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Scoring Cattle For Mud And Manure

Mud and manure caked on cattle isn’t healthy for them nor for the consumer. It could potentially increase levels of E.coli in beef products. Shipping clean animals with little or no manure tags may minimize contamination of the trailer, as well as contamination of the carcass at the processor level.

One part of the Beef Quality Assurance program involves scoring cattle for mud and manure tags.

Beth Doran is an Extension beef field specialist with Iowa State University. She says the scores range from a one, which is a clean animal with no signs of mud or manure on it, to a five where the animal is carrying an excessive amount of both of those.

"They’re normally scored from looking at how much of that mud or manure might be up on the side of the animal," says Doran. "Also, scored from front to back on the animal so that you can see how much coverage there is in terms of manure and mud that’s going to be on that animal."

In most cases once it’s on there, it’s on there. The solution is to prevent them from getting dirty in the first place.

"Making sure that they’re cleaning that lot every so-often and some kind of a bedding material to keep them up out of the mud and manure. In some cases, it may be providing some kind of a barn or a shed that that animal can get into so that they’re out of the mud. That doesn’t necessarily get rid of all the problems with manure," she says. "If you’re looking at a confinement barn, cleanliness is going to be just as important. It’s going to take regular maintenance on that just to make sure that the animal’s not building up manure tags on it."