Canadian Cattle Imports Trend Higher


Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Live cattle imports from the U.S. trended higher while exports decreased in 2020.

‘Live cattle imports from the US to Canada were up in 2020 which is the fourth year-over-year increase in a row,’ states Jason Wood, livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. ‘The numbers for the January to December 2020 period shows just over 272,000 non-purebred cattle were imported to Canada. This is up 1.5 per cent compared to 2019.’

Woods adds that Alberta non-purebred cattle imports were over 156,000 head for the January to December 2020 period – down 2.2 per cent compared to 2019 when just under 160,000 head were imported.

‘In 2020, Alberta saw 57 per cent of the cattle imported to Canada come into the province,’ says Woods. ‘This is above Alberta’s 53 per cent average share over the last five years’.

Woods says 2020 Canadian cattle exports were also up 2 per cent for slaughter cattle (steers, heifers and cows) over 2019 and 8 per cent higher than the 5-year average. Feeder cattle exports in 2020 were down 36 per cent year-over-year and 39 per cent lower than the 5-year average.

Image 1: U.S Cattle Imports to Canada and Alberta

Graph of Canadian cattle imports trends

While imports have trended higher Woods say Canadian exports of live cattle to the U.S. trended downward. ‘We saw a 9 per cent drop from 2019 and 7.6 per cent below the 5-year average.’

Image 2: Canadian Live Cattle Exports to the U.S.

Graph of Canadian cattle imports trends


For more information, connect with Jason Wood:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-3122
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)


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