‘Year-to-date, western Canada slaughter is 281,636 head, 25% below 2019 and 12.6% lower than the 5-year average,’ says Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

‘Nationally, cow slaughter is 380,775 head to the week ending December 5, down 20% from 2019 and 5.4% below the 5-year average. Good pasture and forage conditions have been beneficial, allowing time to market cows and preventing additional downward price pressure.’

Image 1. Year-to-date Western Canada cow slaughter (January to December 5, 2020)

Wood notes total exports of Canadian live cattle to the U.S. are 611,535 head to the week ending November 28, 2020, down 9.2% from 2019 and 8.9% lower than the 5-year average.

Feeder cattle exports are 110,686 head this year, down 39% from 2019. Fed (slaughter) steers and heifers, including cow exports, are currently at 452,359 head, up 3.4% from 2019.

‘Higher exports of fed cattle and cows have provided market support this year,’ explains Wood.

Image 2. Canadian total live cattle exports to the U.S. (to week ending November 28, 2020)

Wood adds frozen cow meat exports are allowed under Phase 1 of the U.S.-China trade deal. Recent reports indicate that more U.S. frozen cow cuts are being exported to China. ‘This may provide additional support to the cow market as we move into 2021, both in the U.S. and here.

‘Finally,’ says Wood, ‘as we move into the first quarter of 2021 and closer to spring, increased demand for lean ground beef typically supports a seasonal increase in cow prices.’


For more information, contact Jason Wood:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-2133
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line:
Phone: 780-422-1005