Dairy producers can gain from Beef Quality Assurance practices

US - With tighter profit margins from milk sales, dairy producers can boost their revenue from the sale of their animals for beef by following a few quality assurance management practices. Doing so ensures that higher quality beef reaches the meat case.
calendar icon 27 September 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

"The sale of cull cows and bull calves accounts for only 4 percent of a dairy producer's gross revenue, but that number could increase by at least 2 percent," said Dr. Gary Smith, professor of animal science at Colorado State University. "Several ways dairy producers can capture that extra value are by eliminating injection-site lesions in the rump and hindquarters, reducing bruising and adding proper conditioning to cull cows before sending them to market."

One reason some dairy producers may continue to give injections in the rump or round -- which causes injection-site lesions -- is because of a common misconception that all meat from market dairy cows or dairy steers is processed and sold as ground beef. In fact, nearly 50 percent of dairy beef is merchandised into higher-value whole muscle cuts from the loin, rib, round and "flat" portions of the carcass. When injection-site lesions do occur, it not only costs dairy producers money but it costs meat packers or processors money when they must trim and discard damaged tissue.

The 1999 National Market Cow and Bull Quality Audit, which was partially funded by checkoff investments in the Beef Quality Assurance Program, showed that dairy producers lost about $70 on every cow that year because of product defects, including lesions and bruising.

While injection site lesions do not pose a health threat, they can affect consumer confidence in beef. A simple solution is to follow the Beef Checkoff's Beef Quality Assurance recommendation of administering all injections in the animal's neck instead of hindquarters.

Source: agprofessional.com

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