Canada looking to build cattle herd

12 August 2015

The high prices being paid for cattle in the US over the last two years have been reflected in markets in their northern neighbour, Canada. A significant reason for this has been the declining Canadian cattle herd, and subsequent drop in slaughter and beef production. In response, Canadian cattle producers are looking to increase numbers, but are constrained by a few factors.

The Steiner Consulting Group notes that Canadian cow slaughter in June and July was as much as 15% lower than the same time last year. In addition, heifer retention is particularly high. More and more cattle are being placed on feed, as a result of drought – but most of these are steers.

The low cow slaughter and heifer placements indicate that cattle producers in Canada are following the lead of their US counterparts in attempting to rebuild cattle herds. The differences, however, are the rainfall and pasture conditions – the US has seen a marked improvement this year, while Canadian cattle regions remain relatively dry. This could limit their ability to increase calf numbers in the near future. Compounding this is ongoing demand for live cattle from US feedlots and processors, who are offering good money to draw cattle south across the border.

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