Farm input price comparison between Ontario and nearby US states

Principal Investigator

Ken McEwan

Research Institution

University of Guelph

External Funding Partners

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Project Start

March 2014

Project End

December 2016


  • Survey farm input suppliers and collect prices for relevant fertilizer, chemical, seed and fuel products for corn, soybean and wheat production three times annually.
  • Report the average, minimum and maximum prices for all products surveyed by region.
  • Compare which products are priced similar, lower or higher in Ontario versus the US after converting all US prices to Canadian equivalency.
  • Monitor changes in input prices over time.


  • The identification of the variability in farm input prices across Ontario and between Ontario and the US will allow producers to make informed management decisions when preparing annual crop budgets and purchasing inputs.

Scientific Summary

Crop producers in Ontario must continually strive to be low cost producers in order to be competitive at the global level. The US is close in proximity and is a strong competitor to Ontario producers for the main field crops of corn, soybeans and wheat. OMAFRA crop budgets indicate that the four crop inputs of fertilizer, pesticides, fuel and seed represented 56% to 68% of total variable costs on crop farms in 2016. Therefore, producers in Ontario want to ensure that the prices they pay for farm inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals, fuel and seed are not priced higher than similar products in the US. Input costs for crop production are extremely volatile and market prices for the crops also vary widely. As a result, producers face a considerable amount of financial risk. Ontario producers often feel that U.S. producers are able to obtain products at lower prices and therefore have a competitive advantage by having a lower cost of production. Having detailed farm input price data will enable all Ontario grain and oilseed producers to make informed management decisions with respect to the purchasing of inputs.

This project is to investigate the issue of farm input price differences between Ontario and the US. It is a continuation of previous work that started in 1993 to monitor and track trends in input prices between Ontario and nearby US locations. The information obtained from this project can assist Ontario producers in better understanding their costs relative to a major competitor. It gives them knowledge about where prices tend to be lowest and could enable them to actively seek out these products in order to remain cost competitive. The main objective is to collect and compare farm input prices in Ontario and nearby US states to monitor price changes and determine if differences exist between the two regions.

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