Hot and dry Prairies sees wheat production down 6.8 million tonnes

Our History: August 1997

Hot and dry Prairies sees wheat production down 6.8 million tonnes

This ad on our Aug. 21, 1997 issue invited farmers to join a co-op to supply straw to the Isobord strawboard plant at Elie, which would open the following year. While the co-op was successful in attracting straw, and the product was reported to be of high quality, the plant struggled and was eventually taken over by Dow, which supplied the resin for the strawboard. Dow closed the plant in 2008.

The summer of 1997 was hot and dry across the Prairies — in August StatsCan estimated wheat production at 22 million tonnes, down 6.8 million from 1996. Disease was also a factor — leaf rust infestation was reported to be the worst in six years.

We reported that the Rogers Sugar plant in Winnipeg was to shut down Sept. 30, ending 57 years of sugar beet processing in Manitoba.

We reported that as of the close of the crop year, Manitoba Pool expected a strong profit, and that was confirmed in October when it reported a profit of $28.13 million, shattering the previous record of $19.2 million in 1979-80. Manitoba Pool merged with Alberta Pool the following year to become Agricore, which in turn merged with United Grain Growers in 2001.

Manitoba Pool had started as a group of locally owned elevator associations, but most were bought out by head office in the 1960s. However, one of the few holdouts was the Sperling association, and we reported that it had reached a new management agreement with N.M. Paterson. The elevator was later sold to Delmar Commodities, which operated it for several years. It was torn down this summer.

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