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- Farmers of Forty Centuries - 2/48 -


cents and their food, or for fifteen cents, United States currency, without food.

The three main islands of Japan in 1907 had a population of 46,977,003 maintained on 20,000 square miles of cultivated field. This is at the rate of more than three people to each acre, and of 2,349 to each square mile; and yet the total agricultural imports into Japan in 1907 exceeded the agricultural exports by less than one dollar per capita. If the cultivated land of Holland is estimated at but one-third of her total area, the density of her population in 1905 was, on this basis, less than one-third that of Japan in her three main islands. At the same time Japan is feeding 69 horses and 56 cattle, nearly all laboring animals, to each square mile of cultivated field, while we were feeding in 1900 but 30 horses and mules per same area, these being our laboring animals.

As coarse food transformers Japan was maintaining 16,500,000 domestic fowl, 825 per square mile, but only one for almost three of her people. We were maintaining, in 1900, 250,600,000 poultry, but only 387 per square mile of cultivated field and yet more than three for each person. Japan's coarse food transformers in the form of swine, goats and sheep aggregated but 13 to the square mile and provided but one of these units for each 180 of her people while in the United States in 1900 there were being maintained, as transformers of grass and coarse grain into meat and milk, 95 cattle, 99 sheep and 72 swine per each square mile of improved farms. In this reckoning each of the cattle should be counted as the equivalent of perhaps five of the sheep and swine, for the transforming power of the dairy cow is high. On this basis we are maintaining at the rate of more than 646 of the Japanese units per square mile, and more than five of these to every man, woman and child, instead of one to every 180 of the population, as is the case in Japan.

Correspondingly accurate statistics are not accessible for China but in the Shantung province we talked with a farmer having 12 in his family and who kept one donkey, one cow, both exclusively laboring animals, and two pigs on 2.5 acres of cultivated land where he grew wheat, millet, sweet potatoes and beans. Here is a density of population equal to 3,072 people, 256 donkeys, 256 cattle and 512 swine per square mile. In another instance where the holding was one and two-thirds acres the farmer had 10 in his family and was maintaining one donkey and one pig, giving to this farm land a maintenance capacity of 3,840 people, 384 donkeys and 384 pigs to the square mile, or 240 people, 24 donkeys and 24 pigs to one of our forty-acre farms which our farmers regard too small for a single family. The average of seven Chinese holdings which we visited and where we obtained similar data indicates a maintenance capacity for those lands of 1,783 people, 212 cattle or donkeys and 399 swine,--1,995 consumers and 399 rough food transformers per square mile of farm land. These statements for China represent strictly rural populations. The rural population of the United States in 1900 was placed at the rate of 61 per square mile of improved farm land and there were 30 horses and mules. In Japan the rural population had a density in 1907 of 1,922 per square mile, and of horses and cattle together 125.

The population of the large island of Chungming in the mouth of the Yangtse river, having an area of 270 square miles, possessed, according to the official census of 1902, a density of 3,700 per square mile and yet there was but one large city on the island, hence the population is largely rural.

It could not be other than a matter of the highest industrial, educational and social importance to all nations if there might be brought to them a full and accurate account of all those conditions which have made it possible for such dense populations to be maintained so largely upon the products of Chinese, Korean and Japanese soils. Many of the steps, phases and practices through which this evolution has passed are irrevocably buried in the past but such remarkable maintenance efficiency attained centuries ago and projected into the present with little apparent decadence merits the most profound study and the time is fully ripe when it should be made. Living as we are in the morning of a century of transition from isolated to cosmopolitan national life when profound readjustments, industrial, educational and social, must result, such an investigation cannot be made too soon. It is high time for each nation to study the others and by mutual agreement and co-operative effort, the results of such studies should become available to all concerned, made so in the spirit that each should become coordinate and mutually helpful component factors in the world's progress.

One very appropriate and immensely helpful means for attacking this problem, and which should prove mutually helpful to citizen and state, would be for the higher educational institutions of all nations, instead of exchanging courtesies through their baseball teams, to send select bodies of their best students under competent leadership and by international agreement, both east and west, organizing therefrom investigating bodies each containing components of the eastern and western civilization and whose purpose it should be to study specifically set problems. Such a movement well conceived and directed, manned by the most capable young men, should create an international acquaintance and spread broadcast a body of important knowledge which would develop as the young men mature and contribute immensely toward world peace and world progress. If some broad plan of international effort such as is here suggested were organized the expense of maintenance might well be met by diverting so much as is needful from the large sums set aside for the expansion of navies for such steps as these, taken in the interests of world uplift and world peace, could not fail to be more efficacious and less expensive than increase in fighting equipment. It would cultivate the spirit of pulling together and of a square deal rather than one of holding aloof and of striving to gain unneighborly advantage.

Many factors and conditions conspire to give to the farms and farmers of the Far East their high maintenance efficiency and some of these may be succinctly stated. The portions of China, Korea and Japan where dense populations have developed and are being maintained occupy exceptionally favorable geographic positions so far as these influence agricultural production. Canton in the south of China has the latitude of Havana, Cuba, while Mukden in Manchuria, and northern Honshu in Japan are only as far north as New York city, Chicago and northern California. The United States lies mainly between 50 degrees and 30 degrees of latitude while these three countries lie between 40 degrees and 20 degrees, some seven hundred miles further south. This difference of position, giving them longer seasons, has made it possible for them to devise systems of agriculture whereby they grow two, three and even four crops on the same piece of ground each year. In southern China, in Formosa and in parts of Japan two crops of rice are grown; in the Chekiang province there may be a crop of rape, of wheat or barley or of windsor beans or clover which is followed in midsummer by another of cotton or of rice. In the Shantung province wheat or barley in the winter and spring may be followed in summer by large or small millet, sweet potatoes, soy beans or peanuts. At Tientsin, 39 deg north, in the latitude of Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Springfield, Illinois, we talked with a farmer who followed his crop of wheat on his small holding with one of onions and the onions with cabbage, realizing from the three crops at the rate of $163, gold, per acre; and with another who planted Irish potatoes at the earliest opportunity in the spring, marketing them when small, and following these with radishes, the radishes with cabbage, realizing from the three crops at the rate of $203 per acre.

Nearly 500,000,000 people are being maintained, chiefly upon the products of an area smaller than the improved farm lands of the United States. Complete a square on the lines drawn from Chicago southward to the Gulf and westward across Kansas, and there will be enclosed an area greater than the cultivated fields of China, Korea and Japan and from which five times our present population are fed.

The rainfall in these countries is not only larger than that even in our Atlantic and Gulf states, but it falls more exclusively during the summer season when its efficiency in crop production may be highest. South China has a rainfall of some 80 inches with little of it during the winter, while in our southern states the rainfall is nearer 60 inches with less than one-half of it between June and September. Along a line drawn from Lake Superior through central Texas the yearly precipitation is about 30 inches but only 16 inches of this falls during the months May to September; while in the Shantung province, China, with an annual rainfall of little more than 24 inches, 17 of these fall during the months designated and most of this in July and August. When it is stated that under the best tillage and with no loss of water through percolation, most of our agricultural crops require 300 to 600 tons of water for each ton of dry substance brought to maturity, it can be readily understood that the right amount of available moisture, coming at the proper time, must be one of the prime factors of a high maintenance capacity for any soil, and hence that in the Far East, with their intensive methods, it is possible to make their soils yield large returns.

The selection of rice and of the millets as the great staple food crops of these three nations, and the systems of agriculture they have evolved to realize the most from them, are to us remarkable and indicate a grasp of essentials and principles which may well cause western nations to pause and reflect.

Notwithstanding the large and favorable rainfall of these countries, each of the nations have selected the one crop which permits them to utilize not only practically the entire amount of rain which falls upon their fields, but in addition enormous volumes of the run-off from adjacent uncultivable mountain country. Wherever paddy fields are practicable there rice is grown. In the three main islands of Japan 56 per cent of the cultivated fields, 11,000 square miles, is laid out for rice growing and is maintained under water from transplanting to near harvest time, after which the land is allowed to dry, to be devoted to dry land crops during the balance of the year, where the season permits.

To anyone who studies the agricultural methods of the Far East in the field it is evident that these people, centuries ago, came to appreciate the value of water in crop production as no other nations have. They have adapted conditions to crops and crops to conditions until with rice they have a cereal which permits the most intense fertilization and at the same time the ensuring of maximum yields against both drought and flood. With the practice of western nations in all humid climates, no matter how completely and highly we fertilize, in more years than not yields are reduced by a deficiency or an excess of water.

It is difficult to convey, by word or map, an adequate conception of the magnitude of the systems of canalization which contribute primarily to rice culture. A conservative estimate would place the miles of canals in China at fully 200,000 and there are probably more miles of canal in China, Korea and Japan than there are miles of railroad in the United States. China alone has as many acres in rice each year as the United States has in wheat and her annual product is more than double and probably threefold our annual wheat


Farmers of Forty Centuries - 2/48

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