Despite the great progress made in the industrial field, Canada remains a predominantly agricultural country: this character, indeed, has been increasingly accentuated in the post-war period, in which the prairie area, which has now become the center of cereal production, has occupied the dominant position from an economic, political and social point of view.
Given the climatic conditions of the Dominion, the arable land can be calculated at a maximum of 20% of the total surface; while over ¼ is covered by forests, half of which are currently unusable. Of the arable land, which covers approximately 250,000 sq km. (2.6% of the total area), about 70% is cultivated with cereals, predominantly wheat (42%) and oats by far, and the crops themselves being concentrated in the provinces of the prairies, to which we owe 95% of wheat, 60% of oats, 75%; barley and 90% of all Canada’s rye. As a wheat producer, Dominion is now in second place (after the United States) in the world, but first as an exporter, given the low domestic consumption. The precarious conditions of the Russian harvest have given a strong impetus to the cultivation of oats, which spread at the expense of barley and rye, taking third place in world exports. Here are the figures for the most important crops:
According to smber, more than with the special climatic conditions, the low figures of the average products per hectare are to be placed in relation to the extensive nature of the crops, which is partly a consequence of the difficulty of communications in the newly established territories. The selection of the most suitable grain varieties (Red Fife, Marquis, Ruby, Prelude, Kubanka) and their crosses, the wise use of which is due to the current prosperity of Canadian agriculture, are the object of continuous care by the government and companies. private, which are also responsible for grandiose irrigation systems (Alberta).
Of the other three large agricultural-forest areas of Canada, the one that embraces the maritime provinces is characterized by small intensive crops and livestock. Fodder, oats, potatoes, edible roots are common in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where fruit growing (Annapolis) is of special importance. However, the latter finds more favorable conditions along the middle San Lorenzo (Montreal) and above all in the interlacustre area (Ontario), which has in fact become the center of Canadian production; in order of importance: apples, grapes, strawberries, peaches, cherries, raspberries, pears, plums, partly for export (5 million dollars on average in the period 1924-28, mostly due to apples, for 1 / 3produced in Nova Scotia and 2 / 5 in British Columbia).
The production of legumes, tobacco (1927: 20 thousand hectares, 200 thousand quintals; export: 2.7 million dollars), corn (1909-13: 4.4 million quintals, 1924) is notable in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. -28: 2 million) and linen, almost all absorbed by local industries.
Significant not far from agriculture is to reach the forest in Canada, which covers no less than 2.6 million square kilometers, around Hudson Bay, Labrador and British Columbia. The intense and inconsiderate destruction that accompanied the first steps of the Whites, eager above all to procure arable land, was followed by a period of more rational exploitation: although the reserves are immense, a large part of them (620 thousand sq. Km.) Is subtracted from the cut in national parks, built on the example of the neighboring United States. The exploitation of the forest, which began in the eastern regions (Quebec), is now gradually moving its production center towards the West, for the increasing part of the timber of British Columbia in this region; However, Ottawa remains one of the largest markets in the world. The importance of the forest has grown above all due to the strong demand from the United States, for the development of the industries that are connected to it (pulp, paper) and which find an excellent market on the continent, and also for the impetus given to these industries by the use of hydro-electric energy, very abundant in the same regions where the forest is widespread. The value of fol. Canadian estates exported in 1927 amounted to $ 175 million in round numbers. Canada’s sawmills and pulp factories are the largest suppliers to the United States and it is precisely due to the enormous absorption of this market that the Dominion can balance the trade balance with its powerful neighbors; in 1925 the Canadian sawmills processed timber worth about 134 ½ million dollars (for 3/4 raw timber, then pulp and semi-finished timber, etc.); over $ 116 million was exported.
Breeding is flourishing, which are destined for very extensive natural pastures (3.8 million hectares) well distributed in all the provinces. Except for equines (3 ½ million head), of which 2/3 belong to the prairie area (Saskatchewan and Alberta), Ontario and Quebec concentrate the most conspicuous part of the livestock: one half of the sheep (3.3 million), over half of the pigs (4.7 million), and over half of the cattle whose total figure now exceeds 9 ½ million head. The increase of the zootechnical patrimony from the beginning of the century. XIX was enormous: in 1901 there were 800,000 horses, 2,300,000 sheep, 2,600,000 cattle and 2,400,000 pigs. The dairy industry that feeds it is among the oldest in Canada, dating back to the French occupation.