Valacta, the Quebec dairy production centre of expertise, is the successor to the Programme d’analyse des troupeaux laitiers du Québec (PATLQ), which in turn, came from the Dairy Herd Analysis Service (DHAS) established by McGill University during the 1960’s. To better understand our history, here is a brief overview of the organization of milk recording in Québec and in Canada.

A Century of Milk Recording

In 1905, the Canadian government established ROP (Record Of Production), a milk recording program to identify the best genetic purebred animals in Canada. British Columbia followed in 1913, with a provincial milk recording program. In 1931, the Québec government created a postal program. By 1950, most of the provinces had a milk recording program in place.

In the early 60’s, although Québec had 40 percent of the dairy farms in Canada, it was almost absent on the genetic front. Milk production was low and participation in milk recording was lower than in the rest of Canada and the United States. Forty years later, Québec has become a leader in dairy genetics and its participation in milk recording is among the strongest in North America. What happened to reverse the tide?

McGill University and DHAS

In 1966, a visionary, Dr. John E. Moxley of McGill University, came up with the idea to combine an automated dairy laboratory with the emerging computer technology, to provide farmers with an accurate analysis of their herd, and management tools that could be used to improve their productivity and profitability. With support from the provincial government Dr. Moxley, along with his assistant Norm Campbell and a handful of young, dynamic people, launched the Dairy Herd Analysis Service (DHAS)also known as the “Macdonald College milk recording program”. Little by litte, this service, took on the mission of serving the whole dairy producer population in Québec and the Maritimes. In Quebec, this was the period of the “Quiet Revolution”: the Quebec dairy industry was in search of a vision and a plan to help it evolve. Leadership from the producers and other organizations involved in genetic improvement would soon make a major difference.

MAPAQ and PATLQ

In 1970, DHAS became a joint program between McGill University and MAPAQ (Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) and the name DHAS was changed to Programme d’analyse des troupeaux laitiers du Québec (PATLQ). The Quebec government clearly understood that PATLQ would become an important strategic force for the development of the dairy industry in Quebec.

In 1973, the Quebec genetic improvement partners (the breed associations and CIAQ the Quebec artificial insemination centre) convinced MAPAQ to introduce a supervised milk recording program to encourage the producers' participation in the development of genetics in Quebec​. This program would have a considerable impact.

Consolidation and Transformation

During the 1980’s, the Federal government terminated its milk recording program, and consolidated it with the provincial programs. Thus, PATLQ and “ROP” were combined in 1989. Since PATLQ had about 9,000 enrolled clients at the time, McGill University and MAPAQ hoped that dairy producers would take it over as a development tool. In 1994, the FPLQ (Quebec's Federation of Dairy Producers) became the majority shareholder.

Since 1996, PATLQ has broadened its array of services in response to the increasingly diversified needs of dairy producers. Now providing much more than basic milk recording, the diversified services include the analysis of milk urea nitrogen, milk analyses for payment to producers, data processing for all the Canadian dairy herd improvement agencies, access to reports over the Internet, development of cutting-edge software in partnership, group training sessions and strategic on-farm advisory services.

After 40 years: Valacta

In 2006, as PATLQ was celebrating its 40th anniversary, its three shareholders FPLQ, MAPAQ and McGill University considered that the organization should broaden its orientations and open up to new partners in order to be better prepared for the challenges of the future, .

To mark the birth of this vision, a new name was adopted to highlight our attachment to VALues, our commitment to ACTion and our love for the dairy life, which remains at the heart of our mission. And so Valacta was born.

Supported by the industry in its role as a Dairy Production Centre of Expertise, Valacta is still driven by the original vision of Dr. John E. Moxley: to be a strategic force in the evolution of dairy production in Quebec.

 

 

Dr John E. Moxley 

Dr. John E. Moxley

1966: first central computer, a IBM 1620 

1966: First central computer, an IBM 1620.

The first sample bottles are made of glass

The first sample tubes are made of glass.

 

1978: All of the PATLQ employees are located at the "Poultry" building of the MacDonald Campus.

Lancement Valacta