Agriculture

Last Updated on Friday, 28 June 2013 23:47
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A variety of field crops is grown in this municipality, providing many rotational options in cropping practices. Spring wheat, durum wheat and barley, traditionally widely grown, are presently of reduced importance as many other crops have proved profitable. A local farmer, Don Tait, was one of the earliest innovators to introduce green lentil production to the province. Today, several other types of lentils, peas and chickpeas are widely grown as the benefits of pulses in crop rotations are recognized. Many other types of hard and soft wheats, canary seed, flax, canola, mustard and a number of “specialty” crops have become important as farmers attempt to adapt to world markets and weather conditions.

Tillage practices have evolved dramatically from the heavy disc cultivation employed by the earliest farmers. Available moisture is the primary limiting factor facing production of field crops. In recognition of this, reduced tillage and direct seeding have for decades been commonly employed throughout the R.M. Relatively recent innovations in minimum and zero till equipment have made conservation tillage widely practiced. Many acres of farmland are disturbed only to blow seed and fertilizer into narrow slots sliced into the soil, which are then immediately squeezed shut to prevent moisture from escaping.

Cattle graze native and tame grass pastures located on lighter soils throughout the R.M. Fields of tame forages are harvested for winter animal feed. Mixed farms are common in locations adjacent to ranges of hills with native grass pasturage. No large intensive livestock enterprises exist within the R.M., but several farming operations include facilities for hogs, sheep, poultry and some exotic animals. Most cattle herds are cow/calf operations with only small numbers of animals fed to finish.