University Studies of the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version





Field studies in farm management are at present almost whclly confined to measu ring the profitableness of a farm business and analyzing the effect of those factors which fall largely within the control of the farm operator. While factors beyond individual control have always been recognized in field work, very little attempt has thus far 'been made to measure their influence upon farming; It is true that with present weather, soil, botanical, census, and farm management data only preliminary measurements can be made, but nevertheless such measurements do much toward correlating what at present are disconnected facts in agricultural science. The use of these measurements in farm management appears to be of particular importance in a region of low rainfall Dr low temperature. In a state such as Nebraska it is quite impossible to analyze intelligently either our eastern or western types of farming without first analyzing the influence of natural factors. The discussion which follows illustrates briefly an analysis of the effect of a few interesting and important variations in climate and soil. In order to give a broad veiw of this analysis the more detailed facts secured from local data have been oriented with respect to broad geographic principles. The border regions of agriculture in North America, Europe, and Asia are determined by low rainfall or low temperature. In central United States, southern Russia, and western China successful agricultural practices are in harmony with critically low rainfall. In southern Canada and northern Russia they are in harmony with critically low temperature. While moisture and temperature are the chief concerns of border regions, soil fertility is the chief concern of a region well within critical lines.

In an early day people of western Nebraska and similar regions were not inclined to look upon climate and soil as fixed. They expected them to be greatly modified as a result of breaking new land and growing. cultivated crops. This idea lasted only so long as they lacked actual experience with the country. A few years of effort made it plain that to do profitable farming it was necessary to conform to the natural conditions of the region.