Source: Tim Petry, Livestock Economist, North Dakota State University Extension Service
On March 6, 2013, Statistics Canada released its Livestock Estimates, January 1, 2013, report which detailed cattle, hog, and sheep inventories in Canada (www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130306/dq130306a-eng.pdf). That same day USDA-NASS released the United States and Canadian Cattle and Sheep and the United States and Canadian Hogs reports (www.nass.usda.gov).
The Jan. 1 U.S. cattle inventory numbers were also previously released by NASS on Feb. 1 in the Cattle report. Those numbers have been discussed in previous In The Cattle Market columns. In summary, all cattle and calves in the U.S. on Jan. 1 were down 1.6 percent from 2012. Beef cows were down almost 3 percent, heifers kept for beef cow replacement were up 1.9 percent, calves and feeder cattle outside of feedlots were up almost 1 percent, cattle on feed were down 5.5 percent, and the 2012 calf crop was down 2.9 percent.
There were almost 12.3 million cattle in Canada on Jan. 1, 2013, up 0.5 percent from 2012. This was the second consecutive yearly increase after the previous six years of declining inventories. Despite the increases, the cattle herd was still 17.8 percent below its peak in 2005. Beef cows at 3.96 million head were down about 1 percent, continuing a downward trend that started in 2006. Canada’s beef cow herd is just short of the 4.015 million head that were in Texas on Jan. 1. On a provincial basis, Alberta has the most beef cows at just under 1.6 million, followed by Saskatchewan at under 1.2 million, and Manitoba at slightly less than half a million. Beef heifers held for breeding in Canada were up 5.6 percent to 569,800 head, and the third consecutive year of increases.
On a comparative basis, total cattle numbers in the U.S. were down 1.6 percent compared to a 0.5 percent increase in Canada. Beef cows declined 3 percent in the U.S. and 1 percent in Canada, beef replacement heifers increased 1.9 percent in the U.S. and 5.6 percent in Canada, cattle on feed in the U.S. declined 5.5 percent in the U.S. and 3.4 percent in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the 2012 U.S. calf crop declined 2.9 percent compared to a 2.5 percent decline in Canada. Better moisture conditions in Canada, than in some important cattle producing regions in the U.S. that suffered with drought conditions in 2012, were likely a reason for the smaller percentage decline in beef cows and the greater percentage increase in beef replacements in Canada.