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In the Russians’ steppes: the introduction of Russian wheat on the Great Plains of the United States of America*

  • David Moon (a1)

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, wheat varieties from the Russian steppes were introduced on the Great Plains of the USA, a region with a similar environment. The introduction was partly a by-product of the migration of German farmers from the steppes to the Great Plains in the 1870s. The US Department of Agriculture, eager to promote American wheat production in a competitive world market for grain in which Russia was in the lead, sought out wheat varieties on the steppes that were suitable for the Great Plains. Russian wheat varieties became mainstays on the Great Plains for the next few decades, while Russian agriculture declined under Soviet power. On the basis of research on both sides of the Atlantic, this article sheds light on an important aspect of the global exchange of peoples and crops that has shaped the agricultural and economic history of societies around the world since the invention of agriculture.

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1 Georgetown University Library, Washington, DC, Special Collections Division, Robert S. Chilton Jr. Papers, Box 1, Folder 22, Letter from Thomas E. Heenan to Chilton, 23 January 1899.

2 See Ryerson, Knowles A., ‘History and significance of the foreign plant introductions work of the US Dept of Agriculture’, Agricultural History (henceforth AH), 7, 1933, p. 121. The explorer who preceded Carleton was Niels E. Hansen (Ryerson, ‘Plant introductions’, AH, 50, 1976, p. 253).

3 National Archives at College Park, MD (henceforth NACP), Record Group (henceforth RG) 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering [USDA], Entry 29, Letters sent by M.A. Carleton, 1897–8, vol. 1, Letter to D.G. Fairchild, 27 June 1898; fos. 124–6, Letter to A.F. Woode, 27 June 1898.

4 For a popular account of Carleton’s life, see Paul De, Kruif, Hunger fighters, New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace and Co, 1928, pp. 3–30.

5 Mark Alfred, Carleton, The small grains, New York, NY: Macmillan, 1916, p. 166.

6 A.L. Olmstead and P.W. Rhode, ‘Biological innovation in American wheat production’, in S.R. Schrepfer and P. Scranton (eds.), Industrializing organisms: introducing evolutionary history, London: Routledge, 2004, pp. 62–5; Bennett, M.K., ‘World wheat crops, 1885–1932’, Wheat Studies, 9, 7, 1933, pp. 239–74; M.K. Bennett and H.C. Farnsworth, ‘World wheat acreage, yields, and climates’, Wheat Studies, 13, 6, 1937, pp. 265–308.

7 See Curtis Marbut, Soils: their genesis and classification, n.p.: Soil Science Society of America, 1951, pp. 17–18, 25, 128–30; Douglas Helms, ‘Early leaders of the Soil Survey’, in Douglas Helms, Anne B.W. Effland, and Patricia J. Durana (eds.), Profiles in the history of the U.S. Soil Survey, Ames, IO: Iowa State Press, 2002, pp. 19–64.

8 Gifford Pinchot, Breaking new ground, Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998 (first edition 1947), pp. xi–xiii, 213–16; Rudolf, P.O. and Gevorkiantz, S.R., ‘Shelterbelt experience in other lands’, in Possibilities of shelterbelt planting in the plains region, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office (henceforth GPO), 1935, pp. 59–76.

9 For example, Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1981 (1st edition, Boston, MA: Ginn, 1931), p. 373; Malin, James C., Winter wheat in the golden belt of Kansas: a study in adaption to subhumid geographical environment, Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1944, pp. 162–209; Donald, Worster, Dust bowl: the southern plains in the 1930s, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 7, 174–6; Ian, Frazier, Great Plains, New York, NY: Picador, 1989, pp. 188–95.

10 Malin, Winter wheat, pp. 162–209. Malin could not read Russian.

11 Saul, Norman E., ‘The migration of the Russian-Germans to Kansas’, Kansas Historical Quarterly, 60, 1974, pp. 3862; idem, ‘Myth and history: Turkey Red wheat and the “Kansas Miracle”’, Heritage of the Great Plains, 22, 3, 1989, pp. 1–13.

12 See Webb, The Great Plains; Malin, James C., ‘The adaptation of the agricultural system to sub-humid environment’, AH, 10, 1936, pp. 118–41; Kollmorgen, W., ‘The woodsman’s assaults on the domain of the cattleman’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers (henceforth AAAG), 59, 1969, pp. 215–39; Gilbert C. Fite, ‘Great Plains farming: a century of change and adjustment’, AH, 51, 1977, pp. 244–56; Geoff, Cunfer, On the Great Plains: agriculture and environment, College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press, 2005.

13 Norman E. Saul, Concord and conflict: the United States and Russia, 1867–1914, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1996, pp. 54–75, 75–85, 133–7, 148–51, 189–96, 207–10, 223–4, 275–8, 312 (quotation), 335–64, 365–74, 390–6, 465, 566–7; idem, Friends or foes? The United States and Soviet Russia, 1921–1941, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2006, pp. 44–97, 186–92, 197, 205, 363–5, 365–7.

14 ‘Investigation and research in Russia’, Experiment Station Record (henceforth ESR), 9, 1897–8, pp. 201–5.

15 Tulaikov, N.M., ‘Pochvennye issledovaniya v Soedinennykh Shtatakh’, Pochvovedenie, 10, 4, 1908, pp. 321–2.

16 NACP, RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Entry 29, Letters sent by M.A. Carleton, 1897–8, fos. 76–7, Carleton to D.G. Fairchild, 30 March 1898.

17 Mark Alfred Carleton, Russian cereals adapted for cultivation in the United States, USDA, Division of Botany, Bulletin no. 23, Washington, DC: GPO, 1900, pp. 2–4 (pagination from typescript in National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD); idem, Macaroni wheats, USDA, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin no. 3, Washington, DC: GPO, 1901, pp. 18–19. See also Carleton, Small grains, pp. 233–6, 243–4.

18 Carleton, Russian cereals, pp. 4–6; idem, Macaroni wheats, pp. 13–15; idem, Small grains, pp. 233–44.

19 Carleton, Russian cereals, p. 44; De Kruif, Hunger fighters, p. 15. Before 1917, the Crimean region – Tauride province – included a band of steppes to the north of the Crimean peninsula. It is now part of Ukraine.

20 See, for example, Eduard R. Tsimmerman, ‘Votchinnyi zakon v Amerike i nashi stepi’, Otechestvennye zapiski, 234, 9, 1877, pp. 109–66.

21 Saul, Concord and conflict, pp. 65–7.

22 V.V. Dokuchaev, ‘K uchenie o zonakh prirody’, in idem, Sochineniya, 9 vols., Moscow–Leningrad, 1949–61, vol. 6 (first published 1899), pp. 400–1.

23 L. Prasolov, ‘Kartografiya pochv na I mezhdunarodnom kongresse pochvovedov v Vashingtone (okonchanie)’, Pochvovedenie, 3–4, 1928, pp. 222–3. See also McCall, A.G., ‘The transcontinental excursion’, Soil Science, 25, 1, 1928, pp. 105–6.

24 Carleton, Small grains, p. 240; Marbut, C.F., ‘Russia and the United States in the world’s wheat market’, Geographical Review, 21, 1, 1931, pp. 710.

25 See Marbut, ‘Russia and the United States’, p. 11; I.M. Rubinow, Russia’s wheat trade, USDA, Bureau of Statistics, Bulletin no. 65, Washington, DC: GPO, 1908, pp. 50–9, 64–5; M.P. Fedorov, Khlebnaya torgovlya v glavneishikh russkikh portakh i v Kenigsberge, reviewed in Sel’skoe Khozyaistvo i Lesovodstvo (henceforth SKhiL), 158, 1888, pp. 146–57.

26 Carleton, Russian cereals, pp. 5, 7; Prasolov, ‘Kartografiya’, pp. 222–3. See also Field, N.C., ‘Environmental quality and land productivity: a comparison of the agricultural land base of the USSR and North America’, Canadian Geographer, 12, 1968, pp. 114.

27 M.E. Falkus, ‘Russia and the international wheat trade, 1861–1914’, Economica, New Series, 33, 1966, pp. 416–29; Goodwin, B.K. and Grennes, T.J., ‘Tsarist Russia and the world wheat market’, Explorations in Economic History, 35, 1998, pp. 405430.

28 See ‘Smes’’, Zhurnal Ministerstva Gosudarstvennykh Imushchestv (henceforth ZhMGI), 25, 1847, pp. 153–7; ‘O sostoyanii sel’skogo khozyaistva v Severo-Amerikanskikh shtatakh’, ZhMGI, 48, 1853, pp. 29–58; ‘Neosnovatel’nost’ opasenii neodolimogo sopernichestva v khlebnoi torgovle so storony Soedinennykh Shtatov’, ZhMGI, 53, 1854, pp. 5–13.

29 See, for example, ‘Ekonomicheskoe obozrenie’, SKhiL, 112, 1873, pp. 1–11; V. Samolevskii, ‘Glavnye faktory khozyaistva v Soedinennykh Shtatakh Ameriki’, SKhiL, 121, 1876, pp. 103–18; A.A. Radtsig, ‘Statisticheskii ocherk proizvodstva pshenitsy i mezhdunarodnoi torgovli eyu’, SKhiL, 156, 1887, pp. 257–96; ‘Polozhenie Rossii na mezhdunarodnom khlebnom rynke’, reviewed in SKhiL, 162, 1889, pp. 159–64; P. Struve, Kriticheskie zametki k voprosu ob ekonomicheskom razvitii Rossii, St Petersburg: Skorokhodov, 1894, pp. 207, 210, 260–6; S. Bulgakov, Kapitalizm i zemledelie, 2 vols, St Petersburg: Tikhonov, 1900, vol. 2, pp. 413–40.

30 Filipchenko, A., ‘Proizvodstvo, vyvoz khleba i blizhaishiya zadachi nashego khozyaistva’, SKhiL, 160, 1889, pp. 137–55; Bulgakov, Kapitalizm i zemledelie, vol. 2, pp. 413–40.

31 Sankt-Peterburgskii filial Arkhiva Rossiiskoi Akademii Nauk (henceforth PFA RAN), fond (f.) 184, opis’ (op.) 1, delo (d.) 137, A. Vagin, ‘Ob organizatsii sel’skokhoyaistvennykh opytnykh stantsii v Rossii’, 1897, listy (ll.) 4 ob.–6 ob.; f. 184, op. 1, d. 144 ‘Obshchie osnovaniya ustroistva i organizatsii opytnykh i pokazatel’nykh sel’skokhozyaistvennykh uchrezhdenii, otkryvaemykh departamentom zemledeliya ili pri ego sodeistvii’, 1897–8, l. 5. N.M. Tulaikov, Ocherki po sel’skomu khozyaistvu v Soedinennykh Shtatakh, Moscow, 1912.

32 See A. Mikhel’, ‘Zametki ob Amerikanskikh topchakakh, molotilkakh i veyalkakh’, SKhiL, 94, 1867, pp. 25–40; S. Panaev, ‘Ocherk razvitie proizvodstva sel’sko-khozyaistvennikh mashin i orudii v Severno-Amerikanskikh Soedinennikh Shtatakh’, SKhiL, 199, 1900, pp. 171–206; P. Slezkin, ‘Zametki po khlebnoi torgovle i inspektsii v Soedininnykh Shtatakh’, SKhiL, 175, 1894, pp. 153–69.

33 P.I. Glukhovskii, Otchet general’nogo kommissara Russkogo otdela Vsemirnoi kolumbovoi vystavki v Chikago, St Petersburg: Kirshbaum, 1895, pp. 84–6. See also Saul, Concord and conflict, pp. 365–74.

34 PFA RAN, f. 184, op. 1, d. 138, ‘Sel’skokhozyaistvennye opytnye stantsii v Soedinennykh Shtatakh’, ll. 6–7. (This reference is correct: the Russians were closely following developments by their competitors.)

35 For Russian accounts, see A. A. Efron, Torzhestvuyushchaya Frantsiya: nabroski s parizhskogo vsemirnoi vystavki, St Petersburg: Avseenko, 1890, p. 99; PFA RAN, f. 184, op. 1, d. 138, l. 5 ob.; S. Bogdanov, ‘Zemledelie na Parizhskoi vsemirnoi vystavke 1900 goda’, SKhiL, 199, 1900, pp. 539–41.

36 I.M. Rubinow, Russia’s wheat surplus, USDA Bureau of Statistics, Bulletin no. 42, Washington, DC: GPO, 1906; idem, Russia’s wheat trade; idem, Russian wheat and wheat flour in European markets, USDA, Bureau of Statistics, Bulletin no. 66, Washington, DC: GPO, 1908.

37 See Moon, D., ‘Peasant migration and the settlement of Russia’s frontiers, 1550–1897’, Historical Journal, 30, 1997, pp. 863–7; idem, ‘Agriculture and the environment on the steppes in the nineteenth century,’ in Nicholas Breyfogle, Abby Schrader, and Willard Sunderland (eds.), Peopling the Russian periphery: borderland colonization in Eurasian history, Abingdon: Routledge, 2007, pp. 81–105; Sunderland, W., Taming the wild field: colonization and empire on the Russian steppe, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004. For a much broader discussion of ‘Eurasia’s head start’ over the Americas, see Jared, Diamond, Guns, germs and steel: a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 Years, London: Vintage, 1998, pp. 354–75.

38 J. Atack, F. Bateman, and W.N. Parker, ‘Northern Agriculture and the Westward Movement’ in S.L. Engerman and R.E. Gallman (eds.), The Cambridge economic history of the United States, vol. 2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 285–328; Shannon, Fred A., The farmer’s last frontier, agriculture, 1860–1897, New York, NY: Farrar & Rinehart, inc., 1945.

39 Bulgakov, Kapitalizm i zemledelie, vol. 2, p. 417. See also Fite, Gilbert C., The farmers’ frontier, 1865–1900, New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966, p. 216.

40 Bechasnov, ‘Sel’sko-khoyaistvennye opytnye stantsii v Soedinennykh Shatakh Severnoi Ameriki’, Zapiski Obshchestva Sel’skogo Khozyaistva Yuzhnoi Rossii, 9, 1901, p. 58.

41 T.J. Kloberdanz, ‘Plainsmen of three continents: Volga German adaptation to steppe, prairie, and Pampa’, in F. Lubke (ed.), Ethnicity on the Great Plains, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1980, pp. 54–72.

42 See Ball, Carleton R., ‘The history of American wheat improvement’, AH, 4, 1930, pp. 4871; A.L. Olmstead and P.W. Rhode, ‘Biological globalization: the other grain invasion’, in Timothy J. Hatton, Kevin H. O’Rourke, and Alan M. Taylor (eds.), The new comparative economic history, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007, pp. 115–40.

43 Marbut, C.F., ‘Agriculture in the United States and Russia: a comparative study of natural conditions’, Geographical Review, 21, 4, 1931, p. 605.

44 Crosby, Alfred J., Ecological imperialism: the biological expansion of Europe, 900–1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986, pp. 2–7, 20–1, 295–308. See also Moon, ‘Peasant migration’, pp. 881–6.

45 See Steinberg, T., Down to earth: nature’s role in American history, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 116–37; David, Christian, ‘Inner Eurasia as a unit of world history’, Journal of World History, 5, 2, 1994, pp. 173211; D. Moon, ‘The environmental history of the Russian steppes: Vasilii Dokuchaev and the harvest failure of 1891’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series, 15, 2005, pp. 149–74.

46 See M.N. Stroganova et al. (eds.), Zapovedniki evropeiskoi chasti RSFSR: II, Moscow: Mysl’, 1989, pp. 26–7; Royal Shaw Kellogg, Forest belts of western Kansas and Nebraska, USDA, Forest Service, Bulletin no. 66, Washington, DC: GPO, 1905.

47 See Moon, ‘Environmental history’; John R. Staples, Cross-cultural encounters on the Ukrainian steppe: settling the Molochna basin, 1783–1861, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003, pp. 45–143; Malin, ‘Adaptation’, pp. 118–41; Steinberg, Down to earth, pp. 116, 123, 134–6; Webb, The Great Plains.

48 Quoted in Malin, Winter wheat, p. 2.

49 See Baltensperger, Bradley H., ‘Agricultural change among Great Plains Russian Germans’, AAAG, 73, 1983, pp. 7588.

50 See A. Klaus, Nashi Kolonii: opyty i materialy po istorii i statistike inostrannoi kolonizatsii v Rossii, St Petersburg: V.V. Nusval’t, 1869; Cornelius, Krahn, From the steppes to the prairies, 1874–1949, Newton, KS: Mennonite Publishing Office, 1949, pp. 98–9.

51 See Cornelius J. Dyck (ed.), The Mennonite encyclopedia, 5 vols., Hillsboro, KS: Mennonite Brethren Publishing House, 1955–95, vol. 1, pp. 23–6, vol. 4, p. 939; G.L. Gavel’, ‘Sravnitel’nye ocherki sel’skogo khozyaistva i agrarnogo polozheniya poselyan v nekotorykh mestakh Rossii’, SKhiL, 117, 1874, pp. 55–75; N.K. Kalageorgi and B.M. Borisov, Ekskursiya na reku Molochnuyu, St Petersburg: V.F. Demakov, 1878, part 1, pp. 59–102; Staples, Cross-cultural encounters, pp. 72–84, 114–42, 165–78.

52 Judith, Pallot and Shaw, Denis J.B., Landscape and settlement in Romanov Russia, 1613–1917, Oxford: Clarendon, 1990, pp. 80111; A. Chelintsev, ‘Obzor russkoi literatury po sel’skomu khozyaistvu’, SKhiL, 228, 1908, pp. 156–7.

53 See Saul, ‘Migration’, pp. 41–4.

54 See P. Petrov, ‘Kholera v Dnepropetrovskom i Berdyanskom uezdakh Tavricheskoi gubernii, v 1872 g.’, in Sbornik sochinenii po sudebnoi meditsine, vol. 3, St Petersburg, 1872, pp. 18–22. I am grateful to Dr Charlotte Henze for this reference.

55 See Postnikov, V., ‘Molochanskie i Khoritskie Nemetskie kolonii: Khozyaistvenno-statisticheskii ocherk’, SKhiL, 140, 1882, p. 39.

56 Kalageorgi and Borisov, Ekskursiya, p. 58.

57 See Krahn, From the steppes, pp. 7–8, 14, 27–49, 98–101; Saul, ‘Migration’, pp. 45–58; Mennonite encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 838; Postnikov, V., ‘Molochanskie i Khoritskie Nemetskie kolonii’, SKhiL, 139, 1882, p. 97. See also James L. Forsythe, ‘Environmental considerations in the settlement of Ellis County, Kansas’, AH, 51, 1977, pp. 38–50.

58 Noble L. Prentis, ‘The Mennonites in Kansas’, The Commonwealth, 15 October 1874, reprinted in Krahn, From the steppes, pp. 13–14.

59 Mennonite Library and Archive (henceforth MLA), Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, Bernhard Warkenin collection (henceforth Warkentin collection), Warketin to Carleton, 9 November 1900. I am very grateful to Mr John Thiesen, Co-Director of Libraries and MLA archivist, for his considerable assistance in enabling me to access this important collection of copies from the National Archives. The copies were sent to Bethel College on the request of Mennonite historian Cornelius Krahn in 1945. Warkentin collection, T.R. Shellenberg to Krahn, 8 November 1944, 26 December 1944, 29 January 1945.

60 Mark Alfred, Carleton, ‘Hard wheats winning their way’, Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1914, Washington, DC: GPO, 1915, p. 399.

61 Krahn, From the steppes, p. 10.

62 Mennonite Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 231, 200 N. Poplar, Goessel, KS 67053 (consulted 1 May 2008). I am very grateful to Mrs Darlene Schroeder, the Director of the museum, and other members of the local community for their hospitality when I visited the museum and the Alexanderwohl church in April 2007.

63 Quisenberry, K.S. and Reitz, L.P., ‘Turkey wheat: the cornerstone of an empire’, AH, 48, 1974, p. 98. See also Dunbar, Robert G., ‘Turkey wheat’, AH, 48, 1974, pp. 111–14.

64 ‘Wheat centennial proclaimed’, Mennonite Life, 28, 2, 1973, p. 46 (, consulted 29 August 2007).

65 ‘About Kansas agriculture’, (consulted 1 May 2008).

66 Malin, Winter wheat, pp. 167, 250.

67 N. Saul, ‘Myth and history’, pp. 1–3. See also idem, ‘Migration’, pp. 60–1. Saul seems not to have consulted the Warkentin–Carleton correspondence.

68 Carleton, ‘Successful wheat growing in semiarid districts’, Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture 1900, Washington, DC: GPO, 1901, pp. 531, 534–5, 539–42.

69 See Malin, Winter wheat, p. 162; Carleton, Russian cereals, pp. 10, 12–14, 48–9; P. Slezkin, ‘Zametki o minuvshei vystavke v Chikage’, SKh i L, 174, 1893, p. 376; Keppen, F., ‘O polevodstve v Tavricheskoi gubernii i o vrednykh na nego vliyaniyakh’, ZhMGI, 83, 1863, p. 98; Falkus, ‘Russia’, p. 418, n. 3; ‘Pshenitsa’, in S.M. Bogdanov, Illyustrirovannyi sel’skokhozyaistvennyi slovar’, Kiev: Barskii, 1891–[5], pp. 1081–2.

70 Mark Alfred, Carleton, ‘Improvements in wheat culture’, Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture 1896, Washington, DC: GPO, 1897, p. 492; idem, Small grains, pp. 27–86.

71 Malin, Winter wheat, pp. 162–9, 181; Saul, ‘Myth and history’, pp. 3–6, 9; idem, ‘Migration’, pp. 60–1.

72 Saul, ‘Migration’, pp. 60–1; idem, ‘Myth and history’, pp. 5, 7, 8, 13, n. 28.

73 ‘Pshenitsa’, in Bogdanov, Illyustrirovannyi, pp. 1087–8.

74 J. Allen Clark, John H. Martin, and Carleton R. Ball, Classification of American wheat varieties, USDA, Bulletin no. 1074, Washington, DC: GPO, 1922, p. 145.

75 Carleton, Small grains, pp. 36, 39, 42, 51, 52 (quotation); idem, ‘Successful wheat growing’, pp. 535, 537. See also Clark et al., Classification, pp. 1, 144–7, 183–92.

76 The Mennonite encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 939.

77 Carleton, ‘Hard wheats’, p. 399. Malin refers to this story: Winter wheat, p. 166.

78 Saul, ‘Myth and history’, p. 12, n. 25. See also Malin, Winter wheat, p. 278, n. 25.

79 Yu. Witte, ‘O sel’skom khozyaistve v Khersonskoi, Tavricheskoi i Ekaterinskoi guberniyakh’, ZhMGI, 8, 1844, p. 105; K. Bunitskii, ‘Voprosy i otvety o vozdelyvanii pshenitsy: stat’ya vtoraya’, in I. Palimpsestov (ed.), Sbornik statei o sel’skom khozyaistve yuga Rossii, Odessa: P. Frantsova, 1868, pp. 311–12.

80 Keppen, F., ‘O polevodstve v Tavricheskoi gubernii i o vrednykh na nego vliyaniyakh’, ZhMGI, 83, 1863, p. 98; Yu.Ya. Witte, ‘Ocherk khlebopashestva na Krymskom poluostrov’, SKhiL, 8, 1870, pp. 241–6.

81 Keppen, F.‘Sel’skokhozyaistvennoe polozhenie Tavricheskoi gubernii v 1863 g.’, ZhMGI, 86, 1864, p. 478.

82 Postnikov, ‘Molochanskie i Khoritskie Nemetskie kolonii’, SKhiL, 139, 1882, p. 80; 140, 1882, pp. 36–9.

83 M. Sofronov, ‘Pshenitsa’, Polnaya entsiklopediya russkogo sel’skogo khozyaistva, 12 vols., St Petersburg: Devrien, 1900–1912, vol. 8, col. 6; Carleton, ‘Hard wheats’, map on p. 400. See also Bennett and Farnsworth, ‘World wheat acreage’, p. 269.

84 V.E. Postnikov, Yuzhno-Russkoe krest’yanskoe khozyaistvo, Moscow: I.N. Kushnerev, 1891, p. 178.

85 Malin, Winter wheat, pp. 170–8, 188–97, 204–5.

86 Saul, ‘Myth and history’, pp. 6–7; Malin, Winter wheat, pp. 204–5 (Malin doubted this story); Warkentin collection, Warkentin to Carleton, 31 May 1900.

87 Malin, Winter wheats, pp. 179–87.

88 ESR, 8, 1896–7, p. 594.

89 ESR, 5, 1893–4, pp. 497, 881–2; 6, 1894–5, pp. 224–6; 11, 1899–1900, pp. 942–4; NACP, RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Entry 29, Letters sent by M.A. Carleton: Carleton to F.L. Scribner, 28 November 1897; Carleton to W. Frank Crowley, 29 November 1897; fos. 30–1, Carleton to J.E. Rickenbaker, 18 December 1897; fos. 76–7, Carleton to D.G. Fairchild, 30 March 1898; fos. 97–8, 11 May 1898; fos. 124–6, Carleton to A.F. Worde, 27 June 1898; Carleton, ‘Improvements in wheat culture’, pp. 492, 496–7. See also De Kruif, Hunger fighters, pp. 5–11.

90 NACP, RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Entry 1, General Correspondence of the Office of the Chief, 1900–8, box 7, Burleson–Carleton, File Carleton, Carleton to Mr Galloway, 20 October 1894; Carleton, ‘Successful wheat growing’, p. 531.

91 Warkentin collection, Warkentin to Carleton, 31 May 1900.

92 See, for example, Odesskoe uezdnoe zemskoe sobranie XXVI ocherednoi sessii, review in SKhiL, 181, 1891, p. 17; Kizenkov, S., ‘Sel’skokhozyaistvennye voprosy v russkoi pechati za 1897 g.’, SKhiL, 188, 1898, p. 694.

93 NACP, RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Entry 29, Letters sent by M.A. Carleton, 1897–98, vol. 1, Carleton to Fairchild, 27 June 1898; Carleton, Russian cereals, pp. 8–9, 12–43 (quotations from pp. 8–9, 5, 12, 13). See also De Kruif, Hunger fighters, pp. 13–18. On the issue of durum wheat, Russian specialists may have drawn Carleton’s attention to an article in the March 1899 issue of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture’s journal, which argued that durum wheats were better suited to hot, dry climates than winter wheats: S. Toporkov, ‘K biologii ozimnoi pshenitsy’, SKhiL, 192, 1899, p. 495.

94 Warkentin collection, Carleton to Galloway, 5 June 1900, and 18 June 1900.

95 Warkentin collection, Warkentin to Carleton, 5 May 1900, 31 May 1900, 2 July 1900; Carleton to Galloway, 18 June 1900.

96 Warkentin collection, Warkentin to Carleton, 9 November 1900; Carleton to Warkentin, 13 November 1900, 12 January 1901.

97 Carleton, ‘Successful wheat growing’, pp. 535–6. See also Chernyaev, E., ‘Zametki o yuzhnorusskikh pshenitakh’, SKhiL, 118, 1875, p. 81–2.

98 Warkentin collection, Carleton to Warkentin, 16 November 1900.

99 Carleton, ‘Successful wheat growing’; idem, Russian cereals, and references in subsequent notes.

100 Warkentin collection, Warkentin to Carleton, 9 November 1900; Malin, Winter Wheat, p. 205.

101 NACP, RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, General Records, Entry 1, General Correspondence of the Office of the Chief, 1900–8, box 7, various letters from the Bureau to Carleton, August 1901, and further correspondence in subsequent years.

102 NACP, RG 54, General Records, Entry 1, General Correspondence of the Office of the Chief, 1900–8, box 7, Carleton to Chief of the Bureau, 15 June 1907; Carleton, Lessons from the grain-rust epidemic of 1904, USDA, Farmers’ Bulletin no. 219, Washington, DC: GPO, 1905, pp. 14–15.

103 Clark et al., Classification, pp. 183, 187; Carleton, Russian cereals, p. 9.

104 NACP, RG 54, General Records, Entry 1, General Correspondence of the Office of the Chief, 1900–8, box 7, Carleton to Galloway, 3 August 1901, 11 September 1902, 18 September 1903; Chief of Bureau to Carleton, 9 November 1904.

105 Carleton, Macaroni wheats; Carleton and Joseph S. Chamberlain, The Commercial status of durum wheat, USDA, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin no. 70, Washington, DC: GPO, 1904. See also Olmstead and Rhode, ‘Biological globalization’.

106 Carleton and Chamberlain, Commercial status, p. 9; Carleton, ‘Hard wheats’, pp. 405–19. See also Hargreaves, Mary W.M., ‘The durum wheat controversy’, AH, 42, 1968, pp. 211–29.

107 See Carleton, ‘Hard wheats’; idem, Small grains, p. 116.

108 Tulaikov, Ocherki, p. 76; Sofronov, ‘Pshenitsa’, pp. 27–31; Matrosov, E.I., ‘Godovoi otchet byuro rastenievodstva ministerstva zemledeliya Soedinennykh Shtatov za 1906 god’, SKhiL, 227, 1907, pp. 227–8.

109 Clark et al., Classification, pp. 144–7, 208–18.

110 Clark et al., Classification, pp. 90–2; Morrison, J.W., ‘Marquis wheat: triumph of scientific endeavor’, AH, 34, 1960, pp. 182–8; idem, ‘From a single seed: tracing the Marquis wheat success story in Canada to its roots in the Ukraine’, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 12 June 2007, (consulted 29 August 2007). Richard Manning’s account in Grassland, New York, NY: Penguin, 1995, p. 172 is mistaken.

111 Carleton, Russian cereals, p. 1; idem, Small grains, p. 161. Carleton used the term ‘Russia’ to include present-day Ukraine.

112 Olmstead and Rhode, ‘Biological innovation’, p. 48.

113 Gary M. Paulsen, ‘International contributions to the improvement and marketing of Kansas wheat’, Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, 126, February 2000, (consulted 10 January 2008); Dalrymple, Dana G., ‘Changes in wheat varieties and yields in the United States, 1919–1984’, AH, 62, 1988, pp. 2036; Olmstead, A.L. and Rhode, P.W., ‘The Red Queen and the hard reds: productivity growth in American wheat, 1800–1940’, Journal of Economic History, 62, 2002, pp. 929–66.

114 NACP, RG21, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Entry 30, Records of the Division of Cereal Crops and Diseases, Foreign Correspondence, 1900–34, box 8, Files Russia L–Z, correspondence between J.W. Pincus and M.A. McCall, July–September 1928.

115 See Saul, Friends or foes?, pp. 1–315.

116 Olmstead and Rhode, ‘The Red Queen and the hard reds’.

117 Lyster Hoxie, Dewey, The Russian thistle, USDA, Division of Botany, Bulletin no. 15, Washington, DC: GPO, 1894; ESR, 6, 1894–5, pp. 144, 551–3; James A. Young, ‘The public response to the catastrophic spread of Russian thistle (1880) and Halogeton (1945)’, AH, 62, 1988, pp. 122–30.

118 Crosby, Ecological imperialism, p. 290.

119 A. Kh. Benik, ‘Obzor deistvii yugovostochnoi uchebnoi fermy v Samarskoi gubernii’, ZhMGI, 63, 1857, p. 119; N. Vasil’ev, ‘Botanicheskie raznovidnosti i sorta khlebnykh rastenii v Rossii’, SKhiL, 217, 1905, pp. 13–19; V.V. Talanov, ‘Predislovie’, Yarovaya pshenitsa, Moscow: Novaya Derevnya, 1923, pp. 3–4; ‘Po povodu predstoyashchei v 1896 godu deyatel’nosti Departamenta Zemledeliya’, SKhiL, 81, 1896, p. 4.

120 See R.A. and Z.A. Medvedev, trans. Andrew R. Durkin, Khrushchev: the years in power, London: Oxford University Press, 1977, pp. 62–5, 123–8. See also N. Vasil’ev, ‘Botanicheskie raznovidnosti i sorta khlebnykh rastenii v Rossii’, SKhiL, 217, 1905, pp. 558–88.

121 Chernyaev, E., ‘Ekonomicheskie i khozyaistvennye zemetki’, SKhiL, 119, 1875, pp. 311–14.

122 V.V. Talanov, ‘Predislovie’, pp. 3–4; Patenaude, Bertrand M., The big show in Bololand: the American relief expedition to Soviet Russia in the famine of 1921, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002, esp. pp. 146–7.

123 V.P. Timoshenko, ‘The wheat problem in U.S.S.R.’, Journal of Farm Economics, 14, 1932, p. 286; R. W. Davies, Mark Harrison, and G.S. Wheatcroft, The economic transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913–1945, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 316.

124 Saul, Friends or foes?, p. 326; Davies et al., Economic transformation, pp. 206–10.

125 See Davies, R.W., The socialist offensive: the collectivisation of Soviet agriculture 1929–1930, London: Macmillan, 1980; Dana G. Dalrymple, ‘American technology and Soviet agricultural development, 1924–1933’, AH, 40, 1966, pp. 187–206; Deborah, Fitzgerald, ‘Blinded by technology: American agriculture in the Soviet Union, 1928–1932’, AH, 70, 1996, pp. 459–86.

126 Worster, Dust bowl, pp. 10–11, 89.

127 See Saul, Friends or Foes?, p. 288; Bowers, R.E., ‘American diplomacy, the 1933 Wheat Conference, and recognition of the Soviet Union’, AH, 40, 1966, pp. 3952.

128 Marbut, ‘Russia and the United States’, pp. 1–21.

129 Timoshenko, ‘The wheat problem’, pp. 292, 294. See also Marbut and Timoshenko, ‘The expansion of the wheat area in arid Russia’, Geographical Review, 23, 1933, pp. 479–83.

130 Lazar, Volin, A century of Russian agriculture, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970, p. 566.

131 Quisenberry and Reitz, ‘Turkey Wheat’, p. 98.

* Research for this article was supported by the British Academy, the Kennan Institute, Washington, DC, and Durham University. The author would like to thank Douglas Helms of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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