by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Results released today from a Statistics Canada livestock survey indicate that by Jan. 1, 2008 the number of cattle in the country had dropped more than 200,000 to just under 14 million compared to numbers Jan. 1, 2007.
In Jan. 2005, cattle numbers were at record levels as closed borders forced producers to keep much of their farm stock off the market.
Yet StatsCan reports current levels are still nearly 500,000 more than those on Jan. 1, 2003, just five months before the U.S. border closed to Canadian shipments because of concerns about BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).
The report estimates that the final tally of 2007 cattle exports would reach 1.4 million head, up 35 per cent from 2006. That amount is sill more than 250,000 shy of the number of animals exported in 2002.
The survey also showed that hog producers' inventory of 14 million hogs dropped by nearly 900,000 in January, 2008 compared to the same month the year before. The drop was attributed to the Canadian dollar's rise in value, weakening export and slaughter prices for hogs and high feed costs.
Nevertheless, the number of hogs exported to the U.S. in 2007 reached 9.9 million.
A drop in sheep inventories of more than six per cent last year was also noted.
Conducted in January, the survey involved 10,000 producers. BF