First quarter cash receipts for Canadian farmers were up from the same period a year earlier, as a rebound in production following the 2021 Prairie drought helped to boost returns for some crops.
Total farm cash receipts for the January-March period totalled $27.2 billion, a Statistics Canada farm income report showed Thursday. That was up $3.7 billion or almost 16% from the first quarter of 2022, as returns for both crops and livestock offset a decline in program payments.
First quarter crop receipts increased by $4.5 billion to $16.4 billion compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Although crop prices were mixed in the first quarter of 2023, “higher marketings translated into higher receipts for some key crops such as canola, wheat (excl durum) and durum wheat,” StatsCan said. Total livestock receipts rose 9.9% to $8.8 billion in the first quarter, while program payments fell 44.1% to $1.9 billion.
All of the provinces had increases in farm cash receipts, led by Saskatchewan (+$2.2 billion), Alberta (+$489.1 million) and Manitoba (+$430.4 million).
On the crop side, canola receipts were up 45.2% to $4.6 billion on the strength of higher marketings (+58.1%), as prices lagged by 8.2% in the first quarter. Although prices were flat, wheat (exl durum) marketings increased by almost 50%, which pushed receipts to $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2023, up $900 million. Durum wheat marketings almost quadrupled from the same quarter a year earlier, with receipts increasing to $862.6 million from $329.6 million.
In the first quarter of 2023, both barley and lentil receipts more than doubled to account for an increase of $580 million or just over 13% of the increase in crop receipts. For barley, this was a return to normal marketings compared with the same quarter a year earlier. For lentils, there continued to be a strong international demand led by Turkey.
For livestock, a nearly 22% increase in prices led to a $555.2-million rise in cattle receipts to $3.1 billion in the first quarter. Supply-managed receipts were up 11% to $3.7 billion in the first quarter, as all supply-managed commodities had higher receipts. On the other hand, hog receipts dropped 9.9% to $1.5 billion in the first quarter. Fewer slaughtered hogs and lower prices contributed to the overall decrease, StatsCan said. International export receipts for hogs fell by 3.1% due to a drop in price, despite a 5.9% increase in marketings, it added.
Most of the decrease in program payment in the first quarter of 2023 was due to a drop in crop insurance payments. This followed a record year in crop insurance payments due to drought conditions in 2021.