David Fife

David Fife, farmer, wheat breeder (b at Kincardine, Scot 1805; d near Peterborough, Ont 9 Jan 1877). Fife immigrated to Otonabee, Upper Canada, with his parents in 1820. In 1842 he planted seeds of WHEAT obtained by a friend in Scotland from Danzig [Gdansk, Poland].

David Fife

David Fife, farmer, wheat breeder (b at Kincardine, Scot 1805; d near Peterborough, Ont 9 Jan 1877). Fife immigrated to Otonabee, Upper Canada, with his parents in 1820. In 1842 he planted seeds of WHEAT obtained by a friend in Scotland from Danzig [Gdansk, Poland]. All but one plant perished over the winter and most of the survivor was eaten by a cow, but the remaining seeds, later identified as Galician, produced plants of better rust resistance, threshing quality, yield and flour than previously available. At first distributed locally, the strain was used widely after 1848, becoming the leader in Ontario by 1851 and virtually replacing all others there by 1860. The strain, eventually known as Red Fife, was also popular in the United States and was introduced into Manitoba about 1870, ranking as the leading variety there from 1882 to 1909. Red Fife served as the male parent of the MARQUIS strain, which proved more frost tolerant and even less susceptible to rusts, allowing wheat farming in Manitoba to spread farther west and north.