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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Company and location of live animal, harvest floor, and cooler assessments

 
Company Location
ABF Packing Stephenville, TX
American Beef Packers Chino, CA
American Foods Group – Cimpls Inc. Yankton, SD
American Foods Group – Gibbon Packing Gibbon, NE
American Foods Group – Green Bay Dressed Beef Green Bay, WI
American Foods Group – Long Prairie Packing Long Prairie, MN
Cargill Beef Packers Fresno, CA
Cargill Taylor Beef Wyalusing, PA
Caviness Packing Hereford, TX
Central Valley Meat Company Hanford, CA
FPL Foods LLC Augusta, GA
H&B Packing Waco, TX
JBS Green Bay Green Bay, WI
JBS Omaha Omaha, NE
JBS Plainwell Plainwell, MI
JBS Souderton Souderton, PA
JBS Tolleson Tolleson, AZ
Lone Star Beef San Angelo, TX



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Comprehensive list of predetermined defects identified to be a cause for marketing cows and bulls

 
Defect Scale Description
Bovine ocular neoplasia (cancer eye) 0 – 5 0 – normal eye
1 – small benign tumor producing finger-like growth, precancerous
2 – small white elevated plaque on the eyeball, precancerous
3 – growth on the third eyelid or a tumor that is vascular in nature, cancerous
4 – tumors that have metastasized to the bony structure around the eye or exhibit lymphatic involve ment of the parotid gland, cancerous
5 – eyeball has prolapsed from the orbit and/or exhibits a necrotic condition, cancerous
Prolapse Presence/absence Rectal – protrusion of the rectum through the anus
Vaginal – protrusion of the vagina to the exterior of the body cavity
Hide damage Presence/absence Insect damage
Latent damage – any visible blemish that could devalue the hide (brands not included)
Abscess Presence/absence Collection of pus in confined tissue spaces
Types: facial, knee/hock, hook/pin
Bottle teats Presence/absence The development of raised smooth or rough rings at the teat ends
Failed suspensory ligament Presence/absence Insufficient attachment of the udder to the body cavity so as the ventral portion of the udder lies below the hock and the teats splay outward
Full bag Presence/absence Udder filled with milk
Mastitis Presence/absence Inflammation of the mammary gland
Multiple udder problems Presence/absence Any combination of udder defects
Retained placenta Presence/absence Discolored, malodorous membrane hanging from the vulva
Lumpy jaw Presence/absence Localized abscess that involves the mandible or any other bony tissue of the head
Calf in pen Presence/absence
Broken penis Presence/absence
Foot abnormality Presence/absence
Swollen joints Presence/absence
Warts Presence/absence
1Gelatt (2016).
2Frisch (1982).
3Rasby (n.d.).
4Gilbert (2016).
5Smith (2016).



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Mean values for time and distance traveled, number of cattle in the load, trailer dimensions, and the subsequent area allotted per animal for all loads surveyed

 
Transportation characteristics Number of trailers Mean Std. dev. Min. Max.
All trailers
    Time traveled, h 151 6.7 6.36 0.2 39.5
    Distance traveled, km 145 455.7 440.76 3.2 2,273.8
    Number of cattle in load 154 26 13.38 1 47
    Number of compartments used 152 4 1.71 1 7
    Trailer area, m2 151 33.5 10.24 8.9 43.4
    Area allotted per animal, m2 151 2.3 3.30 0.6 20.2
Pot belly trailers
    Time traveled, h 100 9.3 6.25 0.2 39.5
    Distance traveled, km 95 639.8 436.38 3.21 2,273.8
    Number of cattle in load 102 35 4.88 23 47
    Number of compartments used 101 5 1.08 2 7
    Trailer area, m2 101 40.0 2.89 17.8 43.4
    Area allotted per animal, m2 101 1.2 0.17 0.6 1.7
Mixed-sex loads
    Time traveled, h 51 8.3 5.05 0.2 19.3
    Distance traveled, km 45 623.6 412.42 3.2 1,508.0
    Number of cattle in load 51 34 8.71 5 47
    Number of compartments used 50 5 1.21 2 7
    Trailer area, m2 50 39.5 5.33 15.6 43.4
    Area allotted per animal, m2 50 1.2 0.48 0.9 4.2
1Ten percent of cattle trucks were sampled within a day’s production at each beef processor during the audit.



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Percentage of mobility scores and downers in all cattle surveyed

 
Type of animal n Mobility score
1 2 3 4 Downers
Beef cows 1,557 87.1 10.2 2.3 0.1 0.2
Dairy cows 1,743 76.0 18.2 4.7 0.3 0.9
Beef bulls 321 82.9 13.7 3.4 0.0 0.0
Dairy bulls 52 76.9 19.2 3.9 0.0 0.0
1Mobility scores were assigned as 1) walks normal with no apparent lameness; 2) exhibits minor stiffness, shortness of stride, slight limp, but still keeps up with normal cattle; 3) exhibits obvious stiffness, difficulty taking steps, walks with an obvious limp and discomfort, and lags behind normal cattle; 4) extremely reluctant to move even when encouraged (North American Meat Institute Animal Welfare Committee, 2015).
2Cattle unable to rise.



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Percentage of horn presence and size in surveyed cattle

 
Horn size Beef cows (n = 2,094) Dairy cows (n = 2,584) Beef bulls (n = 398) Dairy bulls (n = 84)
No horns 90.3 87.9 82.7 69.0
< 2.54 cm 1.9 7.0 2.5 16.7
2.54 cm to 12.7 cm 3.4 4.6 4.8 13.1
> 12.7 cm 4.5 0.5 10.1 1.2



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Percentage of cattle with a brand located on the butt, side, and shoulder

 
Brand location n Percentage, %
Butt brands
    Beef cows 2,106 25.5
    Dairy cows 2,618 9.5
    Beef bulls 42 27.4
    Dairy bulls 84 14.3
Side brands
    Beef cows 2,107 11.8
    Dairy cows 2,619 0.9
    Beef bulls 402 9.7
    Dairy bulls 84 0.0
Shoulder brands
    Beef cows 2,107 2.8
    Dairy cows 2,619 0.4
    Beef bulls 402 0.4
    Dairy bulls 84 0.0
1Percentages do not add to 100% because n also includes cattle that were unbranded.



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Mean size (cm) of brands located on the butt and side of all branded cattle surveyed

 
Animal type n Mean Std. dev. Min. Max.
Beef cows
    Butt 534 191.5 216.88 12.9 1548.4
    Side 248 623.2 1048.45 19.4 8361.3
Dairy cows
    Butt 231 502.3 342.64 25.8 2090.3
    Side 20 303.2 311.50 25.8 1451.6
Beef bulls
    Butt 110 201.8 203.96 25.8 1161.3
    Side 39 435.1 403.97 19.4 1858.06
Dairy bulls
    Butt 12 324.2 194.97 64.5 645.2
1Sample size is a reflection of branded cattle. Cattle with native hides were excluded.
2Dairy bulls had no incidence of side brands.



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Carcass bruise severity over the past twenty-two years in cows and bulls surveyed,,

 
Bruise severity 1994 1999 2007 2016
Cows
    n Unknown 4,848 5,092 4,262
    No bruise 20.3% 11.8% 36.6% 35.9%
    Minimal 51.5% 77.2% 36.7% 67.3%
    Major 53.9% 41.7% 30.9% 45.1%
    Critical 30.7% 21.6% 12.4% 4.9%
    Extreme nd 2.4% 5.4% 1.4%
Bulls
    n Unknown 831 477 389
    No bruise 63.8% 47.1% 46.8% 57.1%
    Minimal 25.3% 44.4% 31.5% 42.4%
    Major 19.5% 16.7% 20.1% 21.9%
    Critical 7.4% 6.9% 11.5% 1.5%
    Extreme nd 1.0% 7.6% 0.3%
1National Non-Fed Beef Quality Audit–1994 (Smith et al., 1994); National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit–1999 (Roeber et al., 2000); National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit–2007 (Nicholson, 2008).
2Total number of observations for cow carcass bruises were: unknown (NNFBQA–1994); 4,848 (NMCBBQA–1999); 5,092 (NMCBBQA–2007); 4,262 (NBQA–2016). Total number of observations for bull carcass bruises were: unknown (NNFBQA–1994); 831 (NMCBBQA–1999); 477 (NMCBBQA–2007); 389 (NBQA–2016).
3Percentages do not add to 100% because some animals possessed multiple bruises, some of varying severity.
4Minimal (< 0.45 kg carcass trim); major (0.45 kg to 4.54 kg carcass trim); critical (5.0 kg to 18.14 kg carcass trim); extreme (entire primal was trimmed).
5nd = not determined.



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National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA): Frequency (%) of bruise severity

 
Severity Beef cows Dairy cows Beef bulls Dairy bulls
Minimal 53.6 57.5 57.2 74.3
Major 39.7 37.6 38.8 24.8
Critical 5.6 3.7 3.9 0.0
Extreme 1.0 1.2 0.0 1.0
1Minimal (< 0.45 kg carcass trim); major (0.45 kg to 4.54 kg carcass trim); critical (5.0 kg to 18.14 kg carcass trim); extreme (entire primal was trimmed).