The soil overlying the Niobrara group being formed primarily by good proportions of chalk, clay and sand, and subsequently intermingled with organic matter, is rich and fertile. On the high prairie the loam is from one to three feet deep, while on the bottoms it is deeper, but inclined to be too sandy. The wild grasses, consisting of buffalo grasses and blue-joint, are admirably adapted to withstand drought, and make excellent food for cattle and sheep. As a home for stock-raisers, it has few equals.
An opinion is prevalent that the region covered by the Niobrara and Tertiary is largely supplied by alkali plains and alkali springs. This is a mistake. After more than ten years' acquaintance with it, I have not seen two acres together where the vegetation has been killed by it, or half a dozen springs so impregnated as to make the water unpalatable. The analyses of chalk, shales, and of soils, do not show more than the average of the alkaline bases.
The soil of this division consists of the fine, black loam, so common to the West. It is a good grazing country. The following analyses of soils, collected by S. W. Williston from the Smoky Hill Valley, were made by George E. Patrick, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Kansas. No. 1 is high-prairie loam; No. 2 is from "bottom" lands. Neither soil had ever been cultivated.
|No. 2.||No. 1.|
|Soluble in cold hydro-choloric acid: -|
|Oxide of iron||1.503||1.778|
|Insoluble in cold hydro-chloric acid||84.287||82.129|
Transcribed from First Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture to the Legislature of the State of Kansas, for the Years 1877-8 embracing statistical exhibits, with diagrams of the agricultural, industrial, mercantile, and other interests of the state, together with a colored outline map of the state, and sectional maps, in colors, of each organized county, showing their relative size and location, railroads, towns, post offices, school houses, water powers, etc., etc. Topeka, Kansas: Kansas State Board of Agriculture. Rand, McNally & Co., Printers and Engravers, Chicago. 1878. Transcribed by Jake Kelley, April 2002.
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