Full text: Modern business geography

Modern Business Geography 
In the four years of the World War, all the civilized people of the 
world were made to realize the importance of wheat. Because many 
millions of farmers had become soldiers, the production of all food- 
stuffs fell off greatly. But it was the falling off in the production of 
wheat that caused the greatest distress. The substitutes for wheat, 
such as corn, rye, barley, and potatoes, were not equally appetizing 
and satisfying. People longed for the return of wheat bread. For a 
time it seemed that the side that could get the most wheat and make 
it go farthest would gain the victory. ‘‘ Wheat will win the war,” 
was a common assertion. 
Where our wheat is grown. Although wheat is grown in every 
state in the Union, two regions are most important: (1) the north- 
eastern United States, from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and western 
New York, westward to the Dakotasand Kansas; and (2) eastern Wash- 
ington and Oregon (Fig. 28). The wheat belt, where production is 
greatest, extends northward across Nebraska, South Dakota, and 
North Dakota into Canada, and projects into Minnesota. In this 
region wheat is always an important subject of conversation and has 
a prominent place in the newspapers, for prosperity depends largely 
upon the wheat crop. 
Conditions for raising wheat in the wheat belt. Let us see what 
conditions cause wheat to be so important in this belt. In the first 
place, a relief map of North America shows that the region where 
wheat is most abundant is part of the Great Plains. As in most 
plains, the soil here is fine and fertile. Furthermore, on rolling plains 
it is easy to use large machines for plowing, harrowing, and reaping. 
Rainfall is even more important than relief. As Figure 6 shows, 
from 15 to 80 inches of rain fall annually in the wheat belt. For- 
tunately much of this comes in the fall and early spring, when the 
wheat most needs it. But the skies are usually cloudless for a few 
weeks before the harvest, and the resulting dry weather ripens the 
seeds. - 
Temperature is quite as important as rainfall. Wheat growing 1s 
restricted to the cool temperate zone; the southern states, for in- 
stance, have practically none. Even within the region favorable to 
wheat, extensive crops are obtained only by cultivating the particu- 
lar kind of wheat suited to the temperature. There are two kinds: one, 
planted in the fall, is called winter wheat, while the other, planted in 
the spring, is called spring wheat.

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