Embrace the principles of good stockmanship
Monday, April 16, 2012
Posted by: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association
to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association and the beef checkoff-funded Beef Quality
Good stockmanship is the basis of
low-stress animal handling skills.
"I believe that stockmanship is the
preferred method of caring for livestock at all times,” says Brian Voortman,
veterinarian in Caldwell, Idaho.
During an educational session at the
2012 Dairy Calf & Heifer Association Conference, held last month in
Visalia, Calif., Voortman explained why good stockmanship is important.
"It has been scientifically proven that there’s an
improvement in animal health and productivity with minimal financial input,” he
said. "All you have to invest is a little bit of time and a little bit of
energy in understanding these things and putting them into practice.”
The investment in good stockmanship is very
economical, particularly when compared to other inputs on your operation.
"Everybody’s looking for the next big ‘silver
bullet,’ or the next big antibiotic out there or the next big feed additive,”
Voortman said. "Those things all cost money. This is an input that costs you
literally nothing. All it is is training and understanding and changing the way
you think about your cattle.”
Advantages of good stockmanship and low-stress
cattle handling extend to employees, too.
"There’s a dramatic improvement in work environment,
safety, efficiency and employee satisfaction in the places where we’ve
implemented (good stockmanship principles),” Voortman said. "They have
literally almost no employee turnover because their employees are so happy to
be there … Plus you don’t put your employees into situations where they could
get hurt ─ that costs you money.”
According to DCHA’s Gold
Standards III, humane handling not only promotes employee
safety, but also reduces stress on animals. For more advice on low-stress,
humane animal handling, please see the Gold
Standards III and Section
IV-D of the Dairy Animal
Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification Manual.