Exceeding the Growth Plan goal

Nathan Liewicki
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Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry keeps booming.

The canola fields west of Moose Jaw were a bright yellow on July 9, 2013. Farmers will need more heat to make the best of the season. Times-Herald file photo

On Wednesday, the provincial government announced that producers harvested a record crop amount during the 2013 season.

According to the most recent estimates from Statistics Canada, the province’s 2013 crop yield clocked in at 38.4 million tonnes – 1.8 million tonnes higher than the 2020 Growth Plan crop production goal of 36.6 million tonnes.

“We knew we had a big crop, but we thought it would be under the 36.6 million ton target,” said Lyle Stewart, minister of agriculture. “We're pleasantly surprised to see there was substantially more. It is very good news for the farming community and the province.”

Stewart said the fact that Saskatchewan exceeded its production goal – set in 2012 – seven years early is a testament to the hard work of producers and everyone involved in the agriculture industry.

In total, the 2013 crop production numbers were up 40 per cent on 2012 crop production numbers and up 48 per cent on the 10-year average.

“I expect that by 2020 this sized crop will be the norm, or close to the norm,” said Stewart. “I think the challenge is to build up the handling and transportation infrastructure across Western Canada to be able to handle all of these crops every year.”

Included in the record-breaking total were two crops that broke previous records: canola and durum wheat.

The province’s canola crop reached 8.9 million tonnes this year, while durum wheat set a record at 5.6 million tonnes.

And while Stewart doesn’t know if new production targets for 2020 will be set, he said there are other goals the agriculture ministry wants to achieve.

“We still have some distance to go for value of exports,” Stewart noted. “We want to get that up to $15 billion by 2020.”

Looking at production totals in the Moose Jaw area, local soil/nutrient management specialist Patrick Mooleki said that at this time, there aren’t any specific numbers available.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Western Canada, Moose Jaw

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