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Report No. 2/95

Inventory of Databases on Agricultural Energy Use in Canada.  By Tulay Yildirim, Richard White and Varghese Manaloor.  June 1995, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

NOTE: This document provides general information on the inventory of databases. If you wish to see the inventory in an indexed format choose and click on the following:



1. Introduction

The information on agricultural energy use is of two basic types.  The first type of information is statistical data on energy use in Canadian agriculture.  The second type of information consists of books, research papers, journal articles and unpublished working papers that deal with the energy use in agriculture.  These are obtained mostly through on-line library search, and from various governmental bodies, from universities and colleges, and from private consultants.

This report documents the characteristics of available databases pertinent to agricultural energy use.  The second type of information is organized as a bibliography which is provided in CAEEDAC Report No. 3/95, A Bibliography of Agricultural Energy Use.  The search for databases on agricultural energy use is one of CAEEDAC 's continuing activities.  The inventory of information provided here is based on information gathered between May 1994 and February 1995, and should not be viewed as an all inclusive list.  As new information is received additional index pages will be sent to the centres distribution list.

The initial step taken in the data collection exercise was to contact as many people as possible who might have access to such information or who could provide the names of other contact persons.  A total of 230 letters were sent to solicit information on agricultural energy use.  In addition, numerous phone calls were made and facsimile messages were sent, and several personal interviews were conducted.  The letters of request were mailed to people in four different categories; federal government, provincial governments, university or colleges, and private companies/consultants (for a complete list see CAEEDAC Report No.1/95).

In this report the following information is presented in an indexed format:

2. Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada is the largest supplier of data on agricultural energy use. Statistics Canada databases, which include data on agricultural energy use are listed below. The Statistics Canada Catalogue number and the CANSIM matrix numbers wherever they are applicable are also listed.

The Whole Farm Data Base Project (WFDB) of Statistics Canada has data on expenditures on energy use and data on stock and flow of farm machinery.  These data are available in electronic format: Extraction System of Agricultural Statistics (ESAS). The corresponding printed source for the data is:

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3. Tax Rebate/Exemption Information

Agricultural producers in all provinces are eligible for tax rebates or exemptions for farm fuel use. For identification purposes coloring agents are added to tax exempt fuel, and it is generally referred to as marked or colored fuel. Information on the provincial farm fuel programs are reported in CAEEDAC Report No. 1/95. The finance departments of three prairie provinces keep records of the quantities of fuel eligible for tax rebates/ exemption. These data which were received from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba finance departments contain the following information.

Alberta:  Provincial government provides assistance to farmers under the Alberta Farm Fuel Distribution Allowance program (AFFDA) through the provincial tax exemption on marked gasoline used in farming operations.  In addition to the AFFDA program, the federal government has also assisted farmers and commercial users of gasoline by refunding the excise tax on gasoline. The following information is available:

Saskatchewan:  The provincial Finance department, which administers the provincial fuel tax rebate program, provided CAEEDAC with the following information:

This data should be viewed with caution, since the program has imposed a cap on the amount of fuel a farmer can claim for rebate.  Thus, the quantities should have a downward bias of the true volumes of consumption of farm fuels (which could be as much as 30% under the actual consumption).  But, whenever the caps are not effective, another problem arises, that is the possibility of marked gasoline being used for off-farm purposes.

Manitoba: Manitoba Finance Department which administers the provincial farm fuel program, provided CAEEDAC with the following information regarding marked gasoline program:

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4. Data Received From Energy Supplier


Some unpublished data on natural gas and electricity use in Alberta was obtained from utility companies.  Mr. John Chang, an agricultural engineer with Alberta Agriculture, has played a major role in soliciting this information.

Data on electricity used in Alberta agriculture were provided by TransAlta Utilities. Natural gas franchise areas in Alberta are serviced by numerous companies.  Member owned cooperatives service the largest part of this market.  There are numerous member owned cooperatives.  While it is possible to obtain volume of total sales by Gas Alberta to these cooperatives, it is impossible to get data from each cooperative as to the share of agriculture in total sales.  Other major companies are the Canadian Western Natural Gas Company and Northwestern Utilities Limited.

The following information was received from Canadian Western Natural Gas Company:

Northwestern Utilities Limited also provided data on agricultural customers within its distribution area in Central Alberta.  This information includes the number of farm customers, consumption (in giga joules), and net revenue from customers for the period of January 1986 to June 1994.

This information could be quite valuable at a very local level.  However, these two companies service a fairly small geographical area of the province, and their data cannot be used to analyze provincial energy use in agriculture.

TransAlta Utilities provided data on farm electricity use in Alberta from 1959 to 1993. This data set includes electricity used onfarms, including residential use.  Electricity used for irrigation is reported separately.  The number of farm customers, energy sales in kWhs, and revenues are also reported for each year from 1960 to 1990.


For Saskatchewan, the Centre obtained unpublished information from the following institutions:

(a) Sask Power

Residential consumption of farm electricity is included in this data.  With respect to the monthly data, corrections to the previous billings are made in the following month, resulting in some inaccuracy in consumption reported for any specific month.  This is very apparent in the case of electricity used for irrigation, where meters are read, at most, twice a year.

(b) SaskEnergy

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5. Provincial Surveys

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada sponsors some of the provincial cost of production surveys. These surveys are conducted by provincial departments of agriculture, universities or various marketing boards.  Survey specific information is provided in the following indexed information section.  These surveys, which cover major agricultural products of each province, are conducted annually.  Survey samples include farmers who volunteer to participate in these surveys, and hence are not random samples.  Individual records are confidential. CAEEDAC, at the present time, does not have access to these databases.  Brain Davey and David Culver of the Policy Branch of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada provided the information on the contents of these surveys to the centre.  Data collected through these surveys include crop/product specific breakdown of farm operating expenses which include farm fuel expenses.

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SECDA Survey

In the spring/summer of 1994, Saskatchewan Energy Conservation and Development Authority (SECDA) conducted a survey of farm energy use in Saskatchewan.  This survey was designed to improve information on agricultural energy use in Saskatchewan in order to identify energy saving opportunities, and also to collect the necessary data in order to develop agricultural component of the Intra Sectoral Technology Use Model (ISTUM).  The SECDA survey had two components; telephone survey and mail survey.  This survey covered six subsectors; grains and extensive livestock, feedlot operations, dairy, poultry and swine operations.  The sets of questions included in the mail and telephone surveys are quite complementary of each other.  The mail survey includes detailed questions on farm machinery use.  The telephone survey covered approximately 926 farms.  The response to mail survey, however, was low.  Only 264 farms responded which makes the statistical validity of mail survey rather questionable.  Our conversations with the Marketing Division indicates that while they received very good information on land use patterns, tillage information is not very reliable and they believe the questions regarding tillage methods were not well understood.  SECDA's experience also showed that telephone survey, although more expensive, is much more accurate than the mail survey.  In this report, information on SECDA's mail survey is indexed by subsectors.  Telephone survey is summarized separately.

Farm level records are confidential.  CAEEDAC, through a bilateral agreement with SECDA, has access to this database but, because of the confidentiality restriction, cannot release it to third parties.

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Ontario Hydro Survey

In February 1994, Deloitte and Touche prepared a report for Ontario Hydro with the objective of determining measures to improve electrical energy use efficiency on different farms in Ontario.  In addition, the number, types, and use of electrical equipment in the agriculture sector of Ontario was estimated.  The eight sub-sectors that were targeted in the study were: dairy, hog, beef, horse, broiler, layer, greenhouse, and fruit and vegetable.  A total of 639 producers from the eight sub-sectors were interviewed on telephone and then a questionnaire was mailed to elicit information on electrical equipment use on farms.

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6. Fertilizer Sales Statistics

Indirect energy costs constitute a large percentage of farm operating expenses (see CAEEDAC Report No. 1/95), and fertilizers are a major item in this group.  The Centre searched for data on indirect energy use as well as direct energy use, and obtained some data on fertilizer use in Canadian agriculture.

In October of 1985 the Soils Branch of Alberta Agriculture compiled a set of fertilizer statistics for Alberta and other western provinces.  The data were on fertilizer sales by nutrient type.  Data were provided for the volume of sales from 1946 to 1985.  There is, however, no price information.  The sources of this data are Statistics Canada, The Western Canada Fertilizer Association and The Canadian Fertilizer Institute.

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7. Data on Farm Machinery and Equipment

The most comprehensive source of data on the number of farm machinery are the Statistics Canada publications; namely, Farm Energy Use, 1981 and the Census Statistics.  Census of agriculture provides the total number of tractors (by size groups), farm trucks, combines, swathers, balers, forage harvesters, cultivation, tillage and seeding equipment by provinces.  These data are available for census years only. SECDAs farm energy survey includes detailed questions regarding farm equipment and machinery use in Saskatchewan, which are suitable to end-use modeling. Indexed information on machinery use from two sources below are presented in this report.

Nebraska Tractor Tests

The Nebraska Tractor Testing Laboratory has been testing tractors since 1920. Practically all tractors being used today have been tested at this laboratory.  Since its inception, over 1500 different tractor models have been tested.  The Nebraska Tractor Test reports are the only source of unbiased test information on farm tractors that are commonly available.  Virtually all tractors sold in the Canadian market are included in these tests.

Tractors are tested at the University of Nebraska according to the Agricultural Tractor Test Code, which is approved by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers.  The manufacturer selects the tractor to be tested and certifies that it is a stock model.  An official representative of the company is present during the test to see that the tractor gives its optimum performance.

These tests provide information on the following:

Nebraska Tractor Test results are published in hard copy only, and are available from:

Nebraska Center for Agricultural Equipment

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

East Campus

Lincoln, NE 68583-0832


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Provincial Publications

These publications provide information on the operational characteristics of various farm equipment and machinery.  Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food publishes "Farm Machinery Custom and Rental Guide" annually.  This publication provides information on size, work rate, machine costs (fixed costs and repair costs) per hour, machine rental per hour, custom rate per hour for agricultural machinery.  The Departments of Agriculture in Alberta and Ontario have similar publications that provide farm machinery costs and rental rate schedules.

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Prairie Agricultural Manufacturers Institute (PAMI)

PAMI acts as a testing site for various types of farm machinery and equipment, except for tractors. Test results are published as separate reports.  These reports can be obtained from PAMI.

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