Canadian Dairy Herd Climbs to 10 Year High

Canada’s dairy cow herd has reached its highest mid-year total since 2008. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

The Canadian dairy herd has nearly 970,000 cows, the highest mid-year inventory calculated for the country in 10 years.

According to USDA’s lasted mid-year inventory for Canada and the U.S., dairy cow numbers are still on the rise for Canadian farms. A total of 969,700 cows were accounted for in Canada on July 1, 2018, an increase of 1.4% from the same time last year.

The last time Canada had a higher July 1 total was in 2008 when 971,800 dairy cows were in the inventory.

Canada’s July 1 inventory has risen the past two years after being on a downward trend following 2008. The low point in the Canadian dairy cow inventory was reached in 2016 when just 942,400 head were accounted for.

Expansion of the Canadian dairy herd could be slowing though as the replacement herd dropped by 2,100 heifers from last year. There are currently 435,500 dairy replacement as of July 1. This year’s replacement heifer count is the lowest since 2015 when there were just 433,600 heifers.

Despite the increase in Canada’s dairy herd it still pales in comparison to the U.S. herd which is almost 10 times larger. There were 9.4 million dairy cows and 4.2 million replacement heifers in the U.S. as of July 1, which is no change from the previous year.

If Canada was a single state in the U.S. it would rank third in dairy cow inventory behind California and Wisconsin. According to the latest milk production report, California had 1,735,000 cows and Wisconsin had 1,274,000 cows.

Combining Minnesota (452,000 cows) and Pennsylvania (520,000) would result in a nearly equivalent amount of dairy cows as Canada.