Dairy cow handling facilities and the perception of Beef Quality Assurance on Colorado dairies

A. E. Adams, F. J. Olea-Popelka, T. Grandin, D. R. Woerner, I. N. Roman-Muniz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

A survey was conducted on Colorado dairies to assess attitudes and practices regarding Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA). The objectives were to (1) assess the need for a new handling facility that would allow all injections to be administered via DBQA standards; (2) establish if Colorado dairy producers are concerned with DBQA; and (3) assess differences in responses between dairy owners and herdsmen. Of the 95 dairies contacted, 20 (21%) agreed to participate, with a median herd size of 1,178. When asked to rank the following 7 traits-efficiency, animal safety, human safety, ease of animal handling, ease of operation, inject per Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) procedures, and cost-in order of priority when designing a new handling facility, human and animal safety were ranked highest in priority (first or second) by the majority of participants, with ease of animal handling and efficiency ranked next. Interestingly, the administration of injections per BQA standards was ranked sixth or seventh by most participants. Respondents estimated the average annual income from the sale of cull cows to be 4.6% of all dairy income, with 50% receiving at least one carcass discount or condemnation in the past 12 mo. Although almost all of the participating dairy farmers stated that the preferred injection site for medications was the neck region, a significant number admitted to using alternate injection sites. In contrast, no difference was found between responses regarding the preferred and actual location for intravenous injections. Although most participating producers are aware of BQA injection guidelines, they perceive efficiency as more important, which could result in injections being administered in locations not promoted by BQA. Dairy owners and herdsmen disagreed in whether or not workers had been injured in the animal handling area in the last 12 mo. Handling facilities that allow for an efficient and safe way to administer drugs according to BQA guidelines and educational opportunities that highlight the effect of improved DBQA on profitability could prove useful. Dairy producers play a key role in ensuring that dairy beef is safe and high quality, and just as they are committed to producing safe and nutritious milk for their customers, they should be committed to producing the best quality beef.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-804
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume97
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Dairy beef quality assurance
  • Dairy cow
  • Dairy handling facility

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