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» r « ê r S III I ill 1 ; ■* I IÉÊ I ll i in ii t » I I 1 » ,7 : g ■>'.u If i i » I A ÏSÏ &Sfi HBH ÜBT Advertisements In MONTANA FARMER-STOCKMAN are the show windows through which reliable advertisers tell you about their newest products. Intrease Profits and Save Time with the PARMA BIG(3 PARMA FARM BOX ■■I 5 Heavy duty, multi-purpose feeding and spreading box. Only farmbox on the market with reversible transmission gear box that fits any power take-off. Mounts on truck or trailer. Does your spreading and fast which I fia .v . . . OLSON ROTO BEATER Olson Roto Beater, built heavier to last longer, is the sturdiest flailing machine in the industry. Finer shreading means easier, faster, mulching and more profit! With changeable flails, Roto 6 Beater handles all jobs from vegetable topping to heavy orchard prunings. 's 45W 4; P PARMA WATER LIFTER Internationally proven and preferred Parma Pumps are made in all sizes from V 2 " to 8". gË Lift up to 50'. Move water up to 2,000 feet later 7g ally. Parma Pumps will not clog nor lose prime. £ Simple design and V-Belt drive mean easy f installation, low maintenance and trouble-free _dependability. Mail this Coupon TODAY I i I PARMA WATER LIFTER CO. PARMA, IDAHO I Please send me full information on the PARMA Big 3 I I I i » A A I I NAME . j ADDRESS_ I CITY . % 7m I I tj .. STATE j I Managing Ranch or Farm MONTANA ... Ss t, 'Éi' M yXS&MUSmmLL WUiV âi Sm WYOMING V *' MONT H. SAUNDERSON ONE OF THE INTERESTING and important stock ranching and farming areas of Montana is the valley of the Musselshell. This central Montana val ley extends some 70 miles westward from Roundup. The Musselshell river rises on the slopes of the Castles, the Little Belts and the Crazy mountain ranges and flows due eastward. After it skirts around the north side of the plains roughlands area known as the Bull Mountains the river flows through plains country, eastward and then northward to the junction with the Missouri. Roundup marks the approxi mate division of the upper and the lower valley of this river. We shall be concerned here with the upper part of the valley. , ~ ~ - «... This valley is not a high mountain valley, like some of those of western parts of Montana, Neither is the area one of plains topography and climate. It may be characterized as a broad intermountain basin, merging with the plains country to the eastward. It has mountainous borders along the north and the west, and the plateau divide between the Musselshell and the Yel lowstone forms the southern border of the area. If one sketches the area out on a map you see it as a pear shaped area, with the base of the pear on the east and the small end of the pear extending some 15 miles on westward from Martinsdale. 114 Million Acres Thus defined, this valley consists of some IVz million acres of land. The terrain of the area is that of valley benchlands, of sloping and rolling plateaus and of low foothills. The south eastern part of the area definitely merges into plains country. In eleva tion most of the lands of the area lie between 3,000 and 5,000 feet. These lands receive an annual precipitation varying principally between 12 inches and 15 inches. The seasonal pattern of the annual moisture fall is that char acteristic of the northern plains, with around 75 per cent of the moisture falling during the six months of April through September. This area, with its dry winters and with the winter winds that course down the valley due to the natural pattern of the air drainage, seldom has much snow. For this reason the area Is one of dependable winter grazing, and this accounts for the fact that the area was once a favorite wintering ground for the herds of buffalo. Montana's pioneering stockmen early saw the advantages of this to a ranch ing country before winter feed produc tion had been developed and started to ranch in the area in the early 1880's. Some of the earliest of the large sales by the Northern Pacific Railway Com pany of their grant lands were made to stockmen in this area. Several* such sales were made in the locality of Lavina and Ryegate, and also near the present location of Broadview, Montana. The Big Coulee country, south of Ryegate, was bought up early because of the fine wintering country there for range livestock. • 160-Acre Homesteads However, most of the lands of this fine ranching country had to go to patent via homestead settlement. This was, of course, true for most of the lands of the west, as a result of the unsuited 160-acre homestead policy. From 1905 to 1915 most of the lands of this area were homesteaded in the wave of farm settlement that covered the northern plains country of the west. Most of the lands that might be dry-farmed were broken, and much of this was soon abandoned after 1917. Though this area has as favorable con ditions in soiïs and moisture as do some of the other Montana areas that have remained in dry-land agriculture, the economics of the area have favored the reorganization of the operating the changes in the use of the lands and units toward livestock ranching. Several factors have been imnortant in this reversion of the homesteaded lands to grazing uses and in the change the economy of the area back to livestock ranching. One of these is the fine locations for stock ranches on the bottom lands of the Musselshell river, as it courses through the area. Con siderable in stock ranching irrigation development occurred there rather early. Another factor in this change was the natural tie between the non-arable lands of the area and the lands that mivht conceivably remain in the dry land wheat production. Even though the lands suited for croo a^ricidture mivht be successful in that use, they were often worth more when incor porated into a stock ranching unit that has some of the good non-arable grazing lands. Native Grass Cover Still another factor in the rather rapid change of the area from farming back to stock ranching has been the rather rapid natural comeback of the once-plowed lands to a native grass cover, and the apparently good range land reseeding opportunity for plowed lands in -much of the area. I do not mean to imply by the pre ceding descriptions of the economy and of the economic change of this area that none of it is suited for suc cessful dryland agriculture. There are several locations of successful and probably quite stable dry-land wheat farming in the plateau part of the area along the divide between the Musselshell and the Yellowstone. How ever, these locations do not have the opportunity for an economic tie-in with ranching lands that prevails between the arable lands and the ranching lands over most of the area. The sustained reorganization and change in the rural economy of the area occurring over the past 20 years has in my view been a good one. It has come about through the individual planning of the people, with some val uable help in public policy and public affairs. One must not overlook the irrigation storage that has been built on the Musselshell. Another public program undoubtedly helpful was the land utilization program of the Federal government during the 1930's to aid the homestead settlers relocate and to help the remaining people to reorganize their operations, Stable Economy Probably as much favorable change has taken place in this area in the uses of the lands and in the type of the operating units as in any area of comparable size in the entire west.