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This combination of drought and heat was the severest test to which the crops of the immense area covered have been subjected during the many years covered by records.
Yet 1911 is not a lean year. Enough has been produced for the national needs, and there will be a surplus.
COMPARISON UNFAVORABLE TO 1911.
Most of the crops of 1911, as far as their production is ascertained, compare unfavorably with the average production of the preceding five years. Cotton is the most conspicuous exception. If the commercial expectations of the size of this crop are realized, it will be one-quarter larger than the five-year average, and also the largest cotton crop ever grown.
The sugar-beet crop is much above the average production of the previous five years, and is the largest ever grown, while rice and buckwheat are considerably above.
All other crops are below the five-year average in production, hay being the most prominent one in percentage of deficiency.
VALUE OF WEALTH PRODUCED.
For the first time in many years the total value of farm products has declined from that of the preceding year. The estimate for 1911 is based on the census items and is $8,417,000,000, or $277,000,000 under the total for 1910. The loss is chargeable to the general classes of animal products and animals old and slaughtered. Dairy cows are the only farm animals for which increase of price is indicated. Eggs, wool, butter, and poultry have likewise suffered in farm price during the year. In consequence of the decline of prices of farm animals and their products, this group is estimated as having produced a value of $2,913,000,000 in 1911, or $321,000,000 below the amount for 1910.
On the other hand, the crops are worth more than those of 1910, the estimate of farm value being $5,504,000,000, a gain of $44,000,000 over 1910. Farm prices of all crops are higher than for 1910, except for cotton, cotton seed, and flaxseed, and this general fact, notwithstanding the other general fact that production was low, makes about 10 crops of 1911 the most valuable ones of the same kinds that the farms of this country have ever produced.
If the census value of farm products for 1899 is represented by 100, the relative standing of subsequent years can be readily perceived if they also are represented by index numbers. After 1899 the total value of farm products increased yearly about 5 to 7 in the index number for six years, ending with 1905. For 1906 the increase was 10, for 1907 it was 15, for 1909 it was 16, for 1910 the increase was less than 2, and for this year there is a loss of 6 in the index number. At the end of six years after 1899, or the year 1905, the index number had risen from 100 to 133; in five years more it mounted to 183; and the highest point reached is 184.3 for 1910. The number for 1911 is 178.4. The progression was broken by this year, so that two other years, 1909 and 1910, exceed 1911 in the value of the wealth produced on farms.
Little is known of the total agricultural wealth production of foreign countries, but the little that is known affords interesting comparisons. A rough but official estimate of the value of the wealth produced by agriculture in Italy in 1910, a year of large production, is $1,351,000,000. Official returns of the production in Japan, averaged for the three years 1905–1907, give an annual value of a little more than $613,000,000. The official yearbook of the Commonwealth of Australia reports for 1908 a value of $484,000,000. According to the Canadian census of 1901 the value of the farm products of the foregoing year was $363,000,000; the census of 1911 has not yet published the corresponding figures for 1910, but the annual official report of agriculture indicates a present production valued at about $900,000,000
In the statement that follows concerning the crop quantities and values for 1911 no figures should be accepted as anticipating the final estimates of this department, to be made later. Only approximations can be adopted, such as could be made by any competent person outside of this department. All values are for products at the farm, unless otherwise stated, and in no item are values at the produce or commercial exchange.
With a value more than twice that of the cotton crop this
year, and but little less than the combined values of the cotton, wheat, and oats crops, corn is by far the leading crop as a wealth producer. The estimate of 2,776,000,000 bushels indicates a production that has been exceeded in only two years, but it is a little under the average for the preceding five years.
The farm price of corn is now higher than it has been since the records of the department began in 1866, except in 1883, and this establishes a total value for the crop that reaches $1,700,000,000 and breaks the record.
So preeminently is corn the leading crop of this country that about three-quarters of the world's crop is grown here. For the five years 1905–1909 the percentage is 76.2.
While the exports of corn as such from this country are small when comparison is made with the size of the crop, they averaged 67,400,000 bushels during the five years 1906–1910, and constitute one-third of the world's exports of corn.
This crop has secured a greater importance in national economy because of the multiplication of its uses. Formerly a feed for animals and as meal or hominy a food for man, it is now made into varied food products and finds numerous industrial uses, largely due to the work of the chemist.
That a large crop may be worth less to the producers than a small one is exemplified by the cotton crop of this year. Commonly supposed to be the largest one ever grown, this crop has reached a pr that is 5 cents a pound of lint below that of last year, when the crop was much less in quantity, and for the same reason the price of seed has declined. Apparently, the value of the fiber and seed of this year's crop will not exceed $775,000,000, an amount that is below that of two former crops, although above the average of the preceding five years.
There is no crop that this country produces that excites such worldwide interest as cotton, for the reason that the crop of the United States is about three-fifths of the world's production, contributes two-thirds of the world's exports, and has a fiber of a sort that has no direct competition in other countries.
It is raw cotton, much more than any other commodity, that makes this country's export value loom large. This fiber contributes about one-half of the value of agricultural exports, and more than a quarter of that of all exports. During the fiscal year 1911, for the first time in history, the value of the exported cotton not only passed the half-billion mark, but reached the amount of $585,000,000, or $148,000,000 more than the average of the five preceding years.
The considerable failure of the hay crop has caused an increase of farm price of only about $2.50 per ton over that of 1910. With a production of only 47,000,000 tons this year, this crop is far below the five-year average yield of 63,500,000 tons, and was exceeded by the crop of 1884 and every year since 1888.
The farm value of this year's crop, however, is slightly above the five-year average. In the case of some other kind of crop, threequarters of the usual production would cause a much greater relative increase of price than is found in this crop, and the reasons why the hay price has not responded in greater degree are probably the good and late fall pasturage and the existence of a great deal of roughage to take the place of hay. The value of the crop is placed at a little less than $700,000,000, and this is $50,000,000 more than the assumed value of the cotton lint produced this year, and $100,000,000 more than the value of the wheat crop. These comparisons emphasize the importance of the hay crop, an importance that is not generally recognized off the farm.
Fourth in order of value is the wheat crop, worth about $600,000,000, or a trifle below the five-year average and also below the value of the wheat crop of three other years. The farm price of wheat per bushel is a little above what it was last year, but is considerably below the price of 1909.
In production, the wheat crop of this year is 57 per cent below the five-year average, and has been exceeded by that of every year since 1897, except in five years. The estimate of the department places the production at 656,000,000 bushels, an amount that would have been much exceeded had the weather conditions been favorable.
This country produced one-fifth of the world's wheat crop during the last five years, and contributed about one-eighth of the world's exports.
The oats crop is invariably fifth in order of value, and this year is worth about $380,000,000, or 5 per cent more than the five-year average. This amount has been perceptibly exceeded in only one year. The farm price is about 10 cents a bushel higher than it was last year, on account of the deficient production.
The yield of this crop is estimated to be 874,000,000 bushels, a low amount caused by adverse weather. This was exceeded by the crop of every year since 1901, except three years. The oats crop of 1909 and of 1910 was more than a billion bushels. About one-fourth of the world's oats are grown in this country.
The early prospect of an almost complete failure of the potato crop was not fully realized and the crop was ascertained to be 282,000,000 bushels, a production that was exceeded in seven years, and was 12 per cent below the five-year average.
Although the crop was about 90 per cent of the average production, the farm price increased 20 cents a bushel, or to about 75 cents, with the result that the total value of the crop is the highest of record, and amounts to $213,000,000, or 14 per cent above the five-year average.
23165° — AGB 1911-2
Barley is another crop deficient in production. The 146,000,000 bushels of this year's crop are 12 per cent below the five-year average, and also below the production of every year since 1905. But the total value of the crop is about $125,000,000, and much above the record value of 1907. This is because the farm price rose to about 85 cents a bushel, far above the price for every year since 1881, when it was 82.3 cents, and, with the exception of that year, far above the price for every year since 1874, when it was 86 cents. Since the record of the farm price of barley began in this department in 1866 the price of this year's crop per bushel has been exceeded in only
The tobacco crop is 2 per cent under the five-year average in production and 5.3 under in value. From 1906 to 1909 the farm price of tobacco ranged from 10 to 10.3 cents a pound; in 1910 it was 9.3 cents; and for this year there is apparently an increase of a fraction of a cent. Previous to 1906, when the 10-cent price was first reached since 1887, there was a period during which there was a general complaint among tobacco growers that the price was too low, if not unprofitable.
The crop of this year is estimated to be about 800,000,000 pounds, worth about $76,000,000. The production has been larger in seven years and the total value in two years.
The tobacco grown in this country during the last five years is 31 per cent of the world's crop and supplied other countries with a quantity that is 42.3 per cent of the world's exports of tobacco.
The flaxseed crop of 22,000,000 bushels has a farm value of about $47,000,000. The amount of the crop is 74 per cent under the fiveyear average, and the total value makes the extraordinary comparison of 53 per cent above the five-year average. This is because the farm price increased from $1.01 in 1906 to $1.53 in 1909, to $2.31 in 1910, and to about $2.17 in 1911. The production of this year has been exceeded many times, but the total value has never been equaled.
With the lowest production since 1901, except three years, the rye crop of about 31,000,000 bushels is 5.4 per cent below the five-year average. Its value, on the contrary, is the highest ever reached and is 12.2 per cent above the five-year average. Its farm value of about 83 cents a bushel is the highest since 1868, except 1881. The total value is $26,000,000.