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grown than in 1939.22 With corn production increasing producers were faced with the problem of shelling, drying and marketing the grain. In order to solve these problems, area farmers organized the Southern Manitoba Corn Co-op Association in 1941 and shelling and cleaning plants were built at Altona, Winkler and Homdean." Unfortunately, corn did not continue long as a viable crop in the 1940's, as early frosts in 1942 and a number of wet years cut into corn acreage. 23 As a result the corn marketing co-op discontinued its operation in 1944.

More acreage also began to be devoted to sugar beets during the early forties but labour shortages precluded any expansion until after the war and the advent of mechanical harvesting. The most important change in Agricultural production in Rhineland, however, was in oil seed crops. Prior to the war Canada had imported most of its vegetable oil needs, but the war had led to a shortage of vegetable oils as imports were cut off. Concerned with the situation and seeking an alternative to wheat, the Federal Government began to encourage the production of domestic oil seed crops such as flax, soy beans, rapeseed and sun­ flowers, offering attractive support prices and freight subsidies to ship the raw seeds to processing plants in eastern Canada. 25

Fig. 27 Field Crops in Rhineland 1941-1946 (in Acres)
Field Root
Crops Wheat Barley Oats Rye Flax Fodder Crop Other
1936 170988 89820 29423 29585 4722 1626 13819 301 1692
1941 176648 59290 37861 25725 5321 5838 6939 1803 33871
1946 162495 59395 38821 27738 377 10162 6013 2551 17438

Source: Census of Canada

Eager to grow additional cash crops, farmers in Rhineland began growing more flax and experimented with soy beans. But it was sun­ flowers that made the most drastic impact on the area. Not only were sunflowers well suited to intertillage allowing the farmer to keep the land free of weeds, but the crop also was in accord with the local crop rotations. Since it was late maturing it did not interfere with the harvest­ ing of grain or sugar beets and it gave area farmers a third cash crop. Having grown sunflowers in Russia, Mennonites were also well ac­ quainted with the crop." By 1943 southern Manitoba farmers were planting 5,000 acres of sunflowers and had formed a co-operative to handle the marketing. 26

The first few sunflower crops produced in the area were shipped to a soybean crushing plant in Hamilton for processing and growers were aided by the government freight subsidy. This soon proved bothersome as there were technical problems adapting to the different crushing requirements and farmers realized that as soon as government shipping subsidies were removed after the war, the crop would be uneconomical