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AGRICULTURAL
NEWS LETTER

THE F E D E R A L R E S E R V E BANK OF D A L L A S
Vol. Ill
THE

Dallas, Texas, August 15,1948
OUTLOOK

FOR

COTTON

At the recent meeting of the Cotton Re­
search Congress held in Dallas, Secretary of
Agriculture Charles F. Brannan, speaking on
"Cotton Makes a Comeback,” gave a brief but
comprehensive picture of the position of cot­
ton today and some of the problems it faces
in the future. Mr. Brannan stated that the
outlook for American cotton in the years im­
mediately ahead is better than it has been for
at least two decades. The domestic surpluses of
the 1930’s have been reduced and our carry­
over is now at a comfortable level. This situa­
tion has resulted, he said, from a better bal­
ancing of cotton production with domestic
cotton needs, increased domestic consumption
of cotton, and government programs for fi­
nancing shipments of cotton to foreign coun­
tries. The Secretary added that the present sit­
uation also is favored by a "world carry-over
which is not alarming” and a need for textiles
which is probably at, or close to, an all-time
high. If cotton is to continue to enjoy a fa­
vorable outlook, however, Mr. Brannan em­
phasized that research, aggressive and for­
ward-looking domestic programs, high-level
exports, and increased domestic consumption
must be maintained.
In viewing the world cotton situation, Mr.
Brannan stated that the carry-over of cotton
by foreign countries is declining. World pro­
duction during the last few years has been at
a relatively low level and is now exceeded by
consumption. If this should continue, there
would be a shortage of cotton in the not too
distant future. However, Mr. Brannan
pointed out that some of the factors which
reduced world cotton production during re­
cent years were temporary and foreign pro­
duction is now increasing. Furthermore, while
great unfilled needs for cotton goods abroad

AND

Number 8
COTTONSEED

remain, the lack of funds is an obstacle to
continued large consumption of American
cotton in foreign countries. It was empha­
sized, therefore, that the future for cotton is
associated with the revival of purchasing pow­
er in the world. Finally, Mr. Brannan stressed
the point that our cotton must prove that it
can meet the price and quality competition of
substitutes and foreign cotton under condi­
tions of normal markets.
Some of the problems involved in maintain­
ing and enlarging the demand for cottonseed
were discussed at the Research Congress by
Dr. N. R. Whitney, economist for Procter
and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, in
an address on the subject “Domestic Markets
for Cottonseed and Cottonseed Products.”
The demand for cottonseed, said Dr. Whitney,
is derived from the demand for its products
—oil, meal, linters, and hulls. Cotton linters
are used in the production of cellophane, shat­
terproof glass, paint, photographic films,
paper, plastics, surgical dressings, and many
other products. The oil is used for edible pur­
poses in the form of margarine, vegetable
shortening, salad oil, and cooking oil. Cotton­
seed meal is used as feed for livestock and
poultry and as fertilizer, while the hulls are
used mainly in the form of roughage. Accord­
ing to Dr. Whitney, the problem is to find
markets for cottonseed products, for in so
doing there will be created a market for cot­
tonseed.
Chemical research and manufacturing tech­
niques have made great strides in creating
products from cottonseed for which a de­
mand may be stimulated, said Dr. Whitney.
However, after the research work of the
chemists has been completed, the task of find­

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

ing a market for the products requires a tre­
mendous amount of intelligence and labor,
for each product obtained from cottonseed
faces intense competition from other prod­
ucts which may be used for the same or sim­
ilar purposes. Dr. Whitney emphasized that
the maintenance of a large market for cotton­
seed will depend on further work on market­
ing phases of the problem.
According to Dr. Whitney, a market strat­
egy designed to enlarge the demand for cot­
tonseed products in the face of constantly
growing competition from similar products
should include six fundamentals: (1) the dis­
covery of new and wider uses for the prod­
ucts, (2) maintenance of quality and of hon­
est standards, (3) maintenance of prices of
the products at competitive levels, (4) sta­
bility of prices, (5) intelligent and unremit­
ting advertising, and (6) an adequate supply
to provide for a moderately stable annual
usage.
It was the opinion of these and other speak­
ers at the Cotton Research Congress that there
is a hopeful outlook for cotton and cotton­
seed but that future developments with re­
spect to these commodities will depend on
many factors and that strenuous efforts must
be made constantly by all members of the in­
dustry to produce better products at lower
costs in order to meet the competition of for­
eign cotton and domestic synthetics. Through­
out the meeting it was emphasized that re­
search is still the magic word in cotton’s rise
to a position of greater usefulness and is the
key to a future of stable, assured markets for
cotton products in this country and through­
out the world.
FARM MANAGEMENT

Trench Silos Cost Less; Construction Simple
It is possible for the farmer of small means,
and even for the tenant farmer, to have a
trench silo, says H. M. Haws, Jr., Oklahoma
A. and M. College agricultural engineer. A
large percentage of Oklahoma farms are op­
erated by tenants, and there are many owners
who cannot afford to have an expensive silo.

For these people the trench silo has a place, he
explains, for it provides a cheap and satisfac­
tory method of storing feed during any sea­
son, and particularly during dry seasons when
forage crops are threatened by drought.
There are several advantages of the trench
silo: the cost of construction is low, it can be
made any desired size and can be built on
short notice for an emergency, it is fireproof
and windproof, and it is easy to fill and to
remove the silage. Probably the most desirable
type is the silo lined with concrete and rein­
forced with a double layer of heavy hog wire.
After the trench is dug, walls smoothed down,
and the wire put in place, a three-inch layer
of concrete should be applied, followed by a
plaster finish.
Local county agents can provide bulletins
and advice on construction of trench silos.
Fertilizers Applied to Grains Prove
Profitable in Blacklands Tests
In the fall of 1947, plantings of several
small grains were made by the Texas Research
Foundation, Renner, Texas, to determine their
response to fertilizer. Four separate plots of
each kind of grain were planted. In each group
one plot was not fertilized, the second re­
ceived an application of 500 pounds of 4-12-8
fertilizer per acre at planting time, the third
was given a nitrogen topdressing in the spring,
and the fourth had 4-12-8 fertilizer at plant­
ing time plus nitrogen topdressing in the
spring.
The yields were harvested and measured in
terms of bushels per acre. Wheat yields pro­
duced without fertilizer averaged 22.2 bushels
per acre, and the addition of ammonium ni­
trate alone made little difference. Use of the
4-12-8 fertilizer increased yields to 27.9
bushels, while application of both fertilizers
raised production to 30.4 bushels per acre.
Oats responded greatly to both ammonium
nitrate and 4-12-8 fertilizer. The ammonium
nitrate produced a yield of 39.1 bushels per
acre as compared with 31.2 bushels on un­
fertilized land. Use of 4-12-8 fertilizer pro­
duced 43.5 bushels per acre, while application
of both fertilizers raised the yields to 57.5
bushels per acre.

AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

Winter barley yielded 16.8 bushels on un­
treated land, but yields were increased to 21.8
bushels by use of ammonium nitrate. Use of
4-12-8 fertilizer raised yields to 24.4 bushels
per acre or about 8 bushels above the yields
on untreated soil. Application of both am­
monium nitrate and 4-12-8 fertilizer raised
yields to 3 5.1 bushels per acre or more than
double the yield on unfertilized land.
The conclusion to be drawn from these ex­
periments is that fertilizer applied to small
grains on Blackland soils may be very profit­
able. Under present price relationships, addi­
tional yields more than offset the cost of these
fertilizers.

3

of individual companies indicate a further
increase this year of 20 to 25 percent.
Determined efforts to hold down prices
have been made by the more efficient units in
the industry, with the result that the increase
in farm equipment prices has been less than
that for manufactured goods generally. How­
ever, rising wage costs and pressure on mar­
gins recently prompted one of the larger
manufacturers of farm machinery to lift
prices on tractors by an average of 10 percent.
Other producers will undoubtedly do likewise
and price increases on additional items are
probable, according to this report.
The present exceptional demand for equip­
ment reflects high farm income in this coun­
try, the relative shortage of labor on farms,
Save Farm-Stored Grain From Insects
and the urgent need for continued large pro­
Insects in farm cribs do tremendous dam­ duction of food and fibre throughout the
age. A thorough job of housecleaning bins world.
and spraying them with DDT before newly
harvested grain is stored will rid the bins of
Oil for the Farm
hold-over infestation and will give new grain
In view of the large production of petro­
a good chance to escape damage. With another leum,
an adequate supply of gas and oil for
corn harvest in the offing and in the face of the farm
may easily be assumed or taken for
urgent need for food and feed conservation, granted, but
this assumption appears unwar­
the cooperation of all grain farmers in a pre­ ranted, according
to PbilFarmer, published
harvest crib-cleaning campaign is being by Phillips Petroleum
Company. The total
sought.
supply of oil products this summer is ex­
Information on methods of controlling in­ pected to be the largest in history, but, like
sects in grain cribs is available from all county the farmer, the oil industry is facing an un­
agents and state entomologists. Two informa­ precedented demand for its products. The
tional leaflets, “Save Farm Grain by Fumiga­ industry expects to meet farmers’ needs but
tion” and “Save Farm-Stored Grain from In­ there is little margin to spare, and this may
sects,” issued cooperatively by the Office for be lost if there is interference with production
Food and Feed Conservation and the Bureau and distribution of oil or if bumper crops
of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, are increase the current record demand for oil.
available from county agents.
Farm use of motor fuel alone is twice the
prewar level. The number of tractors on farms
in the United States has almost doubled since
Farm Machinery Outlook
1940, while the number of automobiles and
Production of farm equipment, currently trucks
also increased substantially, not to
at the highest rate in the history of the in­ mentionhasinnumerable
other oil-consuming
dustry, is still inadequate to meet the demands units such as self-propelled
combines, hay
of the American farmer and export require­ balers, pumps, and electric generators.
ments, according to a recent industry survey
made by Standard and Poor’s Corporation of Despite records being established in oil well
New York. Shipments of agricultural machin­ drilling activity, new refineries being built
ery, including tractors for nonfarm use, rose and old ones operated at or above capacity,
48.5 percent in 1947, and production figures and imports of oil exceeding exports, the oil

•4

AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

industry is scarcely more than able to supply with hired employment the same as last year.
current needs of farm and nonfarm consum­ Farm employment in the West South Central
States was considerably below the level of
ers.
;-----------------June 1 and slightly below the level of the
COMMODITY NOTES
same date in 1947.
Commodity Purchase Agreements
Offered to Farmers
Purchase agreements as well as commodity TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS
Cotton Harvesting Subject of Research
loans on 194 8-crop wheat, oats, barley, rye,
grain sorghums, rice, dry beans, and dry peas A cooperative research program to study
will be offered to farmers as a means of price cotton mechanization problems for Okla­
support for this year’s crops, according to a homa and other western plains states is being
recent announcement by the United States launched by the Oklahoma Agricultural Ex­
Department of Agriculture. The offer will be periment Station and the United States Bu­
open to farmers from time of harvest through reau of Plant Industry. According to William
December 31, 1948, on substantially the same J. Oates, project supervisor, the work includes
terms as those which applied to the 1947 crop such matters as improvement of equipment
in all states and counties where commodity for cotton harvesting, cost studies of cotton
loans are available.
harvesting with mechanical equipment, and
The Commodity Credit Corporation will studies of cotton varieties for mechanical har­
accept any quantity up to the maximum vesting. The research will be correlated with
stated by the producer during the 30-day similar work in west Texas, which will apply
period immediately following the maturity to western plains areas where cotton is raised
date of the 1948 loan, which is April 30, 1949, without irrigation, as distinguished from pro­
or earlier on demand of the farmer. Purchase duction of the crop in the Mississippi Delta,
prices will be the same as the corresponding the uplands of the southeastern states, and the
irrigated lands of the Southwest and West.
loan delivery rate.
FARM LABOR

Farm Wage Rates Continue Climb
Employment Lower Than a Year Ago
Farm wage rates in the Nation as a whole
reached a new high on July 1, 7 percent above
a year ago, according to Farm Labor, pub­
lished by the United States Department of
Agriculture. Between April 1, 1948 and July
1, farm wage rates rose 8 percent, a more
than usual seasonal increase. Farm wage rates
in the West South Central States on July 1
were 391 percent of the 1910-14 average, 1
percent above the June level, and 7 percent
above the level of July 1947. In relation to
the pre-World War I wage rate level, the West
South Central States reported lower wage
rates on July 1 than any other section of the
country except the East South Central States.
Wage rates had risen to the highest level in
the Pacific States, where the index was 447.
Total farm employment in the Nation on
July 1 was down 400,000 from a year ago,

FARM PRICES

1948 Cotton Loan Program Announced
The average loan rate on %-inch Middling
cotton, gross weight, will be 28.79 cents per
pound, which is 92 l/ z percent of the parity
price of cotton as of August 1, 1948, accord­
ing to an announcement of the United States
Department of Agriculture. The parity price
on August 1 was 31.12 cents per pound. The
loan rate of 28.79 cents per pound this year
compares with 26.49 cents per pound last
year. The average rate for 15/ 16-inch Mid­
dling cotton will be 1.95 cents per pound
above the average for %-inch Middling cot­
ton, or 30.74 cents per pound.
ANNOUNCEMENTS

Meeting
The Texas Poultry Improvement Associa­
tion Convention will be held at the Buccaneer
Hotel in Galveston, Texas, during the four
dsys September 13-16.