 
example, in subregions 103 and 105, for Class I farms, expenditures 
per acre for hired labor were higher on large than on the small farms. 

Commercial fertilizer is used more extensively here than in most 
other wheat subregions (see table 64). Its use was reported on 
more than 74 percent of the Class I farms in 1954. Of the impor- 
tant wheat-producing regions, only the Red River Valley ap- 
proaches the white wheat region in percentage of farmers reporting 
the use of fertilizer. 

Table 64. — Use of Commercial Fertilizer on Cash-Grain 
Farms in Subregion 110, by Economic Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 


Item 


Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Percent of farms using 

fertilizer . 

Tons used per farm 

Rate of application, 
pounds per acre 


64.0 
8.3 

96 


74.0 
15.9 

89 


61.0 

4.9 

104 


59.0 
3. S 

152 


54. 
2.3 

146 


45.0 
1.3 

204 


28.0 
1.1 

326 



Efficiency Levels of Farm Operation 

For the year 1954, the cash-grain farmers of the white wheat 
region ranked high among cash-grain farmers in all wheat sub- 
regions in levels of efficiency. Gross sales per worker of $10,000 
were very high and the investment per $100 gross sales was low 
(see table 65). The number of crop acres per man and the invest- 
ment in machinery per man-equivalent was very high. One man 
can operate many acres with the large machinery used in the sub- 
region. In 1954, wheat yields were 20 percent above average. 
A high level of production accompanied by high prices accounts in 
part for the high gross returns per farm and per worker. For 
each measure of level of efficiency, there was a decline from Class 
I through Class VI farms 

Tabic 65. — Selected Measures of Income and Efficiency 
Levels on Cash-Grain Farms in Subregion 110, by Economic 
Class of Farm: 1954 





Economic class of farm 


Item 


















Total 


1 


II 


III 


IV 


V 


VI 


Gross sales per farm 
















dollars.. 


26, OSS 


50,558 


16, 994 


7, 071 


3,742 


1,862 


858 


Specified expenses per 
















farm dollars. . 


4,613 


8, 537 


3,098 


1,620 


1. 150 


803 


581 


Gross sales less specified 
















expenses per farm 
















dollars.. 


21, 475 


42,021 


13, 896 


5. 451 


2,592 


1, 059 


270 


Gross sales per man- 
















equivalent dollars. . 


16,105 


21,408 


12,518 


6,702 


3,941 


2,512 


1,210 


Total investment per 
















$100 gross sales 
















dollars 


517 


460 


605 


774 


1.037 


1,531 


2,327 


Total investment per 
















man-equivalent 
















dollars.. 


84,163 


96, 881 


73, 074 


49, 209 


38, 372 


39, 374 


26, 603 


Machlnerv investment 
















per man-equivalent 
















dollars 


11,263 


10, 988 


11,943 


11,367 


10, 2S0 


11,026 


8,899 


Machinery investment 
















per crop acre, .dollars . . 


23 


18 


29 


49 


63 


82 


154 


W inter wheat yield pei- 
















acre bushels 


33 


34 


31 


29 


25 


28 


17 


Crop acres per man- 


















4S9 


619 


417 


230 


162 


135 









RECENT CHANGES BY MAJOR WHEAT REGIONS 

Some comparisons between 1954 and 1949 for hard winter, 
hard spring, and white wheat regions are given in tables 66 to 68. 
These are not comparisons of an identical group of farms in the 
two periods as the data for each year are for those farms classified 
as cash-grain farms in that particular year. The same farms may 
not have been classified as cash-grain in both years. 

From 1949 to 1954, the size of farm increased, the acres in 
pasture increased, but the acreage in wheat decreased. The 
magnitude of these changes varied between subregions and be- 
tween major wheat regions. The most drastic reduction in wheat 
acreage occurred in subregion 89, where the 1954 acreage was only 
one-third that of 1949. In several subregions the decrease in 
wheat acreage was as much as 25 percent. 

Table 66. — A Comparison of Some Items for Organization, 
Expenses, and Home Facilities for Cash-Grain Farms in 
the Hard Winter Wheat Region: 1954 and 1949 



Item 



Total farms 

Acres per farm: 

All land 

C ropland. . - 

Wheat -. -.-. 

Land pastured 

Livestock- number per farm: 

All cattle. 

Milk cows 

Hogs 

Chickens 

Expenditures per farm (dollars) 

Machine hire-.. __. 

Hired labor 

Gas and oil.. _ 

Total — 

Facilities—percent of farms r 
porting: 

Telephone. 

Electricity.. 

Home freezer 



Subregion 93 



1949 1954 



337 
250 
84 



90 



197 
181 
454 



19, 859 



358 

25S 

71 

92 



26 

3 

10 

113 



223 
161 
575 



Subregion 94 



1949 1954 



18. 002 



349 
263 
205 



343 
298 
493 



362 
264 
145 
95 



263 
241 
525 



Subregion 103 



1949 1954 



34, 453 



812 
593 
340 
216 



655 
716 
813 



820 
607 
223 
212 



3 
60 



473 
504 
913 



64 
89 
42 



Table 67- — A Comparison of Some Items for Organization, 
Expenses, and Home Facilities for Cash-Grain Farms in 
the Hard Spring Wheat Region: 1954 and 1949 



Item 



Total farms 

Acres per farm: 
All land... 
Cropland 

Wheat 

Land pastured 

Livestock— number per 
farm: 

All cattle 

Milk cows. 

Hogs . . . 

Chickens 

Expenditures per farm 
(dollars): 

Machine hire 

Hired labor 

Gas and oil 

Total 

Facilities — percent of 
farms reporting: 

Telephone 

Electricity 

Home freezer 



Subregion 89 



1949 1954 



13.033 



414 
358 
110 
34 



190 
580 
744 



13, 280 



435 

378 

80 

33 



198 
490 
833 



1,521 



Subregion 90 



1949 1954 



052 
504 
212 
117 



192 
423 
764 



1,379 



696 
535 
159 
125 



108 
322 
857 



1, 347 



Subregion 91 



1949 1954 



7. 054 



526 
425 
150 
81 



251 
416 
666 



569 
442 
111 
105 



30 

4 

14 

101 



244 
293 

812 



Subregion 105 



1949 



1,147 
721 
329 
400 



219 
574 
900 



1954 



1,304 
769 
281 
512 



36 



4 
46 



386 

579 

1,004 



1,969 



30 
85 
52 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



29 



Tabic 68. — A Comparison of Some Items for Organization, 
Expenses, and Home Facilities for Cash-Grain Farms in 
the White Wheat Region: 1954 and 1949 



Total farms __ 

Acres per farm: 

All land 

Cropland 

Wheat -- 

Land pastured 

Livestock— number per farm: 

All cattle.. 

Milk cows 

H ops - - 

Chickens 

Expenditures per farm (dollars): 
Machine hire 

Hired labor — 

Gas and oil 

Total 

Home facilities— percent of farms reporting 

Telephone 

Electricity 

Home freezer 



SubreRlon 110 


1949 


1954 


8,165 


9,109 


1, 147 
835 
3H4 
340 


1,188 
793 
2S4 
368 


22 

4 
39 


28 
1 
4 

39 


312 
1,577 

991 


369 
1,638 
1,199 


2,880 


3,206 


76 
92 
37 


82 
96 
64 



The number of cattle increased in all subregions. This was 
related to the increase in acres pastured, but particularly it was 
the result of increased cattle production during the period of 
high cattle prices prior to 1052. 

Comparable items of expense for the two Census years are 
machine hire, hired labor, and gasoline and oil. The total of 
these expenses per farm is nearly the same for the 2 Census years 
in several subregions, but there were changes in expenditures for 
individual items. Machine hire and hired labor decreased in 
those areas where the wheat acreage declined significantly. How- 
ever, in subregion 110 both machine hire and hired labor expenses 
increased from 1949 to 1954. 

The proportion of farms with telephones, electricity, and home 
freezers increased in all eight subregions. Many rural communi- 
ties in the Great Plains did not have electricity until after World 
War II, and some electric lines were constructed after 1949. 
This explains much of the increase in homes having electricity 
and home freezers. The use of telephones increased slightly 
during the 5-year period. Undoubtedly the use of these modern 
conveniences increased as the conveniences became available to 
farmers and farm families. Moreover, a part of the increase 
resulted from the relatively good incomes received by farmers in 
some years. 

SOFT RED WINTER WHEAT 

In the soft winter wheat area, other enterprises are more im- 
portant than wheat on most farms. Here, few farms are classified 
as wheat farms, but the total wheat production is second only to 
that of the hard winter wheat region. The total soft red winter 
wheat production in 1954 was approximately 200 million bushels, 
or one-fifth of the United States total. 

The soft red winter wheat belt extends from Missouri to Penn- 
sylvania. It includes most of the wheat-growing area in the 
eastern half of the United States. The heaviest wheat production 
in this wide reach of country occurs in the southern part of the 
Corn Belt, although wheat is grown in nearly all of the States. 



Tin- soft winter wheat region receives 35 to 50 inches of rainfall 
and most of this falls during the growing season. The prevailing 
high precipitation and humidity produce a soft kernel, relatively 
low in protein. The winters are seldom so severe as to kill the 
crop. High summer temperatures usually do not occur until the 
wheat has matured. 

The soils vary greatly, but most of the wheat is grown on deep, 
fertile soils. The topography varies from level to rolling, with 
rather steep slopes. Wheat is grown in rather small acreages per 
farm, in rotation with other crops. The wheat machinery is 
usually smaller than that used on the Great Plains. The smaller 
sizes of machines are due more to the smaller acreages of wheat 
per farm than to limitations imposed by the rolling topography. 

Approximately 80 percent of the total soft red winter wheat is 
produced in the Corn Belt States and Pennsylvania. Though a 
relatively minor crop, the production of wheat has persisted here 
for many decades. Farmers have found it profitable to include 
wheat in their diversified type of farming. The relationships of 
wheat to other enterprises and to the efficient use of resources are 
the chief reasons for its continued production in this area. 

Cropping conditions vary. Wheat is commonly grown on 
farms that also produce corn, hay, pasture crops, and frequently 
some oats, barley, or soybeans. Wheat fits into a rotation with 
such crops. 

Sometimes the wheat is seeded after soybeans have been 
harvested on the same land or after corn has been cut for ensilage. 
Wheat may follow oats or bailey as these crops mature in ample 
time for the sowing of winter wheat afterwards. In some cases, 
wheal is seeded as a companion or nurse crop for grass and legume 
seedings as wheat brings in some income while the hay or pasture 
crop is becoming established. Where wheat follows row crops, 
only one or two light tillage operations are necessary in making 
the seedbed as the land has been tilled during the early summer. 

Here, wheat contributes to a more efficient use of the farmer's 
resources. Power units, field machinery, and man-labor can be 
used for wheat at a time when the other demands for machinery 
and labor are relatively low. Preparing the seedbed and seeding 
of winter wheat come between the last corn cultivation and corn 
harvest. Wheat harvesting may conflict with hay harvesting 
and with the cultivation of corn and soybeans; but with modern 
machinery, a small acreage of wheat can be harvested in a very 
short time. Many farmers have combines for harvesting other 
small grains and soybeans or they custom-hire their combining 
so no additional machinery is required for wheat. 

Wheat is a desirable crop to many farmers because it brings in 
some cash at a time when they have few other products to sell and 
at a time when operating expenses are high. The winter wheat 
may contribute to the livestock enterprise by furnishing some 
pasture in the fall and early spring. Some of the wheat is fed. 
especially to poultry. Wheat straw provides a common source of 
bedding for livestock. 

It is doubtful that wheat is more profitable on an acre basis 
than other crops, especially corn. It is grown because of its com- 
plementary relationship to other enterprises and because of the 
relatively small increase in cash costs required for its production. 
The more extensive use of labor and equipment reduces the cost 
per unit of work. Through its contribution to other enterprises 
and the increased efficiency in the use of resources, wheat increases 
the net returns for the entire farm operation. Wheat will un- 
doubtedly continue to be grown in this area more widely known 
for its corn, soybeans, and livestock feeding. 



30 



FARMERS AND FARM PRODUCTION 



More than 300,000 farmers grow some wheat in the five major 
soft red winter wheat States (see table 69) . The acreage per farm 
is small. More than one-fourth of the producers had less than 10 
acres in wheat in 1954; and less than 1 percent had 100 acres or 
more. The fact that wheat is typically a small enterprise is even 
more clearly illustrated by the number of farmers reporting the 
quantity of wheat sold. Seventy-six percent of the producers sold 
less than 1,000 bushels while less than 1 percent sold 3,000 bushels 
or more. 



Table 69. — Wheat Production in Selected States in the 
Soft Red Winter Wheat Area: 1954 

[Data arc estimates based on reports for only a sample of farms] 



Item 



Number of farms reporting 
Acreage (1,000 acres). 

Average acreage per farm: 
Production (1,000 bush- 
els) 

Yield per acre (bushels) 
Value of crop (1 .000 dol- 
lars) 

Number of farms report- 
ing by acres harvested : 

X'nder 10 acres 

10-24 acres 

25-49 acres... 

50-99 acres 

100-199 acres 

200 acres and over 

Number of farms report- 
ing bushels sold: 

Under too bushels 

100-499 bushels 

500-999 bushels 

1,000-1,499 bushels.. 

1,500-1,999 bushels 

2,000-2,999 bushels 

3,000-4,999 bushels 

5,000-9,999 bushels 

10,000 bushels and over- 



Total for 
selected 
States 



336, 894 
6,342 



181, 309 
29 



95, 928 
163, 241 
59, 112 
15, 803 
2,212 



17,506 

169, 819 

68, 849 

22, 186 

8,001 

5,179 

1,967 

533 

54 



Missouri 



50, 309 
1,156 



32, 455 
28 

66, 532 



9,074 

26,917 

9,801 

3,695 

698 

124 



2,101 

25, 499 

11,045 

3,990 

1,773 

1,256 

538 

167 

22 



Illinois 



60,137 
1,532 



46, 241 
30 



7,131 

30, 337 

16.516 

5.324 

750 

79 



1, 626 

25. 942 

17, 389 

6,940 

2,759 

2,068 

784 

212 

17 



64,; 
1,5 



38, 779 
30 



12,923 

35, 278 

13, 243 

2,974 

329 

43 



2, 006 

34, 127 

16, 395 

5,404 

1,864 

956 

355 

81 



Ohi. 



99, 354 
1,704 



45,417 
27 



31.177 
48,501 
16,046 
3.217 
380 
33 



6,155 

54,911 

18, 637 

4,832 

1,350 

766 

250 

53 



Pennsyl- 
vania 



62, 004 
661 



18.417 
28 



35, 913 



35, 623 

22, 208 

3,506 

593 

55 

19 



5.558 

29. 340 

5,383 

1,020 

255 

133 

40 

20 

2 



WHEAT PRODUCTION IN OTHER WESTERN 
REGIONS 

The heaviest concentration of wheat production is found in 
those regions that have been described as the major wheat regions. 
Much of the remainder of the Great Plains and the Rocky Moun- 
tains area has been classed as the range livestock region where 
livestock provides the major source of income. However, scat- 
tered through this vast region are localities in which considerable 
wheat is grown. In these subregions there were 27,000 cash-grain 
farmers, in 1954, that produced more than 67 million bushels of 
wheat. Data regarding these subregions are given below for 1954. 



Subregion 


Number of 

cash -grain 

farms 


Acres of 
wheat 


Bushels 
produced 


101 


7, 257 
3,332 
6,902 
3,969 
5,757 


1,000 

1,117 
673 

1,217 
385 
637 


1,000 


104 


9,056 


106 


109.. 


8.816 
13. 291 


112 




Total 


27, 217 


4,029 









In addition to that produced by these wheat farmers, a large 
quantity of wheat is grown by ranchers who combine stock- 
ranching with wheat farming. Most of these have been classified 
as livestock farms because livestock is their most important source 
of sales. 



Wheat is grown in these areas under a variety of production 
conditions. Much of it is grown in dry-land areas where summer- 
fallowing is necessary. Some is grown in high mountain valleys 
and some on irrigated farms, particularly in Idaho and California, 
in rotation with other crops. The average yield in 1954 was 17 
bushels which compares favorably with the yields in the major 
wheat regions. 

SOME PRODUCTION PROBLEMS OF WHEAT 
FARMERS 

Some of the production problems which specialized wheat 
farmers are facing merit more specific consideration in a review 
of the wheat industry. 

Wheat farms in the major regions are large in comparison with 
other types of farms. But many wheat growers still face the 
problem of acquiring control of sufficient resources to make a 
satisfactory living. Continuous improvement in labor-saving 
equipment enables each worker to take care of more acres of wheat- 
land from year to year; therefore, more and more acres of cropland 
per worker are required if modern machinery is to be used 
efficiently. There has been a gradual increase in size of wheat 
farms. This increase is indicated for typical counties in the 
wheat areas in table 70. 

Table 70. — Changes in Size of Farms in Counties Which are 
Typical of the Various Wheat Regions: 1910-1954 



Countv, State, and subregion 


Average size of farm (acres) 




1910 


1920 


1930 


1940 


1915 


1950 


1954 




252 
326 
460 
182 

229 
321 
(') 
566 


255 
387 
442 
196 

234 

500 
480 
715 


247 
434 
441 
202 

249 
594 
600 
906 


261 
454 
458 
231 

248 

866 

706 

1,038 


276 
547 
503 
256 

251 
1,148 

905 
1,225 


302 
604 
525 
279 

305 
1,175 
1,048 
1,335 


325 


Ward, N. Dak.— (subregion 90) .. 


650 




580 




311 


Saline, Kans. — (subregion 94) 

Kit Carson, Colo.— (subregion 103) 


374 
1,267 
1,092 


Lincoln, Wash. — (subregion 110) 


1,447 



1 Not organized until 1913. 

The wheat-pea farms of Washington and Idaho serve as an 
example of the growing problem of acquiring sufficient capital. 3 
Changes in size of farm, value of real estate, and working capital 
from 1935 to 1953 were as follows: 



Item 



Acres per farm number. 

Value of real estate dollars. 

Working capital dollars- 
Total investment dollars. 



1935 



22, 173 
3.934 



26. 107 



1940 



29, 057 
6,912 



35, 969 



1945 



51, 162 
13, 379 



64,541 



1950 



89, 759 
17, 847 



107, 606 



1953 



111,616 
23, 729 



A part of the change in dollar investment was due to change in 
price level. Changes have been somewhat more rapid in this 
wheat-pea area than in some other wheat areas during the last 20 
years, but somewhat similar increases can be noted in other 
regions. 

High capital requirements represent a serious problem to many 
farmers. This is especially true of a beginning farmer. Even 
though he starts as a tenant, the large amount of working capital 
required to operate an efficient unit is difficult to acquire. If the 
young farmer starts with little capital on a relatively small farm 
his net income may not be enough to accumulate the capital needed 
for the essential operation of a more efficient unit. All of his 
income is likely to be needed to pay family living and operating 
expenses. 



' Hurd, Edgar B., "Wheat-Pea Farming in Washington and Idaho, 1935-53." Circular No. 954. U. S. D. A.. Washington, D. C. 



WHEAT PRODUCERS AND WHEAT PRODUCTION 



31 



A related problem facing wheat and other farmers is in making 
the adjustments to the rapid changes in modern technology. 
Obtaining proper adjustment in mechanization and size of farms 
is often difficult. As farmers attempt to increase the size of their 
farm, land becomes difficult to acquire. Thus, many farmers con- 
tinue to find themselves either operating their land with inefficient 
equipment or having the modern machinery but being unable to 
operate efficiently for a lack of sufficient land. 

The continual increase in the average size of farms in the wheat 
areas does not appear to indicate an end to family farms or t hat the 
land is rapidly falling into corporate hands. It is an indication 
that, with modern equipment, the farm family finds it can operate 
a much larger acreage than was formerly possible. But the 
decrease in number of families on the land does have economic and 
social implications for individuals and the community and it 
means much larger investments in the farm business and fewer 
families to support local government, local schools, churches, roads, 
recreational facilities, and community activities. But more 
prosperous families, though fewer, may mean eventually a more 
satisfactory community situation than is formed among a larger 
number of families having very low incomes. 

The seasonality of labor requirements is another problem of 
specialized wheat producers in that most of the work on wheat 
farms comes during a four to six months period. In many parts 
of the wheat regions where annual rainfall is 20 inches or less, the 
opportunities for diversification are limited. Wheat has a decided 
advantage over other crops and farm operators find their highest 
returns in specialized wheat production. This does not permit 
full use of family labor and equipment on a yearly basis. Seasonal 
labor requirements for a typical wheat farm are as follows: 

Monthly Percentage Distribution of Labor Required for Wheat 
Production ' 







>, 




















.c 


Region 


rt 


3 


.a 










3 




& 


d 







3 

d 




7, 


0, 




a 
3 

>-s 


>. 

3 
>-> 


be 
3 
< 


CO 


O 


> 


a 


Hard winter wheat— Okla- 




































4 
9 


is 


21 
?, 


24 
33 


24 
26 


12 

111 


X 












IS 




Soft winter wheat— Illinois- .. 




2 


2 


2 




7 


31 


20 


26 


7 


2 


i 








2 


11 


6 


6 


28 


15 


14 


13 


5 













! Hecht, Reuben W. — Farm Labor Requirements in the United States. 1947— Spe- 
cial report by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics 17. S. D. A. 

Table 71- — Annual Precipitation (Inches of Rainfall) at 
Representative Weather Stations in the Great Plains 
Wheat Area: 1931-52 



Year 


Wood- 
ward, 
Okla. 


Colby. 
Kans. 


Dal ton, 
Xehr. 


Aberdeen, 
S. Dak. 


Dickinson, 
N. Dak. 


Bank, 
Mont. 


Moro, 
Oreg. 


1931.. 

1932 

1933 

1934 

1935..- 

1936 

1937 

1938 

1939.. 

1940 

1941 

1942. 

1943 

1944 

1945 . 
1946 

1947 

1948 

1949 

1950 

1951... 
1952 

Average 


30 
29 
17 
24 
21 

18 
20 
30 
20 
23 

46 
26 
21 
33 
22 
27 

24 
26 
28 
31 
24 
15 

25 


16 

15 
18 
9 
13 

12 
15 
18 
15 
16 

31 
21 
14 
29 
20 
28 

17 
20 
27 
16 
23 
14 

18 


13 
13 
18 

12 
20 

11 
13 
22 
10 

10 

22 
25 
14 
19 
23 
15 

211 
13 
19 
IS 
22 
17 

17 


19 
20 
13 
15 
24 

14 
25 
17 
22 
16 

21 
28 

22 
28 
19 
22 

21 
15 
20 
18 
19 
14 

2(1 


16 
17 
12 
8 
15 

10 
17 
16 

17 

31 
20 

15 

20 

12 
14 

17 
16 
11 
15 

17 
12 

16 


9 
14 

9 
12 

5 

12 
11 
14 
8 
13 

11 
13 
10 
8 
12 
14 

13 

16 

10 
9 
17 

8 

11 


12 
11 
11 
10 

10 
15 
11 
8 
15 

13 
16 
13 

8 
13 

8 

14 
16 

16 
14 
10 

12 



Source: Climatic Summary of United States —United States Weather Bureau. 



Wheat production in the Great Plains area is often regarded as a 
high risk enterprise. The variability in climatic conditions together 
with insects and diseases results in considerable variation from 
year to year in wheat production and farm income. 

The climatic hazards facing the farmer in this region are illus- 
trated by the variation in annual rainfall (see table 71]. The year- 
to-year variations may exceed 10(1 percent. Much of the Great 
Plains is also a high hail risk area. The hazards of crop failure are 
particularly serious to the farmer who is in debt and has no 
financial reserves. Added to this crop uncertainty is the high cash 
cost of operation. 

In contrast to conditions of a few decades ago, farmers now 
have much higher costs for machinery upkeep; he buys all the fuel 
he needs for power; he spends much more for insect, disease, and 
weed control; he faces much higher cash living costs and in some 
areas, spends more for commercial fertilizer. The following data 
from the Agricultural Research Service studies 4 indicates the 
increase in total cash farm expenditures per farm: 

Type of farm 1937-411947-49 1954 

Wheat, corn, livestock farms, Northern 

(ireat Plains $1,431 $4, 330 $4, 457 

Wheat, small grain, livestock farms, 

Northern Great Plains.. 1, 614 5, 104 5, 129 

Wheat, roughage, livestock farms, 

Northern Great Plains 1 , 306 4, 363 4, 829 

Winter wheat farms, Oklahoma and 

Kansas 1,839 4. 493 4.90.", 

Wheat-pea farms, Washington and 

Idaho 3,484 7,117 9,159 

The lack of alternatives is a major problem to many wheat 
farmers. In many areas they cannot easily shift to other crops or 
increase livestock whenever conditions seem unfavorable for 
wheat. Many wheat producers in the Great Plains, however, do 
combine wheat and livestock production. Through much of this 
wheat region there is land that is not suitable for cultivation. It 
can be utilized only by grazing. Consequently, the farmers may 
keep sufficient livestock to make use of the feed available. This 
type of farm organization helps to improve the efficiency in use 
of labor and equipment- 
Many have suggested putting much of the Great Plains wheat- 
land back into grass and using it for livestock production. But 
farmers who are willing to seed the land back to grass and go into 
livestock production have important questions to consider. The 
high investment required for putting land into grass is a deterrent. 
Establishing grass in the low rainfall areas is difficult, especially 
since farmers are likely to consider shifts to grass only when 
conditions are dry and wheat yields are low. Such conditions are 
not favorable for establishing grass and obtaining a living from 
livestock. Often the grass seedings fail entirely; or, when the 
establishment of grass is partially successful, several years are 
required to produce sufficient feed for livestock production. 
Under such conditions, the waiting for income from livestock pro- 
duction and the risks involved give rise to important problems to 
many farmers. 

These are some of the production problems wheal farmers face. 
The fact that in its original state land in the Great Plains was 
better suited to gra/.ing than to farming does not necessarily pro- 
vide the answer to the farmer who has such land which has been 
broken out in a period when wheat was very profitable. And the 
fact that a man could operate a farm and get ahead financially in 
the past even though he had little capital to work with, offers little 
promise to the farmer who is producing wheat in this age of highly 
mechanized farming. 



'Farm Costs anil Returns on Commercially Operated Farms Agriculture Infor- 
mation Bulletin 158. ARS U. S. D. A— 1956. 

U. 5. G0VERNMFNT PRINTING OFFICE 195)