Growing Forward 2 - Final Report - Page 15

VEAL CALVES The Ontario veal industry raises approximately 200,000 calves for meat consumption annually1. Approximately 45 per cent of Canadian veal is raised in Ontario, although production is predominantly of grain-fed veal cattle. The average grain-fed veal farm in Ontario produces approximately 150 to 200 veal calves per year, although there are a number of large producers with multiple barns and farms, and many smaller producers raising less than 50 calves per year. In Ontario, the milk-fed veal industry is an integrated system, representing approximately 10 per cent of the industry. Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO) is a producer run organization that represents the interests of both grain-fed and milk-fed producers in Ontario. VFO is committed to enhancing the Ontario veal industry on behalf of all those associated with the sector including processors, feed companies, pharmaceutical companies, retailers, foodservice and other service and equipment suppliers. VFO’s responsibilities include producer communication, government liaison, policy, research and development, marketing, consumer education, promotions, retail liaison and producer education. It is Ontario’s newest marketing board as of April 1, 2015. Formerly, veal producers in Ontario were represented by a voluntary organization called the Ontario Veal Association. Veal calves are marketed to both federally and provincially inspected slaughter facilities. They are often assembled in groups from various producers. As such, reaching a census of the number of veal producers, and total population of veal calves, in Ontario at any one time is very difficult. While there are a number of large producers with multiple veal facilities, often on several different sites, there are also a large number of small producers raising less than 50 calves per year. There are two types of veal calves produced: milk-fed veal and grain-fed veal. Milk-fed veal calves are raised on a balanced diet based largely on milk replacer, to reach market weight of approximately 225 kg at 18 to 20 weeks of age. There are a relatively small number of large milk-fed veal producers raising this specialty commodity in Ontario. Grain-fed veal is a much larger, more dispersed sector of the veal industry, producing calves that reach a market weight of 650 to 700 lbs. (296 kg to 318 kg) around seven to eight months of age. Grain-fed veal calves are raised on a milk-based diet until 6-8 weeks of age, and then weaned onto a diet of corn and protein supplement. Milk-fed veal calves are raised on a balanced milk-based diet containing all the necessary nutrients for animal health, along with a small quantity of roughage, around 40 to 60 kg/ calf. Milk-fed calves will reach a market weight of 450 to 500 lbs. (205 kg to 227 kg) around five months of age. The Ontario veal industry raises approximately 200,000 calves for meat consumption annually. These calves represent the male (bull) calves from the dairy industry, which are not raised by dairy producers. Finished veal and bob calf prices are nearing record highs. The recent price for finished veal has been influenced by a number of factors, including supply and demand, time of year, weather, the US market and competition for bob calves. With the price of beef also increasing and the need to recuperate some of the higher input costs, some producers in Ontario have chosen to raise their veal calves to higher weights as dairy beef. One of the unique challenges of the veal industry involves sourcing animals. While select high genetic value bull calves are raised for breeding purposes, the majority of male dairy calves are considered a byproduct of the dairy industry and sold to veal producers directly or through sale barns. Calves can also come from Quebec, or are bought as preconditioned calves from western provinces. These bull calves are raised to produce high quality meat, however due to the nature of sourcing these animals, biosecurity and early management practices in place at the birth farm and the stress and exposure to pathogens from commingling during transport and at sale barns, they are at an inherently greater risk of illness and need for antimicrobial use. Finished veal and bob calf prices are currently nearing record highs. The recent price for finished veal has been influenced by a number of factors, including supply and demand, time of year, weather, the US market and competition for bob calves. With the price of beef also increasing and the need to recuperate some of the higher input costs, some producers in Ontario have chosen to raise their veal calves to higher weights as dairy beef. One of the unique challenges of the veal industry involves sourcing animals. While select high genetic value bull calves are raised for breeding purposes, the majority of male dairy calves are considered a by-product of the dairy industry and sold to veal producers directly or through sale barns. Calves can also come from Quebec, or are 1 15  http://ontarioveal.on.ca Antibiotic Use in Food-Producing [