Dairy Science Department
BS in Dairy Science
Currently dairy producers face particular problems concerning their culled cows and bulls, these problems must be addressed so dairy producers have the opportunity to improve the quality of beef produced from their cull dairy cows. At the moment, not much is known about culling decisions outside “break-even” numbers and poor cow conditioning. This literature review outlines the strategy behind culling decisions and looks into potential plans to develop progressive body conditioning and quality of meat sent to auction. Currently the dairy industry is not placing much demand into providing the livestock auctions and harvest plants with higher quality meat. This is due to the low level of economic importance culling is to dairy producers. Dairy producers must develop a stigma surrounding culling and start to place more care into these cows that are on their way out of the herd. National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audits have done a tremendous job at outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the current dairy industry and develop clear directions for improvement.
Another large issue in the dairy industry is injection-site lesions, dairy cows are very prone to developing these lesions because dairymen look at production numbers and health of their cows before the culling in the future. Injection-site lesions are one of the main concerns when dairy cows are harvested, the amount of trim loss directly associates to lower quality of meat and decreased value. Informing dairy producers of the detrimental impact injection-site lesions have on carcasses can lead to a decreased number of lesions, which will result in a higher quality of meat. 11% of dairy cows reported of containing injection-site lesions (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, 2007). These numbers have decreased throughout the past couple of decades, but further education must be provided.