• Dairy and Potato Farms: In the Matanuska and Tanana Valleys 1951

      Andrews, Richard A.; Johnson, Hugh A.; Martin, Paul F. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1953-02)
      The study reported here is one of a series designed to provide in formation on farm organization in Alaska for aiding economics development and expansion of permanent farm units. Records were obtained on 46 farm s in the Matanuska Valley and 4 farm s in the Tanana Valley; all were included in the 1950 study. Analysis is limited to a description of the general farm situation in 1951 and to a comparison with 1947, 1949 and 1950.

      Andrews, Richard A. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1955-06)
    • Farms of Railbelt Alaska

      Andrews, Richard A. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1954-12)
      Gross farm income to Alaskans was nearly 3 million dollars in 1953. Milk was the most important farm product, followed by sales of potatoes, poultry and vegetables, The Matanuska Valley provided over half of the total farm production, Seventy-six farmers were interviewed in 1953, Of these, 39 were dairy farmers , 23 were potato farmers , 5 were poultry farmers, 4 were vegetables farmers and 5 were miscellaneous farmers. Dairymen as a whole increased their cow numbers faster than they cleared land in preparation for larger herds. Potato farmers experienced a very poor year. Yields were high and acreage planted was greater than ever before, but disease cut the crop drastically and the market was very competitive, This was the first year in the past 5 that potato growers as a group lost money. Poultry producers obtained a greater average rate of lay per hen than in previous years, Even so, the margin of return was small. The Tanana Valley was the second most important agricultural area in 1C)53. Potatoes were the leading enterprise. There was much interest in dairy farming but lack of capital, buildings and a dependable water supply are major deterrents to development of this enterprise, On many potential dairy farms, cleared land was no longer a limiting factor because over one-third of the cropland was either idle or in green manure crops. Tanana Valley potato growers who received the greatest net farm returns from their farm operations obtained high yields, had a high percentage of US #1 potatoes, had a sizeable acreage in crops and utilized considerable family labor. The other leading agricultural areas -the Kenai Peninsula, Southeastern Alaska and the Aleutian Chain-were the source of over 20 percent of the total agricultural production in Alaska during 1953. Several types of farm enterprises prevailed in these areas and on varying scales of production. Dairy and poultry were the leading enterprises in Southeastern Alaska, poultry and beef on the Kenai Peninsula and beef and sheep on the Aleutian Chain. No one enterprise existed on sufficient numbers of farms to make analysis possible when information was collected by the survey method.
    • Potato Farms in Alaska

      Andrews, Richard A. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1953-10)
      Nearly 150 rural families produced potatoes in the Railbelt area of Alaska during 1952, Only a small proportion of these families were specialized potato farm ers. Since potato production is readily adaptable to part-time farming, many of these families grew potatoes on a part-time basis or as a minor enterprise, Twenty-four of the 83 farmers interviewed in the Matanuska Valley specialized in potato production with an average of 11 acres per farm. Thirteen of the 18 farmers in the Tanana Valley grew potatoes as a major enterprise averaging 16 acres per farm. Virtually all of the potatoes on the Kenai Peninsula were grown as a minor enterprise or as a part-time venture. As a source of farm income to Alaskan farm ers, potatoes ranked second only to dairy, A major portion of the money spent by potato farmers in both the Matanuska and Tanana Valleys was for improving service buildings and increasing equipment inventories in 1952, The net returns on 24 Matanuska Valley potato farms ranged from a loss of $5, 489 to a net gain of $8, 958 and averaged $3, 446c Three farmers lost money in their farm operations. Yield was the major factor influencing income from potatoes in 1952, Farmers with the higher net return obtained 6,8 tons of U„ S. No, l's per acre as compared with 4,4 tons obtained by farmers realizing less from farming. Both groups had approximately the same acreage of potatoes. Farmers with the higher incomes grossed more and spent less in their business venture than did farmers with lower incomes. Savings were incurred on hired labor, feed, seed, machinery repairs, fuel and oil, and fertilizer. Farmers with the greatest acreage of potatoes netted only $300 more than those with fewer acres. The form er averaged 14 acres of potatoes per farm and the latter 8 acres per farm. Labor costs for farmers with greater acreages were 3 times greater than those for farmers with the lesser acreage. The difference was $1,171, The potato yield per acre on 48 Matanuska Valley farms ranged from 0 to 8,7 tons of U,, Sc No, l ’ s and averaged 5,6 tons. Twenty-eight of these farmers reported above average yields. Local variations occurred among general areas as to both yield and management practices. Average yield was higher in 1 of the 3 general areas and another area used more fertilizer and seed than the third. However, the rates of fertilizer and seed used per acre have been increasing in all areas in recent years. A frost in August severely cut average yield in the Tanana Valley. Some fields were a total loss. In spite of the frost, average net returns on 10 potato farms were $4,019 which was about $600 more than Matanuska Valley potato growers realized. Potato farmers on the Kenai Peninsula were severely handicapped by lack of equipment. Many planted and harvested by hand. Potatoes were a common cash crop; 12 of the 19 farmers interviewed produced small acreaged.