Due to constrained cattle supplies in Canada, year-to-date live cattle imports from Canada continue to trend well below 2014 levels. From January through September, total live cattle imports from Canada were down about 23 percent compared to the previous year. However, it is important to highlight that the bulk of the decline in total cattle imports from Canada is the result of sharp declines in slaughter-ready cattle as opposed to feeder cattle imports. Feeder cattle imports from Canada have declined year-over-year but not to the extent that slaughter cattle imports have declined. Year-to-date, feeder cattle imports from Canada are down approximately 4 percent relative to last year, while all cattle imports ready for slaughter declined around 34 percent relative to last year.

For Mexico, however, live feeder cattle imports remain brisk relative to the pace of shipments during 2014 due to the wide price differential between Mexican feeder cattle prices and higher U.S. feeder prices. The light pace of cattle imports from Canada is expected to continue through the end of the year, more than offsetting increased live animal shipments from Mexico, resulting in a 25,000-head reduction to the 2015 annual live import forecast from last month. As U.S. domestic inventories increase in 2016, it is expected that demand for live cattle will diminish, resulting in an 8-percent year-over-year decline in 2016.