Benefits of Low Stress Cattle Handling and BQA


Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common-sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions.

“Low stress stockmanship is really starting to catch on” said Bill Pelton, Montana Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator. “If not, it should catch on. It’s an important part of beef quality assurance.”

He says more and more producers are wanting to get involved with BQA and low stress stockmanship. And it all starts with a paradigm shift.

Pelton said “Not only a paradigm shift for the cattle but a paradigm shift for the people who are handling the cattle. And the people who are handling the cattle need to make the shift first or the cattle never get to experience the good of low stress stockmanship.”

Carl Loyning agrees. He and wife Denise own L Bar W Cattle Company near Absarokee, Montana. He says it’s a little different than what grandpa did.

“We’re a little more interested in the science of it” said Loyning. “How to make things better. Always learning and always trying new things. Trying to be progressive in what we’re doing. Maximizing our profits and making sure the cattle are doing everything they’re supposed to do and meeting their full potential.”

Dr. Tom Noffsinger is a veterinarian for Production Animal Consultation in Benkelman, NebraskaHe was in Montana recently speaking to producers in Lewistown and Absarokee about low stress cattle handling and BQA. The two events were sponsored by Merck Animal Health.

“The definition of low stress cattle handling has to do with an attitude of making cattle better every time we intervene with them” said Noffsinger. “So, every job we have, whether we’re rotating pastures, whether we’re calving, whether we’re weaning, whether we’re processing, we should at that as an opportunity to give cattle more confidence, more health and more performance.”  

He says it’s also what consumers are wanting of those who raise their food.

Noffsinger said “That survey that indicates that consumers in California are more worried about the animal well-being in feedlots than they are of the well-being of their children is a big signal.”

For livestock producers like Loyning, low stress stockmanship and BQA are something they truly believe in.

“We’ve been implementing that we’ve been talking about for quite a few years” said Loyning. “We believe that the less stress the better the gain, the better the response going into a feedlot, everything. It’s just something we truly believe in.”

BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

For producers wanting to learn more about the Beef Quality Assurance program, visit

Source: MTN & Northern Ag Network

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