Angus Mackay

Angus Mackay, prairie agriculturist (b near Pickering, UC 10 Jan 1841; d at Indian Head, Sask 10 June 1931). Mackay is reputedly the man who introduced "summer fallow," which some historians consider more important than any other discovery in allowing successful agriculture on the Canadian prairies. A farmer's son and a farmer, Mackay moved west at age 40 and took up virgin land at Indian Head. The prairie farmer's main problem is drought. Mackay appears to have discovered independently about 1885 that cultivating land and leaving it fallow for a year allows it to store moisture and yield a good crop the next year. In 1888 Mackay was appointed to create the first Dominion Experimental Farm in the Canadian West. He became the chief propagandist for summer fallow and a powerful influence in western agriculture.