B E TDb SflE
Agricultural Department Bulletin No. 91
PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DAIRY FARM SURVEY
Report on One Hundred and Twenty-
four Farms in the Arrow Lakes,
Chilliwack, Courtenay, Ladner
and Salmon Arm Districts
FOR THE YEAR ENDING MAY 1st, 1921
H. R. HARE, B.S.A.
Extension Assistant, Department of Animal Husbandry,
College of Agriculture, University of British Columbia,
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE CIRCULAR No. 3
The funds providing for this investigation and for the publication of this report are
allocated under the Agricultural Instruction Act, 1913. Canada
Explanation of terms used 1
Description of types of farming studied in the different districts 2
THE DAIRY FARMING BUSINESS IN GENERAI;.
Labour incomes as affected by size of farm 6
How efficiency in the employment of labour affected labour income 8
The effect of poor and good crops and livestock on labour income 9
The butter-fat production of the herd as affected by the pure-bred sire. ... 10
The comparative effect of breeding versus feeding as shown by labour income 10
Rented versus owned farms 11
The rate of interest on investment that the farms returned 12
The effect of specialization in dairying on farms of various sizes 12
THE SPECIALIZED DAIRY FARMING BUSINESS.
The effect of selling cash crops on labour income 14
Labour income as it is affected by the percentage of tillable area of the
farm used as pasture 14
The cost of producing butter- fat 15
The effect of yie size of the herd and the amount of butter-fat sold per cow
on the cost of producing butter-fat 16
The cost of producing butter-fat as affected by the pure-bred sire and
efficient feeding 17
The effect of the amount of farm business on the cost of producing butter-fat 17
How the cost of producing butter-fat is influenced by good crops and the
economical employment of labour 18
Feeding versus breeding as a means of reducing butter-fat production costs 18
OLLOWING up the dairy farm survey, which they had inaugurated
in 1920, the Department of Animal Husbandry of the University of
British Columbia found themselves in a position in 1921 to extend
this work of investigation so aa to include two new districts.
These new districts are Salmon Arm and Arrow Lakes in the
interior of British Columbia, the farms of which areas are herein
reported upon for the first time in this investigational work. In
addition to these sections, the farms in the Chilliwack and Ladner
districts in the Lower Fraser Valley, and Courtenay, Vancouver
Island, are further studied* and reported upon in this bulletin.
Farmers operate their farms with varying degrees of success.
In this report an attempt has been made to determine the factors
that make for gain or loss on farms in certain areas within the
In order to get the necessary information, a field-man called on each farmer
included in the survey and secured detailed records of each farmer's receipts and
expenses for one year. These records included, in addition to the business
transacted during the year, an inventory of all livestock, equipment, buildings
and land as at the beginning and the end of the year covered in the investigation.
The year herein reported upon extended from May 1st, 1920, to April 30th, 1921,
and thus may be called the crop year of 1920. The records compiled through
the co-operation of the farmers and with the aid of feed houses and creameries
that were able to give detailed accounts of the feed the farmers bought and the
milk the farmers sold, are the data on which this report is based.
EXPLANATION OF TERMS USED.
Farm Income. The farm income is the amount of farm receipts left after
paying all expenses in connection with the operation of the farm. In the expenses
are reckoned wages for all help, including family labour, depreciation on all
buildings and machinery, in addition to the other current expenses in connection
with the farm. Wages to the operator for his labour are not included in expenses.
Labour Income. It is recognized that the farmer has a considerable amount
of capital invested in his farm, livestock and equipment. Provision must be made
for interest on this capital. The farm income is divided into two parts interest
income or income due to interest on investment, and labour income or income
due to the labour arid managerial ability that the farmer has put into the
business during the year. Labour income is then the farm income, less interest
on investment. Interest on investment has been calculated at 1% all through
this report, except where otherwise stated. No record is made of the farm
products used in the house, except in the case of beef and pork. The farmer
has had, in addition to his labour income, the eggs, milk, potatoes and garden
truck that he has used from the farm. He has also had a house, free of rent,
which has been kept in repair. It can be seen, then, that a farmer, whose farm
returns him a minus labour income, may still live well and even save money.
It may be that he owns his farm and does not have to pay interest, and he may
not have paid cash for the family labour which the report allows for. In this
case he has not made money by means of his labour, but on his investment,
which is due to return him interest, or on his unpaid family help. In cases,
however, where he has paid interest and did pay for his family labour and still
has shown a minus labour income, and continues to show minus year after year,
there are only two avenues of escape from eventual bankruptcy: either he must
leave the farm, or so manage his farm business that his labour income will be
Labour income represents the wages the farm returns to the operator for
his labour and management of the farm. It is used as a means of comparing
For earlier study of these districts, see Agricultural Department Circular No. 36.
"the efficiency of one farm with that of another. Variations in labour incomes
are due in many cases to unavoidable circumstances, but largely they are due to
factors that come more or less within the farmer's control.
Animal Unit. A mature cow, or horse, kept on the farm for a year is termed
an animal unit. All livestock kept on a farm is reduced to an animal unit basis
by comparing the amount each animal consumes with the consumption of a
mature cow during one year. Thus a farm having thirty animal units would
be one where the total livestock on the farm would consume the same amount
of feed as would thirty mature cows in one year.
Livestock Index. This is a measure of the efficiency of the livestock on the
farm. A farm having a livestock index of 100 would be one where the gross
receipts from livestock per animal unit are equal to the average gross receipts
per animal unit of all farms included in the investigation. A farm having a
livestock index of 120 would be one where the gross livestock receipts per animal
unit are above the average. A livestock index of seventy-five would indicate
that on that particular farm the livestock receipts per animal unit are below
Crop Index. By this index crop yields per acre are expressed. A farm
having a crop index of 100 would be one where the yield of crops per acre is
equal to the average of all farms in the survey. Higher or lower crop indexes
would indicate crop yields above or below the average crop yields.
Dairy Diversity Index. This denotes the degree of specialization in dairying.
A farm having a dairy diversity index of fifty would be one where 50% of the
gross receipts of the farm come from the sale of milk, milk products and dairy
Fruit Diversity Index- This shows the percentage of total farm receipts that
come from the sale of fruit
Tillable Area. As rough pasture and other untillable land adds to the feeding
capacity of the farm, it must be considered in the total tillable area. It is
estimated that three acres of rough land or ten acres of pastured woods would
produce feed equal t one acre of tillable land. Thus to the tillable area of a
farm is added one-third of the rough land and one-tenth of the pastured woods.
The total is known as the tillable area of the farm.
Production Efficiency of Cows. The total digestible nutrients of all feed used
on the farm are calculated. The total digestible nutrients per animal unit are
then determined. By dividing the total digestible nutrients per animal unit on
each farm by the number of pounds butter-fat sold per cow the production
efficiency is determined. The production efficiency, then, is the number of total
digestible nutrients fed to produce for sale one pound of butter-fat.
DESCRIPTION OF TYPES OF FARMING STUDIED IN THE
Table No. 1.
Acreage in Farm.
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Arrow Lakes. . . .
Salmon Arm ....
The business of one hundred and twenty-four farms was investigated, and
of these it was found that one hundred and five could be used for all tabulations.
Nineteen farms were found to be extreme in certain particulars and could there-
fore be used in the preparation of only a few of the tables shown in this report.
The farms of the Arrow Lakes are quite scattered and extend along the
Lakes from East Robson at the South to Nakusp at the North. This report
includes surveys of farms at East Robson, Edgewood, Needles, .Burton and
Nakusp. From Table No. 1 the farms of this district are shown to be small as
compared with those of the other districts. The farmers conduct a fruit-growing
business largely, and make a great proportion of their farm receipts from the
sale of apples and small fruits. Some farms, however, conduct a considerable
dairy business and dispose of this milk locally, to the Nelson or Salmon Arm
creameries, or to Revelstoke for city consumption. The yield of farm crops per
acre is found to be very low in the Arrow Lakes district during the year.
The Courtenay district is distinctly a dairy district. The farms are of fair
size, but quite a large proportion of the acreage is untilled as yet, as is shown in
Table No. 1. Owing to their specialization in the dairy business, a very small
amount of their receipts come from the sale of crops. The Courtenay creamery
supplies a good market for the butter-fat produced. This district includes several
farms on Denman Island.
The Salmon Arm area is quite distinctly divided into two parts: the bottom-
land farms, used for general dairy farming, and the bench farms, used largely
for growing apples, cherries and small fruits. Table No. 1 shows that quite a
large percentage of the receipts come from the sale of crops. These crops are
grain and hay from the bottom lands and fruit from the benches.
Chilliwack farmers feature the production of butter-far, as is shown by their
high dairy diversity index. A small percentage of the receipts come from the
sale of crops. The yield of crops and the quality of the livestock are both high
as compared with other districts studied during the year. The butter-fat of this
district is handled by the Fraser Valley Milk Producers' Association, which pro-
vides a splendid outlet for this commodity.
The Ladner farmers make the large percentage of their receipts from dairy
cows. The Fraser Valley Milk Producers' Association provide a market for milk
from this area. The farmers, however, sell a considerable quantity of grain and
hay. In size of farms, this district surpasses all other districts studied.
AVERAGE YIELD OF CROPS IN TONS PER ACRE, ON FARMS INCLUDED
IN THE INVESTIGATION, FOR THE CROP YEAR OF 1920.
Table No. 2.
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Timothy and Clover Hay
Other Hay . . . .
Grain Crops for Silage
Corn for Silage
Clover for Silage
During the year that this irrvestigational work was conducted, livestock
values dropped considerably. Between May 1st. 1920, and May 1st, 1921, the
inventories of livestock on the average farm indicated a drop of twelve dollars
per animal unit.
Labour incomes for the year were found to be lower than those of the
previous year, owing largely to the same cause.
Grainjprices also fell considerably. The price of oats during the year dropped
50%. This reduced the labour incomes on the grain farms very materially.
The drop in prices, along with the heavy loss of crop through fall rains, made
the grain farms appear at a disadvantage as compared with other types of farms
for the year. The Ladner district suffered a heavy loss on account of the drop
in grain prices and fall rains. The fruit farmers of Salmon Arm and Arrow
Lakes districts sustained heavy loss on account of spring frosts, which caught
considerable fruit in blossom. This loss was reflected in their labour incomes,
as is shown in Table No. 3.
KESUI/T OF THE FARMING OPERATIONS BY DISTRICTS.
Table No. 3.
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Arrow Lakes . .
- 159 75
Table No. 3 shows, by districts, the average result of the year's operations
of the farms studied. The labour income is shown with interest on capital
calculated at both 7 and 3%%. All labour incomes show as minus when
interest on capital was calculated at 7%, while they all show a plus when interest
was allowed at 3%%. This simply indicates that the average returns in all
districts were not sufficient to allow the higher rate of interest and still leave a
balance as income due to labour.
The farmers of the Arrow Lakes group had small tillable area and a high
capitalization per acre. Their receipts were greater per acre, but the size of the
farms was not sufficient to bring the total receipts high enough to leave as good
returns in labour income as was secured on farms of the other groups which had
greater acreage. This disadvantage will be lessened as more land is cleared.
The farms of this district show the greatest minus labour income at 7% and the
smallest labour income at -3%-%. It has been previously stated that the fruit
farmers of this district suffered a loss owing to spring frosts. In the other
districts the amount of the minus labour incomes, when interest was calculated
at 7%, increased in proportion to the size of the farms. This was probably due
to one of two causes: either the land values were too high, or too high a rate of
interest was allowed on the valuation. The valuation of farms was based upon
current selling prices of farms in the various districts. It is realized that the
farmer who does the greatest amount of business should receive best returns.
Table No. 3 shows that, with the exception of the farms of the Arrow Lakes
district, the increased total farm business did not increase the return in labour
income when interest on capital at 7% was allowed. When the rate of interest
was calculated at 3%%, the returns as shown in labour income increased as did
the size of the business. Table No. 3 proves, then, that on the farms studied
during the year the average farmer did not make interest on his investment at
7%. The best farms of the various districts did make more than an interest
income, even when 7% interest on investment was allowed, as in their case
considerable farm income was left. This farm income appears as labour income
in Table No. 4.
Table No. 4.
Average Size of Farms in
Average of Five Best La-
bour Incomes Allowing
7% Interest on Capital.
$ 364 35
Courtenay . .
1 604 53
1 637 04
1 352 86
The average tillable area of the best farms of the Arrow Lakes district is
much below that of other districts. Considerable acreage is yet to be cleared.
Along with this handicap, spring frosts reduced fruit yields. A combination of
the two factors resulted in low returns on even the best farms in this district.
In the Ladner district, the greatly reduced returns, as compared with Courtenay,
Salmon Arm and Chilliwack, were chiefly due to fall rains and drop in grain
The Dairy Farming Business in General
Dairy farming and fruit farming were the two distinct types of farming
investigated during the year. As the factors which make for success or failure
in these two types of farming are very different from one another, it has been
deemed advisable to report the detailed study in two separate publications. The
remainder of the present report covers the detail of the dairy farming business
and includes ninety-eight farms of the total one hundred and twenty-four farms
mentioned in the introductory portion of this report. Of the ninety-eight dairy
farms upon which figures were secured, it was found that sixteen were extreme in
certain points and could be used in the preparation of only a few tables of this
In the several districts, and within particular districts, farms vary in
organization and size. Returns from the year's operations vary accordingly.
These points are brought out in Table No. 5. As this table, however, is somewhat
cumbersome owing to condensation, the main points are set forth more clearly
in the following pages, which contain smaller tables (Nos. 6 to 10), made from
Table No. 5, bearing on specific points.
Table No. 5.
Size. Tillable Area.
26 to 45
46 to 80
81 to 125
No. of farms
Average tillable acres
Average actual acres
Average acres in crop
Average total capital
$9 438 35
$15 128 20
$23 832 45
$36 933 06
$67 635 81
Average capital in land
$5 225 38
$8 385 58
$13 886 58
$24 919 39
$46 116 67
Average % capital in land. . .
Average capital in buildings.
Average % capital in buildings
Average capital in machinery
Average % capital in ma-
Average capital in livestock .
Average % capital in livestock
Average capital in feed
Average crop acres per man .
Average crop acres per horse
Average livestock index
Average crop index
Average dairy diversity index
Average % total farm receipts
Average % expense equals of
Average % farm receipts
spent for labour
Average animal units
Average animal units per till-
Average receipts from crops
$1 509 95
Average feed bought
Average depreciation, build-
ings and machinery . . .
Average labour hired
$1 111 24
$1 974 04
Average gross receipts
$1 500 20
$2 777 78
$3 895 27
Average gross receipts per
Average total current expense
Average interest and rent. . . .
Average labour income, with
interest on investment
calculated at 7%
calculated at 3 y 2 %
Average labour income on
best farms with interest
allowed at 7 %
LiABOTJR INCOMES ON DIFFERENT SIZED FARMS.
Table No. 6.
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Under 26 acres. . .
26 to 45 acres. . .
46 to 80 acres. . .
81 to 125 acres. .
126 acres and over
With interest on investment calculated at 7%, the farms of Group No. 2,
with 26 to 45 acres tillable and an average of 84 total acres, were operated with
greatest success. The largest farms returned the lowest labour incomes, as is
shown in the column of Table No. 6, "Average labour income allowing interest
at 7%." The next column, showing interest calculated at 3%%, proves that the
largest farms derived greatest labour incomes, and the smallest farms secured
the smallest labour incomes. The reason for the variation between these columns
is the different interest rate on investment charged against the farming opera-
tions. The capitalization of the farms was so high that the average farmer could
not afford to pay the higher interest; and the larger the farm the worse the
labour income, with the exception of Groups No. 2 and No. 3. The farmers of
Group No. 2 applied greater ability to the management of their farms, as is
shown in Table No. 7.
Table No. 7.
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26 acres. .
26 to 45
46 to 80