Biannual Livestock Survey

Detailed information for July 1, 2024




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.


The Livestock Survey is administered as part of the Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP). The IBSP program has been designed to integrate approximately 200 separate business surveys into a single master survey program. The IBSP aims at collecting industry and product detail at the provincial level while minimizing overlap between different survey questionnaires. The redesigned business survey questionnaires have a consistent look, structure and content. The integrated approach makes reporting easier for firms operating in different industries because they can provide similar information for each branch operation. This way they avoid having to respond to questionnaires that differ for each industry in terms of format, wording and even concepts. The combined results produce more coherent and accurate statistics on the economy.

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.

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

The target population for the survey consists of all Canadian agriculture operations that have a livestock inventory during the reference year.

The observed population consists of those establishments in the target population for which business information is available on Statistics Canada's Business Register excluding specific farms such as institutional farms, community pastures and farms on First Nations reserves.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was developed by subject matter experts through consultation with industry experts. The Agriculture Division, the Collection, Planning and Research Division, the Operations and Integration Division and the Enterprise Statistics Division of Statistics Canada conduct in-house testing for flow and consistency.

Subject matter experts may change, add or remove questions. This typically happens because of changes in market trends or because of information in debriefing reports from field staff.

New questions were pre-tested in the field in 2016. This included testing the cognitive process of respondents in answering questions and other tests to obtain feedback for the design of the questionnaire.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The stratification and allocation is multi variate, by type and size of livestock operation. The sample is selected using a stratified simple random sampling method.

The smallest units are ineligible to be selected for the sample. Their contribution is estimated and added to the survey results.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2024-06-03 to 2024-07-03

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Survey respondents are contacted primarily by email or letter and given an access code for the electronic questionnaire for the survey, which can be responded to in either official language. Respondents also have the option of replying by telephone interview. Follow-up is conducted via email or telephone and dynamically prioritized on the basis of weighted response rates and for data validation on discrepancies from predicted values.

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 as well as the Canadian Beef Grading Agency.

Administrative data collected by the Canadian Pork Council's PigTRACE program are used to estimate interprovincial hog imports and exports for non-slaughter purposes.

Administrative files collected from the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec provincial statistical agencies are used to estimate interprovincial cattle and calves exports for non-slaughter purposes.

Canadian International Merchandise Trade (Customs Basis) (record number 2201) data, which are collected and published by the International Accounts and Trade Division of Statistics Canada, are used to determine international imports and exports of live cattle, calves, hogs and sheep.

Data integration combines data from multiple data sources including survey data collected from respondents, administrative data or other forms of auxiliary data when applicable. During the data integration process, data are imported, transformed, validated, aggregated and linked from the different data source providers into the formats, structures and levels required for IBSP processing. Administrative data are used as an auxiliary source of data for editing and imputation when respondent data is not available.

During analysis of the Biannual Livestock Survey, survey data collected from respondents and administrative data are integrated to create summarized supply-disposition tables.

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

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