Canola area surpassed spring wheat area in Manitoba

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The 2011 Census of Agriculture showed that canola area surpassed spring wheat area for the top spot among field crops in Manitoba. Since 2006, canola area increased 44.3% to 3.3 million acres, while spring wheat area decreased 13.2% to 2.6 million acres.

Largest area of sunflowers

In 2011, Manitoba continued to report the largest area of sunflowers in the country despite a decrease of 66.7% to 63,380 acres. This area accounted for 81.5% of the national total in 2011, down from 90.1% in 2006.

Gross Farm Receipts increased

Manitoba’s gross farm receipts in 2010, the year prior to the census, increased 7.8% (at 2010 constant prices) to $5.3 billion, from 2005. At the national level there was a 3.9% increase in gross farm receipts between 2005 and 2010.

Operators spent an average of 83 cents in expenses (excluding depreciation) for every dollar of receipts in 2010, about three cents less than they spent in 2005.

Oilseed and grain farm and pig farm types accounted for 49.6% and 19.2% of the 2010 total gross farm receipts respectively. The North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) provides a framework for classifying farms based on the commodities they produce and the value of these commodities. The farm types presented in this document are derived based on this system.

Farm numbers decreased

The 2011 Census of Agriculture counted 15,877 census farms in Manitoba, a 16.7% decrease since 2006. This compares to a 10.3% decrease at the national level. A census farm is an agricultural operation that produces agricultural products intended for sale.

Manitoba accounted for 7.7% of Canada’s 205,730 farms in 2011, lower than its 8.3% share in 2006.

More larger farms

According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms with $500,000 or more (at 2010 constant prices) of 2010 gross farm receipts increased by 25.7% between censuses, and those with less than $500,000 decreased by 21.6%. There were 2,490 of these larger farms in Manitoba in 2011, and while they represented 15.7% of all farms in the province, they accounted for 73.2% of total provincial gross farm receipts reported for the year 2010.

Farm operators

Manitoba reported 22,315 farm operators, 16.2% lower than in 2006, following the trend in the number of farms. In 2011, 23.6% of Manitoba farm operators were women, while nationally this percentage was 27.4%.

The average age of a farm operator in Manitoba in 2011 was 53.1 years compared with 51.2 years in 2006. Nationally, the average age of a farm operator was 54.0 years, up from 52.0 years in 2006.

In 2010, 46.6% of all Manitoba farm operators worked more than 40 hours a week on average on their farm operations, compared to 52.6% five years earlier. At the national level this percentage was 40.1% 2010.

In 2010, 46.2% of all Manitoba farm operators had an off-farm job or business, compared to 47.7% in 2005. At the national level this percentage was 46.9% in 2010.

According to the Census of Agriculture, 24.5% of Manitoba operators who were under the age of 35 on census day worked off the farm for more than 40 hours a week on average in 2010, compared to 20.7% of operators aged 35 to 54, and 9.6% of operators over 55 years of age.

Farm area

Total farm area in Manitoba decreased 5.5% between 2006 and 2011 to 18.0 million acres. Manitoba had 11.3% of the total farm area in Canada in 2011.

Despite the decrease in total farm area, average area per farm increased. Farms in Manitoba averaged 1,135 acres in 2011, up from 1,001 acres five years earlier.

Of the total farm area in Manitoba, 59.6% was cropland, a slight decrease from 60.9% reported in 2006. Farm operators reported 10.7 million acres of cropland in Manitoba in 2011, down from 11.6 million acres in 2006. The province accounted for 12.3% of cropland reported in Canada. Cropland is the total area reported in field crops, hay, fruits, field vegetables, sod and nursery.

Proportion of cropland, Manitoba, 2006 and 2011
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of cropland. The information is grouped by Composition of cropland (appearing as row headers), Percent of cropland (appearing as column headers).
Composition of cropland Percent of cropland
2011 2006
Field crops 82.9 79.8
Hay 17.0 20.1
OthersNote * 0.1 0.1

Almost all the cropland (99.9%) in the province was reported as field crops and hay (Table 1). In 2011, field crops (including potatoes) accounted for 82.9% of the total cropland in the province compared to 79.8% in 2006. The proportion of hay decreased from 20.1% in 2006 to 17.0% in 2011. Increased prices for cash crops coupled with declining beef cattle and pig numbers led to a shift from forages and crops traditionally used for feed to more profitable cash crops.

The proportion of pasture (tame or seeded pasture and natural land for pasture), summerfallow and woodlands in total farm area decreased while the proportion of other land increased to 5.7% from 2.4% in 2006. Manitoba experienced severe flooding in the spring and summer of 2011 and land reported to the 2011 Census of Agriculture as “too wet to seed” has been categorized as “other land” and not cropland or summerfallow; this land could shift back to cropland when conditions improve.


In 2011, Manitoba reported the third largest pig herd in Canada, with 2.9 million pigs, a 2.8% decrease since 2006. This was the lowest percent decrease among all provinces.

The total number of cattle in Manitoba decreased 23.0% since 2006 to 1.2 million head. The number of beef cattle reported for breeding purposes (beef cows and beef heifers) decreased by 23.9% since 2006, totalling 550,642 head in 2011.

Organic farms

According to the 2011 Census of Agriculture, there were 180 farms with certified organic and/or transitional production in Manitoba. This represented 1.1% of all farms in the province. Nationwide, 2.0% of all farms reported certified organic and/or transitional production.

The predominant category of certified organic and/or transitional products reported in Manitoba was field crops and hay and it was reported by 88.3% of the province’s 180 certified organic and/or transitional farms.

Other agricultural highlights in Manitoba

  • Manitoba reported the second largest area of soybeans in Canada in 2011 with 705,032 acres, an increase of 101.1% since 2006.
  • Areas reported for hay and grains traditionally used for livestock feed decreased in 2011. Hay area decreased 21.8% to 1.8 million acres in 2011. Similarly, oat area decreased 26.4% to 695,945 acres and barley area decreased 42.3% to 483,432 acres.
  • Despite a 10.7% decrease from 2006 to 2011, Manitoba continued to report the second largest potato area in the country with 72,043 acres, behind Prince Edward Island.
  • The total area of corn for grain increased 40.4% to 211,148 acres in 2011.
  • Despite a 56.4% decrease in 2011, Manitoba continued to report the second largest flaxseed area in the country with 167,367 acres, behind Saskatchewan.
  • Strawberry area decreased 26.4% to 304 acres in 2011, down from 413 acres reported in Manitoba in 2006.
  • The area in saskatoons decreased 27.8% to 267 acres in 2011, down from 370 acres in 2006.
  • Total vegetable area decreased 8.4% from 5,641 acres in 2006 to 5,169 acres in 2011. The largest vegetable areas in 2011 in Manitoba were sweet corn, carrots, and onions.
  • The number of pollinating bees (excluding honeybees) decreased by 50.4% to 37,343 gallons in 2011, down from 75,332 gallons in 2006. There were 75,847 honeybee colonies reported in 2011, up from 73,411 colonies in 2006.
  • In Manitoba, no-till methods were used on 24.0% of the land prepared for seeding in 2011, up from 21.3% in 2006. Conventional tillage decreased to 38.3% of land prepared for seeding, from 43.4% five years earlier. Conservation tillage was used on 37.7% of the land prepared for seeding, compared to 35.2% in 2006.
  • The 2011 Census marked the first time farm operators were asked to report the area from which crop residue was baled for bedding or sale. In 2010, crop residue was baled from 747,146 acres in Manitoba.
  • High-speed internet access was reported by 43.1% of all farms in Manitoba, while the national average was 44.8%.
  • In Manitoba 36.7% of all farms in the province reported paid labour for the year 2010. The census counted 19,827 paid employees, of whom 44.6% worked year-round in a full or part-time capacity while 55.4% were seasonal or temporary employees.

A snapshot in time

The 2011 Census of Agriculture is the most recent measure of the overall state of Canadian agriculture and its wealth of data provides a valuable snapshot of the sector. The census program provides a data continuum stretching back to 1921, while agricultural data has been collected since the first Census of Canada in 1871.

Since the previous Census of Agriculture in 2006, fluctuating commodity prices in certain sectors as well as changing costs of fertilizers, fuel, seed and livestock feed affected the farming community. The residual effects of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and avian influenza were also issues.

During the time the census was being collected in 2011, many farm operators were confronted with challenges related to flooding and exceedingly wet conditions in some regions of the Prairies. However, many changes have since ensued, including favourable commodity prices in some sectors as well as continued evolution in global economic conditions, and some of these factors have benefited the Canadian agricultural sector. At the same time, many farm operators continue to adapt their production and farming practices to become more efficient and to respond to market factors and consumer demands.

These developments, as well as the dynamic and complex nature of the Canadian agricultural industry, are an important reminder that the Census is a snapshot of the agricultural sector that captures its state at a point in time, and does not measure the annual fluctuations between census years.

Statistics Canada would like to thank the farming community of Manitoba for their participation and assistance in the 2011 Census of Agriculture.

For further information regarding the Census of Agriculture, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre at 613-951-8116 or toll-free 1-800-263-1136;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Rosemary Villani at 613-951-2889, Census of Agriculture, Agriculture Division.


Census farm

An operation is considered a census farm (agricultural operation) if it produces at least one of the following products intended for sale:

  • Crops: Hay, field crops, tree fruits or nuts, berries or grapes, vegetables, seed
  • Livestock: Cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, game animals, other livestock
  • Poultry: Hens, chickens, turkeys, chicks, game birds, other poultry
  • Animal products: Milk or cream, eggs, wool, furs, meat
  • Other agricultural products: Christmas trees, sod, greenhouse, or nursery products, mushrooms, honey or bees, maple syrup and its products

The data for the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories are not included in the national totals because of the different definition of an agricultural operation in the territories and confidentiality constraints. The data for the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories are presented separately.

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Certified organic

An operation or products are referred to as "certified organic" when certification has taken place. Certification refers to the procedure whereby a certification body accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides written assurance that products and production systems conform to specified requirements. Certification may be based on a range of inspection activities including verification of management practices, auditing of quality assurance systems and in/out production balances. (Source: Canada Organic Office Operating Manual)

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Transitional organic

Transitional organic refers to those who were in the process of undertaking the three-year process of having all or part of their operations certified organic at the time of the 2011 Census of Agriculture.

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Gross farm receipts

The Census of Agriculture measures gross farm receipts for the calendar or accounting year prior to the census.

Gross farm receipts (before deducting expenses) in this analysis include:

  • receipts from all agricultural products sold
  • program payments and custom work receipts.

The following are not included in gross farm receipts:

  • sales of forestry products (for example: firewood, pulpwood, logs, fence posts and pilings)
  • sales of capital items (for example: quota, land, machinery)
  • receipts from the sale of any goods purchased only for retail sales.

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2005 to 2010

Some data refer to a reference period other than Census Day. For example, for financial data the reference period is the calendar or accounting (fiscal) year prior to the census.

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Farm type

Farm type is established through a procedure that classifies each census farm according to the predominant type of production. This is done by estimating the potential receipts from the inventories of crops and livestock reported on the questionnaire and determining the product or group of products that make up the majority of the estimated receipts. For example, a census farm with total potential receipts of 60% from hogs, 20% from beef cattle and 20% from wheat, would be classified as a hog and pig farm. The farm types presented in this document are derived based on the 2007 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The chart below shows how these derived farm types relate to NAICS.

Table summary
This table displays the results of Farm Type.
The information is grouped by Census of Agriculture derived categories appearing as row headers, and NAICS five-digit classes appearing as column headers.
Census of Agriculture derived categories NAICS five-digit classes
Dairy Dairy cattle and milk production 
Beef Beef cattle ranching and farming, including feedlots
Hog and pig Hog and pig farming
Poultry and egg Chicken egg production 
Broiler and other meat-type chicken production
Turkey production
Poultry hatcheries
Combination poultry and egg production
All other poultry production 
Sheep and goat Sheep farming
Goat farming
Other animal Apiculture
Horse and other equine production
Fur-bearing animal and rabbit production
Animal combination farming
All other miscellaneous animal production
Oilseed and grain Soybean farming
Oilseed (except soybean) farming
Dry pea and bean farming
Wheat farming
Corn farming
Other grain farming
Vegetable and melon Potato farming
Other vegetable (except potato) and melon farming
Fruit and tree-nut Fruit and tree nut farming
Greenhouse and nursery Mushroom production
Other food crops grown under cover
Nursery and tree production
Floriculture production
Other crop Tobacco farming
Hay farming
Fruit and vegetable combination farming
Maple syrup and products production
All other miscellaneous crop farming

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Farm operator

According to the census, a farm operator is any person responsible for the management decisions made for an agricultural operation as of May 10, 2011.

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