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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/527

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523
CANADIAN WHEAT

CANADIAN WHEAT
By Professor JOHN WADDELL

SCHOOL OF MINING, KINGSTON, CANADA

FOR twenty years the Canadian government has been carrying on experiments in wheat growing under the supervision of the director of the Experimental Farm at Ottawa, Dr. William Saunders.

The United States leads the world in the production of wheat; Canada's growth is only one ninth as large, her export to Great Britain during the years 1901-3 was slightly less than one fifth, though in 1905 it was somewhat more than one half. The year 1905 was very abnormal, however. The United States export to Britain was exceedingly low and was surpassed by those of Russia, Argentina and India. But Canada's growth of wheat, though much less, is greater in proportion to her population, and in view of the many millions to be fed in the United States, it seems natural that before long Canada will export a greater quantity than she. Considering the circumstances, this is as natural as that America's output of coal and trade in iron should be the greatest in the world.

But the greater part of the Canadian wheat area is north of the forty-ninth parallel of latitude and so Dr. Saunders has experimented in growing wheat as far north as possible. The climate in America is colder than at the corresponding latitude in Europe, and so far, at least, we have no records of wheat being grown in Canada as far north as in Russia, but a near approach has been made. Winnipeg's latitude is 50°, and wheat has been grown at Dunvegan on the Peace River, on a parallel of latitude 414 miles north of Winnipeg; at Fort Vermillion, farther down the Peace River, 591 miles by latitude north of Winnipeg, and at Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie, 818 miles north. The latitude of Fort Simpson is approximately sixty-two degrees or within five degrees of the Arctic circle. The length of the summer days compensates for a lower temperature, and the time of ripening of some of the earlier grains is practically the same as in Ottawa. At Fort Simpson 107 days were required as compared with 106 days in Ottawa, some sixteen degrees farther south. Sixteen degrees south of Ottawa is New Orleans. Among the first experiments were comparisons of different varieties of wheat and these experiments are still carried on continually. Some varieties, probably by far the greater number, are cultivated for a season or two only, because they prove to be worthless,