Problems and Solutions to Farming on the Plains

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  • Created by: Megnicpip
  • Created on: 04-03-16 16:57
Gathering of crops required long and backbreaking effort. There were few labourers available.
Machinery greatly eased the pressures of farming.
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'This' said a newcomer to the Plains 'would bee a fine country if we just had water.' 'Yes' said the otherman heading east 'so would Hell.' A popular folklore story.
Wind pumps were invented which used the high winds of the Plains to draw up water from deep in the Earth. Such pumps were very cheap to build.
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In Winter temperatures could plunge to as low as -40'C and both people and animals could freeze to death.
No solution.
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Prarie fires could spread quickly in the hot, dry summers. If quick, a controlled fire could be lit in advance of the real fire to try and slow it down.
No solution.
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Plagues of grasshoppers could descend and strip the land and any crops in a very short time.
The spread of railroads across the Plains meant that huge quantities of materials (wood, seeds,new machinery etc.) could be brought to the Plains.
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The ground on the Plains was very hard. Ordinary ploughs either broke or failed to scratch the surface.
Steel-tipped ploughs (known as sod-busters were introduced by John Deere.) These ploughs could even penetrate the hard prairie soil.
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The wind blew endlessley across the Plains, in Winter and in Summer, night and day.
Trees were planted which would eventually block wind but there was not much else they could do.
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Lack of land was a problem. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave settlers 160 acres of land but this was not enough to support a family in the hot, dry climate.
The Timber and Culture Act of 1873 allowed homesteaders to claim a further 160 acres of land free if they agreed to plant half an acre of trees. This extra land allowed some families to survive.
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Cattle strayed onto the crops because there was no effective way of fencing the Plains. There were not enough materials.
Barbed wire made fencing easy and cheap.
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Summer saw droughts with the temperature over 37'C for weeks on end. This could scorch a corn crop as effectivley as a blowtorch.
New crops were introduced which could withstand the lack of water. One of the most successful was Turkey Red Wheat which came from the Crimea (part of Russia) in 1874. Dry-farming was introduced. Some fields would be left fallow to conserve moisture.
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Summer saw droughts with the temperature over 37'C for weeks on end. This could scorch a corn crop as effectivley as a blowtorch.
Dry-farming was introduced. Some fields would be left fallow to conserve moisture. Land would be ploughed after rain and snow and the surface would be covered with dust to stop the precious moisture from evaporating.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Wind pumps were invented which used the high winds of the Plains to draw up water from deep in the Earth. Such pumps were very cheap to build.

Back

'This' said a newcomer to the Plains 'would bee a fine country if we just had water.' 'Yes' said the otherman heading east 'so would Hell.' A popular folklore story.

Card 3

Front

No solution.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

No solution.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

The spread of railroads across the Plains meant that huge quantities of materials (wood, seeds,new machinery etc.) could be brought to the Plains.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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