Canadian cattle, hog and sheep inventories down on July 1 compared to year-ago period, Statistics Canada says; Canadian cattle inventories on a downward trend since July 2021

Sample article from our Agriculture Industry

OTTAWA , August 28, 2023 (press release) –

On July 1, 2023, Canadian cattle, hog and sheep inventories were down compared with the same date one year earlier.

Canadian cattle inventories have been on a downward trend since July 2021. Similarly, this was the second consecutive cycle with a year-over-year decrease of Canadian hog inventories. Canadian sheep inventories declined year over year for the first time since July 2020.

Drought conditions and tight feed supply in Western Canada, along with reductions in processing capacity in Eastern Canada, continued to put pressure on the livestock sector.

Cattle and calves

Canadian farmers held 12.2 million cattle and calves on their farms on July 1, 2023, down 1.5% from the same date the previous year. Alberta held the largest cattle inventories among the provinces on July 1, contributing 43.2% to the national total, followed by Saskatchewan (20.5%) and Ontario (13.2%).

Chart 1 
Total cattle inventories, July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023

Canadian cattle producers retained less breeding stock on July 1, 2023, with year-over-year decreases observed in all breeding stock categories. Meanwhile, producers held more feeder heifers (+1.8%) but fewer steers (-0.3%) compared with July 1, 2022.

From January to June 2023, the total disposition of cattle and calves was down 4.5% compared with January to June 2022. During the same period, cattle and calves slaughter declined 4.6% to 1.8 million head, and international cattle and calve exports decreased 16.3% to 344,900 head. Tight supply and strong prices of cattle for slaughter contributed to these declines.

Hogs

Canadian hog producers reported 13.8 million hogs on their farms on July 1, 2023, down 1.0% from the same date one year earlier. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba continued to hold over 80% of Canada's hogs, with Quebec accounting for nearly one-third (30.9%) of Canadian hog inventories, at 4.3 million head.

Chart 2 
Total hog inventories, July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023

On July 1, 2023, hog producers reported 1.2 million sows and gilts (-0.3%), and the number of boars decreased by 1.8% year over year to 16,200 head.

From January to June 2023, the total hog slaughter increased 0.2% to 11.1 million head, and international exports of live hogs increased 0.8% to 3.3 million head during the same period.

The pig crop, which represents the number of live piglets after weaning, rose to 15.0 million from January to June 2023, a 1.1% increase compared with January to June 2022.

Sheep and lambs

On July 1, 2023, Canadian inventories of sheep and lambs were down 1.5% year over year to 1.1 million head.

Chart 3 
Total sheep inventories, July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023

The sheep breeding herd declined 2.4% year over year on July 1, 2023, to 637,800 head, as inventories decreased in the number of ewes (-2.2%), rams (-2.4%) and replacement lambs (-2.9%). Inventories of market lambs declined 0.3% year over year to 416,700 head, primarily because of an increase of slaughter in Eastern Canada. For the first half of 2023 (January to June), sheep and lamb slaughter increased 13.9% year over year to 388,700 head.

For the January to June 2023 period, international exports of live sheep and lambs decreased 37.2% year over year, down to 11,500 head. Meanwhile, international imports of live animals dropped 28.6% to 9,500 head.

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