WESTERN PRODUCER — Beef cattle numbers in Canada declined by 230,000 head last year, a drop of about 2.4 percent from January 2022 to January 2023.
That figure comes from Statistics Canada, which released the national livestock inventory Feb. 28.
The numbers for Jan. 1, 2023, show that a large chunk of the decline came in the cow-calf sector:
• On Jan. 1, 2022, there were 6.437 million cattle on cow-calf operations in Canada.
• On Jan 1, 2023, that figure was 6.278 million.
• That’s a drop of 160,000 cattle on cow-calf operations, or 2.5 percent.
The number of cattle on feeder and stocker operations also took a hit, going from 1.723 million on Jan. 1, 2022, to 1.652 million on Jan. 1 of this year, for a decline of 71,000.
Among the provinces, cattle numbers in Alberta saw the largest decline. Looking at all cattle operations, cow-calf, feeder and stocker and feeding operations, Alberta went from 4.816 million Jan. 1, 2022, to 4.628 million Jan. 1 of this year. That’s about 188,000 fewer cattle.
All cattle in Canada, including dairy, dropped 2.2 percent in 2022.
The cattle inventory slide in Canada is similar to that of the United States.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pegged the number of all cattle and calves at 89.27 million for Jan. 1. That’s down from 92.07 million for January 2022, a change of three percent.
The number of beef cows in America has been sliding for several years, reaching 28.9 million in January, down four percent from 2022.
The slide is part of a larger trend in the U.S. beef sector, where cattle numbers have been dropping since 2019.
StatCan also updated the hog and sheep inventory for Canada, showing hog numbers dropped about 1.7 percent.
“Canadian hog producers reported 13.9 million hogs on their farms on Jan. 1, 2023, down 1.7 percent from the same date in 2022,” StatCan said in a summary of the livestock inventory.
In some positive news for the livestock trade, Canada’s sheep inventory climbed by 3.3 percent. The sheep total was 854,000 Jan. 1, up from 827,000 the previous year.
Sheep numbers in Alberta and Ontario saw the largest gains. Alberta now has 171,500 sheep, compared to 158,800 last January.