National Geographic : 1944 Jul
Britain Fights in the Fields School Lets out When a Record Potato Crop Calls for Young Hands Almost doubling normal production, equal to twice that of Maine and Idaho combined, wartime Britain grows as many potatoes as all the United States in the average peacetime year. Under reverse Lend Lease, fresh homegrown vegetables are shared with American Army messes. of output, and in some rare years it even exceeded that of Canada. The value of its output per man was above that of Denmark or the Netherlands. Compare it with an area of the same size in the United States, Iowa and Indiana, two of our champion farm States. Combined, these two States are slightly larger in area than Britain. The value of the total farm production of prewar Britain's 400,000 farms slightly exceeded' that of the 400,000 farms in Iowa and Indiana. Britain's farmers produced more total beef than those two great livestock States com bined, and 60 percent as much meat, even including pork. They milked more cows, pro duced more eggs, more sheep and wool, twice as much hay, more wheat, two-thirds as much oats and barley, and substantially more fruit and vegetables and potatoes. No, Britain did not produce more corn than Iowa; it couldn't do that! But the last year before the war, Britain produced 14 mil lion tons of root crops for livestock feed, com pared with Iowa's 13 million tons of corn. Prewar Britain had more cattle than Iowa and Indiana combined; more than Texas, a cattle country three times its size. Britain had half as many sheep as the whole United States, and produced more wool than both our first and second wool States, Texas and Wyoming, combined (page 55). This versatile nation produced more milk than Wisconsin, our No. 1 dairy State; more vegetables than California, our first vegetable State; and more sugar beets than either Cali fornia or Colorado, our two leading sugar beet States. Then Britain topped it off by producing twice as many potatoes as Maine and Idaho combined, our first two potato States. She has nearly doubled that production since the war began, to equal the normal potato produc tion of the whole United States. High Yields per Acre Greater average yields per acre are a part of the answer. For instance, the average wheat yield for the United States in 1942 was at our all-time peak of almost 20 bushels per acre. Our best-yielding wheat State was Washing ton, with a State-average yield of 30 bushels per acre, followed by Oregon with 27.5. Brit ain's was 37. There were some higher-yield ing local areas both in the United States and in Britain.