More hogs, fewer cows and ewes on farm as of January 1


Statistics Canada says that the cow herd and ewe flock have declined as of January 1, 2021, year-over-year, while hog numbers are up slightly.

As of the first of the year, StatsCan says the hog herd increased by less than one per cent — just 0.4% year-over-year — while cattle numbers dropped one per cent from January 1, 2020.

In total, Canadian farmers held 11.2 million cattle on their farms on January 1, 2021. Inventories were down 25.3% below the January 1 peak reached in 2005, StatsCan says.

Cattle inventories as of January 1, 2021. StatsCan, 2021.

There are also fewer farms raising cattle. As of January 1, 2021, 71,330 farms reported inventories of cattle and calves, down 1.8% from January 1, 2020.

On this same date, Canadian farmers held 1.4 million dairy cows and heifers on-farm, a number that has remained fairly stable since January 1, 2018.

As of the first of this year, the Canadian ewe flock hit its lowest level since January 1, 1999, at 780,200 head. That’s a two per cent drop over 2020.

Ontario and Quebec accounted for over half of the total Canadian sheep and lamb inventories on January 1, StatsCan adds.

International exports of sheep and lambs fell 58.7% year over year to 3,100 head, but remained slightly above the previous 10-year average for the July-to-December period. International imports of live animals totalled 8,400 head, the highest levels for the January 1 period since 2015.

The hog inventory hit approximately 14 million hogs as of January 1, a rise of 0.4% since 2020, and an 11.2% increase from a decade ago.

Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba held the largest inventories among the provinces on January 1. The Eastern provinces are home to nearly 60 per cent of Canada’s hogs, with Quebec accounting for nearly one-third of Canadian hog inventories, at 4.3 million head. Quebec has held Canada’s highest hog inventories since 1991.

You can read the entire hog, cattle, and sheep report, here.

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