Dairying.For many years it was believed that New England, New York, and the great dairying states of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys would be able to supply the demand for dairy products in the United States, because agriculturists and dairymen considered the conditions in the west and south so poorly adapted to this industry as to prevent its extension in these directions. The great manufacturing and commercial development of the east and middle west soon made it apparent that the farmers of that region could not supply the demand of the great cities for food products. Emigration west of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers was rapid and settlers began to occupy the fertile valleys in the eastern part of Kansas. These pioneers, who brought cows with them, found the natural pastures and other conditions favorable to stock raising and milk production. As the country was settled and means of transportation became more efficient, the dairy belt of the United States was extended as far west as the eastern third of Kansas and it is estimated by dairy experts that there are at least 50,000,000 acres of land in the state which offer as great possibilities for dairying as any equal area in the country.
Many old customs and ideas which had once been regarded as essential to the dairying industry had to be overcome, such as flowing spring water and a reliable source of ice on every farm; that dairying could be made profitable only with permanent pastures and cultivated grasses; and that the dairymen must be near the consuming market. Well water, brought to the surface by windmill pumps, solved the water problem; the factory separator or the hand separator at home has done away with the idea that ice is essential; more food for cows can be grown on an acre in corn, sorghum, millet, clover, alfalfa or cow peas, than can be produced in pasture grass, thus making winter dairying more profitable; and the modern refrigerator car and fast freight lines bring the dairyman of the west close to the consumer and markets of the east.
That Kansas is a suitable region for producing dairy goods of high grade was demonstrated by butter from this state taking first premiums at the Columbian and St. Louis expositions. In the earlier years the settlers of Kansas naturally followed grazing and grain growing, and these continued to be the leading agricultural interests until dairying under the creamery system was successfully introduced and the industry then was rapidly extended. Kansas offers many natural advantages for dairying. Its geographical location is excellent, as the ill effects of the rigorous winter is escaped, continuous stabling being needed but a few months of the year. In the southern portion cattle can graze during a large part of the winter. For years the creameries of Kansas were mainly found in the eastern and eastern central parts of the state but for a considerable period they have been rapidly established farther and farther west.
An adequate supply of pure water is a requisite for success in dairying, and there are many obstacles to overcome in providing this supply. Except in the eastern part of the state there are few springs, and going farther west the small water courses are fewer, but the farmers have solved this problem by digging wells. The water is raised to the surface by wind mills, hand pumps or gasoline engines.
Next to the individual butter makers, patrons of creameries and cheese factories comprise the most numerous class of dairymen in the state. Kansas has over 200 creameries and cheese factories. The most successful are those operated by the owners. Some are on the coöperative or joint stock basis, and in some cases they are managed successfully. Nearly all are the modern type of creameries that use separators, skimming the milk as it is brought to the factory, although there are a number of gathered cream concerns, some of the creameries in the central part of the state having the cream shipped by express for considerable distances. In some cases skimming stations are established at points where sufficient milk can be had, yet not enough to warrant putting up a creamery. The milk is brought to these stations daily and then sent to the central factory. By this method a much larger area can be handled and is much more successful than when the creamery must operate on a limited quantity of milk and has led to the erection of much larger creameries. The development of the hand separator has changed the method of operating creameries. Separators operated by hand or light power have been bought by the dairymen, the milk is separated at home, and only the cream is delivered to the central factory, where it is ripened and made into butter.
One of the great difficulties the butter and cheese factories have to contend with is an insufficient supply of milk during a portion of the year, usually the winter season, when some of the factories have to close. This problem is being solved in a great measure by winter dairying, the advantages of which are so marked to both the farmer and factoryman, that the great tendency has been to increase it from year to year, especially as winter pasture is excellent in such a large portion of the state.
Cheese factories have never been as popular in Kansas as creameries, yet the demand for good cheese is perhaps greater than that for butter. The average quality of the cheese made in Kansas does not rank as high in comparison with the butter as that of the great cheese making states, New York and Wisconsin. From the prices reported as being paid for milk by both the cheese factories and creameries cheese making seems to be quite as profitable as butter, both to factories and patrons. The skimmed milk from the creamery is regarded as more valuable by the farmer, for feeding, than is the whey from cheese making, and this may be one reason for the greater number of creameries.
In Kansas, as in most of the states west of the Mississippi river, cities and populous towns are comparatively few and many of the towns are of such a character and size as to permit numerous residents to keep cows for supplying their families with milk and butter. Kansas City, Topeka, Pittsburg, Fort Scott, Wichita and Hutchinson are the largest cities which must depend upon a milk supply from the surrounding country. But there will usually be found, in the vicinity of a county seat, or other town of 1,000 population or over, one or more dairymen who make a business of supplying from a wagon the local demand for milk.
For some years the greater number of cows were graded Shorthorns, but the owners began introducing Jerseys and they are the favorites in many localities.
Most of the cheese made in Kansas is the American cheese. Imitations of foreign kinds of cheese are made only in a limited way. Most of the cheese manufactured finds a local market or is shipped south. Pasteurized milk is now prepared in several cities of the state. The application of science in such forms as the Babcock tester and the centrifugal separator has done much to revolutionize the dairy and cheese business, which is as modern in method in this state as any in the country. With the adoption of improved methods for handling the products of the dairy, the application of scientific principles in breeding and feeding is also coming into practice. The state agricultural college has experimented along these lines for years and has given the benefit of the results to the dairymen, with the result that the business has increased and become much more profitable.
In 1883 the state legislature passed laws with regard to live stock in the state and appointed a live-stock commission which was to have supervision of the same. In 1905 the office of a state live-stock sanitary commissioner was created, whose duty it is to protect the health of the domestic animals of the state. All cases of diseased animals must he reported to him, when he investigates the case and he may call the veterinary surgeon of the agricultural college to consult with him. When any animal is found afflicted with a communicable disease, the commissioner may order it quarantined or, if necessary, killed. The tuberculine test is now extensively used in this state in the dairy herds, milch cows being especially susceptible to bovine tuberculosis, which is readily communicated to man in the milk. When cows are found suffering from this disease they are killed under authority of the commissioner. In this way the consumers of milk, butter and cheese are protected against the possible dangers of contracting disease from products which contain the germs of communicable disease. The Kansas Dairy Association has done a great work for years in improving dairying methods and has been instrumental in securing legislation regulating the manufacture and sale of pure butter and oleomargarine, within the boundaries of the state. The association has induced the dairymen to work together and thus has widened the industry and raised the grade of dairy products.
The eastern part of the state is naturally a dairy country and supplies the greatest amount of dairy products. In 1910 Jefferson county led in the production of cheese with 30,998 pounds; Franklin county was second with 20,257 pounds; Shawnee county ranked first in the production of butter with 6,615,153 pounds; and Dickinson county was second in the production of butter with 2,847,399 pounds. The total number of milk cows in Kansas in 1910 was 641,570, valued at $23,738,090. The total amount of cheese produced in that year was 105,568 pounds valued at $16,004; the total amount of butter for the same year was 39,797,552 pounds valued at $10,704,361.96; the amount of milk sold for the manufacture of cheese and butter was valued at $4,716,712 milk sold other than for butter and cheese amounted to $1,314,565. or a total value of dairy products of $16,741,643.38.Pages 487-490 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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