Hello everyone. Today, we are talking food. Yes, food!! the stuff that you put in your mouth everyday. Here in Vancouver, local food produce follows a seasonal trend. Starting with strawberries in May, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in June and July. With the arrival of September comes tons of local produce ready to be put in gourmet dishes. Apples of different varieties like Red delicious, Gala, Ambrosia, etc. Pears. Plums and prunes. Apricots. Fresh leafs of different varieties such as cabbages, lettuces and kales. Tiny little carrots. There are also countless number of herbs like garlics, mints, dills, basils. September and October is also time for potato harvesting. As the year comes to an end, you will see more imports from south of the border and also produce from local greenhouses like tomatoes and cucumbers. OK. I know that you’re meat lovers and dairy consumers. There are also lots of meat producers and dairy producers here in Canada.
Have you ever wondered where all these food were grown in Canada? How much land are used to grow such food?
As you can see from this area chart, Saskatchewan and Alberta utilize most land in growing its crops. Together they occupy 70% of total farm land in the country. Not surprising given the vast land and harsh temperature in the Prairies, the crop are mostly wheat, canola and alfalfa. Total wheat occupies the most farm land in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, but in in terms of the number of farms, the darker the green colour, the more numerous the number of farms. In Alberta, the Alfalfa farms are the most numerous as opposed to wheat farms in Saskatchewan. There are also quite a number of farms in Ontario given the number of darker green color areas.
Let’s focus on crops other than wheats, canolas or seeds, etc. Here, we are excluding the farm category group of Oilseeds and grain farming.
After that, we can see the areas again for other crops.
Now, we can see a reverse of the trend we see before. Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia occupy the most land for crops other than oil-seeds. You can see vegetables occupies the most land in both Ontario and Quebec while blueberries production occupies the top spot in British Columbia. Let’s drill down further onto British Columbia since I am located in Vancouver.
British Columbia is actually second in terms of blueberries land cultivation after Quebec. Of particular interest is British Columbia’s number one spot in cranberries production.
But, how profitible are the farms since farm areas are not necessary indicator of the profitability?
The above inclues all profits for the last five years (from 2006-2010). Apparently, throughout the last five years, the most profitable business are either potato farming or dairy cattle and milk production. The trend is evident across all provinces.
If we are to look at the annual profitability, we start to notice some variablity. Above is the profitability for farms in 2010. If you try to compare British Columbia of 2010 against the total from 2006-2010, you will see that the trend is more or less the same. This can indicate the stability of profit for the crops grown in BC.
If you try to compare the profitability in Manitoba for example, it just varies so much. One thing that can be gleaned is that profitability for crops in Manitoba is more variable, maybe due to weather or the highly volatile prices of mainly oil-seeds crops.
Methodology of obtaining the data
Data were obtained from Statistics Canada.
Since most of the data were only available in tabular format in Excel, some efforts were needed to reverse pivot the tabular data back to a normalized data. Normalized data is where data will appear in a normal database with different columns. In Excel, since tabular data is like a cross-tab with some series on the X axis and some series on the Y axis.
Finally, the normalized table would (after reverse-pivot) would contain these columns.
- Farm Industry
- Financial Account (Profit and Loss classification)
- Land Acres (measure)
- Number of Farms (measure)
- Dollar Amount (measure)
From these measures and dimensions, different graphs were then constructed.