The normal annual precipitation at Great Bend and Hudson, determined by the U.S. Weather Bureau, is 24.18 and 24.58 inches, respectively. However, deviations from the normal are frequent. At Great Bend the recorded annual precipitation for the period 1923-47 has ranged from a minimum of 14.72 inches in 1936 to a maximum of 38.35 inches in 1944, and at Hudson it has ranged from 14.17 inches in 1936 to 34.54 inches in 1944. The annual precipitation for the period of record and the cumulative departure from normal precipitation at Great Bend and Hudson are shown graphically in Figures 3 and 4.
The largest town in Stafford County is Stafford, which had a population of 1,969 in 1945. St. John, population 1,614, is the second largest town and the county seat. Other towns in Stafford County and their 1945 populations are Macksville, 540; Hudson, 235; Seward, 130; and Radium, 76.
Population figures are not available for the small towns of Beaver and Heizer in Barton County, or Zenith in Stafford County. Redwing, Dartmouth, and Farhman, in Barton County, and Neola, in Stafford County, serve as supply stations for farmers and as grain-shipping points.
A branch line of the Missouri Pacific Railway running from Kingman to Lamed passes through Stafford, Hudson, Seward, and Radium in Stafford County. Another branch line of the Missouri Pacific runs between Great Bend and Hoisington. A branch line of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway runs from Great Bend westward to Scott City, passing through Heizer and Albert in west-central Barton County. Another branch line of the Santa Fe runs from Galatia in northwestern Barton County through Susank, Beaver, and Fahrman to McPherson in McPherson County.
Several hard-surfaced Federal and State highways pass through Barton and Stafford Counties. U.S. Highway 281 crosses the central part of the area from north to south, passing through Hoisington, Great Bend, and St. John. U.S. Highway SON passes from east to west through Ellinwood, Great Bend, and Pawnee Rock in southern Barton County, and U.S. Highway 505 passes from east to west through Zenith, Stafford, St. John, and Macksville in southern Stafford County. State Highway 4 traverses central Barton County from east to west, passing through Claflin and Hoisington. State Highway 96 runs northwest from Great Bend through Heizer and Albert, and State Highway 19 passes from east to west through
Radium and Seward, joining U.S. Highway 281 at a point 2 miles east of Seward. Numerous improved county and township roads serve the remainder of the area (Pl. 1).
Table 1--Acreage of principal crops grown in Barton and Stafford Counties, Kansas, in 1948
Barton County has a total land area of about 570,880 acres. According to the 1940 census, 98.8 percent of the land was in farms. In 1948 there were 1,522 farms in Barton County, and the average farm comprised about 370 acres. Stafford County has a total land area of about 508,160 acres, 95.8 percent of which was in farms in 1939. In 1948 there were 1,163 farms in Stafford County, averaging about 420 acres in size.
Irrigation by pumping from wells is practiced to a limited extent in the Arkansas Valley and Walnut Creek Valley in Barton County and in parts of the sand-hills area in Stafford County. In 1944 there were 38 pumping plants in the two counties, capable of irrigating more than 1,500 acres of land. In most years a much smaller acreage than this is actually irrigated, however.
Kansas Geological Survey, Barton and Stafford County Geohydrology|
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Web version Dec. 2001. Original publication date Dec. 1950.