Marquis Wheat

A hybrid strain developed in response to the difficulties of growing wheat on the Canadian prairies. Beginning in 1892, Charles Saunders of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa experimented with various crossbreeds. The most promising was a cross of Red Fife and Hard Red Calcutta wheat from India, dubbed Marquis wheat. Field trials in Indian Head and Brandon proved that Marquis wheat yielded a remarkable 42 bushels per acre, 10% greater than Red Fife, demonstrated excellent colour and baking strength, and ripened six to ten days earlier. The development was timely, as increased immigration to the Prairies and the inflated demand for wheat during the Great War led to a dramatic increase in wheat production.

– J. E. Rea

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