Hog troubles hit 2007 total net farm income

Total net farm income in Manitoba took a sharp hit last year, due in part to a sell-off of swine herds because of slumping hog markets.

Statistics Canada reported Monday that Manitoba’s total net farm income in 2007 was $276 million, down from $302 million in 2006.

(Total net income equals cash receipts minus expenses and depreciation plus the value of inventory change. Manitoba’s value of inventory change in 2007 was negative $62 million.)

Canada’s overall total net farm income went the other way, from $129 million in 2006 to $1.12 billion in 2007.

But low prices and high costs took their toll on Manitoba hog farmers, who began selling off herds in 2007.

That trend will only accelerate in 2008 as hog producers took advantage of a federal sow cull program earlier in the year to exit the industry.

Manitoba hog inventory values dropped $20.8 million in 2007. Cattle inventory values fell by $11.5 million, reflecting cattle producers’ continuing financial problems post-BSE.

Crop inventory values fell, too, by $30 million, indicating empty bins at year’s end as grain farmers rushed to sell high-priced crops, according to analysts.

But gloomy livestock markets took the edge off an otherwise positive year for Manitoba farm income.

Manitoba producers received $4.3 billion in total farm cash receipts (including payments) in 2007, 17 per cent more than in 2006.

2007 was the year commodity prices began taking off, due in large part to growing grain demand from the ethanol boom.

Manitoba farmers’ operating expenses also increased by 9.6 per cent to $3.5 billion. But net cash income nonetheless grew by 68 per cent to $794 million as higher crop prices still outstripped rising input costs.

Cash receipts

Farm cash receipts continued to increase across Canada during the first nine months of 2008, mainly due to continued strong prices for most crops.

Total farm cash receipts from January to September 2008 were $33.6 billion, up 12.5 per cent over the same period in 2007.

Total cash receipts from crops were $16.8 billion, a 29 per cent increase.

But livestock receipts fell because of continuing troubles in the hog and cattle sectors.

Total livestock cash receipts between January and September 2008 were down nearly one per cent to $13.7 billion. Hog receipts dropped 11.5 per cent to $2.3 billion, while receipts for cattle and calves were off 3.8 per cent to $4.6 billion.

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