Industry Facts

Industry Facts

Overview of the Canadian Beef Industry

Alberta is Canada’s largest beef producer, with 40.1% of all Canada’s beef cows (around 1.59 million cows) and an average of 228 head per beef farm. Saskatchewan is the second largest beef producing province with 30% (1.16 million beef cows) and an average herd size of 160 cows per operation. 

Canadian Beef Industry Quick Facts:

Herd Stats:
  • Over 68,000 farms in Canada have beef cattle, with 12.27 million cattle and calves, and 3.96 million beef cows. 
  • The average Canadian beef herd size is 63 head 
  • Sixty-three percent of farms with a herd size less than 47 head control 19 percent of Canada’s beef herd. 
  • Thirteen percent of farms with over 122 head control 52 percent of Canada’s beef herd. 
Production Economics:
  • In 2015 and 2016 Canadian consumers purchased an average of 40 pounds of beef per person per year!
  • Canada’s beef industry contributes $33 billion either directly or indirectly to the economy.
  • Every job in the beef sector yields another 3.56 jobs elsewhere in the economy. For every $1 of income received by workers and farm owners, another $2.08 is created elsewhere. Either directly or indirectly through induced income effects, the beef sector generates 228,811 jobs (Source: Kulshreshtha, 2012).
International Standings:
  • Canada is the world’s 12th largest beef-producing nation contributing to 1.87 percent of the world’s beef cattle.
  • Canada exports about 45% of its beef and cattle production each year.
  • In 2016 Canadian beef exports reached a record $2.3 billion (359,600 tonnes) making Canada the 6th top beef exporting nation at 4.56% of the world’s beef supply.
  • 75% of the exports go to the U.S. The rest is split up among 55 other countries including, China & Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. 


The Three Sectors: