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Chapter 5. The Changing Pattern of Agronomy and Horticulture in Canada

Chapter 5. The Changing Pattern of Agronomy and Horticulture in Canada

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320



R. R. MOKIBBIN



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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

................... .

..... ..............,

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b. Legumes

.

c. Corn and Soybeans

.

d. Fhnge Development

V. Horticulture, b y M. B. DAVIS

1. Horticultural Trends

2. Changing Methods

3. New Varieties

4. Organic Soils

5. Greenhouse Crops

6. The Future

VI. Tobacco, b,y N. A. MACRAE

1. Statistics

2. Breeding

3. Fertilizers and Soil Amendments

References



I. INTRODUCTION

1. Agriculture in the Natiomal Economy

During the last forty years, between 1911 and 1951, Canada's national economy has expanded greatly. The population of Canada has

approximately doubled and the total annual external trade has increased

more than tenfold in the last four decades. The effect of the two World

Wars has been enormous. During and immediately after the 1914-1918

war Canada's total external trade more than trebled, increasing from

$769,450,000 in 1911 to $2,450,000,000 in 1921. Following World War

I1 Canada's external trade rose in 1951 to $8,048,000,000.

As shown in the last four Census Reports, profound changes have occurred, also, in Canadian agriculture.

TABLE I

Uross Value of Total Production, and of Agricultural, Manufacturing, Pulp and

Paper, and Mineral Production in Canada



Gross value of production, in thousands of dollars

Year



Population



Total



1921

1931

1941

1951'



8,788,483

10,374,196

11,420,084

14,009,429



4,177,836

4,132,112

8,744,662

21,241,000



a

b



PdP



Agricultural Manufacturing and paper



1,386,126

836,441

1,432,601

3,488,389



Data from aanada Bureau of Statistics.

Estimated.

1960 figures.



2,488,987

2,555,126

6,076,308

13,817,524"



116,891

62,769

163,412

954,138'



Mineral



171,923

230,435

560,241

1,228,005



CHANGING PATTERN OF AGRONOMY AND HORTICULTURE IN CANADA



321



Although the value of agriculture has expanded in 1951 to nearly three

times that of 1921, the relative value of manufacturing and of certain

other industries has risen a t a much faster rate. This situation was well

expressed by Booth (1951) :



. ..



“In 1905

agriculture was relatively more important than i t is today; nearly

two-thirds of the population were classified as rural and about 40% of the gainfully

employed were engaged in farming

Today the rural population is in the minority

and of the working force less than a quarter is engaged in agriculture. This is the

inevitable development of a young country richly endowed with a variety of natural

resources. Agriculture is still one of our most important industries, however, and

in some respects more important today than at the beginning of the century.



.. .



The gross value of agricultural production in 1921, as shown in Table



I, was about one-third of the total gross value of production in Canada,

whereas in 1951 it was only one-sixth. It should be remarked, however,

that there is some duplication in the values shown in this table for manufacturing, as these include the value of unprocessed or partly processed

materials obtained from agriculture and other basic industries. Of

course, inflation of currency accounts for part of the increased dollar

values.

The value of the production per farm in Canada between 1901 and

1950 has increased over 100 per cent. Both scientific research and mechanization have contributed in bringing about increased farm output.

2. Agronomic Trends



The area devoted to field crops in Canada has more than doubled in

forty years, rising from 30,556,000 acres in 1911 to 64,049,000 in 1951.

The values of field crops have increased over fivefold during the period,

from $384,514,000 in 1911 to an estimated $1,977,000,000 in 1951. Wheat

is the most outstanding Canadian crop, with oats in second place, and

hay, barley, potatoes, and tobacco following in that order. Of these six

field crops tobacco, barley, and wheat have increased most in relative

production and values between 1911 and 1951. Mixed grains, chiefly

oats and barley seeded in 50 :50 mixture, is an important crop in Quebec

and Ontario.

Pasture acreage in Canada, both improved and unimproved, has

steadily increased during the past four decades. Of the total of 10,005,000 a.cres improved pasture in 1951, 6,523,364 acres, or almost two-thirds,

was in the six eastern provinces ; whereas of the 54,414,000 acres of unimproved pasture in 1951, 46,788,600 acres, or about four-fifths, was

in the three Prairie Provinces and British Columbia. The improvement

and better utilization of pastures is of major concern to Canada’s live-



322



R. R. MCKIBBIN



stock growers, forage plant breeders, and soils and field husbandry specialists.

The various sections of this article have been prepared by different

authors assisted by other specialists. There are many points of similar

interest in the diverse fields of agronomy and horticulture, such as the

effects of soils, climates, diseases, insects, and economic conditions. For

specific information on the articles in various fields the reader is advised

to refer to the Table of Contents.

Section 11, on Cereals, describing the trends in cereal production,

gives information on the progress of cereal breeding and the successive

introduction of new varieties of cereals designed to meet specific needs

throughout Canada, Section 111, Field Husbandry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering, discusses trends in methods of investigation and

practices followed relating to soils, fertilizers, agricultural machinery,

cropping, irrigation, pasture, soil surveys, and weed control since 1918.

The article on Forage Crops (Section IV) shows the regional importance

and trends of forage crop production in Canada, as well as the accomplishments in breeding new varieties.

Section V on Horticulture outlines the development of commercial

horticulture in this country since 1918. Trends in horticultural practices and in the breeding of fruit and vegetable varieties are described.

Short accounts are given of the development of greenhouse crops and of

vegetable growing on organic soils in Canada, The remarkable expansion during the last forty years of tobacco production in Canada, particularly of the flue-cured type, is briefly discussed in Section VI, as well

as the successes which have been obtained in breeding new varieties of

tobacco.



C. H. GOULDEN

Department or Agriwultwe, Ottawa, Canada



In this brief section an attempt is made t o evaluate some of the effects of cereal breeding progress on trends of cereal production in Canada. A new variety with improved characteristics becomes immediately

an economic factor in that it may reduce the cost of production o r make

production possible in areas or under conditions otherwise quite unsatisfactory. The story of MARQUIS wheat and its effect on agriculture in

the Prairie Provinces is a case in point. The same is true of the rustresistant wheats in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. Early varieties

* Contribution No. 168 from the Cereal Division, Experimental Farms Service,

Canada Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada.



CHANQINQ PATTERN OF AQRONOMP AND HORTICULTURE IN CANADA



323



of barley have been a contributing factor i n the replacement of wheat

by barley in some areas, particularly in northern Alberta. These examples are pointed out in some detail, and others are dealt with as space

permits.

1. Wheat



Since wheat is the predominating cereal in Canada, it is obvious that

all factors affecting wheat production must have an indirect effect on the

production of other cereals. The figures i below show the acreages, in

thousands of acres, of cereal crops in Canada in the year 1951.

Wheat

Oats

Barley

Rye

Flax (for seed)

Mixed grain



25,731

12,065

8,030

1,127

1,112

1,806



(spring and winter)



Throughout the period being considered, 1910-1950, wheat has generally

been the most profitable cereal crop. The average gross values of an

acre of wheat expressed as acres of oats, barley, and flaxseed for the

Prairie Provinces are :

Oats

Barley

Flax



1.37

1.29

1.21



showing a consistent margin in favor of wheat production.

The acreage figures for wheat in averages for five-year periods are

given in Table 11. The figures in all columns, except those for Ontario,

are for spring and winter wheat combined. In the other columns the

proportion of winter wheat is so small that the values given can be regarded as representing spring wheat.

The trend in spring wheat in the eastern provinces has been steadily

downward throughout the entire period. In these areas spring wheat

is grown almost entirely for chicken feed or for grist a t local mills. The

competition from western feed grain and the decreasing production of

flour in small mills for local consumption are factors which have contributed to the downward trend.

In the Prairie Provinces there was an almost continuous and rapid

increase in the wheat acreage from 1908 with 5,624,000 acres to 1922

with 22,181,000 acres. In order to understand this increase together

t Crop statistics taken from Handbook of Agricultural Statistics, Part I-Field

Crops, and Quarterly Bulletin of Agricultural Statistics, Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Ottawa, Canada.



324



R. R. YCKIBBlN



with the corresponding increase in agricultural development all across

the prairies, it is necessary to go farther back in the history of wheat

production. Buller (1919) in Essags on Wheat gives an excellent account of the efforts of the Selkirk settlers to grow wheat on the banks of

the Red River approximately where the city of Winnipeg is now situated.

The first party arrived at the Red River in 1812, and having brought

cereals with them from Great Britain, immediately began preparing the

land for crops. They sowed winter wheat in the fall of 1812 and some

spring wheat, barley, and peas in the spring of 1813. There was great

disappointment when the wheat harvest proved to be a total failure.

From our present knowledge of the climate of Manitoba and the types

of varieties of cereals that the settlers were most likely t o have brought

with them, the results obtained are not surprising. Repeated efforts by

the early settlers to produce wheat from seed from Great Britain were

almost a total failure. Even when the crop appeared to be a success it

was destroyed by storms, locusts, or grasshoppers.

It is noteworthy that the first successful crop of wheat produced by

the Selkirk settlers was in 1820; this crop came from seed that they

imported at great expense and difficulty from Prairie Du Chien in the

state of Wisconsin. It is not known if the wheat imported was a named

variety, but it is most likely that it was brought to the United States by

European settlers. It appears to have been better suited than the English varieties to Manitoba conditions, as Buller states that in spite of

frequent crop failures the Red River settlers did not again lack wheat

for seed until 1868, when the crops were completely destroyed by grasshoppers.

There is no clear record of the source of seed of wheat crops grown

by the Selkirk settlers following the disaster of 1868, but it seems likely

that they obtained further supplies from the United States. It is stated

~

in the

by Clark (1936) that the first successful crop of RED F I wheat

United States was obtained by a Wisconsin farmer in 1860. This variety

had come to the United States from Ontario. It came to Ontario from

Great Britain but seems to have come originally from the Ukraine.

The wheat being grown in the Prairie Provinces in 1908 was very

largely of the RED FIFE variety, although Dr. William Saunders and Dr.

Charles Saunders of the Experimental Farms Service had been making

prodigious efforts to obtain an earlier high-yielding variety. They had

introduced such early varieties as EARLY RED FIFE,PRELUDE, LADOQA, and

PRESTON. LADOQA was unsatisfactory in quality, and the others had

agronomic defects. From what we now know of weather conditions in

the prairies following 1908 it is quite certain that RED FIFE wheat would

not have supported a rapidly expanding agriculture. It would most



CHANQINQ PATTERN OF AQRONOMY AND HORTICULTURE IN CANADA



325



certainly in many seasons have succumbed to fall frosts and been severely damaged by stem rust, with the result that farmers would have

been forced into the production of feed grains or varieties of wheat of

inferior quality.

The distribution of MARQUIS wheat, which took place in 1909, marked

the beginning of a new era in Canadian wheat production. It was from

a week to ten days earlier than RED FIFE and gave excellent yields. It

spread very rapidly and in a few years was practically the only variety

grown in the Prairie Provinces. It was undoubtedly the desirable characteristics of this variety that made possible the great expansion in

acreage from 1910 to 1921. If the farmers had been restricted to the use

of RED FIFE it is certain that there would have been very little wheat

production outside of the southern areas of the prairies, where the danger from fall frosts is a minimum.

Another factor affecting wheat production in the Prairie Provinces,

and Manitoba and Saskatchewan in particular, was the occurrence of

epidemics of stem rust (Puccinia graminis Pers.) . The first disastrous

outbreak was in 1916, when it was estimated that the damage resulted

in a reduction of 100,000,000 bushels in the wheat crop. I n the period

from 1916 to 1938, Craigie (1945) shows that there were five heavy epidemics, six medium epidemics, and twelve light ones. Calculations made

by Greaney (1936) show that for Manitoba and Saskatchewan the average annual loss between 1925 and 1935 was approximately 35,000,000

bushels.

During the first heavy epidemics of stem rust it was noted that durum

wheat seemed to be more resistant than the common wheats, and many

farmers in Manitoba switched to the production of durums. F o r this

reason the proportion of the acreage of durums in Manitoba in 1928

reached 56 per cent. The differential effect was due, apparently, to the

occurrence of races of stem rust to which the common wheats were susceptible and the durums resistant. With the introduction of resistant

varieties of both common and durum wheat, the proportion of durums

was reduced and a t the present time the latter occupy only about 10 per

cent of the wheat acreage in Manitoba.

The first rust-resistant common wheat variety distributed was

THATCHER. The distribution took place in 1936, and in about three years

almost the whole of the crop in Manitoba was of this variety. Shortly

after 1936 other rust-resistant varieties appeared, such as RENOWN, APEX,

REQENT, and REDMAN. Table IV shows the percentage of the acreage occupied by these varieties in 1941 and 1951. I n Manitoba the wheat acreage a t present is almost entirely of rwt-resistant varieties. In

Saskatchewan the resistant varieties make up 94 per cent and in Alberta



326



R. R. MUKIBBIN



88 per cent of the acreage. This reflects not only the additional value

to the farmer of freedom from rust damage but also the improvement in

agronomic characteristics brought about by the plant breeders in these

new varieties.

I n Alberta, for example, damage from stem rust has always been

quite small, and the fact that the farmers have switched from susceptible

varieties such as MARQUIS, RED BOBS, and GARNET, to THATCHER, RESCUE,

REDMAN, and SAUNDERS is a reflection of advantages other than resistance

to rust obtained through the use of these varieties.

For convenient reference Table I11 gives a chronological record of

the distribution of wheat varieties in Canada.

I n Manitoba it is easily proved by comparing yields i n plot tests

where MARQUIS is grown that the average yields have been noticeably

increased by the use of resistant varieties. Actual averages by five-year

periods are also indicative. These are given below for the eight five-year

periods being considered here :

1910-1914

1915-1919

1920-1924

1925-1929

1930-1934

1935-1939

1940-1944

1945-1949



17.7

16.6

14.7

17.3

14.5

14.0

22.2

19.8



The effect of the rust-resistant varieties is shown i n the last two five-year

periods. Calculations of this sort are of course inconclusive because of

the confounding effect of seasonal conditions. Even i n rust epidemic

years such as 1916, the actual production figures in bushels do not give

a true measure of the loss to the farmers, as most of the wheat produced

is of very low grade.

A recent development in the rust situation is the occurrence of new

races of stem rust to which varieties such as THATCHER and REDMAN are

susceptible. Race 15B, which is of this type, occurred over a considerable area in the Prairie Provinces in 1951 and was in epidemic proportions in 1952, although it came too late to cause noticeable damage to

common wheats. The durum varieties being grown are more susceptible

to this race than are the common wheats, and some late crops in Manitoba were severely damaged. It is of interest that this situation is directly the reverse of that when heavy rust epidemics first began to occur,

The indications at the present time are that durum wheats will decrease

rapidly until a variety can be produced that is resistant to race 15B.

Plant breeders began working on the development of more resistant



CHANQING PATTERN OF AGRONOMY AND HORTICULTURE



w



CANADA



327



varieties as soon as race 15B was discovered in 1938, and a s a result

several resistant strains of common wheat have been produced which are

now being tested and increased for distribution. It is expected that

they will be ready for production on a commercial scale in time to prevent the new races of stem rust from having any definite effect on trends

in wheat production.

As already pointed out, the distribution of MARQUIS wheat made wheat

production possible over a much greater area in the Prairie Provinces.

The introduction of still earlier wheats, such as RED BOBS, GARNET, and

SAUNDERS, extended successful wheat production farther north. In the

Peace River area of Alberta there is definite need for an early variety

and also in the area around Edmonton and extending southward along

the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. GARNEW and RED BOBS filled the

TABLE I1

Acreages of Wheat in the Chief Producing Areas of Canada by 5-Year Periods

Data in Thousands of Acres



Period

1910-14

1915-19

1920-24

1925-29

1930-34

1935-39

1940-44

1945-49



Maritimes

57

81

70

47

39

37

16

9



Quebec



Spring

wheat

Ontario



Winter

wheat

Ontario



Prairie

Provinces



British

Columbia



Canada



61

206

138

62

54

51

29

23



116

207

151

113

98

92

46

43



759

677

727

738

547

652

673

719



9,448

15,145

20,438

22,069

24,883

24,698

21,616

23,800



12

27

46

55

61

66

86

122



9,694

15,666

20,843

22,346

25,135

24,944

21,793

23,997



TABLE I11

Chronological Record of the Distribution of Spring Wheat Varieties in Canada

to 1950

Before IBISHOP, EARLY RED FIFE, HURON, MARQUIS, PWTJDE, FTONEEdL,

1910

j RED FIFE

1910-14

1915-19 RUBY

1920-24 ROTA, QUALITY, RENFRICW

1925-29 CERES, OAR-NWl', RED BOBS, REWARD

1930-34 RELIANOE

1935-39 APEX, QBNUS, OOILONATION, REGENT, RENOWN, THATOHEE

1940-44

1945-49 OAOOA.DE, FSDMILN, RE6OUE, SAUNDERS

1950

ACADIA, LEE



PRESTON,



328



R. R. YUKIBBIN



need for a number of years, but they are now being replaced by THATCHER

and SAUNDERS. The replacement is due in part to the degrading of RED

BOBS and GARNET because of deficiencies in quality for making bread.

TABLE IV"

Distribution of Wheat Varieties in Percentage of the Total Acreage for the

Prairie Provinces 1941 and 1951



Variety

THATCHER



RESCUE

REDMAN



MARQUIS

EIAUNDERS

REQENT



DURUM VARIETIES

OARNET



RED BOBS

dpEx



REWARD

R

E

L

I

A

N

T



CANUS

WINTER WHEAT



Manitoba

1941 1951

61.8



-



0.1



-



-



7.8

6.2



-



0.1

1.0

0.5



-



LEMHI (soft white)



-



RENOWN



22.1

0.3



OTHERS



28.4



-



39.4



0.2

18.0

10.8



-



0.1



-



-



-



3.1



Saskatchewan

1941 1951

63.8



-



17.1



3.0

0.9

0.1

1.4

8.3

0.7

0.1



-



4.0

0.6



70.6

13.1

3.5

3.1

0.6

1.2

3.2

0.6

0.3

1.7



-



0.1

0.1



1.9



Alberta

1941 1951

6.7



-



37.1



0.3



2.5

47.4

0.2

1.4

0.1

2.3

1.0



0.5

0.5



53.8

5.2

2.7

9.2

12.4

1.3

0.2

8.4

4.1

0.2



0.9

0.6



1.0



Prairie

Provinces

1941 1951

45.2



21.9

2.6

1.1

0.9

16.1

5.0

0.9

0.1

0.7

0.3



-



4.7

0.5



59.9

8.9



7.7

4.7

4.3

3.3

3.2

3.0

1.5

1.0



-



0.4

0.3



-



1.8



"Data in Tablea 111, VI, IX, and XII, by Uourtesy of North-west Line Elevators, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



2. Oats



Table V gives the average acreages of oats in Canada in the chief

producing areas, by five-year periods, from 1910 to 1949. The trend

in eastern Canada shows rather small changes in the Maritimes and Quebec, but there is a fairly definite downward trend in Ontario. This trend

in Ontario is only partially made up by a corresponding increase in

mixed grains. I n the Prairie Provinces there has been a considerable

increase, but most of this increase took place in the period from 1910

to 1920.

It does not seem possible to come to any definite conclusions with

respect to changes in the oat acreage in the Prairie Provinces being due

to any specific factors. In the period 1910-1920 there was of course a

general increase in cereal production. If the five-year period 1910-1914

is compared with the period 1920-1924, wheat acreage increased 116 per



CHANGING



PATTERN OF AGRONOMY AND HORTICULTURE IN CANADA



329



cent and oat acreage 89 per cent. The determining factors in furthering

cereal production were probably those factors affecting wheat; hence,

oats increased correspondingly because of the increased demand for feed

and because in many areas it fitted in well as a second crop in the rotation.

It is of some interest to examine the ratio of returns per acre for

wheat and oats in the Prairie Provinces over the years for which data

are available. A detailed analysis would be required to bring out any

definite trends. We observe, however, from the values given in Table V,

that the period 1925-1929 represents a reduction in comparison with the

two previous five-year periods, and a t the same time that there is a corresponding increase in the wheat : oats ratio which may have had an effect in causing farmers to switch oat acreage to wheat or barley.

There does not seem to have been any pronounced effect of new and

improved varieties on the acreage of oats. Table V I shows the important

varieties of oats grown in Canada since 1910 and the date of their distribution. It is of interest to study this table in relation to the data of

Table VII, giving the percentage distribution of oat varieties in 1951.

The original oat acreage consisted almost entirely of BANNER and VICTORY.

These varieties were almost the only ones grown in the period from 1910

to 1936. A few early varieties such as 60 DAY and KHERSON were tried

by farmers but generally discarded on account of low yields and low

weight per bushel. The varieties LEGACY and CARTIER were of little importance in this period, the former being adapted in only a small area,

and the latter having a distribution almost entirely confined to Quebec.

I n 1936, VANGUARD, the first variety having resistance to stem rust, made

its appearance and was followed by several other resistant varieties in

the years from then on to the present. The rust-resistant varieties in

TABLE V

Acreage of Oats in the Chief Producing Areas of Canada by 5-Year Periods, and

Wheat: Oats Returns per Acre Ratio. Data in Thousands of Acres

Period

1910-14

1915-19

1920-24

1925-29

1930-34

1935-39

1940-44

1945-49



Maritimes



Quebec



Ontario



481

543

577

489

463

457

402

377



1,352

1,608

2,097

1,813

1,738

1,677

1,684

1,481



2,823

2,674

2,974

2,671

2,375

2,305

1,872

1,673



Prairie British

Wheat: Oats

Provinces Columbia Canada returns

5,050

8,241

9,537

7,772

8,632

8,695

9,572

8,409



46

55



59

85

93

111

84

81



9,752

13,121

15,244

12,830

13,301

13,245

13,614

12,021



1.15

1.38

1.44

1.57

1.36

1.47

1.21

1.38



330



R. R. MCKIBBIN



Table VI are shown in italics. These varieties now dominate the acreage

of the eastern Provinces and Manitoba and the eastern half of Saskatchewan, and have undoubtedly made very important contributions to average yields. The increases in yield owing to the rust-resistant varieties

can be estimated by comparing yields in test plots. Estimates made in

this way demonstrate that the increases have been appreciable. They

do not show in average production figures, because these figures would

undoubtedly have been reduced if the rust-resistant varieties had not

been available.

TABLE M

Chronological Record of the Distribution of Oat Tarieties in Canada to 1950

Period



Varieties



1



Before BANNER, VIOTORY,

1910

1910-14

1915-19

1920-24 LEQ.AW,

1925-29

1930-34 OARTIER,

1935-39 EAQLE,

Erban,

MABEL,

Vanguard,

1940-44 Ajax,

BRIQH'PON, DASIX,

Exeter,

Roxton, VALOR,

1945-49 Abegweit, BAXBU,

Beaoon, Beauer,

Clhton, li.ortune, G a ~ ry, LARAIN,

1950

Lanark,



TABLE VII

Distribution of Oat Varieties in Percentage of Total Acreage in the Prairie

Provinces-1951

Variety



Manitoba



Saskatchewan



Alberta



VIOTQRY



3.7

32.0

33.6

1.1

22.1

2.2



33.7

26.9

14.6

10.0

4.6

4.8

0.2

0.4

1.9

0.5



58.0

7.4

0.8

10.5

1.9

0.4

9.2

8.3

0.2

0.4

1.0

1.9



AJAX

EXE'PEIL

BANNER

VANQUAB3



QOPHER

EAQLE



LkRBIN

FORTUNE



QAERY

BEAVEB



OTHERS



-



0.2

0.4

1.9

0.2

2.6



-



2.4



Prairie

Provinces

37.7

21.3

12.6

9.0

5.9

3.1

3.0

2.9

1.2

0.7

0.3

2.3



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