Thursday, December 12, 2013

Editorial Warns of Coming Shortage of Horses and Mules, 1936

From the editorial page of The Southern Planter, December, 1936

According to the last Census, there were on American Farms on January 1, 1935, 11,857 horses and 4,818,160 mules. In addition there were 500,000 work animals doing non-agricultural duties. That is, out of every 33 horses and mules now existing, 32 are on farms and one is in non-agricultural work. Of each 32 on farms, 29 are three years old and over; 3 are under that age.

The Horse and Mule Association of America has worked out some appalling data on work stock replacements for our farmers. To maintain a constant supply of work stock on our farms, it is necessary to have about 15 percent of the total horse population under two. This ratio will enable the young stock to replace old animals, and those taken by disease or accident. But, here are the actual figures for our states:

--Delaware: horse colts, 6.2%, mule colts, .6%
--Maryland: horse colts, 7.1%, mule colts, 1.6%
--West Virginia: horse colts, 7.4%; mule colts, 2.1%
--Virginia: horse colts, 8%; mule colts, 1.4%
--North Carolina: horse colts, 3.9%, mule colts, .1%
--South Carolina: horse colts, 2.1%; mule colts, .1%

We are not raising one-third of the colts we need. These figures are especially startling because of the fact the present crop of work animals is old, and many of them have been injured in recent years from overwork.

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