Canadian cattle herd declines in size
The total inventory of cattle and calves on July 1, 2015, was 23.0% below its peak level recorded in 2005.
Hog producers reported 13.2 million hogs, up 1.1% from July 1, 2014, while the number of sheep fell 2.1% to 1.1 million head.
Overall cattle inventories declined, with the exception of steers, which were up 4.0% or 65,400 head compared with the same date a year earlier. The number of beef cows on Canadian farms fell 3.4% from July 1, 2014, to 3.8 million head, while the number of beef heifers held for breeding edged down 0.6% year over year to 612 600 head.
Canadian farmers had 1.4 million dairy cows and heifers on their farms, down 2.2% from July 1, 2014.
As of July 1, 82 050 farms reported inventories of cattle and calves, down 0.6% from July 1, 2014, and down 1.5% from the same date in 2013.
Total disposition of cattle and calves decreased as both slaughter and exports fell during the first half of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. While cattle prices remain strong so far in 2015, limited cattle supplies mean that there are fewer animals available to market. Slaughter decreased 13.5% to 1.4 million head compared with the first six months of 2014, while exports fell 21.4% to 491 500 head.
As of July 1, there were 6 995 hog farms in Canada, down 0.4% from the same date a year earlier. These farms reported 1.2 million sows and gilts, up 0.8% from July 1, 2014.
Canada exported 2.8 million hogs in the first half of 2015, up 17.8% from the same period in 2014. There was strong demand for hogs in the United States as slaughter was 7% higher in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. According to the most recent US data, hog inventories increased 9% from June 1, 2014.
Hog slaughter also increased in Canada in the first six months of 2015, up 2.9% from the same period in 2014 to 10.5 million head.
The January-to-June 2015 pig crop was 14.1 million head, up 4.5% from the same period in 2014.
Sheep inventories decreased 2.1% from July 1, 2014, as market lambs fell 2.1% to 405 600 head. The number of ewes declined 1.8%, while replacement lambs fell 3.0% compared with the same date in 2014. ■