- Wheat: Prairies, Canada
- Rice: China
- USA corn & livestock belt
- Corn Belt: Geographical Factors
So far under the [Location Factor] article series, we’ve see timber, paper-pulp, fish, wool, cotton, textile, silk and jute industry.
- Now let’s take a look at wheat, corn, rice, milk, meat, vegetables and wine. Since UPSC syllabus contains separate topic of Indian agriculture, I’m not dwelling much into Indian food crops: wheat, corn, rice or food processing here.
- This article contain lot of place-names from USA. Because books mainly use American dairy-meat industry to explain the “location factors”. To get a better grasp over the topic, keep refering to American map simultanously while reading the article. click me for a large political map of USA
- Disclaimer as usual: I haven’t bothered much to dig internet, this is mere compilation of wisdom, a few big examples from books. It is your job to dig further as and where necessary.
|Climate||mild temperature, good rainfall= can grow two crops on the same farm in a year|
|Soil||Suitable for rice cultivation + as we saw earlier in the silk article, the waste from sericulture is used as fertilizer.|
|Water||good rainfall + irrigation from Yangtze and numerous other rivers and streams|
|Technology||with government help, farmers now
|Transport||Yangtze river=inland transport, connects many important markets/cities.+good railway network.|
Let’s examine the factors why China is leading producer of Rice? (Other than soil, climate)
- When Mao assumed control of the nation, he emphasized more on food crops rather than cash crops. (Because famine was a problem in China)
- Therefore, he setup an Agriculture collective system
||3000 households||supervision and coordination of tiers below it|
||300 households||Leasing land to “team”, soil conservation, Road construction, small scale plants, reforestation and other local Administrative functions.|
||30 households||Producing crop as per the ‘quota’ given to them.|
Later more reforms were taken viz.
- Work points/cash: farmers were given these rewards for producing more than the quota given to them.
- “Responsibility system”: farmers leased land directly from collectives, if they produced more than “quota”, they could use/sell the surplus on their own.
- Loans directly made to farmers (instead of brigade/teams). Private ownership of agro-machinery allowed.
Rice cultivation China vs. India
- China has more area under irrigation
- China grows food crops grown on its best lands. India grows cash crops (Cotton, sugarcane, Jute) on its best lands.
- It extends nearly thousand miles from Central Ohio to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and eastern Nebraska.
- In the heart of US Corn Belt, most of the revenue is earned from beef and pigs. Some large-scale operation have more than one lakh cattle at a time.
- Therefore some observers label the corn belt as “feed grain and livestock region”
American farmers prefer to grow corn because of two reasons
- corn gives high yield per acre compared to wheat
- It is effective for fattening animals.
We already saw that location away from market:= product is ‘concentrated’ to compensate for transport cost. Same happens here.
Corn=>fed to cattle/pigs/poultry=>meat exported.
|soil, climate||chernozem soil= good for corn. Soil-climate suitable|
Labor factor in Corn belt
- only small labour force needed because planting+harvesting =highly mechanised
- once seeds are planted, no labour needs arise other than spraying pesticides for weed control and fertilization but that too is done with help of aero planes because farm holdings are so large.
- for harvesting, outside contractors with crew and machines are hired.
- This has led to new type of farmers known as suitcase farmers: they live more than 30 miles away from their farm, in large urban cities.
These farmers also grow soya bean, because
- Soyabean =high amount of protein=good for fattening animals
- Soyabean = hundreds of industrial and commercial uses from plastic, cosmetic and candy
In the next article will discuss the geographical factors of affecting the location of milk and dairy industry in USA, Europe and New Zealand.