Near Pont-l’Evêque: from Charles-Henry’s farm to plate, behind the scenes of a cattle ranch

Charles-Henry Lebrun raises about a hundred Charolais cattle. ©Camille RUFFAY

“The French have a lot of trust in farmers, but nothing better than showing what really happens behind the doors of buildings by getting to know them. We don’t hide, we want to be transparent! Charles-Henry Lebrun, Charolais cattle breeder in Torquesne (Calvados), opens the doors of its operation within the scope of Made in Meat meetings. a way of saying Behind the scenes their profession and share their concerns.

Made in Meat meetings from May 11th to 18th

The Livestock and Meat sector invites the general public and students from May 11th to 18th throughout France to the 7th edition of the Made in Meat Encounters. The opportunity for professionals to present their profession with “transparency” and “sharing” opening its doors. At the Pays d’Auge, from 11 to 13 May, two professionals participate: Charles-Henry Lebrun’s EARL d’Argentel in Torquesne and Les Eleveurs du Pays d’Auge, an artisanal butcher in Breuil-en-Auge. More information at www.la-viande.fr/made-in-viande/les-rencontres

140 animals per year

The son of a farmer from Coquainvillers, this 30-year-old man settled in 2014 in the small town of Augeronne, transforming a dairy farm into a cattle ranch. At the same time, the young farmer cultivates 200 hectares of cereals. “Each year 140 animals go out to feed the population”, explains Charles-Henry Lebrun, assisted by an employee and an apprentice.

Before reaching the plate, the animals are raised in Normandy and its surroundings. From birth they are given a number that will never leave them. “And even on the tray. It’s a question of being able to guarantee food safety and allow traceability”, explains the farmer.

Since her arrival at nine months…

When they arrive at the farm at around nine months of age, the animals are quarantined in the nursery. Objective: to avoid contamination of the entire herd in the event of a problem and to “acclimate” them. Growth monitoring, economy, health record… No baby phone for Charles-Henry Lebrun, but an app. “It’s very easy for me to keep track of animals at all levels, especially the sanitary level, and it also gives the consumer peace of mind.”

After the quarantine, the cattle join the main building be raised there. No question of separating them from their neighbors. “It’s like everywhere, there are characters and power relationships. Placing a youth with elders is certain death. »

Charles Henry Lebrun creator Le Torquesne
Young bulls leave your farm at around 20 months. ©Camille RUFFAY

At nine months, bulls weigh 300 kg and come out between 18 and 20 months, after reaching an average of 800 kg. 90% of what they eat is produced on the farm. Their manure is then used as fertilizer for their land, “it’s the cycle of nature”. “When I cook to feed them, I have a very accurate recipe and everything is weighed down to the nearest gram, to avoid health problems,” he continues.

The beasts are created inside home, in boxes grouping animals of the same age. “Outdoor breeding is much slower, up to two years. Meat may be tastier, but tougher. And to have tender meat you need young meat”, compares the breeder.

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…As they leave to be consumed

Charles-Henry considers putting “animal welfare” among their priorities, ensuring that they grow up in good conditions. “Whether it’s about respecting spaces, sleeping places, the atmosphere of the building, increasing the volume of air in the summer, always keeping an eye on them…”

Once their growth is complete, the calves are sent to the slaughterhouse located in Villers-Bocage, a particular proximity avoiding long journeys for the animals. On average, 450 kg of carcass per cattle ends up on the plates of lovers of this meat. Mainly in Italy, North Africa, Greece or Sicily. France is the main consumer of veal in Europe, but also the main exporter of cattle.

To discover Charles-Henri’s farm, click here.

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