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The Daily

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
As of July 1, 2008

Farm inventories of hogs declined 11.6% between July 2007 and July 2008, while smaller declines were seen in stocks of both cattle and sheep over the same period. Rising feed costs were a significant contributing factor to these declines.

Hog inventories continue to decline

Hog inventories have declined to levels not seen since 2000, as soft slaughter prices and high feed costs continued to be prevalent in the hog industry.

As the hog industry continued its transition, farmers reported 13.0 million hogs on their farms as of July 1, 2008, down 11.6% from one year ago.

With low profit margins, farmers are leaving the industry. There were 19% fewer hog producers in the country compared with a year ago, led by Saskatchewan (–30%) and Alberta (–24%).

Domestic slaughter was up 1.4% compared with last year, as some slaughter plants increased capacity by adding a second shift.

Canadian hog exports declined in the second quarter of 2008 to approximately 2.2 million hogs, which marks the first quarterly decrease in more than a year.

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Cattle herd contracts

Canadian farmers reported a cattle and calf inventory of 15.2 million head, a decline of 4.3% from last year and continuing the downward trend that started in 2006. The beef herd and the dairy herd declined by 4.8% and 1.2% respectively.

The beef cow inventory was down 4.7% and the number of calves born decreased 4.8% from a year ago, despite an improving calving rate since the bovine spongiform encephalopathy crisis in 2003.

With the increase in coarse grain prices, the number of cattle on feeding operations has declined 12.3% since last summer. Over the past two years, the number of farms reporting cattle and calves has stabilized around 107,000 operations, following a loss of 8,500 cattle farms during the previous three years.

There are no signs of herd rebuilding as beef heifers for breeding replacement were down 2.0% from the same time last year.

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Sheep inventories lower

Farmers reported 1.1 million sheep and lambs, 3.1% lower than last year and continuing a downward trend that began in 2003.

Livestock inventories at July 1 
  2007 2008 2007 2008 2007 2008
  Cattle Hogs Sheep
  thousands of head
Canada 15,885 15,195 14,690 12,985 1,096  1 062
Atlantic 289 280 299 181 43  41
Quebec 1,395 1,375 4,120 4,000 295  290
Ontario 1,956 1,880 3,887 3,239 305  295
Manitoba 1,540 1,515 2,965 2,725 70  66
Saskatchewan 3,430 3,385 1,320 1,070 120  125
Alberta 6,470 6,010 1,970 1,650 205  185
British Columbia 805 750 129 120 58  60
Note:Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.

Available on CANSIM: tables 003-0004, 003-0026, 003-0028, 003-0030 to 003-0032 and 003-0083 to 003-0093.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3460.

The reports Cattle Statistics, 2008, Vol. 7, no. 3 (23-012-XWE, free), Hog Statistics, Vol. 7, no. 2 (23-010-XWE, free) and Sheep Statistics, 2008, Vol. 7, no. 2 (23-011-XIE, free), are now available online. From the Publications module of our website, under Free Internet publications, choose Agriculture.

For more information, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-465-1991). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Robert Plourde (613-951-8716;, Agriculture Division.