Beef Quality Assurance Certification training available
—Michigan cattle producers can learn about nutrition updates, best practices to improve quality
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a voluntary program that is available to cattle producers throughout the country and gives guidelines on production and management. Practices taught through BQA certification classes promote management techniques that improve beef quality and frequently have an added benefit of improved profitability for the producer. Another benefit is that consumers have increased confidence in beef produced using BQA practices.
Best practices for herd health is one area that BQA encompasses. This includes acceptable injection sites, as well as record keeping and using the records to abide by withdrawal times that result in beef without antibiotic residue in it. It is critical that injections are given in the acceptable “triangle zone” of the neck region of the animal.
The main reason injections are given in the neck area are to avoid injection site lesions in higher-value meat cuts such as the round, loin or rib. An injection site lesion is quite unpleasant for a consumer on the middle of their plate or to find slicing in a roast. Meat processors will trim and remove an injection site lesion if they see one but trimming away portions of the rib, loin, or round are even more costly and potentially destroy the use of these cuts for steaks. Meat from the neck area goes into ground beef resulting in minimal product loss if there is a lesion to remove.
Beef Quality Assurance has been around in some form for more than 30 years.
In the beginning, the program was actually called “Beef Safety Awareness.” Modifications to the program over the years have changed the emphasis from simply producing a safe and wholesome product to producing beef that is of high quality and value. These program modifications have been based on a continued industry-wide evaluation system known as beef quality audits. Additional topics such as transportation quality assurance have been added over time to encompass the entire production process.
Michigan State University Extension will offer an Update on Feeding Strategies and Beef Quality Assurance Training on Jan. 29, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Huron Expo Center in Bad Axe and on Jan. 30, 2014, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Kent County MSU Extension Office in Grand Rapids. Pre-registration is required and available online. Bring your farm employees who work directly with cattle handling, processing and feeding.
There are many parts to BQA. Portions that apply more to feedlot producers will be highlighted at this training. Additional training opportunities will be available later this winter focusing on cow/calf and raising calves during the winter.
Additional topics will also be covered in addition to the BQA training. Most ethanol plants are removing a greater portion of the fat from distillers grain. Steven Rust will give an update about what defatted distillers grain is worth. Research results will be shared by Wendy Powers regarding diet strategies to change the feedlot footprint. — Jeannine Schweihofer, Michigan State University Extension