Statistics Canada reports 11.1 million head at the start of the year— down 0.5 per cent from the beginning of 2021.
The most eye-catching number is a four per cent drop in the number of beef heifers for breeding at 517,300 head. The dairy cow and heifer population was relatively steady at 1.4 million, while beef cow numbers fell 0.9 per cent to 3.5 million.
Alberta had the largest number of cows and calves—accounting for 39.4 percent of the national herd. Saskatchewan was next at 19.9 percent with Ontario third at 14.6 percent. Saskatchewan had 65,000 fewer cattle at 2.21 million on January 1st, 2022.
Moving on to hogs, there were 14.1 million on-farm at the start of the year—up 0.6 percent. Quebec was number one with 4.39 million head, followed by Ontario at 3.69 million and Manitoba 3.3 million. There were 985,000 hogs in Saskatchewan—an increase of 45,000 over the previous year.
Canadian inventories of sheep and lambs were up 3.9 per cent to 822,000 head at the beginning of the year—the first annual increase since 2018. Ontario and Quebec were home to more than half of the country’s sheep and lambs. Saskatchewan had 83,400—an increase of 400 head.