Beef Market Update: Canadian Ranchers Not Following U.S. Into Rapid Expansion Mode

Are we finally seeing signs of expansion in the Canadian beef herd?

If you dig deep enough into Canadian cattle inventory report published by Statistics Canada last week, you might just be inclined to answer yes.

The twice-a-year report showed total cattle and calf numbers across the country on January 1 were up just 0.3 percent from last year.

“To no surprise, there was very little change in the national cattle herd here in Canada,” says Anne Wasko of Gateway Livestock in this Beef Market Update.

However, getting into the StatsCan numbers, for the first time since 2006, there was no decline in cow herd size. And beef heifers held for replacement finally rose by four percent, she notes. “It’s about a 21,000 head increase from last year, so nothing spectacular in numbers, but again, it is an increase.”

If all those heifers stay in the herd, it will amount to less than a half-percent increase in overall beef cow numbers in Canada in 2017. Meanwhile, U.S. ranchers are already expanding the overall cow herd by an estimated four percent this year. The divergent behaviour shows the lack of equity held by Canadian producers after years of challenging circumstances, says Wasko.

Anne joined Shaun Haney to discuss the new Canadian herd numbers, whether Canadian producers are missing out on the current cattle market cycle, and the tough winter for finishers. Get the barbecue going and enjoy another Beef Market Update!

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