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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/531

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527
CANADIAN WHEAT

of the most competent authorities in England and by Mr. Julicher, of Minneapolis, one of America's best known wheat experts.

Though only a few varieties have been specifically mentioned in this article because they have been most thoroughly investigated, yet many others show great promise, some of them maturing two weeks earlier than Bed Fife. These will probably prove valuable not only in northern latitudes, but also in cold and damp soils farther south. A variety that proves promising at one station is tested at the others and if it is satisfactory it is grown in plots larger than the experimental, and the very best grain is selected for further experiments.

Until within the last few years experiments on the milling properties and quality of flour of a new variety of wheat could not readily be carried out because small quantities of grain could not well be ground in ordinary flour mills, and several years were needed in order to grow a sufficient amount for testing, but now the use of a small experimental mill and of the necessary baking apparatus enables every new variety to be tested before it is distributed to farmers throughout the country. For experiments have not been confined to the Experimental Farms. After it has been found that a variety proves satisfactory on the small scale and in the special localities under the supervision of the government, the seed is sent out to all farmers applying for it. The first year 1,149 lots were sent out in this way; in 1906 over 45,000 samples, each of five pounds, carefully selected and done up in strong cotton bags. In order to provide this seed, large areas are set apart, chiefly at the stations in the northwest, whence the grain is sent to Ottawa for distribution. The very earliest sorts are sent out so far only to those places where there is good reason to hope that they will be of particular value.

Dr. Saunders calculates that even without including the far northern territories the Canadian northwest could supply not only sufficient wheat for a local population of thirty millions, but have left over three times as much as the total import of the British Isles. This is on the assumption that one fourth of the arable land is devoted to wheat. If the northern lands are made available by the cultivation of very early varieties of wheat it follows that the possibilities of Canada are immense.

Dr. Saunders's work is therefore of the greatest value to Canada and must have an influence on the rest of the world as well.