An Historical Overview of Crop Acres in Western Canada: A Graphical and Statistical Approach

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  • The purpose of this study is to examine acreage, yields, and average farm prices for different cereal crops in the Western Prairie Region of Canada and to summarize trends. The crop groups considered in this study are all wheat (including durum, spring and winter wheat), oats, barley, all rye, flaxseed, canola, specialty crops and summer fallow. Specialty crops are further broken down into tame hay, mixed grains, dry peas, fodder corn, lentils, sunflower seed and mustard seed. Province wide trends in total area as well as crop proportions are observed independently for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (High Prairie focus). Major crops are compared throughout the four regions to evaluate which regions are the major producers of any given crop throughout the study period. Historical per hectare crop yields for the major crops are examined, recognizing overall trends, as well as high and low points where either weather or technological innovation may be the causal agent. Crops will be compared concerning their different levels of yields and how they change over time with respect to one another. This study also looks at trends in farm gate crop prices with consideration given to inflation (real 1997 dollars) and nominal prices. Historical prices of major field crops are compared and differences in trends between crops are identified for Alberta. Relative risk is assessed for all wheat, oats, barley, all rye, flaxseed and canola in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia when available. By comparing coefficients of variation, relative risk is also assessed. Acreage response functions are then derived using variables such as price, last year's summer fallow area, last year's crop area, etc. and used to forecast crop area. A function has been derived for each major crop in each Prairie Province with consideration to seemingly unrelated regressions. These regressions will provide statistical support for trends observed from graphs.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International