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Experimental Farms

Experimental Farms

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Excerpt from Experimental Farms: Reports, 1897

While it must be admitted that conditions of climate and the general character of the season - which are beyond the control of the farmer are most important factors bearing on crop production, still there are many things which the farmer may do which will greatly increase the chances for abundant returns, provided the season is favourable. It is gratifying to know that during recent years more thought and attention has been given by farmers to their calling, that improvements have been manifest in the preparation of the soil, and the general management of the crops; the stores of fertility in the land have been more carefully husbanded, by a judicious rotation of crops; more attention has also been paid to the care of barn-yard manure, and greater efforts made to replace those elements in the soil, which repeated cropping has removed. The progress which has been made is encouraging; it has given Canadian farmers a reputation which it is most desirable should be maintained, and has, at the same time, aroused a spirit of inquiry in reference to agricultural affairs which promises well for the future. The enterprise and efforts towards improvement shown by our people have resulted in a greatly enlarged export trade to the mother country, particularly in animals and their products. Along these lines of farm work, co-operation and skill finds a large and remunerative field, and such exports can be carried on to an almost unlimited extent without depleting the soil in any material degree.

The scientific investigations which have been conducted at Ottawa have been of much value. Much work has been done in connection with injurious weeds in ascertaining the extent of their distribution and the best methods of checking the inroads of these vigorous invaders. Information has been given in response to many inquiries concerning injurious insects, and practical remedies for their subjugation suggested. Much interesting work ha 3 also been done in connection with bee-keeping. Useful work has also been accomplished in the chemical branch in determining the constituents of soils, and in giving suggestions as to the best methods by which they may be made more fertile. Further information has also been gained in reference to the results of the rotting of barn-yard manure under different conditions also in regard to the feeding value of forage crops, and on other kindred subjects.

Additional experience has been gained in connection with the feeding of poultry and their profitable management. Particulars of the results obtained will be found in the report of the Poultry Manager. Records of the rapid progress which has been made in connection with the Arboretum and Botanic Garden with particulars of the growth of the different species of timber trees comprising the forest belts are reported on by the Foreman of Forestry.

The experiments in cross-fertilizing have been successfully continued and a large number of new varieties produced, particularly of fruits which are likely to prove hardy on the North-west plains. The collection of fruits at Ottawa has also been enriched by the addition of many promising sorts.

The results of the practical tests which have been made in the feeding of steers, much cows and swine at the Central Experimental Farm have been widely disseminated, and the information thus given has served a useful purpose in advancing these important branches of agricultural industry. The experiments conducted at the Branch Experimental Farms in Manitoba and the North-west Territories, along similar lines, have been most useful to those engaged in stock raising in that country, and the introduction of the Awnless Brome Grass and the demonstrations which have been made of its hardiness and value for hay and pasture have laid the foundation for a great extension of the trade in cattle and dairy products in the North-west country.

The many tests which .
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