Good records should be an important part of overall management program

By : Bob LeValley, Oklahoma Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator


Good record keeping can be an important asset in management strategies for all phases of cattle production, from the cow/calf producer to the feedlot. Record keeping systems may be elaborate and extensive utilizing computer software, or very simple well-organized handwritten notes.  The “system” is not what is important; keeping them up to date and accurate is critical for use as a management tool.  The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program stresses keeping records not only for management purposes, but also as a means to document the proper use and safety of animal health products.  The industry must be able to document it has tight control of risk factors such as withdrawal periods for residue avoidance.  This also helps to ensure and strengthen consumer confidence in beef safety.

Accurate records are important to validate herd health treatment recommendations.  It allows veterinarians to adjust treatment regimens as animals and environmental conditions change.  The BQA program suggests the development of a Treatment Protocol Plan specific to your operation.  It is simply a written plan developed with your veterinarian, for what treatments are to be used when cattle get sick.  it also specifies a plan for follow and/or alternative treatment if the initial treatment does not produce the desired result.  The plan should be reviewed and updated regularly with your veterinarian.  Records should also be kept on the use of all medicated feeds and minerals.  This will help avoid the potential for violative residue, as withdrawal times must be strictly followed.

The BQA program has a good review of suggested record keeping details.  For more information on the BQA program or to become BQA certified, visit the Beef Quality Assurance website at, or contact your OSU Extension office.  Producers can become BQA certified either through the online process or by attending an in-person BQA certification program.

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