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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety and Quality » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #283689

Title: National Beef Quality Audit-2011: In-plant survey of targeted carcass characteristics related to quality, quantity, value, and marketing of fed steers and heifers

item MOORE, M - Texas A&M Agrilife
item GRAY, G - Texas A&M Agrilife
item HALE, D - Texas A&M Agrilife
item KERTH, C - Texas A&M Agrilife
item GRIFFIN, D - Texas A&M Agrilife
item SAVELL, J - Texas A&M Agrilife
item RAINES, C - Pennsylvania State University
item BELK, K - Colorado State University
item WOERNER, D - Colorado State University
item TATUM, J - Colorado State University
item IGO, J - Colorado State University
item VANOVERBEKE, D - Oklahoma State University
item MAFI, G - Oklahoma State University
item LAWRENCE, T - West Texas A & M University
item DELMORE, R - California Polytechnic State University
item CHRISTENSEN, L - California Polytechnic State University
item Shackelford, Steven
item King, David - Andy
item Wheeler, Tommy
item MEADOWS, L - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item O'CONNOR, M - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2012
Publication Date: 12/1/2012
Citation: Moore, M.C., Gray, G.D., Hale, D.S., Kerth, C.R., Griffin, D.B., Savell, J.W., Raines, C.R., Belk, K.E., Woerner, D.R., Tatum, J.D., Igo, J.L., VanOverbeke, D.L., Mafi, G.G., Lawrence, T.E., Delmore, R.J., Christensen, L.M., Shackelford, S.D., King, D.A., Wheeler, T.L., Meadows, L.R., O'Connor, M.E. 2012. National Beef Quality Audit-2011: In-plant survey of targeted carcass characteristics related to quality, quantity, value, and marketing of fed steers and heifers. Journal of Animal Science. 90:5143-5151.

Interpretive Summary: The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) has been very important to the beef industry since its inception in 1991. This audit measures and reports producer–related cattle and carcass traits in the beef industry. These findings are then used as teaching tools for producer related programs, as new benchmarks for research programs, and as an assessment of the problems and opportunities that the beef industry is currently facing. There have been four previous audits conducted in the US in 1991, 1995, 2000, and 2005. These studies have shown that genetics and management of cattle have improved and where improvements could still be made. Some of the trends observed in the NBQA-2011 included an increase in USDA Prime and Choice carcasses, increased HCW, increased LM area, and more dairy-type carcasses compared with previous audits. Information from this audit adds to the existing knowledge base of the beef industry regarding quality related attributes. Findings will be used to mark the progress that has been made in the industry and pinpoint the areas of improvement for the future.

Technical Abstract: The National Beef Quality Audit – 2011 (NBQA-2011) assessed the current status of quality and consistency of fed steers and heifers. Beef carcasses (n = 9,802), representing approximately 10 percent of each production lot in 28 beef processing facilities, were selected randomly for the survey. Carcass evaluation for the cooler assessment of this study revealed these traits and frequencies: steer (63.5%), heifer (36.4%), cow (0.1%), and bullock (0.03%) sex classes; dark-cutters (3.2%); blood splash (0.3%); yellow fat (0.1%); calloused ribeye (0.05%); A (92.8%), B (6.0%), and C or greater (1.2%) overall maturities; native (88.3%), dairy-type (9.9%), and Bos indicus (1.8%) estimated breed types; and United States (97.7%), Mexico (1.8%), and Canada (0.5%) country of origin. Certified or marketing program frequencies were age and source verified (10.7%), = A40 (10.0%), Certified Angus Beef (9.3%), top Choice (4.1%), natural (0.6%), and non-hormone treated cattle (0.5%), and there were no organic programs observed. Mean USDA yield grade (YG) traits were USDA YG (2.9), HCW (374.0 kg), adjusted fat thickness (AFT) (1.3 cm), LM area (88.8 cm2), and KPH (2.3%); Frequencies of USDA YG distributions were YG 1 (12.4%), YG 2 (41.0%), YG 3 (36.3%), YG 4 (8.6%), and YG 5 (1.6%). Mean USDA quality grade (QG) traits were USDA quality grade (Select93), marbling score (Small40), overall maturity (A59), lean maturity (A54), skeletal maturity (A62). Frequencies of USDA QG distributions were Prime (2.1%), Choice (58.9%), Select (32.6%), and Standard or less (6.3%). Marbling score distribution was Slightly Abundant or greater (2.3%), Moderate (5.0%), Modest (17.3%), Small (39.7%), Slight (34.6%), and Traces or less (1.1%). Carcasses with, QG of Select or higher and YG of 3 or numerically lower—represented 85.1% of the sample. This is the fifth benchmark study measuring targeted carcass characteristics, and information from this survey will continue to help drive progress in the beef industry.