VBP+ Producer Reference Manual – Animal Nutrition Section

Emma Cross

The next new section of the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual is out! This manual is a one-stop shop for producers to find certification requirements, sample records, self-assessment tools, and answers to a variety of questions about beef cattle management. With a fresh new look, be sure to check out the newly released Animal Nutrition section to refresh your memory on responsibly feeding your cattle!

The Animal Nutrition section is divided into three parts: General Feeding Practices, Forage Production & Pasture Management, and Medicated Feed & Water Practices. Each section, just like the Animal Health section, includes checklists, self-assessment boxes, and images to learn and help you track your progress towards VBP+ certification.

Click here to view sample records from this section
Click here to view sample records from this section

General Feeding Practices first covers the most basic needs for animals by describing how to ensure that quality and quantity requirements for feed and water are met. Also note that at the beginning of this section, resources from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) are provided to help evaluate feeds based on nutritional value and cost. Finally, the General Feeding Practices sub-section finishes off by outlining considerations for non-ruminant feed used on farm, other feed ingredients including banned and unconventional feeds, and bedding materials.

As producers know, beef cattle nutrition relies heavily upon forages. The Forage Production & Pasture Management portion of the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual helps producers understand how to make the best use of their forages for their cattle. This includes awareness of toxic and invasive plant species, safe use of crop protection products like herbicides and pesticides, and responsible fertilizer use. Importantly, this sub-section helps producers reap maximum benefit from their forages without sacrificing food safety or animal performance and wellbeing.

Finally, the Medicated Feed & Water Practices sub-section helps producers who add medications to feed or water maximize their utility without sacrificing responsible use. This sub-section covers handling and storage of these medications, responsible dispensing of medicated feed and water, and proper protocols for cleaning associated equipment to maintain on-farm food safety.

Be sure to check out the Animal Nutrition section of the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual and stay tuned for new releases of additional sections!

VBP+ Producer Reference Manual – Animal Health Section

Emma Cross

For producers starting out with the VBP+ program, there are a variety of resources to assist with training and continuous learning, each with their unique uses. While the online training modules offer producers an interactive and streamlined process for learning, the VBP+ Reference Producer Manual is a great resource for producers to use continuously for quick reference and to review important program concepts.

VBP+ has been undertaking an exciting redesign of the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual. In the new version, you will see a refreshing new look and additional tools to help producers best immerse themselves in the VBP+ program. To launch this new manual, VBP+ will be releasing one section at a time, beginning with the Animal Health portion.

Click here to view the Animal Health section of the Reference Manual

The Animal Health section covers four subcategories: Records, Products & Equipment, Delivery Methods, and Inspection & Monitoring. Each section provides the producer with information on best practices, as well as details specific requirements to obtain VBP+ certification.

For example, the Records portion explains the purpose and utility of each required Animal Health record, as well as lists the information needed in each. This section will help producers streamline the records system they already employ to ensure they include necessary data. Sample records at the end of the section can also offer producers an idea for how to format their own records if they are unsure, with blank record templates available on verifiedbeef.ca.

Sample Exposure Records

The Products & Equipment sub-section explains best practices for handling and storing animal health products and maintaining related equipment. This section is a great reminder of the considerations needed to ensure optimum performance of animal health products and equipment, in turn supporting better animal productivity.

Similarly, Delivery Methods offers an account of proper procedure for delivering animal health products via different routes. Again, this portion will help producers ensure the success of their herd health protocol in fostering animal performance.

Finally, Inspection & Monitoring helps the producer connect their daily practices in observing their cattle to their herd health protocol by exploring specific points to check in on. Pictures and tables help illustrate examples to enhance understanding of concepts such as body condition scoring.

Key features like checklists of required information or practices are what make this new VBP+ Producer Reference Manual such a valuable tool for new trainees and VBP+ veterans alike. As the program evolves with the industry, the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual provides an up-to-date source to confirm all requirements for certification. Best of all, the new VBP+ Producer Reference Manual includes self-assessment boxes that align with audit indicators to help producers directly evaluate their progress before an audit, with clear designations of the minimum scoring needed in each category. In addition,  sample records are provided at the end of the section to help producers visualize the certification requirements and recognize the elements they already use in their own record-keeping system.

In essence, the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual is a one-stop shop for producers to find audit requirements, self-assessment tools, sample records, and program curriculum in an engaging quick-reference format. Particularly with the self-assessment boxes, this resource will allow producers to compare their operation with certification standards in preparation for an audit to help ensure success. The VBP+ Producer Reference Manual is also a great option for trainees who prefer learning from a print format, and the new style of the manual will enhance this learning experience.