Statistics Canada reports 11.5 million cattle, down 1.1 percent from last year; fewer breeding stock were retained
Canadian livestock numbers remain in a holding pattern with little or no growth.
Statistics Canada reported 11.5 million cattle, down 1.1 percent from last year. Less breeding stock was retained with more heifers and cows going for slaughter.
“We slaughtered and exported a lot of cows, so we knew we were going to be down,” said Brian Perillat of Canfax.
There are 3.7 million beef cows. Numbers were driven down by increased cow slaughter in the latter half of the year.
Feeder heifer numbers were up 1.2 percent but steer inventory dropped by 3.4 percent.
The hog inventory is also down one percent, the first decrease in six years. The breeding herd is at 1.2 million sows and gilts. The total pig crop was 14 million head, down 1.7 percent.
Exports were also down four percent compared to 2017.
In total, Canada exported 2.6 million live hogs, down more than four percent from last year. Feeder pig prices have been lower in the U.S. market, which discouraged more Canadian exports. However slaughter hog exports to the U.S. were up slightly.
Hog slaughter is also down slightly in Canada.
Canadian sheep inventories rose two percent, the second consecutive year of growth. There are 523,000 ewes, and replacement females are being kept to grow the national flock. Market lamb numbers also increased by two percent, but lamb prices showed a decline when compared with 2017.
The U.S. cow herd inventory numbers have also been released. The cow herd is around 31.7 million head, one percent higher than last year. The U.S. cow herd has been in expansion mode, resulting in a larger calf crop. Calf numbers are up by nearly two percent, adding to what could be a record supply of beef that is expected to continue into 2020. The total supply of cattle on feed was estimated at 14.3 million head, up 1.1 percent from last year.
U.S. producers appear to be holding back fewer heifers as replacements but this does not indicate a contraction of the national herd.