March crops price index down: StatsCan

Prices farmers received for their commodities fell 0.9 per cent in March 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 had a 12-month decrease of 18.3 per cent, 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 to 124.3 in March 2009.

The prices producers received for livestock and animal products in March were 16.5 per cent higher compared with March 2008, continuing the growth in year-over-year prices since June 2008

A depreciating Canadian dollar relative to its American counterpart helped support higher cattle and hog prices.

The total index (1997=100) increased from 117.2 in February to 117.8 in March. The month-over-month gain was the result of a 2.3 per cent advance in the total livestock and animal products index, which more than offset a 1.1 per cent decline in the crops index.

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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