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Beef Quality Assurance Practices for Dairy Producers

Dairy Pipeline: July 2000

Gerald M. (Jerry) Jones e
Extension Dairy Scientist, Milk Quality and Milking Management
Virginia Tech
(540) 231-4764

Dairy producers need to implement practices in the beef quality assurance program. One of the important products of the dairy industry is beef, usually cull cows or veal calves. Consequently, dairy producers need to be aware of and apply best management practices that have a positive impact on beef quality. Like the dairy quality assurance program (of which hopefully every dairy producer is aware), a nationwide beef quality assurance program has been implemented. The goal of the Beef Quality Assurance program is for herds to develop an overall good herd health program with a commitment to quality beef production and to the welfare of animals. One common component of most commodity quality assurance programs is the establishment of treatments and medication schedules in consultation with the herd's veterinarian. One problem faced by the beef industry was carcass blemishes or lesions created at injection sites as well as potential for antibiotic residues. It is important that the dairy industry does its part to prevent this costly practice. To reduce the number of injection-site lesions, all intra-muscular (IM) injections should be avoided if possible because of carcass damage. Avoid giving shots in the rump and upper thigh. Also avoid IM injections into young animals because research has shown that the blemish in this area increases in size and depth as the animal and muscle grows. Producers are encouraged to administer subcutaneous shots under the skin in the neck region, either in front or behind the shoulder. If the product label calls for IM injection, read the label directions or contact your veterinarian to determine if the injection can be given in the neck area. Restrain animals properly. Use as small a needle as possible and change needles frequently. If possible and necessary (again see the label or talk with your herd veterinarian), IM injection dosage should not exceed 10 cc. at any injection site. A strong beef market and production of quality beef is vital to all dairy producers. Eventually most dairy cows and calves are going to be sold for beef.

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