Longueuil, May 8, 2020 – Ferme Beaux-Prés in Saint-Vianney, Ferme Martin et Renaud Boutin Inc. in Saint-George, and Ferme G.M. Lebel Inc. in Sainte-Justine took the first three places in the 2019 edition of Lait’xcellent, a competition that rewards milk producers across the province for the outstanding quality of their milk. The recipients were revealed today.
2019 GOLD Lait’xcellent Award
Ferme Beaux-Prés enr., Saint-Vianney, Bas-Saint-Laurent
Gilles Beaupré and Micheline Girard have owned Ferme Beaux-Prés enr. since 1987. In terms of milk quality, their farm focuses on the comfort and health of the 60 animals in the herd. The quality of the bedding, which is composed of straw and wood shavings, is a crucial factor and the stalls are cleaned regularly during the day. Proper ventilation is another contributing factor to both comfort and milk quality. Unfortunately, on November 11, a fire ravaged their facilities and decimated the entire herd. The owners are now evaluating what they will do with the farm.
Last year, Ferme Beaux-Près won silver at the provincial level in the Lait’xcellent contest. The farm has already earned two Very Great Distinctions and a Great Distinction in the Lait’xcellent competition and came in second in Quebec for the quality of its certified organic milk in 2014 and 2017.
2019 SILVER Lait’xcellent Award
Ferme Martin et Renaud Boutin Inc., Saint-George, Chaudière-Appalaches-Sud
Maxime, the third generation on Ferme Martin et Renaud Boutin Inc., bought his father Martin’s shares as well as those of his uncle Renaud in December. His father and uncle continue to work on the farm along with Solange Labbé, Maxime’s mother. One essential factor for producing quality milk on the farm is effective management of the bedding, which is composed of wood shavings and straw. Every morning, the bedding is swept from the front of the stall to the gutter. Cows with mastitis are milked separately, at the end. Quality results are regularly tracked on the PLQ’s extranet site in an effort to understand the cause and the cow at the origin of any increase. The Holstein herd has approximately 165 purebred Holstein cows, including 72 lactating cows kept in tie stalls.
Every year for the last ten years, Ferme Martin et Renaud Boutin Inc. has finished among the top 25 Quebec farms with the best quality results in the Lait’xcellent competition.
2019 BRONZE Lait’xcellent Award
Ferme G.M. Lebel Inc., Sainte-Justine, Chaudière-Appalaches-Sud
Georges Lebel, his spouse Micheline Lavoie, and their son Patrick have owned Ferme G.M. Lebel Inc. in Sainte-Justine since 1989. For Patrick, milk quality is first and foremost a question of hygiene, monitoring and presence in the stable. He tries to take care of anything that could go wrong and keep the animals, their space, as well as the equipment and facilities clean. The wood shaving bedding is kept clean and changed when wet so that the animals stay as dry as possible. He also makes sure to keep mastitis as far as possible from the stable. CMT testing is performed systematically with each newly calved cow. If a cow is infected, it is identified, isolated and treated. The milking schedule is carefully followed. Gloves are worn and pre-milking and post-milking teat dips are used at all times.
Ferme G.M. Lebel Inc. won the provincial Lait’xcellent Gold Award in 2007. Since then, the farm has finished eight times in Quebec’s top fifty in this competition, receiving as many Very Great distinction certificates.
Milk quality, a priority for producers
Producers in Quebec and Canada are subject to stringent milk quality standards, which specifically include very strict requirements on the absence of antibiotics in milk and a ban on using growth hormones for animals. Quebec milk producers carry out optimal quality practices by complying with the very strict rules of the proAction program, whose food safety module is designed to prevent, monitor and reduce food safety risks on farms.
The Lait’xcellent competition has been held every year since 1987 by Les Producteurs de lait du Québec to reward the dairy farms in each region that achieve the best quality results as well as three provincial winners.