Size of the industry:

By 2014, there were:

  • 12.215 million cattle and calves, down 0.7% from the previous year, on approximately 82,665 Canadian farms, ranches, and feedlots. Alberta accounts for approximately 42% of this inventory.
  • Farm cash receipts from the sale of cattle and calves in 2013 totalled $6.8 billion, 12.4% of total farm receipts.


  • Canada’s beef and veal exports increased by 2.9% from 2012 to 278,966 tonnes in 2013, valued at $1.33 billion.
  • Exports to the United States were steady in 2013 compared to 2012, up 0.1%.
  • Asian markets showed strong increases led by China, up 377%, Hong Kong 38%, and Japan by 17.5%.
  • Exports to Mexico continued to decrease, accounting for a decline of 20.7% in comparison with 2012 and 57% since 2010.
  • The United States is the major export market for Canadian beef, accounting for approximately 71% of exports.
  • In 2013, over 1 million head of cattle were exported to the United States for breeding, feeding, and processing, with feeder exports making up a larger proportion of the trade.
  • In 2013 feeder cattle exports to the U.S. represented 35% of the live trade, up from 21% in 2012.

Source: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

For more detailed information, contact:
Patti Negrave

Deputy Director, Red Meat Section – Animal Industry Division, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road, Tower 5, 2nd floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5
Tel.: 613-773-0226
Fax: 613-773-0300 Shannon Lyons Page 2 8/28/2014
Web site:

Feedlot Quick Facts

  • The feedlot is the most intensive component of the beef production chain, where a significant portion of value is added
  • Cattle typically enter the feedlot at nine to 11 months of age at about 900 lbs
  • Calves may enter feedlots earlier at 500 lbs
  • Cattle typically spend anywhere from 60 to 200 days at the feedlot, where they are fed a specialized ration until they reach a market weight of about 1,300 lbs