Livestock Survey

Detailed information for July 1, 2020




2 times per year

Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to collect up-to-date information on the number of livestock on agricultural operations in Canada. The data are used by agricultural industry analysts and producers to make production and marketing decisions, and by government analysts to monitor the livestock industry and develop agricultural policies in Canada.

Data release - August 20, 2020


Generally, the Livestock Survey consists of two survey occasions designed to provide inventories of major livestock species on Canadian farms on two specific dates. The January 1 and July 1 surveys collect data related to cattle, hogs and sheep. While the January 1 survey was unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the July 1, 2020 Livestock Survey data was not collected directly from farmers in an effort to reduce response burden.

The principal data releases include inventories and summarized supply-disposition tables. These data are used by agricultural industry analysts and producers as they make production and marketing decisions and by government analysts to monitor the livestock industry or develop agricultural policies in Canada. The data are used in the calculation of farm income estimates and flow to the Canadian System of National Accounts. Further, the data are used in the calculation of net farm income projections, produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in co-operation with Statistics Canada and the provinces.

Reference period: January 1, July 1


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Livestock and aquaculture

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Not applicable

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and used as a replacement to collection and in a supply and disposition framework to create data estimates.

Administrative livestock slaughter data obtained under the authority of the Statistics Act and livestock slaughter data available to the public are provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. For the July 1 publication, the slaughter data was integrated with other administrative data to create summarized supply-disposition tables. Administrative data was used as a starting point for the estimation of total inventory, and sub-categories of cattle, hogs and sheep were estimated using historical sum-ratios. These estimates were then adjusted based on consultations with provincial experts.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

This methodology does not apply.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology does not apply.

Quality evaluation

Prior to the data release, data are analyzed for comparability; in general, this includes a detailed review of: general economic conditions, coherence with results from related industry indicators, historical trends, and information from other external sources (e.g. associations, trade publications, newspaper articles).

Biological factors affecting livestock are used as a guide when evaluating the data or comparing to other data sets. A primary tool in the evaluation and final determination of the data involves supply-demand analysis and survey-based ratios that track the supply and demand of the particular type of livestock by province over time.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done to detect primary suppressions (direct disclosure) as well as secondary suppressions (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Once every five years, the published livestock data are aligned with the results of the Census of Agriculture. Due to conceptual differences between the datasets, the match is not normally 1 to 1. For instance, the 2016 Census was conducted on May 10 and the 2016 livestock statistics referred to July 1. Any adjustments made to the data during the Census year are then smoothed in over the historical five-year period between the Censuses. The impact of the revisions is normally less than 5%, however, for specific livestock in certain provinces, the impact can be higher.

Data accuracy

Administrative data used in the Supply and Disposition tables are verified with data sources to ensure accuracy of the compilation process.

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