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Diverse crop growing conditions for Canadian farmers

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Staff Writer |
Canadian farm
Canada   Leading crop types vary by province

When farm operators decide what crops to grow, many factors come into play including climatic conditions, soil types, pest pressures, and market opportunities.


Growing conditions vary widely across the country and farm operators select crops and varieties that perform well in their local conditions.

Comparing 1981 with 2016, hay remained the largest crop in terms of area in six provinces: the four Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, and British Columbia. However, when excluding hay, the largest field crop varied by province.

New Brunswick was the only province to have the same largest field crop in both 1981 and 2016—potatoes. Canola was the leading field crop in the Prairie Provinces in 2016, overtaking spring wheat and barley, the leading crops in 1981.

The Atlantic Provinces continued to lead in potato production with 38.2% of the 344,776 total acres of potatoes in Canada. Prince Edward Island accounted for a quarter of potato acreage in Canada.

Quebec had the second-largest area of corn for grain, with 27.1% of the Canadian total in 2016.

Within the province of Ontario, two crops were predominant—soybeans with 31.7% of the province’s field crop area and corn for grain with 24.6%. On the national scene, Ontario accounted for 64.3% of winter wheat, 59.8% of corn for grain, and 51.6% of dry white beans in Canada.

The Prairie Provinces accounted for 83.3% of Canada’s total field crop area with 77.2 million acres.

The largest crop in each of the Prairie Provinces was canola, which accounted for 24.4% of field crop area in Alberta, 27.3% of field crop area in Saskatchewan, and 27.8% in Manitoba.

Alberta had the largest hay area, with 29.9% of all hay area in the country.

The leading crops, excluding hay, in British Columbia were spring wheat (7.5% of field crop area) and canola (7.1% of field crop area).


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