by SUSAN MANN
Prices farmers received for their commodities in July rose by 14.8 per cent compared to last year but the Statistics Canada farm product price index hides a lot of turbulence in the marketplace, says agricultural economist Alfons Weersink.
While average prices have gone up “there’s a great deal of volatility now in the market,” says Weersink, a professor with the University of Guelph’s food, agriculture and resource economics department. He notes prices have swung up and down during the year.
In the 12 months to July both the total crops index and the livestock and animal product index recorded increases. The year-over-year upward trend started in September 2010 for the crops index and in May 2010 for the livestock and animal products index, it says in Statistics Canada’s report released today.
Oilseeds were the largest contributor to the increase in crop prices followed by grains. The year-over-year increase in the crops index was moderated by lower prices for potatoes, down 4.5 per cent compared to July 2010, and vegetables, down 2.5 per cent compared to July 2010.
Canola, Canada’s largest oilseed crop, set record crush levels for the August 2010 to July 2011 crop year. A total of 6.3 million tonnes of canola were crushed, up 31.8 per cent from the previous year.
Compared to July 2010, increases were recorded in all livestock commodities, ranging from 1.8 per cent for dairy to 16.7 per cent for poultry. The cattle and calves index was up 15.7 per cent this July compared to July 2010. It was the largest contributor to the livestock and animal products index, the report says. BF