Murray McConnell was one of the first to grow canola
Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) is pleased to present Murray McConnell with the Canola Award of Excellence for 2018. McConnell, 85, was one of the first to grow a test plot of the newly developed canola in the 1970s.
McConnell farms near Teulon, Manitoba, only about 40 kilometres from where Baldur Stefansson, one of the fathers of modern canola, lived. The McConnell family had been in the seed business since 1938, so it was natural for Stefansson to reach out with his new project.
“We received canola breeder seed from Stefansson to grow in a seed plot,” McConnell said. “I still have the letter he had sent with the seed and for that reason, I believe that we were one of the earliest seed producers to grow it.”
While McConnell doesn’t recall exactly how that first crop fared, he does remember the amount of work that went into the project.
“We were doing a lot of field testing at that point and I can’t forget the amount of roguing that was required,” he said. “At one point, the Department of Agriculture sent out a dozen people who were learning to be inspectors. They rogued and rogued and I don’t think those boys ever worked harder!”
McConnell continues to farm just under 800 acres in a rotation of canola and wheat. But the McConnell family’s agricultural roots reach back more than a century.
“My father received some seed barley in 1938 through his sister Edna McConnell, who was attending the University of Saskatoon to obtain her agriculture degree,” he said. (Edna eventually became the first female agricultural representative in Canada.) That barley propelled the family into the seed business, which McConnell ran into the early 2000s.
Source : Manitoba Canola Growers