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Crop, livestock receipts up in 2008: StatsCan

Market receipts for Canadian farmers from the sale of crops and livestock totalled $41.8 billion in 2008, up 14.2 per cent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada reported Monday.

When government program payments are included, total cash receipts for 2008 amounted to $45.9 billion, the federal statistics agency said.

Receipts for crop producers increased 25.6 per cent to $23 billion, mainly on higher prices, while livestock receipts rose 2.9 per cent to $18.8 billion in 2008.

Revenue from the two main cash crops increased in 2008. Receipts from wheat including durum were up 36.8 per cent, while receipts from canola were up 42.1 per cent. Stronger prices for grains and oilseeds, particularly for the first three quarters of 2008, were mostly responsible for the increase. Prices in the fourth quarter began to drop with declines ranging from four per cent for barley to 31.3 per cent for wheat, when compared with the average price for the first three quarters of 2008.

Increases in crop prices resulted from a tight world supply and strong demand. Although grain and oilseed prices climbed, so did the cost of their inputs. Fertilizer prices and diesel fuel prices rose 60 per cent and 37 per cent respectively during the first 11 months of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, according to the Industrial Product Price Index.

Cattle up, hogs down

In the livestock sector, revenue from cattle and calves increased 2.7 per cent in 2008, with lower prices and record marketings. A 5.5 per cent increase in the value of cattle and calf exports more than offset a 0.9 per cent drop in cattle and calf prices.

Farm cash receipts for hogs declined 3.3 per cent as the average price was two per cent below 2007 and marketings fell 1.3 per cent. While receipts from domestic hog slaughter increased 2.9 per cent in 2008, receipts from live hog exports dropped 27.5 per cent.

Higher grain prices resulted in higher feed costs for the livestock sector. Profits were also adversely affected in 2008 by a strong Canadian dollar and uncertainty over the country-of-origin labelling (COOL) law in the U.S. As the year advanced, the Canadian dollar weakened and cost-price relationships improved with the decline in grain prices.

The supply managed sector showed a 5.7 per cent increase in farm cash receipts as both prices and marketings rose for milk, poultry and eggs. Supply-managed commodities accounted for 44 per cent of total livestock receipts.

Program payments amounted to $4.1 billion in 2008, up 0.8 per cent from 2007.

Receipts rose in all 10 provinces in 2008. The largest increases occurred in Saskatchewan (up 23.3 per cent) and Alberta (up 15.2 per cent).

Food sales

Statistics Canada on Monday also released numbers on retail sales that show supermarket and booze sales in December 2008 up from the same month in 2007, but down from November 2008.

The report pegged supermarket retail sales in December 2008 at $5.86 billion, up 5.3 per cent from $5.57 billion in December 2007 but down 0.5 per cent from $5.89 billion in November 2008.

Retail sales at beer, wine and liquor stores in December 2008 were reported as $1.38 billion, up 1.5 per cent from December 2007 at $1.36 billion, but down 2.5 per cent from November 2008 at $1.41 billion.

Convenience stores and “specialty food” stores took a hit in December 2008 compared to both month-earlier and year-earlier numbers. Their sales for the month were $829 million, down 0.6 per cent from December 2007 at $835 million, and down two per cent from $846 million in November 2008.

— With files by Farm Business Communications staff.

Note: Farm cash receipts measures gross revenue for farm businesses. They do not represent their bottom line, as farmers have to pay their expenses and loans and cover depreciation. Preliminary information on net farm income for 2008 will be available in May 2009. Net farm income for 2007 was released on Nov. 24, 2008.

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