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Cattle herd numbers fall to 11.2 million head

Saskatchewan has the second-largest herd at 2.195 million head
beef farming cattle
Photo by Ron Walter

The Canadian cattle herd continues to decline in numbers.

The latest cattle inventory from Statistics Canada shows cattle numbers dropped by 1.9 per cent last year to 11.2 million head.

That’s way off the high of 2005 when the herd was nearly 14 million head.

Alberta had the most cattle at 4.5 million head, a decline of 120,000 head. Second largest herd was in Saskatchewan at 2.195 million head, a decrease of 30,000 head year over year.

Ontario with 1.583 million head declined by 21,000 head while Quebec with 1.115 million head lost 10,000 head.

At one million head, Manitoba lost 30,000 head.

The outlook for a larger herd is poor as producers kept back less breeding stock in 2019. The number of breeding heifers was down 6.3 per cent to 515,000.

Beef cows declined 2.6 per cent; feeder heifers declined 1.9 per cent; and steer numbers fell 7.1 per cent. Calf numbers increased .2 per cent to 3.7 million.

Fewer farms are producing beef with a .4 per cent decline to 72,700 farms.

Hog inventories fell .6 per cent to 13.9 million. Sheep and lamb numbers fell four per cent to 802,000 head.

Ron Walter can be reached at