By Stewart Grant
Throughout the year, Statistics Canada has gradually been releasing additional sets of data collected from the 2016 Census. Recently, summary data concerning the 2016 Census of Agriculture was released.
In the five years since the prior Census, the total number of farms in Canada have decreased by 5.9%, which is actually the lowest rate of decline within the last twenty years. The 2016 Census counted 193,492 different Canadian farms.
Total farm area decreased slightly by 0.9% to 158.7 million acres nationwide. However, land in crops (excluding Christmas trees) increased by 6.9% to 93.4 million acres as operators converted land into productive area.
Due to the ever-decreasing number of farms, the average area per farm has been increasing. The average farm in Canada was 820 acres in 2016, up from 779 acres in 2011. The average age of farm operators increased by 1.9% to an average age of 55 years old.
Over 25% of all of Canada’s farms are located in Ontario, with 49,600 farms accounted for. Following Ontario in order were Alberta (21% of all Canadian farms), Saskatchewan (18%), Quebec (15%) and British Columbia (9%).
Ontario continues its leadership position countrywide in both soybeans and corn for grain, with 60% and 50% of the national production respectively. In terms of field crop acreage, Ontario dedicated 2.8 million acres to soybeans, 2.2 million acres to corn for grain, and 1.1 million acres to winter wheat.
Field crops accounted for 78% of Ontario cropland in 2016, with hay representing 19% and the remaining 3% split between vegetables, fruits, berries & nuts, and sod & nursery.
More farming statistics from the 2016 Census of Agriculture will be revealed in a future article within this section.