About the Production of Quebec Milk-Fed Veal
As Canada’s leading veal producer, Quebec accounts for 80% of the country’s total production. Our veal enjoys a well-established reputation, with 50% of our veal meat sold outside Quebec.
Veal production at a glance
Milk-fed veal production flourished in the early 1980s. Before then, farmers were at a loss as to what to do with the male veal calves produced by our many dairy cows, and our milk by-products (milk powder) were not being sold.
Inspired by the European model, our producers decided to forge ahead and combine these two critical production components. A few years later, they came out winners! They succeeded in developing a thriving agricultural sector and, above all, in providing consumers with high-quality meat, sought after for its tenderness, pale pink and delicate taste.
From the dairy farm…
It all starts at the dairy farm, where, to produce milk, the cow must also produce calves. After a nine-month gestational period, the cow delivers a small veal calf.
The future of the young calf will depend on its gender. Male veal calves are destined for veal production, whereas female calves (heifers) ultimately become dairy cows.
…to the veal farm
Male dairy calves. generally Holstein, are bought by veal producers who, during the 20-week rearing period, provide optimum conditions for the calves: a balanced diet, a healthy environment and personalized care-everything needed to ensure their comfort, good health and growth!
Milk-fed veal production in Quebec: a few statistics
- 160 farms located primarily in the Montérégie, Québec and Centre-du-Québec regions
- Annual production of 147,000 veal calves
- Farmgate value of $135 million
- 175,000 veal calves produced by Québec’s dairy farms available to producers
- A type of production that often attracts young families, thereby ensuring future generations for this agricultural sector
- The average family farm produces 777 veal calves yearly
- In its lifetime, a milk-fed veal calf will drink the equivalent of 2000 litres of milk. Milk-fed veal calves are given top-quality milk that is also used in human food products, such as high energy drinks.
Did you know?
Quebecers are the biggest consumers of veal in North America. They eat an average of 7 pounds (3 kg) of veal per year, compared with 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg) per year for the other Canadian provinces. Our neighbours to the South consume 0.5 pound (0.2 kg) of veal per year.
Milk-fed veal is a nutritious meat, highly recommended by dietitians. The variety of cuts means that there is a multitude of ways to prepare it. So make Quebec Milk-Fed Veal an important part of your diet and enjoy a healthy gourmet treat!