Canadian Beef Cow, Heifer Numbers Up

Canadian cattle inventory numbers from Statistics Canada show the beef breeding herd increased slightly year-over-year on higher heifer retention rates.

Stats Can said beef heifers kept for herd replacement purposes were up 3.95%, or 20,800 head, to 547,300 from 526,500.  This was the first heifer inventory increase since 2013 when it went to 542,000 from 521,400 and the first overall beef female herd inventory increase since 2005 when it went to 5.284 million from 5.019 million.

Beef cow numbers were down 1,600 head, or 0.04%, at 3.829 million from 3.831 million in 2015, Stats Can said.  This put the total beef breeding herd up 0.4% to 4.38 million head.

Compared with 2015, inventory of steers one year and older was down 1%, or 8,100 head, to 1.17 million.  The inventory of calves under one year of age was up almost 1%, or 33,600 head, to 3.88 million.

However, that includes dairy calves, and Canada’s dairy herd accounts for 25% of the total cow and heifer herd, and Statistics Canada has stopped reporting a calf crop number.

Canada’s dairy cow inventory increased 0.5% to 960,000 head and dairy heifer replacements were about even with 2015’s at 444,800 head.

Canada’s January total cattle inventory has decreased significantly since 2005, Stats Can said.  From 2005 to 2011, the cattle herd decreased by 2.77 million head, from 14.93 million in 2005 to the latest count of 12.15 million.

From 2011, the rate of reduction slowed, however, and 2016 started off with a total cattle inventory of 11.96 million.

Looking between provinces, 40% of Canada’s total cattle inventory is in Alberta, followed by 20% in Saskatchewan and 15% in Ontario, Stats Can said.  From 2015 to 2016, Alberta’s total inventory increased by 20,000 head, Saskatchewan dropped by 15,000, and Ontario was up by almost 7,000.




In January the USDA also reported larger US cattle numbers.  The total US cattle inventory was reported at 91.99 million head, up 2.85 million, or 3.19%, from 89.14 million a year earlier.

The US beef cow herd was reported at 30.33 million head, up 1.03 million, or 3.51%, from 29.302 million a year earlier.

US beef heifer numbers rose to 6.29 million from 6.09 million, a gain of 198,800, or 3.27%.




Cash cattle markets Monday were quiet with few, if any, substantive bids or offers.  Cash trading last week was $3 to $4 lower at mostly $136 per cwt on a live basis and off $ to to $4 on a dressed basis at mostly $218.

The USDA’s choice cutout price Monday was up $0.92 per cwt at $225.28, while the select cutout was up $2.74 at $217.63.  The choice/select spread widened to $7.65 from $9.47, but only 62 loads of fabricated product were sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Friday at $158.59 per cwt, down $2.08.  This compares with the Mar futures close Monday of $160.67, down $0.30, and the Apr settlement of $155.57, down $0.25.