Farm Talk


October 2, 2012

Follow BQA guidelines when culling cows this fall

Parsons, Kansas — Although drought conditions have led many producers to significantly cull their cattle herds the past two years, spring-calving herds may still need to be examined for non-productive cows that should be removed prior to winter.

“October and November are typical months for calf weaning, pregnancy checking of cows and cow culling,” said Nathan Anderson, Payne County Extension director and agricultural educator. “It is important that producers use Beef Quality Assurance guidelines when culling cows.”

On very rare occasions, residues of pharmaceutical products have been found in carcass tissues of culled beef cows. Violations of drug residue regulations can result in expensive fines and even jail time for the rancher and a “black-eye” for the entire beef industry.

“Cow-calf producers need to have a close working relationship with a large animal veterinarian in their area,” Anderson said. “If a cow has an infection or disease that must be treated, the producer should closely follow the veterinarian's directions and also take care to read the label of the product used.”

Most medications will require the producer to keep the treated animal for the label-directed withdrawal time. A withdrawal time is the period of time that must pass between the last treatment and the time the animal will be slaughtered, or that milk can be used for human consumption, in applicable cases.

For example, if a medication with a 14-day withdrawal period was last given on Sept. 1, the withdrawal would be completed on Sept. 15 and that would be the earliest the animal could be harvested for human consumption.

All federally approved drugs will include the required withdrawal time for that drug on the product label or package insert. These withdrawal times can range from zero to as many as 60 days or more.

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension emeritus livestock specialist, reminds cattle producers that it is their responsibility to be aware of withdrawal times of any drugs used in their operation.

“Unacceptable levels of drug residues detected in edible tissues collected at harvest can result in traceback, quarantine and potential fines or jail time,” he said.

Selk recommends cattle producers follow four straightforward rules:

● If ever in doubt, rely on the veterinarian-client-patient relationship the producer has established with his or her veterinarian.

● Use only medications approved for cattle and employ them exactly as the label directs or as prescribed by a veterinarian.

● Do not market animals for food until the withdrawal time listed on the label or as prescribed by the veterinarian has elapsed.

● Keep well organized, detailed records of pharmaceutical products given to individually identified animals. The record should include the date of administration, route of administration, dosage given, lot or serial number of product given, person delivering the product and the label or prescription listing of withdrawal dates.

“Records should be kept for three years minimum after the animal’s sale,” Selk said.

Examples of Beef Quality Assurance records can be found on the Oklahoma Beef Quality Assurance Manual Website at, under the menu item "Record Keeping Forms."

Cattle and calves are the number one agricultural commodity produced in Oklahoma, accounting for 46 percent of total agricultural cash receipts and adding approximately $2 billion to the state economy, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service data. NASS data indicates Oklahoma is the nation’s fifth-largest producer of cattle and calves, with the third-largest number of cattle operations in a state.£


Text Only
  • Cattle markets likely topped for now

    Most of Oklahoma received rain in the past week with roughly half the state receiving one to over three inches and a few areas receiving even heavier rains that filled ponds which have been low or dry for many months.
    Forage growth, which had just begun to stall under summer heat, has picked back up.  Summer heat is forecast to return this week and, along with high humidity from recent rain, will lead to sweltering heat indices that will impact both cattle and the producers who care for them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Follow BQA guidelines when treating and selling cows

    Summer time often brings a few infectious ailments to beef cows.  Common problems include eye infections and foot rot.

    July 15, 2014

  • Mixed emotions in the beef industry

    The beef industry is experiencing a wide range of emotions at the current time.  The level of excitement is obvious as cattle and beef prices have pushed even beyond record levels of earlier this year.

    July 8, 2014

  • Heat impacts bull fertility

    Recently a producer asked about the impact that the heat of the summer of 2012 may have had on the reduced calf crop that was discovered the following spring.

    July 1, 2014

  • charolaisXheifer.jpg Summer cattle market conditions

    Summer officially started this past weekend and cattle markets so far have shown little of the seasonal pressure that has been expected.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Monitor medicated mineral intake

    Medicated minerals are available and frequently used to help prevent the blood-born disease, anaplasmosis. A consistent and appropriate intake of the mineral is critical to a successful anaplasmosis prevention program.

    June 17, 2014

  • Should cow/calf producers lock in fall calf prices?

     In recent article, I discussed record high feeder cattle prices as well as the lack of profits for current feedlot placements. While current price levels offer little or no profit opportunity for buyers of feeder cattle, those same prices could result in record or near record profits for cow-calf producers this year.

    June 10, 2014

  • Feeder cattle markets red hot

    Widespread rains over the Memorial weekend may have curtailed holiday activities but were enthusiastically welcomed by cattle producers in the Southern Plains.

    June 3, 2014

  • Is beef herd expansion underway?

    The effects of many years of cattle herd liquidation and the inevitable decreases in beef production have become glaringly obvious in 2014. Cattle slaughter is down 6.3 percent leading to a 5.7 percent decrease in beef production so far this year.

    May 28, 2014

  • cowshotwire.jpg Record feeder prices supported by latest data

    Last week, the Oklahoma combined auction price for 450-500 lb., Med/Large, No. 1 steers was $237.27/cwt., up 46 percent from one year ago.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content