Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):
As an eastern member of parliament it was my privilege to make my first visit to the west this past season. Although I have heard this matter discussed on many occasions, it was the first occasion I had of seeing the destruction which the grasshopper can do. For the first time I saw the tremendous destruction that had been wrought on the wheat crops throughout the west, especially around Regina and in certain other sections of Saskatchewan. This small insect cuts off the head of the wheat just where it buds out; the head falls to the ground, and as there is no way of harvesting it, it is a complete loss.
My observations of the farming operations in western Canada lead me to the conclusion that possibly our friends in the west are trying to cultivate too many acres. If they confined their activities to a smaller acreage they might be able to control the situation much better. From my conversations with farmers I was led to understand that if the poison was put out in time and properly placed, it was quite effective. I consider it is a very worthy work that is being done, but I think the surface has hardly been scratched, having regard to what might be done. We have had to face similar difficulties in the east in connection with the potato beetle. Our potatoes are prohibited from entering the English market because of that pest. However, this has been controlled to such an extent that they are no longer considered a menace. We spray for blight and include in the spray a small amount of poison which controls the beetle situation.
Perhaps I may be permitted to suggest to our friends in the west that there is enough wheat wasted on every farm
this applies especially to those with which I came in contact-to keep two or three families in the east. Many farmers in the west apparently have launched out on an elaborate farming operation. On many of the farms I visited I noticed a lot of discarded machinery which may have cost more than the whole farm was worth. I do not know how this situation can be remedied, but my first impression was that they were endeavouring to farm on too large a scale and were spending too much money in purchasing up to date machinery. They were wasting much of the crop that should have been harvested. Could the minister tell me how many are employed in the entomology branch at Fredericton?
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE