Wa take the following from a letter addressed to the Field by a DaKota farmer: ‘‘Thevalueof wheat atGroodwin station,6l9 miles west of Chicago, 400 a bushel ; carriage to Chicago, 22c ; ditto on to New York, 18c ; agent's commission and elevator charges, reckoned at 5c ; freight to Liverpool at 4d per bushel, 8c ; cost of selling in Liverpool, short weight, commission and charges, estimated at sc; rota! 980, equal to 4s Id per bushel, or 32s 8d per quarter. The words of this farmer to me were as follows:— * I claim that I have cultivated this land and raised my crop cheaper than any ordinary farmer; I have got my work done for as low a sum as any man can expect. The farmers around my land are poor, and only too anxious to hire out to get a little ready money to go on with.* I have a farm myself within five miles of where this wheat was grown. I cannot give figures minutely, because we have not sold ourj wheat yet (not being forced to do so.) ! The yield was about 3,000 bushels, off 200 acres. I have expended 10,000dols on dwelling-house, barn, granary, horses and implements, and my estimate is that I cannot raise wheat ( o cover interest on cost of land at Siols per acre, depreciation at 5 per cent., and - interest at 7 per cent, on outlay) under 750 per bushel, which is almost double the price now ruling in Dakota, The bulk of the farmers in our section are bankrupt. Wheat is not a poor man’s crop ; they had to sell last year at 70c per bushel, which left no margin to pay interest on mort- j gages. They have been breaking their ] necks to get in as big an acreage of wheat as possible, running in debt for the implements, horses, etc, also the bare necessaries of life They have no money to pay interest on mortgages, or the notes due, and altogether are in a deplorable state. The yield has not been over 12 bushels on an average, and a great deal of the wheat has been smutty, which has been selling from 30c to 35c per bushel. My views regarding this unpreoedentei wheat depression are not In accordanqe with the ideas of others. I feel satisfied that it will take two or three years to give the farmers in the N. W. Territory confidence to plant wheat largely ; also that the yield in Am ric\ will run from sixty to one hundred million bushe's short of last year. Those farmers who had money left this season have gone more into stock ; those who have not will have to Wqrk within themselves, having no money to pxpend on hire, or in teams, or in machinery. Confidence is gone. The insurers, who feist on the poor farmers, will hot advance funds when they cannot get former interest paid. Them is an absurd idea rooted in the minds of nearly all .English farmers, millers and wheat importers, and which is fostered by those journalists who farm on papar, that, now an advance has come, the whole farming world will be rushing into planting spring wheat on a tremendous scale, enough to counterbalance the short acreage of winter wheat. As far as America is concerned, it is not much use planting spring wheat unless the ground has been prepared in the fall. Viewing this great question broadly, the having to submit to such ruinous'prices is the grandest thing that ever happened to America. Presuming we had wheat for five years at 50s per quarter, what would be the result ? We should have extraordinary good times during that period ; but the soil would be so much impoverished that it would take ten times the present Jvalue of the laud to put it back in the state nature gave it. When X started faming three
years ago in Dakota, wheat was a dollar per bushel there. I took a sample of the land to Dr Voelcker, and he stated the soil was a good one, but after fire years’ successive wheat farming it would give out ; then it would require five tons of lime per acre, in conjunction with other manures, to restore the land. I remarked that it would cost ten times as much as the land coat me to put it back as I found it. I did not buy the land to work it out, and therefore resolved to go into stuck afte. two yeara wheat growing. If wheat was 150 per cant, dearer in Dakota than it is to-day, I should still prefer mixed farming. My experience in Canada and the United States is as follows: —Wheat farmers have poor farms and no money ; mixed farms pay moderately; and those who go prin cipally into dairying and stock are comparatively rich, and own valuable farms ] I again assert that one of the greatest curses that ever happened to that grand country would be a succession of highpriced wheat yeara. I look for wheat to sell on a very much higher level; cjnfidence has been destroyed in wheat growing, and, notwithstanding the higher prices expected, the wheat craze has had a wholesome check, wh'ch will take years to recover, and by that time the American wheat raiser will have become a mixed farmer. The Yankee will now sit back, and give the two hundred million souls in India a chance to sand their aurplus wheat to Great Britain.
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AMERICAN WHEAT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1518, 20 April 1885
AMERICAN WHEAT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1518, 20 April 1885
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