Melanie ConsCanadian Farm News

From Statistics Canada

Canadian cattle, hog and sheep inventories were all up on January 1 compared with the same date in 2017. Statistics Canada released its latest livestock inventory report on March 6.


Canadian farmers had 11.6 million cattle on their farms on January 1, up 0.9% from January 1, 2017. Inventories, though, remained 22.1% below the peak levels reported in January 2005. In Ontario, the inventory was pegged at 1.62 million, up 1.3% from the previous year.

The number of beef heifers held for breeding on Canadian farms was down 0.3% year over year to 561,600 head. The calf inventory on January 1 increased 0.1% to 3.8 million. The number of steers rose 2.1% and feeder heifer inventories were up 1.1% compared with January 1, 2017. Canadian farmers had 1.4 million dairy cows and heifers on their farms, up 2.7% from the same date in 2017.

As of January 1, 74,680 farms reported inventories of cattle and calves, down 0.2% from January 1, 2017, and down 1.5% from the same date in 2016.

Total disposition of cattle and calves rose 2.7% in 2017 compared with 2016, driven by higher slaughter levels. Total slaughter numbers increased 6.4% from 2016 to 3.3 million head. However, international exports decreased 16.3% to 640,900. Export demand for Canadian cattle may have been dampened by growth in the US cattle herd. The United States Department of Agriculture reported that on January 1, 2018, the American cattle and calf inventory was 0.7% higher than on the same date in 2017.

While Canadian cattle prices have declined from the peak levels of 2015, they remained relatively strong in 2017 and remained above the previous five-year average.


Hog producers reported 14.3 million hogs on January 1, up 2.7% from January 1, 2017, marking a fifth consecutive year-over-year increase. Hog inventories have risen 12.4% since January 1, 2013. Ontario farmers reported 3.57 million, an increase of 3.3%.

There were 8,270 hog farms in Canada as of January 1, up 0.1% from the same date a year earlier. These farms reported 1.3 million sows and gilts, up 1.3% from January 1, 2017.

Canada exported 5.6 million hogs in 2017, down 1.0% from 2016 and down 44.0% from the 2007 export peak. In 2017, domestic hog slaughter increased 1.6% from 2016 to 21.8 million head.

The July-to-December 2017 pig crop was 14.3 million, up 1.4% from the same period in 2016.


Canadian farmers held 836,900 sheep and lambs on January 1, up 2.8% over the same date in 2017. This marked the first year-over-year increase in five years. In Ontario, the number was up 0.8% to 242,000.

The sheep breeding herd increased, as the number of ewes grew 1.5%, and replacement lambs increased 6.5%. The number of market lambs rose 5.1% over January 1, 2017.