The 2007 audit found significantly fewer abscesses in the round; however abscess incidence increased sharply in the shoulder. Dairy producers need to be commended for decreasing the number of injects going into the round, but further education is needed on the importance of proper injection site placement and method. Giving subcutaneous injections in the neck as opposed to the chuck area will further improve the value of carcasses, allowing for more saleable meat at higher values. The 2007 audit also indicates improvement in the number of dairy cows with arthritic joints. Unfortunately lameness in dairy cows was at 49 percent in 2007, as compared to 39 percent in 1999 and 23 percent in 1994. The continued increase in lameness is of concern from an animal care and husbandry standpoint. Dairy cows had more injection site lesions than any other gender/cattle type category. The continued increase in number of lame dairy cows coming to market, with evidence of significantly more injections being given, is a concern the industry needs to address.

The current value of cull cows is record high. Implementing proper culling strategies can allow producers to sell cattle with better carcass quality and a higher value, which can offset replacement costs. Survey data from the quality audits indicates that packers are continually increasing the marketing of higher-value whole muscle cuts. Management practices that aid in producing higher quality carcasses with fewer defects, allows for opportunity to achieve higher market prices. Following Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Guidelines will assist in this process. The Dairy BQA Manual is an excellent resource. For more information on producing high quality beef, with minimal defects from market cows, contact Frank Wardynski, Ruminant Educator with Michigan State University Extension at msue.anr.msu.edu/news/wardynsk@anr.msu.edu.