Some farmers were trying to beat the 100-bushel-per-acre canola challenge last year, but in June 1976 the goal was to beat the 30-bushel mark in Elanco’s Rapeyield 30 contest. The winner that year was 43 bushels.
Our June 17 front page reported on a “major discovery” at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Lethbridge. Two scientists had “genetically altered” two varieties of wheat — Cadet and Rescue — and found that the resulting cross could support nitrogen-fixing bacteria around its roots. However, they said it remained to be seen how much nitrogen could be produced.
Wheat prices in 1976 were still approaching record highs in the aftermath of the 1972 “Great Grain Robbery” by the Soviet Union, and there were concerns about short supplies. We reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had again lowered its forecast for winter wheat production after a recent frost. Another story said the Soviet grain crop was in trouble again and could fall 20 million tonnes short of target. The U.S. and Soviets had signed an agreement limiting annual wheat sales to eight million tonnes and a U.S. congressman called for government restraint in selling more until crop conditions were certain. His concern was that too many sales could increase wheat prices for U.S. consumers.
There was concern about high food prices in Canada, and the Anti-Inflation Board said the national food price index was down 2.4 per cent since the inception of a federal control program introduced the previous October.