| ||The January 1, 2016 Canadian livestock inventory estimates were released by Statistics Canada and Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry says there were marginal changes and few surprises.
“Due to lower domestic slaughter and exports, inventory estimates reported a marginal increase in Canadian cattle. In Alberta, total cattle inventories saw a 0.4 per cent increase, while hogs increased 1.7 per cent in numbers. Conversely, Alberta sheep decreased 6.9 per cent from the previous year as farmers reduced herds” says Wood.
Beef replacement heifers were up 4.0 per cent on a national scale, and comparatively in Alberta at 5.2 per cent.
“Alberta had the strongest retention of beef replacement heifers, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba.” Nationally, calf inventories increased 0.9 per cent to 3.8 million, while feeder heifers and steers dropped 1.2 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively.
Hogs inventories were up in Canada and Alberta from January 1, 2015 due to sow and gilt retention and increasing litter rates (which in turn increases supplies for slaughter and exports). Domestic slaughter increased 4.2 per cent from 2014, and exports were up 16.4 per cent during the same period.
As for any unanticipated changes in the statistics, Wood says, “I think the biggest surprise is that beef cow numbers are slightly down nationally,” says Wood. “We expected it to stay on par with last year given the drop in beef cow slaughter and exports. Seeing the strong retention of replacement heifers in Alberta – in Western Canada – is a really good sign of potential herd expansion as we move forward.”