Visual scores and skeletal measurements of slaughter steers as predictors of carcass characteristics



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Texas Tech University


The accurate evaluation of slaughter cattle is important in several phases of the beef cattle industry. Both the feeder and packer buyer can make more intelligent decisions if they are able to accurately predict the quality and cutability of the carcasses resulting from the slaughter of specific individuals or groups of cattle. Likewise, purebred breeders should evaluate seedstock in this manner in view of the high heritability of carcass traits. Even in the show ring, both breeding and slaughter classes should be evaluated on the basis of accurate estimates of carcass characteristics. However, some breeders, feeders, packers and live animal judges currently use evaluation criteria of doubtful accuracy in their appraisals. Examples are the various estimates of skeletal size such as height and length of body often referred to as "elevation," "stretch" and "scale," and "ruggedness" or "amount of bone" as determined by visual estimation of the circumference of the cannonbones and their overlying tissues. The implication is that the larger the skeleton and the larger the "bone," the more desirable is the animal.



Beef cattle