Aug. 1 2011 09:22 AM

Record high cull cow prices could be enhanced further with more attention to quality.

Dairy producers have paid a great deal of attention to milk quality for a number of years. However, we have been a little slower on the uptake on beef quality when compared to our full-time, beef-producing neighbors.

Record prices for cull cows and continued focus on Beef Quality Assurance programs has changed our perspective on the market condition of cull cows. We are beginning to see additional value for sending cull cows to the auction or the packing plant when they are in their best condition. That includes how we handle our animals, where we administer vaccines and medications, and giving them time to put on some extra weight and condition.

While we have made a great deal of progress, there is still room for growth. With this in mind, we encourage you to take the short 10- to 15-minute survey at

The Beef Checkoff is looking for producer input to strengthen the measurement of quality-based practices implemented on farms. Ultimately, the Beef Checkoff wants to document that we are being good caretakers of our animals. In addition, it is good to let consumers know we are providing the highest-quality product for their dinner table.

At the end of the day, that is a win-win for consumers and us. Consumers get a top-quality product, and we benefit from strong demand, and, in turn, higher returns for our labor.

So go ahead, take the survey at We completed it for the Hoard's Dairyman Farm.