The basal food crop of the people of China, Korea and Japan is rice, and the mean consumption in Japan, for the five years ending 1906, per capita and per annum, was 302 pounds. Of Japan's 175,428 square miles she devoted, in 1906, 12,856 to the rice crop. Her average yield of water rice on 12,534 square miles exceeded 33 bushels per acre, and the dry land rice averaged 18 bushels per acre on 321 square miles. In the Hokkaido, as far north as northern Illinois, Japan harvested 1,780,000 bushels of water rice from 53,000 acres.
In Szechwan province, China, Consul-General Hosie places the yield of water rice on the plains land at 44 bushels per acre, and that of the dry land rice at 22 bushels. Data given us in China show an average yield of 42 bushels of water rice per acre, while the average yield of wheat was 25 bushels per acre, the normal yield in Japan being about 17 bushels.
If the rice eaten per capita in China proper and Korea is equal to that in Japan the annual consumption for the three nations, using the round number 300 pounds per capita per annum, would be:
Population. Consumption. China 410,000,000 61,500,000 tons Korea 12,000,000 1,800,000 tons Japan 53,000,000 7,950 000 tons ----------------------- Total 475,000,000 71,250,000 tons
If the ratio of irrigated to dry land rice in Korea and China proper is the same as that in Japan, and if the mean yield of rice per acre in these countries were forty bushels for the water rice and twenty bushels for the dry land rice, the acreage required to give this production would be:
Area. Water rice, Dry land rice, sq. miles. sq. miles. In China 78,073 4,004 In Korea 2,285 117 In Japan 12,534 321 ------- ------ Sum 92,892 4,442 Total 97,334
Our observations along the four hundred miles of railway in Korea between Antung, Seoul and Fusan, suggest that the land under rice in this country must be more rather than less than that computed, and the square miles of canalized land in China, as indicated on pages 97 to 102, would indicate an acreage of rice for her quite as large as estimated.
In the three main islands of Japan more than fifty per cent of the cultivated land produces a crop of water rice each year and 7.96 per cent of the entire land area of the Empire, omitting far-north Karafuto. In Formosa and in southern China large areas produce two crops each year. At the large mean yield used in the computation the estimated acreage of rice in China proper amounts to 5.93 per cent of her total area and this is 7433 square miles greater than the acreage of wheat in the United States in 1907. Our yield of wheat, however, was but 19,000,000 tons, while China's output of rice was certainly double and probably three times this amount from nearly the same acreage of land; and notwithstanding this large production per acre, more than fifty per cent, possibly as high as seventy-five per cent, of the same land matures at least one other crop the same year, and much of this may be wheat or barley, both chiefly consumed as human food.
Had the Mongolian races spread to and developed in North America instead of, or as well as, in eastern Asia, there might have been a Grand Canal, something as suggested in Fig. 148, from the Rio Grande to the mouth of the Ohio river and from the Mississippi to Chesapeake Bay, constituting more than two thousand miles of inland water-way, serving commerce, holding up and redistributing both the run-off water and the wasting fertility of soil erosion, spreading them over 200,000 square miles of thoroughly canalized coastal plains, so many of which are now impoverished lands, made so by the intolerable waste of a vaunted civilization. And who shall venture to enumerate the increase in the tonnage of sugar, bales of cotton, sacks of rice, boxes of oranges, baskets of peaches, and in the trainloads of cabbage, tomatoes and celery such husbanding would make possible through all time; or number the increased millions these could feed and clothe? We may prohibit the exportation of our phosphorus, grind our limestone, and apply them to our fields, but this alone is only temporizing with the future. The more we produce, the more numerous our millions, the faster must present practices speed the waste to the sea, from whence neither money nor prayer can call them back.
If the United States is to endure; if we shall project our history even through four or five thousand years as the Mongolian nations have done, and if that history shall be written in continuous peace, free from periods of wide-spread famine or pestilence, this nation must orient itself; it must square its practices with a conservation of resources which can make endurance possible. Intensifying cultural methods but intensifies the digestion, assimilation and exhaustion of the surface soil, from which life springs. Multiple cropping, closer stands on the ground and stronger growth, all mean the transpiration of much more water per acre through the crops, and this can only be rendered possible through a redistribution of the run-off and the adoption of irrigation practices in humid climates where water exists in abundance. Sooner or later we must adopt a national policy which shall more completely conserve our water resources, utilizing them not only for power and transportation, but primarily for the maintenance of soil fertility and greater crop production through supplemental irrigation, and all these great national interests should be considered collectively, broadly, and with a view to the fullest and best possible coordination. China, Korea and Japan long ago struck the keynote of permanent agriculture but the time has now come when they can and will make great improvements, and it remains for us and other nations to profit by their experience, to adopt and adapt what is good in their practice and help in a world movement for the introduction of new and improved methods.
In selecting rice as their staple crop; in developing and maintaining their systems of combined irrigation and drainage, notwithstanding they have a large summer rainfall; in their systems of multiple cropping; in their extensive and persistent use of legumes; in their rotations for green manure to maintain the humus of their soils and for composting; and in the almost religious fidelity with which they have returned to their fields every form of waste which can replace plant food removed by the crops, these nations have demonstrated a grasp of essentials and of fundamental principles which may well cause western nations to pause and reflect.
While this country need not and could not now adopt their laborious methods of rice culture, and while, let us hope, those who come after us may never be compelled to do so, it is nevertheless quite worth while to study, for the sake of the principles involved, the practices they have been led to adopt.
Great as is the acreage of land in rice in these countries but little, relatively, is of the dry land type, and the fields upon which most of the rice grows have all been graded to a water level and surrounded by low, narrow raised rims, such as may be seen in Fig. 149 and in Fig. 150, where three men are at work on their foot-power pump, flooding fields preparatory to transplanting the rice. If the country was not level then the slopes have been graded into horizontal terraces varying in size according to the steepness of the areas in which they were cut. We saw these often no larger than the floor of a small room, and Professor Ross informed me that he walked past those in the interior of China no larger than a dining table and that he saw one bearing its crop of rice, surrounded by its rim and holding water, yet barely larger than a good napkin. The average area of the paddy field in Japan is officially reported at 1.14 se, or an area of but 31 by 40 feet. Excluding Hokkaido, Formosa and Karafuto, fifty-three per cent of the irrigated rice lands in Japan are in allotments smaller than one-eighth of an acre, and seventy-four per cent of other cultivated lands are held in areas less than one-fourth of an acre, and each of these may be further subdivided. The next two illustrations, Figs. 151 and 152, give a good idea both of the small size of the rice fields and of the terracing which has been done to secure the water level basins. The house standing near the center of Fig. 151 is a good scale for judging both the size of the paddies and the slope of the valley. The distance between the rows of rice is scarcely one foot, hence counting these in the foreground may serve as another measure. There are more than twenty little fields shown in this engraving in front of the house and reaching but half way to it, and the house was less than five hundred feet from the camera.
There are more than eleven thousand square miles of fields thus graded in the three main islands of Japan, each provided with rims, with water supply and drainage channels, all carefully kept in the best of repair. The more level areas, too, in each of the three countries, have been similarly thrown into water level basins, comparatively few of which cover large areas, because nearly always the holdings are small. All of the earth excavated from the canals and drainage channels has been leveled over the fields unless needed for levees or dikes, so that the original labor of construction, added to that of maintenance, makes a total far beyond our comprehension and nearly all of it is the product of human effort.
The laying out and shaping of so many fields into these level basins brings to the three nations an enormous aggregate annual asset, a large proportion of which western nations are not yet utilizing. The greatest gain comes from the unfailing higher yields made possible by providing an abundance of water through which more plant food can be utilized, thus providing higher average yields. The waters used, coming as they do largely from the uncultivated hills and mountain lands, carrying both dissolved and suspended matters, make positive annual additions of dissolved limestone and plant food elements to the fields which in the aggregate have been very large, through the persistent repetitions which have prevailed for centuries. If the yearly application of such water to the rice fields is but sixteen inches, and this has the average composition quoted by Merrill for rivers of North America, taking into account neither suspended matter nor the absorption of potassium and phosphorus by it, each ten thousand square miles would receive, dissolved in the water, substances containing some 1,400 tons of phosphorus; 23,000 tons of potassium; 27,000 tons of nitrogen; and 48,000 tons of sulphur. In addition, there are brought to the fields some 216,000 tons of dissolved organic matter and a still larger weight of dissolved limestone, so necessary in neutralizing the acidity of soils, amounting to 1,221,000 tons; and such savings have been maintained in China, Korea and Japan on more than five, and possibly more than nine, times the ten thousand square miles, through centuries. The phosphorus thus turned upon ninety thousand square miles would aggregate nearly thirteen million tons in a thousand years, which is less than the time the practice has been maintained, and is more phosphorus than would be carried in the entire rock phosphate thus far mined in the United States, were it all seventy-five per cent pure.
The canalization of fifty thousand square miles of our Gulf and Atlantic coastal plain, and the utilization on the fields of the silts and organic matter, together with the water, would mean turning to account a vast tonnage of plant food which is now wasting into the sea, and a correspondingly great increase of crop yield. There ought, and it would seem there must some time be provided a way for sending to the sandy plains of Florida, and to the sandy lands between there and the Mississippi, large volumes of the rich silt and organic matter from this and other rivers, aside from that which should be applied systematically to building above flood plain the lands of the delta which are subject to overflow or are too low to permit adequate drainage.
It may appear to some that the application of such large volumes of water to fields, especially in countries of heavy rainfall, must result in great loss of plant food through leaching and surface drainage. But under the remarkable practices of these three nations this is certainly not the case and it is highly important that our people should understand and appreciate the principles which underlie the practices they have almost uniformly adopted on the areas devoted to rice irrigation. In the first place, their paddy fields are under-drained so that most of the water either leaves the soil through the crop, by surface evaporation, or it percolates through the subsoil into shallow drains. When water is passed directly from one rice paddy to another it is usually permitted some time after fertilization, when both soil and crop have had time to appropriate or fix the soluble plant food substances. Besides this, water is not turned upon the fields until the time for transplanting the rice, when the plants are already provided with a strong root system and are capable of at once appropriating any soluble plant food which may develop about their roots or be carried downward over them.
Although the drains are of the surface type and but eighteen inches to three feet in depth, they are sufficiently numerous and close so that, although the soil is continuously nearly filled with water, there is a steady percolation of the fresh, fully aerated water carrying an abundance of oxygen into the soil to meet the needs of the roots, so that watermelons, egg plants, musk melons and taro are grown in the rotations on the small paddies among the irrigated rice after the manner seen in the illustrations. In Fig. 153 each double row of egg plants is separated from the next by a narrow shallow trench which connects with a head drain and in which water was standing within fourteen inches of the surface. The same was true in the case of the watermelons seen in Fig. 154, where the vines are growing on a thick layer of straw mulch which holds them from the moist soil and acts to conserve water by diminishing evaporation and, through decay from the summer rains and leaching, serves as fertilizer for the crop. In Fig. 155 the view is along a pathway separating two head ditches between areas in watermelons and taro, carrying the drainage waters from the several furrows into the main ditches. Although the soil appeared wet the plants were vigorous and healthy, seeming in no way to suffer from insufficient drainage.
These people have, therefore, given effective attention to the matter of drainage as well as irrigation and are looking after possible losses of plant food, as well as ways of supplying it. It is not alone where rice is grown that cultural methods are made to conserve soluble plant food and to reduce its loss from the field, for very often, where flooding is not practiced, small fields and beds, made quite level, are surrounded by low raised borders which permit not only the whole of any rain to be retained upon the field when so desired, but it is completely distributed over it, thus causing the whole soil to be uniformly charged with moisture and preventing washing from one portion of the field to another. Such provisions are shown in Figs. 133 and 138.
Extensive as is the acreage of irrigated rice in China, Korea and Japan, nearly every spear is transplanted; the largest and best crop possible, rather than the least labor and trouble, as is so often the case with us, determining their methods and practices. We first saw the fitting of the rice nursery beds at Canton and again near Kashing in Chekiang province on the farm of Mrs. Wu, whose homestead is seen in Fig. 156. She had come with her husband from Ningpo after the ravages of the Taiping rebellion had swept from two provinces alone twenty millions of people and settled on a small area of then vacated land. As they prospered they added to their holding by purchase until about twenty-five acres were acquired, an area about ten times that possessed by the usual prosperous family in China. The widow was managing her place, one of her sons, although married, being still in school, the daughter-in-law living with her mother-in-law and helping in the home. Her field help during the summer consisted of seven laborers and she kept four cows for the plowing and pumping of water for irrigation. The wages of the men were at the rate of $24, Mexican, for five summer months, together with their meals which were four each day. The cash outlay for the seven men was thus $14.45 of our currency per month. Ten years before, such labor had been $30 per year, as compared with $50 at the time of our visit, or $12.90 and $21.50 of our currency, respectively.
Her usual yields of rice were two piculs per mow, or twenty-six and two-thirds bushels per acre, and a wheat crop yielding half this amount, or some other, was taken from part of the land the same season, one fertilization answering for the two crops. She stated that her annual expense for fertilizers purchased was usually about $60, or $25.80 of our currency. The homestead of Mrs. Wu, Fig. 156, consists of a compound in the form of a large quadrangle surrounding a court closed on the south by a solid wall eight feet high. The structure is of earth brick with the roof thatched with rice straw.
Our first visit here was April 19th. The nursery rice beds had been planted four days, sowing seed at the rate of twenty bushels per acre. The soil had been very carefully prepared and highly fertilized, the last treatment being a dressing of plant ashes so incompletely burned as to leave the surface coal black. The seed, scattered directly upon the surface, almost completely covered it and had been gently beaten barely into the dressing of ashes, using a wide, flat-bottom basket for the purpose. Each evening, if the night was likely to be cool, water was pumped over the bed, to be withdrawn the next day, if warm and sunny, permitting the warmth to be absorbed by the black surface, and a fresh supply of air to be drawn into the soil.
Nearly a month later, May 14th, a second visit was made to this farm and one of the nursery beds of rice, as it then appeared, is seen in Fig. 159, the plants being about eight inches high and nearing the stage for transplanting. The field beyond the bed had already been partly flooded and plowed, turning under "Chinese clover" to ferment as green manure, preparatory for the rice transplanting. On the opposite side of the bed and in front of the residence, Fig. 156, flooding was in progress in the furrows between the ridges formed after the previous crop of rice was harvested and upon which the crop of clover for green manure was grown. Immediately at one end of the two series of nursery beds, one of which is seen in Fig. 159, was the pumping plant seen in Fig. 157, under a thatched shelter, with its two pumps installed at the end of a water channel leading from the canal. One of these wooden pump powers, with the blindfolded cow attached, is reproduced in Fig. 158 and just beyond the animal's head may be seen the long handle dipper to which reference has been made, used for collecting excreta.
More than a month is saved for maturing and harvesting winter and early spring crops, or in fitting the fields for rice, by this planting in nursery beds. The irrigation period for most of the land is cut short a like amount, saving in both water and time. It is cheaper and easier to highly fertilize and prepare a small area for the nursery, while at the same time much stronger and more uniform plants are secured than would be possible by sowing in the field. The labor of weeding and caring for the plants in the nursery is far less than would be required in the field. It would be practically impossible to fit the entire rice areas as early in the season as the nursery beds are fitted, for the green manure is not yet grown and time is required for composting or for decaying, if plowed under directly. The rice plants in the nursery are carried to a stage when they are strong feeders and when set into the newly prepared, fertilized, clean soil of the field they are ready to feed strongly under these most favorable conditions Both time and strength of plant are thus gained and these people are following what would appear to be the best possible practices under their condition of small holdings and dense population.
With our broad fields, our machinery and few people, their system appears to us crude and impossible, but cut our holdings to the size of theirs and the same stroke makes our machinery, even our plows, still more impossible, and so the more one studies the environment of these people, thus far unavoidable, their numbers, what they have done and are doing, against what odds they have succeeded, the more difficult it becomes to see what course might have been better.
How full with work is the month which precedes the transplanting of rice has been pointed out,--the making of the compost fertilizer; harvesting the wheat, rape and beans; distributing the compost over the fields, and their flooding and plowing. In Fig. 160 one of these fields is seen plowed, smoothed and nearly ready for the plants. The turned soil had been thoroughly pulverized, leveled and worked to the consistency of mortar, on the larger fields with one or another sort of harrow, as seen in Figs. 160 and 161. This thorough puddling of the soil permits the plants to be quickly set and provides conditions which ensure immediate perfect contact for the roots.
When the fields are ready women repair to the nurseries with their low four-legged bamboo stools, to pull the rice plants, carefully rinsing the soil from the roots, and then tie them into bundles of a size easily handled in transplanting, which are then distributed in the fields.
The work of transplanting may be done by groups of families changing work, a considerable number of them laboring together after the manner seen in Fig. 163, made from four snap shots taken from the same point at intervals of fifteen minutes. Long cords were stretched in the rice field six feet apart and each of the seven men was setting six rows of rice one foot apart, six to eight plants in a hill, and the hills eight or nine inches apart in the row. The, bundle was held in one hand and deftly, with the other, the desired number of plants were selected with the fingers at the roots, separated from the rest and, with a single thrust, set in place in the row. There was no packing of earth about the roots, each hill being set with a single motion, which followed one another in quick succession, completing one cross row of six hills after another. The men move backward across the field, completing one entire section, tossing the unused plants into the unset field. Then reset the lines to cover another section. We were told that the usual day's work of transplanting, for a man under these conditions, after the field is fitted and the plants are brought to him, is two mow or one-third of an acre. The seven men in this group would thus set two and a third acres per day and, at the wage Mrs. Wu was paying, the cash outlay, if the help was hired, would be nearly 21 cents per acre. This is more cheaply than we are able to set cabbage and tobacco plants with our best machine methods. In Japan, as seen in Figs. 164 and 165, the women participate in the work of setting the plants more than in China.
After the rice has been transplanted its care, unlike that of our wheat crop, does not cease. It must be hoed, fertilized and watered. To facilitate the watering all fields have been leveled, canals, ditches and drains provided, and to aid in fertilizing and hoeing, the setting has been in rows and in hills in the row.
The first working of the rice fields after the transplanting, as we saw it in Japan, consisted in spading between the hills with a four-tined hoe, apparently more for loosening the soil and aeration than for killing weeds. After this treatment the field was gone over again in the manner seen in Fig. 166, where the man is using his bare hands to smooth and level the stirred soil, taking care to eradicate every weed, burying them beneath the mud, and to straighten each hill of rice as it is passed. Sometimes the fingers are armed with bamboo claws to facilitate the weeding. Machinery in the form of revolving hand cultivators is recently coming into use in Japan, and two men using these are seen in Fig. 14. In these cultivators the teeth are mounted on an axle so as to revolve as the cultivator is pushed along the row.
Fertilization for the rice crop receives the greatest attention everywhere by these three nations and in no direction more than in maintaining the store of organic matter in the soil. The pink clover, to which reference has been made, Figs. 99 and 100, is extensively sowed after a crop of rice is harvested in the fall and comes into full bloom, ready to cut for compost or to turn under directly when the rice fields are plowed. Eighteen to twenty tons of this green clover are produced per acre, and in Japan this is usually applied to about three acres, the stubble and roots serving for the field producing the clover, thus giving a dressing of six to seven tons of green manure per acre, carrying not less than 37 pounds of potassium; 5 pounds of phosphorus, and 58 pounds of nitrogen.
Where the families are large and the holdings small, so they cannot spare room to grow the green manure crop, it is gathered on the mountain, weed and hill lands, or it may be cut in the canals. On our boat trip west from Soochow the last of May, many boats were passed carrying tons of the long green ribbon-like grass, cut and gathered from the bottom of the canal. To cut this grass men were working to their armpits in the water of the canal, using a crescent-shaped knife mounted like an anchor from the end of a 16-foot bamboo handle. This was shoved forward along the bottom of the canal and then drawn backward, cutting the grass, which rose to the surface where it was gathered upon the boats. Or material for green manure may be cut on grave, mountain or hill lands, as described under Fig. 115.
The straw of rice and other grain and the stems of any plant not usable as fuel may also be worked into the mud of rice fields, as may the chaff which is often scattered upon the water after the rice is transplanted, as in Fig. 168.
Reference has been made to the utilization of waste of various kinds in these countries to maintain the productive power of their soils, but it is worth while, in the interests of western nations, as helping them to realize the ultimate necessity of such economies, to state again, in more explicit terms, what Japan is doing. Dr. Kawaguchi, of the National Department of Agriculture and Commerce, taking his data from their records, informed me that Japan produced, in 1908, and applied to her fields, 23,850,295 tons of human manure; 22,812,787 tons of compost; and she imported 753,074 tons of commercial fertilizers, 7000 of which were phosphates in one form or another. In addition to these she must have applied not less than 1,404,000 tons of fuel ashes and 10,185,500 tons of green manure products grown on her hill and weed lands, and all of these applied to less than 14,000,000 acres of cultivated field, and it should be emphasized that this is done because as yet they have found no better way of permanently maintaining a fertility capable of feeding her millions.
Besides fertilizing, transplanting and weeding the rice crop there is the enormous task of irrigation to be maintained until the rice is nearly matured. Much of the water used is lifted by animal power and a large share of this is human. Fig. 169 shows two Chinese men in their cool, capacious, nowhere-touching summer trousers flinging water with the swinging basket, and it is surprising the amount of water which may be raised three to four feet by this means. The portable spool windlass, in Figs. 27 and 123, has been described, and Fig. 170 shows the quadrangular, cone-shaped bucket and sweep extensively used in Chihli. This man was supplying water sufficient for the irrigation of half an acre, per day, lifting the water eight feet.
The form of pump most used in China and the foot-power for working it are seen in Fig. 171. Three men working a similar pump are seen in Fig. 150, a closer view of three men working the foot-power may be seen in Fig. 42 and still another stands adjacent to a series of flooded fields in Fig. 172. Where this view was taken the old farmer informed us that two men, with this pump, lifting water three feet, were able to cover two mow of land with three inches of water in two hours. This is at the rate of 2.5 acre-inches of water per ten hours per man, and for 12 to 15 cents, our currency, thus making sixteen acre-inches, or the season's supply of water, cost 77 to 96 cents, where coolie labor is hired and fed. Such is the efficiency of human power applied to the Chinese pump, measured in American currency.
This pump is simply an open box trough in which travels a wooden chain carrying a series of loosely fitting boards which raise the water from the canal, discharging it into the field. The size of the trough and of the buckets are varied to suit the power applied and the amount of water to be lifted. Crude as it appears there is nothing in western manufacture that can compete with it in first cost, maintenance or efficiency for Chinese conditions and nothing is more characteristic of all these people than their efficient, simple appliances of all kinds, which they have reduced to the lowest terms in every feature of construction and cost. The greatest results are accomplished by the simplest means. If a canal must be bridged and it is too wide to be covered by a single span, the Chinese engineer may erect it at some convenient place and turn the canal under it when completed. This we saw in the case of a new railroad bridge near Sungkiang. The bridge was completed and the water had just been turned under it and was being compelled to make its own excavation. Great expense had been saved while traffic on the canal had not been obstructed.
In the foot-power wheel of Japan all gearing is eliminated and the man walks the paddles themselves, as seen in Fig. 173. Some of these wheels are ten feet in diameter, depending upon the height the water must be lifted.
Irrigation by animal power is extensively practiced in each of the three countries, employing mostly the type of power wheel shown in Fig. 158. The next illustration, Fig. 174, shows the most common type of shelter seen in Chekiang and Kiangsu provinces, which are there very numerous. We counted as many as forty such shelters in a semi-circle of half a mile radius. They provide comfort for the animals during both sunshine and rain, for under no conditions must the water be permitted to run low on the rice fields, and everywhere their domestic animals receive kind, thoughtful treatment.
In the less level sections, where streams have sufficient fall, current wheels are in common use, carrying buckets near their circumference arranged so as to fill when passing through the water, and to empty after reaching the highest level into a receptacle provided with a conduit which leads the water to the field. In Szechwan province some of these current wheels are so large and gracefully constructed as to strongly suggest Ferris wheels. A view of one of these we are permitted to present in Fig. 175, through the kindness of Rollin T. Chamberlin who took the photograph from which the engraving was prepared. This wheel which was some forty feet in diameter, was working when the snap shot was taken, raising the water and pouring it into the horizontal trough seen near the top of the wheel, carried at the summit of a pair of heavy poles standing on the far side of the wheel. From this trough, leading away to the left above the sky line, is the long pipe, consisting of bamboo stems joined together, for conveying the water to the fields.
When the harvest time has come, notwithstanding the large acreage of grain, yielding hundreds of millions of bushels, the small, widely scattered holdings and the surface of the fields render all of our machine methods quite impossible. Even our grain cradle, which preceded the reaper, would not do, and the great task is still met with the old-time sickle, as seen in Fig. 176, cutting the rice hill by hill, as it was transplanted.
Previous to the time for cutting, after the seed is well matured, the water is drawn off and the land permitted to dry and harden. The rainy season is not yet over and much care must be exercised in curing the crop. The bundles may be shocked in rows along the margins of the paddies, as seen in Fig. 176, or they may be suspended, heads down, from bamboo poles as seen in Fig. 177.
The threshing is accomplished by drawing the heads of the rice through the teeth of a metal comb mounted as seen at the right in Fig. 178, near the lower corner, behind the basket, where a man and woman are occupied in winnowing the dust and chaff from the grain by means of a large double fan. Fanning mills built on the principle of those used by our farmers and closely resembling them have long been used in both China and Japan. After the rice is threshed the grain must be hulled before it can serve as food, and the oldest and simplest method of polishing used by the Japanese is seen in, Fig. 179, where the friction of the grain upon itself does the polishing. A quantity of rice is poured into the receptacle when, with heavy blows, the long-headed plunger is driven into the mass of rice, thus forcing the kernels to slide over one another until, by their abrasion, the desired result is secured. The same method of polishing, on a larger scale, is accomplished where the plungers are worked by the weight of the body, a series of men stepping upon lever handles of weighted plungers, raising them and allowing them to fall under the force of the weight attached. Recently, however, mills worked by gasoline engines are in operation for both hulling and polishing, in Japan.
The many uses to which rice straw is put in the economies of these people make it almost as important as the rice itself. As food and bedding for cattle and horses; as thatching material for dwellings and other shelters; as fuel; as a mulch; as a source of organic matter in the soil, and as a fertilizer, it represents a money value which is very large. Besides these ultimate uses the rice straw is extensively employed in the manufacture of articles used in enormous quantities. It is estimated that not less than 188,700,000 bags such as are seen in Figs. 180 and 181, worth $3,110,000 are made annually from the rice straw in Japan, for handling 346,150,000 bushels of cereals and 28,190,000 bushels of beans; and besides these, great numbers of bags are employed in transporting fish and other prepared manures.
In the prefecture of Hyogo, with 596 square miles of farm land, as compared with Rhode Island's 712 square miles, Hyogo farmers produced in 1906, on 265,040 acres, 10,584,000 bushels of rice worth $16,191,400, securing an average yield of almost forty bushels per acre and a gross return of $61 for the grain alone. In addition to this, these farmers grew on the same land, the same season, at least one other crop. Where this was barley the average yield exceeded twenty-six bushels per acre, worth $17.
In connection with their farm duties these Japanese families manufactured, from a portion of their rice straw, at night and during the leisure hours of winter, 8,980,000 pieces of matting and netting of different kinds having a market value of $262,000; 4,838,000 bags worth $185,000; 8,742,000 slippers worth $34,000; 6,254,000 sandals worth $30,000; and miscellaneous articles worth $64,000. This is a gross earning of more than $21,000,000 from eleven and a half townships of farm land and the labor of the farmers' families, an average earning of, $80 per acre on nearly three-fourths of the farm land of this prefecture. At this rate three of the four forties of our 160-acre farms should bring a gross annual income of $9,600 and the fourth forty should pay the expenses.
At the Nara Experiment Station we were informed that the money value of a good crop of rice in that prefecture should be placed at ninety dollars per acre for the grain and eight dollars for the unmanufactured straw; thirty-six dollars per acre for the crop of naked barley and two dollars per acre for the straw. The farmers here practice a rotation of rice and barley covering four or five years, followed by a summer crop of melons, worth $320 per acre and some other vegetable instead of the rice on the fifth or sixth year, worth eighty yen per tan, or $160 per acre. To secure green manure for fertilizing, soy beans are planted each year in the space between the rows of barley, the barley being planted in November. One week after the barley is harvested the soy beans, which produce a yield of 160 kan per tan, or 5290 pounds per acre, are turned under and the ground fitted for rice, At these rates the Nara farmers are producing on four-fifths or five-sixths of their rice lands a gross earning of $136 per acre annually, and on the other fifth or sixth, an earning of $480 per acre, not counting the annual crop of soy beans used in maintaining the nitrogen and organic matter in their soils, and not counting their earnings from home manufactures. Can the farmers of our south Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, which are in the same latitude, sometime attain to this standard? We see no reason why they should not, but only with the best of irrigation, fertilization and proper rotation, with multiple cropping.