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Experimental Farms

Experimental Farms

The wheat that was brought over to Canada from Europe by the settlers was not adapted to the climate of the Saskatchewan Prairies. The wheat varieties from Europe were used to having more time to grow than the Prairies’ climate allowed. Often the wheat wasn’t ready to harvest yet by the time the first frost hit, making the wheat only acceptable for animals to eat.

An illustrated experimental farm is shown with several small plots of plants growing and two people examining the plants.

Farmers and scientists used experimental farms to do research about agriculture.

The farmers were struggling so much to produce a good wheat crop that the Canadian government decided to create the Experimental Farm Station Act in 1886. The goal of the experimental farms was to find a variety of wheat that was better suited to growing on the Prairies. Farmers and scientists used research and plant breeding to produce better wheat varieties. 

Today, we call these types of farms ‘research farms’ and they have helped Canada make many advancements in agriculture over the last 135 years.

An illustrated wheat crop is shown, with a close-up of a sawfly bug on the side of a wheat sheaf.

Experimental farms discovered how to make a variety of wheat that was resistant to the sawfly bug.

An illustrated man is rubbing a wheat sheaf between his hands while standing next to a stook of wheat that is on an experimental farm.

Experimental farms help to provide farmers in the region with helpful knowledge and tips for growing crops.

Experimental farms were so important in discovering how to be successful in growing wheat on the Prairies.

These are photos of the different research that was done at the Indian Head Experimental Farm, which helped to support agriculture in Saskatchewan.