Cow/Calf Corner... Follow BQA Principles When Working Cows and Calves

Mark Z. Johnson, Oklahoma State University Extension Beef Cattle Breeding Specialist

Following BQA guidelines is a commitment to consumers by producers for a quality product. It also ensures the safety, health, and welfare of both the processing team and cattle. A little planning can ensure that processing day runs smoothly and follows BQA Guidelines. The first step is to consult with your veterinarian for herd specific recommendations. The next step involves planning for administration and team training.
When planning for vaccinations, consider that vaccines should not be saved from one processing day to another as the possibility of contamination is high. Additionally, modified-live vaccines are no longer viable after about an hour following mixing. Plan to routinely use a permanent marker to write mixing time on the bottle. Purchase medications from reliable distributors as close to processing day as feasible. If products are on hand, make a note to review expiration dates.
Select syringes that align with treatment amounts. If using a multi-dose syringe, calibration and treatment volume verification ensures accurate administration. Syringes can also be color coded with tape to make sure cross contamination of products does not occur. Spare parts for all equipment should be on-hand processing day and disposable backups too.
Select smallest size needle based on cattle size and medication choice. BQA requires all injections to be given ahead of the slope of the shoulder unless otherwise directed. When planning ahead, remember needles should be changed with damage, contamination, and biosecurity in mind. When refilling syringes, a new needle should always be used.
Finally, it’s time to prepare the team. Experienced individuals on the processing team may simply need an update. Individuals new to the team may need more extensive training and coaching. BQA training of all personnel involved in handling and processing cattle is recommended.
Most cows and calves are likely to be handled individually. BQA guidance recommends the following records be maintained for individuals:
  • Individual animal identification
  • Date treated
  • Product administered and manufacturer’s lot/serial number
  • Dosage
  • Route and location of administration
  • Earliest date animal will have cleared withdrawal period
  • Name of individual administering each treatment
An easy method to document product information, especially in adverse weather, is to take a cell phone pictures of the boxes or bottles including expiration date and serial number. Each picture will be time and date stamped and the information can later be transferred to electronic records or even paper.


Trichomoniasis Prevention:  Improving Herd Health Increases Return on Investment

Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Extension Beef Veterinarian
Often, by the time a cattle producer recognizes they have a “trich” problem, significant economic loss has already occurred. The first signs of an issue are often discovered during pregnancy checking when there is an increased and unexpected number of short bred or open females. The most effective way to prevent this loss and shore up herd health is to implement biosecurity measures to prevent disease introduction.
Trichomoniasis is a reproductive disease caused by a protozoan called Tritrichomonas foetus. Bulls are asymptomatic carriers of the disease, but play the major role in trichomoniasis transmission. Older bulls are more at risk of having the disease than younger bulls. Unfortunately, positive bulls must be removed from the herd and either castrated or sent to slaughter as there is no treatment for the disease.
Infection in cows and heifers results in infertility and abortions, typically within the first four months of pregnancy. Although females can maintain long term infection, most clear the infection in four to five months. However, any protection acquired following exposure is very short-lived, and females are susceptible to reinfection again the following year.
A vaccination does exist for the disease, but does not prevent infection. In infected herds, the vaccine may reduce the number of abortions and length of infection in females.
The first step in prevention is to conduct annual trichomoniasis tests as part of a breeding soundness exam. When considering new bulls, ensure that bulls have either never been exposed to females or have a negative test conducted within the past 60 days. Replacement females should also come from negative herds.
Along with standard biosecurity practices, another way to improve herd health is through the use of a defined breeding season and adequate fencing.
In Oklahoma, testing is available from the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Stillwater. ODAFF approved veterinarians may submit samples, and the test is performed each weekday. Test turnaround time is usually one to three days on individual or pooled samples. OADDL offers pooling of samples and UPS shipping options to help reduce the cost to producers. For more information visit Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory | College of Veterinary Medicine | Oklahoma State University (
Dr. Barry Whitworth on Sunup TV “Vet Scripts” says producers should have bulls checked following February’s extreme freeze. Vet Scripts 5/1/21 — SUNUP TV (

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