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FEEDER CATTLE GRADING
Bringing Back The American
Small Farm Conference
March 8-9, 2017
GRADING VS. JUDGING
Judging is comparing one animal
against another
Grading is comparing an animal
against a set of stan...
WHAT IS GRADING?
Visual evaluation of an animal to
determine which standard it best
fits.
WHAT ARE FEEDER CATTLE?
Beef calves both steers and heifers
between 700-900 lbs that have
been weaned and are ready to go...
WHY GRADE?
 To reflect an accurate price
comparison from salebarn to salebarn,
from State to State.
We report the prices...
GRADING OF CALVES
Grading consists of three
components
Frame
Muscle
Thriftiness
FRAME
Determined by genetics.
Different breeds of beef animals are
known to be larger or smaller in size
at maturity.
W...
U.S STANDARDS FOR GRADES OF FEEDER
CATTLE
 Under ordinary
development and
feeding conditions,
different framed
animals re...
FRAME
The Animal’s skeletal size (its height
and body length) in relation to its
age
Projecting the size an animal will ...
MATURITY FIRST
FRAME SIZE – RELATIVE TO MATURITY
• Length of tail
• Coarseness of hair in
switch
• Width of muzzle
• Coarseness of hair o...
FRAME SIZES
Large
Medium
Small
FRAME SIZE- LARGE
 Tall and long bodied
 ½ inch fat at 12th rib:
 Steers finish > 1250 lbs
 Heifers finish > 1150 lbs
LARGE FRAME
 Continental Breeds
 Charolais
 Chianina
 Gelbvieh
 Limousin
 Maine Anjou
 Salers
 Simmental
 Holstei...
LARGE FRAME
FRAME SIZE- MEDIUM
• Slightly tall
• Slightly long bodied
• ½ inch fat:
• Steers finish 1100 to 1250
lbs
• Heifers finish ...
MEDIUM FRAME
British Breeds
Black Angus
Red Angus
Horned Herefords
Polled Herefords
Shorthorns
MEDIUM FRAME
FRAME SIZE- SMALL
 Not as tall as Medium
 Short bodied
 ½ inch fat:
 Steers finish < 1100 lbs
 Heifers finish < 1000 ...
SMALL FRAME
Longhorns
Dexters
Jerseys
SMALL FRAME
USDA/MRP/AMS
USDA/MRP/AMS
USDA/MRP/AMS
WHEN ANIMALS ARE SOLD IN GROUPS
Animals scoring between Medium
50 and Large 50 are sometimes
classified as Medium and Lar...
FRAMES SCORES USED IN REPORTS
Large Continental
Medium and Large Crossbreds
Medium British
Breeds
Small and Medium Cro...
MUSCLE
MUSCLE SCORE
 Calves are assigned a score between 1 and
4 for the degree of muscle with 1 being
heavy muscled and 4 being...
USDA FEEDER CATTLE GRADES
MUSCLE THICKNESS SCORES
USDA/MRP/AMS
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4
EVALUATION OF MUSCLING
 The basic shape of the hindquarter as viewed
from behind.
No. 1
Muscling
No. 3
Muscling
USDA FEEDER CATTLE GRADES
MUSCLE THICKNESS SCORES
USDA/MRP/AMS
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4
#1 MUSCLING
 Moderately thick throughout, showing a rounded
appearance through the back and loin with
moderate width betw...
33
# 1 Muscle
1++ 1--
#2 MUSCLING
 Slightly thick throughout; showing a rounded
appearance through the back and loin with slight
width between ...
35
# 2 Muscle
2++ 2--
#3 MUSCLING
• Thin through the forequarter and the middle
part of the rounds; back and loin have a
sunken appearance; legs...
37
# 3 Muscle
3++ 3--
#4 MUSCLING
 Less thickness than the minimum
requirements for # 3.
39
# 4 Muscle
40
Muscle Grades
# 1 # 2 # 3 # 4
WHEN CALVES ARE SOLD IN GROUPS
Animals scoring between 1 50 and
2 50 are sometimes classified as
1 – 2s
Likewise animals...
MUSCLE SCORES USED IN REPORTS
 1
 1-2
 2
2-3
 3
 3-4
 4
THRIFTINESS
Apparent health of an animal and its
ability to grow and fatten normally.
Unthrifty animals are those which
...
UNTHRIFTINESS MAY BE A RESULT OF:
Disease
Parasites
Lack of Nutrition
U.S. INFERIOR GRADE
Applied to all feeder cattle
determined to be unthrifty.
Double muscled animals
cannot deposit marbl...
INFERIOR GRADE
Mismanaged – Disease/ Parasites Double muscled
animals
TEST YOUR
FEEDER
CATTLE
GRADING
SKILLS
47
48
Steer
520 lb
Frame Size = Medium #2
Muscle
Grade
49
Steer
725 lb
Frame Size = Large- #1--
Muscle
Grade
50
Heifer
635 lb
Frame Size = Medium+ #2+
Muscle
Grade
51
Steer
690 lb
Frame Size = Large- #1
Muscle
Grade
52
Heifer
515 lb
Frame Size = Small #2--
Muscle
Grade
53
Heifer
775 lb
Frame Size = Large #3+
Muscle
Grade
GRADING SLAUGHTER
CATTLE
Bringing Back The
American Small Farm
Conference
March 8-9, 2017
GRADE FACTORS
Grades of slaughter cattle are
intended to be directly related to the
grade of the carcass they produce.
Tw...
QUALITY VS. YIELD GRADE
The more fat the better
the Quality Grade
The less fat the better
the Yield Grade.
QUALITY GRADE
 Quality or palatability characteristics of
the lean meat.
 Finish – amount of fat cover
 Age – Steers an...
U.S. QUALITY GRADES
QUALITY GRADE - PRIME
 Up to 42 months old
 Fat > 0.8”
 Thick distended Brisket
 Full Cods and Udder
• Flat over the T...
QUALITY GRADE - CHOICE
 Fat 0.5”- 0.8”
 Fat in all locations
 Pones Full
 Brisket Thick
• Cod and Udder Fat
• Flank fa...
QUALITY GRADE - SELECT
 Up to 30 months old
 Fat 0.4-0.5”
 Thin fat covering
restricted to back and
loin
• The brisket,...
QUALITY GRADE - STANDARD
 30-42 months of age
 Fat 0.3 – 0.4”
 fat covering primarily over
the back, loin, and ribs
whi...
QUALITY GRADE - UTILITY
 Fat 0.2 -0.3”
 a very thin covering
of fat for cattle under
30 months of age
• Over 30 months t...
YIELD GRADE
Estimate the amount of boneless,
closely trimmed retail cuts from the
high value parts of the carcass –
the r...
YIELD GRADE
Fat Thickness at the 12th Rib
% KPH – Kidney, Pelvic and Heart
Fat
Carcass Weight – Live Weight X
Dressing ...
YIELD GRADE #1
•Very thickly muscled
•Percent Retail Cuts
>52.4%
•Wider at shoulders
and rounds than at
the back
•Thin cov...
YIELD GRADE #2
• Slightly greater
width through the
shoulders and rounds
than through the
back.
•Percent Retail Cuts
• Sli...
YIELD GRADE #3
•Intermediate yields
of boneless retail cuts
•Percent Retail Cuts
47.8-50%
•Moderate Fat Cover
•Moderate am...
YIELD GRADE #4
•Moderately low
yields of boneless
retail cuts
•Percent of Retail
Cuts 45.5-47.7%
•Moderate to thick
•Will ...
YIELD GRADE #5
•Low yields of
boneless retail cuts
•Thick layers of fat.
•Percent Retail yield
greater than 45.4%
•Practic...
DETERMINING YIELD GRADES
Yield grades can be determined by
using the following formula:
2.50+(2.5 × adjusted fat thicknes...
SHORT-CUT METHOD
PYG
0.2”=2.5
0.4”=3.0
0.6”=3.5
0.8”=4.0
1.0”=4.5
1.2”=5.0
MUSCLE
Thick + =-0.9
Thick = -0.6
Thick- = -0.3...
PRACTICE GRADING
QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard
UtilityPYG 0.30”=2.75 Muscle Thick= -0.6 %KPH 3.5=0.0
SELECT+...
PRACTICE GRADING
QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard
UtilityPYG 0.60”=3.5 Muscle Thick= -.9 %KPH4.0=+0.1
Choice 2.7
PRACTICE GRADING
QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard
UtilityPYG 0.10”=2.25 Muscle Thin= +0.3 %KPH 2.0=-0.3
Standar...
PRACTICE GRADING
QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard
UtilityPYG 1.0”=4.5 Muscle Thin= +0.3 %KPH 4.5=+.20
Prime- 5.0
PRACTICE GRADING
QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard
UtilityPYG 0.5”=3.25 Muscle Thin-= +0.3 %KPH3.0=-0.1
Select- ...
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  1. 1. FEEDER CATTLE GRADING Bringing Back The American Small Farm Conference March 8-9, 2017
  2. 2. GRADING VS. JUDGING Judging is comparing one animal against another Grading is comparing an animal against a set of standards
  3. 3. WHAT IS GRADING? Visual evaluation of an animal to determine which standard it best fits.
  4. 4. WHAT ARE FEEDER CATTLE? Beef calves both steers and heifers between 700-900 lbs that have been weaned and are ready to go to feedlots to begin to aggressively put on weight to get to proper slaughter weight.
  5. 5. WHY GRADE?  To reflect an accurate price comparison from salebarn to salebarn, from State to State. We report the prices of different grades.  600-650# ML1: 156.75, L1: 135.50 ML1-2: 143.75, M1-2: 132.50 ML2: 120.50,
  6. 6. GRADING OF CALVES Grading consists of three components Frame Muscle Thriftiness
  7. 7. FRAME Determined by genetics. Different breeds of beef animals are known to be larger or smaller in size at maturity. Within a Large breed you may have a Medium and within a Medium breed you may have a Large or Small
  8. 8. U.S STANDARDS FOR GRADES OF FEEDER CATTLE  Under ordinary development and feeding conditions, different framed animals reach slaughter potential at different weights.
  9. 9. FRAME The Animal’s skeletal size (its height and body length) in relation to its age Projecting the size an animal will be at 1250# (Steer) or 1150# (Heifer) Large or Medium or Small Frame Maturity must be considered first.
  10. 10. MATURITY FIRST
  11. 11. FRAME SIZE – RELATIVE TO MATURITY • Length of tail • Coarseness of hair in switch • Width of muzzle • Coarseness of hair on poll • Size of feet, ears, base of horns, etc. • Rump to Shoulder Height
  12. 12. FRAME SIZES Large Medium Small
  13. 13. FRAME SIZE- LARGE  Tall and long bodied  ½ inch fat at 12th rib:  Steers finish > 1250 lbs  Heifers finish > 1150 lbs
  14. 14. LARGE FRAME  Continental Breeds  Charolais  Chianina  Gelbvieh  Limousin  Maine Anjou  Salers  Simmental  Holsteins
  15. 15. LARGE FRAME
  16. 16. FRAME SIZE- MEDIUM • Slightly tall • Slightly long bodied • ½ inch fat: • Steers finish 1100 to 1250 lbs • Heifers finish 1000 to 1150 lbs
  17. 17. MEDIUM FRAME British Breeds Black Angus Red Angus Horned Herefords Polled Herefords Shorthorns
  18. 18. MEDIUM FRAME
  19. 19. FRAME SIZE- SMALL  Not as tall as Medium  Short bodied  ½ inch fat:  Steers finish < 1100 lbs  Heifers finish < 1000 lbs
  20. 20. SMALL FRAME Longhorns Dexters Jerseys
  21. 21. SMALL FRAME
  22. 22. USDA/MRP/AMS
  23. 23. USDA/MRP/AMS
  24. 24. USDA/MRP/AMS
  25. 25. WHEN ANIMALS ARE SOLD IN GROUPS Animals scoring between Medium 50 and Large 50 are sometimes classified as Medium and Large. Likewise animals scoring between Small 50 and Medium 50 are sometimes classified as Small and Medium.
  26. 26. FRAMES SCORES USED IN REPORTS Large Continental Medium and Large Crossbreds Medium British Breeds Small and Medium Crossbreds Small
  27. 27. MUSCLE
  28. 28. MUSCLE SCORE  Calves are assigned a score between 1 and 4 for the degree of muscle with 1 being heavy muscled and 4 being extremely light muscled.  The degree of muscle is determined by genetics, however it can be improved through exercise, although impractical with livestock.
  29. 29. USDA FEEDER CATTLE GRADES MUSCLE THICKNESS SCORES USDA/MRP/AMS No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4
  30. 30. EVALUATION OF MUSCLING  The basic shape of the hindquarter as viewed from behind. No. 1 Muscling No. 3 Muscling
  31. 31. USDA FEEDER CATTLE GRADES MUSCLE THICKNESS SCORES USDA/MRP/AMS No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4
  32. 32. #1 MUSCLING  Moderately thick throughout, showing a rounded appearance through the back and loin with moderate width between the legs.
  33. 33. 33 # 1 Muscle 1++ 1--
  34. 34. #2 MUSCLING  Slightly thick throughout; showing a rounded appearance through the back and loin with slight width between the legs.
  35. 35. 35 # 2 Muscle 2++ 2--
  36. 36. #3 MUSCLING • Thin through the forequarter and the middle part of the rounds; back and loin have a sunken appearance; legs are set close together.
  37. 37. 37 # 3 Muscle 3++ 3--
  38. 38. #4 MUSCLING  Less thickness than the minimum requirements for # 3.
  39. 39. 39 # 4 Muscle
  40. 40. 40 Muscle Grades # 1 # 2 # 3 # 4
  41. 41. WHEN CALVES ARE SOLD IN GROUPS Animals scoring between 1 50 and 2 50 are sometimes classified as 1 – 2s Likewise animals scoring between 250 and 350 are sometimes classified as 2 – 3s
  42. 42. MUSCLE SCORES USED IN REPORTS  1  1-2  2 2-3  3  3-4  4
  43. 43. THRIFTINESS Apparent health of an animal and its ability to grow and fatten normally. Unthrifty animals are those which are not expected to perform normally in their present state.
  44. 44. UNTHRIFTINESS MAY BE A RESULT OF: Disease Parasites Lack of Nutrition
  45. 45. U.S. INFERIOR GRADE Applied to all feeder cattle determined to be unthrifty. Double muscled animals cannot deposit marbling normally
  46. 46. INFERIOR GRADE Mismanaged – Disease/ Parasites Double muscled animals
  47. 47. TEST YOUR FEEDER CATTLE GRADING SKILLS 47
  48. 48. 48 Steer 520 lb Frame Size = Medium #2 Muscle Grade
  49. 49. 49 Steer 725 lb Frame Size = Large- #1-- Muscle Grade
  50. 50. 50 Heifer 635 lb Frame Size = Medium+ #2+ Muscle Grade
  51. 51. 51 Steer 690 lb Frame Size = Large- #1 Muscle Grade
  52. 52. 52 Heifer 515 lb Frame Size = Small #2-- Muscle Grade
  53. 53. 53 Heifer 775 lb Frame Size = Large #3+ Muscle Grade
  54. 54. GRADING SLAUGHTER CATTLE Bringing Back The American Small Farm Conference March 8-9, 2017
  55. 55. GRADE FACTORS Grades of slaughter cattle are intended to be directly related to the grade of the carcass they produce. Two Factors: QUALITY Grade YIELD Grade
  56. 56. QUALITY VS. YIELD GRADE The more fat the better the Quality Grade The less fat the better the Yield Grade.
  57. 57. QUALITY GRADE  Quality or palatability characteristics of the lean meat.  Finish – amount of fat cover  Age – Steers and Heifers under 30 months  Marbling – intermingling of fat in muscle  Color – of both meat and fat  Firmness and texture of lean
  58. 58. U.S. QUALITY GRADES
  59. 59. QUALITY GRADE - PRIME  Up to 42 months old  Fat > 0.8”  Thick distended Brisket  Full Cods and Udder • Flat over the Top • Large Pones • Thick distended Brisket • Walk straight legged
  60. 60. QUALITY GRADE - CHOICE  Fat 0.5”- 0.8”  Fat in all locations  Pones Full  Brisket Thick • Cod and Udder Fat • Flank fat forms a fist size ball when walking
  61. 61. QUALITY GRADE - SELECT  Up to 30 months old  Fat 0.4-0.5”  Thin fat covering restricted to back and loin • The brisket, flanks, twist, and cod or udder are slightly full • Muscling is slightly firm
  62. 62. QUALITY GRADE - STANDARD  30-42 months of age  Fat 0.3 – 0.4”  fat covering primarily over the back, loin, and ribs which tends to be very thin • < 30 months of age • very thin covering of fat which is largely restricted to the back, loin, and upper ribs.
  63. 63. QUALITY GRADE - UTILITY  Fat 0.2 -0.3”  a very thin covering of fat for cattle under 30 months of age • Over 30 months the crops are slightly thin and the brisket, flanks, and cod or udder indicate very slight fullness.
  64. 64. YIELD GRADE Estimate the amount of boneless, closely trimmed retail cuts from the high value parts of the carcass – the round, loin, rib, and chuck.
  65. 65. YIELD GRADE Fat Thickness at the 12th Rib % KPH – Kidney, Pelvic and Heart Fat Carcass Weight – Live Weight X Dressing Percentage Ribeye Area – Square Inches at 12th Rib
  66. 66. YIELD GRADE #1 •Very thickly muscled •Percent Retail Cuts >52.4% •Wider at shoulders and rounds than at the back •Thin covering of fat •Brisket, cod and udder not full •600 # Carcass + 0.3” fat + 13.0 sq. in. Ribeye
  67. 67. YIELD GRADE #2 • Slightly greater width through the shoulders and rounds than through the back. •Percent Retail Cuts • Slightly thick covering of fat over the back and rump • Brisket and cod or udder are slightly full •600# Carcass, 0.6” Fat,
  68. 68. YIELD GRADE #3 •Intermediate yields of boneless retail cuts •Percent Retail Cuts 47.8-50% •Moderate Fat Cover •Moderate amount of muscle throughout •Wide variation due to finish and firmness of muscling.
  69. 69. YIELD GRADE #4 •Moderately low yields of boneless retail cuts •Percent of Retail Cuts 45.5-47.7% •Moderate to thick •Will differ considerably in appearance because of inherent differences in their muscling, skeletal systems and fatness.
  70. 70. YIELD GRADE #5 •Low yields of boneless retail cuts •Thick layers of fat. •Percent Retail yield greater than 45.4% •Practically all cattle of this grade will qualify for either the Prime or Choice grade.
  71. 71. DETERMINING YIELD GRADES Yield grades can be determined by using the following formula: 2.50+(2.5 × adjusted fat thickness in inches)+(0.2 × percent kidney, heart and pelvic fat)+(0.0038 × hot carcass weight)- (0.32 × ribeye area in square inches). OR
  72. 72. SHORT-CUT METHOD PYG 0.2”=2.5 0.4”=3.0 0.6”=3.5 0.8”=4.0 1.0”=4.5 1.2”=5.0 MUSCLE Thick + =-0.9 Thick = -0.6 Thick- = -0.3 Average=0.0 Thin - = +0.3 Thin = +0.6 Thin + = +0.9 KPH% 0.5 = -0.6 1.0 = -0.5 1.5 = -0.4 2.0 = -0.3 2.5 = -0.2 3.0 = -0.1 3.5 = 0.0 4.0 = +0.1 4.5 = +0.2 5.0 = +0.3 Calf with .6” of fat over 12th rib with thin- muscle and 2.5% KPH would have a final Yield Grade of: 3.6 3.5+0.3-0.2
  73. 73. PRACTICE GRADING QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard UtilityPYG 0.30”=2.75 Muscle Thick= -0.6 %KPH 3.5=0.0 SELECT+ 2.15
  74. 74. PRACTICE GRADING QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard UtilityPYG 0.60”=3.5 Muscle Thick= -.9 %KPH4.0=+0.1 Choice 2.7
  75. 75. PRACTICE GRADING QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard UtilityPYG 0.10”=2.25 Muscle Thin= +0.3 %KPH 2.0=-0.3 Standard 2.25
  76. 76. PRACTICE GRADING QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard UtilityPYG 1.0”=4.5 Muscle Thin= +0.3 %KPH 4.5=+.20 Prime- 5.0
  77. 77. PRACTICE GRADING QUALITY GRADE? Prime Choice Select Standard UtilityPYG 0.5”=3.25 Muscle Thin-= +0.3 %KPH3.0=-0.1 Select- 3.45

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