Crops price index falls for April: StatsCan

Prices farmers received for their commodities fell 1.7 per cent in April from the same month a year earlier, as the crops index fell, more than offsetting the growth in the total livestock and animal products index, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.

The total crops index (126.4) decreased by 15.2 per cent from April 2008, as prices were down for grains, oilseeds and specialty crops, the federal statistics agency said. After the crops index reached the recent high of 155.3 in June 2008, production increases that year partially replenished global stocks, contributing to the decline in the crops index.

On the other hand, the prices producers received for livestock and animal products in April were 12.3 per cent higher compared with April 2008, continuing the growth in year-over-year prices since June 2008. Increases were recorded for all commodities except eggs, down 2.9 per cent from April 2008.

Higher cattle and hogs prices have been supported by a depreciating Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, lower input costs and reduced inventory. As of April 1, 2009, hogs on farm were estimated to be 11.9 million, down from 13 million in April 2008.

On a month-to-month basis, the total index (1997=100) increased from 118.1 in March to 118.4 in April.

The total crops index rose 1.7 per cent in April compared with the March index as oilseeds, fruits and vegetables (excluding potatoes) recorded increases.

In April, the overall livestock and animal products index stood at 111.4, down from the March level of 111.8. Decreases were recorded for all commodities except cattle, calves and eggs. The hogs index fell by two per cent, the first month-to-month decrease since November 2008. Hog producers exported 42.8 per cent fewer hogs in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Note: The growth rate of the total Farm Product Price Index (FPPI) is not a weighted average of the growth rates of its crop and livestock components. The growth rate of the total FPPI is derived from a weighted average of the component indices using a different set of weights in consecutive months. Given this, the growth rate of the composite FPPI can lie outside the growth rate of the components.

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