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       Saturday, March 28, 2015

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.

Wholesome roots

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
  • 34 per cent of the world's durum exports
  • 32 per cent of the world's flaxseed 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:

  • Canola Seed - 2.5 billion
  • Non Durum Wheat - 2.2 billion
  • Durum Wheat - 1.9 billion
  • Lentils - 1.4 billion
  • Canola Oil - 1.3 billion
  • Peas - 1.2 billion
  • Canola Meal - 788 million
  • Flax Seed - 379 million
  • Oats - 341 million
  • Barley - 233 million
  • Canary Seed - 115 million
  • Mustard - 72 million
  • Chickpeas - 31 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 is estimated that in 2015, production acres will be around 10,000 acres valued at approximately $1.75 million. Camelina bio-based products include fish and broiler chicken feed, bio-lubricants, healthy oils and jet fuel.
  • Vegetables - There is 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.

Global Markets

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 15 countries last year:

  • United States
  • China
  • Japan
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Bangladesh
  • Algeria
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Belgium
  • Morocco
  • Venezuela
  • Peru
  • Colombia

Wide-open spaces

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 a large agriculture biotechnology and research cluster. We focus on crop breeding, fractionation and processing technologies, dairy research, etc.

  • 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
    • Rayner Dairy Facility
  • 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


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