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Some also tried to ship their wheat directly to Winnipeg and the Lakehead to circumvent the elevators, but by 1893 the C.P.R. refused to allocate cars for individual farmers. This was perceived as collusion between the elevators and railways" and by 1898 farmers in the Gretna area were making plans to build a farmers' elevator. This was completed in August of 1899, and prices in Gretna, at least for a time, were better than in all other centers in the area.
There were other reasons for the reduced wheat prices in Rhine land in the mid 1890's. The continued seeding of wheat over the years had depleted the land and the use of dirty seed grain caused problems with weeds and smut. 30 By 1893 the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, utiliz ing the influence of the C.P.R., farm implement firms, and loan companies, tried to coerce the Mennonites into using a higher quality of seed."
Weed infestation was also a persistent problem in the area, and as early as 1884 the R.M. of Rhineland passed a by-law stipulating that fields infested with weeds had to be summerfallowed. By 1894 the problem had become so alarming that government weed inspectors from Winnipeg came to the area to help the Mennonites fight the weeds. Adequate cultivators and the acceptance of summerfallowing eventually alleviated this problem in the 20th century. 32
Despite all these problems grain farming still proved to be profita ble and rising prices in the late 1890's led to further expansion. New farm technology was eagerly adopted by the Mennonites who were rapidly increasing their acreages.
Threshing crew on Derk Harder's farm east of Neuanlage in 1896. The owner of the outfit is Abram Penner of Gretna who left for Rosthern in 1898. H. H. Hamm (in the
white shirt) is standing in the foreground.