The distribution of agricultural land in south and central Manitoba is easily mapped using small-scale images that provide an overview. At a larger scale the patterns produced by various stages of harvesting provide some of the most distinctive images of southern Manitoba. Old photos record obsolete techniques, and newer images demonstrate techniques used to cope with high evaporation rates and limited precipitation (field shelterbelts and irrigation). As with natural vegetation, so too with crops, colour infrared photos are useful in detecting crop types and diseases.
14.13: Distribution of Farmland in the Little Saskatchewan Valley
The Little Saskatchewan River meanders from northwest to southeast across the area 1. The southwest side of the valley is heavily wooded 2 with generally flat Minnedosa “pothole” country to the south 3. The north wall of the Little Saskatchewan Valley has a deep unexplained embayment 4—surely the tiny, partly channelized 5 stream that drains to the Little Saskatchewan is too small to create something so large. The north valley wall is wooded 6, but it is less uniform than on the south wall. This is a result of the dry microclimate on the south-facing slopes. More woodland exists along the river channel 7.
On the pothole country to the southwest most of the land is cleared for agriculture, as is the floor of the valley away from the channel. Also a small terrace on the east wall of the valley has been cleared 8.
The absence of light-toned fields suggests that the photo was not taken at harvest time (in contrast to figures 14.7, 14.8, 14.9, 14.10, and 14.12). Fallow fields are generally dark-toned 9, but some fields that are not quite so dark 10 probably carry grain crops that are still green.
Some areas are subject to severe soil erosion, as for example along the edge of a low terrace north of the Little Saskatchewan where erosion has reached the gullying stage 11. Further east a small gully has been eroded 12 and the eroded material deposited in an alluvial fan 13. Further north several small channels can be seen in the fields 14. Although the erosion seems severe, it has been controlled because the area is still cropped, often with a combination of flax and canola resulting in a spectacular summer display of pale blue and yellow.[i]
PTH 10 between Brandon and Dauphin crosses the area from south to north 15. The varied nature of the topography makes it difficult to discern sections and quarter sections, but one quarter section can be seen in the northeast 16. A total of seven farmsteads can be seen 17.
Figure 14.13: Distribution of Farmland in the Little Saskatchewan Valley
Vertical air photograph: A16064-11
Flight height: 9,430 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.47 mm
Scale: 1:19,000 (approx.)
Date: July 10, 1956
Location: Township 16; Range 18 WI
Map sheets: 1:250,000 62J Neepawa
1:50,000 62J/5 Clanwilliam
[i] See Welsted, J., Everitt, J., and Stadel, C. eds. The Geography of Manitoba: Its Land and Its People. Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1996, plate 14.