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KHRUSHCHEV ADVOCATES DUBIOUS FARMING PRACTICES
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND REPORTS
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
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1! Pi I i
KHRUSHCHEV ADVOCATES DUBIOUS FARMING PRACTICES
Khrushchev, apparently motivated by lack of significant progress in agricultural production during the first throe years of the Seven Year Plan, has recently recommended significant but dubious changes in farming practices. erios of regional agricultural conferences followingd Party Congress, he vigorously attacked the practice of "clean fallowing" and ther grassland system of farming and called for their reduction or elimination in favor of more intensive cultivation.* These proposals for bringing "hidden reserves" into play quickly and cheaply could significantly increase agriculturalin the near future but would likely jeopardize the long term prospects of Soviet agriculture.
Clean fallowing, though not extensively practiced in the USSR in recent years, has been acclaimed by many Soviet scientistsartial answer to the low yields caused by weed infestation and frequent droughts in tho arid New Lands region. etailed research study of the future development and distribution of crops in the various regions of the Soviet Union, published by the USSR Academy of Sciences9 on the instructions of tho State Planning Committee and the Ministry of Agriculture, stated concerning further development of the New Lands region:
easures have to be taken to raise the level ofuch measureshe use of clean fallow In croplean fallowystem of soil treatment guaranteeing theand retention of soil moisture are the priority measures forore or less stable yield of agricultural/
Clean fallowingecognized place in increasing andcrop yields in Canada; Canadian experience indicates that the Soviets have already beenangerously large proportion of cropland to grain in the New Lands. In the Canadian spring wheatarea with physical and climatic characteristics similar to those of the Newfallow land accounts forf the total cropland. In contrast,9 only aboutercent of the cultivated land in the New Lands area was ln fallow. 2/
Failure to Institute proper crop rotations in tho New Lands has already boon reflected in decreasing yields. Pressure on localrapidly to increase grain production hasiciousarea of fallow has not been increased because yields have been decreasing due to the weed problem and depletion of thewhich is due in part to the inadequate aroa in fallow.
* Clean fallowingractice wherebyland is not plantedrowing season and is cultivated only as needed to prevent weed growth. Tho practice controls weeds and permits the accumulation ofln the soil, bringing about higher and more stable crop yields. Under th* "ley" system perennial grasses are planted for several consecutive years and then alternated with cultivated crops.
However8 elude speech he stated
peaking from the point of view of proe-
f6?iLdevelopment of farming.the lessIow the bettor. Quld
none at all, as long as thereood harvest."
"Blons. In addition to the problems ofinadecmate
-IUo11ad^tlonaTburdens the Soviet which ls already In short supply in
The Ley System
on cleanlJaifow^UShChr h" bGenautious in hish88really attacked the ley system of
JEJfSiSJ, At the1 conference of non-black soil zoneii^S! Naders, Khrushchev commented that in order to produce Urge amounts of .eat and milkiven amount of arable Und " it
itfBot rld ofof filing::
The dead s '^fttnBinB 9VStem on revolutionary lines. The dead system of ley farming must be/
he ley 8vatem which was developed by the noted
alternate periods of
grassland and cultivation,inimumonsecutive years
o5 *ndto be deluded in crop o on averagingears In length. Under Stalin, the loy system
Ilk1 r0?ucedh. agricultural areas'ofJSZTSnJ it0Zingdeath, tho system was discardedclearlv not suited, chiefly the somi-arid
butfln ^Wtant place in Soviet agriculture recuse S 8triCt adherenc* to the loy system wouldercent of Soviet sown acreage was in porennlal "d" ea aDd ClOVer8 However, in the Northwest:theacreage.The attitude of '
Melted In ?hn SJi BP?rtanCegraSSeS lnagriculture Isin the following excorpts from the previously mentionedstudy by the Academy of Sciences, USSR:re-
mne,the acreage of forage grasses must be considerably increased in the republics and natural farminghe development of clover planting in the non-chernozem belt of the RSFSR does not require any costlyn these areas clover growing represents practically the main step in raising the yield of all crops and raising the level of agricultural production. In Byelorussia, the smallness of the clover acreage is undoubtedlytho progress of agriculturalhe acreage under grasses must be Increased threefold in Byelorussia."
Grasses and cloverseneficial purpose in cropaTeaSA raey heXp to raaintaln the fertility and Itruc-tZLtl t% SSU- Grasses and cloverheap source of
anv murhare gener-
suffiM^nt ill +cultlvated orops. In the USSR, where licklnhas long handicapped agriculture
FnrI? vers,have contributed significantly toward soilvtl7lrL IS*Ollfhe "on-black soil zone inand infer"le. but can be made-nations and fertil
Future Con segue rices
spitGKhrushchev's vigorous attack on the ley systemadvocatGd the complete abandonment ofgriisSWowerer- theirm the crop rotation year Wlth the "ea. released to be planted in
cultivatedsugar beets, peas, and field beans.
togricultural officials and ISiSniU onmunistnless the grassland system is ?ba S ud-a1e;8'apparently is resistance among Soliet SSbilRhS nP lists to Khrushchev's recommendations. ettereditoriallythe Party's agriculturalkayaussian agronomistointfd out Sat under lulrZtsjnt state-of-technology the ley system wassefulgriculture. He said that with the lack of mineral ttuttlu;tlvating machinery, specialized harvesting machinery! nrnSpHtheofgrasses and clovers ?he same tiLrop which provided feed while at
badly needed nitrogen to the soil. He1 ore efficient use of
eSSriS?ecause the harvest ot Krass and clover does not coincide with that of other crops.
^Cal leaders are to study the problems of cleant?? and clovers, and make applications on the basis of However-suggestions" or urgings ofalong such coursesendency to become de facto law. The
re sometimes carried to extremes by lesser agricultural officials. The pressure on these officials to increase production or lose their positions, may caule them to take action which would be to the long-run disadvantage of agriculture
thel0Cal leaders to "tak* risks" andfallow ln an area "here crop production is already
a hazardous venture. There are indications that farm directors and
officials have already begun to think over the political advantages of accepting Khrushchev's suggestions. All farms iny arog?e-
e-'clean JnrHnl .h. increase the area in corn, peas and beans without re-
ln wheat- y oth the black and non-
oiSfnSirevlsed cropping plans to reducegrassland and fallow, and to Increase the area underpeas, sugar beets, and field beans.
It, therefore, appears likely that the area devoted toWlU bGincreased in
the lncrease wil1ly be dueonsiderable
IIT* I* Portion of the increased area
in cultivated crops may also be dueeduction ln clean fallow.
The in?ediate effect of this radical alteration of USSR croppine
Barrin? unfavorable weather conditions. In subsequent
jet agricultural officials adopt without due caution the
decline praCtices recommended by Khrushchev, yields can be expected to