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Dry-Farming : a System of Agriculture for Countries under a Low Rainfall   By: (1872-1952)

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Edited by Charles Aldarondo (aldarondo@yahoo.com).

DRY FARMING

A SYSTEM OF AGRICULTURE FOR COUNTRIES UNDER LOW RAINFALL

BY JOHN A. WIDTSOE, A.M., Ph. D

PRESIDENT OF THE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE OF UTAH

NEW YORK

1920

TO

LEAH

THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED

JUNE 1, 1910

PREFACE

Nearly six tenths of the earth's land surface receive an annual rainfall of less than twenty inches, and can be reclaimed for agricultural purposes only by irrigation and dry farming. A perfected world system of irrigation will convert about one tenth of this vast area into an incomparably fruitful garden, leaving about one half of the earth's land surface to be reclaimed, if at all, by the methods of dry farming. The noble system of modern agriculture has been constructed almost wholly in countries of abundant rainfall, and its applications are those demanded for the agricultural development of humid regions. Until recently irrigation was given scant attention, and dry farming, with its world problem of conquering one half of the earth, was not considered. These facts furnish the apology for the writing of this book.

One volume, only, in this world of many books, and that less than a year old, is devoted to the exposition of the accepted dry farm practices of to day.

The book now offered is the first attempt to assemble and organize the known facts of science in their relation to the production of plants, without irrigation, in regions of limited rainfall. The needs of the actual farmer, who must understand the principles before his practices can be wholly satisfactory, have been kept in view primarily; but it is hoped that the enlarging group of dry farm investigators will also be helped by this presentation of the principles of dry farming. The subject is now growing so rapidly that there will soon be room for two classes of treatment: one for the farmer, and one for the technical student.

This book has been written far from large libraries, and the material has been drawn from the available sources. Specific references are not given in the text, but the names of investigators or institutions are found with nearly all statements of fact. The files of the Experiment Station Record and Der Jahresbericht der Agrikultur Chemie have taken the place of the more desirable original publications. Free use has been made of the publications of the experiment stations and the United States Department of Agriculture. Inspiration and suggestions have been sought and found constantly in the works of the princes of American soil investigation, Hilgard of California and King of Wisconsin. I am under deep obligation, for assistance rendered, to numerous friends in all parts of the country, especially to Professor L. A. Merrill, with whom I have collaborated for many years in the study of the possibilities of dry farming in Western America.

The possibilities of dry farming are stupendous. In the strength of youth we may have felt envious of the great ones of old; of Columbus looking upon the shadow of the greatest continent; of Balboa shouting greetings to the resting Pacific; of Father Escalante, pondering upon the mystery of the world, alone, near the shores of America's Dead Sea. We need harbor no such envyings, for in the conquest of the nonirrigated and nonirrigable desert are offered as fine opportunities as the world has known to the makers and shakers of empires. We stand before an undiscovered land; through the restless, ascending currents of heated desert air the vision comes and goes. With striving eyes the desert is seen covered with blossoming fields, with churches and homes and schools, and, in the distance, with the vision is heard the laughter of happy children.

The desert will be conquered.

JOHN A. WIDTSOE.

June 1, 1910.

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

DRY FARMING DEFINED

Dry farming, as at present understood, is the profitable production of useful crops, without irrigation, on lands that receive annually a rainfall of 20 inches or less... Continue reading book >>




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