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Livestock estimates, January 1, 2013

Released: 2013-03-06

Canadian farmers had about 12.3 million cattle on their farms on January 1, up 0.5% from January 1, 2012. This was the second consecutive year-over-year increase since 2005 and followed six years of declining inventories. Despite the increases, the cattle herd was still 17.8% below its peak level of January 1, 2005.

Hog producers reported 12.7 million hogs, down 0.5% from January 1, 2012, while the number of sheep rose 0.7% to 892,700 head.

Cattle inventories edged up overall with increased numbers of feeder heifers and steers, as slaughter fell during the second half of 2012. The number of beef cows on Canadian farms, however, decreased 1.0% to just below 4.0 million head, continuing a downward trend that started in January 2006.

This decline was lessened somewhat by a third consecutive increase in the number of beef heifers held for breeding, up 5.6% from January 2012 to 569,800 head. Canadian farmers had 1.4 million dairy cows and heifers on their farms, up 0.3% from January 1, 2012.

As of January 1, 83,525 farms reported cattle and calves, down 0.8% from January 1, 2012, and down 3.6% from the same date in 2011. Beef farms, by far the largest component, accounted for 85.0% of the number of farms with cattle in Canada.

In 2012, cattle and calf slaughter declined for a second consecutive year, down 7.2% from 2011 to 3.1 million head. Slaughter numbers fell in 2012 across all provinces. Cattle and calf exports increased 14.2% from 702,500 head in 2011 to 802,600 head in 2012. However, exports remained 24.6% below the level in 2010 and 49.8% below the peak of 2008.

As of January 1, 2013, there were 7,125 hog farms in Canada, down 1.8% from the same date a year earlier. These farms reported 1.2 million sows and gilts, down 0.9% from January 1, 2012.

Domestic hog slaughter remained virtually unchanged in 2012 from 2011 at just below 21.3 million head. Hog slaughter has been just under 21.3 million head for the past three years. Canada exported 5.7 million hogs in 2012, down 2.6% from 2011. This was 43.5% below the peak in 2007.

Sheep inventories rose 0.7% from January 1, 2012, to 892,700 as farmers continued to increase their herds. While the number of ewes decreased 0.7%, the breeding herd increased overall as the number of replacement lambs went up 5.4%. The number of market lambs increased 2.4% from 2012.

Contact information

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