Nebraska BQA: Calf Processing/Branding Time

It is spring and that means calf processing and branding time across cattle country. As producers are finishing calving season and preparing for branding and processing, it is important to review Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) guidelines.

Let’s take a minute to look at the key BQA principles:

  • Discuss calf vaccination protocols with your veterinarian to ensure a strong herd health program.
  • Make sure everyone is focused on the importance of “low stress cattle handling” … the lower the stress, the better response from the vaccines selected.
  • Select vaccines that can be administered subcutaneous when possible.
  • Keep vaccines out of ultraviolet light and in a cooler at proper storage temperatures.
  • Prepare (mix) modified live vaccines as need and not more than one hour prior to administration.
  • Use clean administering equipment (syringes).
  • Select proper needle size for young calves, recommend using 16-18 gauge, ½ to 5/8 inches needles.
  • Change needles every 15 head or each time the syringe is reloaded.
  • Give all injections in the neck region.
  • Maintain the proper processing records and document vaccine lot numbers.

BQA is a commitment to the beef consumers that we are using the Best Management Practices (BMPs) to produce safe, wholesome beef products.  Product quality and integrity starts at day one of a calf’s life through focusing on care, well-being and health of those animals entrusted into the producer’s stewardship.

For more information about Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance or to get BQA certification, visit bqa.unl.eduor contact Rob Eirich, UNL Extension Educator and Nebraska Director of BQA at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center 308.632.1230 or reirich2@unl.edu .