Management fine-tuning and expanding the dairy herd are ahead for Luc Gervais and his wife Kim Brunelle on their long-time family dairy farm in south-central Quebec.
Renovations to the dairy barn a few years ago was an important step in the growth of Ferme Germec Inc. located at Herouxville, a small farming community about 140 km northwest of Quebec City. But Gervais, who farms with brother Daniel and cousin Francois, plans to make further improvements in coming years.
Gervais and Brunelle were earlier this year named Quebec’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2013.
Gervais was born and raised on the family dairy owned at the time by his uncles. He completed a college degree in Farming Operation Business Management, and worked off farm for a number of years before returning to the farm 12 years ago. Gervais, his brother and cousin bought the operation in 2010.
Today they manage an 84-head milking herd. They have 100 mature cows in total along with about 80 head of calves and heifers being raised as replacements. Feed for the cattle is produced on about 450 acres of both deeded and rented land.
Recent improvements in dairy facilities included expanding the free-stall barn, adding tunnel-type ventilation and improving over all cow comfort. Those improvements along with on-going improved genetics and proper feed management allowed them to increase milk production from about 10,000 kilograms per cow per year to about 12,240 kilograms per head per year in a two-times a day milking program. Focusing on quality cattle their purebred herd classification shows seven excellent, 29 very good, 42 good plus and nine good.
Looking ahead, as they focus more on improving genetics of the purebred cattle, Gervais plans to buy more quota to expand the herd. As well, he feels to get a better handle on herd management and milk production he would also like to change facilities to have the milking herd in a tie-stall barn. They also hope to build a facility to improve heifer management.
Along with keeping up on the latest field and dairy production technology, Luc is also actively involved in taking courses and attending conferences to improve overall crop and dairy herd management. Kim has an off-farm career and helps out with farming as needed. Together they are both involved in community and association activities and of course are actively involved in raising their three daughters, Meggy, 15, Magalie, 12, and Charlotte, seven, who all have a passion for gymnastics. †
THE OTHER NOMINEES, 2013
British Columbia: Troy and Sara Harker
Alberta: Michael Kalisvaart and Karen Jansen
Saskatchewan: Chad and Darlene Krikau
Manitoba: Tyler and Dorelle Fulton
Ontario: Dana and Adam Thatcher
Atlantic Canada: James and Amanda Kinsman, Nova Scotia