Corn and soybeans are two very common Canadian crops with many different uses. Canada produces enormous quantities of these crops each year for both domestic and international markets.
- Grain corn - Kernels on the cob are used to feed livestock, to make fuels like ethanol, or used as an ingredient in the production of other foods.
- Silage corn - The whole plant is harvested as feed for livestock.
- Sweet corn - This is the type of corn we eat in various forms, including fresh, canned or frozen.
Farmers will often grow a variety of crops for different markets. Which ones they choose to grow depends on many things, such as the soil and climate in their areas. Soybeans and grain corn are mainly grown in Ontario, Québec, and Manitoba,
although farmers in Saskatchewan and the Maritimes also grow these crops. Canola, barley, oats, and wheat are grown primarily in the Prairie Provinces. Other Canadian grain, oilseed, and specialty crops are also widely grown in the
Prairies. These types include rye, quinoa, flax, canary seed, mustard, sunflower, buckwheat, and camelina, as well as forages and industrial hemp. Canadian grains and oilseeds are exported to many countries around the world.
China, for example, has long been a major importer of Canadian soybeans. Canada is also a world leader in the production and export of mustard; Prairie farmers grow three different types: yellow, brown, and oriental mustard.
Grain crops have a very wide range of uses. They can feed people as well as animals directly, be used as ingredients in a huge range of food items, or employed in the production of biofuels and polymer materials.
Pulses and plant-based proteins
Pulses are the dry, edible seeds of certain plants in the legume family. Major pulse crops grown in Canada include chickpeas, lentils, dry or field peas, faba beans, and dry beans. Most pulse crops are grown in Western Canada, but many farmers in Ontario and parts of Québec grow dry beans, including navy, black, red kidney, white kidney, cranberry, and adzuki beans. More than 80 per cent of Canada’s pulse crops are exported each year, ending up in 125 different countries. China is the largest buyer of Canadian peas. Pulse growers are looking to expand export markets even further, particularly to countries in the Indo-Pacific.
Over 50 per cent of all lentils traded in the world come from Saskatchewan fields.