CANADA - Farm Credit Canada reports average farmland values in Canada continued to climb in 2016 but lost steam in most provinces, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Farm Credit Canada's latest Farmland Values Report shows farmland values increased by an average of 7.9 per cent in 2016, compared to 10.1 per cent in 2015 and 14.3 per cent in 2014.
FCC Chief Agricultural Economist J.P. Gervais says what stands out is that, for the third consecutive year, growth has slowed down.
J.P. Gervais-Farm Credit Canada
Farmland values are still increasing but at a slower pace.
That's true at the national level when you average out all the different provinces but also for most provinces.
In some cases, if you think of Ontario and Quebec in central Canada, we have four years of consecutive increases slowing down.
In the prairies, if you think of Saskatchewan for example, that's the third consecutive year where we have the rate of growth in farmland values that's coming down so really I think farmland values are cooling off.
I'm calling this a slowdown because we've had 10 amazing years of growth when it comes to farm income.
In less than 10 years actually we've more than doubled crop receipts and that's especially true in the prairies.
We're looking at 2016 now and we don't have yet the final numbers for 2016 but we know that crop receipts have likely slowed down.
In Saskatchewan, for example, you're likely to get crop receipts down in 2016 relative to 2015.
Part of this is because of some of the production challenges we had, quality issues as well and softer pricing as well.
We did face lower prices on average in 2016 than in 2015.
So overall I think we've had slower growth when it comes to farm revenues and that slows down farmland value increases that we've seen over the last few years and I think that's the number one driver.
Mr Gervais says other factors, such as interest rates, also play a role but lower income is the main factor.
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