Farm cash receipts slipping: StatsCan

Canadian farmers’ cash receipts over the first nine months of 2009 have dropped 4.2 per cent from the year-earlier period to $32.8 billion, Statistics Canada reports.

Farm cash receipts include gross crop and livestock revenues plus program payments. Market receipts from the sale of crops and livestock amounted to $30.3 billion between January and September, down two per cent from the first nine months of 2008. Livestock receipts fell 2.8 per cent to $13.5 billion, while crop receipts declined 1.4 per cent to $16.8 billion.

The decrease in crop receipts was due to a drop in grain and oilseed prices, as strong demand and production boosted sales, the federal statistics agency reported Monday. Grain and oilseed prices have continually slid since their recent peak in 2008. However, average prices for the period have remained at relatively high levels.

Potato receipts rose 24.8 per cent for the first three quarters of 2009. Prices rose 30.7 per cent, with a drop in North American production in the fall of 2008.

Livestock receipts declined, as international exports fell for both cattle and hogs. Average cattle prices for the first three quarters of 2009 were 3.3 per cent above the same period last year, while hog prices were 0.6 per cent higher. This occurred despite declines in cattle and hog prices during the third quarter of 2009.

Canada’s livestock sector has been affected by a strong Canadian dollar; concerns about the H1N1 flu virus, which is still often dubbed “swine flu;” and U.S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL) legislation, which has put downward pressure on U.S. demand for live animals.

A 1.9 per cent increase in receipts from the supply-managed sector moderated the decline in livestock receipts, due mainly to higher dairy and poultry prices. This sector accounts for more than 45 per cent of total livestock receipts.

Program payments fell 24.5 per cent to $2.4 billion during the first nine months of 2009. They declined in every province, except Quebec and British Columbia.

Note: Farm cash receipts measures gross revenue for farm businesses only. They do not represent the bottom line, as farmers have to pay expenses and loans and cover depreciation. Preliminary information on net farm income for 2009 will be available in May 2010.

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