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Manitoba from the Air
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Field Patterns and Farming Activity East of Portage la Prairie

A combination of good soils, greater precipitation than the extreme southwest of the province, plus the availability of irrigation water both from surface and underground sources results in more intensive farming here than in the southwest.

The influence of the long lot system is clearly seen along the eastward-flowing Assiniboine River 1, particularly to the north. Here the system results in a series of narrow strips 2 running back from the river. Superimposed on these are very small fields 3 in which intensive farming of fruits—especially strawberries[i]—and vegetables occurs, often using irrigation water taken from the Assiniboine River.[ii] Also north of the river irrigation water is obtained from palaeochannels of the Assiniboine 4.

South of the river very small fields can be observed at several locations 5 suggesting intensive fruit or vegetable farming under irrigation, sometimes with the Assiniboine as source. However, during the early 1980s diversions of water into the Elm 6, La Salle 7, and Mill rivers (off photo to the northeast) were developed to stabilize stream flows.[iii] Small fields along the Elm River 8 and La Salle River 9 probably are given over to irrigated fruits and vegetables. Two Hutterite colonies can be seen, one on the La Salle River 10 and one on Scott Coulee 11 near the eastern edge of the photo.

In the south the influence of the DLS on field size and shape can be seen, but even here sections are divided into several fields 12, in marked contrast to the situation in figure 14.20 in the dry southwest. The correction line between townships 10 and 11 is indicated by road jogs 13. Although the land here is very flat, evidence of soil erosion can be seen in at least one location 14.


[i] Portage la Prairie claims to be the strawberry capital of Canada.

[ii] Sawatsky, T. “Irrigation in the Central Manitoba Irrigation Association Region” in Irrigation in Manitoba: Past, Present and Future. ed. J. Welsted. Brandon: Canadian Water Resources Association, 1998, 15.

[iii] Sawatsky, T. op. cit. 1998, 16.

Figure 14.24

Field Patterns and Farming Activity East of Portage la Prairie