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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 27, 1909, Lethbridge, Alberta Section 4 Lethbridge Herald Special Publicity Number 8 Pages I RDI IT niQTP IPT ITS AGRICULTURAL RESOUF Lt-1 rlDlxlLHjH 1IV1V-, 1, BEING RAPIDLY DEVELOPED RESOURCES ARE By W. H. Fairf ield, Director Of Dominion Government Experimental Farm, Lethbridge G was the leading occupation of Southern Alberta long time. Just how long we have no ac- curate means of ascertaining; sinoe the annals of the Red Man who rode after the vast unbranded herds are not obtainable and unless some musty scholar delving amon" prehistoric bones shall discover the oldest falo, we shall never know. Meantime we are perfectly sale in it some years later that the white man discovered that good fodder and chiuooks combined to make an ground. winter as well as summer, for cattle as well as bufiaio. Then followed the day of the Cattle King, the cowboy and the ereat round-up. They were good times, spiced with adventure and romance, but their day is over. Everywhere they are met with the menace of the barbed wire fence, and the cattle man of yesterday is becoming the farmer of today. i M. i x Ai i A A -L Tf the railway that brought the settler and his barbed capital to such an extent in the last ten years or so as sugar beet wire and this first in the form of the narrow guage from Dunmore1 to Lethbridge in 1885, followed closely by the line connecting Lethbridge with Great Falls, Montana. Without tn.ese lines the ,mi settler could not have come, but something more was needed to be congenial turn the tide of immigration in this direction. VV e have been tortunate in the com.bmation. that exists in this I district. The juice of the beet as grown here is very rich in The Gait Company- sugar and has a high co-efficient.of purity. The history of the agricultural development of the country. The Knight Sugar Factory has been running successfully from that of its' commercial development, is closely allied to that start, using the product of about acres last year. This Gait Company. i 'IK- however, only a fraction of the maximum .capacity of the plant. Alfalfa on non-irriated land produce more hay than any other cultivated forage crop yet tried, so it need not be confined to the former any more than winter wheat growing need be con- fined to the latter. It must not be supposed that the products of Southern Alberta are confined .to these two crops. In fact, space forbids anything like a detailed description of farming crops. There are a few, however, that even the most cursory glance at the resources of the country must include. Among the first of these comes the raising of Sugar Beets As has been mentioned, Raymond, was one of the towns that sprung up under the new canal system about 1901. In 1902 a sugar, beet factory was built there by the Knight Sugar Company. There have been few lines of industry that have interested raising, and with many successes there have also been numerous failures, owir.g- in the main to unfortunate locations: for in order to make sugar beet raising profitable, both soil and climate, must Fruit Crowing The possibilities of growing both large and small fruits are of the Gait Cornpan. 1 Although the railways built for an outlet to their coal incidentally opened the "country to settlement, the necessity of, disposing of their large land holdings suggested another undertak-f inff of even more direct effect upon its history. This was. ot probably greater m Southern Alberta, than in any other part-of course, the inauguration of the Gait Canal System. the Province. Small fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries. The first water reached Lethbridge through the Gait Canal currants and gooseberries are already grown in commercial quan- in September of 1900- and the first farming was done under the tities by a number of farmers in the vicinity of Lethbridge. ditch the following year, southeast of the town. A rather limited amount was put on Sherlock, W. A. Hamilton, W. H. Robson. R. P. on the canal, for which they paid partly in the form of and script R T WMtn H p and Qtners icked Successive settlements were made at Magrath and Stirling from tlieir own trees. practicaUy all the trees in the dis- and Raymond trict that were old enough to bear, had fruit. Although it was the promise of the irrigation canal that first tempted most of these settlers, accustomed as they were to this mode of farming, there was considerable farming done before water was crops for the first two or three seasons after the settlement of Magrath and Stirling being very fine and thus giving the-practice of "dry" farming great encouragement. Consequently, while the irrigation system was the direct means of drawing people to the country, it was soon discovered thattwo methods of farming were possible. The results of most of these early experiments in farming were varied and uncertain, due mainly to improper forms of cultivation. There was no doubt about the fertility of the soil, but crops that were grown successfully elsewhere did not always thrive under the same treatment, though really phenomenal yields at times showed the possibilities of the soil under proper conditions. Still, Tintil a really reliable crop could be discovered, farming was too much of a gamble. Fortunately such a discovery was not long delayed. Winter Wheat A soft variety of winter wheat called Odessa had been intro- duced by the Mormons who settled about Cardston, and had been raised with uniform success, but it remained for E. E. Thompson of Spring Coulee, now of-High River, to import a variety very much better in quality which has had an immense effect on the country's development. It was from the car load of Turkey Red which Mr Thompson shipped from Nebraska in 1902 that the now famous Alberta Red originated, and it was really introduction of this variety that showed the wonderful possibilities of winter wheat in Southern Alberta. For, notwithstanding the drying winds and little snow, it has been established that this section is peculiarly adapted to the raising of this grain. There is nothing miraculous about this. There is, one the contrary, a perfectly simple explanation, namely, that winter wheat sown in August actually gets the moisture of two seasons for the land is summer-fallowed the first season. Given this, with the unusual fertility of the soil, and the results are no longer surprising. Winter wheat growing has passed beyond the experimental stage, as is shown by the last season's crop returns, where yields of from 50 bushels up to 63 bushels per acre are reported ty some of the best farmers. The district produced over bushels last season and with the present acreage in, it is reasonable to suppose that the output will be much greater next year. The fact that the eight elevators that have sprung up on the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company's lines within the last three or four years are taxed to the utmost to handle the crop, tells the same story; as do the flour mills at Magrath. Raymond and Cardston and the two at Lethbridge. Alfalfa Winter wheat has developed the country very rapidly, but another phase of agricultural development whose growth, while slower, will be no less a permanent asset, is alfalfa raising. Although the Mormons had tried, ever since their first coming to raise Alfalfa (or which had been one of the principal crops in the locality from which they emigrated they were not successful. It was not till irrigation water was obtainable and it was discovered that inoculation was necessary on the ground on which it was sown, that Alfalfa growing was made a success. Now the district boasts some fine fields of Alfalfa, including, within three miles of Lethbridge, the largest single field of Alfalfa in Western Canada, this side of the 200 acres, on which for several seasons two and three cuttings of hay have been made. Thus two outstanding crops, illustrating two distinct methods of and both extremely profitable, have been found adapted to the district. Each has its advantages wheat raising on non-irrigated land and the raising of Alfalfa on irrigated land. Dry land can be bought cheaper and with the use of winter wheat quicker returns can be obtained. On the other hand, while it takes two or three years to get Alfalfa started, once established it brings in a constant and large income with comparatively little expenditure of time and labor, since no plowing is necessary. In the writer's opinion, judging by older districts similarly situated, the irrigable land will be seeded down so rapidly that in a few years 65 to 70 per cent, of such land will be so handled, which will make this district one of the largest feeding grounds in Western Canada. Although grown with relatively more profit on irrigated land, STEAM PLOUGH AT WORK TURNING FIRST SOD ON PRAIRIE. HARVESTING AND SEEDING IN THE SAME FIELD ON A FARM NEAR CITY OF LETHBRIDGE. THE HEIGHT TO WHICH GRAIN GROWS IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA. A FIELD OF OATI. YIELD FROM 75 TO BUSHELS PER ACRE IN THIS COUNTRY. X ;