Survey of transportation procedures, management practices, and health assessment related to quality, quantity, and value for market beef and dairy cows and bulls.
Additional Document Info
This survey consisted of data collected from 23 beef harvest plants to document transportation procedures, management practices, and health assessments of market beef and dairy cows and bulls (about n 7,000 animals). Gooseneck/bumper-pulled trailers were used more often to transport dairy cattle than beef cattle to market whereas tractor-trailers were used more often to transport beef cattle than dairy cattle. All loads (n = 103) met the American Meat Institute Foundation guidelines for spacing. Loads where more than 3% of the cattle slipped during unloading were observed in 27.3% of beef loads and 29.0% of the dairy loads. Beef loads had numerically greater usage of electrical prods (32.4%) versus dairy loads (15.4%) during unloading and were more likely to have a variety of driving aids used more aggressively on them. Fewer cattle had horns, brands, and mud/manure contamination on hides than in the previous survey in 1999. The predominant hide color for beef cows was black (44.2%) whereas the predominant color for dairy cows was the Holstein pattern (92.9%). Fewer cattle displayed evidence of bovine ocular neoplasia (2.9%) than in previous surveys in 1994 (8.5%) and 1999 (4.3%). Knots on live cattle were found less in the round (0.5%) and more in the shoulder region (4.6%) than in 1999 (1.4% and 0.4%, respectively). Dairy cows were more frequently lame in 2007 (48.7%) than 1999 (39.2%) whereas beef cows had numerically less lameness (16.3% vs. 26.6%, respectively). Most beef cows (62.3%) and dairy cows (68.9%) received midpoint body condition scores (3, 4, and 5 for beef; 2 and 3 for dairy). Beef cows had higher numerical percentages of no defects present (72.0%) versus dairy cows (63.0%) when evaluated for a variety of reproductive, health, or management conditions. Continued improvements in several key factors related to transportation, management, and health were observed in this survey, which could result in increased value in market beef and dairy cows and bulls.