Ontario beef herd numbers on decline since 2018
Farmers Forum staff
ONTARIO — Ontario’s beef herd numbers continued their decline in 2022, in line with an overall North American trend identified in Rabobank’s 2023 animal protein outlook.
That outlook points to a continued “multi-year decline” in North American beef cattle numbers in 2023 and a resulting tighter beef supply as retail product is absorbed without as many cattle on the ground to replace it. American ranchers liquidated extra cattle because of drought conditions in 2021 and 2022, shrinking their herds and temporarily sending more meat to market.
Fewer animals will go to slaughter in 2023, predicts Lance Zimmerman, senior analyst with the Dutch-based bank.
“Expect that in the next year we’re going to lose more than a million head (for slaughter), and that means we’re going to lose more than a billion pounds in beef production,” Zimmerman said in a recent ‘Market Talk’ YouTube interview.
He suggested that getting the North American beef herd back into expansion mode could take “at least” two to three years because of continued supply-chain troubles, high energy and feed costs and uncertainty about shipping feed by rail and a low Mississippi River.
In Ontario, far from bucking the trend, Statistics Canada shows a continuing annual decline in the number of beef cattle on the province’s beef farms since 2018. As of July 1st, 2022, StatCan counted just over 918,000 head on Ontario beef farms, down from: 956,000 in 2018.