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‘Probably the most successful bull ever’

Our History: March 1892

The March 1892 issue of the Nor-West Farmer and Miller featured this artist’s rendering of a champion Shorthorn herd owned by Mr. W.S. Lister of Middlechurch. Each of the animals was described in detail. For example, the bull, Gravesend’s Heir II, was “got by the Cruikshank bull Gravesend, probably the most successful bull ever used at Kinellar and is out of Fanny B 26th, bred by James Bruce, of Burnside, Fochabers, Scotland.”

The practice of the day was to solicit essays from farmer readers on various themes, and the issue contained five on how to winter colts. The prize essay was from Jas. R. Cook of Birtle, and others were from R.S. Macbeth of Oak Lake, W.M. Champion of Reaburn, T.M. Percival of Brandon and A. Ross of Dugald.

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With seeding approaching, the issue carried an article on the importance of good seed preparation to avoid smut, which had caused “immense damage” to the 1891 crop. The Winnipeg Grain and Produce Exchange considered it “of the utmost importance that the subject of smut be brought to the attention of every grain grower in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.”

The article said, “The principal cause of the evil is the sowing of frosted and other poor seed, and the failure to treat apparently good seed for smut before sowing.”

For avoiding frosted seed, a meeting of the Portage la Prairie farmers’ institute heard a discussion on “smudging” — the lighting of smoky fires — as a means to protect crops from frost in the fall. Views were mixed on its effectiveness.

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