Almost half of the fed cattle raised in the United States have at least one bruise, and about 8 percent have severe bruises. While bruised beef may not impact producers immediately, it costs packers millions of dollars. And for producers selling on carcass merit, bruising can have a direct effect. Or if a packer recognizes a high number of bruised cattle coming from the same producer, he may refuse to continue buying those cattle. On average, bruising can reduce the value of an animal by $4 per head.
The following recommended practices could help you reduce bruising:
- Don’t rush cattle while moving from pen to pen. Let them follow the leader and move at their own pace. Two-thirds of all loin bruises occur from loading and unloading from trucks.
- Dehorn cattle. Removing tips of horns will not reduce bruising.
- Remove broken boards, exposed nails or bolts and other protruding objects from facilities. Check facilities by searching for shiny, rubbed spots or tufts of hair.
- Protect sliding gates with padded large diameter hose and pad corners of fenceline with old tire strips or conveyor belts.
- Planks, sheet metal or other fencing materials should be installed on fence posts facing toward the cattle.
- In new facilities, install concrete floors with an 8-inch diameter pattern of grooves 1-inch deep to prevent slips and falls.