Farm Product Prices Survey (FPPS)

Detailed information for March 2012





Record number:


The purpose of the prices series is to collect accurate, up-to-date information on farm product prices received by farmers for agricultural commodities produced and sold.

Data release - May 8, 2012


The series produces provincial data on average prices received by farmers for agricultural products produced and sold. The primary purpose is to provide the pricing component of the Farm Cash Receipts series (record number 3437), which values the agriculture sectors' contribution to the Canadian economy. The prices are also used to calculate the Farm Product Price Index series (record number 5040). Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other federal departments use the data to develop, administer and evaluate agricultural policies and programs. Provincial departments and agencies use the prices for production and price analysis to support provincial stabilization programs. A wide variety of groups and individuals also make use of the data for economic research.

Reference period: Monthly

Collection period: One month period following reference month.


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Agriculture price indexes
  • Farm financial statistics
  • Prices and price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe includes all Canadian agriculture operations as defined by the Census of Agriculture, as well as all marketing boards, agencies, commissions and federal and provincial government departments that collect data on producer prices or data from which prices can be calculated.

Instrument design

Paper questionnaires were developed by commodity analysts in conjunction with feedback from respondents. In addition to the commodity description the questionnaire outlines the purpose of the survey and the time and terms of sale for which the questions are asked.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The sample for the Potato Prices Survey and the Hay and Straw Survey in Ontario, which are part of the Farm Product Prices Survey is selected from the Census of Agriculture. The samples for the Grains and Specialty Crops Survey and the Grains and Oilseed Survey are selected from large companies which purchase these crops. The largest companies are selected into the sample with a probability of 100%. Medium and small companies are sampled lightly.

Provinces and commodities currently surveyed include:
Ontario - The Ontario Hay and Straw Prices Survey (sample of 125 per quarter) collects quarterly data of tame hay and straw prices.

Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia - The Potato Prices Survey (sample of 600 per month) collects monthly data of potato prices.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta - The Grains and Specialty Crops Survey (sample 13 per month) collects monthly data from companies which purchase these crops.

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island - The Grains and Oilseeds Survey (sample 21 per month) collects monthly data from companies which purchase these crops.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data for the Potato Prices Survey and the Ontario Hay and Straw Prices Survey are collected by telephone interview.

Data on the Grains and Specialty Crops Survey in the Western provinces and the Grains and Oilseeds Survey in the Maritime provinces are collected by fax, email and telephone. Administrative data on commodity prices are obtained by fax, email and through Web sites on the Internet.

Prices are estimated on a monthly basis. Where possible, administrative data sources are used in order to reduce response burden. The administrative data come from a variety of sources including: the Canadian Wheat Board, the Ontario Wheat Producers' Marketing Board, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, CANFAX, the Canadian Dairy Commission, the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency as well as numerous auction markets.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).

Error detection

Survey responses for each commodity are listed in descending order and outliers are identified and removed. Data are compared with those received for previous months and for the same commodity in other provinces. If large shifts are observed they are followed-up and corrections are made as required.


When prices data are not obtained for the current month the previous month's price is used or an estimate is made based on the price trend observed for the same commodity in other provinces. There are no imputation procedures for non-responses since averages of reported values are used.


For the Potato Prices Survey and the Ontario Hay and Straw Survey, simple averages of the prices reported are calculated. Respondents to the Grains and Specialty Crops Survey in the Prairies and the Grains and Oilseeds Survey in the Maritimes also provide data on quantities purchased enabling weighted average prices to be calculated.

Commodities are priced at point of first transaction, where the fees deducted before a producer is paid are excluded (e.g., storage, transportation and administrative costs), but bonuses and premiums that can be attributed to specific commodities are included. Commodity-specific program payments are not included in the price.

Quality evaluation

The quality of farm prices is evaluated by checking the consistency of these data with other sources or previous occasions. An interpretative analysis is also conducted. Much of the data which goes into the calculation of farm prices comes from administrative programs. Much of it is already audited by the source organizations.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions are made to prices obtained through administrative data whenever better data becomes available. Every five years when intercensal revisions are made, further revisions are done if necessary to correct any conceptual differences or inconsistencies in the price series.

Data accuracy

Some commodities are very seasonal and not marketed or purchased by survey respondents during certain months of the year. Prices for these commodities are of poor quality for those months. Data collected through administrative sources are considered to be of high quality.

No direct measures of the margin of error in the estimates can be calculated. The quality of the estimates can be inferred from analysis of revisions and from a subjective assessment of the data sources and methodology used in the preparation of the estimates.

Response rates to the monthly potato price survey and the quarterly hay and straw price survey are over 95%. Response rates to the monthly grain purchasers surveys in the Prairies and the Maritime provinces is about 75%.

Every effort is made to ensure that administrative data are conceptually correct for the use to which they are put. Users should be aware that administrative data are generally compiled for an organization's own needs, and not for survey purposes. Any anomalies or inconsistencies detected are verified with the source, and where necessary, adjustments are made to reconcile data with the conceptual framework of our series. The administrative agencies used are considered to be the best source available, and data received from them is judged to be of very good quality, even in those circumstances where adjustments have been made. Much price data come from the accounting departments of various marketing agencies, and are originally used to issue cheques to producers, are audited, and so quality is deemed to be excellent.

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