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Journal of Animal Science Abstract -

National market cow and bull beef quality audit-1999: a survey of producer-related defects in market cows and bulls.


This article in

  1. Vol. 79 No. 3, p. 658-665


  1. D L Roeber,
  2. P D Mies,
  3. C D Smith,
  4. K E Belk,
  5. T G Field,
  6. J D Tatum,
  7. J A Scanga and
  8. G C Smith
  1. Colorado State University, Department of Animal Sciences, Fort Collins 80523-1171, USA.


The 1999 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit comprised face-to-face interviews with industry representatives (n = 49); in-plant evaluations of cattle in holding pens (n = 3,969), carcasses on harvest floors (n = 5,679), and in carcass coolers (n = 4,378); and a strategy workshop. Face-to-face interviews suggested that the beef industry was most frequently concerned about the presence of antibiotic residues in carcasses, presence of lead shot in carcasses, and price discovery for carcasses following excessive trimming of bruises and testing due to arthritic joints, pathogens, or antibiotic residues. Although live animal evaluations determined that 73.4% of beef cows, 60.8% of dairy cows, 63.7% of beef bulls, and 70.9% of dairy bulls did not exhibit evidence of lameness, losses due to lameness were greater (P < 0.05) than in the 1994 National Non-Fed Beef Quality Audit. In-plant audits revealed that 88.9, 10.3, and 88.2% of cow carcasses and 18.9, 21.2, and 52.9% of bull carcasses had inadequate muscling, arthritic joints, and at least 1 bruise, respectively, all of which resulted in greater (P < 0.05) losses than the same defects in 1994. Audits revealed that 88.9% of cow carcasses and 18.9% of bull carcasses were lightly muscled, resulting in greater (P < 0.05) losses for cow carcasses, and similar (P > 0.05) losses for bull carcasses, than the same defect in the 1994 audit. Also, 14.5 and 30.8% of cow carcasses and 6.9 and 5.9% of bull carcasses had excess external fat and yellow-colored external fat, respectively, which was an improvement (P < 0.05) over 1994 results. In aggregate, 24.1, 19.2, 7.2, 6.7, 9.5, and 1.1% of livers, tripe, hearts, heads, tongues, and whole cattle or carcasses, respectively, were condemned and 60.6, 2.4, and 46.5% of cattle had hide damage from latent defects, insect damage, and brands, respectively. Condemnation rates were generally lower (P < 0.05), but tongue condemnations and frequency of branded hides were higher (P < 0.05) than in 1994. Producers should promote value in cows and bulls by managing to minimize quality defects, monitoring health and condition, and marketing in a timely manner. Using these techniques, producers might have recaptured $13.82, $27.50, and $27.50, respectively, for each cow or bull harvested in 1999.

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