At a Glance

In Québec, two types of calves are destined for veal production: grain-fed calves and milk-fed calves. The distinction comes mainly from how the calves are fed, one being fed mostly grain, and the other milk.

It all begins on a dairy farm where the cow, in order to give milk, must also produce calves. After 9 months of gestation, she will give birth to a bob calf.

The future of the young animal will depend on its sex. If it is a male bob calf, it will be destined for veal production, while a female (heifer) will become a dairy cow.

Rearing method

Grain-fed calves are raised in an environment that promotes their welfare and development. They are raised in groups and are free to move around as they wish in vast pens. The buildings are designed to provide plenty of space and light.

Grain-fed veal production in Québec also benefits from the ATQ’s cattle traceability program. This program traces the calf from its farm of origin to the slaughterhouse.

Two distinct stages characterize grain-fed veal production: a period in the nursery, followed by a growing period, also called finishing.

Watch the video An encounter with Grain-Fed Veal producer.

Did You Know?

  • Quebec has about 136 grain-fed veal producers. The farms are located in several regions of Québec, especially in Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec.
  • A typical specialized farm has 781 grain-fed veals per year.
  • Production totals 69,800 grain-fed calves yearly, with annual sales come close to $64 million (farmgate value).
  • Grain-fed veal accounts for about 11% of the volume and value of Québec cattle production.
  • Grain-fed veal producers can count on a well established grain-fed veal slaughtering and processing industry. All slaughtering and about 70% of processing are performed in Québec.
  • Expenditures of the grain-fed veal/milk-fed veal sector: $271 million.
  • Each $100 million spent in the Quebec veal industry in 2012 generated $66 million in added value for the Quebec economy and $8.5 million in government revenues.
  • Employment: the heavy calf sector generates 2,500 jobs.

Veal production

Veal production