150 years of Canadian agriculture

The 2016 Census of Agriculture marks the 22nd census since Confederation in 1867. Just as Canada as a country has evolved over the past 150 years, so too has the agriculture sector. Agriculture has used innovation to push the bounds of production, transforming farming from the small scale to a highly mechanized and advanced industry.

While there are fewer agricultural operations in Canada than there were in 1871, the average farm size has risen consistently—from 98 acres in 1871 to 820 acres in 2016. Canada reported 14 times as much wheat acreage in 2016 than was reported on the first Census of Agriculture in 1871. There were also 10 times as many pigs and 5 times as many head of cattle as reported in 1871.

Total farm sales climbed to their highest levels ever in 2015, reaching $69.4 billion compared with $364.9 million in 1900. This represents an increase in average sales per farm from $714 to $358,503.

Based on the data from the 2016 Census of Agriculture, the infographic “150 Years in Canadian Agriculture” (Catalogue number11-627-M) provides a visual overview of the evolution of Canadian agriculture over the last 150 years.

The national snapshot, 2016 Census of Agriculture as well as provincial highlights are now available online.


Source: Statistics Canada

Horizontal motion portrait of a man in gray sport jacket and safety helmet and goggles driving mud-covered yellow ATV 4x4 quad bike with dirt spinning of the wheels photo

Use safety practices to avoid ATV rollovers

All terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be not only useful on the farm, they can add an element of fun to work. Whether using ATVs recreationally or as the best way to get to remote back fields, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association’s “Appealing to Adults” Canadian Ag Safety Week campaign urges farmers to protect themselves against rollovers.

Rollovers happen alarmingly fast. That’s why it’s important for everyone to take rollover prevention seriously, each and every time they plan a ride.

Always remember to wear an ATV helmet, gloves, long sleeves, pants, and boots, even when only travelling a short distance. Inappropriate gear, such as loose clothing, can get caught on controls and doesn’t provide protection. Read more

following farm equipment photo

Safely transport oversized loads

With larger farm equipment comes larger transportation challenges. Equipment wider than highway lanes poses a hazard to not only the equipment operator, but also to other motor vehicle operators. Tall equipment can come into contact with low-hanging wires, bridges and other vital pieces of infrastructure.

Collisions with other vehicles is a major concern while transporting all farm equipment on Read more

Grain auger and Bin photo

Maintain augers and create safe work zones to prevent entanglements

An auger in good condition is an essential tool when it comes time to move grain and feed around the farm. Per hour of use augers are one of the most hazardous machines on the farm, especially if they haven’t been properly maintained.

Although Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting statistics have identified runovers as the top cause of agriculture-related fatalities, the number of reported entanglements remain on that list and continue to be an area of concern. Read more

ATV safety

ATVs on the farm

Your family is your pride and joy. Whether you are raising children, watching out for your partner, or checking in on Dad after a long day in the field, you would do anything to keep them safe, while preserving the farm experience for future generations. ATVs on the farm ATVs are used on our farm […]

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Naahii Ridge students learn about agriculture

February 16 was Canada’s Agriculture Day and the students at Naahii Ridge Public School in Ridgetown, Ontario, had the chance to celebrate the day with many volunteers from the agricultural community.

“Canada’s Ag Day was a great opportunity for us to talk to the students about why the Canadian Ag industry is so important,” says Amy Caron, Communications Specialist for Dow Seeds. “Dow Seeds was very fortunate to work with some great community volunteers to bring that message to the students at Naahii.”

Travis Roodzant from Thompsons Limited – Blacks Lane branch.

Photo from Canada Agriculture Day

Students from grades 4, 5 and 6 listened to presentations on the importance of the Ag industry and the various career opportunities this sector offers. The students then participated in the “Canada’s Ag Day Trade Show” where they travelled around the gym to various stations to talk to the volunteers about what they do in the Ag industry.

Students had the opportunity to talk to: Cara McCready, a Greenhouse IPM Specialist with OMAFRA who talked about beneficial pests and pest management; Jane Lawton from Chatham-Kent 4H about the organization and how to become involved; Janice Anderson from Pioneer about the importance of Women in Ag; Rob Reid, Dairy Education Center Manager, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, who spoke on what happens in a dairy barn; Grace Jones, a Dow Seeds Territory Sales Rep, spoke on the importance of business and crop planning with farmers; Travis Roodzant from Thompsons Limited talked to the kids about agronomy and the use of drones in that process; Madison Trozzi, a high school senior who completed her co-op in the Dow Seeds Seed Lab showed the science behind ag industry and Eric Bastiaansen, an egg farmer from Thedford talked about how your eggs get from his farm to your grocery store.

Pictured are the Canada Agriculture Day volunteers, left to right: Cara McCready, Travis Roodzant, Grace Jones, Madison Trozzi, Rob Reid, Jane Sawton, Janice Anderson, and Eric Batiaansen. Absent from photo was Cassi Boersma.

Ag Day in Ridgetown, Ontario photo

Students from Grades 1 to 3 didn’t miss out on the festivities. Cassi Boersma, a part time teacher with Naahii and the Farm Safety Coordinator for Ridgetown, spoke to this group of students about the importance of ATV and farm safety.

Other organizations who helped support this event were FCC, Ag in the Classroom and Agriculture More Than Ever.

“We only had a couple of hours to share our stories with these students,” says Caron. “However, there were some great questions and hopefully some great conversations around their dinner table that night.”

Click for more information on Canada’s Agriculture Day.


Source: Ridgetown Independent News – 1 Main Street, Ridgetown, ON (519) 674-5205.

Photo of corn harvesting

Record harvests of corn and soybeans that fortified bearish arguments in 2016

The big crops keep coming

With 2016 nearly in the history books, it seems fair to say that the year will be remembered for its record corn and soybean harvests. Never before has any country ever produced 15.23 billion bushels of corn or 4.36 bb of soybeans, let alone both in the same season.

Not only was 2016 a year of good harvest, it was the fourth consecutive year of good harvests and, because of that, ending surpluses grew larger. According to USDA, U.S. ending corn stocks will total 2.4 billion bushels in 2016-17 or 16.4% of annual use. That is the highest stocks-to-use ratio in 11 years, an impressive accomplishment that took DTN’s national index of cash corn prices below $3.00 a bushel in the fall to its lowest level in eight years. Read more

Soybean futures – will they outperform in 2017 too?

Soybean futures outperformed in 2016, rising for the first time in four years, by 14.4%, compared with a 1.9% decline in Chicago corn futures, and a 13.2% drop in wheat.

While the US harvested a record crop, demand has been strong too – supported by Chinese imports which also set a record high, with demand supported by a recovery in the fortunes of the country’s important hog producers.

Meanwhile, values of soybean oil have been supported by disappointing global output of rival palm oil, with the latest El Niño casting a long shadow over South East Asian production.

But will such factors continue to support soybean futures in 2017? Or will the US produce another record harvest to dampen price prospects?

Read more

loonie piggy bank image

Loonie the No. 1 Trend to Watch in Agriculture: FCC

The Canadian dollar will have the biggest – and a mostly positive – impact on Canadian agriculture in 2017, according to Farm Credit Canada (FCC).

In its annual list of main industry drivers farmers should keep an eye on in the New Year, FCC said the loonie will impact every business across the entire agri-food supply chain in 2017. “Varying against the relative value of the American dollar, it can uniquely drive profits either higher or lower and is therefore our No. 1 trend to watch.”

To that end, FCC forecast the loonie in 2017 will pick up right where it left off in 2016: It will be a generally positive trend for Canadian agriculture, remaining below its 5-year average of 88 cents US, and hovering around 75 cents throughout the year.

“Watch the loonie in 2017. It could easily have the largest impact of all possible trends and drivers on the profitability of Canadian agriculture and agribusiness throughout the year,” FCC said. “It’ll certainly show up in the prices Canadian ag producers will get and ultimately, their farm cash receipts. A low loonie makes Canadian manufactured food products more competitive in foreign markets, and domestically, it’ll help shield Canadian firms from foreign competition.”

Meanwhile, FCC also compiled a list of four other drivers it believes will also impact Canadian agriculture throughout 2017.

  1. Energy prices

The West Texas Intermediate oil price benchmark is expected to remain around the US$50 per barrel threshold. Commitments to cut oil production by major oil producing countries strengthened the outlook for oil recently. But there are serious questions about the likely supply and strength of demand throughout the year.

  1. Commodity prices

With production growth and high ending stocks the big story for 2017, commodity prices aren’t likely to get much better for Canadian producers. Will lower commodity prices keep consumption and export demand strong enough?

  1. Investment landscape

The U.S. Federal Reserve chose to hike its key interest rate in December. Interest rates should rise both in the U.S. and Canada, but it’s the spread between the different rates that matters. With an outlook for this spread to grow slightly in 2017, how much investment potential will the Canadian economy hold?

  1. Global economy

The global economy will be a bit of a wild card in 2017. It’s going to impact demand for ag commodities. But as China-U.S. trade flows evolve, the question of their capacity to influence commodity prices and the long-term health of Canadian ag exports remains.


Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

Information contained herein is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed by the parties providing it. Thompsons, DePutter Publishing Ltd. and their information sources assume no responsibility or liability for any action taken as a result of any information or advice contained in these reports, and any action taken is solely at the liability and responsibility of the user.