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 starts at the dairy farm, where, to produce milk, the cow must also produce calves. After a nine-month gestation period, the cow delivers a small calf (bob calf).
The future of the young calf will depend on its gender. Male dairy calves are destined for veal production, whereas female calves (heifers) ultimately become dairy cows.
Male dairy calves, generally Holstein, are bought by veal producers who, during the 20-week rearing period, provide optimum conditions: a balanced diet, a healthy environment and personalized care – everything needed to ensure their comfort, good health and growth!
Milk-fed veal production in Québec also benefits from ATQ’s cattle traceability program. This program traces the calf from its farm of origin to the slaughterhouse.
View the video An encounter with Milk-Fed Veal producer.
Did you know?
- There are about 110 milk-fed veal farms producing approximately 79,500 milk-fed calves per year. The farms are mainly in the Centre-du-Québec and Montérégie regions.
- A typical specialized farm produce 777 milk-fed veal per year.
- The farmgate value is about $88 million.
- Milk-fed veal accounts for approximately 16% of the volume and value of Québec cattle production.
- In its lifetime, a milk-fed calf will drink about 2,000 litres of milk. The milk fed to calves is high quality. It is also used in human food products such as high-energy beverages.