In the context in which it appears, “robust” (line 8) most nearly means
Historians credit repeated locust invasions in the nineteenth century with the reshaping United States agriculture west of the Mississippi River. Admonished by government entomologists, farmers began to diversify. Wheat had come to nearly monopolize the region, but it was particulary vulnerable to the locusts. In 1873, just before the locusts' most withering offensive, nearly two-thirds of Minnesota farmland was producing wheat; by the invasions' last year, that fraction had dropped to less than one-sixth. Farmers learned that peas and beans were far less vulnerable to the insects, and corn was a more robust grain than wheat. In addition to planting alternative crops, many farmers turned to dairy and beef production. Although pastures were often damaged by the locusts, these lands were almost always left in better shape than the crops were. crude, demanding, productive, vigorous, rich
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