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AGRICULTURE IN CANADA
AGRICULTUREINCANADABy C. C. JAMES
The typical Canadian farmer has no existence. There are Canadian farmers of several types, varying so widely in their farm-holdings, their methods of farming, and their results that a stranger would scarcely believe them to belong to one country. The maritime farmer, with his diked meadows reclaimed from the salt tidal waters of the Bay of Funday or Gulf of St. Lawrence, is one type; the French Canadian habitant of Quebec, often farming in the quaint methods of two centuries ago, is another type, distinct and interesting; the Ontario farmer, with his up-to-date methods and having the advantage of modern improvements in machinery, and methods of transportation, is a third type; the prairie farmer of Manitoba and the Northwest, full of enthusiasm and activity, who, within a year, turns the virgin prairie into a golden wheat field, is still another type. There are types intermediate between these, combining the peculiarities of two or more. Other types are rapidly being added, as from the four corners of the earth there come streaming into the great Northwest the tens of thousands of settlers from so many lands and with so many different inclinations. What the future of the agriculture of the Dominion will be, is a difficult question to answer, but it is safe to predict that probably for centuries to come agriculture will be what it has been almost from the first, the most important industry of Canada.
Capital invested in agriculture and manufacture.
At present, owing to the rapid expansion in the three prairie provinces, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, it is impossible to keep figures up to date. The only statistics for all of Canada are those of the Census Year 1901, some of which must necessarily represent 1900. From that report is compiled the following table. In this table "farms" include holdings of five acres and over; "lots" include holdings under five acres:
If a comparison is desired with any other country, it may be stated here that the total population of Canada in 1901 was 5,371,315.
The effect of expansion in Canadian agriculture is well shown in the production of the farms of Ontario. From the records of the Ontario Department of Agriculture, the following figures are taken:
Buildings and implements $257,389,257 263,031,628 268,435,138 276,812,500 286,472,741 299,489,455 311,625,343 323,987,694 333,014,060
Comparisons are frequently made with other industries, and it is a common desire on the part of students to compare or contrast the agriculture of a country with its manufactures. For those who are so inclined, the following statistics of the manufacturing industries of Canada are appended, for the same Census Year:
Manufactures of Canada, 1901.
Capital in real estate $96,644,827 Total capital $446,916,487
Capital in machinery 112,733,811 Value of raw materials 266,527,858
Working capital 237,537,849 Value of products 481,053,375
Those who compare these two great industries should avoid the mistake of making an unfair comparison by simply considering capital invested and value of finished products, for to a large extent the finished products of the farmer are the raw materials of the manufacturer. [Further interesting facts in this discussion may be found in the Census of Canada, 1901, Volume II; pp. xxxi, xxxii.]
The leading crops.
The growing of grass and grain have been, of course, the first agricultural operations in all of the provinces. The following table gives the acreage and yields of the three principal grain crops, wheat, oats, and barley, for the Census Year 1901:
It should be noted that 1900 was an "off year" in Manitoba crops.
The only provinces collecting and publishing annual statistics are Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories (in 1905, organized into the two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan). As indicating the changes taking place and bringing the figures more up to date, the provincial statistics are given:
Acres Bushels Acres Bushels Acres Bushels
Ontario (1904) 833,485 12,631,726 2,654,936 102,173,443 772,434 24,567,825
Manitoba (1904) . . . .2,412,235 39,162,458 943,574 36,289,979 361,004 11,177,970
N. W. Territories (1904) . 965,549 16,875,537 523,634 16,332,551 86,154 2,205.434
The following is the full statement of wheat production in Canada for 1905:
j Fall 796,213
| Spring 190,116
Manitoba Spring 2,643,588
Saskatchewan Spring 1,130,084
Alberta | Spring 75,353
A,Dena\ Fall 32,174
It will be seen from the above statements that the grain crops of Canada are grown mainly in Ontario, Manitoba, and the two new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
In Ontario, the country lying east of Toronto produces mainly spring-wheat, while that west of Toronto produces fall-wheat. All the wheat of Manitoba is spring-wheat. Most of that of the two new provinces is spring-wheat, but in southern Alberta a large area hitherto unknown as a grain-producing area, is now producing fall-wheat. The possibilities of Manitoba for wheat production are pretty well established; those of the two new provinces are the subject of much controversy. It is admitted that very extensive areas will be found available for producing the finest wheat of the world, but just how many million acres is a matter that time alone can determine.
Oats has been the great grain crop of Canada. Thus the Census of 1901 reports 5,367,655 acres producing 151,497,407 bushels, as compared with 4,224,542 acres of wheat producing 55,572,368 bushels. Ontario produces more than half the oat crop of Canada. While wheat-growing has of late steadily declined in Ontario, oat production has steadily increased. The crop is grown largely for stockfeeding, but the great increase in the production of breakfast foods has created an increased demand for this grain.
Three-fourths of the barley of Canada is grown in Ontario. Prior to 1890 large quantities were produced for export to the United States for malting purposes. The McKinley tariff closed the door and the barley crop dwindled to small proportions. Of recent years, however, the acreage has grown to its former size, and now this grain is extensively produced for feeding stock, for the production of bacon, beef and milk.
About ninety per cent of the peas of Canada is produced in Ontario, and mainly in western Ontario. The increase of the pea-weevil, of recent years, has caused a diminution in the area.
The great corn-fields of the central United States are unknown to Canada; yet nearly every farmer of Ontario grows some corn. In Essex and Kent counties of Ontario, large quantities of grain are grown for feeding and for distilleries, but the most common practice is to grow the grain to a condition approaching maturity and to preserve it in silos.
The student who desires to know more about the other crops of Canada is referred to Volume II of the Census of Canada for 1901, and also to the reports of the Departments of Agriculture for the different provinces. As already stated, statistics as to acreage and yields of the crops are published by the Departments for Ontario (Toronto), Manitoba (Winnipeg), Saskatchewan (Regina) and Alberta (Edmonton). The Yearbook of Canada, published annually by the Canadian Department of Agriculture (Ottawa), compiles these separate reports in a volume very valuable for reference.
A marked improvement in Canadian agriculture has followed as attention has been directed to the breeding and feeding of live-stock. The early French settlers of Quebec naturally introduced breeds of cattle and horses from France, and, as a consequence, in that province are found the hardy French Canadian horses of comparatively small size, generally called ponies, and a type of cattle akin to the dairy breeds of the Channel islands and the northern provinces of France. The large influx of British settlers to Upper Canada (Ontario), beginning after the close of the Napoleonic wars, gave the first impulse to the introduction of the pure-bred strains of England and Scotland. Ontario farming has been developed largely through the coming in of British settlers, who are naturally fond of live-stock. The province is well watered by rivers and streams that are frequent and swift-flowing. The geographic conformation is such as to give an abundance of clear water. The natural pasturage is abundant; the climate is stimulating. Nature and man have here united in favorable conditions for the breeding and care of stock. As a consequence, this province has become the great breeding-ground for pure-bred stock, horses, cattle, sheep and swine.
In horses, the Clyde and Shire take the lead, though of late years attention has been directed to the Hackney.
In cattle, the Shorthorn is more widely distributed than any other. In the eastern part of the province the Ayrshire fills a large place in dairying. Of late, Holstein blood is rapidly finding its way into the herds. The Devon ox of early days has disappeared in the march of progress. There have been, and still are, some Jersey herds of continental reputation. The Hereford is almost unknown. There are a few good breeding herds of Galloways and Aberdeen-Angus.
In sheep, the Shropshires are as widely distributed as are the Shorthorns among cattle. There are also breeders of Southdowns, Leicesters, Cotswold, Lincoln and Dorsets; the Merino has about disappeared.
In swine, the Yorkshire, Berkshire and Tamworth find favor in the order named. The heavy porkproducing breeds have about disappeared.
From Ontario thousands of farmers and their sons have gone to Manitoba and the Northwest to start farming life anew. As they have become established on the prairies they have begun the developing of herds and flocks based on importations from the older provinces.
The main features of the Canadian live-stock industry are the following: Ontario has become the greatest breeding center for a great variety of breeds in all Canada; in fact, taking all the breeds into consideration, it is probably the greatest breeding center of the continent. The pure-bred stock of Ontario is valued at $5,000,000; that of all Canada, $8,000,000. Excellent breeds are being established in other provinces, especially in Manitoba. Ranching is practiced mainly in the province of Alberta, though the increase of wheat-farming is in many cases causing a narrowing of the grazing country.
The growth of the live-stock industry of Ontario gives the key to the prosperity of that province. The following figures for Ontario are worth examining:
Valne of live- Tr.i„_ „i Value of live- „f
stock on .ToAaold »tock"n sT^ksoM
Ontario farms stock sold Ontario farms stock sold
1897 $93,649,804 $29,753,509 1901 $129,496,261 $46,592,103
1898 103,744,223 34,450,583 1902 140,544,814 53,083,396
1899 115,806,445 38,457,018 1903 154,327,267 59,330,931
1900 123,274,821 41,642,617 1904 163,383,103 60,095,412
The greatest development has taken place in the last eight or ten years in the production of hogs for bacon and hams by the Ontario farmer. The swine sales in 1897 amounted to $10,080,812; by steady yearly increase they became $22,665,164 in 1904. The ham and bacon production of other provinces, also, is increasing. The total exports of all Canada for 1897 amounted to $5,844,000, and in 1904, to $13,022,000.
The forming of cooperative cheese factories in New York state, fifty years ago, was followed by the farmers of Ontario and those of Quebec living near the New York and Vermont frontiers. For forty years there has been steady expansion until now the eastern townships of Quebec and large areas of Ontario are devoted mainly to the production of butter and cheese. Quebec butter and Ontario cheese have established a reputation for high quality. Following are the products of 1901:
Factory Creamery Dairy
cheese butter butter
Ontario $13,441,000 $1,528,000 $11,076,000
Quebec 7,958,000 4,917,000 3,671,000
Other provinces 822,000 796,000 6,322,000
Canada $22,221,000 $7,241,000 $21,069,000
The dairy industry has received especial assistance by the various departments of agriculture. New Brunswick has a dairy school at Sussex; Quebec one at St. Hyacinthe; Manitoba, one in Winnipeg; and Ontario has three,—at Guelph, Kingston, and Strathroy. The Dominion Department has an efficient dairy branch looking after transportation and markets and instruction in the new provinces. In the year 1905 the Ontario Department of Agriculture had thirty-four instructors working under two chief instructors. The steady improvement in the quality of butter and cheese and the rapid increase in the output of the factories and creameries is the result of a comprehensive and thorough system of organization in which government departments, dairy schools, instructors, makers and patrons heartily cooperate. Canada owes much of its expansion in wealth in the past ten years to the beef steer, the bacon hog, and the dairy cow.
The following statement of the production of beef, bacon and cheese in Ontario in the past few years shows how Ontario agriculture has been growing through the extension of the live-stock industry:
Beef Bacon Cheese Totalf
1897 $13,350,223 $10,080,812 $11,719,468 $35,150,503
1898 16,121,559 11,852,535 10,252,240 38,226,334
1899 17,303,426 14,157,394 12,120,887 43,581,707
1900 18,017,989 15,800,799 13,023,025 46,841,813
1901 20,286,963 17,548,490 12,269,073 50,104,526
1902 23,340,908 20,154,190 14,792,924 58,288,022
1903 25,867,963 22,532,862 17,203,233 65,604,058
1904 26,342,872 22,665,164 12,908,118 61,916,154
The drop in the value of cheese in 1904 was owing to the low market price, not to decrease in output. The largest yield in the history of cheese-making in Ontario was in 1903, when 165,306,573 pounds was the output; 1904 came next in order with 154,879,438 pounds, and 1902 third, with 146,805,776 pounds.
Fruit-growing in Canada flourishes in the extreme eastern and western provinces, and also in the central. Brief reference may be made to the industry, taking the provinces in order:
Nova Scotia agriculture is noted particularly for two products, potatoes and apples. Some of the finest and most productive apple orchards of Canada are to be found along the Annapolis valley. From early Acadian days, the fruit trees have flourished in this beautiful sheltered valley. Gradually the orchards have extended to adjacent counties and to other valleys. The Gravenstein is the apple that is grown here to greatest perfection.
In New Brunswick, apple-growing for commercial purposes is becoming an important factor of agriculture in recent years. The farmers of this province are beginning to take a share in the apple production of the maritime provinces.
In Quebec, apple-growing is mainly confined to the Island of Montreal and the counties south of the St. Lawrence, adjacent to Lake Champlain. Here is the original home of the Fameuse apple. For eighty years and more the Island of Montreal has been noted for its muskmelons. The Outremont melon of Montreal is to-day one of the most expensive melons to be found in the high-priced hotels and restaurants of New York, Boston and other cities.
In Ontario, with its variety of soil and climate, is found the greatest variety in fruit production. In studying the fruit-growing possibilities of Ontario, an acquaintance with its geographical situation is necessary. (See Fig. 27.) The old settled part is thrust down into the midst of the United States and lies in the great agricultural belt of the continent. Add to this a rolling surface giving sheltered valleys, very extensive shore-lines, and the modifying climatic influence of the Great Lakes, and there is explanation of the fact that the finest peaches and the hardiest apples are grown in fairly close proximity to each other. Apples grow everywhere, although the sections adjacent to the Great Lakes are the most productive. Pears for export are produced of best quality near the head of Lake Ontario. Plums are grown in greatest quantity on the south shore of Georgian bay and in the Niagara peninsula. Grapes, for commercial purposes, are found in the Niagara District and in the southwest in Essex county. Wine-making is practiced extensively in these sections. Peaches are grown in largest quantity in Lincoln county adjacent to Niagara, and in Essex county, along Lake Erie. The strip of ground lying along the western end of Lake Ontario is protected by a high bluff, the continuation of the Niagara Falls escarpment. This strip, varying in width, has been the most productive and, consequently, has the highest priced fruit land in Ontario. Small-fruits are widely distributed. The canning industry is expanding rapidly. For many years the Ontario fruit-grower and the canners sent their surplus product to England. The recent increase of population in Manitoba and the Northwest has now demanded a part of this trade, and, at present there are signs of a rapidly increasing trade in that direction.
Manitoba and the Northwest (Alberta and Saskatchewan) will not for many years, if ever, produce fruit to supply their home markets.
In British Columbia, the conditions closely resemble those in Oregon and Washington. The rich soil of the valleys and the mild Pacific coast climate give fruit-growing great advantages. The trees mature early and the fruit is large sized and well colored. The orchards are comparatively young, but already British Columbia apples and plums are finding their way to the markets of the prairies and the prospects are bright.
The great bulk of the fruit of Canada, however, is produced in Ontario, as the following table from the Census of 1901 will show:
Pears—bushels . . • 480,759
Plums —bushels 337,108
Apples constitute the main fruit exports of Canada, the quantity varying from one to two million barrels a year.
Every province has its fruit-growers' society, the reports of which may be consulted for further information. There is also a Fruit Branch of the Dominion Department of Agriculture (Ottawa), which is concerned with packing, shipping and marketing fruit.
The following table of the exports of Canadian agricultural products shows the rapid expansion that has taken place, especially in recent years. The Confederation of the Provinces was formed in 1867, and the figures, therefore, begin with 1868:
The above figures for animals and their products differ from the Trade and Navigation Returns because they do not include furs. The years in each case end on June 30, the close of the Canadian fiscal year.