Does it pay to store potatoes or sell direct from the field to the dealer, and if storage pays what sort of structure is best?

The answer to the first must be made by the individual grower. The element of chance enters very largely into this problem, to a greater degree, perhaps, than with any other farm crop.

Statistics show that this statement is true - viz., that the farmer who has favorable conditions for potato growing and can practise a good rotation, who will grow the same acreage of potatoes each year for ten years, selling half at digging time and storing the balance, will show a nice annual profit on his ten years' operations.

To say that prices will be good this year or next, or that it will pay to sell or store this fall or any later single fall, is simply making a guess.

The Government reports showing acreage and condition of crop during the season and a comparison with other seasons give some idea of what to expect. In addition to this the grower should know what other districts besides his own are in position to compete with him in his natural markets, and the condition of their crop is another fact on which to base his guess. Figuring the average production in the United States at about ninety bushels per acre, the per capita consumption four bushels, and the population of the country at 90,000,000 - 360 million bushels, or over three million acres, are required to meet the demands. When the acreage is short or the per acre yield low, the price will be high. In the appendix is given a table showing averages. These facts are interesting in this connection.

Table of Chicago prices, per bushel, follows:

Year

December

May of following year

«

Low

High

Low

High

1886...................

.... 44

47

65

90

1887...................

.... 70

83

65

85

1888...................

.... 30

37

24

45

1889...................

.... 33

45

30

60

1890...................

.... 82

93

95

110

1891...................

.... 30

40

30

50

1892...................

.... 60

72

70

98

1893...................

.... 51

60

64

88

1894...................

.... 43

58

40

70

1895...................

.... 18

24

10

23

1896...................

.... 18

26

19

26

1897...................

.... 50

62

60

87

1898...................

___ 30

36

33

52

1899...................

.... 35

46

27

39

1900...................

___ 40

48

35

60

1901...................

.... 75

82

58

100

1902...................

.... 42

48

42

60

1903...................

.... 60

66

95

116

1904...................

.... 32

38

20

25

1905...................

.... 55

66

48

73

1906...................

___ 40

43

55

75

1907...................

___ 46

58

50

80

1908...................

.... 60

77

70

150

1909...................

20

58

• •

• • •

Various other price statistics are shown in the tables.

A large part of the potatoes of the world grow in countries of freezing temperatures, and whether stored by the farmer or by the dealer, that part of the crop which is not consumed before the main crop is dug, or a few days thereafter, must be stored in frost-proof buildings or pits.

Average farm price of potatoes per bushel in the United States.

Price December 1, by decades.

Price December 1, by years.

Price bimonthly, 1909.

State, Territory, or Division.

1866-1875.

1876-1885.

1886-1895.

1896-1905..

1900

1901

1902

1903

1904

1905

1906

1907

1908

Feb.1

Apr.1

June,1

Aug..1

Oct.1

Dec.1

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Cts.

Maine.............

50

55

65

66

49

67

65

56

48

61

50

66

61

64

7!

85

Hi

50

47

N. Hampshire..

51

56

58

63

53

79

6S

65

56

72

60

67

73

77

8C

90

92

! 71

64

Vermont...........

39

60

49

52

40

64

58

60

47

71

66

63

67

72

77

97

{X

54

44

Massachusetts..

65

70

69

73

66

90

81

71

71

84

65

84

85

92

99

110

107

84

79

Rhode Island...

70

74

7C

75

70

93

75

82

76

89

8C

93

86

96

99

103

104

78

81

Connecticut....

67

72

67

72

70

94

73

78

72

91

72

77

90

90

97

105

104

! 85

83

New York......

50

54

49

54

45

71

59

56

54

70

49

57

75

77

83

89

85

65

60

New Jersey...........

68

70

61

64

60

86

61

69

61

75

66

74

89

86

95

101

9(

85

82

Pennsylvania...

59

56

54

56

63

76

57

62

54

66

57

67

80

80

88

i 96

95

> 76

65

N. Atlantic...

53.6

56.6

53.3

56.7

49.9

73.6

61.4

59.6

64.5

68.6

53.8t

62.3

73.7

75.4

82.8

91.4

89.]

L 65.3

56.2

Delaware.......

67

64

64

58

60

78

51

66

63

59

59

66

83

80

83

. 90

7i

70

72

Maryland.........

66

63

53

55

54

77

52

60

51

58

56

60

74

76

87

94

69

» 70

66

Virginia........

56

57

53

58

59

74

58

64

65

56

67

68

72

75

89

93

72

! 73

70

West Virginia..

56

62

65

57

61

86

61

66

64

58

61

80

85

89

97

103

8(

68

68

North Carolina.

60

65

60

65

65

72

67

74

70

68

74

78

77

70

103

97

79

) 80

81

South Carolina.

94

80

81

99

100

110

96

104

101

103

104

110

110

V3

129

125

l16

118

115

Georgia..........

99

90

84

91

77

106

90

94

107

112

110

100

110

70

121

118

110

) 107

100

Florida.........

113

90

92

118

106

129

122

126

129

120

110

95

135

100

12t

147

12i

> 127

120

South Atlantic..........

62.6

60.5

57.3

63.7

59.2

81.2

60.7

69.9

62.0

64.5

69.0

73.7

81.6

77.6

96.6

99.9

79.6

78.0

75.1

Ohio..-..;......

60

53

64

51

40

85

44

61

47

63

48

68

77

80

92

103

81

62

66

Indiana.....,..

58

60

56

51

38

90

41

66

45

58

5'

65

84

86

10C

112

74

60

52

Illinois.,.....:.

60

52

58

64

41

93

42

72

47

67

62

72

83

85

106

120

76

68

61

Michigan..........

50

45

42

39

26

68

41

49

29

56

34

45

58

61

71

80

76

• 48

35

Wisconsin........

49

42

44

38

28

67

33

58

28

62

3C

45

60

64

76

> 86

8(

47

38

N. C. E. of Miss. River.

55.8

48.7

50.5

44.1

33.9

73.5

39.1

58.7

35.5

61.1

41.9

54.5

67.6

70.6

83.2

94.1

77.9

154.0

44.4

Minnesota.........

49

36

39

37

30

67

31

61

29

50

37

41

66

60

71

85

68

36

35

Iowa..............

45

44

48

44

37

94

34

75

28

49

4i

55

60

6i

82

100

8i

69

55

Missouri........

57

48

49

63

35

106

36

76

48

66

57

72

74

80

96

105

67

70

67

North Dakota.......

40

36

49

49

33

48

32

38

46

62

56

60

74

90

81

45

45

South Dakota.......

49

39

3d

86

44

54

30

38

36

60

51

57

6'

90

tit

i 63

63

Nebraska.........

63

41

64

47

49

105

27

65

26

37

52

70

55

61

71

92

74

68

60

Kansas............

65

64

63

58

48

104

45

85

56

69

70

88

83

86

110

134

85

82

79

N. C. W. of Miss. River.

52.8

45.1

49.3

45.3

39.3

81.8

34.5

68.6

33.0

49.1

47.8

58.9

62.6

66.9

81.9

99.6

76.8

61.9

53.8

Kentucky.........

58

50

56

57

50

87

53

68

55

53

61

75

81

87

109

116

7C

64

64

Tennessee........

58

51

52

63

68

86

64

64

62

5*

62

76

71

75

101

97

62

67

71

Alabama.........

101

89

83

91

82

109

93

96

99

88

93

100

95

79

130

111

95

97

98

Mississippi........

92

87

80

87

83

115

92

88

85

85

87

93

93

77

126

114

91

99

95

Louisiana..........

94

85

82

85

79

101

82

91

91

91

75

90

92

93

110

104

79

90

91

Texas..........

118

97

87

92

88

125

85

88

93

93

87

105

98

95

127

117

95

118

106

Oklahoma.........

90

65

125

71

93

76

85

77

100

98

95

117

133

71

104

95

Arkansas............

85

73

62

74

57

126

68

79

75

73

67

91

86

90

122

109

68

89

92

South Central.

66.9

00.2

61.3

73.9

61.9

108.1

69.1

79.2

74.0

73.6

73.0

90.2

88.9

87.9

117.6

113.4

77.9

91.8

86.3

Montana...........

69

62

52

53

73

60

44

61

59

61

50

70

75

104

126

120

70

51

Wyoming....

74

61

63

68

100

61

57

62

56

65

74

66

70

74

88

100

62

63

Colorado..........

83

51

59

82

90

51

60

37

57

45

66

60

65

89

110

12S

V3

67

New Mexico....

84

71

86

114

118

81

84

78

89

90

96

90

105

117

140

125

115

101

Utah...........

48

44

44

48

60

45

47

48

43

50

65

55

55

62

92

83

56

43

Nevada..........

179

95

57

72

56

91

63

70

65

82

70

90

75

110

90

111

155

100

85

Idaho..........

70

53

60

47

84

37

46

63

48

41

52

60

60

74

102

110

51

48

Washington...

50

44

44

47

61

38

36

6b

4b

56

50

67

80

92

115

100

58

47

Oregon...........

68

53

48

51

45

70

55

60

59

60

56

56

68

65

95

120

120

66

60

California.......

96

72

56

61

63

77

58

66

87

67

74

90

77

96

103

130

98

83

77

Far Western..

95.0

66.1

52.0

54.0

55.8

76.7

50.0

53.4

53.4

57.6

57.2

65.1

66.4

73.6

91.1

115.0

110.9

69.1

57.6

United States.

54.9

52.9

50.8

49.9

43.1

76.7

47.1

61.4

45.3

61.7

51.1

61.8

70.6

73.3

86.3

97.7

85.1

64.3

64.9

Wholesale prices of potatoes per bushel, 1896-1909.

Chi:ago.

Milwaukee.

St. Louis.

Cincinnati

Data.

Burbank per bushel.

Per bushel.

Burbank per bushel.

Per bushel

Low.

High.

Low.

High.

Low.

High.

Low.

High.

Cents.

Cents.

Centt.

Cents.

Cents.

Cents.

1896

10

31

10

35

20

45

$0.60

$l.35

1897

18

62

15

100

21

65

.90

4.75

1898

29

87

25

90

30

85

1.25

3.75

1899

26

75

15

90

25

75

1.10

6.00

1900

25

50

20

80

27

54

.32

.57

1901

30

125

25

185

18

140

.30

1.20

1902

30

100

41

105

.90

3.00

1903

38

85

35

90

40

125

1.20

3.00

1904

31

122

20

120

36

125

1.20

4.80

1905

18

72

10

70

27

175

.25

.80

1906.

January.........................

65

66

45

58

58

82

.55

.65

February...........................

47

57

35

60

53

61

.45

.62

March.....................................

43

68

35

62

51

70

.45

.75

April................................

57

63

50

62

65

68

.60

.85

May................................

48

73

45

75

60

88

.55

.75

June.................................

60

87

60

80

65

125

.90

1.05

July....,.............

40

87

35

75

.75

.90

August.....................................

35

60

37

60

.58

.80

September...............................

45

58

35

65

43

62

.55

.60

October............................

40

47

25

40

48

56

.50

.60

November...............................

41

48

25

40

45

55

.45

.58

December..............................

640

43

25

40

40

46

.45

.47

Year..........................

40

87

25

87

35

125

.45

1.05

1907.

January...............................

34

45

25

45

43

53

.45

.50

February............................

37

43

25

45

61

66

.48

.53

March...............................

33

47

25

45

43

55

-50

.53

April..................................

33

61

25

60

63

68

.4*

.80

May................................

55

75

40

70

74

75

.70

.80

June..................................

33

70

30

70

60

78

.60

.70

July................................

30

50

35

90

50

125

.25

.85

August................................

30

90

60

95

.70

.80

September.................................

50

60

45

75

45

72

.60

.85

October...................................

45

65

40

75

55

70

.50

.62

November........................................

45

63

40

65

53

65

.50

.65

December.....................................

45

58

40

65

55

64

.50

.65

Year.....................................

33

75

25

90

43

125

.25

.85

1908.

January.....................................

52

65

53,

75

62

69

.60

.68

February.....................................

58

73

65

70

67

77

.65

.82

March ............ ....

62

75

63

70

71

78

.70

.80

April...................................

60

77

65

80

73

78

.70

.85

May.......................................

50

80

68

80

65

74

.60

.85

June.................................

58

150

68

150

100

105

.60

1.35

July...................................

70

110

65

110

1.10

1.35

August..........................................

58

90

60

85

.85

1.15

September.................................

58

78

60

80

72

72

.75

.85

October....................................

50

81

64

80

67

70

.65

.80

November...................................

57

71

68

70

69

72

.65

.75

December........................................

60

77

64

70

69

75

.65

.80

Year.......................................

50

150

53

150

62

105

.60

1.35

1909.

January.....................................

60

79

60

72

73

83

.72

.80

February.....................................

65

95

60

88

80

93

.75

.90

March....................

80

93

70

95

89

98

.85

.95

April................................

85

110

70

115

92

108

.95

1.15

May............................................

20

150

80

135

85

102

. .95

1.00

June.......................................

20

145

30

105

40

140

.90

1.20

July.................................

15

125

20

100

40

110

.50

.95

August.................................

38

66

40

90

35

62

.70

.75

September..........................

42

65

45

65

45

72

.55

.70

October.....................................

35

55

40

60

42

56

.55

.60

November...............................

15

60

30

50

40

62

.30

.60

December..........

20

68

30

60

40

60

.30

.48

Year...............................................

15

150

20

135

35

140

.30

1.20

A Pex barrel for 1866-4899 and 1902-1904. * Common to fancy.

New potato cellar of Commissioner of Agriculture A. W. Gilman2 New potato cellar of Commissioner of Agriculture A. W. Gilman,

New potato cellar of Commissioner of Agriculture A. W. Gilman, Foxcroft, Maine.

Potato storage cellar plansPotato storage cellar plans 2Potato storage cellar plans3 Potato storage cellar plans 4Potato storage cellar plans 5

Potato storage cellar plans.

Average farm price of potatoes per bushel, monthly, 1908-9.

Month.

United

States.

North

Atlantic

States.

South

Atlantic States.

N.Cen.

States East of Miss. R.

N. Cen. States West of Miss. R.

South Central States.

Far Western States.

1909. 1908.

1909. 1908.

1909. 1908.

1909. 1908.

1909. 1908.

1909. 1908.

1909. 1908.

Cts. Cts.

cts. Cts.

Cts. Cts.

Cts. Cts.

Cts. Cts.

Cts. Cts.

Cts. Cts.

January

72.0 63.4

74.5 64.9

83.2 76.0

69.4 55.5

64.1 62.5

92.1 92.7

66.9 62.7

February......

73.3 ......

75.4 ......

77.6 ......

70.6 ......

66.9 ......

87.9 ......

March

80.0 69.0

77.2 73.0

90.3 84.2

77.1 59.7

72.3 66.0

118.2 100.5

83.5 64.1

April.........

86.3 70.4

82.8 73.0

96.5 85.8

83.2 64.8

81.9 67.2

117.6 104.9

91.1 59.8

May

97.3 73.3

93.6 79.2

101.3 86.4

97.6 66.8

94.2 67.3

119.5 104.8

100.5 61.6

June

97.7 71.3

91.4 72.3

99.9 86.1

94.1 67.7

99.6 68.3

113.4 94.4

115.0 61.6

July

91.0 77.8

91.2 76.4

94.5 80.6

79.5 80.6

91.8 75.9

93.0 86.0

115.1 68.7

August

85.1 83.6

89.1 93.2

79.6 74.9

77.9 85.9

76.8 73.4

77.9 80.8

110.9 69.6

September..-.

71.5 78.0

77.6 87.8

76.7 75.3

59.9 77.0

65.3 64.3

84.2 82.6

81.1 75.2

October......

64.3 74.8

65.3 80.3

78.0 74.7

54.0 74.9

61.9 64.0

91.8 87.1

69.1 70.9

November...

57.8 69.2

58.5 71.9

76.7 76.5

47.2 67.3

56.2 61.1

89.0 88.2

58.0 67.8

Deember

54.9 70.6

56.2 73.7

75.1 81.6

44.4 67.6

53.8 62.6

86. 3 88.9

57,6 66.4

Potatoes grown in southern climates may be stored in dark warehouses or in straw-covered piles in the field.

The normal losses in storage from October to May amount to 5 to 12 per cent, of the total bulk. This does not include losses due to disease or sorting.

It has been estimated that of the total storage loss 75 per cent. is due to loss of moisture and 25 per cent. to respiration. The potato tuber does not die when taken from the ground and placed in a cellar, but it lives by using some of the food material stored up in its cells. The material used is in the form of sugar, which a ferment forms from starch. Respiration is practically stopped when the tuber is frozen and the sweet taste of frozen potatoes is due to accumulation of sugar.

The important points to be considered in potato storage are:

Conditions to keep a temperature as low as possible without freezing;

Conditions to keep the air as dry as possible, and a place where potatoes may be kept dark.

While mining at an altitude of 1,000 feet in Colorado, a good many years ago, the senior author of this work met a prospector who was going to leave the country. He said that in an old tunnel would be found some supplies, including twelve sacks of potatoes which had been put there two years before. These the prospector gave to him. The condition of these potatoes was apparently the same as when they were dug; they were not shriveled, no shrinkage was apparent, they had not started to sprout, and when cooked they were just as edible as when dug out of the ground. There had been an airshaft constructed at the end of the tunnel and through the tunnel was a good current of dry air. The temperature was uniformly about 40 degrees F., being in a rock tunnel 200 feet below the surface of the ground. In building a potato cellar he tried to get as near those conditions as possible.

The cellar illustrated is about 50 by 200 feet. At each end there is a dead-air space ten feet square in the form of a vestibule between the outer and inner doors. This affords protection from freezing. There is a driveway clear through, with bins on either side, skylights and ventilators being placed every ten feet. The temperature of the cellar may be lowered by opening the doors and letting a current of air pass through. When it is too cold for this, the ventilators at the top may be opened. The best ventilation is always secured by building the cellar in line with the direction of the prevailing air currents. During the winter the temperature should be kept as near 32 degrees F. as possible; it is best when it does not go below 30 degrees nor above 36 degrees. A temperature of 28 degrees F. for one or two hours will not freeze potatoes when in large quantities. In a cold country some means for providing artificial heat should be provided. In the spring of the year, when the weather becomes warm, the cellar doors are kept open at night and closed in the daytime.