OSU's Rosslyn Biggs Says Having a Good Relationship with Your Veterinarian is ImportantTue, 31 Aug 2021 16:04:41 CDT
From city dwellers and suburbanites to commercial cattle producers, everyone should have a good relationship with their veterinarian, Rosslyn Biggs, director of Continuing Education and beef cattle extension specialist at Oklahoma State University, told KC Sheperd.
Biggs works with Oklahoma’s Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), a program that helps beef cattle producers provide consumers with a safe, wholesome and healthy product.
“(BQA is) a commitment from beef cattle producers to our consumers,” Biggs said. “It is an entire program - for my specific focus, I am promoting herd-health protocols to beef cattle producers.”
For producers, having a good relationship with your veterinarian is the first step in ensuring herd health, said Biggs. Biggs said she views producers and veterinarians as team members in producing the best quality beef possible. A relationship needs to exist - especially now that rural veterinarians are few and far between - to be a good team.
“Veterinary practices are very busy - in all species, but certainly in the beef cattle industry,” Biggs said. “There are only so many hours in the day and you want to have that partnership established before you are in a train wreck.”
Aside from getting help in an emergency, a huge step in providing quality beef is making sure animals live healthy lives. Practicing safe handling techniques, treating illness, good record keeping and establishing protocols are all things a veterinarian can guide on, according to Biggs.
For instance, Biggs said just the basic step of branding cattle can affect the quality of the final product. Brand size and placement must be strategic, according to Biggs.
“We want to use the location of our brand and the size of our brand in a smart way,” Biggs said. “We don’t want to put a brand right over the rib cage - that would be right in the middle of the hide at harvest.”
Practicing biosecurity and looking at breeding practices are two more complicated, but extremely important steps Biggs said producers can work with their veterinarians in taking.
“I think taking biosecurity seriously is a really good approach,” Biggs said. “We also want to take a step back in our breeding programs and in our genetics and say, ‘is the way we’ve been doing it for years the best way.’”
Biggs said the final product reflects everyone who had a hand in its delivery - from the hands-on cattle producer, team members, haulers and so on - everyone must be educated and committed to following best practices to maintain quality assurance.
Click or tap the LISTEN BAR below to hear KC’s conversation with Dr. Rosslyn Biggs where she also gives KC some of her fall calving tips and a new biosecurity study for cow-calf producers will see coming out of OSU soon.
Visit Oklahoma's BQA resource website, by visiting beef.okstate.edu.
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