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


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

A Cockshutt ad from 1919 advertising the company’s car loader. Major companies such as Cockshutt as well as small manufacturers made portable elevators,
an indication of the size of the market for such machinery.

When loading a producer car was a lot more work

Loading 1,800 bushels within 24 hours meant several trips by horse and wagon at 100 bushels at a time

Producer cars were popular with farmers in the early days of the grain trade. They could receive better prices by avoiding elevation charges and having grain weighed by Board of Grain Commissioners employees. However, there were downsides. Producers had to have sufficient grain of one type and grade to load a car. While they could


One of the first ‘Fowler’ steel-framed boxcars purchased by the CPR. By the early 1900s, more powerful locomotives could haul longer trains, putting more stress on wooden cars. The CPR designed the Fowler cars in 1908 and by 1914 had ordered some 34,000 cars of this design. The CNR also purchased more than 30,000. They began to leave service in large numbers in the 1950s with the last car leaving in 1980. The number 127340 car in the photo was built in 1912 by the American Car and Foundry Company in Detroit, Michigan.

When you needed a hammer and nails to load a car

Until the 1970s, all grain was shipped in boxcars which needed a wooden door

Copies of photos donated by the Dickson and Henderson families of Boissevain have proven a treasure trove for the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. This photo depicts a portable elevator filling a CPR wooden boxcar, probably sometime in the 1930s. The man in the photo cannot be identified — it’s believed he is not a member of

This place is a sty

It may look like an unassuming haystack, but this pioneer photo reveals an early livestock shelter

Looking through photographs recently donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, the interpretation committee became interested in a photograph of a straw stack. This photo appears to be fairly old, probably pre-First World War so it was taken at a time when photos were expensive which led to the question, why would the photographer have taken