Alberta is Canada’s largest beef producing province.
A Snapshot of
Canada’s Beef Industry
The Beef Value Chain and Related Industry
Associations and Organizations
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Organizations Cutting Across the Beef Value Chain:
• Canada Beef Incorporated (CBI)
• Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC)
• Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA)
• Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT)
Beef Value Chain:
• Provincial and Local Breeder and Feeder Associations
• Provincial and Local Leasing and Grazing Associations
Note: Membership in the Canadian Beef Breeds Council is comprised of the national association that represents each
breed. Most national breed associations also have their own provincial chapter. For example, the Canadian Angus Association is a member of the Canadian Beef Breeds Council. The Alberta Angus Association is a member of the
Canadian Angus Association.
Alberta’s progressive feedlot sector is a vital component of Canadian beef production:
- 149 feedlots (of 1,000 head or more)
- 1.6 million head annual output
- 69% of Canada’s fed cattle production
Alberta leads in beef
- Once again, Alberta had the most cattle in Canada in 2016, accounting for 41.6% of the national herd.
- Alberta has the the second largest total farm area in Canada.
- Alberta’s feeder cattle (steers and heifers for feeding or slaughter) accounted for 59.6% of the national total.
- Alberta’s beef breeding stock (beef cows and heifers for beef herd replacement) accounted for 42.3%.
- For the first time since the 2001 Census, Alberta reported an increase in the number of beef cattle (beef cattle for breeding and beef cattle for feeding/slaughter). This contrasted with the continued decline at the national level (-2.4%).
- Alberta’s beef cattle inventories rose 1.3% from 2011 to 3.34 million head — despite fewer farms (-9.0%) reporting beef cattle.
- Close proximity to processing capacity and availability of feed and pasture land provide Alberta’s beef sector with a comparative advantage over other provinces.
- Additionally, volatility in the beef sector from 2011 to 2016, partially due to price fluctuations, may have affected beef cattle inventories.
Alberta’s Competitive Advantage
The collective business scale of Alberta’s feedlots — critical to success in a highly competitive global economy — is fuelled by aggressive entrepreneurial drive and closeness to the country’s cow herd.
Additional competitive advantage is offered through:
- Alberta’s sizeable land base
- Moderate climate
- Ample and economical supplies of forage and feed grains
- World-class irrigation system
Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and Dr. Melissa Moggy (Alberta Farm Animal Care) produced this research report to:
- Assess the number of beef and dairy cattle arriving at auctions and abattoirs in a compromised or unfit condition and to
characterize which conditions are most prevalent
- Identify risk factors associated with the arrival of compromised and unfit cattle
- Catalogue the outcome of compromised and unfit animals arriving at Alberta auction markets and abattoirs