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Deseret farmer. [volume] (Provo, Utah) 1904-1912, July 25, 1908, Image 14

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010218520/1908-07-25/ed-1/seq-14/

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H & THE DESERET FARMER Saturday, July as, igo&
I SUOfR BEETS
1 PROBLEMS OF BEET CULTURE
H IRRIGATION.
H Jr ,
H ,, , By Jesse H. Buffum.
Lm .
H
H Even when grappling with the ru-
H alimentary principles of irrigation, wc
H arc dealing with nn art and an agri
H cultural principle upon the applica-
H tion of which swing vast successes or
H unlimited failures. Scarcely ican you
Hj name a more potent factor in the pro-
H grcss of American agriculture than
H this gigantic industry whose progress
H and almost universal application has
H been so marked within the last dc-
H cade or two. Wc tare rapidly gaining
H a conception of the possibilities of
H water artificially applied, and while
H present-day accomplishment has fully
H justified the loftiest expectations of
H earlier dreams, most welcome of all
H is the unquestioned development yet
H to come. Out of the practical acumen
H of the past is to grow a wider prac
H ticc of the general principles of irri-
H gation, and I derive greater satisfac-
H tion from the promise that farms and
H fields of small proportions arc soon
H to recognize and utilize these peculiar
H advantages, than from any other as-
H pc,ct of our progress.
H It is decidedly surprising that right
H in -the face of the repeatedly demon-
H sfratcd practicability of irrigation ttn-
H clcr all sorts of conditions affected by
H special environment that the majority
H of, farmers throughout the land are
H ignoring the virtues of some sort of
H system of applying waicr at will. "VVe
H know that many a farm possesses
H small streams or other available water
H supply that probably runs to waste,
H JI9SC application to the field or gar-
H c5fr might baffle some severe drought,
HI that othenvise would work the dc-
Hh struction of crops. I surmise that
H thtl gigantic scale on which this mctli-
Hj od'of watering is done in the West
H has blinded the average farmer, cast
H atul west, to the advantages and pos-
M sibilities of individual irrigation on
M a small scale. It is quite out of my
M intended way to point out the specific
M directions' whereby individual farm-
m er may establish irrigation systems
m ofthcir own, as- the problem .in hand
m is to discuss the relation of irrigation
H to the sugar beet industry, but I can-
H not pass this pjiase of the subject by
m without reference ' to ' the rpo5HiBlHTics"
in the small farmer's direction as yet
untried. We shall witness greater
advancement in this special line with
in the next twenty years than that
shown in the whole general history of
irrigation on this continent. I care
not how ample the rainfall, or what
natural conditions render your locali
ty superior to many others, there is
scarcely a region in the United States
that do.es not need, and that will not
have, within the next decade perhaps,
successful irrigation sytcms of its
own, for Irrigation must be universal
ly regarded as a method of soil im
provement rather than a remedy for
impoverished conditions, before ap-
proximate success can crown the ef
forts of the irrigator in whatever
clinic.
It is highly significant, and the fact
is witnessed to in every direction,
that irrigation and sugar beets go
hand in hand. The two seem almost
inseparable, yet they arc not, or
should not be. But any adequate dis
cussion of the sugar beet industry
that comprehends all phases of meth
od and culture would be far from
complete without an exhaustive con
sideration of applied water to this
valuable crop. I suppose the real
reason why the two development
have come (concurrently lies in the
fact that irrigation impels intensive
agriculture, and if there is any one
crop abov'c all others- Unit is essen
tially synonymous with the intensive
idea, the sugar beet is that crop. Ir
rigation put in force demands that
nothing short of the greatest pos
sible profit can warrant its introduc
tion. Let us be bold enough to say
that no gcncrnl crop produced can be
made to pay as well as sugar beets,
and wherever they do not maintain
this standard, notliing but the grower
or the conditions under his control is
at fault. It is one and the same
thing intensive practice that scares
the indolent farmer and encourages
and inspires the progressive and am
bitious agriculturist. So, largely, to
irrigation wc owe the great advance
ment of sugar beets as a successful
agricultural product, at least in many
regions where without this artificial
moisture, always on tap, the best crop
in all the continent could not possibly,
be missed. And wc owe it to quJ
ivesWd tb fhq rnMuflargeHS
understand as fully as may be pos
sible the exact relation that irrigation
should bear to the production of
beets.
Why do wc irrigate? Is it to gir
the plants a drink, or do wc act on
the desire to keep the soil in fit phy
sical condition? While wc arc at '.t
let us acknowledge that in practice it
is lamentable to admit that we are
prompted usually by the apparent suf
fering of the plant; wherein wc make
the one fatal mistake and abuse the
intended benefits of irrigation. This
is passing. Let us first get down in
to the soil, for it is impossible, to my
mind, to get anywhere near a rea
sonable understanding of such a sub
ject without first attaining sQnm
knowledge of the principles involved.
Why wc irrigate, is the most im
portant question of all, so wc nuut
at the outset determine what becomes
of our water and what it is going to
perform, else wc work at random
when wc turn water onto our soil.
Wc are going to discover that unintel
ligent application of water works de
struction as often tie it results in
good.
Soil is a groat water retainer. It
will absorb and temporarily hoM
moisture to a surprising degree, clay,
for example, being an absorbtut al-
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