Farm cash receipts for Canadian farmers totalled $14.4 billion during the first quarter of this year, up 16.9 per cent from the same period in 2011, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday.
Farm cash receipts, which include crop and livestock revenues plus program payments, increased in every province except Prince Edward Island (down 2.5 per cent). Increases ranged from 0.8 per cent in New Brunswick to 28.3 per cent in Alberta. Cash receipts in Quebec were unchanged.
Market receipts from the sale of crops and livestock were up 18.3 per cent from the first quarter of 2011 to $13.6 billion. Crop receipts rose 25.2 per cent to $8.2 billion, making up more than 60 per cent of the total market receipts, while livestock receipts increased 9.1 per cent to $5.4 billion.
The $1.7 billion increase in crop receipts was mainly the result of a rise in canola receipts and an increase in the liquidation of deferred grain receipts. Canola receipts grew by $846 million (up 53.2 per cent) to $2.4 billion, mostly the result of a 48.5 per cent increase in marketings from the record 2011 crop. Liquidation of grain receipts in 2012, which were deferred in 2011, rose by $768 million from first quarter 2011 levels to $1.8 billion. Producers deferred 70.7 per cent more grain receipts in 2011 compared with 2010, a result of above-average 2011 crop receipts.
Crop receipts rose in all provinces except Quebec (down 7.1 per cent), New Brunswick (down 5.2 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (down 2.2 per cent).
On the livestock side, cattle and calf receipts increased 12.5 per cent, despite a reduction in the number of head marketed, as prices were up 15.9 per cent from the same period in 2011. During the first quarter, Canadian farmers exported 9.9 per cent fewer cattle and calves interprovincially and 5.3 per cent fewer internationally, compared with the first quarter of 2011.
Hog receipts rose 9.8 per cent, mainly the result of a 9.9 per cent increase in price. Average first quarter prices for both cattle and hogs have increased since 2010, primarily because of low North American inventories.
Livestock receipts increased in every province, ranging from 2.7 per cent in Prince Edward Island to 15.4 per cent in Manitoba. In the supply-managed sector (dairy, poultry, eggs), farm cash receipts increased 6.9 per cent in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2011, mainly a result of higher prices as feed grain and other production costs increased. Supply-managed commodities accounted for more than 43 per cent of total livestock receipts.
Program payments were down 1.6 per cent from the first quarter of 2011 to $818 million.
Farm cash receipts measures gross revenue for farm businesses. They do not represent farms' bottom line, StatsCan emphasized, as farmers have to pay their expenses and loans and cover depreciation.
Effective immediately, farm cash receipts data will be released semi-annually instead of quarterly, StatsCan noted Wednesday. Data for the second and third quarters of 2012 will be released in November 2012. Information on net farm income for 2011 will also be released in November 2012.