Canada’s Beef Herd Sees Slight Increases

For the first time since 2012 Canada's cattle inventory has increased. ( REUTERS/Todd Korol )

The Canadian beef cattle herd increased by approximately 1% since last year, the first increase in the herd’s total since 2012.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Canada had a total cattle inventory of 11,625,000 head on Jan. 1, 2018. That’s an increase of 105,000 cattle since the same time in 2017.

Prior to this recent increase there were six years Canada’s cattle herd was on the decline losing 995,000 head from 2012 to 2017. The last time the Canadian cattle herd saw an increase was from 2011 to 2012 when the herd rose by only 58,000 head.

Classes of beef cattle saw relatively modest gains in the past year. The beef cow herd rose by about 1% with 29,500 more cows in the herd. Canada now has 3.7 million beef cows compared to 31.7 million beef cows in the U.S.

There are 2% more yearling steers or older in Canada and 1% more yearling bulls or older in Canada. Calves less than a year old saw marginal growth with 5,200 more calves reported.

Beef herd expansion in Canada could be slowed in the future with fewer replacement heifers retained at the start of 2018. The USDA report indicates just 561,600 replacement heifers were kept, down 1,700 head from the previous year and down 3,200 head from 2016.

One of the largest statistical gains in Canada was seen by the dairy industry where cow numbers rose 3% and dairy replacements climbed 2%.

The U.S. cattle inventory for 2018 is more than eight times larger than Canada’s cattle herd. USDA reports that the total domestic cattle inventory was 94,399,000 head in the U.S. on Jan. 1.  

The full report can be read here.

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