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February 27, 2024 Current Markets & Forecasts

Canadian cattle herd continues to decline, says StatsCan

Statistics Canada (StatsCan) has released its latest report on Canadian livestock inventories.

As of January 1, 2024, Canadian cattle, hog, and sheep inventories were down compared with the same date one year earlier.

According to StatsCan, Canadian farmers held 11.1 million cattle and calves on their farms on January 1, 2024, which is down 2.1 per cent year-over-year, making it the smallest cattle herd size since 1989.

Producers responded to challenges such as record average producer prices, drought conditions, and tight feed supply by sending breeding stock to feedlots.

As far as breeding stock inventories go, there were some significant shifts. Year-over-year decreases were observed across all breeding stock categories, with fewer feeder heifers (-0.7 per cent), steers (-0.2 per cent), and calves (-3.0 per cent) compared to the same date in 2023.

Average warm carcass weights of cattle increased by 18.0 per cent compared to 1999, helping offset any decline in beef production over the same period.

From July to December 2023, the total disposition of cattle and calves increased by 0.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. However, total supply declined by 1.5 per cent. Notably, international imports of cattle and calves dropped by 25.7 per cent to 153,400 head, while international exports surged by 14.0 per cent to 389,200 head.


Total cattle inventories, January 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024

Chart 1: Total cattle inventories, January 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024
Chart courtesy Statistics Canada

You can read the full report, here.

About the Author

Kara grew up on a grain farm near Bow Island, Alberta. After attending SAIT and the University of Calgary — where she obtained a degree in communication and media studies, and a diploma in broadcast news — Kara began her professional career working in agricultural communications and agricultural journalism. Kara now resides near her family’s farm, raising a mix of livestock, consisting mostly of goats (because something has to eat all that kochia). Kara has a passion for storytelling, but even more so, asking the questions that matter. You can find her surrounded by farmers/ranchers and a cup of coffee — or at an upcoming ABP event!

Author

Cattle Report

Updated: 12/04/2024

Steers

Live: ---
Rail: 415.00-420.00 del

Heifers

Live: ---
Rail: 415.00-420.00 del

Choice Steers

Live: 182.00 (KN, TX) 185.00 (NE)
Rail: 293.00-295.00 (NE, IA)

Choice Heifers

Live: 182.00 (KN, TX) 185.00 (NE)
Rail: 293.00-295.00 (NE, IA)

Boner Cows

Over 500 lbs: 250.84

Canadian Dollar

$72.82   0.32

Livestock Price Insurance Index

Expiry Fed Feeder Calf
8-Jul-24 226 -- --
5-Aug-24 222 318 --
2-Sep-24 220 324 --
30-Sep-24 220 324 366
28-Oct-24 218 324 366
25-Nov-24 216 320 364
23-Dec-24 222 312 360
Last Updated on April 11, 2024

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