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Argentine during seven years of misfortune is all the more
interesting in that the second national census was taken at
this time, thus precisely marking the economic, democratic,
and political progress of the country. We find that in 1895 —
limiting our inquiry to the four principal cultures — the i

* Cf. L" agriculture et Vdevage dans la liipublique Argentine, d'apr^s le I
rerensement de la premiere quinzaine d'octobre 1SS8, by P. Latzina, printed by |
P. Mouillot, Paris, 1889.




(Uirino- these

seven years

was as

follows :-




Increase in

Seven Years.

Products. j^

cres Cultiv.ited.

Acres Cult iv.ateil.


Per cent.

Wheat ...










Maize ...














If we now compare the figures for 1895 with those for
1902, we find that the national agricultural expansion has
never ceased during this second period of seven years.
During this period, moreover, an important change occurred ;
one which encouraged production by placing exchange upon
a solid basis : we refer to the law of monetary conversion,
which gave paper a fixed value and abolished the discount
which had hitherto aftected all private commercial trans-

In comparing the figures of the years 1895 and 1902, we
find that the progress was as follows : — X,,


1895 igo2 Increase in Seven Years.

Acres Cultivated. Acres Cultivated. Absolute. Per cent.

Wheat ... 5,062,717 9,124,449 4,061,732 80

Linseed 946,690 3,228,774 2,282,084 238

Maize ... 3,073,130 4,450,060 1,376,930 44

Lucerne 1,729,000 4,273,502 2,544,502 147

Totals 10,811,537 21,076,785 10,265,248 94

It now remains to examine the third period, from 1902
to 1904-1905, the statistics of which are as follows: —

Increase in Two Years.
Absolute. Per cer


Wheat ... 9,124,449 12,110,706 2,986,257 33

Linseed ... 3,228.774 2,674,738 554,086 18

Maize ... 4,450,060 5,648,988 1,198,928 27

Lucerne ... 4,273,502 4,910,000 666,498 15

Totals ... 21,076,785 25,374,432 4,297,647 21*

We see that, with the exception of linseed, the progress
of agriculture has received no check ; on the contrary, the

* This increase would amount to 73 "5 per cent, in seven years, as compared
with 94 and 105 per cent, for the two previous periods : but an average reckoned
from two years is of course not reliable. — [Trans.]


figures speak of still greater expansion, attesting to the
great economic future of the country.

The culture of wheat, as we see, has increased by
2,986,257 acres; maize, by 1,198,928 acres; lucerne, by
666,498 acres. Unfortunately, the culture of linseed has
suffered a decrease of 554,036 acres ; a result to be attributed
partly to low prices, and to the loss of a certain proportion
of the previous crops.

As for maize, we see that in 1904-1905 5,648,988 acres
were sown, a figure which represents an increase of 27 per cent,
over the 4,450,060 acres of 1902. Yet the yield was only
131,155,000 bushels in 1904-1905, whereas in 1903-1904 it
was 163,300,000 bushels. This sensible decrease was felt
chiefly in the Province of Buenos Ayres, where the loss was
one of 31,490,000 bushels, out of the total loss of 32,145,000
bushels, while in the Province of Santa Fe the yield was
almost unaltered.

The average yield in 1904-1905 for the whole country
and the entire area of land under seed may be estimated as
23 bushels per acre, as against 31 '4 bushels in 1903-1904,
The harvest of 1904-1905 would thus have left a large
deficit, had not the increase of sown lands compensated in
part the diminished yield of the soil per acre. This fact
is a witness to the truth of the important fact to which we
have elsewhere drawn attention: that the Argentine need
no longer as before fear a bad total harvest, by reason of
the enormous increase of sown lands.*

Since 1905 the agricultural expansion of the Republic
has assumed considerable proportions, thanks to the splendid
harvests, which have not only attracted a greater number
of cultivators, but have also enabled these already established
to tiike in and cultivate new land.

Examining only the figures relating to the harvest of
1908-1909, we find that the area sown in wheat, linseed, and
oats has increased to 20,342,920 acres, which are divided,
according to the figures issued by the Statistical Division

* Years hence, whon the limit of expansion has been reached, or expansion
for any cause has diminished, the inevitable exhaustion of the soil may cause
some bad years, iinless more scientific methods take the place of the policy of
obtaining large yields at any cost; but the change will probably be gradual.
Trans— [.]


of Rural Economy of the Ministry of Agriculture, in tlic
following proportions : —

Acres under

AcreR under

AcreH under





Buenos Ayros




Santa Fe








Entro Hios ...




Pampa Ccntralo




Other Provinces




and Territories

Total 14,865,379 4,489,908 1,564,151

If we add to these figures the 7,042,710 acres sown with
maize in 1906-1907, and the 7,410,000 acres of lucerne which
were already in cultivation, we obtain a general total of
more than 35 millions of acres of land bearing the principal
Argentine crops at the end of 1908.

These figures reveal the large increase of 10 millions of
acres over these relating to the harvest of 1904-1905.

In speaking of the chief crops of Argentine agriculture,
there is one which we must especially mention, which,
although not capable of repetition year by year, yet assumes
considerable proportions, occupying already many millions
of acres. We refer to the fodder known as lucerne, which
in 1890 was grown only on 1,480,000 acres, and on 1,729,000
in 1895 ; while to-day no less than 7,412,000 acres are under

This crop is a new source of wealth for the Argentine.
Its growth has arisen from the increased value of lands
which were until lately considered unfit for the production
of cereals. These lands are now greatly in demand, and of
late years great fortunes have been made out of them.

Lucerne serves two different purposes ; it is exported as
dried fodder, or is used at home to feed and fatten cattle.
Hence the lucerne farmer may either graze his holding or
mow it ; so that there are lucerne farms and lucerne
" estancias," or ranches, each having its distinct character-

The farms are mostly near the stations of the chief
railway-lines which lead to the ports of embarkation, and
consist of holdings of 150 to 250 acres, cultivated by small

* Lucerne in exported chietly to Brazil and South Africa.


proprietors, or more generally by m6tayers — tenants who
pay in kind. The mowing, drying, raking, gathering and
stacking of the lucerne are operations which last from i
October to March ; the embalement, or packing into bales,
which are pressed and bound with iron, by means of a press
worked by horse-power, occupies the rest of the year.
There is also a form of exploitation which is more elementary
and also more rapid : the cutting and immediate sale of the
crop as green fodder ; this method is in use on farms near
the cities.

But the great lucerne belt, which occupies by far the
greatest proportion of the sown lands, is composed of the
" estancias ", which are composed of fields or farms of lucerne
destined for the feeding and fattening of animals, chiefly
cattle. These exist of all sizes ; from the " estanzula " to the
largest ranches. Latifundia sown with lucerne are common
in the south of Cordoba, and there are inatances of immense
green savannas of from 35,000 to 50,000 acres — roughly,
from 50 to 80 square miles in extent — consisting entirely,
of lucerne farms and belonging to a single lord and master..
There are several settlements or colonies of this kind in this
region; such as the Colonia Maria Soledad, situated at
Carnerillo and at Chucul, including some 42,000 acres of
lucerne farms; and the Duggan prairie, which has 32,000
acres of lucerne. Properties of 15,000 acres are numerous.

According to the last statistics published, the culture of
lucerne is distributed as follows : Province of Buenos Ayres,
1,235,000 acres; Province of C6rdoba, 1,235,000; Province
of Santa F^, 740,000; Pampa Central, 300,000; Province of
San Juan, 200,000 ; other Provinces, 250,000 ; giving a total
of some 4,000,000 acres. At the moment of writing these
lines this area should certainly have increased to a total
of 7^ millions of acres.

In spite of the great progress already achieved — it was not
less than 25 per cent., for instance, in the Province of C(5rdoba
in 1903-04 — the culture of this species of forage is still in its
infancy in the Argentine ; it is bound to increase notably,
on account of the superb results to be obtained, both from
its use as fodder and on account of the manner in which it
will transform a certain kind of uncultivated soil which


grows nothing but tough grasses of slow growth uiid low
nutritive value.

One of the first economic effects produced by the growth

of lucerne on a particular estate or in a given neighbourhood

5 i i8 that it increases the value of the land on which it has

I been sown. On this point several cases have been cited
J which would seem incredible, were they not easily verified.
I! Fields which three or four years ago were sold for 2 paper
I! piastres per acre are to-day worth 30, and lands w^hich

were sold for 25 to 30 piastres are now sold for 80 and
If 100 piastres.*
It Lucerne farms also increase the value of the land in

II their neighbourhood. It is enough to use the phrase, " good
J land for lucerne," and the land referred to will immediately
1! realise a high commercial value.

II ! Of the profits to be derived from lucerne when exploited
ii I in a rational and up-to-date manner, we may judge from a
y single instance reported in the Buenos Ayres Standard : a
It . league t of meadows sown with lucerne in La Penca, in the
II I south of the Province of Cdrdoba, has yielded in a year a
i 1 profit of £30,000 ; and in another year it actually produced
i i a profit of £42,800. This journal also adds that a league of
o; I similar land in New Zealand would be worth no less than
I ! £360,000. t

The constant increase of sown lands is certainly the most
;; . notable feature of the agricultural situation. It is the more
(j 1 interesting to note that of late years this development has
oi : been due to the nation's own resources, as after the politico-
j : financial crisis of 1890 the current of immigration and
J i colonisation which had assisted agriculture in previous
J : years was almost completely checked. As soon as the flow
of immigration is re-established — and it seems to us that

t * Probably the reader need not be told that the roots of the lucerne
'* < plant accumulate enormous quantities of nitrogen-yielding bacilli, thus produc-
iji I ing organic compounds in the soil, ready for use by the next crop sown. The
J '; old practice of sowing clover and ploughing the roots into an exhausted field
' I roTives the land in this manner. — [Trans.]

+ This league is that of 2500 hectares, or G175 acres ; making the linear
\ I league 3-14 miles.— [Tkans].

X Cj, j^nales de la SociedaJ rural Argentina ; Art., £1 Pais de In Alfalteu.


it is already recovering, thanks to the attractive power of
the abundant harvests rather than to any political or
administrative measure — we shall certainly see that the
agricultural yield of the Republic will receive a fresh
impulse from this cause.

The 35 millions of acres sown in 1908-9 represent a little
over 4'07 per cent, of the entire surface of the country, as com-
pared to a percentage of '008 in 1888. Besides this, w^e must
not forget that according to the figures of the agricultural and
pastoral census of 1908, 646,620 square miles, or rather more
than 39 per cent., are employed in the feeding of 67,211,754
sheep, 29,118,625 horned cattle, 7,531,376 horses, 465,037 mules,
and 285,088 asses.

Finally, if we admit the possibility of considerably
increasing, by means of the intensive system, the yield of
cultivated soil, we see that it will also be possible, on the
same stretch of land, to increase the number of head of
cattle ; so that it is permissible to conclude that the Argentine
Republic can still conveniently give up a third of her surface
to colonisation, without in the least affecting or damaging
the industry of stock-raising.

Knowing the extraordinary progress attained by Argentine
agriculture during the last twenty years, as well as the
development of each of the particular crops preferred by
the Argentine farmer, we must now inquire in what regions
of the country this expansion has made itself particularly
felt. For this purpose we will divide the Republic into
geographical belts, confining ourselves here to an examina-
tion of these Provinces in which agricultural progress has
been particularly notable, and limiting ourselves to the three
principal forms of culture :

Total Surface cultivated during the Agricultural Year

Geographical Belts.

Number of Acres Cultivated.

viNCE OF Buenos Ayres—

Northern Section


Western Section ...


Central and Southern (first group) ...


Central and Southern (secona groupj




BrouRhl forward,

Geographical Kelts.


nber of Acres Cu


Pbovinck of Santa Fe—

Northern Section


Central Section


Southern Section



Province of Entke Rios—

First Section ...



Second Section


Third Section



Province ok Cokdoba




Total 19,956,J^58

It will be seen from this table that the great agricultural
belt of the Argentine is formed by the Province of BuenoH
Ay res, Santa Fe, Cordoba, Entre Rios, and the Territory of
Pampa Central. This latter has taken an important place
ill the national production, and so rapidly, that we may still
prophesy a notable expansion of its resources. The other
productive belts have in proportion made less progress,
excepting the Province of Mendoza, where vine-growing
has been developed, and that of Tucuman, where the culture
of the sugar-cane has made great strides.

There, for the moment, the progress of agriculture has
halted, as the other districts will only be develojjed later on,
when the populations of the former regions overflow, unless
some hitherto unexploited source of wealth — such as the
quebracho in Chaco — attracts capital and labour.

At the time of the last harvest the Province of Buenos
Ay res was in the front rank in the matter of wheat, no less
than 6,184,130 acres being devoted to that cereal. This
enormous area represented an increase of 2,933,920 acres
since the year 1901-1902, and of 5,2-54,310 acres since 1895.
If we compare this figure with that of 1888, when only
609,560 acres were under wheat, we find an increase of
5,574,570 acres.

Of the 6,184,130 acres of wheat sown in the Province of
Buenos Ayres in 1908-1909, 3,620,300 acres, or 53 per cent., were
in the region known as the " Centre and South " (the and
second groups united), formed by an assemblage of lifty-six


cantons, of which some, although they were only lately affected
by the movement which has turned untouched and desert
prairies into green fertile fields, are to-day important centres
of production, having a considerable influence upon the
commercial balance of the country.

The real development of agriculture in the Province of
'Buenos Ayres dates only from 1895. Until then it was
considered merely as a country especially adapted for stock-
raising, and this false conception was so rooted in many
minds that it was believed that agriculture was out of the
question, except in the Province of Santa Fe. Comparing
statistics, we find that the latter Province had 992,080 acres
of wheat in 1888 and 2,470,000 in 1895, while Buenos Ayres
boasted only of 510,090 and 906,490 acres in the same years.

It was much the same with linseed ; the figures being
180,300 and 657,020 acres in Santa Fe, and 108,650 and :
160,550 in Buenos Ayres. Maize formed an exception;
while Santa Fe, in the two years given, had only 150,670
and 429,540 acres under maize, Buenos Ayres had 1,259,700
and 1,652,430 acres.

Only in the agricultural year 1901-1902 did Buenos
Ayres step in front of Santa Fe, and attain such crops of
wheat as until then were unknown, leaving all competitors
far behind. In the matter of linseed, for which Santa
Fe has always had a special predilection, that Province has
always, since 1888, maintained its superiority over BuenoS;
Ayres. As for maize, Buenos Ayres retains its superior
position, although it is just to admit that in 1901-1902 the:
other Province made considerable progress. j

Before leaving Buenos Ayres, we must mention that the-
second place in the culture of wheat, is taken by the region
known as the West, which, with its 1,471,360 acres, or 29 pei^
cent, of the total, forms, like the analogous region in North
America, one of the great grain districts of the Argentine
In this region there are cantons, such as those of Nueve d(
Julio, Lincoln, Pehuajo, General Villegas, Trenque Leuquen
and others, which, reputed from all time unfit for agriculturej
have surprised every one by revealing themselves as absolute,
mines of wealth. This region has been touched, it is tru©:
by the magic ring of the railroad, which has unrolled ii


these new territories, so full of uuexploited wealth, an
immense network of tracks, whose marvellous effects
make us think of the tales of the Thousand and One

It is in this region that we have seen, as the logical
result of the agricultural awakening, the most surprising
increase in the value of the soil. These prices mounted by
leaps and bounds ; from £1, 15s. to £3, 10s., from £3, 10s. to
£7, from £7 to £8, 16s. per acre, and even more; yet
one is forced to admit that this increase, though apparently
capricious, has a real enough foundation, since it is based
upon the remunerative qualities of the soil.

In the Province of Santa Fe, the cradle of the agricultural ^
settlement in the Argentine, there are at present 820 colonies
and cultivated lands, of which the surface under seed em-
braces an area of 7,223,980 acres, divided as follows : Wheat,
3,259,920 acres; linseed, 2,037,990 acres; pea-nuts, 29,390
acres; lucerne, 1,787,280 acres ; other crops, 111,400 acres.

The Province of C6rdoba has furnished another of the
Argentine's agricultural surprises. Neglected, not so long ''
igo, by the stream of immigration which set in for preference
towards Santa Fe or Buenos Ayres, Cordoba began to attract
•:he attention of labourers when the latter (discouraged by
some calamitous years in Santa F^) were drawn thither by the
fertility of its soil, the scarcity of swamps, the regular rains,
jhe cheap land, and the proximity of centres of consumption
ind ports of embarkation, and by the facilities of transport
offered by an extensive network of railways. There the
abourers set up their tents, and their numbers increased
lay by day ; there they devoted themselves to the strenuous
.ask of reclaiming the virgin soil, and there, in return, they
)btained magnificent harvests, a veritable benediction of
:(rateful nature.

The results surpassed all expectation ; to such a degree,
■hat to-day the Province of Cordoba is one of the first /
:olonial centres of the Republic, and the Province which
ttfers the most brilliant future to the cattle-breeder and the
agriculturalist. To-day the transformation of the soil
:)rogresses so rapidly as to astonish both natives and


To give some idea of the enormous development of this
Province, it is enough to say that in 1898-1899 it counted
176 colonies and 71 settled estates. In 1905-1906 these
figures were respectively 348 and 190. The size of these
colonies has increased in the same proportions ; in 1898-1899
their area was roughly 3,800,000 acres; it increased to
8,910,000. Of this enormous area, reclaimed and cultivated
at the time of harvest in 1898-1899, some 3,150,000 acres
represented wheat, 434,500 linseed, and 355,000 maize. We
must also mention another important crop, which covers
a large area of the Province of Cordoba; lucerne, which is
represented by some 2,240,000 acres.

But the most surprising fact concerning the Province of
Cordoba is not the vast area under the plough, but the
prodigious increase of crops of every kind. Thus the area
sown with wheat, which in 1898-1899 was 1,588,800 acres,
was 2,417,920, in 1903-1904 and 2,695,620 in 1904-1905. It
is the same with linseed ; in 1898-1899 184,490 acres were
sown ; in 1903-1904, 439,830 acres. These figures give some
indication of the vast agricultural future which lies open
before this Province.

Another agricultural revelation has been aftbrded by th(
Territory of Pampa Central, which in 1888 had only 14,90(
acres under the plough; some 11,000 being in maize, 210(
in lucerne, and 300 in wheat. In 1895 it contained 25,52(
acres under culture, and in 1903 308,750 acres were bearin;
crops of various kinds ; wheat, 71,630 acres, and maiz€
419,900; and in 1908-1909, the Pampa contained 913,90f
acres of cultivated soil ; 790,040 under wheat, 74,000 unde
linseed, and 49,400 under oats.

In the space of twenty years the Pampa, once regarde;
as a sterile waste, almost impossible of cultivation or cl
settlement, has seen a great development. It contains to-da'
more than 80,000 inhabitants ; twenty centres of population;
about 914,000 acres under cultivation; 464,645 cattk:
4,809,077 sheep, and 281,537 horses ; with an annual expoi'
of products estimated at 15 millions of paper piastres, (

Its soil hns greatly risen in value ; the square league <
2500 hectares (or 6175 acres, or a square nearly 314 miles c


the side, or just under 10 square miles) sells for anything
up to 100,000 paper piastres, or £8800 ; and even in the
remoter cantons it will sell for £3500 or £4400. This
extraordinary progress has been accomplished quite recently ;
it dates back hardly three years, and the prices tend to
1 increase each day.

j Before completing this sketch of the agricultural products
|of the Argentine, according to the official statistics, we must
I remind the reader that the total of these products increases
;by leaps and bounds, so that the figures given must be
; regarded as strictly provisional, on account of the great
development to be foreseen as new centres of colonisation
are formed. The Pampa Central, of which we have just
I spoken as a very mine of wealth, is capable of producing in
the future enough meat and grain to nourish a great part
lof the population of the world.

i In the Argentine men employ, for the more important
crops, such as wheat, maize, linseed, lucerne, etc., the latest
and most perfect agricultural implements and machines ;
.cultivators, ploughs, drills, harvesters, etc., etc. We have
not space to mention all ; but it is enough to say that in
jthe regions where farming on a large scale is the rule, a
I progressive spirit is in the air, which impels the owners of
I great establishments, and even simple settlers, to furnish
; themselves with the very best machinery, for which they
sometimes pay considerable sums. That agriculture has
; achieved the rapid expansion of which we have just given
i details, notwithstanding the little help which immigration
jhas lately rendered, is due principally to the employment of
jthe perfected machinery in common use.

1 The best types of ploughs, harrows, drills, and reapers of

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