• Alaska Farms: Organization and Practices in 1949

      Moore, Clarence A. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1951-03)
      This is the second of a series of annual studies being conducted to determine the types of farm organization and farm practices consistent with a stable and profitable farm economy, Detailed records of organization and operations in 1949 were taken from cooperating growers in the Matanuska Valley and in the Fairbanks area of the Tanana Valley. Information was secured on the extent of farming in the Anchorage area and on the Kenai peninsula.
    • 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 (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1953-10)
      Over half of the farmers in the Railbelt area of Alaska located on their farms after World War II, Farming on the current scale is so new that it is in a constant state of flux. Changes frequently occur in farm practices and in farm ownership. Shortage of cropland and inadequate buildings place a temporary ceiling on expansion of major lines of farming in all agricultural areas. Liberal amounts of credit must become available for continuation of the rapid expansion experienced in the past. The major reason why various kinds of agricultural enterprises developed as they have in leading agricultural areas can be found in the history of agricultural settlement. The Matanuska Valley provided nearly half of the agricultural production in Alaska in 1952, More families were engaged in farming in this valley than in any other area in Alaska. Milk sales topped all others as a source of income and more full-time farmers had dairies than any other enterprise. Potatoes were second in importance with numerous part-time farmers growing varying acreages. Poultry and vegetable production both follow a similar pattern of numerous small producers and only a few specialized farms. The Tanana Valley was the second most important agricultural area in 1952, Most farmers relied on potatoes for their major source of farm income. Vegetables were grown as a minor enterprise on several farms. Few flocks of hens were found., Although interest in dairy farming has been strong in this area, only 3 farms produced milk in surplus quantities in 1952* Of these 3 farms, one was a public institution, one was exceptionally large,, and one was exceptionally s^iall. Lack of housing and domestic water have deterred both dairy and poultry farming,, Compared to the above areas, agricultural development on the Kenai Peninsula has been slow. Farmers have been greatly handicapped by lack of a source of borrowed capital and by distance from a si2able market. Livestock and poultry are the major enterprises. Even though 12 of the 19 farmers interviewed grew potatoes, acreages usually were small. Vegetable production is not great because most of the produce is sold locally and not much produce is demanded by this market. Shortages of equipment necessitate a great deal of hand work.

      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.

      Dickson, James G. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1956-11)
      The preliminary survey of the plant species of grazing value found in the several areas is reported . Some comments on management and other problems are included. The information given is restricted to a few sections. Although the flora is similar for those studied, additional islands must be studied before general application to other specific areas is attempted.

      Anders, Richard A. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1954-12)
      Over 10 million pounds of milk were produced in Alaska during 1953. Almost two-thirds of this was produced in the Matanuska Valley . Milk sales were greater than sales of any other farm product. During the year 1953, dairymen in creased herd size by an average of 3 milk cows. Most of this increase came from first calf heifers which brought with them lower milk production. About half of the dairy farmers sold over 125,000 pounds of milk per farm . The average dairy farmer had 288 acres of which 104 were cropland. Dairymen had 4.6 acres per animal unit in feed crops. The trend in use of cropland was toward more hay, silage and pasture and less grain, potatoes and vegetables. Dairymen have been increasing their acre ages of grass for hay and pasture. In 1953, 41 percent of the acreage cut for hay was a grass mixture. Purchased feed was the greatest single expense. It amounted to about one-fourth of total expenses. Machinery purchases were second and labor was third. Fertilizer , the fourth largest expense, amounted to $8. 50 per acre of cropland. Milk sales made up 88 percent of the cash income. The net returns from farming ranged from a loss of over $7, 000 to a net gain of over $14,000 . The average was $4, 843. Fifteen dairymen realized over $6,000 . Fourteen farmers who realized a high net return from dairying had 7 more cows and sold 2, 200 more pounds of milk per cow than the 14 farmers who had a low net return. Furthermore, they bought more fertilizer and realized more from each dollar spent for purchased feed. Average cost of keeping one producing cow for the y e a r, except for unpaid operator and family labor and interest on family capital, was $664.11 . It cost an average of $7.97 to produce 100 pounds of milk . The range was from $4,07 to $13.97 per hundredweight per farm .
    • 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.