Beef/Cattle Extension Program
What Is Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) And How
Does It Impact Me As A Cow Calf Producer?
is much more than ensuring injections are administered
properly and in the right location.."
By Standley, Kelsey Rolfe, Jennifer
Olson, Matt Vogel and John Paterson
A cooperative program developed by the Montana Stockgrower's
and Montana State University Extension is called the Montana
Beef Network. This program has three objectives:
1) beef quality assurance (BQA) training of beef producers;
2) feeder calf certification documenting health and management
practices and 3) the return of data from the packing plant
to determine how well the carcass met customer expectations.
The aim of this beef update is to review why BQA is necessary
in today's environment.
BQA is much more than ensuring injections are administered
properly and in the right location (neck region).
According to Dr. Bill Meis from Future Beef "The concept
of quality management starts with the design of the
product, such as genetics, and continues through the
marketing of the final product. In the cow-calf
industry, the producers must first design the genetics
with both the final consumer as well as the rest of
the industry in mind". This means that implants,
injections, brands and body composition are all keys
to producing a high quality product.
Beef Quality Assurance Standards
| Injectable Animal
- Administer in the neck region
- Administer in the neck only all products
labeled for IM use.
- Administer no more than 10 cc of product
per injection site
Feed Additives and Medications
- Use only FDA-approved medicated feed additives
- Extra-label use of feed additives is illegal
and strictly prohibited
- Keep records a minimum of two years
- The owner will assure that all additives
are withdrawn at the proper time to avoid violative
- Analyze suspect feedstuffs prior to use
- Do not feed ruminant derived meat and bone
- If you suspect contamination from molds,
mycotoxins and chemicals, have the feedstuffs
analyzed prior to feeding
Care and Husbandry Practices
- Handle and transport cattle in such a fashion
to minimize stress, injury and bruising
- Keep feed and water handling equipment clean
- Evaluate your biosecurity
- Regularly inspect your facilities to ensure
proper care and ease of handling
Source: Eric Grant, 10/2001
Why was the Montana Beef Network started? One of the
driving factors was to help producers determine the
type cattle they were producing in terms of carcass
value and to help them position their marketing decisions
in the future armed with data from the packing plant.
Dr. Clem Ward believes that the market could more accurately
reflect consumer demands if grids were based on wholesale
or retain beef. A better market would have less
emphasis on pounds but a direct correlation between
quality and values. What if Dr. Ward is correct?
If he is, then producers will have to learn more about
the cattle they raise. Questions that need answers
- Do you know how your cattle perform in the feedlot?
- Do you know how your cattle perform in the packing
Armed with data you will be able to target a grid
with a rifle and not a shotgun (Stovall, 2001). Quality
is the U.S. producers biggest advantage. If your
goal is to be a low cost producer, you are going to
lose on a world market because other countries costs
are much lower than ours (Hands, Triangle H Grain and
Cattle Co. Garden City, KS). According to Dr.
Gary Smith, "There is no silver bullet in the things
we do; the key is to do a whole lot of little things
right" (Stovall, 2001).
Sources of Information:
- Grant, E. 2001. The narrow window. Angus
Beef Business, October, 2001
- Stovall, T. 2001. Consumers and profitability.
Angus Beef Business, 2001