Umatilla County, Oregon 1922

As the soil and climatic conditions are so different in the various parts, it is impossible to treat the county as a whole and quote averages. In fact what impresses the newcomer most is the sharp lines of division between the intensive fruit district in the north, the extensive grain belt in the center, the productive alfalfa and diversified farming district in the west, and the excellent sheep and cattle country in the east and south. The soil and climatic conditions in each section are ideally adapted to the one type of farming found there, and irrigation ditches and mountains form the boundaries.

The altitude of the farm lands range from 300 feet along the Columbia near the town of Umatilla to 3,000 feet at Ukiah in the heart of the cattle country; the rainfall varies from 8 inches in the fertile irrigated districts around Hermiston to 25 inches on the potato farms above Weston; the number of consecutive frost free days vary from 190 at Umatilla, 170 at Echo, 149 at Pendleton, to 133 at Weston. While the soil varies from sand to heavy clay loam, in all sections it is wonderfully productive, the only limiting factor being moisture, which in the grain belt is supplied by ample rainfall, and in the fruit and diversified farming section by irrigation systems.


The rolling plateau grain belt of Umatilla County extending from the Washington State line northeast of Milton to Echo and from the Columbia River in the northwest to the Blue Mountains in the east, comprises an area of nearly a half million acres. This area has long been considered one of the highest yielding wheat producing sections in the Northwest. While the average yield, 1909-1919 was 23 bushels per acre, the 1921 crop reached 30 bushels per acre or over 7,000,000 bushels. And the "average" does not tell the full story as it includes some marginal lands where the yield runs as low as ten bushels. It is safe to say that there are at least 75,000 acres around Pendleton, Helix, Athena and Weston averaging 40 bushels per acre. As the summer fallow system, by which one-half the land is plowed early in the spring and worked throughout the summer to control the weeds and conserve moisture for fall seeding while he other half is producing a crop, is practiced the farm units are large.

This tractor-drawn combine, operating northeast of Pendleton,
cuts and thrashes the 2,500 bushels each day.

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