Agriculture is big business
Agriculture is the root of Saskatchewan's economy and accounts for over one-third of the province's total exports. We have over 40 per cent of Canada's farmland totaling more than 60 million acres. Approximately 33 million acres of agricultural land is used for crop production each year.
Saskatchewan is known worldwide as a consistent and reliable supplier of safe, high-quality grains, oilseeds, pulses and livestock. In 2010, we produced:
- 99 per cent of Canada's chickpeas
- 95 per cent of Canada's lentils
- 86 per cent of Canada's durum wheat
- 74 per cent of Canada's flaxseed
- 72 per cent of Canada's mustard
- 65 per cent of Canada's dry peas
- 42 per cent of Canada's canola
Feeding the world
Saskatchewan exports over $1 billion in each of the three key product sectors: cereal grains (wheat, oats, rye and barley), oilseeds (canola and flax) and pulses (peas and lentils). In 2010, Saskatchewan was responsible for:
- 61 per cent of the world's lentil exports
- 57 per cent of the world's pea exports
- 55 per cent of the world's flaxseed exports
- 34 per cent of the world's durum exports
- 34 per cent of the world's canola seed exports
- 40 per cent of the world's mustard exports
In 2010, Saskatchewan was also the leading Canadian exporter of 13 of the following agri-food products:
- Non-durum wheat - $1.733 billion
- Canola Seed - $1.658 billion
- Lentils - $983 million
- Canola Oil - $787 million
- Pea - $742 million
- Durum $ - 572 million
- Canola Meal - $260 million
Flaxseed - $255 million
Oats - $204 million
Barley - $204 million
Canary Seed - $83 million
Mustard Seed - $62 million
Chickpeas - $47 million
Building on our strengths - moving crops to the next level
The Ministry of Agriculture collaborates with industry organizations, producers and research institutions to increase competitiveness, production, new crop development, product development and value-added processing in Saskatchewan's crop sectors with the goal of increasing overall profitability throughout the value chain.
This includes introducing new crops, increasing returns on existing crops, and adding value through processing opportunities:
- Camelina - it's estimated that camelina production will reach 100,000 acres by 2015, with a value of $16.8 million. Camelina bio-based products include fish feed, bio-lubricants, healthy oils and jet fuel.
- Vegetables - there's a potential for high-value vegetables like onions and small potatoes, particularly for irrigation farmers (net return $3,000 to $5,000 per acre). Saskatchewan has the growing conditions, land and water resources, minimal pest pressure and expertise necessary for growing high-quality vegetables.
- Wheat - wheat has been the cornerstone of Saskatchewan agriculture since farming began in the province. Varietal development, through the stacking of traits to create superior varieties is needed to ensure that this crop can compete with other crop types and is profitable for growers.
- Honey - honey producers in the province are getting the help they need to keep their colonies healthy and the honey production per hive the highest in Canada. Research to develop best management practices to control mites and reduce winter mortality in honey bees in underway.
- Fruit processing - Saskatchewan growers produce approximately five million pounds of fruit per year on 2,000 acres with strong potential to increase acreage with the expansion of irrigation districts and agri-tourism.
The agriculture industry in Saskatchewan is the most diversified industry sector in Canada with $8.1 billion in export sales in 2010. Over $100 million worth of agricultural products were exported to each of the following 19 countries last year:
United Arab Emirates;
- Sri Lanka;
- Saudi Arabia;
- South Korea; and
Saskatchewan has over six million hectares of pastureland and large quantities of high-quality feed, making it an ideal place for livestock development. Saskatchewan has 1.3 million beef cows, or just over 30 per cent of the Canadian beef cow herd, making it the second-largest beef-producing province in Canada. In 2010:
- Saskatchewan's total cattle and calf receipts were approximately $1 billion.
- Saskatchewan's hog industry generated over $228 million.
- Saskatchewan had approximately 33 per cent of the Canadian bison herd.
Research and development
The Government of Saskatchewan supports the creation of a knowledge-based economy. The Ministry of Agriculture invests in progressive and relevant research, innovation and commercialization to benefit the agriculture sector.
Saskatchewan is home to 30 per cent of Canada's agricultural biotechnology, providing expertise in biofuels, bioproducts, crop research and nutrition, and health and wellness. There are more than 700 scientists working in 30 private, public and academic facilities, including the following facilities:
- Innovation Place, which has three locations in the province, is known as one of the most advanced research parks in North America.
- The University of Saskatchewan maintains five Life Science Colleges, as well as being home to the Canadian Light Source Inc. (CLSI), which operates the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron.
- Other world-class facilities located in Saskatchewan include:
- Vaccine/Infectious Disease Organization
- Federal and Provincial Laboratories;
- Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
- National Research Centre Plant Biotechnology Institute
- Saskatchewan Research Council
- Genome Prairie
- Ag-West BIO Inc.
- Technology to market
- POS Pilot Plant
- Innovation Place Bio-Processing Centre
- Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI)