How to get new feedlot calves settled and gaining quickly; advice from producers, veterinarians and feedlot consultants

Getting calves settled, keeping them healthy and getting them gaining involves serious management that considers many variables. A successful program to keep these calves healthy and growing should involve co-operative consultation between the feeder, herd health veterinarian and the livestock nutritionist. Stress on calves is the number one offender and the degree of stress can vary widely between calves and loads of calves. If not managed properly, freshly weaned calves heading to a feed yard can be very susceptible to pneumonia and other illnesses.

While herd health veterinarians and feedlot production specialists can each have slightly different approaches to getting new feeders ramped up to the intended full-feed ration, all have a common starting point — get calves unloaded into a receiving pen, don’t over crowd them, make sure they have access to good quality grass hay, are drinking water, the lot is well bedded, and the cattle get a few hours of rest before processing.

It sounds like a simple enough plan when introducing newly weaned calves to the feed yard. But, to successfully get calves eating and gaining, ideally from day one, takes both planning and management. Continue reading

Bruising and injection sites: Canada’s Beef Carcass Quality Audit

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted with permission.



The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association carried out its first carcass quality audit in 1995. The defects identified in that audit became the focus of the CCA’s Quality Starts Here program. Dr. Joyce van Donkersgoed went on to teach Canada’s cattle producers how they could improve carcass value through better cattle handling and facilities, moving injection sites from the hindquarters to the shoulder, and using products that could be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) rather than intramuscularly (in the muscle) whenever possible. A follow-up audit was carried out in 1999 to measure the progress made in response to the Quality Starts Here program. Plans to repeat the audit were postponed as a result of BSE, but Canada’s third beef quality audit was completed recently. This column is focused on surface injection site lesions and bruises in fed cattle.

Visible surface injection site lesions and bruises are trimmed from the carcass and discarded. This costs producers because it reduces carcass pay weight, and costs packers because surrounding cuts are often damaged. Continue reading