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Map of wheat yields
Title : Map of wheat yields Map of wheat yields View More Images
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Creator : South Australia. Surveyor General's Office
Source : Map showing the area cultivated for wheat in South Australia from 1870 to 1882... [cartographic material]
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Surveyor General's Office
Date of creation : [1883?]
Additional Creator : Crawford, Frazer S Wright, G. S.
Format : Map
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

Map of South Australia showing wheat yields. Shows the quantity of wheat reaped, the average yield per acre in bushels and pounds, the area of each district, the area sold (either for cash or credit) to 31 March 1883. Also shows the area leased (exclusive of pastoral leases) to population to same date; the horses, cattle, sheep on the land in March 1882 and the population to April 1881.

The figures are given for the Hundreds and are laid over each Hundred thus providing at a glance the figures for any given district. The start dates vary from 1870 to 1875 but all figures are inclusive of 1883. Tiparra, for instance, is 171,120 acres in size and in 1881 had a population of 490. There were 6,333 sheep, 711 horses and 961 cattle. The wheat yield for 1877 was 8.25 bushels per acre, peaking to 10.36 bushels in 1879 and falling to 5.59 in 1882. The average for the 13 years 1870-1883 was 8 bushels 29 pounds.

In comparison Dalrymple, near the heel of the Peninsula, had an acreage of 83,200 and carried 7,623 sheep, 1,086 cattle, 1,140 horses and a population of 890. In 1874 its wheat yield was 13.3 bushels, which fell in 1880 to 5.57 bushels and the following year to 4.44 bushels, rising slightly the following year to 6.37. The average yield over 10 years was 7 bushels 41 pounds.

The yields across South Australia reflect the rainfall in the state particularly as delimited by Goyder's line of rainfall which cuts approximately halfway across the Peninsula.

However, by the 1880s and 1890s drought reduced the capacity of the Peninsula farms: in 1879 an average of 8.5 bushels per acre was harvested and by the early 1890s it was only 5 bushels (still better than the state average). By 1896 the figure was down to 2 bushels. Then in 1896 superphosphate fertilizer was used for the first time at Minlacowie and production began to increase. Joseph Parsons of Curramulka imported eleven-coulter drills from England and began applying superphosphate: bushel rates improved significantly. The Correll Brothers property at Minlaton achieved an increase in yield of 8-10 bushels over previous years. Apart from some exceptionally dry years production would not fall below 12 bushels to the acre again. In the decade of the 1950s the average yield was 25 bushels for wheat and 28 for barley.

Coverage year : 1883
Region : Yorke Peninsula
Further reading :

Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser 6 July 1883, p. 2 Editorial: One of the best productions that ever came from the Government Offices in point of utility is a map ...

Meinig, D. W. Goyder's line of rainfall : the role of a geographic concept in South Australian land policy and agricultural settlement Originally published in Agricultural history, [1961]

Meinig, D. W. On the margins of the good earth: the South Australian wheat frontier 1869-1884 [Adelaide]: Rigby, [1970, c1962]

Williams, Michael The making of the South Australian landscape; a study in the historical geography of Australia London, New York: Academic Press, 1974

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