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Agriculture Snapshot

The following chart details the number of Northumberland County farms by industry:

 

2016

2011

Total farms in Northumberland County

954

974

Total Farm Area - Acres 231,606 240,881 

Industry

Farms

 Metric (Animals/

Acres/Sq. Ft.)

Farms

 Metric (Animals/

Acres/Sq. Ft.)

 Beef cattle ranching and farming

150

 6,225 (Animals)

179

 7,092 (Animals)

 Dairy cattle and milk production

66

 4,877 (Animals)

83

 5,163 (Animals)

 Poultry and egg production

27

 417,057 (Animals)

26

 544,483 (Animals)

 Sheep and goat farming

31

 8,906 (Animals)

31

 7,955 (Animals)

 Other animal production

133

 6,593 (Animals)

142

 7,617 (Animals)

 Oilseed and grain farming

273

 106,154 (Acres)

221

 102,688 (Acres)

 Vegetable and melon farming

40

 763 (Acres)

31

 530 (Acres)

 Fruit and tree nut farming

19

 1,133 (Acres)

22

 1,052 (Acres)

 Other crop farming

177

 40,383 (Acres)

196

 47,437 (Acres)

 Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture

38

 213,132 (Sq. Ft.)

43

 240,198 (Sq. Ft.)

 

Mother and Son in Wheat Field   

Northumberland County is known for having high quality farmland, over 31% (146,296 acres) of the land in the County is protected agricultural land, of which 67% is considered prime agricultural land (between soil classes 1 and 3). Over 28% of County’s agricultural land is identified as Class 1 soils with no significant limitations for growing crops.

 

The rich soil located in Northumberland makes a large portion of the county land base optimal for agricultural use and one of the defining characteristics of the area is the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Moraine is composed of irregular ridges stretching 160 kilometres from the Trent River in the east to the Niagara Escarpment in the west.

 

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing describes the Moraine as a unique concentration of  

environmental, geological and hydrological features that make its ecosystem vital to south-central Ontario, including:

  • clean and abundant water resources;
  • healthy and diverse plant and animal habitat;
  • an attractive and distinct landscape;
  • prime agricultural areas.

With heat units ranging from 2900 in the south end to 2700 on the northern edge, Northumberland farmers enjoy an ideal climate for dozens of crops. The ideal climate is a factor influencing some impressive Regional performance statistics:

  • Apple production in Northumberland makes up 6% of the provincial acreage marking an increase of 4.4%  growth in the industry since 2011
  • 2.5% of the provinces raspberry crop production is found in Northumberland at 17 acres, while our 50 acres of strawberries harvested each year make up 1.7% of Ontario’s acreage.
  • Northumberland produces approximately 3.46% of the provinces mixed grains, 2.82% of the province's alfalfa, and 2.26% of Ontario's oats
  • Bio-products, such as hemp, have proven well suited to the growing conditions in Northumberland County
  • Northumberland County has doubled the amount of Honey Bee farms from 22 farms reporting in 2011 to 45 farms in 2016 and currently maintains approximately 3% of Ontario’s Honeybee Colonies
  • A fledgling Beverage Farming industry has taken hold in Northumberland County with several small brewers in the area. Northumberland County, through the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) has invested in a Hops Pelletizing Machine, and works with of the Ontario Hops Growers Association to promote hops production byengaging and attracting land owners who might be interested in new and value-added crop ideas.
Northumberland’s farmer crop rotation practices ensure annual variability in the major field crops identified in the county. Soybean was the major field crop in Northumberland County in 2016 and is harvested from a total of 42,048 acres of farmland. Hay is a close second in major field crop in Northumberland with 40,037 acres planted in 2016. Interestingly, potato farming has shown a significant increase in the county with 53 acres reported in 2011 and 346 acres in 2016, demonstrating a 500% increase in this crop in Northumberland.
Harvest in Northumberland