Analysis

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Cattle inventories held on Canadian farms as of July 1, 2011 decreased compared to the same date a year earlier. Cattle inventories fell by 0.8% to just below 13.9 million head, continuing the decline from the record level of 16.9 million observed in 2005.

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As of July 1, 2011 Canadian cattle herd was estimated at just below 13.9 million head, down 0.8% from the same date in 2010. Cattle inventories have been declining since their peak of 16.9 million in July of 2005. However, the rate of decline has slowed down since July 2010.

During the current period, the Canadian dairy herd grew 0.3%, while the total beef herd dropped 1.1%. Farmers reported a 2.1% decline in the total number of beef cows while replacement heifers were seen to increase by 6.7%. The total number of dairy cows was virtually unchanged from the same period a year ago, while replacement dairy heifers increased 0.8%.

With the exception of a 0.2 % growth in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, declines in cattle and calf inventories were pervasive. Cattle and calf farms in British Columbia reported a 0.9% decline in overall cattle holdings, while Manitoba and Ontario indicated that inventories declined by 3.3% and 1.9% respectively. Inventories declined by 2.2% in Quebec and were off 1.6% in the Atlantic region from levels established a year earlier.

During the first six months of 2011, 1.6 million head of Canadian cattle and calves were sent to slaughter. This was a 14.1% decline from the same six-month period last year and 8.8% below levels for the same period in 2009. Slaughter declined across the country except in British Columbia where it went up by 36.1% on a year-over-year basis. The largest relative decline was recorded for Manitoba (–26.3%) followed by the Atlantic Provinces (–22.0%).

During the first half of 2011, exports of live cattle and calves amounted to 374,400 head, down 39.9% from the same period in 2010 and a 37.9% decline from the first six months of 2009.

About 97,115 farms reported beef or dairy cattle as of July 1, 2011, down 2.4% from July 1, 2010.

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