The Verified Beef Production program has a number of functions around animal health management that are both requirements and recommendations. Consider the following procedures, and recording these types of information, should there be a need to become registered with this program. The following information is part of standard operating procedures, and can be incorporated into existing record-keeping systems on the beef cattle operation.
Sample records can be accessed through your provincial cattle association or provincial delivery agent for the VBP program.
Record all individual animal or group treatments so that treated cattle can be linked with the correct withdrawal times. This includes animal or pen identification, product, dosage, route of administration, withdrawal time, and initials of person doing the task.
If a suspected broken needle occurs, identify the animal and record the incident on a permanent record.
Obtain a written veterinary prescription for all extra-label use of animal health products or medicated feed or water. If animals are treated with the wrong product or dosage, record the incident, contact a veterinarian and record actions taken.
Keep a copy of written veterinary prescriptions for animal health products or medicated feed for two years.
Inform feed delivery person of unloading requirements for medicated feed or ingredients including intended storage area or bin. For example, have the feed company provide the bin number to the driver on the feed delivery slip.
When mixing medicated feed, record actual amounts of ingredients mixed. Record amount of medicated feed or water provided to cattle pens.
Obtain a prohibited feed affidavit from commercial feed suppliers for feed containing protein supplements.
A check for drug withdrawal requirements for animal health products used, and medicated feed or water is recorded with date and initials of person doing the withdrawal check.
If cattle are inadvertently shipped without meeting withdrawal times, the next owner or slaughter plant is informed and this contact date/information is recorded. Herbicides and pesticides used on pasture or hay within the operation are recorded, including the “safe to graze” or withdrawal time.
An annual check of records by someone on your operation is done for completeness and the person signs and dates records that were assessed.
In addition the Quality Starts Here manuals recommend:
A record is kept of each person’s responsibilities at the ranch, and what procedures they perform. These could be lifted from job descriptions.
A written program is developed that describes all practices and procedures at the ranch, including those related to animals, feeding, health, facilities, equipment maintenance, sanitation, manure management, pest control and personnel. The program should include some kind of production documentation or records for monitoring and verifying processes and personnel, and a written action plan to deal with problems.
Records are kept on breeding, deaths, necropsies, culls, sales, purchases, other transfers, feeds (and formulas) and rations.
Records are permanent and legible. Ideally, records are computerized to allow easy access and up-to-date information retrieval.
Cattle inventory records are maintained and updated each time cattle are worked.
Standard treatment and processing protocols are used. Staff are trained to follow protocols and sign off on tasks performed.
The goal is to make Canadian beef the best in the world in terms of quality and safety. Everyone has a role to play in this, for quality starts when a calf is born and ends with a steak on the plate. The material in this series identifies the weaknesses uncovered in the last Canadian beef audit and the steps the industry can take to put Canadian beef over the top.