Hog herd grows slightly while sheep numbers decline

Canadian hog inventories rose slightly from one year ago to 14 million animals, according to Statistics Canada’s July livestock inventory report.

Exports were down 1.9 percent in the first half of 2020, totalling 2.5 million, which StatsCan attributed to oversupply issues in the United States because of COVID-19 plant closures. Hog exports were down 49.7 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to the export peak that occurred in 2008.

“Hog slaughter increased 3.7 percent year over year in Canada in the first six months of 2020 to 11.2 million head, as slaughter activities intensified to clear backlogs created by production disruptions due to COVID-19, as well as strong demand from China,” the agency said in its report released Aug. 20.

Quebec continues to carry the largest number of hogs in the country at 4.31 million head. Ontario follows with 3.64 million and Manitoba with 3.38 million. The big three have about 80 percent of the total domestic pig herd.

Alberta has 1.5 million, Saskatchewan has 975,000 and British Columbia has 89,000, according to StatsCan.

There were slightly fewer farms with hogs compared to a year ago at 7,755. The farms reported 1.2 million sows and gilts, up 1.4 percent.

Sheep inventories saw a 2.6 percent decline from last July, at 1,014,600 head. That is 18.6 percent below the record high set in July 2003, the agency said.

“The sheep breeding herd decreased, as the number of ewes declined 2.4 percent to 498,900 head, replacement lambs fell 5.4 percent to 82,700 head, and rams were down by 3.8 percent to 22,900 head. The number of market lambs declined 2.1 percent from July 1, 2019, to 410,100 head,” StatsCan reported.

Sheep exports took a major jump by 59 percent, with 7,000 animals exported in the first six months of 2020.

Sheep inventories have been declining since July 2011.

Ontario leads all provinces in number of sheep, at 325,000, followed by Quebec with 225,000. Alberta is third with 186,000, followed by Saskatchewan with 108,000 head.

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