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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/529

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525
CANADIAN WHEAT

the early wheats imported and thus an altitude of eleven thousand feet in a latitude of twenty-five or thirty degrees offsets a northern latitude of sixty or sixty-five degrees at a low level.

New varieties have been obtained by selection and cultivation of natural variations, but a new era was begun on July 19, 1888, when the first experiments were undertaken in the cross-breeding of wheat on the Experimental Farm, and since that time several hundred new sorts have been produced and tested. None of the imported varieties which mature earlier than Red Fife were found to equal it in quality, and in originating the new productions by cross-fertilization Red Fife has in the majority of cases been one of the parents. Ladoga is about a week earlier than Red Fife and is fairly productive, and numerous crosses were made between the two. The most promising of the offspring were carefully cultivated and subjected to rigid inspection, all less desirable sorts being promptly discarded, and the better ones multiplied till seed was obtained for large plots. Of the progeny from this cross, perhaps the most satisfactory and promising are the Preston, a bearded variety, and the Stanley, beardless. These varieties are twin. They originated from one kernel. The heads produced the first season from this kernel were all bearded, but when the seeds from these heads were sown the year following, some plants produced bearded heads and some beardless, and afterwards each variation was cultivated until the type became fixed. The Stanley is from four to six days earlier than Red Fife, is equal to it in milling structure, appearance and strength, but a nine years' comparison shows that on the average it is less productive, its yield being 32 bushels, 2 pounds, against 33 bushels, 7 pounds, in the case of Red Fife. The Preston is as early as the Stanley, is more productive than Red Fife, but is of a slightly lower grade, worth in the London Corn Exchange about three quarters of a cent per bushel less. The value per acre is higher than in the case of Stanley or Red Fife.

Ladoga has also been crossed with White Fife, a variety slightly more productive than Red Fife. The most valuable of the progeny are Huron, which is bearded, is early and is slightly more productive than Red Fife; and Percy, also early, equal to Red Fife in quality, but even less productive than Stanley, yielding as a nine years' average about one hundred pounds less wheat per acre than the standard Red Fife.

Neither Gehun nor Onega is very productive, but, as before stated, they are both early and of their progeny Early Riga ripens eight or nine days earlier than Red Fife. Its productiveness is more than two bushels per acre lower than Red Fife, but its content of gluten—the most important constituent of wheat—is higher. I quote Dr. Saunders's words: