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CME: Canadian Inventory of All Cattle, Calves up 1.4% as of 1 January

21 March 2018

US - Last Friday afternoon, CanFax released their monthly compilation of Canadian cattle on-feed. Those data include two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, reports Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

As of 1 March, the number of animals in feedlots was 24,700 head or 2.8 per cent above a year ago. Still, that was slightly below the prior 5-year average (2012-2016). For the month of February, placements were 8.4 per cent below 2017’s and head marketed were rather aggressive, rising 4.0 per cent.

Every month, the Canadian Cattle on Feed report provides a breakout of steer and heifers placed and animal weights. In those data, the key takeaway was that the number of steers placed during February fell year-over-year by 15.8 per cent, in contrast, heifers increased (up 1.9 per cent).

Statistics Canada released their 1 January livestock counts in early March. Last year, Statistics Canada went through a significant historical revision process for cattle and hogs resulting in fewer cattle and more hogs than estimated in earlier years. During 2017, growth occurred in both the number of Canadian cattle and hogs.

As of 1 January 2018, the Canadian inventory of all cattle and calves increased 1.4 per cent year-over-year (up 105,000 head). At 11.625 million head, the national herd remained smaller than the count as of 1 January 2015 (11.640 million head).

Compared to a year ago, beef cows that had calved increased 0.8 per cent (about 30,000 head) and dairy cows rose by 2.9 per cent (about 27,000 animals). Note that the growth in the number of dairy cows was supported by more animals imported from the US Canada’s 2017 calf crop was estimated to be 4.4 million head an increase from 2016’s of 3.6 per cent or 155,000.

The number of heifers that were over one year of age held for beef cowherd replacements was reported at 561,600 head, a very small year-over-year drop of 1,700 animals or less than 1 per cent. The national number of heifers on hand for milk cowherds was up 9,500 head or 2.2 per cent.

The Canadian hog count as of 1 January was 14.3 million head, which was a 2.7 per cent year-over-year increase. That was the first time since 2008 that the inventory exceeded 14 million animals. Compared to a year earlier, at 1.27 million head, the national breeding herd had an increase of 16,000 head or was up 1.3 per cent. The breeding herd was the largest since 2009.

During 2018, the Canadian cattle herd may grow at a slightly slower pace than it did in 2017. Both beef-type and dairy cow numbers also may post rather small increases in 2018. That assessment is largely based on the reported heifers held for breeding purposes. The Canadian hog numbers are projected to continue increasing near 2017’s pace.

Note that below are preliminary weekly data from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (Market News Division) on US production and prices.

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