Biannual Potato Area and Yield Survey (PAYS)

Detailed information for 2023





Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to obtain information to produce national and provincial level estimates of potato production.

Data release - July 18, 2023 (data collected in June 2023); December 5, 2023 (data collected in October 2023); January 23, 2024 (revised data)


The June occasion of this survey collects data on potato area planted in the current crop year. The October occasion of this survey collects data on potato area planted and harvested as well as production and yield information in the current year. Data produced from this survey are used by agricultural producers and industry analysts to make production and marketing decisions, and by government analysts to monitor the potato industry and to develop agricultural policies in Canada. The data are used in the calculation of farm income estimates and flow into the Canadian System of National Accounts. Further, the data are used in the calculation of farm income projections produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in co-operation with Statistics Canada and the provinces.

Reference period: June planting and October harvest

Collection period: June/July and October/November


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Crops and horticulture

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe includes all potato producers in Canada although data are collected directly only in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia; other provinces report through administrative sources. Potato producers on Indian Reserves and Institutional farms are excluded from this survey.

Instrument design

The development of the questions for the survey was based on other surveys including the Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture questionnaire was tested using focus groups and pilot surveys.


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

The sampling unit is the establishment.

Farms are stratified based on province and potato acreage. In each province, a threshold for the potato acreage was defined using the sigma-gap method, based on the importance of that commodity to the provincial totals. All operations with acreage above the provincial threshold were automatically selected in the sample due to their significance. For the remaining units, the cumulative square root-f method was used to divide the strata into either 2 or 3 groups (depending on the province) based on acreage.

The population consists of all potato farms in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The frame includes all potato producers, excluding Indian reserves and institutional farms, who reported more than 1 acre of potatoes on the Census of Agriculture. The frame is supplemented by known new operations annually. Stratification and allocation are by size of operation.

The sample is selected using a stratified simple random sampling method. Approximately 250 operations are included in the sample.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Data are collected annually using an e-mail invitation to open, complete and submit an electronic questionnaire. If the questionnaire is not completed on-line by the deadline date, the respondent will be contacted for a scheduled telephone interview.

Administrative data is provided by:

- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
- Institut de la statistique du Québec
- Potato Growers of Alberta
Administrative data from Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are considered public and published as is.

The Potato Area and Yield Survey will require integration of administrative macro level data for the following domain estimates: Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

Agriculture Division will remain responsible for obtaining macro level data from provincial contacts. Macro level data will not be integrated via central collection services but will be captured or batch loaded by the survey team in the macro data interface of the IBSP Review and Adjustment Facility (RAF).

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

Error detection

New IBSP tools will be utilized to conduct data editing.
We will employ the following methods:
1) Top 20 contributor analysis (macro/micro)
2) Use of historical data for comparison and possible imputation. (micro/macro)
3) Use of ratios and provincial averages to impute incorrect or missing data (micro)
4) Industry Research - in consultation with LAOS (for Large Agricultural Operation Statistics) team, internet, provincial and industry specialists.


Once every five years the published potato area estimates are aligned with the results of the Census of Agriculture. Any adjustments made to the data during the Census year are adjusted to reflect historical trends. The impact of the revisions is normally less than 5%, however, the impact can be higher.


The survey data collected are weighted within each stratum in order to produce estimates representative of the population. Quality indicators are provided along with each estimate based on a combination of sampling variance and response rate of the variable.

Quality evaluation

Data verification and analysis of top contributors and historical comparisons are performed before a final estimate is disseminated. Seeded acreage values are compared to the Census of Agriculture survey results. Additional sources of information provided by provincial and industry specialists are used in the data validation process.

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

Once every five years the published potato area estimates are aligned with the results of the Census of Agriculture. Any adjustments made to the data during the Census year are then smoothed in over the historical five-year period between the Censuses. The impact of the revisions is normally less than 5%, however, the impact can be higher.

Data accuracy

All surveys are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Sampling error occurs because population estimates are derived from a sample of the population rather than the entire population. Non-sampling error is not related to sampling and may occur for various reasons during the collection and processing of data. For example, non-response is an important source of non-sampling error. Under or over-coverage of the population, differences in the interpretations of questions and mistakes in recording, coding and processing data are other examples of non-sampling errors. To the maximum extent possible, these errors are minimized through careful design of the survey questionnaire, verification of the survey data, and follow-up with respondents when needed to maximize response rates.

Measures of sampling error are calculated for each estimate. Also, when non-response occurs, it is taken into account and the quality is reduced based on its importance to the estimate. Other indicators of quality are also provided such as the response rate. Both the sampling error and the non-response rate are combined into one quality rating code. This code uses letters that ranges from A to F where A means the data is of excellent quality and F means it is unreliable. These quality rating codes can be requested and should always be taken into consideration.

For the Potato Area Yield Survey the estimates at the Canada level (area, production, yield, etc.) have a quality rating of A which makes the estimate very reliable. Estimates for some variables at the national and provincial level have a wider range of quality ratings. Quality ratings are available upon request.

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