Statistics Canada released farm financial data for 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 on May 26. The first quarter data may be of particular interest due to the rail blockades faced earlier in the year that congested country elevators, while the earliest influences of the COVID-19 lockdown are expected to be seen in this data and may have a larger effect in the months to come.
Statistics Canada reports total crop receipts for the first quarter at $9.3 billion, up $339.7 million or 3.8% from the same period one year ago, as shown by the move in the brown bars on the attached chart. This amount includes cannabis receipts. As seen in the brown bars on the attached chart, total crop receipts for the first quarter are seen increasing for a second year.
Statistics Canada commentary goes on to say, "Excluding cannabis, crop receipts declined by 4.7%." Receipts for all crops excluding cannabis were reported at $8.294 billion, representing a third consecutive drop as seen in the blue bars on the attached chart, to the lowest level reported in five years.
The long road to cannabis legalization in Canada saw this data included for the first time for the first quarter of 2016, when receipts totaled $15.988 million, or 0.2% of total crop receipts. By the first quarter of 2019, these receipts totaled $271.3 million or 3% of total receipts, while the first quarter of 2020 saw this total reach $1.022 billion or 11% of total receipts.
Looking at the major field crops, year-over-year gains for receipts over the first quarter were seen for lentils ($122 million), canola ($117 million), dry peas ($50.8 million) and oats ($16.6 million). These were offset by a year-over-year decline in receipts for wheat ($146.6 million), corn ($99.5 million), barley ($57 million), durum ($33.1 million), soybeans ($25 million) and flax ($19 million).
Crop receipts by province can also be viewed differently when only field crops are included. Stripping cannabis from the provincial results in Alberta and Ontario, we see that over the past year, crop receipts have fallen in all four of the major production provinces of Alberta ($204.3 million), Saskatchewan ($54.5 million), Manitoba ($80 million) and Ontario ($57.2 million).
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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