A “black year” for Canadian grain shipments

Our History: November 1974

You could lease this automatic telephone answering machine advertised for $28.30 per month ($131.47 in 2014 dollars) in our Nov. 28, 1974 issue.

The editorial that week talked about a “black year” for Canadian grain shipments. Our front page reported yet another strike, this time by grain inspectors. This followed strikes by Great Lakes vessel crew, St. Lawrence River pilots and then deck officers and marine mechanics.

This bad news was on top of a difficult year for production, unfortunately at a time of near-record prices. The year saw late seeding due to excess moisture, followed by drought and then a resumption of rain which sharply downgraded the harvest. That week we reported Statistics Canada’s estimate of a wheat crop of 522 million bushels (14.2 million tonnes) compared to 605 million bushels in 1973 and a 10-year average of 611 million bushels.

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newspaper image from 1983
red barn in the wintertime

Provincial agriculture ministers were calling for more control of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. Manitoba agriculture minister, Sam Uskiw said that unless they agreed to set up a national commission to enforce production quotas and prices, egg marketing would continue to be a haphazard enterprise. The chair of the Ontario Egg Marketing Board said that because of recent imports of 1.5 million dozen U.S. eggs, the board had been forced to cut prices to 14 cents a dozen under the cost of production.

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