Effect of frame size, muscle score, and external fatness on live and carcass value of beef cattle.
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Commercial slaughter steers (n = 329) and heifers (n = 335) were selected to vary in slaughter frame size and muscle thickness score, as well as adjusted 12th rib fat thickness. After USDA carcass grade data collection, one side of each carcass was fabricated into boneless primals/subprimals and minor tissue components. Cuts were trimmed to 2.54, 1.27, and .64 cm of external fat, except for the bottom sirloin butt, tritip, and tenderloin, which were trimmed of all fat. Four-variable regression equations were used to predict the percentage (chilled carcass weight basis) yield of boneless subprimals at different fat trim levels (.64, 1.27, and 2.54 cm) as influenced by sex class, frame size, muscle score, and adjusted 12th rib fat thickness. Carcass component values, total carcass value, carcass value per 45.36 kg of carcass weight, and live value per 45.36 kg of live weight were calculated for each phenotypic group and external fat trim level. Carcass fatness and muscle score had the most influence on live and carcass value (per 45.36 kg weight basis). Carcasses with .75 and 1.50 cm of fat at the 12th rib were more valuable as the trim level changed from 2.54 cm to .64 cm; however, for carcasses with 2.25 cm of fat at the 12th rib, value was highest at the 2.54 cm trim level. Value was maximized when leaner cattle were closely trimmed. There was no economic incentive for trimming light-muscled or excessively fat carcasses to .64 cm of external fat.