CFIA RULES

Don’t take the term “Thirty months of age” too literally.

Most people think that the term “cattle under thirty months of age” means that they were born less than thirty months ago. Not so now. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency any cattle that have or are getting their second set of incisor teeth are considered too old to ship the beef to the U.S.

That is, they are considered over 30 months of age, whether they are or not, if the second set of incisor teeth are even erupting from the gum when slaughtered. Therefore, any steer or ox or heifer or heiferette with a big, longer mature head will not bring much more than cow price, if the buyers think that those teeth will be coming in by the time it is fattened and slaughtered. When it was actually born no longer has any relevance. In the big packing plants they are finding that about four percent of British cattle, especially heifers will have their second set of incisor teeth erupting as soon as twenty to twenty four months of age.

No auction market operators, order buyers, cattle feeders, packing plants or producer group can do anything about it nor did any of us have any input into this new ruling.

This ruling has been in place for many months now but some sellers still seem to be unaware of it. The bottom line is, if you let your yearlings get too old they will sell for cow price. Don’t blame us.

You can contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to clarify their newly implemented guidelines. Their number is 1-866-400-4244.

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