Southern Albertas Lethbridge area has long been
notorious for particularly strong winds and, thus, it is not surprising
that solutions for circumventing soil erosion were invented so early
Out of the problem of wind erosion, the Noble Blade Cultivator emerged.
Although the strain of pioneer life drew the latent resourcefulness out of
everyone, few individuals made such a significant contribution to
agriculture as Charles Noble.
For Noble, his land was not simply the means by which he was able to
sustain his life. He cared for its well-being deeply. His shock was
immense when, in 1916, he noticed the appearance of soil drifting in the
He had first experienced wind erosion 10 years earlier while living in
North Dakota. He, therefore, knew that if ignored for a time, it would
render land much less productive. One of the first Canadians to search for
a cure for soil drifting that would also be compatible with profitable
production, Noble began work in earnest to prevent such a disaster.
He took to planting a variety of winter rye imported from Michigan.
Sown in August, it had enough leaf coverage to protect the fields
against the winds in both autumn and spring. Proving the idea worked to
circumvent soil erosion, Noble sought to make the endeavor profitable.
Since the wheat market was more reliable than rye, he switched and
protected his land while making a profit on his winter crop. While this
was sufficient to maintain the soil for a number of years, Noble persisted
to seek a better solution.
By this time, other farmers in the community were interested in taking
measures to prevent wind erosion and another method of dealing with wind
erosion, strip farming, was gaining popularity. While strip farming was
helpful, Charles Noble pursued an even better solution. In 1936, while
visiting California, he created the
Noble Blade cultivator that provided a new method
of tillage, thus preserving the land from detrimental erosion.
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