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Cattle Inventories In Canada Decline

Canada’s estimated total cattle and calf inventory as of July 1, continued to decline, dropping 2.3 per cent from the level seen at the same time a year ago, according to figures released by Statistics Canada Aug. 20.

The beef herd in Canada was down 2.4 per cent from the year-ago level while dairy herd numbers were relatively unchanged.

As of July 1, 2009, Canadian producers had an estimated 14.48 million head of cattle and calves on their farms.

The government agency said the Canadian dairy herd remains slightly below two million head as milk production remains stable.

The national beef herd was down from the same date a year ago. The beef calving rate is returning to levels experienced prior to 2003. Constrained market access to the U. S. from country-of-origin labelling or COOL, has increased steer and beef heifer inventory by five per cent as more cattle are kept on bank-grounder and feeding operations in Canada.

Total cattle exports between January 1 and June 2009 declined 3.1 per cent from the same period a year earlier, Statistics Canada said. The COOL regulation has limited Canadian cattle access to feedlots and packers.

Shipments from Canada’s largest exporting province, Alberta, are down 11.8 per cent. Exports from Manitoba and Saskatchewan are down 30.4 per cent and 42.2 per cent respectively. Eastern Canada exports are down 50.7 per cent. As cattle inventory has been declining for the last four years, domestic slaughter of cattle and calves fell 6.8 per cent in the first half of the year from 2008, Statistics Canada said.

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