Letter | Published:

Meteorology and Wheat Shortage

Naturevolume 98pages369370 (1917) | Download Citation



PROF. BRYAN'S reminder of my work of twelve years ago upon the yield of wheat in the eastern counties of England comes at an opportune moment. It may be of interest to recall how the “theory”, to which he refers, arose. In considering the figures for the yield of wheat for England in the twenty-one years 1884 to 1904, I had noted that they were so closely related to the rainfall of the “principal wheat-producing districts” (approximately the part of Britain east of a line from Portland to Inverness) for the previous autumn that one might almost rely upon losing a bushel and a quarter per acre from the crop for every inch of rain recorded for the region in the previous autumn. There were some exceptional years, and in the hope of getting something still more amenable to rule I restricted the area to the counties of the meteorological district “England East,” and took out the figures for wheat from the returns of the Board of Agriculture and for rainfall from the Weekly Weather Report. From these it appeared that every inch of rain, in the autumn meant a loss of 2.2 bushels of wheat per acre for the eastern counties, but the occasional exceptions were not less pronounced than for the wider area, but more so.

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