The Canadian Sheet Steel Building Institute commissioned a non-biased third party, Strategic
Research Associates, to examine the state of the Canadian farm. Specifically, the study examined farmers’ steel cladding purchasing habits and steel cladding usage over the past 10 years. The study queried 471 farms across Canada with 43 farms in British Columbia; 96 in Alberta; 96 in Saskatchewan/Manitoba (combined); 97 in Ontario; 96 in Quebec; and 43 in the Atlantic Provinces. The results are within ± 4.5 percentage points for complete representation of all Canadian farms and are as follows:
Since 1996, there has been a significant shift in farm type across the nation. Livestock farms have dropped by almost 20%, and the balance has shifted to a greater number of mixed crops (up to 28%) and cash crops (up to 39%) respectively. The study found that overall, there are fewer farms across Canada; however, the farms that do exist are considerably larger.
The Purchase of Steel Cladding
Strategic Research Associates note that a 10-year period is too long to adequately explain strong trends in increases of steel cladding purchases. However, the results are quite interesting as a whole as well as regionally. In 1996, only 47% of Canadian farmers said they had purchased cladding in the last 10 years. By 2006, that percentage of farmers grew to 79%.
Regionally, it was found that the nation’s three major markets are consistent with the overall average as shown in the previous graph. The study noted that significant growth occurred in the Quebec market. This is explained through the expansion of swine and dairy operations and the replacement of existing building stocks.
Steel, the Right Choice
While the study showed moderate increases in steel cladding purchases on the farm, the question remained on ‘how’ popular it was compared to other types of exterior cladding such as wood, vinyl, or aluminium. Results concluded that steel cladding is the top seller and gaining market share at the
expense of vinyl and aluminium. In 2006, 88% of Canadian farmers preferred steel cladding for their farm structures, which is up from 1996 by 9%. (See Figure 3.)
The types of farm buildings steel cladding is used for is consistent with 1996 numbers:
- 80% use it for machinery sheds
- 69% for storage buildings
- 65% for barns
- 26% for houses
- When given a choice, Canadian farmers choose Canadian steel
- 90% of Canadian farmers are either satisfied or very satisfied with their steel cladding