Farmers are currently in the middle of the harvesting season, where time is often crucial to success, so any interruptions can be critical.

At the same time, Statistics Canada is looking to put forward its Field Crop Estimates, which gives buyers and others information on just how much Canada is producing.

That means surveys can come at times when time matters the most for farmers, and Statistics Canada is changing that system to help rely on other sources.

That can include satellite imagery and other indicators of crop health and planting patterns, without disturbing farmers.

Head of the Reporting Unit John Seay explains that the process has been ongoing over the last few years, with more surveys being added.

"Historically in both July and September, we would contact farmers and we would ask them for their estimations of preliminary yield and production. In 2016 we moved away from that approach starting with the September occasion when we started implementing this model-based approach, and then in 2020 we did the same as in July."

"We found from looking at our internal studies that we were able to produce estimates that were as good or better than we were able to produce using a standard survey-based approach where we contact farmers."

Thanks to the new model they're using, farmers are free to harvest and work on the farm during the two months which would normally have surveys.

"One of the big benefits is that we don't need to contact farmers as much. We fully understand that they're busy," said Seay, "So this provides us an opportunity to produce that same data without having to call throughout the month of July, and through the month of September, so that's one of the big benefits."

Farmers obviously benefit from the change, but Statistics Canada is also benefiting from a simpler practice.

"It's a benefit for everybody, this is a good approach that we're able to do, and there's less calling of farmers being involved and so it's beneficial to everybody. A simpler process compared to a survey-based approach," said Seay, "So I think it's beneficial to everybody all around."