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Pullman herald. (Pullman, W.T. [Wash.]) 1888-1989, October 01, 1915, Image 5

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085488/1915-10-01/ed-1/seq-5/

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Dairy Production Conditions in the
Pacific Northwest
By Prof. A. B. Nystrom
(Fiom Washington Agriculturist)
The relation of dairy farming to per
manent agriculture is well known. Never
the less the fact that; the dairy cow re
turns to the soil nearly as much fertility
as she takes from it is a very important
factor, even In the Northwest. Where
we expect to raise good crops we must
keep up the supply of plant food in th«
soil. Where the rainfall is light mora
humus in the soil helps to give it water
holding capacity. The part that the dairy
cow can play in helping to bring larger
yields by adding fertility and increasing
the humus supply is one of the most im
portant problems with which our farmers
have to deal.
The states of Oregon and Washington
are divided into two distinct parts by the
Cascade Mountains. The eastern part of
these states is semi-arid, having a rain
fall ranging from ten inches near the
range to twenty-four inches at the extreme
eastern border of the states and extend
ing over Into Idaho. The west side of the
Cascade Range is the humid section, where
the rainfall ranges from twenty-five to
one hundred inches or more annually.
This difference in rainfall is accompanied
by similar differences in soil conditions
and for this reason there is a large varia
tion in the kinds of feed that can be
grown for the dairy cow.
T_e "West Side" Region
Consider first that portion of the North
west which lies west of the Cascades.
Here the conditions are most favorable
for profitable dairying for many reasons.
In the first place the climate is rather
mild In the winter and cool in the sum
mer. In all of this section cows can be
kept out of doors or without very much
shelter ten months out of the year. In
fact, In some parts it is so mild that the
cows do not need to be stabled at any
time except just enough to keep them
dry. This fact makes it possible for a
farmer to go Into the dairy business with
out investing heavily in buildings and it
enables a man with small means to put
practically all of his money into land and
cows, both of which will bring returns
right from the start.
In the second place, this mild climate
permits the growing of green feed practic
ally all the year round. We are all aware
of the importance of green feed for the
dairy cow. The cow that gets some suc
culent feed In addition to the dry rough
age or grain which she may be getting is
going to make a greater profit for her
owner than the cow that is fed on dry
feed alone. In some sections of the coun
try the highest production is obtained only
during three or four months, when the
cows are on pasture. The dairymen in
this locality, however, get the maximum
every month In the year. For the most
part, this green feed is supplied by means
of luxuriant pastures. This is claimed by
some to be a wasteful method of supplying
feed, but when one considers the amount
of labor saved by pasturing and at the
same time the value of freedom to the cow
and the privilege to eat at will, you can
not help to commend this practice, especi
ally in sections where the land Is reason
ably cheap and where pasture grasses do
When we look at the beautiful Jersey
and Guernsey cows and see the large
amount of milk and butter they produce,
and also the strong, robust Holstelns with
their enormous milk production, we won
der under what conditions these breeds
were developed. Looking back we find
that all of these breeds have been devel
oped ln a country almost identical in cli
mate to our own Northwest. Does it not
seem probable then that we should make
some wonderful development along th's
In addition to these advantages we find
that the marketing conditions in the sec
tion west of the Cascades have been most
excellent. Fully three-fourths of the popu
lation of Washington and Oregon is to be
found in the cities, most of which lie on
the west coast. Aside from this a large
part of the population is engaged in the
lumbering and fishing industries, all of
which are heavy consumers and non-pro
ducers of dairy products. There are also
a large number of condenseries in this sec
tion, which take a large part of the milk
that is produced. In the state of Washing
ton alone over 50,000 tons of. milk havl
been marketed in the condeseries annual
ly during the past four or five years. These
conditions made it possible for the dairy
men in this section to market their pro
ducts right at home and have given them
an opportunity to sell at a high enough
figure so that a profit can be realized.
The "East Side" Region
On the east side of the Cascades in the
dryer sections we have another set of con
ditions. We still have comparatively mild
winters and cool summers, though the
winters are a little colder and the summers
a little warmer than are found on the west
coast. That section close to the Cascade
Range is the irrigated section and for the
past ten years most of the interest has
been* along the line of orcharding, but
even the orchardist has found that it is to
his advantage to have live stock on his
tract so as to increase the production from
his trees. A trip into the fruit section now
will reveal the fact that great progress
is being made along dairying —nearly
every small tract having from one to a
dozen cows on it, and some larger ones as
high as fifty to seventy-five.
The big advantage of this section over
any other is that it will grow enormous
yields of alfalfa, hay, and corn for silage.
Five tons of hay to the acre and thirty
tons of groon corn for silage are common
yields. This gives a cheap feed for the
dairy cow and one that is conducive to
great milk production.
These conditions are also to be found in
that fertile irrigated country in southern
Idaho and eastern Oregon. Here the yields
of alfalfa and corn are even larger than
those found in Washington and this makes
up for the lack in marketing facilities.
With alfalfa hay at five dollars per ton and
corn silage at $2.50 per ton, which prices
are prevalent in these irrigated sections, we
find that large cows giving forty pounds
of three per cent milk daily can produce a
pound of butter-fat at a feed cost of less
than ten cents, and one hundred pounds
of milk at a feed cost of less than thirty
The Inland Empire
That section which comprises the ex
treme eastern part of the states of Wash
ington and Oregon and the panhandle of
Idaho, sometimes called the Inland Em
pire, has a different set of conditions. Here
the rainfall ranges from eighteen to
twenty-four inches annually. Most of the
land is very rolling, so that irrigation is
not possible, even if it were necessary.
By practising summer fallowing, how
ever, large crops of the small grains, es
pecially wheat, are grown. At the pre
vailing prices of these farm products the
farmers are able to get fair returns from
their farms, but it is certain that dollar
wheat and corresponding high prices for
other cereals will not continue forever,
in which case the farmers in this section
will turn toward tho keeping of live stock.
They say that history repeats itself. Wo
can therefore assume that these grain
farmers who are mining the soil without
putting anything back will sooner or later
turn their attention toward the live stock
industry—just the thing that has been
done in parts of the wheat belt of the
central states.
Many farmers in this section have al
ready made good in the dairy business.
It has now been demonstrated that by
planting' peas, corn, carrots, beets, or in
fact most of the crops that can be culti
vated, having these crops follow wheat,
instead of allowing the land to lie fallow,
almost as large a yield of wheat will be
obtained the next season as when summer
fallowing is practiced. This means that
the land will not be idle as much as it
has been in the past. At the same time it
will provide labor for every month in the
These crops make excellent cow feed
and wheat raisers are already turning
their attention to dairying as a side line
and in some cases it is becoming the main
line of farming in this section of the
Marketing Dairy Products
Now we will consider another phase of
the dairy conditions, that of marketing.
Upon looking into the butter and cheese
industry, especially with reference to the
exports and imports, we Bee that the fol
lowing conditions exist (these figures
were compiled from those obtained from
various butter houses in Seattle and Spo
kane 1 and are largely estimates for Wash
ington): About five years ago 650 cars
of butter and 74 cars of cheese were being
shipped into this state. In 1912 there
were about 316 cars of butter and 64 cars
of cheese shipped in. In 1913, 303 cars
of butter and 72 cars of cheese. Last
year it dwindled down to 119 cars of
butter, but the cheese increased to 92
cars. On the other hand, we find that we
exported but very little butter in 1910,
whereas in 1914 some 30 cars were ex
ported to Australia and New «ealand.
While these figures are for Washington
only, similar conditions exist in Oregon
and no doubt they can be applied to Cali
fornia as well.
The figures for cheese seem to show
that we could well afford to pay more at
tention to that end of the business and
to be sure, we would like to see several
cheese centers, such as the well-known
one in Tilamook County, Oregon, develop
in various parts of the Northwest. How
ever, the figures on cheese include cheese
from Oregon into Washington, and if we
were to consider the Northwest as a whole
we would find that we are producing
about as much as we are consuming.
Now what does this moan? It means
that the time Is close at hand when wo
will be producing more than we can con
sume. Our home market has enabled us
to dispose of tho product at a low cost of
marketing and at a good price, but that
the time is not far off when we mußt look
for distant markets, at which time we
must expect much lower prices then we
are getting. How shall this situation be
met? We know that better quality of the
product, butter or cheese, is going to »c
demanded by those who buy our goods.
The better quality of the raw product
is the first and prime importance in get
ting better quality in the finished pro
duct. This factor is under the control
of the producer and to get this high qual
ity necessitates paying for the product on
the quality basis, that is, grading the
milk or cream. This will meet with a
good deal of disfavor among tho produc
ers of milk. The dairyman feels, and per
haps rightly so, that he is underpaid fcr
the work he Is now doing. This condi
tion of affairs can only bo met by having
the proper cows, and this is the most
potent factor in success or failure in the
dairy business.
The high records of production of the
Northwest show what can bo done in this
country, but when we consider the grade
herds or in fact any of the herds that are
not producing breeding stock we find that
the average production from each cow is
remarkably low. The average produc
tion from the cows in the United States
has been placed at approximately 150
pounds of butter-fat and 3800 pounds of
milk. The average in the Pacific North
west is a little higher than this, being
about 180 pounds of butter-fat and 4500
pounds of milk. With this low average
we know that a large part of the cows
are not paying for their keep. I have
previously stated that with a cow pro
ducing 60 pounds of fat a year the cost
of producing one pound of fat is as low
as ten cents where feed is cheap. You
can readily see that if this cow were a
150-pound cow the cost would be some
thing over twenty cents, ,and this for
feed alone. With such a cow a dairyman
can never hope to make a living.
But as I have stated, some of the breed
ers aro producing high record stock that
is being well distributed over the coun
try. The bulls especially are being wide
ly disseminated and by this means the
average of production is going to be
raised. We have talked for better cows
for many years and It seems that pro
ducers have taken very little heed, but
now when the prices are sure to get low
the high producing cow Is a necessity and
the owner of the cow will be quick to
realize it.
The Outlook for the Future
It has been suggested by some that it
will not be long before we will be unable
to dispose of our dairy products at any
price. Of course we are not able to say
definitely what may happen in the future,
but in this connection I wish to call atten
tion to the fact that by means of the
Panama Canal we can ship butter to the
eastern coast at an extremely low figure,
something less than two cents per pound.
In addition to this railroad freight rates
will undoubtedly be lowered to compete
with water transportation. This means
that we will be able to put our products
on distant markets in competition with
the north, central, and eastern states, and
since our conditions for producing the
products are as good as can be found
anywhere there is no reason why our
farmers will not fare as well as or better
than those in other sections.
Such are the dairy production condi
tions as they exist. There is no question
but that we have an ideal country for pro
ducing dairy products. The mild climate,
good soil, and enough water to produce
good crops are sure to make cheap feed.
The high producing cow will come in time
and even if our over-production will re
quire us to market our products in dis
tant countries or parts of this country,
we can make the business profitable by
proper management.
Too much can not be said at this time
to dairymen and even cattlemen regarding
the benefits and advantages of a good silo.
Good ensilage enables cows to produce
more economically and a larger number of
animals can be maintained on a given
number of acres. The silo ration, or a
ration in which ensilage Is introduced,
keeps the animals fed in good physical
condition. It really provides summer feed
during winter.
By placing feed, such as corn, in the
slid it keeps corn stalks from the manure
heap. Again, the silo makes palatable
feed of materials grown on the farm that
would not otherwise be eaten, and it en
ables the farmer to preserve feed which
may mature at a rainy time of the year,
when drying and curing would be Im
PRICES 10 and 15 CENTS
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