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When is the grain rush?


Wendye Ware
 

Hi Folks

When is the grain rush? The reason I ask is that for the next Union Pacific Freight Conductors' Train Book I transcribe I would like to choose a report that includes the grain rush. My Train Books are all for the U.P. mainline between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, and are primarily from 1937 to 1939.

Two of the books I already transcribed cover mid-September to the 3rd week in October, and there is not a hint of a grain rush. For example, in Fitz's report there are only 20 cars (of 2,362) that appear to be carrying grain of any sort.

I assume that Sept-Oct is too early or too late for the grain rush. Or perhaps the grain rush did not manifest itself on the U.P. transcontinental route during the Depression?

Thanks,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming


Gatwood, Elden J SAD
 

Larry;

Your data straddles the grain rush nicely. Having once lived in Laramie
also, wasn't the vast majority of grain grown east (well east) of Laramie?
And didn't most grain grown in the mid-west go east? Maybe your location was
on a physical "grain-shed" boundary between western grain growers and
mid-western/eastern grain growers....

Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
laramielarry
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 8:32 AM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] When is the grain rush?



Hi Folks

When is the grain rush? The reason I ask is that for the next Union Pacific
Freight Conductors' Train Book I transcribe I would like to choose a report
that includes the grain rush. My Train Books are all for the U.P. mainline
between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, and are primarily from 1937 to 1939.

Two of the books I already transcribed cover mid-September to the 3rd week in
October, and there is not a hint of a grain rush. For example, in Fitz's
report there are only 20 cars (of 2,362) that appear to be carrying grain of
any sort.

I assume that Sept-Oct is too early or too late for the grain rush. Or
perhaps the grain rush did not manifest itself on the U.P. transcontinental
route during the Depression?

Thanks,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming


John Hile
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "laramielarry" <larryostresh@...> wrote:

Hi Folks

When is the grain rush?








Larry,

I have the following from the 1954 World Book Encyclopedia regarding wheat and wheat harvesting...

Arizona, southern California - May
South of about 40-degrees north latitude - June
Northern US - July, August

Re: 1930's...

"At the end of the war (WW1 - jfh) European nations increased their production even above what it had been...so they would not have to depend so much on imports. The world supply of wheat increased and prices declined. The resulting distress of wheat farmers and other agricultural producers was one of the causes of the world-wide depression of the early 1930's."

"In 1933 the Agricultural Adjustment Act attacked overproduction and low income through co-operative acreage reduction and benefit payments."

"Before the acreage-reduction program could prove its effectiveness, severe droughts in 1934 and 1936, and rust (fungi - jfh) in 1935 and 1937, struck the wheat regions and wiped out the surplus."

Re: Rust... "It is estimated that in 1935 it reduced the production of wheat in North Dakota alone 59,000,000 bushels."

Average Production in Twelve Leading States over a Period of Ten Years:

State - Bushels
Kansas - 126,060,000
N. Dakota - 75,820,000
Oklahoma - 48,419,000
Washington - 48,198,000
Montana - 42,550,000
Ohio - 42,003,000
Nebraska - 41,085,000
Illinois - 34,580,000
Texas - 28,195,000
Indiana - 28,154,000
Missouri - 26,875,000
Idaho - 24,194,000

Named for when planted, there is "Spring-Wheat" (planted in spring, harvested in summer) and "Winter-Wheat" (planed in fall, harvested following summer)...

Spring-Wheat Region: N. Dakota, Montana, S. Dakota, Minnesota
Winter Wheat Region: Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, eastern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico.
Spring and Winter Varieties: Columbia River Basin, including the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon and Washington.
"Soft Grain" Varieties grown "in rotation with other crops": Ohio, Illinois, Indiana


When I was a kid, summer vacations were often to visit family in western Kansas and western Nebraska. It was a treat for a "city" kid to ride in a grain truck, or in the cab of the combine during the wheat harvest. IIRC, they all grew winter wheat.

Hope this is helpful,

John Hile


gn3397 <heninger@...>
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "laramielarry" <larryostresh@...> wrote:

Hi Folks

When is the grain rush? The reason I ask is that for the next Union Pacific Freight Conductors' Train Book I transcribe I would like to choose a report that includes the grain rush. My Train Books are all for the U.P. mainline between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, and are primarily from 1937 to 1939.

Two of the books I already transcribed cover mid-September to the 3rd week in October, and there is not a hint of a grain rush. For example, in Fitz's report there are only 20 cars (of 2,362) that appear to be carrying grain of any sort.

I assume that Sept-Oct is too early or too late for the grain rush. Or perhaps the grain rush did not manifest itself on the U.P. transcontinental route during the Depression?

Thanks,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming
Larry,
The "grain rush" varies depending on the type of crop grown. On the Great Northern, which served a territory that produces a lot of spring wheat and durum, the grain rush runs from August through September, with prepositioning of cars starting in July. There would still be significant wheat traffic into the early winter months, but the "rush" was typically winding down by early November. Farmers try to hold onto their grain and sell when the prices are highest, but a lot of them need to sell most of their crop right away, as the bankers needed to be paid, not to mention the seed, fertilizer, and fuel jobbers.

Further south, more winter wheat is grown, IIRC, and the harvest starts earlier in the year. I would look at a June, July, or August book if I were you. Of course, your books are from Wyoming, not Kansas, so I don't know how much wheat was grown in that area at the time.

Sincerely,
Bob Heninger
Iowa City, IA


Jim Betz
 

Hi,

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
grain.
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.
- Jim


Aley, Jeff A
 

Larry,

After looking at the excellent data that John Hile provided, I think an obvious question arises. Did grain need to be shipped (via the UP between Laramie and Rawlins, WY) to get from the farm to the [flour] mill?

I think the answer is "no", but I don't have the ICC data to prove it. I suspect that KS and NE wheat was milled in KC, Omaha, or possibly Minneapolis. WA, OR, and ID wheat was probably milled in Seattle, Portland, or Minneapolis, or exported from Seattle or Portland. In none of those cases would (much of) the wheat travel over Sherman Hill.

Regards,

-Jeff


From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of john66h
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 7:33 AM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] Re: When is the grain rush?

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com<mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com>, "laramielarry" <larryostresh@...> wrote:

Hi Folks

When is the grain rush?
Larry,

I have the following from the 1954 World Book Encyclopedia regarding wheat and wheat harvesting...

Average Production in Twelve Leading States over a Period of Ten Years:

State - Bushels
Kansas - 126,060,000
N. Dakota - 75,820,000
Oklahoma - 48,419,000
Washington - 48,198,000
Montana - 42,550,000
Ohio - 42,003,000
Nebraska - 41,085,000
Illinois - 34,580,000
Texas - 28,195,000
Indiana - 28,154,000
Missouri - 26,875,000
Idaho - 24,194,000

Named for when planted, there is "Spring-Wheat" (planted in spring, harvested in summer) and "Winter-Wheat" (planed in fall, harvested following summer)...

Spring-Wheat Region: N. Dakota, Montana, S. Dakota, Minnesota
Winter Wheat Region: Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, eastern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico.
Spring and Winter Varieties: Columbia River Basin, including the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon and Washington.
"Soft Grain" Varieties grown "in rotation with other crops": Ohio, Illinois, Indiana


Douglas Harding <dharding@...>
 

There was essentially no "grain rush" as we know it today, in the 30's. Farmers fed their livestock the grain, ie corn and oats,
they raised. It was only after WWII and the need to feed the world, along with the advent of hybrid seeds, that grain production
increased and exports were financially viable. That is when the "grain rush" became a part of railroading.

Wheat was the only grain moved much, and it went from the wheat fields (east of Wyo) to the milling districts, ie Minneapolis and
Kansas City. Corn was fed to hogs and cattle, it did not move by rail in quantity until the 50's. Oats were raised to feed
livestock, ie horses and mules, until the tractor replaced horses after WWII. Soybeans were not a large crop until the 50's.

Sugar beets would be one crop with a fall rush, usually Sept & Oct. Sugar beets were raised in northern Iowa and Minnesota until
Soybeans pushed beets further north and to the west. Check the reports for gons and hoppers full of sugar beets, this may be the
only "grain rush" on the UP in the 30's.

Doug Harding
www.iowacentralrr.org


Robert kirkham
 

I posted a document to the files section a few years ago that shows the traffic flow for a number of generic commodity groups in Canada for 1938 - 1940. <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/STMFC/files/Freight%20traffic%20seasonality/>; Page 7 shows the flow for grain products, with an obvious grain rush in 1938 and 1939 in the end of August through early November. 1940 - when Canada was already at war - was different.

Not sure that says anything for the USA or the UP, but if the Dominion Bureau of Statistics kept such records, I'm pretty sure the ICC did too.

Rob Kirkham

--------------------------------------------------
From: "laramielarry" <larryostresh@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 5:31 AM
To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [STMFC] When is the grain rush?

Hi Folks

When is the grain rush? The reason I ask is that for the next Union Pacific Freight Conductors' Train Book I transcribe I would like to choose a report that includes the grain rush. My Train Books are all for the U.P. mainline between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, and are primarily from 1937 to 1939.

Two of the books I already transcribed cover mid-September to the 3rd week in October, and there is not a hint of a grain rush. For example, in Fitz's report there are only 20 cars (of 2,362) that appear to be carrying grain of any sort.

I assume that Sept-Oct is too early or too late for the grain rush. Or perhaps the grain rush did not manifest itself on the U.P. transcontinental route during the Depression?

Thanks,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming


devansprr
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "Douglas Harding" <dharding@...> wrote:

There was essentially no "grain rush" as we know it today, in the 30's. Farmers fed their livestock the grain, ie corn and oats,
they raised. It was only after WWII and the need to feed the world, along with the advent of hybrid seeds, that grain production
increased and exports were financially viable. That is when the "grain rush" became a part of railroading.


Doug Harding
www.iowacentralrr.org
Doug and Group,

I thought I have read, on this group or perhaps elsewhere, that there was a chronic shortage of box cars during the harvest season - I thought I have seen posts about double-door auto cars being used when the shortage was severe. Perhaps I have mistakenly attributed these situations to include the pre-war era?

There were many grain silos in eastern cities to support local food production (I toured one in Philly in the 60's, and I do not recall it being "new")- one needs to remember that freight movements during the winter months were not always reliable. I would assume that large eastern city bakery's would buy the grain when prices were low, and stockpile it while prices remained low, perhaps even carrying inventory into the following year's early harvest period in case prices went high during the initial harvest.

Bottom line - by definition, if there was a scramble for grain rated box cars, then there must have been a grain traffic surge somewhere. But I think Laramie is west of the bulk of America's "bread basket", so I would expect very different results as the UP main neared Chicago.

Dave Evans


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dave Evans wrote:
I would assume that large eastern city bakery's would buy the grain when prices were low, and stockpile it while prices remained low, perhaps even carrying inventory into the following year's early harvest period in case prices went high during the initial harvest.
Can I jump in here? I don't know much about the grain business, but do BAKERIES buy grain? I'd assume they buy flour from the milling companies who make it from grain, so what BAKERIES think about grain prices is indirect.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


randyhees <hees@...>
 

In the 19th century California had it's own grain rush, from the fields, mostly in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, but also the Salinas Valley and even the East Bay where they grew winter wheat, shipped to Vallejo, Port Costa, Oakland and other deep water ports for shipment via ship around the horn to England for distribution in Europe...

The story is the background in Frank Norris' THE OCTOPUS, (source of Southern Pacific's nick name) and resulted in construction of the Monterey and Salinas Valley (narrow gauge) Railroad.

Then most grain was shipped bagged on flat cars. The distance shipped via rail was short... from the farm west to the nearby ports.

Randy Hees


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Randy Hees wrote:
In the 19th century California had it's own grain rush, from the fields, mostly in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, but also the Salinas Valley and even the East Bay where they grew winter wheat, shipped to Vallejo, Port Costa, Oakland and other deep water ports for shipment via ship around the horn to England for distribution in Europe...
True, but at the beginning of the 1890s Dakota wheat came into large-scale production, at prices no one else in the United States or for that matter in the world could compete with. Shipments from California to Europe or even to the eastern U.S. ended rather quickly, and the Central Valley was soon given over to different crops altogether.
This thread, of course, was about a much later period.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Jared Harper
 

In the Flint Hills of Kansas the wheat rush was in June.
Jared Harper
Athens, GA

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, "laramielarry" <larryostresh@...> wrote:

Hi Folks

When is the grain rush? The reason I ask is that for the next Union Pacific Freight Conductors' Train Book I transcribe I would like to choose a report that includes the grain rush. My Train Books are all for the U.P. mainline between Laramie and Rawlins, Wyoming, and are primarily from 1937 to 1939.

Two of the books I already transcribed cover mid-September to the 3rd week in October, and there is not a hint of a grain rush. For example, in Fitz's report there are only 20 cars (of 2,362) that appear to be carrying grain of any sort.

I assume that Sept-Oct is too early or too late for the grain rush. Or perhaps the grain rush did not manifest itself on the U.P. transcontinental route during the Depression?

Thanks,
Larry Ostresh
Laramie, Wyoming


Richard Hendrickson
 

On Oct 14, 2009, at 5:57 PM, Anthony Thompson wrote:

Dave Evans wrote:
I would assume that large eastern city bakery's would buy the grain
when prices were low, and stockpile it while prices remained low,
perhaps even carrying inventory into the following year's early
harvest period in case prices went high during the initial harvest.
Can I jump in here? I don't know much about the grain business,
but do BAKERIES buy grain? I'd assume they buy flour from the milling
companies who make it from grain, so what BAKERIES think about grain
prices is indirect.
Point well taken. And bakeries bought flour from whoever sold what
they needed at the lowest prices. Case in point: the ca. 1938
freight car photos from the Los Angeles area which are to be
published in the (as yet still unprinted) Speedwitch Media Focus on
Freight Cars Vol. 2 included a number of Lehigh Valley flour cars
carrying flour from the mills at Buffalo, NY to a large bakery in Los
Angeles. There surely were flour mills much closer to LA than
Buffalo, but the cost/quality of the flour from Buffalo apparently
made it worth the expense to ship it all the way across the country.


Richard Hendrickson


Robert kirkham
 

--------------------------------------------------
From: "Richard Hendrickson" <rhendrickson@opendoor.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:15 PM
To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re:When is the grain rush?

On Oct 14, 2009, at 5:57 PM, Anthony Thompson wrote:

Dave Evans wrote:
I would assume that large eastern city bakery's would buy the grain
when prices were low, and stockpile it while prices remained low,
perhaps even carrying inventory into the following year's early
harvest period in case prices went high during the initial harvest.
Can I jump in here? I don't know much about the grain business,
but do BAKERIES buy grain? I'd assume they buy flour from the milling
companies who make it from grain, so what BAKERIES think about grain
prices is indirect.
Point well taken. And bakeries bought flour from whoever sold what they needed at the lowest prices. Case in point: the ca. 1938 freight car photos from the Los Angeles area which are to be published in the (as yet still unprinted) Speedwitch Media Focus on Freight Cars Vol. 2 included a number of Lehigh Valley flour cars carrying flour from the mills at Buffalo, NY to a large bakery in Los Angeles. There surely were flour mills much closer to LA than Buffalo, but the cost/quality of the flour from Buffalo apparently made it worth the expense to ship it all the way across the country.
Richard Hendrickson
------------------------------------
Yahoo! Groups Links


Tim O'Connor
 

Hmmmm... Richard unless someone has seen the bills of lading,
how do we know LV box cars in LA were loaded in Buffalo?

Tim O'Connor

Point well taken. And bakeries bought flour from whoever sold what
they needed at the lowest prices. Case in point: the ca. 1938
freight car photos from the Los Angeles area which are to be
published in the (as yet still unprinted) Speedwitch Media Focus on
Freight Cars Vol. 2 included a number of Lehigh Valley flour cars
carrying flour from the mills at Buffalo, NY to a large bakery in Los
Angeles. There surely were flour mills much closer to LA than
Buffalo, but the cost/quality of the flour from Buffalo apparently
made it worth the expense to ship it all the way across the country.

Richard Hendrickson


Tim O'Connor
 

Not all wheat is the same, so that would affect traffic flows quite
a bit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_taxonomy

The shortest flour haul I know is from Ayer MA to Lowell MA -- from
a flour mill that receives western US wheat to Prince (or what used
to be Prince now has a new owner). The distance is about 20 miles.

Tim O'Connor

True, but at the beginning of the 1890s Dakota wheat came into
large-scale production, at prices no one else in the United States or
for that matter in the world could compete with. Shipments from
California to Europe or even to the eastern U.S. ended rather quickly,
and the Central Valley was soon given over to different crops
altogether.
This thread, of course, was about a much later period.
Tony Thompson


Brian Carlson
 

Richard: What I've heard regarding the shipping of flour from Buffalo back
to L.A, San Diego, etc was industries were vertically integrated.

Brian J. Carlson, P.E.

Cheektowaga NY



From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
Richard Hendrickson
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:15 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re:When is the grain rush?





On Oct 14, 2009, at 5:57 PM, Anthony Thompson wrote:

Dave Evans wrote:
I would assume that large eastern city bakery's would buy the grain
when prices were low, and stockpile it while prices remained low,
perhaps even carrying inventory into the following year's early
harvest period in case prices went high during the initial harvest.
Can I jump in here? I don't know much about the grain business,
but do BAKERIES buy grain? I'd assume they buy flour from the milling
companies who make it from grain, so what BAKERIES think about grain
prices is indirect.
Point well taken. And bakeries bought flour from whoever sold what
they needed at the lowest prices. Case in point: the ca. 1938
freight car photos from the Los Angeles area which are to be
published in the (as yet still unprinted) Speedwitch Media Focus on
Freight Cars Vol. 2 included a number of Lehigh Valley flour cars
carrying flour from the mills at Buffalo, NY to a large bakery in Los
Angeles. There surely were flour mills much closer to LA than
Buffalo, but the cost/quality of the flour from Buffalo apparently
made it worth the expense to ship it all the way across the country.

Richard Hendrickson


Tim O'Connor
 

Wasn't a lot of rail shipped grain "double shipped"? -- in other
words, wouldn't most of it be shipped first to a huge elevator
that had the capacity to store many trainloads of grain, and then
the grain would trickle out more slowly to millers, brewers, etc.
And of course a lot of this farm-to-elevator grain also travelled
by water (rivers or the Great Lakes) for part of its journey.

Tim O'Connor

At 10/14/2009 08:57 PM Wednesday, you wrote:
Dave Evans wrote:
I would assume that large eastern city bakery's would buy the grain
when prices were low, and stockpile it while prices remained low,
perhaps even carrying inventory into the following year's early
harvest period in case prices went high during the initial harvest.
Can I jump in here? I don't know much about the grain business,
but do BAKERIES buy grain? I'd assume they buy flour from the milling
companies who make it from grain, so what BAKERIES think about grain
prices is indirect.

Tony Thompson


Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>
 

Tim O'Connor wrote: "Wasn't a lot of rail shipped grain "double shipped"? -- in other
words, wouldn't most of it be shipped first to a huge elevator
that had the capacity to store many trainloads of grain, and then
the grain would trickle out more slowly to millers, brewers, etc."

My friend Chuck Hitchcock has researched the grain movements at the Santa Fe's Elevator "A," at Argentine Yard in Kansas City, and learned that it functioned exactly as Tim suggests. See Chuck's article, "Switching Santa Fe's Elevator 'A,'" page 70 in the 2006 edition of "Model Railroad Planning." Not surprisingly, Chuck found that price was an important factor in the elevator's function. Grain could be stored in these huge elevators when prices were lower, then sold and shipped when prices went up.

So long,

Andy

Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine
asperandeo@mrmag.com
262-796-8776, ext. 461
FAX 262-796-1142