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Montana farmer-stockman. [volume] (Great Falls, Mont.) 1947-1993, October 15, 1948, Image 1

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075096/1948-10-15/ed-1/seq-1/

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Oct. 15, 1948
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What's Ahead
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A Little
PLANNING NOW
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of the Uncertainty
From This Question
By RALPH M
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' T\7HAT will the future bring? This is a
VV question which many producers who
4. Marginal land returned to grass,
5. More use of flood water.
6. Development of a program for ir
rigated land which will include a sys
tem of improved water use, drainage
and use of fertilizers.
Let's take a look at a few of the state
ments listed above. During the big push to
gain maximum production, many of our
better tillage practices were discarded.
Much strip-cropping was abandoned in
favor of block farming. A continued dis
regard for this practice will no doubt result
in a big blow most any year. The adoption
of the stubble-mulch practice, which will
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can remember the past are thinking and
even asking.
With thinking people this question is
only natural, both in view of our extended
years of high and well distributed produc
tion and the very high production record
over most of the United States in the last
few years. This production record has been
made possible in part by better varieties,
better farming practices being followed, and
most certainly by favorable moisture and
growing conditions.
It is the hope of every one that these con
ditions which have for the
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ditions which we have enjoyed for the past
decade will continue. It is the hope that
high production and good prices will be
with us always. That seems to be a little
too much to expect when we look at the
records over the past 25 years.
Now Is Time to Plan
Now, while the goose is still laying golden
eggs, is the time to do a little planning and
to execute the plans. Then, even though
we remain on a high level of production
and prices for a number of years, we'll be
in a position, when and if the bottom does
sag a little, not to be hurt too badly.
Maybe this is just as good a place as any
to do a little thinking out loud. We realize,
of course, that if all or any of us could look
into the future we'd do a lot of things dif
ferently, but as long as we can't, maybe
we'd better review a few possibilities.
When I was county extension agent in
Rosebud county—and, by the way, that was
when times were really tough—we used to
talk in terms of "not putting all our eggs
S MONTANA AND NORTHERN WYOMING
into one basket." I realize that that advice
may seem a little old fashioned at the pres
ent time, but it's still sound and might be
worth considering before it's necessary to
do just that kind of planning.
The reason I think of it now is that I met
an old patron of those days at one of the
fairs this fall and we had a real visit. Dur
ing the gabfest, Bill said, "Ralph, of all the
things you tried to teach me, diversification
has stuck with me and really brought me
out on top."
Possible Procedures
Well, what are a few of the things that
seem worthy of consideration? Here are a
few of them that may encourage you to
think of a lot more:
1. Tillage methods designed io reduce
wind and water erosion,
2. A higher percentage of small grain
crops grown on summer fallowed land,
3. More universal use of varieties
recommended for Montana,
mix stubble with the soil, will not only per
mit more readily the penetration of water
but will help materially in holding our soil
in place.
Retaining sod waterways in sod breaking,
and the establishment of grass waterways
on land subject to erosion are developments
that should take place before damage has
been done. All these practices will contrib
ute to a more permanent system of produc
tion which could be accomplished while
things are still on a high level, but tough
to accomplish in an emergency or when
the going gets rough.
More Summer Fallow
Summer fallow is the foundation of small
grain production in the major wheat grow
ing sections. There should be more of it.
The acreage in wheat, oats and barley is
still much larger than the acreage in sum
mer fallow. The corn-small grain rotation
in eastern Montana is good business and
(Please turn to page 4)

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