At a glance
Cattle production has grown dramatically in Québec in the past thirty years. The quality of the livestock stands out in the markets and the sector is consolidating. However, challenges are constant and the past years have been difficult.
Québec is still a modest player on the Canadian scale, with beef production accounting for around 4% of national production. However, the Québec veal sector is the unchallenged leader in Canada, with about 80% of national production. We should also note that animals culled from the dairy and cow-calf herds contribute to the growth of beef production (so called commercial beef). Québec produces 14% of Canadian commercial beef.
As everywhere else in Canada, the crisis of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the adverse economic conditions of the late 2000s have certainly led to a decline of the production. However, thanks to its abundant pasture and forage, Québec has strong development potential.
Beef production ranks fourth in Québec livestock production, after dairy, hog and poultry production. In Québec, there are currently about 11,000 farm operations partially or totally dedicated to cattle production. The producers are men and women with a passion for their profession. Over the years, they have developed modern livestock farming conditions and rigorous quality control, favouring on-farm food safety, animal welfare and animal health.
The agroenvironmental best practices implemented also ensure the sustainable development of cattle farms. Producers care deeply about offering consumers, nutritious, healthy meat of the highest quality!
Present throughout Québec, cattle production is a key pillar of our agriculture and regional development. About 710,900 cattle are marketed each year, for a farmgate value of about $1 billion.
Two Sectors – 2017 Overview
Québec cattle production encompasses two sectors: beef production and veal production. The beef sector includes feeder calves (cattle fed on pasture), fed cattle, cull cattle and bob calves. The heavy veal sector includes grain-fed veal calves and milk-fed veal calves.