BQA: Calf Processing/Branding Time

It is spring and that means calf processing/branding time across cattle country. As producers are finishing calving season and preparing for branding/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 we will get from the vaccines we select.
  • 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, ½-5/8 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.


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