Solway stock farm, and “Treatment of Stubbles for Wheat Growing”

Our History: April 1892

The cover of the April 1892 issue of the Nor-West Farmer and Miller featured an illustration of the Solway stock farm near Shoal Lake.

“The proprietor, Mr. John Tizard, owns land in the vicinity to the extent of 3,200 acres. His land skirts the lake for 11 miles, and is peculiarly well adapted for grazing and hay culture. The pampas grass grows here to the height of six or seven feet and is excellent food. There are on the farm about 160 grade cattle, a herd of pedigree Shorthorns, a herd of pedigree Polled Angus, a flock of 160 Shropshire and Lincoln sheep, 35 Berkshire and Suffolk pigs and 14 horses.”

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The issue contained a prize essay by D.F. Wilson of Brandon on “Treatment of Stubbles for Wheat Growing.” Mr. Wilson was an early skeptic about excessive plowing and recommended surface cultivation, following the drill with the harrow to take care of early-germinating weeds. He also warned against burning stubble, “which shelters the soil from wind.”

However, a rather shorter essay from Mr. James Downie of Wawanesa had this simple prescription:

  1. Burn stubble off if possible.
  2. Plow about five inches deep.
  3. Give two strokes of the harrows.
  4. Roll with a heavy roller.
  5. One stroke of harrow after roller.
  6. Seed in spring with drill seeder.
  7. One stroke of harrows after seeder.
  8. After wheat is up, should many weeds show up, give another stroke of light harrows.

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