DRY-FARMING IN A NUTSHELL
LOCATE the dry-farm in a section with an annualprecipitation of more than ten inches and, if possible, with small wind movement.One man with four horses and plenty of machinery cannot handle more than from 160to 200 acres. Farm fewer acres and farm them better.
Select a clay loam soil. Other soils may be equallyproductive, but are cultivated properly with somewhat more difficulty.
Make sure, with the help of the soil auger, thatthe soil is of uniform structure to a depth of at least eight feet. If streaks ofloose gravel or layers of hardpan are near the surface, water may be lost to theplant roots.
After the land has been cleared and broken letit lie fallow with clean cultivation, for one year. The increase in the first andlater crops will pay for the waiting.
Always plow the land early in the fall, unlessabundant experience shows that fall plowing is an unwise practice in the locality.Always plow deeply unless the subsoil is infertile, in which case plow a little deepereach year until eight or ten inches are reached Plow at least once for each crop.Spring plowing; if practiced, should be done as early as possible in the season.
Follow the plow, whether in the fall or spring,with the disk and that with the smoothing harrow, if crops are to be sown soon afterward.If the land plowed in the fall is to lie fallow for the winter, leave it in the roughcondition, except in localities where there is little or no snow and the winter temperatureis high.
Always disk the land in early spring, to preventevaporation. Follow the disk with the harrow. Harrow, or in some other way stir thesurface of the soil after every rain. If crops are on the land, harrow as long asthe plants will stand it. If hoed crops, like corn or potatoes, are grown, use thecultivator throughout the season. A deep mulch or dry soil should cover the landas far as possible throughout the summer. Immediately after harvest disk the soilthoroughly.
Destroy weeds as soon as they show themselves.A weedy dry-farm is doomed to failure.
Give the land an occasional rest, that is, aclean summer fallow. Under a rainfall of less than fifteen inches, the land shouldbe summer fallowed every other year; under an annual rainfall of fifteen to twentyinches, the summer fallow should occur every third or fourth year. Where the rainfallcomes chiefly in the summer, the summer fallow is less important in ordinary yearsthan where the summers are dry and the winters wet. Only an absolutely clean fallowshould be permitted.
The fertility of dry-farm soils must be maintained.Return the manure; plow under green leguminous crops occasionally and practice rotation.On fertile soils plants mature with the least water.
Sow only by the drill method. Wherever possibleuse fall varieties of crops. Plant deeply--three or four inches for grain. Plantearly in the fall, especially if the land has been summer fallowed. Use only aboutone half as much seed as is recommended for humid-farming.
All the ordinary crops may be grown by dry-farming.Secure seed that has been raised on dry-farms. Look out for new varieties, especiallyadapted for dry-farming, that may be brought in. Wheat is king in dry-farming; corna close second. Turkey wheat promises the best.
Stock the dry-farm with the best modern machinery.Dry-farming is possible only because of the modern plow, the disk, the drill seeder,the harvester, the header, and the thresher.
Make a home on the dry-farm. Store the floodwaters in a reservoir; or pump the underground waters, for irrigating the familygarden. Set out trees, plant flowers, and keep some live stock.
Learn to understand the reasons back of the principlesof dry-farming, apply the knowledge vigorously, and the crop cannot fail.
Always farm as if a year of drouth were coming.
Man, by his intelligence, compels the laws ofnature to do his bidding, and thus he achieves joy.
"And God blessed them--and God said untothem, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it."