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Census of Agriculture counts 19,054 farms in Manitoba

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On May 16, 2006, the Census of Agriculture counted 19,054 farms in Manitoba, a 9.6% decrease during the past five years. This is slightly higher than the 7.1% decrease at the national level. On Census Day, there were 5,329 fewer farms in Manitoba compared to 1996. A census farm is an agricultural operation that produces an agricultural product intended for sale.

Manitoba accounted for 8.3% of Canada’s 229,373 farms in 2006, slightly lower than the share in 2001. Manitoba’s total ranked sixth in Canada.

At the same time, Manitoba reported 26,625 farm operators, a 7.5% decline from 2001.

Farm area

Farms in Manitoba averaged 1,001 acres of land in 2006, up from 891 acres five years earlier.

The total area of land on farms in Manitoba increased 1.5% between 2001 and 2006 to 19.1 million acres in 2006. It has 11.4% of the total farm area in Canada.

Farmers reported 11.6 million acres of cropland in Manitoba in 2006, slightly down from 2001. The province accounts for 13.1% of all cropland area in the nation. Cropland is the total area in field crops, fruits, vegetables, sod and nursery.

Farm finance

Manitoba’s total gross farm receipts were $4.1 billion in 2005, while operating expenses reached $3.5 billion.

Government-funded program payments contributed significantly to gross farm receipts. Farmers themselves contribute to many of these programs by paying premiums much like any insurance plan. According to Statistics Canada data on direct program payments to agriculture producers, in 2000 for Manitoba, 7.6% of receipts were from program payments; by 2005 the proportion had grown to 17.0%. The actual value of these payments increased from $267.4 million to $691.6 million (in current dollars) during this period.

According to the farm input price index (FIPI) and the farm product price index (FPPI), the inflation over this period on prices farmers had to pay for the inputs they purchased rose more quickly than the inflation on the prices they received for the products they sold — 9.6% for inputs versus 3.9% for products sold. At the Canada level, farm input prices rose 8.6% while farm product prices rose only 1.7%.

Overall, improved efficiency, increased program payments, and higher production have helped to keep the ratios between expenses and receipts relatively stable. Operators were spending an average of 86 cents in expenses (excluding depreciation) for every dollar of receipts in 2005, about one cent less than they spent in 2000.

The number of farms with less than $250,000 (at 2005 constant prices) of gross farm receipts declined by 13.3% between censuses and those with $250,000 or more (at 2005 constant prices) increased by 10.8%.There were 3,645 of these larger farms in Manitoba in 2006, and while they only represented 19.1% of farms in the province, they accounted for 76.1% of total provincial gross farm receipts reported for the year 2005.

Organic farms

According to the census there were 809 farms with organic production in Manitoba on census day, 4.2% of all farms in the province. Nationwide, 6.8% of all farms reported organic production.

For the first time, farmers were able to report on their census forms the status of organic products grown or raised. Of the 809 farms reporting organic products in Manitoba, 24.2% produced certified organic products, 6.8% were in transition to becoming certified and 74.2% produced organic products but were not certified by a Certifying Agency. Farms can indicate more than one organic status.

The predominant group of organic products grown in Manitoba was hay or field crops. They were reported on 61.8% of the province’s organic farms.

Farm operators

Of Manitoba’s 26,625 operators in 2006, 24.1% were women, up from 22.6% five years earlier. Nationally, 27.8% of farm operators in 2006 were women.

In 2005, 52.6% of farmers worked more than 40 hours a week on their farm operations, down from 54.1% five years earlier. Nationwide, 46.7% of farmers worked more than 40 hours per week on their farms.

Nearly half (47.7%) of all farm operators had an off-farm job or business in 2005, compared to 45.7% in 2000. At the national level, 48.4% of farm operators had an off-farm job or business.

Census a snapshot

In spring 2006, when the data from the 2006 Census of Agriculture were being collected, farmers were facing a spring that had been preceded by one challenge after another: bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), avian influenza, circovirus in pigs, falling commodity prices and the rising cost of fertilizers, fuels and other inputs. Since then, some commodity prices have improved, particularly those associated with alternative fuel sources, and even the beleaguered beef industry is showing some recovery after four years of BSE-inflicted hardship. It’s a situation that offers an important reminder that the Census of Agriculture is a snapshot of Canada’s agriculture sector every five years and that the census cannot measure the rapid changes that wax and wane between census years.

Other highlights of Manitoba agriculture

  • In 2006, Manitoba’s biggest field crop continued to be spring wheat (excluding durum), with 3.0 million acres in 2006. This was despite a decrease of 19.3% from the previous census. Spring wheat made up 25.7% of the province’s cropland in 2006, compared to 31.7% in 2001.
  • Canola area increased 21.7% in Manitoba from the previous census. With 2.3 million acres, canola accounted for 19.6% of the province’s cropland.
  • Although still a relatively small portion of Manitoba’s total crop, soybean area increased to 350,567 acres, from only 50,037 acres in 2001.
  • Manitoba has 90.1% of Canada’s sunflower area. Up 24.7% from 2001, the province had 190,230 acres in 2006.
  • Total vegetable area increased to 5,641 acres in 2006, up 11.2% from 2001. Manitoba was one of only two provinces (the other was Prince Edward Island) since 2001 to report an increase in vegetable area. This was driven by an increase in onion area—shallot and green onion area in 2006 was 398 acres, up from 158 acres in 2001, and dry onion area in 2006 was 728 acres, up from 520 acres in 2001.
  • Total cattle and calves in Manitoba went up 10.4%, to 1.6 million animals. At the national level, total cattle and calves were comparable to the previous census, up only 1.4%.
  • Total pig numbers in Manitoba went up 15.4%, to 2.9 million animals on May 16, 2006 compared to an overall national increase of 7.8%. Manitoba’s pig farms are the largest in the country, with an average of 2,468 animals per farm reporting.
  • Sheep and lambs as well as horse numbers both saw significant declines from the previous census. Sheep and lamb numbers went down 19.7%, to 68,096 animals, while horses saw a 25.8% decline, to 46,580 animals.
  • Bison, however, is a growing industry, with Manitoba’s herd increasing 45.9%, to 19,609 animals. Nationally, the number of bison kept on farms increased 34.9%, to 195,728 animals.
  • In Manitoba, no-till methods were used on 21.3% of the land prepared for seeding in 2006, up from 12.9% in 2001. Conventional tillage fell to 43.4% of land prepared for seeding, from 54.5% five years earlier. In 2006, conservation tillage was used on approximately 35.2% of the land prepared for seeding, compared to 32.6% in 2001.
  • In 2006, 1,298 farms in Manitoba reported farm-related injuries that required medical attention in the previous 12 months. Injuries were reported on 6.8% of Manitoba farms, compared to 6.0% of all farms in Canada.
  • About 45.6% of all operations in Manitoba reported using a computer for farm business in 2006, compared to 35.9% of operations in 2001.

Statistics Canada would like to thank the farming community of Manitoba for their participation and assistance in the 2006 Census of Agriculture.

For more information on this release, contact Gaye Ward (613-951-3172), Census of Agriculture, or Media Relations (613-951-4636).


Direct program payments to producers represent the amounts paid under various government agricultural programs to agriculture producers. Farmers themselves contribute to many of these programs by paying premiums much like any insurance plan.

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