About the Feed and Pasture Notes project
In a time without the internet, farmers could not simply google best farming practices, neither could they access new experiments and research that helped improve productivity and manage livestock. Farmers often relied on advice from other farmers in the community as well as experimentation by trial and error. Still, agricultural advice literature and other published guides flourished in the nineteenth century, particularly in newspapers, pamphlets, and other published sources of information.
Agricultural advice was naturally very specific to each region’s environmental and market conditions. We needed to know how early farmers in Atlantic Canada were feeding their livestock, including the historical role of pasture, hay, and marsh grasses in addition to roots and grains. The region has abundant marshlands, but also very harsh winters. How did farmers use their local environment to keep livestock fed and sheltered, and how did those practices change with changing land use and the rising demand from urban markets? To answer these questions, we created the feed and pasture project to collect historical publications that were either produced by or available to Atlantic Canadian farmers on subject of livestock husbandry and feeding.
Often they were recommendations for farmers, but sometimes they were also notices of pasture competitions/prizes, or articles about a new development such as a new community pasture opening, a new feed mill, etc. The project documents a variety of sources that shed light on the changing developments and efficiencies in the region’s livestock farm systems.