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AGRICULTURAL SERIES NO. 3



AGRICULTURAL SERIES NO. 3



UNITED SWB RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION UNITED STATES RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION



NORTH DAKOTA



FOREWORD



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Fargo, North Dakota

To the man of small means who seeks industriously to build
a home of his own, North Dakota offers an unusual opportunity.
To the man who is able to invest in considerable amount and
also give his entire time and effort to farming, North Dakota
gives promise of most gratifying returns.

The attention of the home seeker who contemplates a change
of location is invited to the pages of this booklet. The contents
have been most carefully prepared by members of the agri-
cultural college, representatives of the agricultural section,
United States Railroad Administration, and others, all of whom
are eminently qualified by training and experience to set forth
the facts as they exist. I take pleasure in commending this
publication.

To make a success in North Dakota, the farmer must meet
the North Dakota conditions: The crops grown, the methods
of culture, the growing of fruit and trees, the raising of stock,
etc., must be done according to good North Dakota practice.
These problems have been investigated by the North Dakota
Agricultural College through the experiment station, which
operates at thirty points in the State, and the results are pub-
lished in bulletins and circulars. As president of the North
Dakota Agricultural College, I invite you to make use of its
four divisions: Resident Instruction, Experiment Station,
Regulatory, and Extension. The Experiment Station with its
data and the Extension Division through its county agents
and other field workers can be of special service to you in your
farming operations.

A study of the following pages will give you some idea of the
opportunities the State offers. We invite you to come and look
them over.

President," North Dakota Agricultural College.



Bismarck, North Dakota

The State of North Dakota is in a position at the present
time to offer greater inducements to settlers, home seekers and
home builders than at any other time in its history. In extend-
ing an invitation to persons seeking farms or homes. North
Dakota is calling attention to the industrial program of the
State which ushers in "A New Day in the State."

The Sixteenth Legislative Assembly in Senate Bill 19, which
passed both houses of the Legislature and was signed by the
Governor, has provided for the loaning of the credit of the
State to home or farm builders, to enable them to establish
farms or homes on the most advantageous terms. A bond
issue has been provided for by the Legislature to finance this



proposition. The State is permitted to loan its credit for the
erection of homes costing up to $5,000 and farms costing up
to $10,000 each.

Under the terms of this act any person may open a home
buying account with the State. They may deposit with the
State their savings, so much per month, on which the State
will allow interest. Whenever any person has deposited savings
or monthly payments or a lump sum equal to twenty per cent
of the total cost of building or buying a home or farm desired
by the applicant, the State will loan the applicant the balance
of the purchase price at interest rates covering only the cost
of carrying out the provisions of the act. The applicant can
immediately take possession of the farm or home, on which
the State will take a mortgage and the indebtedness may be
repaid in small annual installments, that will result in the
payment of the principal in from ten to twenty years.

This is only one of many of the important acts included in
the new North Dakota industrial program.

In addition the State Legislature has passed a grain grading
law which is one of the fairest to the producer of any existing
in any state; it has provided for State owned and operated hail
insurance at cheap rates on crops; it has provided for a great
central reserve bank owned and operated by the State, which
bank will not only loan farmers and settlers money on first
mortgages on land but will facilitate the financing of producers
by loaning money on warehouse receipts for stored farm
products. This great central bank will place credit under
public jurisdiction and will have the effect of making banking
and financial conditions in North Dakota more favorable to
new settlers than they ever have been.

Besides these laws adopted by the last Legislature which
the State expects will attract settlers from every part of the
United States, the Legislature of North Dakota two years ago
adopted a seed and feed bonding act, an act which enables
farmers of the State to borrow through their counties, money
for feeding stock or for sowing crops, at cost rates of interest,
and which the farmers of the State last year freely availed
themselves of.

As long as the supply lasts the Industrial Commission of
North Dakota, Bismarck, N. Dak., will send to any person
desiring it a pamphlet called ''The New Day in North Dakota"
which contains copies of the principal laws relating to the new
industrial program enacted by the Sixteenth Legislative Assem-
bly last winter. Persons desiring this book should enclose four
cents for postage.




••aov



Commissioner of Agriculture.



NORTH DAKOTA




Wheat harvesting in North Dakota where more than one hundred million bushels were produced in 1918



North Dakota



North Dakota was made for farming. Its broad,
rich acres are spread out on a level or gently undu-
lating plain. The making of a farm requires only
turning "the sod with the plow. The lay of the land
makes possible the using of the most modern farm
machinery and in large units. The four, five, or six
horse team is the rule, and one man doing two or
three, or even six, men's work, as compared to some
other sections. The conditions are ideal for using the
tractor. Land is so abundant and cheap that more
is worked by nearly every one than can be done
well, yet the returns per farmer have been greater
than in the older states.

The distribution of the rainfall is most advan-
tageous. Nearly all of it comes during May, June,
and July, when the crops are growing. The fall and
winter precipitation is light. This results in very
little run off, and hence no leaching of the soil,
which may in a large measure account for its rich-
ness. This is also in a large measure responsible
for the good roads that can be had at all seasons.









RAINFALL


AVERAGES












No.
Yrs,


Jan


Feb.


Mar


Apr-


May


Jun


July


Aug.


Sep.


Oct.


Nov


Dec.


Amenia. . . .


22


■ 46


.,18


.61


2.00


2.84


.1.74


.1 18


2.80


2.01


I. 11


.80


..19


Wahpeton .


2,1


■4'




4S


I


00


2


18


2.61


.1.80


.1


SI


,1


01


2.. 1.1


I.. SI


.42


-.19


Pembina.. .


4.'i


StA









Q2




6.^


2.. 17


1.40


2


S2


2


27


1. 78


I 4.i


.67


.80


Devils Lake


42


^0




no




84




21


2.X,1


1.42


2


0-


2


61


I.2.S


I. 19


.60


..50


Jamestown


2b


.04




S8


I






7S


2.66


.1.60


2


74


2


';8


I.'i2


OS


.67


.71


Bism.irck . .


4.1


■ %S




■;8


I


02




64


2.18


.l.l.l


2


23


2


02


1.28


.08


.18


.%»




.10


.,s«




41




6.1




l.S


2.06


.1.4,S


I


88


I


47


1.42


.77


.57


.57


Buttmeau..


26


• 4.S




.18




84




87


2.10


.1.22


2


18


1


»»


1.66


1.03


• 54


.,50


Minot


22


.41




44




76


I


18


2.03


3.50


I


80


2


17


1. 58


.91


• 57


.41



The stimmers are ideal for growing crops, and the
days are about as warm as in Iowa or Illinois but
the nights are cool. The winters are cold but bright
and sunshiny.

Most of the soils are rich, fine-textured loams,
giving them a large capacity for storing moisture.
The subsoil in most parts is a fine clay. Water is
easy to find. In several sections flowing wells can
be secured.

Trees do well when planted on properly prepared
land and cultivated for a few years. Vegetables of
the finest quality can be grown in abundance and



NORTH DAKOTA






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A Thoroughbred and reliable power plant like this one, found on many North Dakota farms



such small fruits as currants, gooseberries, June-
berries, and plums do well.

The fuel problem has been forever solved in North
Dakota. The western half of the State is underlaid
with lignite — a kind of soft coal. In most cases the
farmer can help himself, or it can be purchased at the
mines for $1.50 to $2.00 per toil.

The school advantages of the State are well
developed. The large well-built schoolhouses are a
surprise to those who visit the State. Many of the
high schools offer courses in agriculture and home
economics. The four normal schools — the Science
School, the Industrial Normal, the University, and
the Agricultural College — offer instructions on
nearly all subjects.

The church life of the State is well developed.
The leading fraternal societies, both social and
beneficiary, are to be found in most localities.

North Dakota is one of the leading grain-produc-
ing states; producing more spring wheat than any
other state, about half the flax crop of the United
States, more rye than any other two states, and is
third in barley production. Sixty million bushels
of oats, 9,000,000 bushels of potatoes, and about
9,000,000 bushels of corn were produced in 1918.

This State is eminently a live stock one, as evi-
denced by the great buffalo herds that formerly
roamed the prairies of North Dakota. The rich and



abundant native grasses, light winter snow, and the
cold but dry winters were very favorable to them.

Two packing plants have been erected and many
flour mills are in operation. There are creameries
in many sections of the State.

The transportation facilities in North Dakota are
the best. Four transcontinental railroads cross the
State. From these branch lines radiate so that
practically all sections are within convenient dis-
tance of shipping points.

In many sections farmers have put up rural
telephone lines and the rural free delivery of mail
reaches all parts.

The climate of North Dakota is extremely health-
ful for both man and animal. The air is unusually
dry, clear, and bracing. Comfort and health are
promoted both in winter and summer by the absence
of a surplus of moisture or humidity. Summer days
are warm but summer nights are usually cool and
refreshing. Long days of sunshine due to the
northern latitude cause a rapid growth of crops and
hasten ripening during the growing season. Heat
prostration and sunstroke are unknown.

Spring work starts between the first and the middle
of April, as the warm days bring the frost from the
ground. Usually about six weeks of clear spring
days follow, permitting work and seeding to be
done without delay.



NORTH DAKOTA




Some of the buildings at the Agricultural College at Fargo, North Dakota



DAYS FREE FROM FROST

According to the United States Weather Bureau
the frost free period varies from 110 to 150 days.

The number of days required for maturing crops
are as follows:

Wheat 95 to lo5 days Millet 8l to 112 days

Oats 88 to 102 days Speltz 91 to 92 days

Barley 82 to 94 days Corn about 100 days

Flax 83 to 95 days

During the winter there is a comparatively light
snowfall. There is but little mud, slush, or sleet.
Roads are almost always in good condition and
facilitate marketing. While below zero weather is
common, yet, because of the dr^mess of the air, it is not
unpleasantly cold. Stock often graze out most of
the winter, feeding on volunteer growth in stubble
fields and straw piles; feed lots are clean and dr>-,
and fattening animals "keep on their feed." North
Dakota's climate results in rugged, vigorous animal
life.



NORTH DAKOTA SOILS

The plant food elements are abundant in the soils
of this State. Most of the rain falls during the
cropping season. Even the lime, which is one of



the first elements to be thus lost, is so abundant
that the addition of lime is not necessary even for
legumes. In trials with commercial fertilizers at
the North Dakota Experiment Station the fields
fertilized often do not grow a larger crop than the
one to which no fertilizer has been added, but
barnyard manure applied in a good rotation gives
on an average an added return of $1.50 per ton at
pre-war prices for crops.




ige lifters



NORTH DAKOTA



















*-




1


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Typical scene on one of North Dakota's splendid wheat farms



Most of the soils in the State are loams, silt loams,
and sandy loams with smaller areas of clays, clay
loams, and sand. These soils compare in plant food
elements with the prairie soils in the corn belt.
The lime content is the largest in the soils of the
western part of the State.

The Red River Valley, the glacial prairie plains
region, and the unglaciated areas west and south
of the Missouri River, are the three great soil divi-
sions. The Red River Valley soils are fine textured
and black to a depth of ten to forty inches with a
silty clay subsoil. Sandy loam and sand occur in
narrow ridges on the west side of the valley. The
soils of the Red River Valley are classed among the
richest in the world. Alkali is present in injurious
amoimts in small areas and drainage is needed in
some places to secure the best results.

The glacial prairie plains in general cover the
area between the Red River Valley and the Missouri
River. It is characterized by its undulating to
rolling surface. The natural drainage is good.
The Mouse River loop is in the northern part of this
area. It resembles the Red River Valley in soil
and surface. Silt loams and sandy loams are the
principal soil types in this glaciated region. These
soils have a good plant food content, are black in
color, and usually eight to fourteen inches deep.



The subsoil is of the same or a finer texture than the
surface soil. These soils are easily tilled.

Where detailed soil surveys have been made it has
been found that a type, known as the Barnes loam,
is one of the most extensive of the glacial prairie
plains region. This is a black soil underlaid by a
grayish yellow loam to silty clay loam subsoil.
It is easily tilled and well suited to the growing of
all crops adapted to this region. Analyses of this
type show that it contains from 1,000 to 12,000
pounds of phosphorus, from 5,000 to 6,000 pounds
nitrogen, about 37,000 pounds of potassium, and
about four and one-half tons of limestone per acre
surface seven inches. An acre of the subsurface
(7 to 18 inches in depth) of this soil type contains
150 tons and the subsoil (18 to 40 inches in depth)
about 450 tons of limestone.

The soils of the unglaciated region in south-
western North Dakota are lighter in color than those
derived from glacial drift. The svirface is yellowish
l?rown to dark brown, becoming somewhat lighter
in color with depth. The subsoil is often quite
gray, due to the presence of lime concretions. The
surface is usually rolling and in some localities is too
rough for anything but grazing. A considerable
area in the unglaciated part of the State has been
broken up and in recent years good crops of small



NORTH DAKOTA




Three generations — whose influence will extend through many more



grain, alfalfa, and corn are produced. The soils
are a little lower in organic matter than those of
the glaciated part of the State, but otherwise do not
differ materially from them in plant food content.

WATER SUPPLY

The farm water supply is derived from streams,
springs, and surface and artesian wells. In some
areas the water from the latter contain a relatively
large amount of soluble salts. The surface wells
vary from 15 to 75 feet in depth. The artesian
wells in the Red River district are usually 250 to 400
feet deep. The streams west of the Missouri River
furnish water in the grazing districts and in places
natural springs furnish a supply of good water.

CROPS

North Dakota is the greatest spring wheat state
in the Union.

Spring wheat was first grown successfully in the
Red River Valley over a hundred years ago by the
Selkirk Colony which settled at Pembina. Prac-
tically all of this valley was broken up between
1880 and 1890, and this section of the State became
justly famous as the "bread basket of the world."



New settlers pushed westward from the valley and
the country was rapidly broken up until now nearly
one-half the tillable land in the Stale has been turned
over by the plow. Wheat is the greatest crop for
the pioneer farmer because it is so easily grown
with limited capital and machiner\^ Spring wheat
is sown during the month of April on land which
has been plowed the fall before or which has been
in a cultivated crop the previous year.

The wheat requires no further attention until
harvest time. A man and four horses will cut and
bind fifteen to twenty acres of wheat a day ; another
man will shock it up. After a period of ten days or
two weeks it is ready for the threshing machine.
Usually this machine is provided by the man who
makes a specialty of that business. He provides
machinery and labor, including board for men and
teams. The men are fed in a cook car which is
hauled from farm to farm, thus saving the farm
women from the heavy burden of extra work. All
the farmer has to do is to haul the threshed grain
away from the machine. The average machine will
thresh about 2,000 bushels of wheat per day, thus
rapidly cleaning off the small grain fields. If the
field is within three miles of an elevator it is usually
hauled direct to the elevator. At greater distance
the grain is run directly into a bin from the spout



NORTH DAKOTA





One-half of the flax crop of the United States is produced in this State



on the separator and stored there until the fall
plowing is done.

After threshing, the farmer prepares the land for
another crop of wheat by plowing. However, it is
rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as other crops
are found to be more profitable than wheat when
grown on part of the farm; and when wheat is
grown in rotation with corn, potatoes, and the hay
crops, it is found to yield about 60 per cent more
than where wheat follows wheat.

The North Dakota Experiment Station has shown




Waiting for dinner



rather conclusively that wheat grown in rotation
with other crops on the demonstration farms and
sub-stations which are scattered throughout the
State, will yield just as heavily on the average in
western North Dakota as in the Red River Valley.
The yields will not vary so much from year to year
in the valley as they do in the western part, but the
average will be just as great in western North Dakota
as in the eastern part of the State. When all of
North Dakota's 40,000,000 arable acres are farmed
and systematic crop rotations grown on the farms,
the State will probably be producing three times the
amount of wheat that it is producing at the present
time.

No section of the country offers greater oppor-
tunities to the willing and industrious individual
farmer than North Dakota. Many farmers here
during this past year have produced, without help
from any one until threshing time, 4,000 bushels of
wheat, or enough wheat to feed 800 people for a
period of one year.

North Dakota is the greatest state in the Union in
the production of winter rye. Like spring wheat,
this crop is well adapted to extensive farming. One
man can easily produce 3,000 or 4,000 bushels of
rye with his own labor. Winter rye is usually sown
in the stubble in the fall as soon as the spring wheat
crop is removed. It is no uncommon sight to see a



NORTH DAKOTA




Hemp — one of the promising new crojDS of North Dakota



grain drill following immediately behind the binder,
the wheat shocks being set up on the newly cut,
freshly seeded field. Winter rye usually germinates
quickly and makes a good growth in the stubble in
the fall. It sometimes furnishes considerable feed
for stock during the the late fall and early spring.
This crop requires no further work until it is ready
for harvest. By this method the land never has
the plow or harrow put upon it from the time the
wheat is seeded until after the rye is cut the follow-
ing year. Rye usually heads out fully the first
week in June.

The rye crop is usually harvested about the middle
of July, and is often threshed and put into the
elevator before the spring wheat crop is ready to cut.
Rye, as a rule, is threshed at the same time as other
small grain crops. In 1918 North Dakota pro-
duced enough rye to furnish bread to feed a city
the size of greater New York for an entire year.

Only two states in the Union produced more
barley in 1918 than North Dakota. It can be sown
as late as the month of June and be reasonably
sure of producing a good yield, as it will ripen in
ninety days from the time it is seeded. Much of
the barley produced is shipped out of the State.
A large amount of it, however, is used for feed,
particularly for hogs and cattle. As a cheap feed



of good quality for live stock barley is only slightly
surpassed by com.

This State produces oats of the finest quality, and
a weight of forty pounds to the bushel is not uncom-
mon. The oat crop is seeded at the same time as
the spring wheat crop and on identically the same
kind of land. For this reason, oats are not grown
as extensively in North Dakota as they are in some
other states.

North Dakota produces about one-half the flax
grown in the Union. New sod is plowed in April,
May, and early June and then seeded to flax. It
is not an uncommon thing for a settler to buy a
new fann, break it up and put it into flax and from
the returns of the one crop pay all his expenses and
cost of the land. During the past few years flax
has sold for $1 .50 to $4 a bushel on the local market.
The yield per acre frequently runs from 15 to 20
bushels, the cost of production being low. The
extra work required in growing a crop of flax
after breaking new land in the spring, is to roll the
sod to make it level, then disc to secure a mulch,
and the ground is ready for seed. About one-
third of a bushel of seed per acre is required.
Flax requires no further treatment until the time
of harvest, which is usually in the month of Septem-
ber, and there is no pleasantcr sight anywhere than



NORTH DAKOTA




The State is well supplied with churches of all denominations



a field of flax in full blossom in the month of August.

This crop is cut and left loose in piles on the
ground, no twine being required. A few days
after cutting it is ready for the threshing machine.
When a newcomer to the State who has paid $20
to $40 per acre for his land threshes his first flax
crop and finds it yields fifteen bushels to the acre
and sells for $3 per bushel at the elevator, he is
sure to be satisfied with his future location. The
land which has been in flax is ready to be sown to
spring wheat the following spring without plowing.
When the grass or pasture land is broken up in rota-
tion, it is usually sown to flax. Wilt is a disease
that made flax growing in some of the older states
unprofitable. Wilt-resistant varieties of flax have
been iDred by the North Dakota Agricultural
Experiment Station. These varieties make it pos-
sible for the North Dakota farmer to continue to
grow flax as one of his regular crops.

Many people have the idea that corn is a crop
not adapted to North Dakota conditions. In the
winter of 1804 and 1805 Lewis and Clark when on
their way to the Pacific Coast lived through the
winter in this State largely on corn which was
supplied them by the Mandan Indians. Probably
hundreds of years before the white man came to
North Dakota the Indians cultivated corn along



the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark stated that
they had eight distinct varieties of com.

Corn is grown on over one-half million acres
annually in North Dakota and it is one of the most
certain crops which may be grown in the State if
acclimated varieties are planted. The yield of
shelled corn is high, not uncommonly running over
fifty bushels to the acre.

In 1916 the Bureau of Statistics of the United
States Department of Agriculture places the yield
of corn in North Dakota at 26 . 5 bushels to the acre.

A field of corn on the North Dakota Experiment
Station was hogged down last fall (1918), the net


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