169. For the purpose of showing the agricultural progress
of the District, the year of the revision
settlement 1894-95-may be taken as
the starting point. In 1894-95 the village area excluding state forests was 1,930,056 acres, of which the area occupied for cultivation was 1,795,125 acres. During the 14 years ending 1907-08 the village area increased by 138,873 acres and cultivation extended by 106,668 acres. The expansion of these areas has been obtained by the contraction of both the state forests and the unoccupied culturable waste lands. The net cropped area in 1894-95 was 1,714,345 acres, but in the famine years of 1896-97 and 1899-1900 it decreased by 26,944 and 267,098 acres respectively. In 1900-01 there was a rise to 1,742,280 acres and in 1906-07 the highest figure during the last 14 years, namely 1,810,171 acres, was reached, but there was a fall in 1907-08 to 1,777,167 acres. Amraoti has the fourth largest cropped area in the combined Provinces, being exceeded by the two Berar Districts of Yeotmal and Akola and the Chhattisgarh District of Raipur. The double-cropped area of the District is very insignificant, the average area double cropped during the last seven years having been 656 acres.
170. Of the area occupied for cultivation in 1907-08, a
total of 124,626 acres or 6 per cent., was
under new and old fallows, the new
fallow being 99,971 acres and the old fallow 24,655 acres.
Owing to the unfavourable seasons the new fallow has
increased in recent years. In 1894-95 the area under old fallow was 26,897 acres but has now fallen to 24,655 acres, or by 8 per cent. Owing to the cotton boom of late years the cultivator sows his field with cotton every year without giving it a fallow or rotation of crops. In a rich black soil country grazing inevitably gives place to cultivation; if the cultivator can afford to leave part of his land for pasturing his cattle instead of growing a fodder crop for them, it is either evidence of his prosperity or the lightness of the rental he pays.
171. In 1907-08 autumn or kharif crops covered 1,649,101 acres or 92.7 per cent. and spring or rabi crops 129,143 acres or 7.3 per cent. of the gross cropped area. Since 1901-02 the relative proportion of the autumn crops has increased by nearly 108,400 acres. Cotton is the principal crop and in 1907-08 occupied 885,996 acres or about 50 per cent. of the gross cropped area. In 1905-06 it occupied 943,268 acres, the highest figure ever recorded during the last fifteen years. Fifteen years ago in 1892-93 cotton occupied 672,875 acres, so it has now gained more than 213,000 acres. Next in importance to cotton is juari, the common staple food of the District which in 1907-08 occupied 539,282 acres or more than 30 per cent. of the gross cropped area. Twelve years ago juari occupied between 600,000 and 700,000 acres, and it has now fallen by about one-sixth of its area, almost all of which has gone to make way for the more important and paying crop of cotton. Among rabi crops wheat is still of some importance. Fifteen years ago much land was devoted to wheat but it has gradually fallen off and now occupies 81,780 acres or 4.6 per cent. of the gross cropped area. The area under other crops in 1907-08 was: tur 103,135 acres or 5.8 per cent. gram 22,891 acres or 1
⅓ per cent., and linseed 10,045 acres or less than 1 per cent. Rice is not of much importance and occupies only 4260 acres. The area under sugarcane in 1894-95 was 600 acres, but it had gradually fallen to 228 acres. Orchard and garden crops occupy 1267 acres, of which 1219 acres are irrigated. There is very little irrigation in the District, the total area irrigated in 1907-08 being only 7453 acres or 4.4
per cent. of the total cropped area and this was mainly from wells.