Full text: Modern business geography

Cereal Farming 
France, and many other countries in both the 
northern and the southern temperate zone. 
Rye bread is a staple food in Germany and 
in northern and central Russia; oatmeal in 
Scotland ; barley bread in Norway, Sweden, 
and northern Prussia; corn bread in Mexico, 
Central America, Rumania, and Egypt; and 
rice and millet for eight hundred million 
people in India, China, Japan, and the East 
Indies. As a rule the cereal most used in a 
country is the one which produces the largest 
crops with the least trouble. 
How great crops are raised. Although the 
crops that are raised today are not nearly so 
large as the farmers wish, they are far larger 
than were once raised. Ever since the days 
when primitive man first began to cultivate 
the bearded wild wheat which still grows on 
the hills of Palestine, the farmers have been 
making improvements in the cereals them- 
selves and in the methods of raising them. 
[n the first place, the early farmers tried 
again and again to see what kind of crop 
would grow best in their particular climate and soil, and what crop 
was the best for food. Some are still trying to solve this problem. 
For instance, the United States government cooperates with the 
farmers in trying to find wheat that will withstand drought, corn 
that can endure low temperature, and rice that will yield large Crops 
with little or no irrigation. 
Another problem was how to prevent the soil from losing its fertility. 
Early in the history of agriculture man found out about the use of 
animal fertilizers. Later he discovered that some crops, when plowed 
under, would benefit the soil. When it was learned that soil can be 
enriched by the use of substances known as commercial fertilizers, 
— such as guano, lime, and phosphate rock, — the problem was to 
discover the right kind and amount for each crop. 
One of the chief ways of improving crops is to select the seed of 
those plants that produce the best and largest crops. So great have 
been the changes in the cereal plants that today a cornstalk, for ex- 
ample, may be five to ten times as tall as its remote ancestor and 
may produce ten to twenty times as much seed.

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