ArticleVolume Number December 18, 2020

Quebec Adopting New Practices!

Le Québec adopte les nouvelles pratiques!

With considerable research being conducted in recent years, and the widespread diffusion of information, the information collected in the Portrait of Dairy Production in Quebec questionnaire shows that producers have been adopting the new recommended practices. It also revealed that certain new practices can take a little more time to be implemented.

Calf Housing

In Quebec, 43% of farms surveyed house their calves in free, individual housing whereas 41% house them in groups or pairs. 

While previous recommendations had been to house calves separately to reduce the risk of illness, more recent research has proven the advantages of socialisation at young age, both in terms of growth and to reduce stress after weaning.

Why do you think that 60 % of farms do not choose to raise their heifers in groups or pairs?


The majority of Quebec farms wean their calves at between 51 and 70 days. This is the recommended practice if there is adequate intake and digestion of solid feeds to support proper growth.

How do you wean calves on your farm? For what period of time do your reduce the milk offered?

Milk Quantity

The recommended quantity of milk has changed significantly in the last few decades. We have gone from recommendations of 4L per day to 8L per day in order to encourage optimal growth and maximize milk production as an adult.

Almost 27 % of businesses, however, have still not increased the milk fed to the recommended 8 litres.

What keeps you from feeding more milk?

Milk Feeding Method

Research has proven that feeding milk through a nipple improves digestion and enhances the production of saliva and enzymes. The nipple also comforts calves by meeting their need to suckle. Still, almost 25% of farms continue to use the traditional bucket.

For those who still use the traditional bucket, what motivates your choice to continue this practice?

As you may have noticed, science is always looking for ways to improve on dairy production efficiency however; it can take some time for these improved practices to be implemented on the farm. A clear portrait of dairy production in Quebec will help us to evaluate if the recommended practices are really adopted and if the expected benefits really do pan out.


PARTENARIAT CANADIEN pour l'AGRICULTUREThis project is funded through the Innov'Action agri-food program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, as part of an agreement between the governments of Canada and Quebec.