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Canadian Cattle Herd Rebuilding

25 June 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

CANADA - While cow meat production in Canada seasonally hits an annual low in June and July, cow slaughter over the past six weeks has declined below year ago levels, with Canadian cow-calf operators’ continuing rebuilding efforts.

Canadian cow slaughter from 28 April through to 9 June 2012 declined 7.6 per cent year-on-year and 28 per cent below the five-year average, while total steer and heifer slaughter also fell 2.4 per cent on year ago levels and 7.8 per cent below the five-year average (Steiner Consulting Group).

The Canadian cattle herd rebuild has also been apparent in both the number and composition of cattle on feed. The latest survey showed feedlot inventory in Alberta and Saskatchewan (approximately 80 per cent of all feedlot cattle in Canada) declined 8.8 per cent year-on-year, to 844,443 head. Since the beginning of 2012, Canadian feedlots have placed eight per cent fewer cattle on feed than a year ago, but with a noticeable shift towards more placements of steers than heifers.

Despite the tight domestic cow supplies, the Canadian imported beef market has reportedly been trading mostly on spot, as end-users demand remained limited for forward purchases. Similar to the US market, imported grinding beef in Canada continued to trade at a significant discount to fresh domestic product. While Canadian lean grinding beef prices so far in June have increased two per cent from May levels and averaged eight per cent above year-on-year, prices for round cuts (including eye-round and inside) have declined, influenced by increased availability of US products.

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