Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.09.2003

Changing face of Canadian farms

  • While the number of farms operating in Canada continues to decline, they are producing more.
  • The number of farms in Canada has decreased 10 per cent since the 1996 census, but Canadian farms have 4.2 per cent more area of crops and are raising more livestock. Statistics Canada counted 246,923 farms in the May 2001 census.
  • Three out of 10 farms have left agriculture in the past 15 years.
  • While Canadian farmers are devoting more land to crops, it's not because they have found more land. Farmers are converting unproductive land to crop land.
  • The top five field crops by area are:
    • spring wheat (excluding durum)
    • barley
    • lucerne and lucerne mixtures
    • canola, and
    • other hay and fodder crops.
  • Wheat still leads, but many wheat farmers have moved to other crops or commodities. The phasing out of transportation subsidies, falling wheat prices and rising livestock prices were major pressures leading Canadian grain farmers to change direction.