Beef Quality Assurance is a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production and is designed to boost consumer confidence in a safe, wholesome, and healthy beef supply.
It is supported by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and The Texas Beef Council.
Mike Wirtz and his wife Anne ranch outside of Brenham, and are the 2014 Beef Quality Assurance Beef Producers of the year.
“Our main cow herd gets dewormed twice a year. They get a round of vaccinations once a year.
Now the calves are born. When they get their first milk colostrum, those antibodies in those cows go directly to the calves. Now this will protect those calves until their three or four months of age.
After that, at three or four months of age, the calves are processed, humanely, where they’re castrated the steers, dehorned if needed, and then they get their first round of vaccinations.”
Two to three weeks prior to weaning, calves are given another set of vaccines followed by some more at weaning that protect them as the head to a feed lot or to a replacement heifer herd.
“These calves are weaned, taught to eat, bunk fed, until they get to probably seven or eight hundred pounds either on grass and feed, and teaching them to eat. They get clean water, clean pasture, and so forth.”
Wirtz says that treating animals gently and humanely just makes good business sense.
“Number one they’ll be gentle animals to handle. Number two they will breed better. Number three they will eat better, especially when they go to the feed lot. In other words we go into the herd every day and the calves are used to people, cows are used to people.”
When his animals are happy, Wirtz is happy.
“The cattle work easy. They walk out of the squeeze chute. They don’t jump, bolt, and run into other fences or gates or anything like that. They just ease out of the chute. I can take a sack of feed and pen anything I’ve got. I used to have five horses on this place. Now I’ve got one mule, and it’s got four wheels.”