Beef Magazine is part of the divisionName Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

The Bottom Line In BQA

While the lessons learned through participation in beef quality assurance (BQA) programming help the cattle industry spread a good message to consumers about issues such as cattle care and antibiotic use, they can also help a rancher’s bottom line.

While the lessons learned through participation in beef quality assurance (BQA) programming help the cattle industry spread a good message to consumers about issues such as cattle care and antibiotic use, they can also help a rancher’s bottom line. A Montana ag lender recently penciled out what he sees as the economics of applying BQA practices. For example, a Montana cow-calf outfit selling 300 calves could expect:

  • 5 lbs. of extra gain/calf because calves were handled quietly at $1.10/lb. market price is $5.50/head for a total of $1,650.

  • 5 lbs. of extra gain/calf because vaccine was handled and administered properly at $1.10/lb. market price is another $5.50/head for another $1,650.

  • 2 extra weaned 600-lb. calves/year because both cows and calves were handled and vaccinated properly and therefore didn't lose a calf before or after calving is another $1,320.

  • 15¢/lb. improvement in price on a couple of 1,200-lb. cull cows that were sound at time of sale rather than crippled from rough handling is another $360.

  • 5% decrease from annual repair costs on $2,500 worth of equipment because cattle aren’t crammed and jammed through a working facility is another $125.

  • 5% decrease in annual workers’ comp and medical expenses of $5,000 – because people aren't getting injured from livestock handling wreck – is another $250.

  • That’s $5,355 total annual savings or increase in income – with no significant cash outlay.

Here’s a pre-conditioning checklist presented by Tahnee Szymanski, DVM, field veterinarian with the Montana Department of Livestock:

  • Be sure your vaccines are fresh and have been shipped and stored properly.

  • Keep all vaccines cool and out of the sunlight – this includes filled syringes.

  • Have plenty of health products and equipment on hand.

  • Clean syringes with a brush and hot water – do not use disinfectants.

  • Never use left-over vaccines – even if they are from “just yesterday.”

  • Conduct a five-minute vaccination training or “refresher” for everyone.

  • Mix only enough modified-live vaccine that can be used within one hour.

  • Check the calibration of syringes regularly to be sure of the proper dose.

  • Inject all vaccines and other drugs in the neck in front of the shoulders.

  • Change needles and check syringe calibration frequently.

  • Vaccinate only healthy animals and do not treat cattle with antibiotics at the same time as vaccinating.

  • Keep accurate group or individual vaccination records.

-- Montana Stockgrowers Association release