Alberta Cattle Industry Statistics
The Alberta cattle industry began in the late 1800s with English and American settlers discovering the many advantages that make Alberta an ideal location to raise cattle. These frontier producers found ways to prosper in the Canadian climate by using progressive management practices and by being early adaptors of technology.
That same spirit persists today. Alberta cattle producers are committed to ensuring that their industry makes a positive contribution to the economy in a way that is compatible with the sustained and safe use of the land, water and other resources they employ.
- 53% (26,500) of Alberta producers have beef cattle
- Alberta cattle and calf numbers – 5.5 million head (40% of Canadian total)
- Canada cattle and calves – 14 million head
- Alberta has 1.95 million breeding beef cows and heifers (39% of Canadian total)
- Alberta feeds over 2.18 million cattle each year with total annual beef production of over 773,000 tonnes
- Alberta averages 189 beef cattle per farm
- Alberta has 21,095,393 hectares of farmland
- 31% of all Alberta farmland is natural land for pasture
- 12% of all Alberta farmland is tame or seeded pasture land
- Alberta federal and provincial inspected plants processed 2.4 million head of cattle or roughly 71% of the Canadian total in 2009
Contribution to the Economy
Beef cattle production is Alberta’s largest agricultural sector providing $2.9 billion in farm cash receipts annually or 34% of Alberta farm production income.
Alberta’s cattle industry has an economic multiplier effect of 4:1; this means an overall benefit of over $11.6 billion to the economy. Meat product manufacturing is Alberta’s second largest manufacturing industry. In 2009, it accounted for slightly over $5 billion.
Alberta leads the nation in cattle and calf inventories with 5.5 million head, about 40% of the national total (14 million head). Of Alberta’s estimated 2009 beef production, 16% is sold within the province, 45% to other provinces, 31% to the United States and 8% to other countries. Annual exports of Alberta beef and cattle are valued at approximately $1.4 billion in 2009. The total value of Alberta beef shipments to the U.S. during 2009 was $708 million.