Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
June 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Experimental Farms in Canada


[This article was written in the 1930's and published in 1948; for the precise citation, see the end of the document.]

Experimental Farms. At the Dominion and provincial experimental farms, research work is carried on in both plant and animal breeding and their adaptation to climatic conditions. The introduction of Marquis wheat in recent years is an outstanding example of this work. Among early experiments, the results of which have now passed into Canadian farm practice, were those relating to early seeding, summer fallowing, the use of farmyard manure, the fertilizing value of clover crops, and the introduction of suitable grasses and clovers. The Dominion experimental farm system at its inauguration in 1886 consisted of a central farm at Ottawa and four branch farms, with a total acreage of 3,472. The system now includes twenty-eight farms with a total acreage of 15,577, in addition to twelve sub-stations and a number of "illustration stations", farms used for purposes of demonstration, in each province. The central farm at Ottawa is the headquarters of the system. There are stationed the director, with control and general supervision of the whole system, and the chief technical officers, each of whom has charge of his own special line of work both at the central and at the branch farms. The policy to be pursued throughout the system is decided after discussion at Ottawa by the director, the technical officers, and the superintendents on whose farms the work is to be carried out. The system is organized into fourteen divisions, which have each a technical officer in charge. The division of animal husbandry is chiefly concerned with projects relating to the economic production of live stock and live stock products on the farms of Canada. The work of the botany division deals with economic botany, the study of plants in agriculture, including those which are medicinal, poisonous, or of general economic value. The division is concerned also with plant pathology, research in diseases caused by fungi and bacteria occurring in every kind of plant whether natural resources, such as forests, or grown for special purposes. The Central Plant Pathological Laboratory at Ottawa not only conducts special phases of mycological research but directs the policy of ten branch laboratories. Of these, one of the most important is the Dominion Grain Rust Research Laboratory at Winnipeg. The chief functions of the division of cereals are the production of superior varieties of cereal and leguminous grains by a process of breeding and selection; the systematic description and study of leading varieties; and encouragement of the use of good seed of adapted varieties. The division of field husbandry conducts experiments in reference to the most suitable crop rotations and crop sequences for various parts of Canada ; the preparation of land for different crops; and the best means of seeding, harvesting, drainage, irrigation, and the conservation of soil moisture in the prairie provinces. The division of illustration stations, through the use of 209 privately owned farms, have carried forward a policy of crop introduction and improvement in localities where it is regarded as essential. As centres for the production of seed grain, seed potatoes, grasses and clover seeds, these stations have accomplished a great deal in leading their communities in farm improvement. The other divisions are those of bacteriology, bees, chemistry, economic fibre plants, extension and publicity, horticulture, poultry, and tobacco. The results of the work of the experimental farms are made known to the farmers in Canada by correspondence, by publications, and by articles in the press. Similar work is carried on under the provincial governments through agricultural colleges and experimental stations. The principal ones are located at Truro, Nova Scotia; Ste. Anne de Bellevue and Ste. Anne de la Pocatière, Quebec; Guelph, Ontario; Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton South, and Vancouver. The work of the provincial experimental systems is organized in the same general divisions as the Dominion system.

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., pp. 306-307.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College