Livestock numbers on the rise

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Cattle inventories rose as strong prices and exports to the U.S. provided an incentive for cow-calf operators to expand the breeding herd.

However, Statistics Canada points out, it will take several years before consumers see more beef in the marketplace.

Total cattle and calf inventories reached 14.6 million head as of July 1, up 1.5 per cent from a year earlier. Even so, inventories remained 2.8 per cent below the 1996 peak.

At the same time, Canada’s hog industry expanded with an estimated 12.3 million hogs on farms, that’s up 0.3 per cent from 2000.

The sheep and lamb sector also expanded for the fourth consecutive year. Inventories rose 6.4 per cent from the previous year to about 1 million head in the wake of improved demand and prices. Imports continue to remain generally low, as they have since the late 1990s.

Statistics Canada says its research was based around a telephone survey of 21,000 farm operators conducted during the last three weeks of June.

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