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 2014, we produced:
- 99 per cent of Canada's chickpeas
- 95 per cent of Canada's lentils
- 86 per cent of Canada's durum wheat
- 83 per cent of Canada's flaxseed
- 70 per cent of Canada's mustard
- 60 per cent of Canada's dry peas
- 49 per cent of Canada's canola
Feeding the world
Saskatchewan exports more than $1 billion in each of the four key product sectors: cereal grains (wheat, oats, rye and barley), oilseeds (canola and flax), pulses (peas and lentils) and edible oils (canola). In 2013, Saskatchewan was responsible for:
65 per cent of the world's lentil exports
54 per cent of the world's pea exports
32 per cent of the world's flaxseed exports
34 per cent of the world's durum exports
16 per cent of the world's canola seed exports
27 per cent of the world's mustard seed exports
17 per cent of the world's canola oil exports
In 2014, Saskatchewan was also the leading Canadian exporter of 13 agri-food products:
- Durum Wheat - 1.9 billion
- Lentils - 1.4 billion
- Peas - 1.2 billion
- Chickpeas - 31 million
- Mustard - 72 million
- Barley - 233 million
- Oats - 341 million
- Canary Seed - 115 million
- Canola Seed - 2.5 billion
- Flax Seed - 379 million
- Canola Oil - 1.3 billion
- Canola Meal - 788 million
- Non Durum Wheat - 2.2 billion
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.
In terms of markets, the agriculture industry in Saskatchewan is the most diversified industry sector in Canada with $13.9 billion in export sales in 2014. More than $200 million worth of agricultural products were exported to each of the following 16 countries last year:
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 1.2 million beef cows, or just under 30 per cent of the Canadian beef cow herd, making it the second-largest beef-producing province in Canada. In 2013:
Saskatchewan's total cattle and calf receipts were just over $1.2 billion.
Saskatchewan's hog industry generated more than $287 million.
Saskatchewan had approximately one third 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:
- The University of Saskatchewan, which is also home to:
- Western College of Veterinary Medicine
- College of Agriculture and Bioresources
- Crop Development Centre
- Canadian Feed Research Centre
- Innovation Place, which has three locations in the province and is known as one of the most advanced research parks in North America
- National Research Council
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Saskatoon Research Centre
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Semi-Arid Prairie Research Centre
- Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre
- Global Institute for Food Security
- Saskatchewan Research Council
- Canadian Light Source
- POS Bio-Sciences
- Ag-West Bio
- Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre
- Prairie Swine Centre
- Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute
- Western Beef Development Centre