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instead of contenting themselves with i-ye.

Let us now compare this picture of Russian production to
that presented by the Argentine.

What is it that is responsible for the superiority of the
Argentine Pampa over the Russian steppes ? It is the
inexhaustible fertility of a virgin soil, which produces
abundant crops, without necessitating artificial enrichment,
nor even the system of the rotation of crops. The soil yields
harvests of 20 bushels to the acre, without exhaustion, pro-
ducing for many years in succession, as it is doing now in
Chubut, in the south of Buenos Ayres, and in Cordoba,
while the yield of the Russian harvests is only 55 bushels.

For the exploitation of this wealth, Argentine agriculture
employs the most perfect machinery to be obtained in the
world, employing thousands of horses also, to drive it ; while
the Russian peasant has to work with his own hands, having
neither machines nor horses to multiply his strength.

What shall we say of the prosperous and fortunate
situation of the Argentine colonist, who is not only enabled
out of the fruits of his labour to have bread and meat in
abundance upon his table, but is often in process of acquiring,
and that without long delay, the earth he cultivates. His
happy lot has nothing in common with that of the Russian
peasant, the veritable serf of the soil, who never gets so far
as to eat the smallest crumb of the wheat he has harvested.

The one labours under a soft, benign sky, which does
not expose him to the rigour of extreme temperatures in
an atmosphere of freedom and brotherhood which make
for energy, while the other labours at his furrow in a severe
and unequal climate, and under a system of political oppression
which crushes his individuality and diminishes the value


of his efforts. A comparison between the social and economic
conditions of agriculture in the two countries inclines us to
conclude, without prejudice, that Russia cannot be considered
a dangerous rival to the Argentine or the markets of the

The Republic 'of the United States of America is in-
contestably the first wheat-growing country in the whole
world ; and it is interesting to consider whether this country,
which is also the greatest exporter of wheat, will remain
in the future, in spite of the growth of internal consump-
tion, a formidable rival to the Argentine in the markets of
the world.

Let us first of all consider what great progress there
has already been in the production of wheat in the United




Proportion Exported.

(in Millions of Bushels.)

Per cent.

1877 ...




1882 ...




1886 ...




1891 ...




1894 ...




1897 ...




1901 ...




1904 ...


1905 ...


1906 .^




1907 ...


24 1

In the United States the area under wheat has consider- ■
ably increased, but the yield per acre has steadily decreased, j
Thus we find that in 1875 the yield was 12-3 bushels per acre ; ''
17 bushels per acre in 1879 ; 11-7 in 1883 ; 149 in 1892 ; 13-4
in 1899 ; 105 in 1902 ; 10 in 1903 ; and 13-6 in 1904. Thus
in spite of the increased yield, the results per acre have
not increased, and the average of 1904 is inferior to that
of 1879 ; while in France the average yield has been one of
20 bushels per acre from 1900 to 1904.

The national census of the United States for 1900 contains
a graphic chart, which represents the average yield ; from
which we find that only in the north-west, certain districts
of the west, and in a portion of the States of Washington,
Oregon, and California has the production equalled this

Wheat Exported.


(Millions of Dushels.)

(Per Bushel on the Dock.)


58. 5id.


58. 3d.


6s. Od.


3s. lOfd.


38. 8|d.


3b. lljd.


maximum of 20 bushels per acre ; in other localities,
which afford the vast majority of cases, the yield has
varied between 8*5 and 15'6 gallons per acre.

Having glanced at the production of the United States,
we must inquire whether this great nation is increasing its
exportation of wheat proportionately, and how far such ex-
portation may prove an obstacle to the development of the

The following figures representing the years of tlie
largest export of wheat, will throw light upon this matter.



We see that in spite of the European alarmists, who in
1876 denounced the " American Wheat Peril," it took fourteen
years for the exports to increase from 145 to 218 millions
of bushels, and that the latter figure has been only four
times surpassed since 1892.

The production of wheat, on the other hand, increased 116
per cent, between 1875 and 1903, while the population, during
the same period, increased only by 82 per cent. But we must
not forget that although the increase in population is constant,
that of production is not — indeed, the harvest of 1901 amounted
to only 273 million bushels of wheat, as compared to 280
millions in 1877. There is a decrease in years of bad harvests,
but the population naturally knows no such decrease.

The consumption of wheat did not increase between
the census of 1890 and that of 1900; the average remained
424-6 lb. per head, representing a deficit of 368-8 lb. below the
standard allowance of 793-4 lb.

On the other hand, as the population increases by about
1^ or 1^ millions per annum, while consumption remains
stationary, we may conclude that if this country has not yet
reached its maximum of wheat-production, it is very near
that stage, and that the moment is approaching at which all


its wheat harvest will be absorbed by internal consumption,
to the detriment of the export trade.

We have mentioned India as a wheat-exporting country ;
but it is no longer a rival to the Argentine in the conquest
of the international markets. Here is the comparative table
of exportation from India and the Argentine.



The Argentine.

(Millions of Bushtls.)


ons of Bushels.)






36 -8










A mere glance at these figures is more eloquent than any
commentary, since the exportation of wheat from India
increased by barely 10,000,000 bushels between 1902 and
1907, while that from the Argentine increased by 46,000,000
bushels. On the other hand, it is known that India exports
only 10 per cent, of her harvest, although her extremely
frugal population consumes only 1"26 lb. of wheat per head,
instead of the 793"4 lb. we have taken as our basis of annual
consumption. We see then that the production of India, if
her population consumed a normal amount of wheat,* would
not satisfy the national requirements, so that far from
exporting wheat she would, on the contrary, be forced to
import large quantities from without.

Canada is among those wheat-growing countries whose
competition is most to be feared ; and this for many reasons
— geographical, political and economical. If Argentine
statesmen do not seriously apply themselves to attracting a
foreign population, and to reducing the expenses which press
upon the inhabitants, the Argentine will run the risk of
being supplanted in the future by this important British colony.

Canada, from many points of view, presents a singular
analogy to the Argentine Pampas. Like the latter, it is an
almost desert country, its area being 3,190,000 square miles
(nearly 2 millions more than the Argentine), with a popula-
tion of 5,371,000, or slightly less than that of the Argentine;
and like the latter, Canada is a country in process of

* There is really no Buch thing as a normal consumption of wheat, especially
for India. The amount consumed is a matter of climate, local or national
foodstuffs, fuel, methods of cooking, etc. — [Trans.]


formation. A similarity which completCvS the comjiarison is
that the exports of Canada consist principally of the products
of agriculture and stock-raising. Her principal client for
wheat is England ; in 1906-1907 the harvest was 84,470,000
bushels, and 41,033,000 bushels were exported ; or almost
exactly half.

Here we should remark that the Canadian Government
is making every effort to increase the population, and spares
no pains to attain its object. In contrast to what has been
done in the Argentine, where the public lands have only
served to form latifundm, and to enrich a few individuals,
the soil in Canada is sold by the aid of accurate maps, which
are accompanied by a mass of information upon questions
that may interest prospective colonists ; more, the purchaser
is given all kinds of facilities for payment, as well as for
meeting the first expenses of installation. Thanks to a
rational and active propaganda, immigration is abundant ;
the figures for 1903 were 128,364, compared with 112,671 in
the case of the Argentine. Finally, Canada contains 19,500
miles of railways, as against 13,600 in the Argentine.

From the foregoing data we may conclude that the
countries capable of exporting wheat are far from numerous,
and that the area sown with cereals throughout the world is
comparatively small. Hitherto wheat has been grown on an
extensive scale in the United States, Russia, and India ; the
agriculturalist demands everything of the soil and gives it
nothing, so that the alternative will soon arise of losing the
harvest, or of restoring fertility to exhausted soils, by means
of costly manures which will absorb enormous sums. Then
the legend of new countries will have had its day.

To resume : there exists an enormous discrepancy between
the needs of the consumer and the production of wheat ;
and the Argentine Republic, thanks to a concatination of
favourable economic and physical circumstances, is certainly
in the best position in a great measure to supply this deficiency.
But to obtain the desired result it is indispensable that she
should still increase her population, and that the colonist
should find upon the hospitable Argentine soil not only the
guarantees of liberty and justice, but conditions propitious
to his evolution as a land-owner.



The transformation of the old ' ' estancia " — The principal stock-raising establish-
ments : description, extent, number of heads of cattle and favourite breeds —
The great " estancias " of the South and Patagonia.

Approximate area of the soil devoted to cattle and sheep ; general estimate of
the numbers of cattle and sheep — Results of the census of 1908 — The
capital represented by Argentine stock-raising.

HAVING spoken of agriculture and its future, we must
mention another industry, which is the second source
of national wealth — the pastoral industry.

As a result of the rapid rise in the value of land, and the
multiplication and selection of animals, the old form of
Argentine stock-raising is undergoing, at the present time, a
profound modification throughout the country. The tradi-
tional ranch or estancia, on which the animals browsed at
will on vast prairies enclosed by wire fences, exposed to all
the variations of the weather and all the vicissitudes of the
temperature, feeding only on the grass of their pastures.
This old type of estancia is gradually disappearing ; is under-
going a transformation into carefully-managed farms, on
which artificial prairies are constructed ; farms with lucerne
fields of 12,000, 25,000 or 50,000 acres, surfaces difficult for a
European to conceive.*

The science of pedigree herds and the culture of care-
fully-enclosed pastures have created, says a distinguished
writer, the true pastoral industry, in which stables and barns
and sheds take the place of the ancient " corral." t The
wealthy owner drives from tlje railway station to his estancia

* A field of 12,000 acres would be, for instance, 4 miles wide and orer
4^ miles long ; one of 25,000 acres, 6 miles -wide and 6^ miles long ; one of
50,000 acres, 7 miles wide and 11 miles long. — [Trans.]

t Cf. Costtunbres y Creencins populares de las P7-ovi7icias Argentines: A
lecture by M. P. Groussac at the World's Congress at Chicago, June the 4th,
1893 ; published in La Nadon of the 23rd of October 1893.



in a carriage ; the old rustic ranch-house is transformed into
a true country-house, sometimes a veritable chdteav , v^ith s,
park and gardens. There are estancias within a hundred
leagues of Buenos Ayres which we remember as desert
country in the power of the Indians, where now traps and
carriages of English type are seen crossing the plains, where
folk dine in evening dress in luxurious homes. The European
stock-breeders have driven back the Guacho to the great
estates on the borders of the desert.

Nothing would be more difficult — and for our part we
renounce the task — than to say which are the first stock-
raising establishments of the Republic ; whether by reason of
their extent, the numbers and the breed of their animals, or
the magnificent dwellings of their owners. Establishments
of this type are to be counted by hundreds, by thousands.

Nevertheless — though exposed to the danger of falling
into inevitable errors or omissions, for lack of precise informa-
tion — we must not forget to mention the Estancia San
Juan, founded by Senor Leonard Pereyra, at a distance of
25 miles from Buenos Ayres, and a mile and a half from the
La Plata, and consisting of over 40 square miles of meadows
in full luxuriance. Then there is the Estancia San Jacinto,
belonging to Senor Hugel T, de Alvear, an establishment
reputed as one of the foremost in the country, which embraces
an area of 244 square miles, or about one-third the area
of the county of Surrey. Of this enormous area some 64
square miles are under lucerne, and support 100,000 Durham
cattle, 100,000 Lincoln sheep, and 10,000 horses.

The Estancia la Gloria of Santamarina & Sons, situated
at Laprida, in the Province of Buenos Ayres, comprises 145
square miles, and supports 20,000 cattle and 60,000 sheep.

Another establishment, which might be taken as a model,
is the Estancia San Martin, the property of Senor Vincent
L. Casares, which is situated at Cafiuelas, and covers an
area of some 30 square miles. The specialities of this estab-
lishment are the breeding of draught-horses — Morgans,
Hackneys, Shires and Clydesdales ; the breeding of cattle —
Durharas, Holsteins and Swiss — of which the finest individuals
are kept for breeding, and the second-grade animals fattened
for export ; the keeping and selling of bulls of the three


varieties named for general breeding purposes; and finally
the breeding of pedigree rams of the Lincoln and Negrete
breeds, and also of pure cross-breeds and of pure-blooded
Yorkshire pigs. The horses from this estancia have a
merited fame throughout the Argentine, and are even begin-
ning to be known abroad.

A portion also of this estancia is an establishment known
as La Martina, which alone supplies three-quarters of the
milk consumed in Buenos Ayres, and which also manufactures
butter for home consumption and for export.

Another of the great stock-raising establishments of the
Republic is the Sefior Carlos Casares' Estancia Huetel, about
150 miles from Buenos Ayres, on the Southern Railway. It
occupies an area of some 240 square miles, all enclosed by
wire fencing, and divided into forty-two stock-raising
establishments, with fifty-seven shepherds' houses and five
managers' houses. This establishment contains about 62,000
Durham cattle, 87,000 Lincoln sheep, with pedigree rams,
imported or born on the estancia, and 4200 Clydesdale horses,
draught-horses and saddle-horses. About 11,000 acres are
sown with lucerne, and 5000 with maize, wheat, oats and
linseed. There are fifty-six or more imported bulls, and
notably one of the finest of his race, the celebrated Aguinaldo,
winner of the first prize awarded by the Agricultural Society.

The park of this estancia draws the attention of visitors ;
it is 500 acres in extent, and contains some 520,000 forest
trees, 870,000 shrubs, and 35,000 young trees. The total
number of trees on the estate is over 2 millions.

There is a school on the estate, all the expenses of which
are paid by the proprietor.

The Estancia San Jacinto, owned by Seilor Saturnin
J. Unzue, also merits a special description. It is a few hours
distant from Buenos Ayres, and covers an area of some
55 square miles. It supports 10,000 cattle and 30,000 sheep.
On this estancia the Durhams have been brought to a great
pitch of perfection. The stud is famous for its saddle-horses,
and contains 140 pedigree animals, imported or born in the

Las Palmas, belonging to Colonel Alfred T. Urquiza,
would figure as a model establishment in any country in the


world. In the Province of Buenos Ayrea, in which it is
situated, it would be difficult to find a pedigree stock-raising
establishment so well organised, and so well adapted to its
purpose. The estate consists of some 4000 acres, overlooking
the majestic Parana de les Palmas, with its green islands,
which reach as far as the Rio de la Plata. Here about 3000
beasts are annually fattened for export. The cattle are short-
horns, and the horses Hackneys.

Yet another establishment, which must be reckoned one
of the best in the Argentine, is the Cahava San Gregorio,
belonging to Senor Gregorio Villafaiie ; an Argentine who
in strict justice ought to be mentioned as one of the first
breeders in the country, on account of the intelligent efibrts
and pecuniary expenditure devoted by him to improving the
breeds of cattle, sheep, and horses, during many years of
personal labour.

Senor Villafane's establishment is not of very great
extent, its area being only 18,000 acres, but is notable for
the great number of its pedigree cattle and the purity of
type to be observed in his sheep. He devotes himself chiefly
to breeding Durham and Hereford bulls, Lincoln rams.
Hackney and Clydesdale stallions, collie ^dogs, fox-terriers,
Brahmah fowls, Catalans, Dorkings, and Plymouth Rocks.

We must also mention the Estancia San Paacual del
Moro, the property of Senors Adolfo and Rufino Luro. It
is famous for its stud of race-horses, from which issued, in
1904, the great winner of the season. Old Man.

This long list of breeding estal)lishments would still be
incomplete indeed, did we fail to make special mention of
the Estancia Chapadmatal of SeiTor M.-A. Martinez de
Hoz, who has made the greatest efforts to raise his establish-
ment to the level of the best European models.

" Equal to the best in Europe," was the judgment of a
competent and impartial observer, Colonel Holdich, who, in
his last book, entitled Los Paises del Fallo del Rey, bestows
upon it this well-merited praise : —

"A well-known estancia, that of Senor Michel-Alfred
Martinez de Hoz, near the Mar del Plata, surprised me by
the singular character of its surroundings. The soil, with
its irregularities, had the look of an English park. Little


hills and knolls, one after another, stretched away, covered
with their golden harvest, with soft undulations, to the
precipitous borders of the sea ; instead of the eternal barbed-
wire fence, living hedges were already springing up,
dividing the fields and the pastures. On the highest hillocks
rose stacks of oats, carried up from the fields in the high-
wheeled wagons characteristic of the country-side ; and
there the stacks were being rapidly built by hand-labour. It
was a beautiful rustic scene.

" Lower to the right, on the softer soil by the banks of
a stream, which descended babbling to the sea, through
beds of rushes and buttercups, was a pasture ; here, standing
in the branches of the bank, were the Shire horses ; they
formed animated groups, and placidly watched our move-
ments ; they were the most magnificent examples to be
found out of Lincolnshire. Further down still, on drier soil,
was a troop of mares, of an English-Creole cross, with their
foals. These animals were for draught, and the excellence of
their breeding is proved by the registers of the Argentine
Rural Society, which record the prizes awarded to the
Estancia Chapadmatal.

" In a higher part of the estate, in a quarter reached
through long avenues of poplars, which lead thither from
the house, and where the ground is covered with forests oj
eucalyptus or willows, are the bulls and cows. The Argentim
stock-breeder does not consider expense when it is a mattei
of importing good English cattle for breeding purposes
The chief estancia has a series of breeding bulls, which an
led before the visitor, each by his special keeper, with th
same pomp and ceremony aa the stallions which preced
them in the brilliant review. It is not only near the capita
and the principal centres of population that we find thes
model estancias, which afford their owners every Europea
comfort. They are to be found also in the extreme sout
of the country, in the solitudes of Patagonia, near the 50t
degree of south latitude." *

" From the River Coyle, from Puerto Gallegos an
Magellan Straits, to a point near Last Hope," says a
Argentine traveller, Mr George J. M'Lean, who visited the.'

* Cf. Annates de la Sociedad Rural Argentina, No. 4, 30th April 1902, p. 1£


regions a few years ago, " the country is fairly peopled, and
one comes across estancias, such as El Condor, the property
of Messrs Wood & Waldron, an establishment of 337,500
acres, with a wire-fenced enclosure containing 160,000 sheep,
equipped with forty steam shearers, with hydraulic presses,
and sheep-dips warmed by steam calorifers. It is a common
thing to lind estancias, many of which are fenced with wire,
feeding 40,000, 60,000 or 70,000 sheep. The most important
are united .by telephone, by which means they communicate
not only with each other, but with Puerto Gallegos or Punta
Arenas. I have spoken down these over a distance of 300
miles. In the Chilian portion of Tierra del Fuego, there is
a telephone connecting Cape Dungeness with Punta Arenas,
and also to the channels of Last Hope."

In the Territory of Santa Cruz is the Estancia San
Julian, belonging to the San Julian Sheep Company. This
" estancia " has an area of 296,000 acres — 462*5 square miles —
and contains 70,000 sheep, with an annual yield of 90 per
cent, of lambs, or 63,000.

In the same Territory is another very prominent estancia,
the property of the Patagonian Sheep and Farming Com-
pany Limited. This embraces an area of 471,000 acres —
734 square miles — the area of a medium - sized English

Finally, in the same Territory is a vast property of
700,000 acres — 1060 square miles — belonging to the Bank
of Antwerp.

In the Territory of Chubut, which for some years has
been a favourite locality for European capital and European
immigrants, and which contains a large French colony, there
is a very important estancia belonging to the Lochiel Sheep
Farming Company Limited, which covers an area of 327,000
acres, and contains 35,000 sheep.

Another foreign company established in the southern
part of the Argentine, " The Argentine Southern Land Com-
pany," possesses 1,518,000 acres of land, of which 859,000 are
in the Territory of Rio Negro, and 659,000 in that of Chubut.
This company was established in 1899, with a capital of
£230,000, later reduced, on account of business misfortunes,
to £140,000, which is the present capital. On this com-


pany's lands are 45,000 cattle, 40,000 shee}>, and 4300

lu all these establishments, and in many others which we
are unable to cite, as it is difficult to obtain precise informa-
tion concerning them, we find that, thanks to the intelligent
efforts of their owners in seeking to import the best breeds
of the most famous European breeding establishments, there
are now many stallions, bulls, and rams of the purest blood
and of great value, which are either imported or selected ;
and through these the general stock of the country has

Online LibraryAlberto B MartínezThe Argentine in the twentieth century [microform] → online text (page 14 of 33)