Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking about the 2022 National Beef Quality Audit with the Director and Endowed Chair of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Dr. Clay Mathis.
“These quality audits have been a great tool for our industry to be able to benchmark our progress, to help us build strategy to make improvements as an industry, and I think at the same time when we do this, and we get better at what we do, that is good for our industry because consumers can see that,” Mathis said.
The NBQA is a tool that supports continuous improvement in the beef cattle industry, Mathis said, on many different fronts.
“This Beef Quality Insurance program and information in Beef Quality Insurance trainings is key to being able to do a good job and continually do better,” Mathis said.
Mathis also talked about the quality of our slaughter cattle, as the audit showed that some are carrying more fat than preferred.
“The market signals that we want to feed these cattle a little bit longer to make sure they will grade in that upper part of choice and into prime,” Mathis said. “So, there are incentives to get these cattle a little fatter. We just need to be thoughtful when we consider those incentives and getting back more money for those higher-quality carcasses. We just need to be thoughtful about how much trim is going to come off those yield grade four and yield grade five cattle.”
Because the market supports feeding cattle longer, Mathis said those NBQA numbers that suggest some cattle are a little heavier is not a crisis.
“During this audit time, at the same time, Covid was going on,” Mathis said. “That is when they were in these plants, and a lot of these cattle just couldn’t find shackle space during that time, so they got fed a little bit longer.”
Overall, Mathis said consumers are happy with the high-quality beef they have access to today. Another part of that audit, Mathis said, is sustainability.
“We know that when consumers think about sustainability when they think about our industry, the first thing they are concerned with is animal wellbeing,” Mathis said.
The beef industry has been dedicated to animal wellbeing practices for centuries, Mathis said, but the NBQA provides another way to showcase those practices.
“I think it is good when somebody looks at our industry from the outside and says, ‘Wow, look at all this educational effort to ensure that we are taking care of these animals well,’” Mathis said.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.