4> THE CORN GROWTH OF RUSSIA AND AMERICA. ( Glasg<nu Mail.) Tlio writer of the article in the American “ National Quarterly Review ” on the relative powers of America and Russia as corn producing countries gives a pretty full and clear statement of the comparative progress of their corn growth. Taking the reviewer’s facts, we have in Russia land capable of supporting 200,000,000 of a population, while the present population is only 70,000,000, whereas America, which has a population of 40,000,000, could support 250,000,000. This gives a very broad margin in both countries for the supply of the wants of the world. The principal wheat producing States in America are Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, lowa, and Michigan ; but the yield fluctuates, some States which formerly produced thirty bushels per acre now yielding only fifteen, the consequence of unskilful farming. Mr. Gladstone in one of his addresses referred to the immense strides which America had made in raising corn ; and the following figures confirm and illustrate his statement From 1840 to 1850 the increase in the wheat crop was 15,062,672 bushels, or li millions of bushels per annum. From 1850 to 1860 the increase was 70,170,037 bushels, nr 7 millions of bushels a year. From 1870 to 1877 the wheat produced rose from 235,885,700 bushels to 360,000,000, an annual increase of more than 17 ni’llions of bushels. The value of the agricultural exports lias risen from L 62,000,000 in 1860 to L 118,000,000 in 1879, which gives an annual increase of more than six millions sterling. As the population increases and lines of communication are multiplied, the cultivation of the land will bo extended, and we may therefore look for a continued high annual increase in corn production. Russia is not so favourably situated as America, although immense tracts of her land arc the very finest for agricultural purposes. The highest value of her agricultural exports was £64,000,000, which is a- little more than half that of America. The arable land of Russia extends to 164,000,000 acres ; but it is not all equally fertile, nor are the climatic influences over the area which it covers equally favourable. ‘‘ The corn-producing region,” says the writer from whom we are drawing these figures, “ may be roughly represented by a quadrilateral, bounded on the north by the provinces of Moscow, Smolensk, and Nijni-Novgorod ; on the south by the Black Sea ; on the east by the Volga; and on the west by the Dniester.” This extensive area, Mr. Wallace, in his work on Russia, divides into the northern and southern zones. In the southern there is the “ black earth zone,” which is the finest corn-growing soil in the world. In the southern zone the produce is chiefly wheat ; in the northern mainly rye. The capabilities of these largo tracts are very great; but the population is thinly spread over them, and agriculture is far behind. With the best land there is the worst farming. The Russian agriculturists lack the spirit, enterprise, and skill of the Americans ; and they are also crippled by their peculiar social state, which, though now free from the evils of serfage, has yet others to bear which are likely to harass the peasant for a considerable time to come. There are drawbacks also in the climate. The south is subject to severe storms, which are destructive of the crops. In one year there were 11,000 acres of the finest corn destroyed by a hailstorm. In the central and eastern districts the most serious mischief is done by drought and the grasshopper. But the corn trade of Russia lias grown notwithstanding. From 1857 to 1872 the export of corn has tripled. In 1867 Russia had just come out of the Crimean war; and at that time there were only 419 miles of railway made, but now there are 8124. These, however, are only a small portion of what should be made if the capabilities of the land are to be fully developed. In the last three years the corn trade of Russia has declined, and mainly because her railways wore monopolised, owing to the Turkish war, for military purposes. The exports for the first five months of 1878 were 13,000,500 bushels; for the corresponing period of 1879 only 9,000,000 bushels. Taking one year with another, the average export of Russia is about L 15,000,000. With political quiet, more political liberty, and an infusion of foreign skill and capital, we should soon witness a great expansion in Russia’s production and exportation of corn. Tens of thousands of acres are waiting to be reclaimed; and “although,” as there viewer says, “the United States seems destined to occupy the first place among agricultural nations, [Russia may
fairly . consider herself secure of the second. ” We are thus tolerably sure of breadstuffs in abundance and at a moderate rate. And if our own agriculturalists, with their superior energy and methods, find that they cannot produce corn to cope with the foreign producer, then they have taken their land at a rental above its value ; and, like every other commodity which is affected by the fluctuations of commerce, it must come down.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 71, 9 March 1880
THE FARMER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 71, 9 March 1880
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