Don't forget to factor in the effect of grain elevators. Grain is often harvested and stored
in relatively local elevators and then shipped to the users (such as bread companies) "as
needed". This allows the shipments to be spread out and reduces the need for truly huge
local storage. Yes, there was a grain rush - that used up extra cars such as box cars with
paper doors, etc. But there was/is also a lot of 'store now and ship later'.
If you think about it there are very few "grain products" that have a seasonal nature to
their demand - and many of those bubbles are still "exchanges" rather than actual increase
in demand. The amount of grain shipped/consumed is more directly related to the size of
the local population than to the season - and even when population has fluctuations (such
as Florida/Arizona in the Winter) it is still an "exchange" (e.g. grain usage in Florida goes up
while grain use in the NorthEast goes down). This is true for most food products, not just
During the era appropriate for this list the local users (such as bread companies) were
smaller and more spread out than today - but the basic principle of "how many people
are we selling product to? -this week/month-" still applied.