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The Belarus advantage

Our History: October 1985

A range of 16 Soviet-built Belarus tractors ranging from 25 to 260 hp was on offer in this ad in our Oct. 3, 1985 issue. Prices ranged from $7,581 to $70,326 ($16,834 to $151,984 in 2019 dollars) with discounts offered for cash.

Stories from that issue tell of tough times for farmers that year. A crop report said frost and snow continued to slow harvest. Fields in the Portage, Beausejour and Interlake areas had received another one-half to one inch of rain the previous week, and fields were too wet to work. Only 20 per cent of the crop was off in the Franklin, Minnedosa and Erickson area. Most wheat was grading 3 CW and some canola had been downgraded to 2 CR. This was the second year in a row for poor crops — another story that issue said grain companies were reporting results for the previous crop year, with handles down as much as 25 per cent.

A Farm Credit Canada survey said farmland prices in 1985 had fallen another eight per cent from 1984. A 3,000-acre grain farm near Miami had reportedly sold recently for half its 1980 value. As of July 31, 200 Manitoba farms had been repossessed or were in process of repossession by FCC. The only positive news was there would be up to another $200 million in payments from the Western Grain Stabilization Administration, on top of the $450 million received earlier.

Another story said it was official — Canada had informed the U.S. that it was interested in entering discussions on a free trade agreement, with everything including agriculture on the table for discussion.

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