Farm cash receipts above curve in 2010: StatsCan

Farm cash receipts received by Canadian farmers totalled $43.8 billion in 2010, down 1.7 per cent from a year earlier, but 6.7 per cent above the previous five-year average, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.

Farm cash receipts, which include crop and livestock revenues plus program payments, fell in all provinces except Ontario (up 3.5 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (up 3.1 per cent) and Nova Scotia (up 2.9 per cent), the federal statistics agency said. The largest declines occurred in Alberta (down 5.9 per cent) and Quebec (down 3.9 per cent).

Market receipts, which include revenue from the sale of crops and livestock, but exclude program payments, amounted to $40.7 billion in 2010, down 1.5 per cent from 2009.

Crop receipts declined 6.3 per cent to $21.9 billion in 2010, their lowest level since 2007, while livestock receipts increased 4.7 per cent to $18.8 billion.

Receipts from wheat including durum declined 36.6 per cent, as prices decreased by 29.3 per cent and marketings fell by 10.3 per cent. The 2010 weighted average price for most grains and oilseeds fell for the second consecutive year, despite price increases since late last summer.

Farm cash receipts for potatoes fell 11.2 per cent from their peak in 2009 to $1 billion in 2010, as both production and prices retreated.

Newfoundland and Labrador (up 8.7 per cent), Ontario (up 6.1 per cent) and Nova Scotia (up 4.4 per cent) reported increases in crop receipts. All three reported strong increases in cash receipts for horticultural crops. Farmers in Ontario also reported a 12.7 per cent increase in corn receipts.

Cattle, hog prices up

Livestock receipts increased, largely the result of higher cattle and hog prices. All provinces reported increases except British Columbia, where receipts fell 2.2 per cent as a result of lower cattle and chicken receipts.

Hog receipts rose 15.7 per cent to $3.3 billion, as prices rose 19.3 per cent to their highest level since 2005. However, marketings fell three per cent to their lowest level since 2002. At the end of 2010, there were 5.6 per cent fewer hog farms in Canada than at the end of 2009. Some contributing factors to the reduction were the federal cull breeding swine program, U.S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL) legislation and poor market returns.

Cattle and calf receipts were up 5.4 per cent, mainly as a result of a 5.1 per cent increase in prices. Ample feed grain supplies, the strength of the Canadian dollar in relation to the U.S. dollar, and the affects of U.S. COOL regulations have encouraged the finishing of beef cattle in Canada rather than exporting them to the U.S. for finishing.

Receipts from supply-managed commodities (dairy, poultry and eggs), which make up more than 43 per cent of total livestock receipts, edged down 0.1 per cent. A 3.8 per cent decline in poultry receipts more than offset increases from dairy (up 0.7 per cent) and eggs (up 7.2 per cent).

Program payments declined 4.5 per cent to $3.1 billion. The major contributor to the decline was the drop in provincial program payments in Quebec. Higher crop insurance payments, particularly in Saskatchewan, cushioned the decrease.

Note: All data are in current dollars. 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 2010 will be available in May 2011.

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