National Beef Quality Audit-2000: survey of targeted cattle and carcass characteristics related to quality, quantity, and value of fed steers and heifers. Academic Article uri icon


  • The National Beef Quality Audit-2000 was conducted to assess the current status ofthe quality and consistency of U.S. fed steers and heifers. Between May and November 2000, survey teams assessed hide condition (n = 43,415 cattle for color, brands, mud/manure), bruises (n = 43,595 carcasses), offal and carcass condemnation (n = 8,588 cattle), and carcass quality and yield information (n = 9,396 carcasses) in 30 U.S. beef packing plants. Hide colors were black (45.1%), red (31.0%), yellow (8.0%), Holstein (5.7%), gray (4.0%), white (3.2%), brown (1.7%), and brindle (1.3%). Brand frequencies were no (49.3%), one (46.2%), and two or more (4.4%), and brands were located on the butt (36.3%), side (13.7%), and shoulder (3.6%). Most cattle had no (18.0%) or a small amount (55.8%) of mud/manure on their hides, and they had no (77.3%) horns. Most carcasses (53.3%) were not bruised, 30.9% had one bruise, and 15.8% had multiple bruises. Bruise location and incidence were round (14.9%), loin (25.9%), rib (19.4%), chuck (28.2%), and brisket, flank, and plate (11.6%). Condemnation item and incidence were liver (30.3%), lungs (13.8%), tripe (11.6%), heads (6.2%), tongues (7.0%), and carcasses (0.1%). Carcass evaluation revealed these traits and frequencies: steer (67.9%), heifer (31.8%), and bullock (0.3%) sex-classes; dark-cutters (2.3%); A (96.6%), B (2.5%), and C or older (0.9%) overall maturities; and native (90.1%), dairy-type (6.9%), and Bos indicus (3.0%) breed-types. Mean USDA yield grade traits were USDA yield grade (3.0), carcass weight (356.9 kg), adjusted fat thickness (1.2 cm), longissimus muscle area (84.5 cm2), and kidney, pelvic, and heart fat (2.4%). USDA yield grades were Yield Grade 1 (12.2%), Yield Grade 2 (37.4%), Yield Grade 3 (38.6%), Yield Grade 4 (10.4%), and Yield Grade 5 (1.3%). Mean USDA quality grade traits were USDA quality grade (Select85), marbling score (Small23), overall maturity (A66), lean maturity (A65), and skeletal maturity (A67). Marbling score distribution was Slightly Abundant or higher (2.3%), Moderate (4.8%), Modest (13.1%), Small (33.3%), Slight (43.3%), and Traces (3.4%). USDA quality grades were Prime (2.0%), Choice (49.1%), Select (42.3%), Standard (5.6%), and Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner (0.9%). This information will help the beef industry measure progress compared to the past two surveys and will provide a benchmark for future educational and research activities.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • McKenna, D. R., Roebert, D. L., Bates, P. K., Schmidt, T. B., Hale, D. S., Griffin, D. B., ... Smith, G. C.

citation count

  • 114

complete list of authors

  • McKenna, DR||Roebert, DL||Bates, PK||Schmidt, TB||Hale, DS||Griffin, DB||Savell, JW||Brooks, JC||Morgan, JB||Montgomery, TH||Belk, KE||Smith, GC

publication date

  • May 2002