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Livestock estimates, January 1, 2023

Released: 2023-02-28

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

Canadian cattle inventories have been on a general decline since January 2005; however, they have remained relatively flat since January 2016. This was the second consecutive cycle with a year-over-year decrease of Canadian hog inventories. Meanwhile, Canadian sheep inventories have continued to grow on a year-over-year basis since January 2021.

Drought conditions and tight feed supply continued to put pressure on the livestock sector.

Cattle and calves

Canadian farmers held 11.3 million cattle and calves on their farms on January 1, 2023, down 2.2% from the same date the previous year. Among the provinces, Alberta held the largest cattle inventories on January 1, 2023, contributing 42.7% to the national total, followed by Saskatchewan (19.3%) and Ontario (14.0%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total cattle inventories, January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023
Total cattle inventories, January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023

Canadian cattle producers retained less breeding stock on January 1, 2023, with year-over-year decreases observed in all breeding stock categories. Meanwhile, producers held more feeder heifers (+1.6%) and steers (+0.7%) compared with January 1, 2022.

The July-to-December 2022 total disposition of cattle and calves declined 3.0% from the same period in 2021. Cattle and calves slaughter was down 1.5% to 1.9 million head, and international cattle and calve exports decreased 7.6% to 341,400 head during the same period.


Canadian hog producers reported 13.9 million hogs on their farms on January 1, 2023, down 1.7% from the same date in 2022. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba continued to hold over 80% of Canada's hogs, with Quebec accounting for nearly one-third of Canadian hog inventories, at 4.4 million head.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Total hog inventories, January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023
Total hog inventories, January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023

Hog producers reported 1.2 million sows and gilts (-0.7%), and the number of boars decreased by 5.3% year over year to 16,000 head.

The July-to-December 2022 total disposition of hogs declined 2.5% from the same period in 2021. Total hog slaughter was down 1.4% to 10.7 million head, and international exports of live hogs decreased 7.1% to 3.2 million head during the same period.

The pig crop, which represents the number of live piglets after weaning, fell to 14.7 million for the July-to-December 2022 period, a 1.4% drop compared with the same period one year earlier.

Sheep and lambs

On January 1, 2023, Canadian inventories of sheep and lambs were up 3.3% year over year to 854,400 head.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Total sheep inventories, January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023
Total sheep inventories, January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023

The sheep breeding herd rose 0.6% year over year to 628,700 head, as increases in the number of ewes (+1.1%) and rams (+0.4%) more than offset a 1.8% decrease in replacement lambs. Inventories of market lambs rose 11.5% year over year to 225,700 head on January 1, 2023, primarily due to reductions in slaughter capacity in Western Canada. During the second half of 2022, sheep and lamb slaughter fell 0.2% year over year to 381,400 head.

For the July-to-December 2022 period, international exports of live sheep and lambs decreased 40.5% year over year to 13,200 head. Meanwhile, international imports of live animals remained elevated relative to historical levels, at 5,000 head.

  Note to readers

Livestock estimates are available for Canada and the provinces, as well as for the United States.

Intercensal revisions

Following the release of the 2021 Census of Agriculture data in May 2022, intercensal revisions to the Livestock Estimates data for years 2016 to 2021 are now available.

PigTRACE data

As of the January-to-June 2017 period, this release uses administrative data collected by the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) to estimate interprovincial hog imports and exports, defined as the movement of pigs to a different province for non-slaughter purposes. This approach is in line with Statistics Canada's AgZero Initiative, which aims to produce high-quality estimates using models, administrative data and other non-traditional survey-based approaches.

Since July 1, 2014, reporting to PigTRACE is mandatory by law for all people and organizations participating in the movement of pigs. It is, however, recognized that if premises do not report their movements to the CPC, there may be undercoverage in the PigTRACE estimates. Adjustments may be applied to the PigTRACE estimates in cases of known or suspected undercoverage.

Random tabular adjustment

The random tabular adjustment (RTA) technique, which aims to increase the amount of data made available to users while protecting the confidentiality of respondents, was applied to the estimates derived from PigTRACE hog movement reports.

Statistics Canada typically uses suppression techniques to protect sensitive statistical information. These techniques involve suppressing data points that can directly or indirectly reveal information about a respondent. This can often lead to the suppression of a large number of data points and significantly reduce the amount of available data.

Using RTA, Statistics Canada can identify sensitive estimates and randomly adjust their value rather than suppress them. The size of the adjustment is calculated to protect respondent confidentiality. After adjusting the value, the agency assigns a quality measure (A, B, C, D or E) to the estimate to indicate the degree of confidence that users can have in its accuracy.

For more information on RTA, please refer to the article "Random Tabular Adjustment is here!," available as part of the StatCan Blog.

For the latest information on the Census of Agriculture, visit the Census of Agriculture portal.

For more information on agriculture and food, visit the Agriculture and food statistics portal.

Contact information

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; or Media Relations (

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