GFM Network News


Threshing machines prepare to break a Guinness World Record in Austin, Man., in 2016.

Manitoba Agricultural Museum reopening May 29

The Austin museum has been closed due to COVID-19

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum will reopen to the public on May 29, 2020 with reduced hours, new safety measures and new opportunities to rediscover the museum. At this time, only the outdoors spaces will be accessible for walk-ins, while the buildings of the Homesteaders’ Village and the museum indoor exhibits will be accessible on reservation

W.G. Dickson’s combine setup, pictured with sons Murray and Archie in 1943.

Second World War-era photos show novel solution to labour shortage

Photos donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum show W.G. Dickson’s unique combine setup

Photos recently donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum may show one farmer’s novel solution to labour shortages during the Second World War. The Dickson Henderson family of the Boissevain area donated several digital images to the museum. One photo shows a pull-type combine set up to allow remote operation of the tractor from the combine


Threshing in the Path Head district 1903

Thomas Hunt was a noted thresherman in early Manitoba history

The photo collection of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum contains a photo of the Thomas Hunt outfit threshing in the Path Head district of Manitoba in 1903. The Path Head district lies between MacGregor and Katrime. Thomas Hunt was born at Dunkeld, Bruce County, Ont. in 1862. In 1874, when Thomas was 12 years old, his

The Cockshutt five-bottom auto lift engine gang plow

This innovative design let one operator run the tractor and multiple plows at once

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum collection contains a Cockshutt five-bottom auto lift engine gang plow donated by Charles Hefford of Miami, Manitoba. Charles Hefford Jr. was the son of Charles Hefford, who was an early resident of the Miami area. Charles’ father was a boat captain on the Great Lakes who drowned in Lake Superior during

It was the capturing of the value of dockage at port elevators in the early days of the grain trade that sparked this designation.

Grain elevators as ‘works for the general advantage of Canada’

Another regulatory wrinkle with an interesting history

While the “no mixing” rule has long been discarded, a legacy still remains in the form of the 1925 Government of Canada declaration that elevators are “works in the general advantage of Canada.” This declaration is still in force and sometimes rears its head causing bureaucrats, farmers and others in the grain trade to scratch


Early terminal elevators, like this one at what’s now Thunder Bay, were subject to the “no mixing” rule.

The origin of the ‘no mixing’ rule

This regulation helped build Western Canada’s global grain reputation but it had downsides

Recent articles by the Manitoba Agricultural Museum on loading producer cars mentioned the “no mixing” rule that was in force in the early days of the western Canadian grain trade. One reader has inquired about the origin of this rule, which is a very interesting tale. The “no mixing” rule meant when grain was graded

Kerosene powered tractor

The Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company 25-50 tractor

The Dickson-Henderson family of the Boissevain area donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum digital copies of photos taken on the farms operated by these families. One of the photos shows a “prairie style” tractor breaking sod in 1913. Prairie style is a term applied to early gas tractors, all of which were large, heavy and

The McCrindle Sawyer Massey 25-45 gas tractor

This beautiful piece of machinery was donated to the museum by the original owner

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum’s collection contains a Sawyer Massey 25-45 gas tractor, donated in 1960 by J.M. McCrindle of Foxwarren, Manitoba. James Marshall McCrindle was born in Nova Scotia in 1879 and later came to Winnipeg when his family moved there. McCrindle then moved to Foxwarren in 1897 to work as a clerk in Laycock’s


The Black family in the field with their Steward Sheaf Loader. For some reason a number of ladies has come out to the field. Perhaps the loader was new and they wanted to see it in operation? They are not likely there to deliver a meal as that many would not have been needed to take refreshments.

Farm machinery of the past

Steward Sheaf Loader offered ability to load 
sheaves faster and with less physical labour

Bruce Black of the Brandon area has allowed the Manitoba Agricultural Museum to copy negatives of photographs taken around 1920 on the farms operated by the Black family. The photo above shows a sheaf loader. The handling of sheaves was a large enough problem that a number of pieces of equipment were developed to ease

A member of the Black family with a grain wagon. They owned various farms in the Brandon and Douglas areas, and it’s difficult to determine the trip that the wagon was undertaking that required two teams. The hauls into the elevators in Douglas and Brandon involved only three- to four-mile journeys, so perhaps a longer haul up to an elevator on the CNR main line north of Douglas was being undertaken.

Farm machinery of the past

Grain wagons had to be strong enough to travel the rough Prairie trails

Bruce Black of the Bran­don area has allowed the Manitoba Agricultural Museum to copy negatives of photographs taken around 1920 on the farms operated by the Black family. This photo shows a grain wagon with tandem teams hitched to it with the evener for the lead team directly hooked on the tip of the wagon