Classification and grading of beef and veal carcasses

Classification and grading of beef and veal carcasses
Peer reviewed

Abstract

Data derived from nearly 1,200 cattle processed in two successive years were used to illustrate the operation and efficiency of the export beef carcass classification and grading system used in New Zealand. Marked differences in grading results between years were ascribed to changes in application of specifications, reflecting the subjective nature of the system. Heifers in all grades had a slightly higher proportion of high-priced cuts than steers. The difference in meat yield between steers and heifers reflected the greater weight of internal (kidney/channel) fat in heifers. As the producer is now paid on the basis of carcass weight excluding internal fat, continuation of a lower price per 100lb carcass weight for heifers compared with steers appears unjustified. The present grades within sexes were differentiated by carcass weight and fatness; with no appreciable differences in meat yield or in the proportion of high-priced cuts. Improvements in classification and grading, by prediction of the meat content of individual carcasses using carcass weight (excluding internal fat) and an objective simple measurement of fatness, are discussed.

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