Livestock estimates, July 1, 2019
Canadian cattle, hog and sheep inventories were down on July 1, compared with July 1, 2018. With the exception of a few small increases, Canadian cattle inventories have declined year over year since July 2005. This was the second consecutive year-over-year decrease for Canadian hog inventories. Meanwhile, with the exception of a small increase in July 2018, Canadian sheep inventories have declined year over year since July 2011.
On June 25, 2019, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency discovered inauthentic export certificates to China, and this prompted the suspension of exports of all beef and pork products to that country. The July Livestock Survey reference period is January 1 to June 30; as a result, there was no impact on the July livestock estimates due to the stoppage of pork and beef exports to China. The demand from China for Canadian pork was strong from January to June 2019. This may have been due to the trade dispute between the United States and China and the effects of African swine fever on China's hog industry. However, if the export stoppage continues, the Canadian livestock industry could be affected.
On July 1, 2019, Canadian farmers had 12.3 million cattle on their farms, down 1.3% from July 1, 2018. Inventories were 27.4% below their peak level recorded in July 2005.
On July 1, Alberta had the largest cattle inventories among the provinces, accounting for 40.1% of the national total. Combined, Alberta and Saskatchewan represented close to two-thirds of total Canadian cattle inventories.
Cattle producers retained less breeding stock in 2019, as the number of beef heifers held for breeding on Canadian farms was down 4.8% to 637,800 head compared with the same date a year earlier. The number of beef cows decreased 1.7% to 3.7 million head. The inventory of calves on July 1 was up 1.1% to 4.0 million head. The number of feeder heifers decreased 4.7%, while the number of steers decreased 4.5% from July 1, 2018.
As of July 1, 2019, 72,965 farms reported inventories of cattle and calves, down 0.5% from July 1, 2018, and down 1.7% from the same date in 2017. Canadian farmers had 1.4 million dairy cows and heifers on their farms, up 0.7% from July 1, 2018.
During the first half of 2019, total disposition of cattle and calves rose 2.8% compared with the same period in 2018, driven by higher cattle slaughter levels and increased exports. Total cattle slaughter increased 1.3% to 1.7 million head over the first six months of 2019, marking the fourth consecutive year-over-year increase. During the first half of 2019, international exports of cattle increased 21.1% to 414,000 head compared with the same period in 2018.
The January-to-June average price of Canadian slaughter cattle has continuously declined year over year since 2015. Droughts in Canada and the United States in 2014 and 2015 caused cattle farms to reduce the size of their herds, resulting in a sharp increase in cattle prices. Since that time, the combined Canada and US inventory has increased to surpass the pre-drought inventory level and Canadian cattle prices have come back down. Dietary habits have also contributed to the decline in cattle prices, as beef and veal available for consumption have declined over the decades from 33.3 kilograms per person in 2000 to 26.3 kilograms per person in 2018, a decrease of 21.0%.
Hog producers reported 14.0 million hogs, down less than 0.1% from July 1, 2018. This was the second consecutive year-over-year decrease. However, the hog inventory remained 10.8% above the level from a decade earlier.
On July 1, Quebec had the largest hog inventories among the provinces, accounting for close to one-third of the Canadian total. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba together represented over 80% of total Canadian hog inventories.
As of July 1, 7,740 farms reported hogs in Canada, a decrease of 1.3% from the same date a year earlier. These farms reported 1.2 million sows and gilts, down 1.3% from July 1, 2018.
Canada exported 2.6 million hogs in the first half of 2019, down 4.1% from the same period in 2018. Lower imports of weaners from Canada may have been partly attributable to high levels of hog inventories in the United States, which, on June 1, 2019, were at their highest level since 1964. Canadian exports were 48.7% below their peak level, recorded on July 1, 2008.
Hog slaughter increased in Canada in the first six months of 2019, up 0.2% from the same period in 2018 to 10.8 million head.
The January-to-June 2019 pig crop was 14.1 million head, up 0.7% from the same period in 2018.
The January-to-June average price of Canadian slaughter hogs rose in 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. Strong pork demand, mainly from China, may have contributed to the price increase of Canadian slaughter hogs. The January-to-June total value of pork exports to all countries increased 9.5%, while the total value of pork exports to China was up 92.8%.
Inventories of sheep and lambs declined 2.0% to 1,040,200 head from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019. Inventories were 8.6% below their level recorded in July 2011.
On July 1, Ontario and Quebec combined represented just over half of total Canadian sheep and lamb inventories.
The Canadian sheep breeding herd decreased, as the number of ewes declined 1.0% to 511,100 head. In addition, the number of replacement lambs was down 4.5% to 87,000 head, while the number of rams declined 1.2%, to 23,900 head. The number of market lambs also decreased 2.7% from July 1, 2018, to 418,200 head.
International exports of sheep were at 4,400 head in the first six months of 2019, unchanged from the same period in 2018.
The January-to-June average price of Canadian slaughter lambs decreased in 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.
Note to readers
Livestock estimates are available for Canada and the provinces as well as for the United States.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).
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