FARMING in Canada was the subject of a talk in Lockerbie recently.
Members of the town’s Rotary Club were entertained by Craig Connell of Wicketthorn Farms, London, Ontario
He explained that his formative years, were spent in Dumfries and Galloway, starting at Wicketthorn Farm in Kirkpatrick Fleming a farm of about 170 acres.
However, in 1981 Craig and wife Moira were attracted to Canada, moving to a farm of 250 acres situated on the very edge of the city of London, Ontario, which has a population of 540,000.
Craig said: “Shortly after we arrived in Canada, it experienced the financial problems that were experienced in the UK during the 1970s, however we stuck it out.
“Our acreage has gradually grown over the years, now farming just over 3000 acres in total, of which we own about 1200 acres. We have 700 head of dairy cattle and 2500 head of beef cattle. We milk 380 cows producing 12,000 litres of milk a day. We breed around 60 per cent of our own dairy cows and we aim to produce 12,000 litres of milk a day. The milk truck that comes in has a five-axel trailer and holds 44,000 litres of milk.
“In so far as the beef cattle are concerned, we aim to sell around 220 a month. We rear up to half we need from our own calves and buy in the rest.
“The main crops we grow are corn and maize. We grow 1600 acres of maize, 650 acres of corn silage and 350 acres of cob meal. Soya beans are also a big crop where we are, and we grow 300/400 acres. We combine them and sell the beans to a crushing plant where they take the oil and we buy the crushed soya bean back which we add to our feed.
“Where we are situated is very much a corn growing are with corn, maize, and soya beans etc. We have our own storage for feed and commodities with grain drying etc. We receive three 16 ton loads of feed a day and we have a central point where this is delivered and mixed as required.
“We have all our own equipment and machinery which we maintain ourselves.”
Describing the wide variety of wildlife in the area, he listed wild turkeys which were hunted into extinction at one stage, reintroduced and now thriving, as well as beaver, racoons, coyotes and weasels.
Craig added :”We have two donkeys which were great for keeping the coyotes away from the sheep. We have now done away with the sheep but kept the donkeys.
“We have a cabin in the bush just a short walk from the house, which is a great place to relax and entertain our friends. It also has a BBQ which adds to its attraction.
“In the bush there are a mass of maple trees which produce an abundance of great colours during the fall which comes at the beginning of October.”