Canada’s Cattle Herd Sees a Drop of 0.8%

The cattle herd in Canada fell by 100,000 head with beef cows seeing the largest drop in herd numbers. ( Canadian Cattlemen's Association )

The Canadian cattle mid-year inventory dropped by 100,000 head since last year.

According to USDA’s lasted mid-year inventory for Canada and the U.S., there are 12,435,000 cattle total in Canada as of July 1, 2018. The total inventory has dropped approximately 0.8% since the same time last year.

The beef cow herd accounted for a large portion of the drop with 45,100 fewer beef cows on July 1. There are currently 3,726,000 beef cows. The beef cow inventory is at its lowest mark since 2015 when there were just 3,706,400 cows.

In terms of cattle categories beef replacement heifers saw the largest drop in percentage with a decline of 2.7%. At the moment, Canada has 669,900 beef replacement heifers.

Most of the beef replacement heifer disappearance can likely be attributed to heifers entering feedlots. There was a 2.7% increase in the “other heifer” category for heifers one year or older, which would predominately be feedlot heifers.

Steers one year or older, which would predominately be feedlot and stocker cattle, dropped by 1.3% to 1,529,100 head. The yearling steer total is the lowest mid-year inventory since 1999 when the report started.

Calves younger than a year also fell by 1.3%. The total calf inventory was at 3,994,200 head for July 1.

Canada saw little change in its bull battery with bull one year or older only falling by 1,000 head to a total of 222,500 bulls.

The drop in Canada’s cattle herd comes at a time when drought in the western provinces has forced culling for ranchers in areas like Manitoba. This has resulted in the highest level of cattle imported to Canada from the U.S. in 16 years, according to a recent report by Reuters.

One Canadian cattle sector seeing an increase is the dairy industry.

A total of 969,700 cows were accounted for in Canada on July 1, 2018, an increase of 1.4% from the same time last year. The last time Canada had a higher July 1 total was in 2008 when 971,800 dairy cows were in the inventory. Canada’s July 1 dairy inventory has risen the past two years after being on a downward trend following 2008. The low point in the Canadian dairy cow inventory was reached in 2016 when just 942,400 head were accounted for.

Expansion of the Canadian dairy herd could be slowing though as the replacement herd dropped by 2,100 heifers from last year. There are currently 435,500 dairy replacement as of July 1. This year’s replacement heifer count is the lowest since 2015 when there were just 433,600 heifers.