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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 8 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, August 6, 1974 grasshoppers and plant disease. PURPLE SPRINGS What started out in 1950 as a self help project for Jack and Scott Kinniburgh has turned into Southern Alberta's largest commercial crop spraying venture. The brothers now head up an operation which features- about 12 aircraft in the farm airport. At one time this total included eight crop spraying planes but Scott, who is in charge of this end of the Kinniburgh business, now heads four pilots and four spray planes. Jack is mainly involved with a charter air service and is the chief engineer in charge of maintenance and mechanic work done on the farm. Looking back to 1950, Scott remembers the first se- cond hand craft they bought to do their own crop spraying "because we were tired of driving a tractor around the field." It was a single engine plane that had been designed to be a military spotter plane for the United States government. Because they couldn't fly slow enough, the planes were returned to the factory and converted into spray planes. After finishing their own fields, the Kinniburghs then started spraying crops for neighbors and business got so good they had to take Out a commercial licence to do the work. The best of the planes being used today are two Gruman Ag Cat crafts, specially designed for agricultural field work. These units feature a single 600 horse power engine similar to the ones used on Harvard training planes of the Second World War era. And there is little limit to what the firm can handle in the way of spraying crops. "Anything in the way of a pest or weed or plant disease that they have a chemical for. we have done." the brothers say. Story by RIG SWIHART; photogr The chemicals used include all types of insecticides (for insect control such as herbicides (for control of weeds) and fungicides (for control of plant disease such as blight in "We even fought a few fires with the said Scott. "We won some and lost some." The base for the Kinniburgh Spray Service is on the home farm. It is fully radio equipped, connected to both planes and trucks used to guide the pilots. The focal point at the base is a large tank surrounded by smaller tanks, hundreds of barrels and boxes and numerous cans. This is the supply centre for chemicals used to fight any one of a hundred problems faced an- nually by farmers in the south. Scott uses water and stove fuel as a carrying agent for the chemicals. These are used to distribute the chemicals to all parts of the field. All chemicals are mixed at the single site. Every day is different, said Scott. The lifeline of the business is the telephone. And the customer is always right, within reason. The farmer can specify the chemical needed to treat for his problem or he can ask advice. With all the chemicals on the market now. it is almost impossible to keep up with the latest, said Scott. But the Kinniburghs try, attending several seminars and special schools in Canada and the United States as time permits. The firm likes to operate on package deals they handle all the arrangements, supply the chemicals and plane and the customer simply pays the bill. But if a customer has the chemical and wants the firm to apply it, there is no question asked. Because ail their work isn't near the farm, portable chemical units are available to go to the work. These ;