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CROPS OF THE YBAR. A careful study of the meteorological records of the growing season during 1890 shows that the year was an abnormal one, both in distribution of temperature and rainfall over large sections of the most prominent agricultural States of the Union. With our wide

. expanse of territory there is almost every year in some portion an unfavorable season, resulting either from drought or an excess of moisture, or from both, at different periods during the season, but the present year is especially remarkable for its abnormal distribution of moisture. In the Atlantic States and in portions of the cotton belt there was a large excess over the normal rainfall; so much that considerable damage to cotton, potatoes, and some other crops resulted. This was more than balanced by the very heavy deficiency which prevailed in the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Valleys and on the Pacific coast, where the rainfall was so scant that cover large areas the results of the season were disheartening in the extreme. In the Missouri Valley, including a large portion of the fertile soils of Nebraska, Kansas, and Northern Missouri, the deficiency in rainfall was accompanied during a portion of the year by exceedingly high temperature, making it a period of drought hardly equaled by any in the record of that agricultural region. During the growing season vast areas of yellow and shriveled corn and fields absolutely abandoned testified to the extremity of the disaster, and the final results of the harvest after husking was quite in keeping with the gloomy prospect.

A comparison of the Signal Service records shows that the effects of the drought of the present year were intensified by the fact that last season in the same districts there was a marked deficiency in the moisture supply, rendering the ground still more parched under the blazing sun and cloudless skies of the present year. In the following presentation from official records the aggregate rainfall during the growing season from April to September, for 1889 and 1890, as compared with the normal determined by the records of a series of years, is shown:

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An analysis of this table shows that the season in New England was practically normal so far as water supply is concerned, though there was a considerable excess during September which seriously interfered with the harvest, especially of root crops, and extended to the Middle Atlantic States, where the remarkably wet year of 1889 was followed during 1890 by one in which there was a considerable excess of moisture, amounting to almost 24 inches. During the

AG 90-19

six months under consideration in the South Atlanticand Eastern Gulf States the season varied slightly from the normal, and in the Western Gulf region there was an excess of precipitation over the normal of more than 124 per cent. This excess was received mainly during May, June, and September, and the reports of our correspondents during the season indicated for these months some damage to crop prospects.

The Ohio Valley received almost 10 per cent more rainfall during the summer than its normal amount, and the fact that the excess came almost entirely during August and September increased the damage sustained. The Upper Mississippi Valley, including the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Iowa, suffered from a deficiency of precipitation amounting to more than 4 inches, or almost 20 per cent of the normal rainfall of that period. During 1889 the supply in the same territory was deficient by more than 3 inches. The Missouri Valley, already referred to, failed by almost 6 inches to receive its normal supply, and the deficiency amounted to almost 30 per cent. On the Pacific coast the winter of 1889–’90 was remarkably severe, and the amount of moisture received in the form of rain and snow unusually large. This resulted in disastrous floods and overflows during the early spring, but was followed by a diminished water supply

during the summer months, amounting in the more northern districts to nearly 5 inches, or one third of the normal supply.

In order that a more extended comparison of the season may be made, a table showing the rainfall by districts and by months during the growing season of 1890, as compared with the average for a number of years, is appended. During any season a comparison in this detail by months is necessary, as while the total amount of rain received during six months might vary but little from the normal, the variance by months might be great enough to materially injure the harvest of the year. Gentle rainfall, evenly distributed throughout the season, with the proper intervals of sunshine, will bless agriculture with bountiful harvests, while the same amount coming in the form of sudden storms and washing floods will destroy the results of a season's work.

Average rainfall by districts.

April.

May.

June.

July.

August. September.

Districts.

For several

years.

1990.

For several

years.

1830.

For several

years.

1890.

For several

years.

1890.

For several

years.

1890.

For several

years.

1890.

In.

In. 8. 96 4.46 6, 20

In. New England

3.58 Middle Atlantic States, 3.28 South Atlantic States 3. 95 Eastern Gult States.

5. 33 Western Gulf States

4.33 Rio Grande Valley

1.01 Ohio Valley and Tennessee.

4.24 Lower Luke region..

2. 33 Upper Lake region. 2. 36 Extreme Worthwest

1.71 Upper Mississippi Valley 3. (35 Missouri Valley

2.69 Northern slope.

1.35 Middle slope..

2. 36 Southern slope

2. 12 Southern plateau...

0.41 Middle plateau.

1.74 Northern plateau.

1.57 North Pacific coast region. 3.72 Middle Pacific coast region. 2.05 South Pacific coast region. 1.48

In.

In. 8.23 3,54 4.07 2. 88

3.25 4.31 2.31 3. 87 5,22 2.75 4.44

6.31 6.08 4.87 4.68 3. 39 3.42 2.84 4.10 3.92 4.24 2.99 3. 13 5.32 2.57 3.39 4.01 0.82 2.18

1.07 2.30 4. 15 4. 25 1.68 4.72 2.98 1.73 2.81 1.27 3.01 4.01 1.81 6.38 2.64 2.33 0.78

0,41 0.02 0.99 1.05 i 0,54 0.41

0.99 1.33 2.94 2.92 1.31 1.40 0.71 1.85 0.14 0.40 0.06

In. In. 3. 183.25 3.96 2.62 5.24 2.39 5.3 4.23 3.73 4. 86 2.64 2. 20 4.33 4.17 3.72 3. 58 4.04 3.52 3. 43

6. 15 4.98 5.08 4.39 4.32 3. CC 2.34 2. GI 1.01 3.21

0.64 0.49 0.11 0.61 0.14 1.67 1. 32 2.21 2.99 0.36 0.07 0.11 0.01

3. 25 1.81 4. 18 8.50 3. 34 3.18 3.77 3. 88 1.86 2. 90 2. 67 2. 12 0.56

In. 3,05 4.33 8.46 6.97 1.85 2. 63 2. 18 1.77 2.50 2. 13 1. 46 2.61 1.05 0.75 2.01 2. 24 0.25

In. In. 4.22 3.54 4.76 5,90 6.72 5.21 5.44

4.40
3.30 3. 78
3. 86 1.02
3. 63 5. 07
3. 13 3.49
3. 35 3. 10
2. 46 1.74
3.28 3.01
3. 07 2.07
1.61 1.48
2.71 3. 31
3.09 2.52
2.53 3. 25
0.94

0.80
0.12 0.26
0.60 0.04
0.01
0.10

0.02

In. In. 3.01 4.70 3.68 5.71 5,65 8.66 4.37 4.52 4. 45 5.60 6.22 0.65 2.

5, 61 4.01

5. 41 3,76 1.07 1.39 2.05 8.82 2.78 2. 13

1.67 1.18 0.85 2.00 0.61 3. 34 8.86

1.4 0.76

0.88

1,28

1.30

1.47
0.01

0.01
0.02

4.02 0.39
0.33 0.89
0.04 0.36

Almost as important in agricultural meteorology as proper rainfall well distributed is the range of temperature. The past season was almost as variable in heat distribution as in water supply. The season opened with April averaging from 1° to 41° above the normal in the principal agricultural districts east of the Rocky Mountain region. West of that range the cold weather of the abnormal winter still continued. During May conditions were almost exactly reversed, and except east of the Alleghany chain and west of the Rocky range the month was from 1° to almost 5° below the average. This was accompanied in the main by an excess of rainfall, making it a cold wet month not favorable to the inception of farm work. In June, however, temperature ranged high, followed by a July which, as a rule, varied but little from the established records of a long series of years. During. August and September the weather was generally cool in all districts, though the range from the normal was not so great as that noted earlier in the season. A record of the average temperature by districts is appended:

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80.0

New England..

43.8 Middle Atlantic States.. 51.5 South Atlantic States. 62.0 Eastern Gulf States

44.5 53.0 63.0 07.1 65.9 75.4 57. 15.8 41.7 45.3 53.3 23.2 45.4 51.2 61.4 59.5 49.4 50.2 47.5 58.0 59.0

53.7 53.9 63.2 62.8 70.6 71.5 18.3 72.1 73.2 72.2 80.0 797 60.4 64.6 57.5 54.1 52.1 47.5 54.8 50.0 62.8 58.7 61.0

63.4 71.5 77.7 79,5 80.2 84.0 78.9 66.2 61.4 65. 4 71.1 70.8 03.0 73.0

. 62.2 68.7 67.9 67.5 67.4 61.9 62.1 78.4 76.3 74.5 74.2 73.3 68.8 08.1 80.8 80.6 78.7 79.3 78.0 74.7

75.3 81.7 80.880.5

9.1

66.8 Western Gulf States

64.9 Rio Grande Valley.

76.0 Ohio Valley and Tennessee. 56.4 Lower Lake region.

44.2 Upper Lake region

40.2 Extreme Northwest

41.0 Upper Mississippi Valley.. | 51.8 Missouri Valley.

50.3 Northern slope.

44.1 Middle slope

54.2 Southern slope

63.4 Southern plateau

57.9 Middle plateau

48.4 Northern plateau

10.4 North Pacific coast region. 49.5 Middle Pacific coast region. 58.3 South Pacific coast region. 59.5

68.3 53.2 53.4 62.8 63.4 70.6 70.4 66.7 68.7 56.5 59.7 58.0

59.2 57.0 58.9 63.0 64.8 63. O

61.8

76.5 75. 6 78.8 83.0 82.6 82.0 80.6 76.5

73.7 82.3 85.4 85.0 81.4 | 81.8 81.0 81.0 77.6 77.6 77.4 75.6, 73.4 69.7

1

67.5 69.4 71.1

71.1 69.1 67.1 63.8 60.8 63.2 67.2 08.1 05.9 63.2

59.2 57.2 67.6 69, 2 70.9 68.665,0 56,6 ; 55,3 74.8 76.7 76.3 173.2 70.2 65.6

01.8 72.9 75.3 77.3 72.7 70.7

64.2 62.3 62.0 69,8 72.668.0 67.2 58.4 58.2 73.5 70.3 79.2 74.0

73.9
66.7

64.7

80.7 81.2 | 78.0 75.8
74.0 74.7 72.4 70.8

71.2
62,6

72.3
62.6

74.9
65.5
64.6
58.0
67.3
66.4

73.6
62.5
61.6
56.4
66.5
05.8

63.8 62.6
71.6 71.3
70.070.8

63.2 63.4 58.8 57,1
71.0 71.8 68.7 68.4
71.0 71.3 70.6 70.2
1889,
1890.

For convenience of examination, the departure from the normal, both in temperature and rainfall, for the districts comprising the principal agricultural sections of the country for each month during the growing season, is appended:

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In.

New England
Middle Atlantic
South Atlantic.
Eastern Gulf..
Western Gull
Ohio Valley and Tennessee.
Lower Lake region
Upper Lake region
Extreme Northwest
Upper Mississippi Valley.
Missouri Valley.
North Pacific coast
Middle Pacific coast.

In.
In.
In.
In.

In.
+0.7 -0.35 +0.2 +1.13--1.2 +0.07 -0.8 -0.91 -0.1-0.68 +0.2 +1.69
+1.5 -0.40 -0.4+1.06 +1.9 -1.34 -1.8--0.13-0.9 +1.14 -0.7 +2.03
+1.0 -1.61 +0.9 +1.35 +3.1 -2.91 -1.9+2. 26 -1.3-1.51 +0.6+3.11

0.3-2.60 -1.2 +1.90 +0,5–1.31 - 0.9 +1.73-1.4-1.04 -0.9 +0.15 +1.0 +1.75 -1.0 0.19 -1.4 +1.13 -0.4-1.40--1.4 +0.58 -2.8 +1. 15 71.0 -0.14 -1.8 +0.32 +3.7 -0.16 -0.2-2.00 -- 2.2 +1.44 -2.2 +2.69 +1.6 +0.66 --3,4 +2.19 +3.2-0.14 0.0-1.73-2,0 +0.35 -3.0,+1.40 +1.5 +0.21 --4.6-+-0.62 +3.8 -0.52 +1.9 -0.81 -2.1-1.25 -2.0 -2.09 +4.3-0.89 4.8 +1.11 +2.2 +2.72 +1.7 -1.05-1.6 -0.72-1.3 +0.66 +1.5 -0.75 -4.1 +0.10 +3.7 +0.10 -0.4-2.31 --3.0-0.27 -3.8--1.04 +2.9--1.01 -2.7 -1.74+2.1 -0.07+2.0 -1.27 -2.0--1.00'-1.9 -0.76 - 2.0 -0.78 +1.9 -1.58 -1.6 +0.78 -1.2 +0.17 +0,2 +0.34 -1.7 -3.63 0.3,-1.25 +1.3 +1.14--0.8 -0.23 -0.3 +0.3-0.01 -0.3 +0.56

These records indicate an abnormal season and point to depreciated yields of crops most affected by such meteorological influences. A winter so mild that cotton in some situations was growing and flow. ering in midwinter, and seeds and grains sprouted and grew as vol. unteer crops, was not calculated to produce hardy growths that could withstand the inevitable fluctuations of March weather. In the Central and most of the Northern States the winter was unusually mild, grain was unprotected by snows and too succulent to endure the winds ard frosts, which are sure to come before spring. The result was a worse injury of winter grain, over a wider area, than occurs in the average of bad seasons, and a frosting of citrus fruits on the Gulf coast and peninsula of Florida, which cut off a part of the season's crops and delayed the development of orange groves.

Winter wheat was injured seriously, and large areas in certain States were planted in other crops. Well-rooted plants, that in good soils or in tile-drained and drilled fields escaped the disruption so disastrous in “sprouting" soils, made good yields. A greater disparity in rate of yield has rarely been seen. From a heavy crop to a nearly absolute failure the range has been extreme.

Spring wheat started fairly well and improved slightly during June. În Minnesota a rank growth was reported and fears of blight from high temperature were entertained; chinch bugs began to threaten certain districts, and indications of rust appeared. In Dakota a deficiency of moisture was already apparent. During July there was a reduction in condition of eleven points. High temperature and hot winds wrought some damage to the ripening grain.

The changes in condition of winter and spring wheat from month to month as compared with those of 1889 are thus presented:

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94
81

9C
80

93. 1
78.1

94.4
91.3

92.0
76.2

83.3
94. 4

81.2
83.2

89.4
73.5

83.8 79.8

The corn crop started well with an average in July, the date of first report of condition, of 93.1, a figure higher than any in 1888 and 1889, and but little, if any, below an average July condition during the past decade. During July and August the drought, which was especially severe in the section growing the great bulk of commercial corn, set in, and in sixty days condition was reduced to 70.1 per cent. This rapid falling off in condition is only equaled by the decline which took place during the same period in 1887 from similar causes.

The weather during October was favorable for ripening and harvesting, frost holding off until the great bulk of the crop was hard and of merchantable quality, except as injured by the drought. It ripened well in northern New England, though in New York and Pennsylvania late maturation caused a considerable amount of soft corn. The excess of moisture during the latter part of the season along the Atlantic coast was rather unfavorable to ripening and delayed gathering and husking. The aggregate product is very much reduced, making only about 70 per cent of the great crop of 1889; the loss resulting from the smaller area harvested and the very heavy reduction in the rate of yield.

The returns of the oats crop were unfavorable from the beginning, condition at the June report, the first of the season, standing at only 89.8, or the lowest figure, with one exception, ever recorded in the crop-reporting history of the Department. This poor condition was due to unfavorable meteorological influences prevailing at time of sowing in many districts, and to drowning out of the crop in low and bottomlands by spring floods. During the month of June there was a decline in condition of 8 points, most severe along the Atlantic coast and in the Ohio Valley, and condition on the first of July was only 81.6. Over a large portion of the district of heavy production the plant was weak, enfeebled by alternations of temperature, and readily susceptible to damage from attacks of insects or blight. During July attacks of blight were reported in almost every section of the country except the Northwest, and condition fell away rapidly to 70.1 at the August report; the lowest figure ever reported for this crop in any

month up to that date. At time of harvest, however, the injury sustained was still more apparent, and the result is a yield of only 19.8 bushels per acre, the lowest rate ever reported for

Of the minor cereals, rye and barley make yields considerably smaller than the average for a series of years, resulting from the same unfavorable conditions which shortened the product of the principal cereals. Buckwheat, however, coming later in the grow, ing season, made a crop larger than usual, the yield being estimated at 144 bushels upon an area somewhat in excess of that of 1889. With the exception of last year, this is the largest yield per acre reported during the past decade.

The potato crop suffered from unfavorable weather at time of planting and at time of harvest. This was especially true in New England and the Ohio Valley; condition throughout the season was low, and the returns of yield per acre were in close harmony with the season's record. The estimated yield per acre is only 574 bushels, , which, with two exceptions, is the lowest yield ever reported. The same conditions which injured the crop during the early growing season resulted in making the area smaller than was originally intended. The actual supply for consumption per head of population

this crop.

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