Farming Canada, the government agency charged with regulating agricultural practices, has reported that Ontario farmers have a higher productivity rate than the average Canadian, and that Ontario farms have higher agricultural productivity per acre than any other province.
But that’s not all.
The report also states that Ontario farming has a very high average agricultural productivity, which is about 6.7% higher than the rest of Canada, and an average annual yield of about 4.6 metric tonnes per hectare, higher than any Canadian province.
The results are based on data collected by Agriculture Canada from the Agricultural Land Survey (ALS), the government-sponsored data set.
Ontario farmers also have the highest per-acre average yields in the country, according to the report, which also shows that Ontario farm yields have increased by an average of 2.7%, more than doubling over the past decade.
“This is really encouraging news for the agriculture industry in Ontario,” said Kevin Czukay, senior vice-president of communications for Agri-Food Canada.
“Ontario is producing more food per hectore than any province in the world.”
But how much of that is from higher crop yields?
The average yield per hectoware of Ontario farms is now 5.5%, up from 3.3% in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available.
The province’s per-haumeur yield per acre has increased by about 1.5% over the last 10 years, and Ontario farmers produce about two-thirds of the agricultural produce in Canada.
But this year, the yield per tonne has actually declined slightly, falling from 4.9 to 4.5.
In the past two decades, Ontario has experienced an average decline in the per-hectare yield per crop, and is expected to see a drop in that rate this year.
Agriculture Minister Mark Gordon says the data is a good sign for farmers, but that the government will have to keep an eye on farm prices.
“I think the bottom line is we’re seeing a gradual recovery in the farm price, but we’re also seeing a sharp decline in yield,” he said.
“So we’re still working on the price, and we’re going to continue to monitor and see how prices move.”
Agriculture Canada said that it is looking into ways to encourage farmers to increase yields, but noted that the agency will only use data on agricultural production and is not a lender of last resort.
“The yield-based reporting system used by Agriculture canADA will be used only to assess whether a farmer has increased the productivity of his or her farm, and not to determine whether the farmer is using more resources to meet a demand,” Agriculture Canada wrote in a statement.
“Farmers should not rely on the yield-related information to decide whether or not to increase their yield and to plan for the future.”