Crops up, livestock down in price index

Prices farmers received for their commodities in October 2008 were up 0.3 per cent from September 2008, as the increase in the crops index offset the decrease in the livestock and animal products index, both compiled each month by Statistics Canada for its farm product price index (FPPI).

The largest month-over-month decrease was for cattle and calves, down five per cent from September, the federal statistics agency said in a release Wednesday.

On a year-over-year basis, however, all of the livestock and animal product indexes were up, except for dairy, which was unchanged. The hogs index posted the largest rise, reaching 78.5, its fourth consecutive month of year-over-year increases.

Hog prices have been struggling to improve from lows reached in late 2007, when producers faced rising feed grain costs, a higher Canadian dollar and abundant North American hog supplies. Almost 16 per cent of hog producers have left the industry since October 2007 as structural changes, along with barn and farm closures, have taken place in the hog industry.

Prices received by producers for crops advanced 1.8 per cent year-over-year from October 2007. However, this rise remained below the double-digit increases recorded between September 2006 and August 2008, when concerns over tight supplies and strong demand supported the increases.

Note: The growth rate of the total FPPI is not a weighted average of the growth rates of its crop and livestock components. The growth rate of the total FPPI is derived from a weighted average of the component indices using a different set of weights in consecutive months. Given this, the growth rate of the composite FPPI can lie outside the growth rate of the components.

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