Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 67
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THE WHEAT REGION.
grow wheat for grazing alone; but when we consider that the best pasturage in
the world may thus be obtained through the winter for stock, with a positive ad-
vantage to the wheat crop, it forms an important item in the value of the crop.
TIME AND MODE OF HARVESTING, ETC.
The usual harvesting season extends from the 1st to the last of May. The pro-
per time is when the grain is in the transition from the "dough" to a hard state.
It is cut almost wholly by reaping-machines, of which there are various kinds in
use. The Kentucky Harvester is mostly used, and is generally preferred. It re-
quires two or four horses, and two men, and cuts from 15 to 20 acres per day, re-
quiring some 8 hands to bind the straw. Some farmers omit the binding, and
thresh the wheat from the swath after it has lain on the ground some 24 hours.
This saves the labor:of several hands at a pressing season, and is believed by those
who pursue it, to be equally as good as the usual method. Manny's and McCor-
mick's reapers are ale used by some. The former requires two horses and a man
and boy, in its use, at is said to cut 15 acres per day. An intelligent farmer who
uses it, neither binds or shocks his grain.
The endless chain-thresher, of which there is a variety of patents, is used. They
thresh and clean from 150 to 300 bushels per day, with 2 horses and 8 or 10
bands. They are portable, and easily removed from place to place, and set in
operation without trouble.
There is a machine manufactured in Dallas county, by Kilburn & Brotherton-
an Illinois patent-8-horse power, which is said to thresh and clean from 500 to
600 bushels per day. The Messrs. Wilson of the same county, have invented and
patented valuable improvements to harvesters, one of which particularly, rakes the
grain from the swath, and deposits it in the thresher at a great saving of labor.
They ale preparing to manufacture their improved machines, and will have them
ready for the next harvest. Their inventions have been submitted to experienced
wheat-growers in Illinois and other Northern States, and are believed by them to
be valuable improvements. Farmers are generally supplying themselves with
harvesters. The demand for them the past season was greater than the supply;
all were readily sold that were brought to the country. In a few years every
farmer who cultivates wheat, and other small grains, even on the smallest scale, will
have his own reaper and thresher.
After the wheat is threshed, it is left to dry thorougly in the sun, and put away
in the granary. When the grain is thus put away, after thoroughly drying, it will
keep sound and fresh for years, unmolested by the weavil or other insects, and
making as good flour, at any time, as new wheat.
YIELD, QUALITY, ETC.
The wheat crop of Northern Texas for the past season has fallen materially short
of the estimated yield, and of what the appearance of the growing crops indicated.
The stalks stood thick on the ground, and the heads looked large and well deve-
loped, but when submitted to the thresher, it was found that the heads were not
well filled. The average yield this season is believed not to have been more than
15 or 20 bushels per acre, when the appearance of the crops before reaping indi-
cates 25 or 30 bushels, and that amount was confidently counted on. This was
caused by the continued and extraordinarily heavy rains that deluged the country
through the winter and early part of March, leaving the wheat in a stunted and
sickly condition, from which it did not recover in time to fully develop and mature
the grain. The wheat-bird and rust also injured the crop to some extent, in places.
When the seed is put in the ground properly, after due preparation, is not deluged
with rain in the winter, (which is very unusual,) escapes the killing frost in the
spring, the attacks of rust pd ravages of wheat-birds, 25 or 30 bushels may be re-
lied on as a moderate average yield per acre. The quality of the grain is always
excellent. It is not usually more than ordinarily large, but is well developed, com-
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/68/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.