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Southern Alberta farmland value skyrocketed in 2022

Posted on March 30, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

Southern Alberta Newspapers

The value of irrigated farmland south of Calgary soared by nearly 30 per cent in 2022 – three times the average change in crop land value across the province – according to new analysis from Farm Credit Canada.

Irrigated parcels in southwest and central Saskatchewan were also in high demand, rising 26 per cent in value, as were dryland acres despite drought and decreased yield in 2022.

Pasture land in both regions near Medicine Hat was essentially flat, although already among the most valuable in each province.

Across Alberta, crop land sales averaged 10 per cent higher, though the report’s authors caution that volume of sales and limited data set make it difficult to establish trends.

“The increase also reflected the market value catching up to the costs of irrigation,” reads the report, released earlier this month. “After several years of dry conditions, producers appeared to place more value in irrigated land.”

Generally in the southern Alberta district, the price per acre rose by just 4.4 per cent last year. That is the smallest increase in the province after it showed the largest increase in 2021 at 6.2 per cent.

The recent average came in at $4,600 per acre with most transactions falling between $2,200 and $9,000.

Irrigated parcels however, ranged mostly between $8,100 and $20,200 per acre.

“This considerable increase was attributed to larger contracts for specialty growers, mainly potatoes, and to land coming for sale near major growers and storage sites,” the report states.

Pasture land in the south of Alberta rose just 1.6 per cent last year, but already ranks as the priciest in the province as an average per acre of $3,500.

Pasture in southwest Saskatchewan averaged $800 in 2022 – no increase from the previous period – whereas the provincial average was up 2.8 per cent.

General crop land in southwest Saskatchewan was priced at $2,200 per acre on average in 2022, up 11 per cent, with a range of $1,300 to $3,400.

Irrigated land in the area, as well as east central region, rose 26. per cent to an average of $6,300.

The increase across Saskatchewan was 14.2 per cent.

Nationally, a 12.8 per cent increase in farmland value was the largest annual jump since 2014 due largely to increases in Ontario.

It saw a 19 per cent rise and new ranges established between $4,000 per acre in northern areas to above $25,000 in $28,900 near major centres in southern Ontario.

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