Predicting red meat yields in carcasses from beef-type and calf-fed Holstein steers using the United States Department of Agriculture calculated yield grade.
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Analyses were conducted to evaluate the ability of the USDA yield grade equation to detect differences in subprimal yield of beef-type steers and calf-fed Holstein steers that had been fed zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH; Intervet Inc., Millsboro, DE) as well as those that had not been fed ZH. Beef-type steer (n = 801) and calf-fed Holstein steer (n = 235) carcasses were fabricated into subprimal cuts and trim. Simple correlations between calculated yield grades and total red meat yields ranged from -0.56 to -0.62 for beef-type steers. Reliable correlations from calf-fed Holstein steers were unobtainable; the probability of a type I error met or exceeded 0.39. Linear models were developed for the beef-type steers to predict total red meat yield based on calculated USDA yield grade within each ZH duration. At an average calculated USDA yield grade of 2.9, beef-type steer carcasses that had not been fed ZH had an estimated 69.4% red meat yield, whereas those fed ZH had an estimated 70.7% red meat yield. These results indicate that feeding ZH increased red meat yield by 1.3% at a constant calculated yield grade. However, these data also suggest that the calculated USDA yield grade score is a poor and variable estimator (adjusted R(2) of 0.31 to 0.38) of total red meat yield of beef-type steer carcasses, regardless of ZH feeding. Moreover, no relationship existed (adjusted R(2) of 0.00 to 0.01) for calf-fed Holstein steer carcasses, suggesting the USDA yield grade is not a valid estimate of calf-fed Holstein red meat yield.