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Three decades earlier saw major concern of high interest rates

Our History: March 1980

This Prasco SuperSeeder advertised in our March 20, 1980 issue was one of the early entrants in the air seeder market, but unfortunately the company later went into receivership.

High interest rates were a major concern, and we reported that Premier Sterling Lyon was concerned about the Bank of Canada’s new floating interest rate policy. The bank rate at the time was 14 per cent. High interest rates had discouraged farmers from early fertilizer bookings, and we reported concern about tight supplies and prices 10 to 20 per cent higher than a year earlier.

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CN Rail president Ron Lawless said he was encouraged by momentum to change the Crow Rate, but warned that buying more cars was not the solution to the grain transportation problem, and that improvements were needed in terminal facilities.

In our March 27 issue, we reported on the earliest-ever opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and that flooding was unlikely on the Red and Assiniboine rivers. This turned out to be a precursor for a hot and dry year — Manitoba average wheat yields that year dropped to 21 bushels per acre compared to a previous five-year average of 33.

A story from the U.K. said that the Agricultural Research Council was co-ordinating a $1.25-million-per-year program to make genetic engineering of plants a reality, “a project which would have been considered in the realm of science fiction only a few years ago.”

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