You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This old saying about the need for accurate and ongoing measurements to know whether things are getting better or worse never stops being relevant to those who work toward improvement.
Let’s look at beef production through that lens. As a cattle producer, the more aware you are of what’s already working well, which aspects of your operation can be improved, and how much each of those improvements can cost or benefit you, the better you’re able to keep your operation profitable in the long-run. Your management practices can also help or harm those who buy your feeder or fat cattle.
We know that not every animal coming through the packer’s doors is ideal. Some animals will have horns that need to be cut off, or extra mud on the hide that slows down the processing line. Some carcasses will have too much fat cover, be bruised, or have lesions where injections were given, all of which require manual trimming. The more work needed to prepare a carcass for the cooler, the more we cut into our profits. And despite our best intentions, some fed cattle carcasses will grade poorly, maybe even as a dark cutter, and be discounted substantially.
Imagine if we knew how often each of those problems occurred and how costly each of them is. With that information, we as an industry could work to reduce them, starting with the highest priority. We could also check over time to see if our efforts were working. That’s what the National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) does.
The NBQA periodically measures the quality of Canadian beef by analyzing random carcasses in packing plant coolers for the incidence and severity of defects, and by asking consumers about their eating satisfaction of various beef cuts. The results allow us to see where the Canadian beef industry is making improvements on carcass quality, and where we need to focus our efforts next.
The Beef Cattle Research Council is proud to present this engaging new video which highlights the results of the latest audit. You’ll see that Canadian beef producers have a lot to be proud of – significant improvements have been made in a number of areas since the previous audit. But there’s one area we’re losing ground on.
Can’t see the embedded video above? Click to watch it on YouTube: http://youtu.be/ELRT6wQvOBc
Cattle producers, tell us:
- What changes have you seen in carcass quality over the years?
- As a cattle producer, what do you currently do to prevent carcass defects (such as bruising, tag, injection site lesions, liver defects, etc.)?
- Which of your production practices could be modified to further prevent defects?
- Do you use BIXS or another information sharing system to find out how your cattle grade when slaughtered?
- Do you currently or would you consider participating in the Verified Beef ProductionTM (VBP) program as a measure to improve best practices and prevent carcass defects?
Post your comments below.
To learn more details about the latest NBQA results, including tips for producers to prevent carcass defects and the economic cost of each defect to the Canadian beef industry, visit: www.beefresearch.ca/NBQA
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