Climate Change more than doubles Canada Farmland prices

Climate change is giving Canada a longer growing season and milder climate. This is enabling a switch from wheat to corn production and more than doubling farmland prices.

Corn’s new appeal to Canada’s prairie farmers is based on two things: climate change and price. Growing seasons in the prairie provinces—which border Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana—have lengthened about two weeks to up to 120 days in the past half-century. The mean annual temperature is likely to climb by as much as 3C (6F) in the region by 2050, according to Canadian researchers.

A temperate climate and longer growing season are ideal for corn. An acre of farmland produces more corn than wheat, making corn the more profitable grain, while the higher yields drive up land values as well.

Corn has long grown in southern Ontario’s mild climate, but for Canadians to be big players in the crop at a new order of magnitude, they must plant in the vast farmland of the prairie provinces. Farmers planted a record 121,400 hectares (300,000 acres) of corn in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta this year.

Bloomberg – The US produces 275 to 300 million tons of corn. Farmers across the world will harvest 838 million metric tons of corn in the 2012-13 crop year, down 3 percent from 864 million tons forecast on July 26 and below last year’s output of 875 million tons. The US planted about 97 million acres of corn.

With more than 64 million acres of arable land, Saskatchewan contains almost 40 per cent of the farmland in Canada – more than any other province. Yet it is not only the quantity of farmland in Saskatchewan that attracts investors but also its quality. Investment analysts stress that the province contains some of the world’s finest grain lands, with productive soils and reliable access to water. Under the mild climate-warming scenario predicted for the Prairie region, Saskatchewan’s agricultural productivity is expected to rise.

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