Moseph McMurachy of McConnell, Manitoba was born in York County, Ontario in 1878 and came with his parents to the Shoal Lake district four years later. Mr. McMurachy was responsible for developing wheat which was resistant to the rust disease 15B. This wheat was later crossed with Exchange and Redman varieties and provided the rust-resistancy in the famous Selkirk variety.
In 1930 Mr. McMurachy had found two heads of rust-free wheat while harvesting his farm in Strathclair. He sowed the seeds of these plants, and by 1935 he had developed six acres. During that year a stem rust epidemic wiped out most of the fields in the Strathclair district, while Mr. McMurachy’s six acres stood almost untouched.
In that year he supplied seed from the new wheat to the cereal division of the Federal Department of Agriculture, to the Brandon Experimental Farm and to the Winnipeg Cereal Breeding Laboratory. By crossing these samples with other varieties, the Selkirk variety evolved. By the end of 1953, 150,000 bushels of clean Selkirk seed had been produced by the Department of Agriculture. Mr. McMurachy’s discovery and Selkirk wheat saved millions of bushels of grain from the rust scourge.
In 1954, a monetary award was made to Mr. McMurachy by the Government of Canada in recognition of the contribution of his rust-resistant selection to the breeding of rust-resistant wheat varieties.